CN: Rape Mention
For most trans women, “passing” refers to the ability to be perceived and treated by strangers as a cis woman. This can be determined by any number of things, including physical traits, gender expression, vocal pitch/tone, sexuality, and more.
Continue reading Passing Privilege
CN: Religious Abuse, Queer-Antagonist Slurs, Violence, Sexual Assault, Self-Destructive Behavior, Disordered Eating, Suicide
Long before I knew I was queer I only knew I was “different”. But not the praise-worthy kind of different. This was the kind of different that had adults muttering and whispering behind raised eyebrows. I learned euphemisms like “creative”, “artistic”, “chatty” and “expressive” were not compliments in rural Arkansas, they were warning signs. Warning signs of what, exactly? I had no clue, but I knew from their expressions and hushed tones it was serious. Before I knew what I was, before I knew there were others like me, one word I used most often to think of myself was Freak.
Continue reading Hate the Sin, Hate the Sinner
I am a trans woman. I am also a butch lesbian.
Despite what you may have heard, these are not contradicting identities.
A trans woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth by the medical industrial complex. This assignment is based entirely on the appearance of a phallus, specifically a phallus at least half-an-inch in length. That’s it.
A cis woman is a woman who was assigned female at birth by the medical industrial complex. This assignment is based entirely on the lack of a phallus (or a phallus less than half-an-inch, therefore acceptably small enough to be considered a clitoris). That’s it.
So forget whatever the hell you’ve heard about chromosomes, gonads, gametes, fertility, or anything else. (Chances are good you and your doctor have no idea what half of those are for you personally, anyway.) If you can accept that, it’s easy to accept how greatly variable everything else we take for granted about “sex” and “gender” is per individual.
Continue reading Butch Is Not Just For Cis Women
“Closets are for clothes, not people,” is a common battle cry of the queer rights movement. But many fail to appreciate the ways clothes can be used to trap us or free us.
Like it or not, humans make assumptions about other humans based on their bodies and the articles used to cover those bodies. As much as I genuinely believe clothes should not have gender attached to them, I also know I project a very different message to the world as a 28-year-old woman wearing jeans and flannel than I did when I was a 17-year-old kid wearing jeans and flannel.
Many people fail to realize (because they’ve never had to think about it) how much about our gender and sexuality we communicate through our clothing. And even fewer people realize how much others rely on our body and clothes to interpret clues about our gender and sexuality. This is why the same outfit on two different bodies can be interpreted in wildly different ways depending on their skin tone, haircut, fat distribution, size, height, and many other uncontrollable factors. And why even the same clothes worn at different points in our lives can communicate drastically different things.
Continue reading Clothes
Hello students. I would like to welcome you to Trans Women’s Studies 101, an introductory class on recognizing and fighting transmisogyny in a cissexist society.
If you’ll please take a look at your syllabus, you will see an annotated bibliography of our required reading and a brief discussion of why the work is important. The texts are separated into Core Textbook and Supplemental Text categories.
Please note, I made efforts to prefer trans women/transfeminine authors (especially black trans women and trans women of color) over cis or trans men/transmasculine authors when at all possible. This is not because cis or trans men/transmasculine authors are not capable of writing relevant texts, but because first-hand testimony will always be preferred over second-hand or third-hand in this class, and only trans women/transfeminine authors have first-hand experience with transmisogyny. Sadly, there just aren’t enough trans women authors being supported and published by the industry, and so we must make do with the best we have.
For this reason, be aware of any authors denoted by an asterisk. These authors are not trans women/transfeminine authors, and therefore their opinions about issues directly affecting trans women should not be valued over those of actual trans women in regards to transmisogyny.
Continue reading Lesson One: Required Reading
Previously Published for Secular Shethinkers
[TW: Depression, Pain]
The final weeks leading up to my surgery date in May and June were filled with anxiety. Crippling anxiety that made me want to shut down and retreat from the world at the exact time when I needed to go out and kick some ass in order to get my passport and last remaining funds in the short amount of time I had. Obviously, you already know I managed to scrape everything together at the last minute thanks to donations, support, and especially help and hand-holding from Dirty Nerdy. While I waited to board my plane to Thailand with my money secured, my passport in hand, my medical papers squared away, and all the other extremely exhausting hurdles cleared, I sat in my terminal watching planes land and take off and cried. Uncontrollably. Probably for at least half an hour.
Continue reading Let’s Talk About Postoperative Depression
Previously published by Skepchick
In the past year or two, society has seen a big shift in how trans people, and trans women specifically, are portrayed in the media. Where it was once mildly permissible to have cis actors tell trans stories because, at least we were getting something, now a cis actor playing a trans character is becoming more and more controversial. Because no matter how dedicated the portrayal is, how sincere the actor is in wanting to “get it right”, how genuinely the creators want to help the transgender community, or how much it moves their primarily cis audience, they will always get something wrong, and often they’ll get a lot of things wrong. It’s almost a running gag in the trans community at this point. I’ve had many a “trashy trans movie night” where we get together to watch Transamerica or Boys Don’t Cry and tear it to shreds over popcorn and alcohol. Where we were once happy with whatever table scraps we could get, over the last decade we’ve been creating our own art that accurately depicts our lives. We now have a slew of well known, outspoken trans activists and artists like Janet Mock, Fallon Fox, Laura Jane Grace, Carmen Carrera, Lana Wachowski, Jenna Talackova, Candis Cayne, and (my personal hero) Laverne Cox.
Which means we are no longer satisfied letting cis people tell our stories for us.
Continue reading Let Trans Artists Tell Trans Tales