People often mistake being queer and having self-respect with lacking a sense of humor. I have a sense of humor. I like jokes that are funny. “look, it’s a tr*nny” isn’t a joke, let alone funny.
People often mistake being queer and having self-respect with lacking a sense of humor. I have a sense of humor. I like jokes that are funny. “look, it’s a tr*nny” isn’t a joke, let alone funny.
Trans guys. STOP posting stuff that is 100% totally about trans guys in the “mtf” tag. Your lives are not “universal trans lives” any more than cis guys’ lives are “universal lives.” Just, really.
Trans stuff that is primarily male-related can go in the ftm and trans tags. Stuff that is primarily female-related can go in the mtf and trans tags.
For the love of all that is holy, just stop posting guy stuff in the mtf tag, ok?
This is now the third time I’m writing on trans and intersex terminology. I am quite sick of this subject, and I am even more sick of people immediately jumping to the assumption that I must be a dyadic and/or binary-identified trans person simply because I disagree with them. This especially goes for certain dyadic and/or binary trans people who have taken it upon themselves to white knight for what they assume is “the” intersex point of view.
Congratulations. You have successfully bullied me into talking about deeply personal medical details which I do not want to discuss in public. I hope you feel damn proud of yourselves. I hope it’s worth it to you that you’ve stomped all over my triggers, given me the worst childhood abuse flashbacks I’ve had in years, and put me in a state of severe emotional (and physical) exhaustion.
For the record, I find it utterly sick that certain dyadics are so obsessed with white knighting for intersex people that they knowingly attacked an intersex person for disagreeing with their position even after sie explicitly outed hirself as intersex. White knighting is a completely busted way of trying to own your privilege in the first place, but white knighting to the point of openly silencing and speaking over a member of the minority you’re supposedly defending?
As for the actual issues being debated, here is where I stand.
Up until last year, I — as an intersex person — did ask that dyadic trans people use the terms AMAB/AFAB instead of CAMAB/CAFAB, on the argument that dyadic trans people are coercively socialized as their birth assigned gender but not coercively assigned at birth per se. The reasons for my change in position are as follows:
- First, I realized that AMAB and AFAB push trans people right back into the problem they were trying to solve when they coined CAMAB and CAFAB as replacements for the terms MTF and FTM. The stripped-down terms once again tie trans people to their birth assignment rather than their actual gender. In fact, AMAB and AFAB are even worse than MTF and FTM in terms of tacitly equating trans people with cis people of the same birth assignment.
- Second, I realized that intersex people as a whole were failing to acknowledge that dyadic trans people were doing us a big fucking favor in even considering giving up a big piece of their terminology at our request. Instead, more and more of us were simply deciding that we were somehow entitled to exclusive use of the terms we wanted, either by rewriting history to claim that trans people had “appropriated” from intersex people or by playing Oppression Olympics.
- Third, I realized that intersex people involved in these arguments were starting to blatantly move the goalposts by demanding that trans people change their terminology again by giving up “assigned” as well as “coercive”. Frankly, I see no reason to believe that this demand is being made in any sort of good faith; if trans people comply, they’re just going to get the “at birth” part pulled out from under them as well.
- Finally, I realized that the entire reason many intersex people were picking fights over this issue in the first place was not that they wanted dyadic privilege to be acknowledged, but because they thought of themselves as “normal” and trans people as mentally ill and/or perverts. That’s why they were acting like Apple Computer patent lawyers and going absolutely berserk at anything even vaguely resembling the “look and feel” of their claimed territory.
In light of those points, I found that I could not in good conscience continue to support any effort to seek the redefinition of CAMAB and CAFAB as exclusively intersex terms, regardless of any per se definitions. Any term which fails to emphasize the fact that trans people’s birth assignment is nonconsensual and forced misgenders trans people by grouping them with cis people on the other side of the gender spectrum, which makes both AMAB/AFAB and DMAB/DFAB actively harmful to trans people.
I see continued efforts to demarcate a “hard line” between trans and intersex to be horribly misguided at best, willfully malicious at worst, and utterly counterproductive regardless of motive: trans rights and intersex rights are both fundamentally about reclaiming the right to bodily integrity by replacing involuntary treatment built around social compliance with voluntary treatment built around informed consent. We do not achieve freedom for anyone by prefacing it with institutional gatekeeping over who is entitled to autonomy and who doesn’t deserve it.
I’m bolding one of the points not because it is more true or more relevant or more important than the rest of the post… the whole post should be read… but because it jumped out at me because right now we see people saying that we should be using “designated x at birth” as part of the push to get trans* people out of the “assigned” terminology, but seriously, there are people out there (I don’t know if they’re intersex, or dyadic white knights/opportunistic transphobes) who attack the “dxab” terminology for the same chimerical reasoning.
The goalpost moving is still happening, and there is no end point except when trans* people are deemed to sufficiently out of sight. It’s not a slippery slope argument; we’re standing on solid ground and the reference point is being moved around us.
It has become apparent that my post “All I am asking of you is that you identify as existing first.” has been completely misinterpreted. That has got to be at least in part a failing in my ability to write in a fully unoffensive manner. I’d like to apolgize to anyone who read the post and assumed that I was trying to be anything other than empowering. I’ve removed everything on my blog that pertains to it, excepting this. If anyone has any further questions/concers, feel free to leave them in my ask box.
I’m not putting this in your ask box because I don’t think that whether or not a rebuttal appears in public should be up to you.
Your post wasn’t misinterpreted, it was just… wrong. Labeling people as “cis” isn’t an attack on them. It’s removing the hierarchy of normality that gives us “trans” and “non-trans” (AKA, “normal”). Removing the elevated position of cis folks isn’t an attack. If you hear the word “cis” being thrown around with a lot of vitriol… well, removing the word wouldn’t change the sentiments being expressed, would it?
I mean, if a cis person is doing something that provokes a response of pain and anger from a trans person, why would you think taking the word “cis” off the table would change the way it plays out? And why is the bigger problem for you what the trans person says and not the reasons why they’re saying it?
You can say that you meant for the post to be empowering, but if people didn’t feel empowered by it that doesn’t mean they misinterpreted. It means you failed in your goal. The fact that you were starting from incorrect premises (like your take on “cis”) goes a long way towards explaining how this failure occurred.
Trans women, who cannot get pregnant, are generally pro-choice - because we recognize that the privilege-rooted anti-choice movement is generally based on suppressing women’s choices about our bodies as a general thing, not JUST specifically regarding abortion, and must be opposed even if we don’t SPECIFICALLY benefit from widely-available, legal and safe abortion.
I can count the trans women I know who are anti-choice on no hands.
I have met a grand total of one.
I have encountered a couple of them in the wilds of the internet, and they were both HBSers who co-signed a lot of MRA and radical feminist thought, too.
I’m the kind of person that is not satisfied with just knowing how things are. I also want to know why they are they way they are. That being said, there are some things regarding MfF’s that I just do not understand, and I am looking for some clarity.
When I first joined tumblr. and I learned about trans* issues, and the community, I read about how it was cool to identify as a woman if you felt that way, and if you did, you were a woman. Boom! That’s all it took! That was pretty cool. I got that. It made sense.
I figured it was like a metaphorical existence though. Like, we feel like women, so we are just like women; then I understood it to mean, that no, it’s we ARE women. The same in every way. I could see that…it made a little less sense, but I got that too. It was ok.
Then, I read how there is a “cis” woman. A woman that we are the same as, but is designated “cis” because she is not the same as us. Because she was born a woman, and identifies as a woman. So….not the same as us…which makes us different, right? So….we’re not the same? We’re trans women, and that is different from being cis women? We’re saying that now? We openly acknowledge that difference, while maintaining an equal existence?
I mention that only because it seems that we trans women only point out the existence of cis women. Honestly, before tumblr. and msnbc, I just called them women. I didn’t know they needed a different name.
So…ok…still with me? I’m ok with all of this so far btw. But then, the women that we designate as different as us, make a point of separating them from our existence, talk about vaginas, and menstruation, and boobs, and other totally normal womanly things, and we demand trigger warnings, and claim “cissexism”?
Wait, don’t we also openly talk about all of those things too? As in wanting them? And wishing we had them? How can we need warnings from the people that we are the same as for things that we already talk about all the time? From people that we say we’re the same as, or equals to?
Whew…now my head is starting to hurt.
Finally, when the cis-women that we say we’re the same as, equal to, but have separated from us, because they’re different, want their own space to talk about, I don’t know, cis-womanly stuff we get all upset and demand to be allowed into those spaces because we’re the same as them!!!
I am honestly asking for answers here, because I have wrapped my mind around this for a while now, and it makes no sense at all. If you can shed some light on this for me, I would gladly welcome your input.
Thanks. <3 Rachel
Cis is the opposite of trans in exactly the same way that heterosexual is the opposite of homosexual, and the neologism exists for exactly the same reason: when there isn’t any explicit term for the opposite, then the implicit term is “normal”. And that frames being trans or being gay as abnormal. Subtle, but important.
As for the issue of trans women spaces versus cis women spaces, it’s like safe spaces for people of color. People of color need safe spaces because those spaces provide us with a place where we can take a break from racism, let our guard down, and actually recharge. Women need safe spaces for the same reasons, and trans people need safe spaces for the same reasons.
The flip side is that white people do not need special safe spaces for being white, because it’s always safe to be white. White women need safe spaces as women, but they do not need safe spaces as whites. That’s why it is never justified to have space for “white women only” that excludes black women. The same logic applies with trans women: cis women need safe spaces as women, but they do not need safe space as cis people. So it is never justified to have space for “cis women only” that excludes trans women.
I was with you until the end, but you’re making a completely false equivalence. It is NOT “always safe to be cis.” Cis women are the victims of misogyny, discrimination, objectification, and violence from the moment they are born. The common experience of being born and raised female and socialized as a woman is not something that can be fully understood by those who haven’t experienced it, the same way the common experience of being trans can not be fully understood by those who haven’t experienced it.
I am not saying that all spaces for women should be “cis women only,” I am saying that cis women should and must be allowed to have SOME spaces that are only for them, the same way trans women should and must be allowed to have SOME spaces that are only for them, the same way all women should and must be allowed to have SOME spaces that are shared.
Please stop erasing the suffering and oppression of “cis” women by pretending thre is privilege or safety in it. It is incredibly hurtful and only shows a willing blindness to reality.
Rachel was making an excellent point, and you completely missed it. Please think about the things I have said and she has said and asked before you make statements like that again.
Agree or disagree, you’re missing freedominwickedness’s point that those things you mention aren’t targeted at women for being cis but for being women From the age that a trans* woman was identified as a girl, whatever age that was, she’d face the same things, and before that, she’d be internalizing a lot of the same messages because we’re all immersed in the same society and it’s not like they’re targeted via gender essentialism-seeking lasers.
As for Rachel making a good point… no, she, wasn’t. She doesn’t even think she was. She was regurgitating the ideas of hatemongers in the interest of “objectivity” and being the person who “questions everything”, something often called “playing devil’s advocate” but really better described as “siding with oppression, but hey, don’t I look smart here?”
It’s interesting to me that even though she got her ideas from anti-trans radfem blogs, her way of “questioning everything” wasn’t to poke at what they were saying but to hold up what they were saying as a way of questioning us. It’s almost like despite the fact that we’re the “radical few” trans* people with all these wiiiiiiiiiiiild ideas, she knew she’d get more of an intelligent response from questioning us than she would questioning the people who put those ideas in her head. Or like she (perhaps subconsciously) felt more comfortable and safe questioning us because we have less actual social leverage.
The term “Coercively Assigned X At Birth” was coined by the trans community as a replacement for “Male to Female” and “Female to Male”, both to be more inclusive of nonbinary trans people and also to emphasize that trans people’s identities are not defined by their birth assignment.
“Coercively Assigned” terminology was not used within the intersex community to any appreciable extent until after it was firmly established in the trans community and had started spreading into the wider LGBTI community through trans activism. At that point, intersex activists — mostly nonbinary intersex people — began to cross-adopt it in the context of acknowledging the connections between trans people and intersex people. Note that this was before the emergence of scientific evidence indicating that transsexuality is in fact a neurological intersex conditions; it was based purely on recognition that trans people and intersex people were fighting very similar struggles for personal autonomy and self-determination against the system of birth-assigned binary gender.
The claim that trans people “stole” this terminology from intersex people is revisionist bullshit originating from intersex activists who bitterly opposed solidarity with trans people. There is no truth whatsoever to this claim.
ok bottom line is
If you are a transmale and you want to be treated as such, then at least pass as one. jeez i know there are some who are like femme and stuff, thats cool and all. but if you are not going to transition at all then why burden the people of the world to call you whatever pronoun you want. the world isn’t like that. You must conform into the world if you want to survive, that is why we have T or top surgery and all other surgeries to help us.
it is not fair to everyone else who is being treated to transsexualism to be categorized with those who don’t do anything to at least try to transition, or work on being MALE! FTM means Female TO Male. why do you think Trans is in the word TRANSITION!
you can be a femme guy or a anything like that. but at least you are trying to be male! one day femme guys will in the norm. but just flat out biological women trying to say they are male with the way they are now, without transitioning of some sort, then that isn’t right for others.
don’t be a burden to society its going to literally take YEARS! till transsexualism is recognized as a proper medical condition that society doesn’t have to look down on.
i understand if you cannot transition at the moment, situations are very circumstantial, but if you just flat out say you are male, without at least conforming to some idea of a male, then you are just making your life hell.
be considerate of others, be considerate to yourself, don’t make your life any harder then it has to be
This consideration to others, it starts any minute now…?
“Cis” is STILL hate-speech. Don’t use it.
There is no such thing as a “cis woman”. There is certainly no such thing as a woman with “cis priviledge”.
The fact that mentally-ill people with severe Gender Identity Disorder call themselves “trans” is no reason to smack the label “cis” on people free of Gender Identity Disorder .
In fact, it’s utterly abusive, sick crap to lay a big guilt trip on people JUST because they happen to be free of a particular, severe mental illness.
Do we have a term for people who don’t have an illness? Yes, we do:
HEALTHY. Or NORMAL.
I am a healthy, normal woman. That comes with no inherent privilege, because it is the natural state of human beings to NOT have severe Gender Identity Disorder.
It’s not hate speech to suggest that there is more than one state of being that may be classed as “normal”. In fact, that state of affairs is itself normal. For instance, any number of hair colors and eye colors and skin tones may occur in the ordinary course of things… they are all “normal”. It’s normal that we have a few people who are unusually tall or short compared to the average.
Variation itself is normal.
Your privilege is on display in the fact that you demand your state be recognized as the sole extent of normality when it comes to gender identity. It’s further reinforced by your feeling of being attacked or afflicted (with guilt, in this case) when exposed to a model that levels the playing field. Even though the cis/trans model doesn’t make you less normal than you want to think of yourself as, doesn’t make you less normal than trans* folk, you still feel like you’re losing something out of it.
That sense of entitlement and loss isn’t privilege in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of privilege.