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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Transmisogyny 101: Transmisogyny IS Misogyny

TRIGGER WARNING: Transphobia and Transmisogyny

            As a general rule, most people have never heard of the term “transmisogyny.” However, most people have heard the term misogyny, so hey, at least we’re not at square one. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out though taking the root words. It’s pretty easy to guess by this blog that “trans” is referring to transgender, and misogyny is discrimination against women, so transmisogyny must be discrimination against trans women.

            And there are two (unfortunately) common responses to the term. While no one (reasonable at least) denies that transgender people face forms of discrimination. However, there are many that say trans women don’t experience misogyny in any meaningful sense. It perpetuates the idea that trans women aren’t “really” women (Whatever that means.) The other response is rooted in good intentions, but still misses the point. Some will say that because trans women are women, we don’t need a term for discrimination trans women face because it must be the same that cis women face. While affirming trans women are, indeed, women, they ignore the unique discrimination trans women face. So what kind of discrimination do trans women face? Well…

            Why don’t you try harder to look/sound/act like a woman?
            Transmisogyny is, of course, still misogyny, and so it has the same roots as misogyny, and this is a prime example. Now if you say this and someone gets mad at you, don’t think they’re mad because they’re misunderstanding you. Trust me when I say everyone will know what you mean. We’ve been culturally trained to associate certain looks, sounds, and mannerisms with men and women. However, it is rooted in that gender essentialist idea, the idea that we need some sort of “tells” for someone’s identity. You’re essentially saying that trans women should need to meet some expectation of what a woman is in order to be seen as women. But if trans women are women, it’s inconsequential really. Afterall, anything a woman does is “like a woman” since, well… they’re a woman.

            Well, but you don’t know what it’s really like to be a woman.
            This is rooted in the same problematic idea. The view of something being needed to be a woman, whether it be mannerisms or body parts or something else. Now it’s true that trans women don’t know what it’s like to experience certain aspects cis women experience. We haven’t reached a point where trans women can have a period or get pregnant and give birth. And this really is something most trans women are sad about. However, so what? There are cis women that cannot get pregnant, cis women that cannot have a period. Are they less of women? Do they not know what it’s like to “really” be a woman? And if not, why should it be any different for trans women? Which makes me think of the next point…

            Congrats TERFs, you are literally so awful you get your own section in this post. For those of you that don’t know what TERFs are, it stands for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, feminists that don’t include trans women. Or more specifically, they often view trans women as being inherently wrong or just delusional. And TERFs get the honor of not only having horrible transmisogyny, but even misogyny towards cis women as well.
            The heart of TERF views is that trans women are not women because they were not born with the right “parts.” And while this is something many people, including anti-feminists view, it is special among TERFs. I once came across a place on reddit called “Gender Critical.” I thought it might be a cool look at gender. Unfortunately, I found it full of TERF ideas. I discovered this when looking at an article about a young trans girl. And there was at first a good point. They discussed against the idea that a child liking things considered feminine makes them a girl. Afterall, anyone can like whatever regardless of gender, this is true. But they then extrapolate this to deny the feelings of trans women.
            The irony here, of course, is that it’s wholly rooted in misogyny. TERFs are stating that women need to be born with certain parts in order to be women. Essentially, TERFs are telling women that they are vaginas, and vaginas are what makes them women. Ironic from feminists, right?

            Why would you want to become a woman?
            This is perhaps the most extreme example I have face, and I have faced it before. And it goes beyond just asking why I identify as female. I have been asked why I would want to be a woman because “it’s better/easier to be a man.” And… let’s be honest, do I even need to explain why this is horribly misogynist? And yet people have actually said this to me…

            Now this is just barely scratching the surface of transmisogyny. However, it is an important concept of what trans women need to deal with in society, and it’s root in misogyny. Misogyny is an important concept, but when we ignore transmisogyny, we are only hurting all women in return.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An Open Letter About Criticisms Of What I write

Since I’m venturing into more sensitive and controversial territory, challenges to what I’m writing will naturally come up. Which is good! It should be challenged! If everyone just agreed with what I’m saying, there really wouldn’t be much of a reason for me to write anything, would there?

But, some things can get pretty ridiculous. There comes in fallacies, attacks, and just plain silliness in responding to me. I’m ok with debating, but at least make it worthwhile. So, I want to write this as an open letter to discuss why certain attacks to what I write are ridiculous (As opposed to actual discussion points.) Also, please note that I’ve gotten multiple comments about what I’ve written and I’m pulling this from multiple experiences. So no, I’m not writing to address you (Whoever “you” are) and I’m not writing this to be passive aggressive about one person. (Makes me think of that whole “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you”)

You’re so young, you don’t know how the world really works
This one really has two problems with it. The first, is using age as a criticism, and the second is stating a lack of knowledge of the world. The first one is easy to point out why it’s not really an argument. Cause… it’s not arguing anything. In fact, it’s avoiding arguing anything. You’re basically saying “Well, I can’t really dispute it, but you’re young, so it must be wrong!” The age of a person doesn’t determine whether an argument is wrong or not. If an 8 year old says a proof of the Pythagorean theorem, they aren’t wrong just because they’re 8 years old.
The second part is problematic because it implies a universal knowledge. That “if you only knew what I knew or experienced, you wouldn’t think that way!” And you might be right. In your circumstance or with your thoughts, I probably wouldn’t… so what? That’s still not arguing anything. It’s really just a more sophisticated equivalent to saying “Well I’m smart and you’re dumb.” Not to mention saying it as though there’s some universal knowledge about how the world “really” works (Whatever that means.) If there were, we’d probably have a lot less arguments about how the government should work.
It really brings to mind two options that usually happen. If someone disagrees with you they’re just young and na├»ve and don’t know what they’re talking about. But if they agree with you, they must be smart for their age! Totes not a double standard though

I thought like that too once, you’ll grow out of it.
This one is pretty similar to the last one, implying age is a factor. And to a certain degree I get it. Anarchist culture is associated with punks and rebellion and “edgy” teenagers mad at their parents and all that jazz. But again, this fails to really actually address any arguments. It again is just a slightly different way of saying “I’m smart, you’re dumb.” You’re not actually saying anything intellectual. (And all that before even getting into the history of anarchism as a political movement and the people of all ages that follow it.) And this also makes this assumption that everyone will be like you. It’s really similar to before with “You just don’t have the knowledge/experience/etc. that I do.” But that’s not an argument. People have all kinds of different knowledge and experiences and don’t agree with each other. Otherwise I could start saying “Ah, yes, I remember when I went through my libertarian phase.”

You just wanna seem “edgy” and different
Woah, wait, I shouldn’t even need to say anything about this. You can read minds?!?!

You don’t know the solution to all of the world’s problems
And you’re right, I don’t! And I will fully and be the first to admit that! Good job, you got me to admit to the obvious. But pulling away from my sarcasm mode, I legitimately don’t understand why this one comes up. Not even to me, to just about any post (Especially left wing posts) I see. It’s the same thing every time. And yet never do any of those people claim to have all the solutions. It’s like something that dissenters like to just pull out of the air to criticize them. But when you think about it, it can be turned right back.
“You don’t know all the solutions!” Ok, so why do you get to disagree with me? YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE SOLUTIONS TO THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS EITHER. CHECKMATE. And then I proceed to laugh maniacally while riding into the sunset holding my copy of the Communist Manifesto.
But really the issue comes in that no one wants to admit they (in general) have their answers too. When they disagree with what I write, hey, they already have part of an opinion on how the world should work! Ever read something political and agree with it? Wow, you have another opinion of how the world should work! Ever disagreed with something the president or congress instated? You damn well better believe you have an opinion on how the world should work! So why are only the people vocal about their thoughts being yelled at for it?
Now, I’m not gonna say I’m 100% right about everything. I mean, I believe I’m right but… generally, everyone believes their position is right. It’s not like that’s some new concept. And I accept I can be wrong about things. But some people act like I’m just pulling my thoughts out of my butt.

There really is no way to word this without sounding arrogant, but I’ve read books. I’ve read books and watched movies and listened to speeches and researched and read more writings, and all kinds of things to reach my position. So if we’re going by the things said to me, it’s ok, they’d reach my position if they just knew what I knew. I mean sure, people will disagree, and that’s ok. And I’ll probably be wrong about things, and that’s ok too. But at least I care enough to have the passion to talk about it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cops: Protect (The profits) and Serve (The rich)

            Especially because I’m an anarchist, it’s easy to get the wrong idea when I talk about topics like this. So before jumping in, I want to make a few things very clear. I am not saying that if you’re a cop I hope someone finds out and murders you. I am not saying that cops are all sociopathic power mad murderers. And I am not saying cops never ever do good things. We got that all down? Good.

            “To Protect And Serve” is the most common phrase we hear in reference to cops. And we just assume what is meant by that phrase. To protect and serve the people of course! And in many ways, it’s easy to see why people think of it that way. Stop or react to robberies, murders, assaults, and other such situations. But then, we see situations where we have to question the phrase.

            When they prevent a trans person from using the bathroom, who are they protecting? When they kick a homeless person out of their only shelter option, who are they serving? When they arrest people for “crimes” of poverty, who are they protecting? If they are protecting and serving the people, why are people harmed so often?

            Now, naturally, there are two main phrases are parroted at this point in the discussion. Some people will quickly say “You’ve never been in their shoes.” And the other phrase thrown out is “They’re just doing their jobs.” They’re the easiest phrases to guilt trip someone without actually saying anything.

            That sounds a little harsh at first right? But think about what those phrases really are saying. “You’ve never been in their shoes.” They’re right! I’ve never been in the police force… so what? Do we need to have been in the same situation as someone to say what they’re doing is wrong? Many people criticizing poor people have never been poor. People criticizing the president aren’t the president. You were never in the shoes of the person stealing to feed their family. If we’re going to qualify being in someone’s situation in order to criticize them, then everyone should probably just never criticize anyone for anything ever.

            What about the next one? “They’re just doing their jobs.” Well yes, you’re correct… again, so what? The drug dealer and the person making meth are just doing their jobs. “Now wait a minute” you’re saying “but what they’re doing is illegal and harms people!” But is legality a good qualifier? What cops do may be legal, but it often stills harm people. Innocent people are shot or jailed, and jail ultimately is worse for people and makes things worse (But that’s a critique for another post.) But the point being, why is doing their job a justification for anything and everything they do? Preventing trans people from using the right bathroom could be “doing their job” but that doesn’t make it ok. Obeying orders that may kill someone is simply doing their job.

            Now you’re probably saying “So are you just saying cops are doing bad things?” It sure seems like I’m just saying cops suck right now doesn’t it? But I’m not saying that cops never do good things ever. If they respond and stop people from dying, good! If they escort people for emergencies, good!  But that does not justify everything cops do ever. They may be doing their job, but when cops enforce unjust laws, they are just as guilty as the people that made the laws.

            And ultimately, the laws are made to punish the bottom. The laws are made to favor the rich and powerful. When a cop arrests a man for stealing food from a chain store in order to feed his family, they’re not “protecting” the people, they’re protecting profits. They’re protecting private property, and worse, they’re preventing people from eating. They’re putting a man in jail away from his family, harming his psyche and ultimately making him more likely to be a criminal simply because he tried to feed his family. They are serving the rich and business owners.

            When they arrest people using marijuana they’re not protecting people. They’re protecting lobbies, they’re serving industries. They’re ultimately creating even more crime, and often more violent crime than before. They’re enforcing non-sense laws in favor of what the rich and power want. They’re preventing workers from receiving the full value of their labor. They’re preventing people from access to food and shelter.

Just because cops do some good things does not cancel out the bad. Just because I have not been a cop does not mean I can’t say that something cops do is wrong. Just because they’re doing their job does not make it ok. Enforcing unjust laws is just as unjust as making them. Enforcing and even protecting a system that oppresses, enslaves, kills, is not justifiable. When these are enforced, they are not protecting and serving the people, they are protecting the profits to serve the rich and powerful.

Cops may sometimes do good, cops can be good people on a personal level, they can support good legislation. But overall, this will be the harshest sentence I will say in this post. When they protect an oppressive system and enforce unjust laws cops do not protect freedom or the people, they become enemies of them.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The "Freedom" To Buy Something Is Not Freedom

Americans like to hold America as this bastion of freedom. We are the free country, unlike those dirty commie/socialist/whatever else dirty countries. And in many ways we definitely do have more freedom than others! Marriage equality is almost nationwide, women can drive and vote, we’re not allowed to own people as property. Sounds like a low standard so far, doesn’t it? That’s because Americans have this weird conception that something being legal to buy or do is all that’s necessary for it to be a considered a freedom.

But is the freedom to buy something really freedom? Sure, you can tell someone they’re free to go to college, but does that mean anything to someone too poor to even get there? You can tell someone they’re free to have a home, but does that mean anything to someone who can barely afford to even eat? You can say you’re free to go to another job, but does that mean anything to someone rejected from every working place? If we are so free to eat, have a house, and get a job, why are there so many people missing one or even all of those?

You can tell me that I’m free to buy a house. And from this view or freedom, you’re right! Legally, nothing is keeping me from buying a house. But to get a house I would need money. To get the money I need to get a bank loan. To get a bank loan, I need to be approved first, which depends on my credit. And then past that I need to give more resources to the bank than the house costs. So I need to get a job to get this resource (Money.) In order to get a job I need to have the right credentials. In order to get the right credentials I either need previous work experience or the right degree. To get the right degree I need to get resources to give to the college. To get those resources, I need a job or a loan from the government, already putting me further into debt. Then, when I finally get a job (Or if, and only if it’s a good enough one paying enough) then I can give them my time and work for a specific amount of hours each week, regardless of if it’s something I enjoy (beggars can’t be choosers right?) in exchange for money. Then, once I get these resources that I earned in exchange for selling my time, then I have to give a portion of those resources to the bank, who gave it to someone for a resource (A house) that they weren’t using in the first place, just in order to have a roof under my head.

If I was so free to have the basic necessity of shelter, why does it require all that just to get it? If having access to basic necessities requires access to resources not everyone has, that sure sounds more like a privilege, doesn’t it? And in America, people have become conditions to believe that privilege is freedom. That some people simply have more freedom than others. Sure, you have the freedom to get a loan, but that CEO has the freedom to buy a house in cash if he wants. Sure, you have the freedom to apply to that job, but the employer has the freedom to just hire his best friend instead.

If I told you your options were to do whatever I say for a specific amount of time or starve, you wouldn’t call yourself free. That’s not freedom, that’s a threat! So why does this threat become “freedom” just because we limit the time a week and you have a (limited) choice whom you do things for? Is the (limited) ability to choose your master really freedom?

In America we need a better discussion over what freedom is. We need to really look at what we’re saying when we say we are a “free” country. Sure, it may be better than other places, it may be the better of situations. But so long as we still have people in our country that are homeless, hungry, and struggling to get by, I will never believe anyone who says it is a “free” country.

Friday, March 20, 2015

I Don't Need To Justify My Own Identity

Whenever discussing being transgender to anyone that isn’t quite accepting, the same discussion always comes up. “Prove it is legitimate.” And we have a lot of cool science about it! We have brain studies, and population studies, long term follow up studies, and so many amazing things! And I will never deny how awesome and useful these studies are, they’re great! But at the same time, they’re all rooted in the same problem of “make me believe it’s ok.”

Now, to other people this may seem reasonable. Prove this phenomenon is something that actually happens. But then, this isn’t just some “condition” or thing that happens to people. This is us, this is lived experience, this is the very core of our identity! And so a better question is, why do we need to justify our own identity?

By asking for any sort of proof you’re saying “Your identity must be proven” you’re saying “Your experience and feelings aren’t good enough for me.” But why is that not good enough? Can you tell me my feelings don’t exist or aren’t “strong enough?” Why should I prove any of that to you?

In arguments I’ve pointed to brain studies and many times I get the same question. “But have you had your brain examined?” And it always strikes me as an odd question. I mean, even if we discuss the scientific problems and practicality problems with that question (The population studies are extremely encompassing and also were performed on many dead people, so you can’t kill people just to see…), let’s think about a scenario.

Let’s say we somehow were able to get my brain analyzed while keeping me alive. Let’s say when we did this, my brain matched the brain structure of someone male instead of being female. Ok, so let’s move logically to what would happen… Nothing. Nothing would happen. Nothing would change. If this scenario came true, what would we expect to happen? That the feelings would go away? That my identity would magically change? That I’d suddenly be like “Ya know what, nevermind, shut it down”?

The studies are cool and open up conversation but ultimately, my feelings are my feelings, and they are valid. My identity is valid. One time someone asked me “So am I just supposed to take your word for it?” YES! Absolutely yes! Many guys I’ve met I just trust they’re guys, I’m not asking them to prove it to me or show me their genitals just so they can be sure. What would be so weird about just taking someone’s word for it? If anything, it’d be really weird not to believe it! “Hey, my name is Mark.” “DROP YOUR PANTS AND PROVE TO ME YOU’RE A MAN!” (Sounds more like the opening to a really bad porn movie.)

It’s ridiculous to think we, as trans* people, need to prove to anyone anything! Just take our word for it! We are who we are. Our feelings exist, our experiences exist, we’re the ones feeling and experiencing them. So only we have the right to speak on them, because it is our experience and our lives and our identities and no one else’s. We don’t need to “prove” or “justify” any of those things, and we don’t need your validation to be who we are. Go ahead and tell me I’m not a real woman or I’m just a delusional man, say whatever you want. Cause you don’t invalidate me. You not thinking of me as a woman doesn’t make me not one.

No more demands for proof or validation, no more telling us we’re wrong. When we tell you our gender, ya know what? Take our word for it. We know ourselves more than you do.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Passages of Hope, Comfort, and Love

            In the GSM (Gender and Sexual Minority) community, the Bible has become seen as a weapon. What was intended to be a book of history, encouragement, and love of God has instead become a tool of oppression and excuses. However, it doesn’t need to be. Now, there are certainly parts of the Bible that are horrifying to read, and I won’t sugar coat that. We see the problems of man, the oppression, the excuses, and abuse of God as an excuse to commit atrocities. There are also passages of encouragement and love. The purpose of this post is to discuss the passages that have helped me through tough times, especially reconciling Christianity with my sexual orientation and gender identity.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13: 34-35
It seems almost strange for a command to be comforting, but it is such a radical command. We are not told we are followers if we enforce rules, if we yell at people, if we persecute them. We are told that we will be known as followers of Christ if we love. Love of one another, love of everyone. Harshness and discrimination are not compatible with Christ.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
The purpose of Christ is not to condemn us. His purpose is not to force us into submission with laws and regulations. Like harshness and discrimination, condemnation has no place with followers of Christ.

“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
The wording of this passage is extremely important. It does not say “reconciling if” or “reconciling some people.” It doesn’t say “reconciling cis heterosexual people that did these specific things.” God is reconciling the world. God is pretty unambiguous, She doesn’t leave room for exceptions. No one is left out, no one is not reconciled, no one is unloved.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
I always found the wording of this passage strange. It says “neither… nor” twice. The third time, however, is very different. “Nor is there male and female.” It’s almost as if to emphasize something, as though there is something special going across genders. Obviously just speculation, but part of me likes to think that it is emphasizing gender and sexual equality. If anything, it’s a nice thought at least.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
This is by far my favorite of them all. It isn’t simply saying love is a virtue, or love is a command, it is directly related to God. Love is a divine aspect. To love is to come in contact with God. It makes me think there may be truth to the line from Les Miserables “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

I always liked connecting this concept to the Orthodox concept of Theosis, the process of becoming united with or like God. If God is love, then we must love in order to become closer with God. “The greatest of these is Love.”


As per the recommendation of a minister friend, I'm gonna add her comment as well

Genesis 1:27. "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." The Hebrew is actually more likely translated "from male to female he created them," indicating an understanding of gender created and existing on a spectrum instead of a strict binary.

Reclaiming Words: I Am A Queer Dyke

            If you ask about my gender and sexuality, you might get a few answers depending on how well I know you. If I don’t know you well, I’d probably just say a bisexual (Or pansexual if you actually know the terminology) transgender woman. If I know you decently well, I’ll probably say a Queer transgender woman, or possibly Queer Trans* person that’s sometimes female sometimes gender neutral if I feel like explaining more in depth. And if you’re a good friend or generally good company, I might tell you I’m some kinda Queer Faggot Genderfucked Dyke.

            That being said, if some cis straight dude I didn’t know called me a queer, a faggot, or a dyke, I’d probably punch him in the face. Seem like a double-standard? Well, look at a different situation. There’s definitely a difference between calling your friends an asshole and calling a stranger an asshole. A girl calling herself a bitch is different than some dude at the bar calling her a bitch. Words are nothing without context.

            And the words I used, faggot, queer, dyke, bitch, are words that have a history of oppression. And this is even without getting into other words such as the n-word. Which is why it is important for gender and sexual minorities to be able to “reclaim” words. And this means reclaiming them separate from cis straight people, even if they’re allies, and there is a reason for that.

            Words need context, which also means words have power in those contexts. And the context of those words coming from cis straight people is oppression. It’s of people playing “smear the queer” and calling people “faggots” for being different and making fun of the tomboy girl for being a “dyke.” The context is suicides and murders and homelessness and discrimination. The context of cis straight people saying the words is horrifying.

            So what is reclaiming? Why is a gender and/or sexual minority saying it any different? It takes away the power of the word. If you use the label “Dyke” for yourself as a joke or even as a proud label, where is the power now? After all, isn’t venom itself used to create anti-venom?

            Now, when I say it needs to be reclaimed separate of straight cis allies, that isn’t to say I feel they can never say the words ever. But there is a huge difference between a friend that openly calls themselves a “faggot” for being gay being called faggot by close friends in a friendly environment and between two straight dudes calling each other “faggots” to make fun of each other. In the first it’s saying “I’m proud of who I am and friends can call me that, because that’s who I am” but the second is saying “Haha, I’m calling you gay, which is bad, and therefore an insult!”

            We are the ones that have been oppressed by the words, and only we can take away their power. And we need to be sensitive to do so. If a friend is uncomfortable with the words faggot or dyke or queer, I won’t use them around that person. Because even reclaiming can only go so far so fast. It is a process, and it is socially determined.

            Some words are reclaimed. I will identify as a queer, a faggot, or a dyke. Yet I won’t identify as a “tranny” or a “trap.” So why some words and not others? Ultimately, the only answer is that it’s socially determined. Not only is it up to the oppressed groups to take away the power, it is the decision of the minorities which words to reclaim and when. Straight cis people can’t “reclaim” the words because it is not used to oppress them. Men don’t get to reclaim the word “bitch.” As a white person, I have no right to try to “reclaim” the n-word. It is the right of the oppressed to reclaim words, because it is our right to fight back against the social systems that seek to remove us. Even while straight cis allies are important, and they can help us, it is our job to lead, because it is our battle to fight.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Trans People Don't Need To "Pass" As Their Own Gender

     The term “passing” is thrown around a lot during any discussion centered around someone that’s transgender. It’s pretty much impossible not to hear it. The concept of a trans person looking so much like the social expectation of their gender that people don’t guess they’re trans. It’s held up as a pedestal for trans people as the end goal, the ultimate achievement in transdom. And we really need to stop talking about it like that.

     Now don’t get me wrong, I need to be very clear. There is nothing wrong with being a trans person that “passes.” And yes, I would even like to hopefully pass, but not for my own image. Truthfully, it would be more for my own safety and sanity. So that people will recognize me as my gender, so that I won’t get attacked or insulted for not passing or people obviously telling I’m trans. I want it out of necessity, and that is a scary thing.

     Now cis (Non-trans) people think saying someone is passing is a high compliment. And to many, it can be to some people! But overall we need to really critically think about what we are saying when we use passing as a compliment.

     When we praise the act of passing, we are declaring that they fit the minimum social expectations of how their gender is “supposed” to look, as though there is a way that men and women are “supposed” to look. When we praise passing we are saying “Good thing no one will be able to guess you are trans!” We talk about it as though physically looking like you’re transgender is this step along the ultimate path to hiding being transgender.

     And why? Why the hell should anyone need to do that? Why should anyone be expected to not look like they are transgender? We are in a culture that is still defining us as bad, undesirable or ugly. We pretend that things are so good for trans people because, hey, the law (In some places at least) says I deserve access to medical care, the right bathroom, the right changing room, and the ability to make legal documents reflect my gender. Oh good, the law says I’m a human being that can be herself! Soooo progressive!!!

     And yet we still harbor those attitudes of trans people being this other category, this different thing. No one wants to “look trans.” But why not? If there is nothing wrong with being transgender, then why do we hold up the highest achievement to be being able to hide being transgender? “Oh, there’s nothing wrong with you! But if you could please fit into these neat boxes of what is male and what is female, that’d be great, thanks.”

     I’ve seen many comments before where a transgender girl that has not had hormones will be wearing feminine clothes, make up, and a dress and someone will say “Well, she really obviously looks like a dude trying to be a girl.” No, she doesn’t! You know what she looks like? Herself. And that self is a woman. And she doesn’t need to fit into your category of what a woman should look like in order to be a woman. And neither do any trans people. That trans guy can have boobs and wear make-up if he wants. And guess what? He’s still a guy. That trans girl can wear her cargo pants. She’s still a girl. That trans guy can carry his purse. And well whaddya know, still a guy! If a cis guy carried a purse we still say he’s a guy, which should it be different for a trans guy?

     I won’t pretend I don’t want to pass one day. Remember, I need to. There is a necessity to it. The world is a scary place to be trans. And just cause we have laws finally saying we’re people with human rights doesn’t mean things are great for us. If we go out looking “obviously trans” there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because trans beauty is just as beautiful as cis beauty. And unfortunately, the world doesn’t see that. So we’re fired, we’re beaten, we’re killed, we’re suicidal, we’re pushed away, we’re kicked out of homes, we’re kicked out of families, and we’re told that we don’t belong.

     So don’t tell us “things are getting better” or “you’re going to be ok” or “I’m sure you’ll be able to pass one day.” Stop holding up trans people as “Look how beautifully someone assigned male at birth can pass as a cis woman!” We have a right to exist as trans people, not just if we’re essentially pretend cis people. Start telling us you’ll protect us, recognize us as our true genders. Don’t tell us that we “Look so beautiful for being trans” or that we “pass so well” and start telling us we’re beautiful. Period.