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Monday, May 22, 2017

Toxic Things Said By Trans Men Today (and my Serious Responses)

A couple days ago I talked about how important it is that we not reflexively excise trans men from our analysis of toxic masculinity.  Today, as if on queue, yet another trans guy decided to go on a winding dipshit rant about how he doesn't understand how [insert expression here] can be considered trans.  I'm not going to post it exactly here for confidentiality and rules reasons, but here are the main points made:
  • He sees a lot of people calling themselves trans men who "look like girls," who don't bind, who don't want testosterone, who are OK with being considered/called girls, present as female.
  • He doesn't understand why they consider themselves trans men if the above is true, stating their response is just "I wish I was born male" because "it would be easier."
  • Therefore, why can't they just consider themselves girls and love themselves how they are?
This is one of those posts that was written in such a way that it's borderline concern trolling, "just trying to understand," and so on and so forth.   I would also submit that I have been a member of the trans community for much longer than this dude has and have not actually met anybody who meets all these criteria.  The ones who come close either:
  • Are absolutely NOT OK with being "considered girls."
  • Are nonbinary (perhaps they aren't even trans men) or have expression that changes (for instance, somebody could be a glamorous femme on Instagram but usually look more masculine).
  • Were testing the community waters to see if they wanted to transition (in which case posts like this absolutely don't fucking help).
In other words, this is a straw man.  People like this don't exist in nearly the numbers required to be so pissy about their existence.

Also, and this is a really important part so pay attention, toxic trans guys never point this out when cis men do it.  Furthermore, whenever I've changed my expression (on occasion I wear makeup, I reclaimed a lot of the clothes I wore as a woman now, I'm into things like femme hairstyles, femme hand and nail care, I'll even show my boobs off if the mood strikes me), they've never flipped beef about it because I still look like a man to a casual observer.  A long time ago this led me to the epiphany that toxic trans masculinity has a lot more to do with passing anxiety than it does a real belief that men must be masculine.  That's how come they emphasize hormones so much.

A lot of this is due to the trauma of they themselves being constantly misgendered for so long, denied things they were entitled to, and so forth.  So like I said a couple days ago, toxic trans masculinity requires more nuance than toxic cis masculinity.  But you can't just let it go that so many of us hold an attitude that is this fucking ridiculous and harmful.

But wait... there's more.  After the borderline concern trolling entered some worse elements.

One of them went something like this:
  • Ugh I'm so SICK of being called a "transmisogynist."
  • I'm so SICK of people not being allowed to have different opinions.
You know those people who are so wrong they circle around to being right?  That's kind of what the first part of this is.  See, there are very very few cases in which the term "transmisogyny" belongs anywhere near a forum for female-assigned people.  The term "transmisogyny" refers to oppression specific to trans women, and while I think there are valid critiques of the concept (notably that the inclusion of male-assigned nonbinary people but not female-assigned ones requires you to put nonbinary people into a binary), the fact is that by the definition of this word we are not targeted by it.  So if people are calling you a transmisogynist because of your opinions about nonbinary people who were assigned female and especially trans men, no matter how femme, those people don't know what they're talking about.

But you weren't talking about that.  You were just mad that somebody called out your femme-phobic bullshit.  You're allowed to have opinions, but somebody's existence is not an opinion.

One of my favorites, though:
  • They're called "transtrenders."
  • They are suffering from internalized misogyny.
"Transtrenders" is language used by transphobic feminists to imply all of us are following a trend and is not something that trans people should use.

Like, ever.

Seriously, transmedicalists/truscum do this shit all the time and it's like one of the worst things about them.  If you use this terminology as a trans person against other trans people, you should know that this is language that was invented to describe YOU.  Especially if you decided to transition recently, and by "recently" I mean in the last five, maybe even ten years, because there was a boom in trans people coming out in this time period.

It doesn't matter if you think you're "one of the good ones" who is a Super Manly Paragon of Cis-Like Masculinity.  They believe all of us are a trend.

Again, there's a lot of anxiety in this.  What truscum are afraid of is that their own access to medical care and respect is being compromised by trans people who don't want or need the same things they do.  It's a trans version of respectability politics that, just like all respectability politics, doesn't do anybody any damn good.  It's cis people who block our access to these things!  If they don't have nonbinary and femme people to point to as reasons we're not serious about our transitions, they'll just find some other bullshit reason... something they've done forever.

Finally,
  • I agree, but there's only so far this discussion will go before claims of "toxic masculinity" are thrown around.
 There is a very simple solution to this, man.

Don't be toxic.

Seriously.  I'd never say that every single accusation of toxic masculinity is accurate, but if you're talking about it while agreeing with a post that obviously is somebody being toxic, what other conclusion can I draw from that?

Happy trails,
--  Jackson