Hi lovelies, Shiv here again. I’ll start with a brief aside: thanks for the supportive messages regarding my last post! Y’all barely know me and you’re offering me those nice messages. It was small, but meant a lot. :)
Without further ado:
Transition Reactions is my series of essays covering the way people respond to my gender transition. It will generally speak exclusively of my experiences as a trans woman but will also inevitably intersect with my various other axes of life. This is not a data intensive series (those will come later) and mostly only speaks to my particular experience.
Content Notice — cissexism
One of the more bewildering reactions I’ve had when attempting to educate people on transgender specific terminology is anger: Why do you need all these extra words? I would think the answer is self evident–“because the existing terminology is not adequate”–but that’s not the question that’s really being asked. What they’re actually saying is, why don’t you just accept the way I’m treating you? Why do you have to be offended by everything? Why should I have to change to accommodate you?
I was invited to attend an erotic massage class as a masseuse. The class was marketed as being “for women,” but the demo was performed on an AFAB cis woman. Here we were learning to manipulate AFAB genitalia–something I do not have–and while I was enjoying the material itself very thoroughly, I couldn’t help but sink on the inside. “Women do this, women do that” coupled with a clitoris, vulva and vagina. What of the women who don’t do that, or that, because they weren’t AFAB?
The instructor, who apparently valued my opinion, asked me for feedback and I told them honestly: I loved learning the material, (I’m sure my AFAB partners will too), but it was categorically excluding me because I do not have AFAB genitals. I told them I couldn’t attend their next class for men because I wouldn’t be able to stomach having them point at a penis and testes and go “men do this men do that.” It was clearly designed to be taught to cisgender people for whom genitals and gender are interchangeable. It was, albeit unintentionally, gender essentialist.
Naturally, the instructor accused me of tilting at windmills. Not their words, but that was the crux of their response. [Read more…]