When Trans-Inclusivity Goes Wrong


Well now… this kind of gets weird. Remember all the awesome surrounding Girl Scouts lately? With them accepting MtF scouts? And standing behind their decision, despite the Conservative backlash? And not flinching at Bob Morris’ claims that the Girl Scouts of Indiana are promoting an evil liberal agenda?

It seems those same Girl Scouts, the Indiana ones, have gone a bit past the tipping point in turns of the awesome. Awesomeness has gone awry. They have hired a trans man as a counselor.

Now, I’m totally 100% for trans inclusivity. That should go without saying. But the Girl Scouts is an organization for women and girls. A trans man being hired into a position that is barred to cis men does not send the message of “self-identification is what counts in someone’s gender”. It sends the opposite message: “biology and assigned sex is what counts in someone’s gender”. It sends a confusing and dangerous message. It gives ammunition to those who would segregate us based on karyotype rather than who we are.

This would not be an issue for me if Caden were genderqueer, or otherwise non-binary-identified. If that were the case, I’d be all for it, and cheering him on, and buying some more Caramel De-Lites. But he isn’t. He’s a man.

I’ve mostly tried to keep my mouth shut in regards to the social differences that occur between how trans men are treated and how trans women are treated. I haven’t ignored the existence of trans-misogyny, and how it plays out, but I don’t want to get into games of oppression olympics and “who has it worst”. I don’t think any of us do; which is to say we all do. I think that trans people, regardless of where they locate their gender identity, have a pretty rough time of things no matter what, and we need to stick together and look out for one another. I prioritize our community, and the importance of overcoming our shared oppression, far above my specific experience of gender.

That said, there are some things that are really starting to bother me. One of them is how it seems that trans men can enter into women’s spaces (on the basis of their assigned sex) as well as men’s spaces (on the basis of their identified sex), while trans women are barred from both women’s spaces (on the basis of their assigned sex) as well men’s spaces (on the basis of their identified sex… or are effectively barred due to the physical risk).

I am getting very bothered especially by trans men entering or supporting women’s spaces from which trans women are specifically excluded, such as MichFest, and countless smaller women’s or feminist spaces… where all it takes is for one woman to say she’s “uncomfortable” or feels “unsafe” with a trans woman’s presence to have her pushed out. I am getting sick of trans men being treated as these totally awesome hot sex-pots in the queer community while trans women are treated with open contempt and revulsion. While trans men’s bodies are displayed as sexy or beautiful in various queer publications, when was the last time you EVER really saw a trans woman portrayed as a sexual being outside the context of degrading “shemale” pornography?  I’m sick of lesbians who one moment talk up how sexy they find trans men and the next say trans women are committing “rape by deception” if they don’t disclose to a female partner. I’m getting annoyed by trans men being perceived as radical super-duper gender rebels, smashing apart outdated norms, while trans women continue to be painted as tedious, conservative throwbacks to patriarchy- no matter how we express our gender. I’m getting annoyed by trans men receiving accolades for doing or saying or thinking things for which trans women have been ignored for years. I’m annoyed by trans men getting to be the intellectuals and trans women just the cheerleaders. I’m tired of the term ‘erasure’ being applied indiscriminately so as to tilt the conversation when what’s really being discussed is just the absence of hostility, misrepresentation and ridicule. I’m sick of femme straight trans women being pushed out of the queer community entirely while trans men are appreciated as the vanguard no matter how they present or who they fuck. I’m getting REALLY annoyed by trans men continuing to insist on their right to use the term “tranny” despite not having to face the violence and trans-misogyny with which the term is associated and loaded, and sick of how even trans men’s opposition to use of that term is taken more seriously than the feelings trans women have on the issue. I’m getting sick of trans men being the only ones who are allowed to talk about any of this.

Mostly, I’m getting sick of some trans men happily accepting male privilege when they can while also happily accepting being perceived as women wherever or whenever it’s convenient.

That’s not every trans man. Not by a long shot. Most I’m happy and proud to call my allies in our struggle. But there are enough who are exploiting their privilege, or unaware of it, and kicking their sisters to the curb in the process, that I feel something needs to be said. Caden, if you have respect for your identity as a man, and for what it means to be trans, for our community, and for how hard trans women have to fight to be able to enter women’s spaces like the one you’re casually flaunting your presence in, you would turn this position down.

Thoughts?

 

Comments

  1. Branwen says

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve fucking had it with FtM vectored people trying to have it both ways. I’ve found quite a few trans men on OKC putting an ‘F’ in their profile and saying that they’re trans masculine and men… and in the next sentence say that they put an F because they only like lesbians. They totally abuse second wave ideas for their own gain and that’s fucking disgusting. Never mind the fact that plenty of the women who go for these guys would immediately disavow any attraction to a similarly presenting post op transwoman just because she used to have a dick. And people wonder why I’m a misanthropic hermit.

  2. says

    Well, this hits a nerve this week. Let me tell you a story:

    I co-moderate a trans support/social group. I’m usually a smurfette at our meetings. Our membership is mostly trans guys. We have some trans women, but they tend not to come on a regular basis. Last week, there were five trans guys and myself. At some point, the discussion turned to how awesome it was when testosterone had done enough to give each trans guy there passing privilege, how much better their lives were now that they were perceived of as men. I like my group, I do, but at that point I wanted to throttle them all. I just sat there, stewing. I didn’t say anything, and I feel bad about it. It sucks.

    So, yeah, I’m totally on board with this.

      • James says

        “Do you think that they are just transitioning to avoid sexism?”

        Wow. Trust me, no, that is NOT why they are transitioning.

        • says

          Yyyyyyyep.

          There is pretty much exactly one reason people transition. Because they are the gender to which they transition, not the one they were assigned. If you start theorizing any other “reason” for transition, I promise you’re totally misunderstanding things.

          • Anders says

            And with good reason. About the only thing I know about transitioning is that it is a long, arduous, expensive and sometimes painful experience. It’s not something you do for a lark.

            I wonder if I would experience gender dysphoria if I went through a male-to-female transition? Because if so, there is another powerful deterrent for transitioning ‘the wrong way’. As you proceed, you will experience a growing sense of discomfort with this new body you are making. And given how powerful gender dysphoria can be (obviously I have no first-hand experience), I think that would be more than enough to dissuade people from going through with it.

    • Rilian says

      I’m just trying to figure out what christianne is saying. I don’t understand what bothers her about that situation.

      • Rilian says

        If it’s relevant, I’m trans*, ftm-ish. Honestly, I’m a little confused about how to classify my gender. Anyway, I have absolutely no idea about what life is like for mtf’s. I’ve read a lot about it, but I don’t understand.

    • RogeringRoger says

      This is usually the other way around for me. I’m the only transman among transwomen talking about boobs when all I want to do is magically make mine dissapear. Of course, I can’t blame them, they’re there to discuss these things with peers and it’s not their faults that I’m usually the only dude.

  3. Anders says

    I would think that if there’s anywhere you’d want a trans man as counsellor it’s in the Girl Scouts. The place where there may actually hide a number of trans boys presenting as girls. Isn’t that fairly straightforward reasoning?

    I am so very unqualified to say anything about the LGBTA community or the internal conflicts, but a few shots in the dark can’t hurt.

    a) It’s not uncommon for a movement to splinter as more rights are gained. When the external pressure weakens, differences that weren’t important before are unveiled. Is that what this is?

    b) If two subgroups of a minority have their rights advanced at differing paces, there will be conflict. Should the group with the easier path refuse to accept advances because the other group isn’t getting them? I don’t know.

    I’m more uncertain than usual about these comments, because this really isn’t my area of expertise, or even area of basic knowledge. Take it for what it is, and I would be surprised if I wasn’t overlooking something important.

    • Lena says

      That point can be tackled by making sure children at a young enough age are made aware of the existence of trans* people and how there’s nothing wrong with being trans*. This extends to LGBT+ on large.

      And even the small benefit is completely thrown aside by the completely wrong message his membership would give. What bothers me most is that he himself would agree with this; because wouldn’t his inclusion be a denial of his own identity?

    • Captain Mike says

      Men can be Girl Guide counselors in some cases, at least in Canada. I’m not sure what the deal elsewhere is.

        • Anders says

          Ok, I see how that can be problematic.

          *mutters* Of course, you could solve it like a civilized country where there haven’t been separate girl and boy scouts for 40 years…

          • says

            I have to agree with you that separating the two have never made any sense to me. I remember as a child not wanting to be a part of the girl scouts because the stuff they did didn’t seem as much fun as the boy scouts. Things have changed over the years and I wouldn’t come withing a thousand yards of letting my my child join such a bigoted organization as the boyscouts.

            Still yet they are separate and I am sure that lacking full awareness of the problems that Indiana in paving a nice road to hell with good intentions. Still yet the counselor should be very aware that they are taking advantage of the situation and rethink taking this position and what it tells the world about what it means to be a trans woman or trans man.

        • Dalillama says

          The Girl Scouts do not allow cis men to be counselors.

          That’s actually not correct, there are quite a lot of male GS troop leaders/counselors. Individual troops may not allow it, but the national organization certainly does. See, e.g. Girl Scout Dads. The BSA/Cub scouts allows female troop leaders as well, my mother was the leader of my cub scout troop when I was a kid.

          • says

            That would make a big difference if they are allowing Caden to take a position that a cis man would be equally qualified for.

          • John Horstman says

            Yeah, Natalie, you’re wrong about this (or, more accurately, the blog you link is wrong about this, and you’re repeating the claim without verifying its validity): men (cis, trans, or any other qualifier-label) can be troop leaders (women can also be Boy Scout troop leaders: mine was, back before I bailed on the organization because they’re fucking terrible). See item one of the GSUSA’s FAQ on adult volunteers: http://www.girlscouts.org/for_adults/volunteering/volunteer_faq.asp

          • says

            I had the exact same thought, based on the fact that we had female counselors when I was in Boy Scouts.

            There may have been a good post in here, but you picked the wrong jumping-off point for it.

        • sisu says

          Either men or women can become Girl Scout troop leaders. Here’s the position description for the Girl Scouts in my area: http://www.girlscoutsrv.org/_asset/zyph2q/Troop-Leader-vol-pos-des.pdf

          The only mention of gender is in the qualification:

          Practice welcoming and inclusive behavior toward people of all ages, races, religions, cultures, abilities, sexual orientation, gender, educational, and economic backgrounds.

          This doesn’t speak to your larger point, just to the single example. So enjoy your cookies and keep fighting the good fight. :)

          • says

            Well, if that’s the case, then I apologize for overstating the case and the problem.

            Does make me wonder, though, if Caden is being accepted as a male volunteer or as a female… and I still think many of the problems here are still valid in terms of messages being sent, and how some trans men exploit their position and relative privilege while ignoring or brushing aside the difficulties presented to trans women as a result of these double standards and no-win situations.

        • Cassandra says

          As someone who has been in Girl Scouts her entire life as well as working at two different GS camps in two different states, while cis men are not allowed to counselors (this involves being housed near the girls), they are allowed to work at GS camps. I have worked with multiple cis men employed as lifeguards, nurses, grounds work, administrative work, and kitchen work. I also worked at a camp where the previous summer a transman had worked as a nurse, only to be fired 2/3 of the way through the summer due to parental complaints.

          • Cassandra says

            Sorry, feel a bit crazy replying to myself, but I wrote my original reply before scrolling through the entire thread (sorry!!!) and saw that other people have addressed this. In the case I am aware of, he was allowed to work only in the positions available to cis men.

  4. secha says

    Yeah, I have to admit I was a bit confused as to why this was an issue at first. My cub scouts in the UK had a cis female Akela so I wasn’t aware of any gender limitations in scouting organizations. But okay, I got it, if cis men wouldn’t be allowed, then by the same rules trans men shouldn’t either.

    • says

      Well, again, UK and Canadian cub scouts are different. I remember we had a female Akela too (I think she was probably lesbian, in retrospect). But if this particular troop of Girl Scouts is providing special exemption to a trans man that is not made to cis men, and he is willingly accepting that exemption, there’s a problem.

      • MercuryChaos says

        I’m pretty sure there were male teachers/counselors back when I was going to Girl Scout Camp. And as others have pointed out, the Girl Scouts doesn’t appear to have any rule that prohibits men from holding leadership positions in a troop. In fact, I seem to remember them revising their activity books several years back to recognize the fact that not all of their leaders were female.

      • AylaSophia says

        Ack. I’ve just had my own preconceptions of gender binarism smack me in the face… and I’m a bisexual cis woman who identified as genderqueer for years.

        How? Well, when I read your (Natalie’s) comment
        I remember we had a female Akela too
        I was momentarily taken aback. Natalie was a Cub Scout? But she’s a woman!

        Even after I’d just read a whole long (excellently worded and presented!) essay that dealt specifically with issues faced by transgender women. Even though I like to think I’m informed about trans issues, I still had a moment where I couldn’t reconcile having experiences that are specifically “male” (Cub Scout membership) with having a female identity. Just goes to show how much I have to learn… and no matter how marginalized a person might feel at times, it’s still important to keep your privilege in mind.

        • says

          How? Well, when I read your (Natalie’s) comment
          “I remember we had a female Akela too”
          I was momentarily taken aback. Natalie was a Cub Scout? But she’s a woman!

          In Canada (where, if I am correctly following the script, Natalie was a cub scout), scouting at all levels from the 5yo Beavers to the 20-something Rovers is open to both boys and girls. As someone mentioned upthread, Canada has Girl Guides, not Girl Scouts, which (like the US Girl Scouts) is restricted to girls only.

          Personally, I’m opposed on principal to restricting participation in groups and activities by sex and/or gender (especially for children) – it’s a convenient binning that presumably works for the majority, but does so at the expense of marginalizing and often alienating those who are at the edges of the bell curves.

  5. Alex says

    While I absolutely agree with you on the vast majority of your points, including the “trans men accessing women’s spaces is frequently bullshit”, my first thought was the Anders expressed – there are absolutely kids in Girl Scouts right now who will grow up to identify as trans men, and how awesome would it be if some of them had a role model?

    Obviously, the Girl Scouts should also have and support trans women within their leadership, and I am sensitive to how one reasonable excuse can lead to another, and another, and another… I don’t know. It’s challenging to break down because there’s no symmetry in US scouting [chance of the Boy Scouts would accepting a trans boy? ~0].

    If a Girl Scout came out as a trans boy [like, grade school age], do you think he should be kicked out or asked to leave? I have much more mixed feelings about that hypothetical than I do about adult trans men being asked to gtfo.

  6. Dalillama says

    Regarding your post as a whole, I obviously cannot speak to my own trans* experience, but I nevertheless feel compelled to wade in a bit on my husband’s behalf. I was initially quite surprised when you began talking about trans men being sexually lionized, as I’ve observed more of the opposite effect when L reveals his trans status, but I think the difference may be that he’s gay; lesbians being into trans men isn’t really something that would come into play for him. For similar reasons, I have no idea how the local female-only types of spaces would react because he has no desire to join those groups/be in those space and hasn’t tried. The two things that leapes out at me, though, were the comments about erasure and entering freely into men’s spaces/not facing transphobic violence. While you are entirely correct that there are few/no negative portrayals of trans men in media and culture, that’s because there are virtually no portrayals of them at all. L was not even aware that the possibility of transitioning existed for him until he chanced to meet another trans man (after moving to the city and out of the tiny redneck town he grew up in). For the second, the possibilty of faceing violence by trying to enter men’s spaces, particularly bathrooms, has been a source of endless anxiety for him as long as I’ve known him, and it is an entirely real fear should he happen to be clocked. I don’t mean to invalidate or detract from your experience, and I don’t doubt that all of the problems you mention do occur, but I felt that I had some information not presented.

    • says

      My point wasn’t about discussing the issue of trans male erasure at all entirely, just the use of that term indiscriminately, in situations where the representation they’re claiming they should have is far more destructive and horrible than it is at all beneficial. Your husband may not have had any images indicating to him that transition was possible, but all I had were images indicating that transition was the most horrible, awful, evil, wrong, life-destroying thing I could ever possibly do. I won’t have people tell me my side of that situation was “privileged”.

  7. Phledge says

    OP: One of them is how it seems that trans men can enter into women’s spaces (on the basis of their assigned sex) as well as men’s spaces (on the basis of their identified sex), while trans women are barred from both women’s spaces (on the basis of their assigned sex) as well men’s spaces (on the basis of their identified sex… or are effectively barred due to the physical risk).

    This so much.

    Alex: While I absolutely agree with you on the vast majority of your points, including the “trans men accessing women’s spaces is frequently bullshit”, my first thought was the Anders expressed – there are absolutely kids in Girl Scouts right now who will grow up to identify as trans men, and how awesome would it be if some of them had a role model?

    Oh thank you. I was misunderstanding Anders as saying something completely inappropriate so I hope that your interpretation is correct! Yes, role models and positive exposure, FTW.

    • Anders says

      Yes, that was what I meant. For the same reason it would be nice to have trans women in the Boy Scouts.

        • Libby Anne says

          Yeah, except…boy scouts only accepts straight cis men, and only ones who believe in at least one God.

          • Anders says

            Yeah, I’ve heard about that. How come the Christian Right hasn’t spent any resources on taking over the Girl Scouts? Or if they have, how come they failed? Is it because girls don’t matter? They sure seem eager enough to control young girls and women in other contexts.

          • nats says

            @chris H: I’m pretty sure Libby was being sarcastic. I think she was saying that any trans woman boy scout leader would fail to be an inspiration to any of her scouts, because “CAMAB-female-identifying-scouts” is an empty set (due to domination by the religious right).

          • says

            I don’t see the sarcasm in Libby Anne’s comment. She is right about the Boy Scouts having don’t allow gays or atheists into their club, and probably wouldn’t treat trans folk any better. But women as leaders, that’s one thing they do allow.

  8. Louis says

    I don’t believe a trans man should be given a position that wouldn’t be given to a cis man. It does send a completely wrong message. Speaking as a trans male, I’d also suggest that a female (trans or cis) counsellor might be a better option in this situation. I suppose the assumption was that Caden would understand the female perspective because he’s lived as a woman, but my experience is that that’s not the case. I’ve lived as a woman for 27 years, but I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman and I wouldn’t trust myself to understand a cis girl’s perspective well enough to offer her proper counselling.

    • MercuryChaos says

      FYI: this is a counselor as in “summer camp counselor” not as in mental health counselor. And the Girl Scouts does allow both women and men to be camp counselors and troop leaders, so the only reason this is even news is because this guy is trans.

  9. Sri says

    I just have one question. Was this gentleman hired as a camp counselor or as a troop leader? Because we had male counselors at the Girl Scout camp I attended (the life guard was often a guy). So you can count me unaware that there was any rule against guys working at a Girl Scout camp.

  10. Anonymous says

    While I can certainly understand the concern, I don’t think it is necessarily problematic for a trans man to take on a position typically reserved for women. Whether or not it is a problem will depend on why that position is so reserved. As one who identifies as only nominally female (I prefer to be seen as more or less androgynous and I get really annoyed when my femaleness becomes a determining factor in where I’m expected to go, who I am expected to hang out with, what I’m supposed to wear, whether or not I should like video games etc.) I find the drive to create separate men’s and women’s spacing as somewhat problematic since, whenever such a space is created it forces people to pick a gender and stick with it thereby reinforcing what I find to be a really obnoxious and unhelpful gender binary system. So unless there is a very good reason for making a particular space male/female only (and don’t get me wrong, I do think that there are in some cases good reasons that make it worthwhile to put up with the negative consequences), I support most anything that would tend to make the space open to everyone. For this reason, hiring a trans man then would seem to me to be a step in the right direction since I’m not really sure there is much benefit to keeping up the gender division within the scouts. This is, of course, assuming he is not expected to temporarily identify as female in order to qualify for the position. If he is going by ‘she’ while working with the kids, that is a problem.

    That said, perhaps one could argue that there is a good reason to keep up the gender divide in boy/girl scouts. One of the things that makes it worthwhile to maintain some women’s only spaces generally is that it creates a space where everyone present shares a collection of experiences. This is valuable if you wish to talk about those experiences without having to waste time educating people about the basics or worry about those experiences being trivialized by people who don’t get them etc. What is decidedly not valuable are things like: having a particular genetic trait, whether or not you wear dresses, who you sleep with or, IMHO, which pronoun you prefer having applied in reference to yourself. Even though trans men identify as men, they still share with cis and trans women many experiences that cis men do not. After all, they have spent much of their lives being perceived and treated as women and this, I think, is really what matters. When I am in a women’s only space, I don’t much care whether or not the person I am speaking with is a man, what I really want to know is whether or not they can empathize with and understand certain experiences I have had as a woman. Cis men may not be able to do this, but trans men are just as capable of this as trans women and perhaps even more so in some cases than cis women.

    That said, you are absolutely right that trans women are getting shafted with respect to women’s only spaces and in public spaces more generally, and I agree that it is detrimental to trans women’s freedoms when trans men play up the importance of genetics, rather than something that is actually relevant like experiences, in order to get into spaces. I just think that a strategy that involves limiting the freedoms of trans men will tend to have negative consequences both for trans men whose freedom is being limited and more broadly for those who don’t like having to pick a gender and stick with it. Instead, I think we need to question why we are keeping these spaces segregated and make sure that our criteria for entrance are actually relevant to the purpose of the space and is not just some vague or arbitrary standard of womanliness.

  11. Sebor says

    I’m completely clueless about the various scout organizations so I cannot contribute anything on that.
    Also my perspective on trans issues is that of an outsider,
    but it seems to me that trans men are perceived as “winning team joiners” and can be used to justify just about anyones opinion.
    Whereas trans women are perceived either as “penis traitors” or “rapists in disguise” or “attempting to colonize womanhood” so someone’s opinions are going to be challenged by their mere presence.
    This seems to be connected to your earlier post today, and to the one on Catches 22.
    I wish I had a solution for this, but I don’t.

    The only thing I can offer is a change of perspective, instead of focusing on particular issues of injustice we could try to think about solutions. The one common denominator seems to me that there are no good reasons for discrimination.

    To me it appears that status quo bias and naturalistic fallacies are at work in a lot of these cases, so maybe a dose of transhumanist thought could help.

    For example, I used to hold some gender essentialist beliefs before I read your blog. But thanks to you I reevaluated those ideas and came to realize that my objection was based on a naturalistic fallacy. Biological categories only have place in ethical considerations as facts that need to be evaluated, not as the evaluation itself.
    I do not “know” in a scientific sense, that you are a woman, just as I cannot “know” with 100% certainty that you are in fact a person. But I’m willing to take your word for it.
    I don’t want to insult you, I’m trying to say that when it comes to your identity your word should be all that is necessary to convince people. Everything else would probably require a recourse to metaphysics.

    Sorry, I’m rambling, it’s getting late here.
    What I’m trying to say is that finding the flaws in someones reasoning is a worthwile endeavour.
    If you are going to alienate people anyway you can at least try to leave a mark. And so far it seems you’re doing a good job at that.

  12. Laura C. says

    Er…for paid positions, GSUSA isn’t exempt from workplace non-discrimination laws, so if men (cis or trans) apply, they can’t be turned down simply because they are men. While I agree with the points you made in the bulk of the post, the basis for it was a off. Volunteer positions, including troop leadership positions, are open to both women and men. There are cis men on GSUSA’s National Board of Directors. Men can be hired as counselors at summer camps, although this last one is rare because camps tend to pull employees from college-age camp alumni, and the camps themselves are only opened to girls. The organization is mostly made of women, but it’s by no means exclusive.

    • says

      Incidentally, most workplace anti-discrimination laws DON’T protect gender identity or gender expression, and you CAN be turned down just for being trans. At least, that’s the case in all of Canada and 2/3 of the United States.

  13. says

    I’m just a cis ally, but I think you’re on to something. Even from where I’m sitting, I see the same double standard as regards transmen vs transwomen.

    • says

      Thank you.

      Quick note on language, btw:

      One should say “trans men”, “trans women”, “trans people”, etc., not “transmen”, “transwomen”, “transpeople”.

      Consider, for instance, the offensive implications of describing someone as a “blackman” or “chinaman”.

      “Trans” (when used as shorthand for the following), “transgender” and “transsexual”, as a rule of thumb, should always be treated as discrete adjectives.

      • Chirico says

        Language is funny isn’t it, in how small a change can impact the meaning? I’m not aware of any negative connotation to say, Englishman or Frenchman, while “Chinaman” has become quite insulting as not just a slur against Chinese people but Asians of any variety. I also cannot recall ever seeing “blackman” used as a slur; if anything it sounds like a surname, or a typo. But if it, like “transman”/”transwoman” is indeed offensive then I can accept that and make a mental note for those terms.

        • says

          Yes, I suppose given your examples it’s sort-of contextual. Too many people use words like “transman” and “transwoman” to exclude people from the categories of “man” and “woman”, and/or to dehumanize them. I’m hard-pressed to think of other examples like “Englishman” that aren’t negative.

          For an interesting article on how involuntary-third-gendering can work, see the gender ternary: understanding trans misogyny.

        • Sebor says

          In your example, you could replace “a Frenchman” with “a French man” withhout changing the meaning, whereas replacing “Chinaman” with “China man” would be wrong. So the term “Chinaman” is probably the product of someones ignorance.
          Same with “trans man” which is a shorthand for “transsexual man”, but if you consider the meaning of the latin prefix trans, then a “transman” could be taken to mean something beyond a man, as in “transuranium elements” for example.

        • Movius says

          ‘Chinaman’ is also cricketing slang for a left-handed bowler who uses a wrist-spinners action. I’d always been taught that this was because such bowlers were about as common in cricket as Chinese people (not very.)

          Turns out it actually comes from a West Indian player of Chinese descent Ellis ‘Puss’ Achong

          In the 1933 Old Trafford Test, Achong, a left-arm orthodox spinner and the first Test cricketer of Chinese ancestry, bowled an unexpected wrist-spin delivery that turned from off to leg, and had the English batsman Walter Robins stumped. Legend has it that Robins, as he walked back to the pavilion, remarked, “Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman.”

          (source)

          I think it’s a pretty harmless term, but obviously it does have it’s roots in the casual racism of the time.

    • Sri says

      Never mind. I just read upstream and saw this was already addressed. I apologize. I did not mean to pile on.

  14. D-Dave says

    Sorry if this is derailing, but I was wondering if you or somebody here could clarify some of the terminology, Natalie? I’m only recently-aware of these plights, and I’m trying to look beneath the cis-XY-straight-caucasian worldview I’ve been born into to try and better understand what others have to live with.

    – Is a trans man somebody who is born female but identifies male? (Or have I got that backwards?)

    – Continuing from Q1, in a language with only two gendered pronouns, what is the most polite to use for somebody who has identified as trans female/male?

    – Is a person who identifies as the opposite X/Y chromo-combo to what occurred by chance considered ‘trans’ before any transitional measures, or only once a transition has started? (If the latter, is there another self-identifier that I should be aware of?)

    Thanks for helping clear my confusion! Now back to the regularly scheduled blog comments :)

    D-Dave
    (Commenting Proof that your outreach is working!)

    • says

      - A trans man is a female-to-male transitioner, or someone who was coercively-assigned-female-at-birth (CAFAB or AFAB) but identifies as male. Conversely, a trans woman is a male-to-female transitioner, or a CAMAB person who identifies as female.

      – Always use the pronouns consistent with the way someone presents and identifies their gender. For instance, in my case, as someone presenting as female, “she” and “her” are the appropriate pronouns, and anything else is offensive. For trans men, you use “he”, “him” and “his”. In the event that presentation is truly ambiguous, and you truly, honestly can’t tell what gender they’re presenting themselves as, you should use gender neutral pronouns such as “they”/”them” or “ze”/”hir” until you’re able to politely, respectfully, discretely ask their preference.

      – Yes, a trans person is to be considered their identified gender from the moment they being identifying as such, regardless of where they are in the process of transition. I’m also personally of the opinion that transition technically starts the moment you decide to do so. Physical transition may not start until you pop your first spiro tablet or take your first T injection, but MOST of the hardest and most significant work towards transition is in accepting oneself, and making the decision.

  15. Ringo says

    My thoughts? Maybe I’m glad I’m “the only gay in the village”.
    I’ve never been around any kind of queer community offline, so the whole trans men in women’s spaces seems ridiculous, but unfortunately not remotely unbelievable.

  16. says

    I’d add the porn with trans women isn’t necessarily degrading, problematic terminology aside (which isn’t universal).

    As to lesbians liking trans men, orientation is largely a social construct. People like what they like and words like “lesbian” are just descriptions, not really natural identities. Using the term this way is problematic, but the term is inherently problematic to begin with. (Would I be correct to assume these “lesbians” favor trans men who have not had bottom surgery?)

    • says

      I’m a lesbian, and it is a physical thing–but what that means for me is people whose bodies have female hormones, and at least some feminine sort of sexuality helps, among many non-gender-related factors. I imagine that means different things for other people. But surgery doesn’t matter to me, I imagined it might but it really doesn’t. Julia Serano wrote “your genitals are for your pleasure, not your partner’s”, and she’s right. It’s really not that difficult to get, usually you become attracted to someone before you know about their genitals.

      • TBS says

        Hall-of-rage I’m a bit curious, as you refer to female hormones. How much of attraction is chemical?

        I’ve wondered about this in what I find myself. I can find someone intellectualy attractive, and if I keep with them the physical thing grows. Thoughts?

        • says

          Well, I’m no biologist, and it’s taken me a while to realize how much the chemicals matter for me, but they really do; it’s about smell it seems, and for trans women no differently than cis women. My anecdotes about this are amusing but a bit too personal (for others really), sorry.

          I also used to find some attraction slowly growing with intellectual attraction, and in fact I dated some guys because of that. But once I met a girl of the right sort, and then came out (of denial), it became clear that my physical attraction to women is much stronger and more immediate. The intellectual and other stuff still matters just as much though.

          • TBS says

            Interesting. I should have likely said how much is chemistry important *to you* but I think you got my drift ok.

            I’d never say this explicitly, but somtimes with my fiancee her smell or taste is off, and I worry that though she is a girl, my body, which is quite the untrustworthy thing, is reading guy.

            This has gotten much less since we moved in together. Don’t even notice it recently. I’d propose the bonding hormones, oxcytocin etc kicked in, cause now I can smell one of my jackets she was wearing and feel happy and attracted thinking of her.

            There’s good research that women prefer the smell of sweat from men whose immune systems are strong and different enough to make a strong genetic diversity.

            Wish I was still in school and had research library!

  17. Happiestsadist says

    Yeah, there’s a lot of fuckery involving trans dudes throwing around a lot of misogynist shit and/or benefiting from all that male privilege and never, ever getting called on either.

    And then there’s the heaps of transphobia and misogyny trans women get.

    it would be really nice if the LGBTQ community actually examined some of its shit sometimes.

    • Keori says

      It’s interesting, but I see a lot of more of what you’re describing here in Boston than I did in Hawaii. Of course, that’s possibly because in Hawaii the mahu-wahine (genderqueer men living as women) were revered and celebrated long before the damn English christians showed up.

      In Western society, wanting to be feminine is a sign of weakness. Trans men are “upgrading” while trans women are “downgrading.” That probably accounts for the vast majority of the shit we see amongst our own.

      • Happiestsadist says

        Hmm, good points all over.

        I watch a queer theory group based in my hometown via facebook. Nothing like a trans man bragging about scaring women with his “radical performance art” or cis gay men calling queer women “hysterical” and nobody saying shit to show off the degree to which male privilege gets a pass.

        • says

          I used to feel like gay men were the worst based on what I saw in how they treat women, bisexual people, and transpeople, but then I joined a predominently straight men’s sports team and realised that privilege corrupts us all. :-/

  18. says

    I arranged to meet some lesbian friends of mine to go dancing. They were first going to an event called Inferno that was for women only, so I arranged to meet them after. I checked to clubs website to get the address and noticed something odd, “trans men are welcome at our women only events, please identify at the door.” I thought that was a little odd, but I assumed that in the local LGBT community it would go without saying that trans women were welcome. Now I wonder…

  19. TBS says

    One of these days I’m going to comment before too much of everything has been said, but I do think I have something to add. I am afraid, in reverse order of how much it would upset me for this comment to be viewed that way, that what I’m about to say would be viewed as ignorant, biased, or in any way hurtful. How’s that for a disclaimer?

    I’m cis male heterosexual, and also a product of several fairly homophobic, and intensely problematic about sexuality to begin with, communities, the Boy Scouts when I was younger, prep school when I was older, fraternities in college, and finance after. They are also by nature communities of men (finance is changing, too slowly and I know people are going to disagree with including it in those four, so take it with a grain of salt if you don’t concur, was my experience) All of these groups valued a certain view of masculinity. (oh and I mean a *very* certain view)

    Thankfully I read and think enough to have made an effort to try not to internalize these concepts. Even so, honestly, I often have reactions to things I have to pause and consider carefully.

    I think that trans men are less threatening to cis men than trans women.

    A behavior I’ve seen is that men among themselves immediately get into a pissing contest. There is a need to affirm both your masculinity and how much of it you have. Homosexual men, thus make men nervous as they upset this idea, but trans women are terrifying, because they imply that one’s masculinity can be *taken away entire*.

    I’m not saying that threat of violence for trans men, particularly if someone makes them in a bathroom, bar, or other male only venue. It seems to me, that would be more though in the nature of rejecting an ‘other’, than the more psychological fear a trans woman engenders.

    My first reaction to this story was, well, it would be great for a trans man to be a Girl Scout counselor, that might help indeed for any girls having issues about gender identity.

    Didn’t realize there was a difference in treatment between trans men and trans women. I can see how that would occur. I think that given the individual per formative nature of the show of masculinity cis men may easily view trans men as, well OK, you want to try, fine. Whereas being seen to deliberately relocate down on a scale that some men feel so important is seen as very transgressive.

    As to the reaction in the LGBT community, I found all of the discussion very interesting.

    But what Natalie said makes sense in the (limited) view of masculine culture I’ve seen. I’m interested in how trans women may seem challenging to groups of cis women. I imagine it must be very different.

    I would say that my one response to Natalie’s post is that if trans men are having a ‘best of both worlds’ effect, and get acceptance easier, a more logical response to me than making things more difficult on them, would be to continue to strive to make things easier on trans women.

    But, yeah, if I was a trans woman, it would piss me off.

    Best,

    TBS

    • says

      …”Whereas being seen to deliberately relocate down on a scale that some men feel so important is seen as very transgressive…”

      Yes, I think that conclusion is close to consensus in feminist theories. Congrats on getting to it.

      The idea is that women and femininity are lower-status than men and masculinity, so a masculine woman or trans man isn’t much of a threat to a cis man who figures he’s still better, but a feminine man or trans woman seems ridiculous or threatens the idea that masculinity is truly superior. That, plus the phenomenon where some cis guy actually is attracted to a trans woman, questions his own straightness and masculinity as a result, and blames everything on her and, well, those guys are the worst of all transphobes.

      This is *why* trans women get so much attention, across cultures, compared to trans men. It seems as if trans men, and gender-nonconforming women, don’t have a place, good or bad, in a male-centric view of the universe.

      • TBS says

        Thanks for saying I’m not just spouting nonsense hall-of-rage.

        I wouldn’t be commenting here if I didn’t think that view of masculinity wasn’t limiting and really more an unfortunate aspect of contemporary culture. I sometimes think men are more virulent against women now than in the Victorian age.

        My fiancee, a trans woman, told me on our third date. My first knee-jerk reaction was, you must be petrified. I told her that I didn’t see why that would matter, but as I had no referent at all for this, to let me know if I made her uncomfortable, and held her hand.

        Took me a week to process, and, yes, I did ask myself if I was secretly gay. What I realized is: it didn’t matter, I liked and was attracted to her, and damn she has to go through that uncomfortable risk with *everyone new* she meets. Wow.

        • says

          Really more of a reply to you a few comments up, but that thread ran out.

          I could be way off the mark, but I’m reading anxiety of some sort coming from you, and that may have social causes. That is, as an open-minded straight guy you probably naturally have a strong preference for women rather than a repulsion from all things male; but you may also have social conditioning that tells you to not like male partners at all. If you find it so, try and relax that learned anxiety. Nothing is a worse turn-off than anxiety, is it? :)

          I just want to say, yes, your fiancée is a woman, but that describes who she is, doesn’t say how she should be. I hope you can be comfortable seeing the ways in which being trans has shaped her, and she is comfortable sharing any male past and present things with you. (I intend no offense if this advice is redundant and unnecessary.)

  20. Sebastian says

    One thing that annoys me: It shouldn’t have to be other people’s responsibility to call men out when they’re abusing their privilege. Despite being trans, trans guys still have male privilege, and it really is ones own responsibility to acknowledge that and to do your best to make sure that you’re not abusing it.

    Coming from the position that we are, as AFAB guys, we should be putting in as much effort as possible not to be blinded by privilege. To accept privilege yourself, is to deny someone else from it.

    And another thing regarding sexism and cissexism I thought of while reading this post (but I couldn’t figure out how to give it context):
    Women are a hated group, and women who want to be women doubly so.

    • Anders says

      I suppose it’s understandable, though. From what I understand, male privilege is pretty sweet (I wouldn’t know since I’ve always had it), and a trans man might well be tempted to see it as his due for all the shit he’s had to put up with over the years.

      Still not morally acceptable, though.

  21. Sullen Bess says

    I don’t want to get into games of oppression olympics and “who has it worst”

    Once upon a time in a faraway SociallyJustFictopia there may have been some meaningful content in the phrase “Oppression Olympics”: while you can quantify some (mostly economic) variables and run regressions on them all you like, there is no way to get a coherent oppression_a > oppression_b ordering out of so doing. Because there are are too many significant quantities that we haven’t the tools to measure, because evaluating an individual person as an average is like psychoanalyzing randomly selected strangers’ names from the phone book, because people who live with both a and b don’t experience them as discrete independent processes. Not because it’s somehow wrong to measure and compare, but because we simply can’t do it right. And cramming a phony metrization onto social status is only ever a path to understanding less than you did before you started.

    I can’t remember the last time I heard the phrase employed in that nominally useful way; it’s certainly been years.

    What I do hear, however, is that when an upper middle class white cis gay man with no disabilities (e.g. Dan Savage) indulges himself with a rank bowl of his culture’s racist-misogynist-transphobic-ablist-classist stew – well, say nothing about it, or you’re a homophobic Oppression Olympian. Don’t gay men deal with bullshit too? (yes of course) Doesn’t that give him the right to opine unquestioned on these matters? (no, and no one else regardless of background gets that “right” either)

    Turning back to the Girl Scouts, yeah they do allow men as counselors. What they don’t allow is trans girls. Sure, the Scouts allow trans girls technically. If those girls were safe enough to transition while young. If their families didn’t immediately force them back into hiding. If their families supported them, because children can’t do it alone. If they weren’t ostracized from school. Then sure, that vanishing wisp of a remainder can join – and promptly get bullied out. And how do we work on the problem of girls being unable to join an organization for girls? Apparently, by ignoring it and hiring a grown-ass man into a role grown-ass men are already welcomed into.

    Your instincts, Natalie, are more trustworthy than this shopworn meme, which is deployed mostly to ensure that you do keep your mouth shut. About sexism. From men.

    It’s also worth noting that while the Girl Scouts do allow male counselors, that’s irrelevant. It’s not why Mr Lowe claims he should be one – he’s saying it’s because he’s “biologically a female.” Leaving aside all the dudes who won’t appreciate being told how female they are, what does that even mean? What’s biological gender supposed to be? What does biology have to do with Girl Scouting? This is a Vegas wedding of essentialism and Cartesian dualism: I’m a man! With a woman’s body! But what I am doesn’t have anything to do with my body! My brain/soul/driving homunculus is entirely distinct! But I know what it’s like to be a woman! From my body! Which doesn’t influence me in any way! Because I’m a man! Not helping, bro.

    There’s some hope that the story is a prank, but it’s all too plausible. And while taken individually this story isn’t much (and it’s difficult to care a lot about the Scouts), the trend it evidences is real.

  22. TBS says

    I think you are quite perceptive. While this advice may be redundant, as I’m serious thinking on these things, it isn’t at all unwelcome.

    Current difficulty is putting people in boxes. My upbringing and training encourages this. Even my umiversity work, as you guessed some classes in womens studies. But all boxes. Boxes are comforring.

    Trying to start to think more about scales and.continums. leas safe. Hence anxiety. YMMV

    Thanks for thoughful reaponse.

  23. Jolie McKenna says

    This always a provocative discussion in trans spaces. As a transexual woman with passing privilege I too appear to have more rights than others when compared to others. Nobody would ever kick me out of Michigan Womyn’s Festival. (although I would never choose to attend there because of their rampant transphobia) I am always accepted in women’s spaces, locker rooms, groups and troops because I too am a woman, albeit a woman of transgender experience. Similarly, I don’t choose to go to Tea Party Rallies or attend lectures by Phyllis Schafly because I also oppose those groups.

    There are lots of people who compare as superior to me. I am considered overweight, I am not physically attractive. I am not physically fit but I can imagine there are burn victims, disabled persons and wheelchair bound persons who would gladly trade places with me.

    ………………….”I am getting very bothered especially by trans men entering or supporting women’s spaces from which trans women are specifically excluded, such as MichFest, and countless smaller women’s or feminist spaces… “…………………

    This resentment over whose privilege exceeds who is both counterproductive and epidemic in the trans community. We each have burdens. We each have great advantages. They are all different. I think its best for each of us to focus on being right where we are in the most excellent way possible.

    Just because someone else’s grass look greener doesn’t preclude me from learning to water my own damn yard so that eventually my grass looks even better.

    • Anonymous says

      @ Jolie

      Keep in mind though that the complaint is about trans men using their privilege in ways that are detrimental to trans women. Specifically, if trans men are being allowed to enter women’s spaces because there is a tacit assumption that what really matters is genetics, then this will make it harder for trans women to enter those same spaces. There are, I think, good reasons to allow trans men into women’s spaces because I think they share experiences with and may require the same sorts of support as trans and cis women, however this is not always the sort of reasoning going on in people’s heads when they decide who to let into women’s spaces. It is not unfair to ask that trans men be aware of the privilege that arises from the tacit assumption that genetics is of primary importance and to push back against this when they find themselves benefiting from it. This sort of thing is not just a case of the grass being greener on their side, it is a case of discovering that their well is sucking up all the ground water causing trans women’s grass to dry up.

  24. James says

    Firstly, I’ll stick to the topic on hand for a minute and say that yes, I agree, if men are indeed barred from being counsellors in this particular Girl Scout troop (which is a shame in itself, but that’s a different matter) then of course a trans man should also be barred, because… he’s a man. Simple logic.

    I will add though that after being directed to and reading and very much enjoying your excellent article on trans misogyny, I’m a bit shocked at the amount of hostility that seems to be directed towards trans men in this article.

    I obviously can’t and would never presume to comment on the experience of a trans woman (or a cis man). I sadly have a lot of experience of the day to day prejudice that cis women have to go through, having lived as one for the majority of my life, so I can definitely empathise with that. Surely, being a trans woman, you experience that same level of prevalent, female-aimed-prejudice, but with the added element of trans prejudice? Surely, most cis female pornography is as degrading as trans female pornography?

    I’m sure a lot of trans men (and probably trans women too) behave badly, but trans men aren’t the enemy any more than cis men are. There needs to be equality, not a battle.

    In my own experience, I haven’t seen much evidence at all of the trans male privileges that you describe in this article. Admittedly, I don’t get out much, but that’s mainly because I’m not comfortable in social situations for fear of being questioned on my gender and ridiculed. As a long-haired (rock music fan), gay trans man I am consistently regarded as ‘feminine’. That’s just for having long hair and a male partner. I don’t see anything wrong with being feminine, but you can see by that the limitations that are put on self expression in any ‘alternative’ form, for any gender. I am regarded as too ‘female’ to be ‘good enough’ to be male, but too ‘ugly’ to be regarded ‘good enough’ to be female – another problematic argument for feminism, in as much as women are still clearly judged firstly on appearance etc, but still part of my experience even as a trans man. It is always others judging ‘what I am’. And I too feel like I’m never taken seriously.

    I do wonder if trans men continue to frequent female-only spaces because they are not truly accepted into male-only ones or are afraid to attempt to be accepted for fear of being made to feel inadequate. Obviously I can only speak from my own experience and mean no disrespect by anything I have said in this comment.

    • anony says

      I do wonder if trans men continue to frequent female-only spaces because they are not truly accepted into male-only ones or are afraid to attempt to be accepted for fear of being made to feel inadequate.

      I think that’s it, or at least part of it. I’m really fucking uncomfortable in male-only spaces for several reasons; I have yet to transition or come out — everyone treats me like a girl :[ — and the thought of going into male-only spaces even post-transition makes me feel all queasy and nervous. I just get so insecure and dysphoric around men, I’d much rather hang out with the girls. Of course, I’m pre-everything, so I can’t really speak to the POV of a guy who’s already transitioned, but that would be my guess.

      That said, I do agree with the op in that it’s problematic that trans men are allowed into women-only spaces while trans women are barred from these same spaces. idk, I feel really conflicted/guilty about the fact that I hang out in spaces that are meant for queer women when I’m not really a girl. Granted, the spaces I hang out in aren’t transmisogynistic (afaict) and include both trans and cis women, but… I’m still a guy (I think. I might just be nonbinary/transmasculine? I’ll get back to you on that). I may feel more comfortable here, but wtf am I doing. It seems disrespectful, even if everyone else sees me as a cis woman.

      OKAY, tangent done. I just wanted to say that yes, I think you may be on to something. :P

  25. Rilian says

    I don’t participate in anything that excludes people based on sex.
    But feminism is definitely for me. Because, being AFAB, I am a victim of misogyny. And I shouldn’t be treated poorly because of people’s perceptions of my gender, regardless of what my gender actually is. Like, if someone tried to keep me out of a club by calling me a woman, I shouldn’t get all offended and say I’m not a woman, because that would imply that women should be kept out of the club.

  26. A guy says

    I know this post was written a while ago, but…

    …I’m a man, born with a female body. And I certainly DON’T feel positive about the sexualization of trans men. It’s like, “that person is sexy because he’s NOT a man”.

    I recognize the existence of trans misogyny and I’m very much against it, and against misogyny overall, but some of the “privileges” trans men get, such as being sexualized by lesbians, are the same thing as the exclusion of trans women – somebody else decides who we are, based on how our bodies originally looked, and our own opinion doesn’t matter.

    Just because somebody says they like you, it’s not necessarily a compliment.

    • says

      I understand. I’ve never doubted that there MUST be many trans men who feel strongly insulted by being sexualized by lesbians, and considered objects of desire by lesbians, given the implicit-but-obvious misgendering involved. Likewise I’m sure there are trans men who resent being offered inclusion in women-only spaces. But that doesn’t change my reservations about how some trans men relate to those things, and those double-standards by which gender is marked.

      • A guy says

        Of course, and I agree with you. Just wanted to point out that sexualization of trans men based on their trans-ness is just as much objectification, as sexualization of trans women based on their trans-ness. Which means, I can’t see how it can be counted among the benefits of being FtM compared to MtF. (You girls have other benefits; It’s impossible for me to get rid of my female genitalia and ever get a functional and real-looking male version.) The inclusion in women-only spaces is another thing. Yes, it is misgendering, but if I don’t want to go there, I don’t have to! If you want to go there, you’re not allowed, because of their paranoia and prejudices of trans women. But none of us can choose whether or not to be objectified. If I say that I’m a man and don’t like to be sexualized because of my trans status, they don’t give a sh*t. Many transguys have reported this.

        Of course there are many guys who don’t see the problem; they’re happy to be considered attractive whatever the reason, just the same as not all trans women object to being sexualized.

        We can’t prohibit people from being attracted to us for any reason, but we can require them to respect that we are persons and may not be those they want us to be based on our particular body type.

      • A guy says

        …I’ve been thinking about why some trans men sort of hang on to a partly female identity while claiming male privilege, and I suspect patriarchy is again the reason.

        Several guys have built an identity as lesbians before realizing they were trans. All of their close friends may be in the lesbian community. As percieved woman, and as percieved homosexual, they are low status and have to fight for equality and respect. Who is the “enemy”? Straight people, and men.

        When you realize you’re trans, you have to change your self image and suddenly identify with the enemy. How cool is that?! At the same time this is really an opportunity to free yourself from the subordinate position that you hated.

        If you’re black, and by some magic turned white overnight, I think you still might feel in some aspects “black” – despite black not being an innate identity. It’s just superficial traits that have become an identity because of racism. Identity can be built on other things that just your innate sense of self. Experience is one of them. Despite being a man, I still can relate somewhat to the experiences of women, and because of my experience, I can never be one of the boys. Neither in my own eyes, nor in theirs. This is because of patriarchy.

        I think some transguys might still identify with the female who rebels against gender roles and male privilege. Perhaps they can’t see that when they claim male privilege, as men, they are not the rebels but the oppressors. Also it seems hard for people to understand that you don’t need a female body and socialization to have female experience. Female body, female presentation,female socialization AND female self gives female experience. Feminine personality too, to some extent.

  27. Carter says

    I’m really tired of people complaining that ___ group has it better than ____ group when both groups are part of a seriously mistreated minority group. I’m sick of those same people then acting like they aren’t playing the victim card and criticizing others who do.

    Face it – there are people in ALL groups who act in ways that others find disagreeable. I could name over a dozen concrete things that trans women do that annoy me, but what good would that do? At the end of the day, reality is that ALL trans people are at very high risk for being treated poorly, refused services, and even killed. All of us struggle to navigate an unfair system. The last thing we need is this kind of separatist bs. Your hatred for trans men is no more appropriate than anyone’s hatred for ANY minority group… period.

    As for the GSA hiring a trans man to fill a position that is to be filled by a woman (per their policy I assume – if not, this entire conversation doesn’t mean much), it doesn’t make sense and is absurd. If a business isn’t going to follow their policies, why make them? If this individual doesn’t want to be a man, why would he transition and call himself a man? Obviously my answer is simplistic because I do not know the details. I just don’t think it is about anything other than a company’s policy. Either they hire men or they don’t – makes more sense to hire a trans woman.

    • says

      It’s not about separatism or heirarchy. It’s about being able to confront and address issues. I mean, let’s face it, all HUMAN BEINGS face risks and suffering and difficulty. But those risks are apportioned differently to different people. And I don’t think it’s cool how some trans people are all about erasing how intersectional issues effect shit. If we want to have a viable trans-feminism, we NEED to be able to discuss that not all of our experiences, or all of our risks, are the same and equal. An upper middle class trans man simply does NOT face the same risks as an impoverished trans woman of colour. And seriously, anyone who says we’re not allowed to discuss things like that is engaging in erasure, silencing an extremely important dialogue, and getting in the way of us actually solving some very serious problems. Fuck that.

      And I don’t hate trans men. Period.

  28. Kassondra says

    I do agree with your points. However, I have been a Girl Scout for the last 12 years and I’ve been very, very involved with my council (Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast). I’ve also been going to a Girl Scout camp for the last 11 years and we have had one cis male counselor hired directly by the Girl Scouts. It very well might be different in Indiana, but I know here males are not barred from being hired by Girl Scouts, though it’s rare.

    I love the thought present in this, and I’m not sure that it’s misled, but it could be that the organization hired a trans male just as they would have hired a cis male.

  29. lindsey says

    Are you sure your not just hating on transmen because you see them as getting the social chips you think you lost. If a butch lesbian wrote like this about transmen, they would be called transphobis. Why should you writing it be any different?

    • says

      Because of the direction of social privilege. This stuff isn’t hard, you know. The “if this were [reversed along axis of oppression], how would it be different?” argument is stupid as all hell, and also tired as hell. It’d be different BECAUSE IT WAS REVERSED ALONG THE AXIS OF OPPRESSION.

  30. Titanium Lili says

    As much as I hate to say it, it sounds like trans-women are disliking being treated like cis-women frequently are – and they are right to feel that way. I’m not about to claim cis-women suffer discrimination as often nor to the same degree as trans-women, but many of the portrayals out there of cis-women as sexy are also in a degrading way – as is almost all the pornography out there. Men, regardless of cis- or trans- status, have always* been perceived by the general public as having more agency and their actions more meaningful/worthy than women’s – no matter how we express our gender (or much of anything else) as women. A man speaks and is automatically listened to more. Men tend to be perceived as intellectuals and women as cheerleaders no matter what the cis-/trans- status. Men have always* been given more license to fuck around while women were expected to be pinnacles of self-denial else reviled as whores – which wrongly translates as sub-human to many people.

    Don’t like the hostility, misrepresentation, and ridicule? Don’t like men’s voices being taken more seriously than women’s? Then let’s work on the perceptions people have of what it means to be a WOMAN, because all these issues are intimately tied to that exact thing. I think that feminism is really important to ALL of society, and women (and men!) of all kinds would benefit from the equality.

    *in most places in the world

  31. Logan Wolfrhamn says

    I have NEVER ever been told or heard of transmen being an object of desire, which I have heard/seen of transwomen. I am a transman and I have never been met with anything but contempt for my body status. A man without a dick. “You can’t penetrate, you can only receive so that’s not sexy” basically.
    I would be offended by a lesbian or straight man finding me sexy for having a vagina. Regardless of my personality, I find very little practical use in my vagina and won’t be using it to attract people any time soon. Trust me.
    I was terribly confused reading this article. I’ve never experienced any of it.

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