Transition Reactions p5: Feelings

Starting with the usual disclaimer: Transition Reactions is a mostly anecdotal series covering the weird shit people say to me when they find out I’m trans, please do not take this as a monolithic commentary on gender variance in general.

There are a few tropes that are quite stubborn in the trans community, and perhaps the most determined of these is the notion of being overwhelmed with emotions when transfeminine folks start estrogen or get a boost in their estrogen dose.


Hormones occasionally take an almost religious role in parts of the trans community. It’s difficult to dispute their effects on physiology. For transfems, skin becomes softer, hair becomes lighter, beards grow a lot slower, fat moves from your tummy to your hips, muscle doesn’t bulk as quickly, your breasts grow, your skeleton over decades will tweak your profile, etc. These changes are easy to observe, and in many cases are even theoretically measurable. These changes are sometimes enough to alleviate dysphoria in some trans women. They’re important changes.

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Didn’t “Try Self-Love Hard Enough:” Transition Reactions p4


Guys, why can’t people ever just be regular wrong? No, they always have to be fractally wrong. *defeated sigh*

Content Notice for all the usual cissexist shit, plus some naturalistic fallacy and aggressive ableism.

Your transition displays a lack of self gratitude and/or is unnatural.

Yes, people have said this to me. This is actually transphobia occurring on the far left. The far right sometimes invokes “natural order” nonsense too, but there’s a special brand of transphobia that is present among otherwise left-leaning cis people: a sort of condescending and ableist pity, where trans folk are understood to transition because they, and I quote an actual chat I’ve had, “failed at loving themselves as they are.”

Gee, that horse is awfully high. How’s the weather up there?

So, let’s address the shepherd’s pie of bullshit made by our high-and-mighty White Cis Saviour. Typical disclaimer: My transition reactions series only addresses my experience of transphobia and gender dysphoria on a more-or-less anecdotal basis and does not constitute some kind of monolithic commentary on gender variance in general.

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That’s Not My Job: Transition Reactions p3


Continuing my mostly anecdotal recount of fucked up things people have said/done when they’ve found out I’m trans.

Today’s issue: “Does being attracted to you make me gay?”

Look, no one who has made it into my pants with my consent has ever, at any point, told me I made them question their sexuality. They liked me, and that was good enough. My partners have self-identified as queer, as lesbians, as pansexual, and none of that ever changed just because they started dating me.

But if you had a concept of trans women (bad idea in the first place; generalizing demographics? Never a solid plan), and I blow that concept out of the water, and you tilt your head and start to wonder if I fall within the realm of your sexual preferences, that’s great.

I don’t want to hear about it until you’ve made up your mind, because it’s not my job to help you question your sexuality. I’m not a walking experiment for you to engage in. If you want to fuck me, own up to that, just say it. If you don’t know, cool, you don’t need to justify that in any way. But you absolutely cannot ask me to help you figure it out.

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On Vocabulary & “Political Correctness”: Transition Reactions p1


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…]