Transition Reactions p13: Legitimate academic inquiry

In my readings on feminism in Islam and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), there has been a consistent thread across all views within this specific area: Establish what work already exists before entering the discourse, lest you look like an utter nincompoop. It’s good advice generally for anyone considering entering discourse in any area in which they have no expertise. That’s why you kinda need a bachelor’s in your area before you can become a researcher.

The problem, of course, is that when it comes to discourse on gender variance or civil/human rights for trans people, is that so few people follow this advice. Whether it’s so-called “gender critical” bloggers or a professional whinger like Dr. Jordan Peterson, the existing body of literature is often ignored as these imbecilic martyrs cloak themselves in “legitimate academic inquiry” to open a “debate” on a question that’s comparable to, say, “is the Earth round?” Fucking Pythagoras figured this out ~2,600 years ago and there are people acting like they’ll win a PhD by reopening this question.

You won’t. The maths are settled. Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean revisiting the fucking obvious. At least, not without reason.

My hope is that one day many of the questions seriously asked by ignorant amateurs about gender variance today are regarded with the same relevance we give to Flat Earthers. I’m sure I could get the point across to Dr. Peterson if I were to sign up for his class and then spend Every. Single. Day. for Eight. Fucking. Weeks. interrupting his lectures with “but Sigmund Freud said something else!” and then running off to the media for daily interviews whining about how oppressed I am because Dr. Peterson has better shit to do than represent the findings of a long-discredited quack with any seriousness.

Yeah, something like that. I think that’s the part that pisses me off the most: This notion that trans people haven’t thought it through, that our questioning process doesn’t count, and that it’s only real or legit questioning if a cis person does it (abstractly, mind you). As if being a living embodiment of these questions doesn’t count.

Cis people feel entirely justified in entering the discourse without stopping to fact-check some of their basic assumptions, which is why a lot of us trans feminists tend to sound like we’re repeating ourselves. And when those folks (who already disrespect the topic and feel qualified to enter it) find a posterboy to represent their explosive cocktail of ignorance and arrogance, we have a recipe for misconceptions seemingly coated in Teflon, immune to all doubt and inspection.

It can all depress a girl, and quite badly at that. “That’s not what the evidence says” is my language. I’m not sure I know how to step outside of it. I think it’s one of the reasons I am reluctant to publish on other platforms. Here on FtB we are, ostensibly, concerned about what the evidence says. Y’all speak my language. We can have an actually intelligent conversation on what something means. But moving to MSM means having to throw myself at the feet of False Equivalency in service to Both Sideism. It punches holes in any potential aspirations to bonafide journalism, although I still try to do primary reporting within my means.

I feel like academia has no place for me either. You’d be a bit naive to think Dr. Peterson was the only professor who harbours prejudice against trans folk. I wear it on my sleeve–quite literally, if I get that tattoo I’ve been mulling over. Closeting myself for the duration of a post-secondary education seems entirely unconscionable… and yet, I wonder if actually getting any credentials would require such an act, knowing what tenured professors can get away with.

I think the only avenue to satisfy my ambitions is to write a book. It’s a format that allows the citations this ridiculous “debate” so desperately needs. It’s long form, meaning we can unpack and dissect what those citations say and how they relate to the topic. I may lack the degree for now and for the forseeable future, but there’s no reason my work can’t stand on its own merit. I’ve already navigated the publishing industry before and have a pretty decent grip on its ebbs and flows. I feel reasonably confident in this goal.

Nonetheless, the information will be useless without consumers willing to, you know, consume it. And I think that’s one of the biggest barriers: Not simply the ignorance by itself, but this notion that one’s ignorance is somehow adequate when governing the lives of other people.

It’s not. It shouldn’t be. We ought not to let that shit slide. End of story.


Transition Reactions p10: Rag-rets

Standard disclaimer: This is my mostly anecdotal of my experience transitioning and should not be understood to be some kind of monolithic representation of gender variance as a whole.

Today’s topic is definitely one of the bigger areas where I set strong and clear boundaries: This is always–ALWAYS–turned into a football for TERFs and religious reactionaries to pass back and forth in a bid to justify inserting themselves between trans folk and our doctors. This conversation very definitely isn’t about you, cis folk, so don’t make it about you.

I speak of one of the most loaded landmines in the entire discourse of gender variance, no matter the disciplinary approach: Regrets related to transitioning. If I’ve called numerous trans-antagonistic lobbies dishonest before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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Transition Reactions p9: Liar liar

Content Notice: Transmisogyny and the “deceptive trans” trope, invocation of t-word slur, detailed description of the murders of trans women.

Standard disclaimer: My Transition Reactions series is a mostly anecdotal recount of fucked up ways people respond my gender variance.

Guys, wanna hear a joke?

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Transition Reactions p8: You made those words up

No contest: The most asinine, frustratingly incomplete train of thought I have ever encountered is when someone responds to trans feminist lingo by saying something so unfathomably thick like “You just made those words up.”

Far be it from ayoudontsay clever “gotcha,” this argument literally wakes babies up in the middle of the night and starts a chorus of endless howling. Locusts drop from the sky, lightning carves out scenes of terror into the country side, crops world wide wilt and decay, paintings bleed, mirrors crack. It is an argument so broken in every conceivable sense that the Earth itself splits open to swallow you whole.

“You just made those words up.”


I don’t dispute that the word “transgender” is made up. That’s because it was made up, just like every other word in the entirety of all language ever. If you’re going to start becoming “language critical,” then do us all a favour and stop speaking, because every word of this sentence was, at one point, made up. Spare me your brain-cell killing argument and fuck off.

Words do not form spontaneously out of physical phenomenon. They’re not written into the code of reality itself. It’s not a crop you can harvest. They occur because a bunch of carbon-based lifeforms came together needed to start collaborating on how to communicate “food over there.” And after a few million years, those same carbon based lifeforms started being able to construct more and more sophisticated thoughts from their collaborations, all of which were built on words that were “made up” and all of which were inspired by the need to tell someone else about something.

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Transition Reactions p7: Feeling unsafe vs. Being unsafe

Content Notice: Abuse and violence of all stripes.


I haven’t had a great year, so far. I left an abusive relationship in which I was sexually assaulted, and my vindication (snark) was to lose my chosen family because I spoke out about it. I had all the sting of family rejection–plus a generous helping of self blame. After all, I chose them. I don’t even have the excuse that they were thrust upon me by circumstance. I trusted them, and was rewarded with cold shoulders, victim-blaming, “taking no side”ism, etc. I had trusted friends tell me they believed my story and then… nothing. My abuser was still welcome at every venue we shared. “No drama” became the watchword. Shouting me down was the response any time murmurs of coming forward surfaced. That’s what my reputation became: dramatic, a ticking time bomb. Unreliable. Untrustworthy. Don’t play with her, she’ll malign you over a silly mistake (a “silly mistake” that has landed me in trauma counselling). Soon the rumours make a round trip through all the lovely cogs of rape culture and I get the freeze for “spreading rumours.”

Trying to grapple with that and the fallout of leaving an abusive relationship, including the PTSD?

Yeah. 2016–worst year of my life. And it’s not even over.

During all that I lost gainful employment, just as the economy started to really tank. What was painful about that was that it was a work place where I could be openly trans. I swore off the private sector after routinely being told to endure abuses from my coworkers. My boss basically said it was on me to go back in the closet if I wanted the workplace harassment to stop. Government employers actually did something about it, when it happened. And non-profit? I’ve never had a problem with a bigoted coworker. After all you don’t get far working for crisis resources by being an insensitive asshole. Emotional intelligence is a prerequisite.

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Transition Reactions p6: Compliments & Microaggression

Over on Death to Squirrels, Iris discussed the complex interaction that leads supposed “compliments” to become problems, even though the issuer of the compliment means well. This prompted me to think about another context in which a similar argument can be made about the types of compliments I’ve received as a trans woman that have made me superbly uncomfortable.

Usual disclaimer: This series represents my experience of gender variance and does not represent a monolithic commentary on the trans community as a whole.

Roughly 330 days out of the year, I choose to express my gender in a deliberately calculated way such that I cause the look in cis people. They tilt their heads and squint their eyes and the question I know they’re asking is “is that a boy or a girl?” I derive no shortage of sadistic glee of making people question their normative conceptions of sexuality–but being deliberately androgynous has the bonus of generally filtering out queerphobes and self-selecting my flirtatious interactions with other queer people.

I also do this because I just plain like being androgynous. Most of the time, I feel very confident expressing androgynously. I don’t really need to justify it more than that, and I shouldn’t have to. I’m not hurting anyone and it brings me joy.

Enter the uncomfortable compliment.

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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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