I’m Sick Of Debating My Humanity As A Trans Person — My latest on Medium

I wrote this a couple of months ago so some things are a little out-of-date. The overall message, however, remains the same.

When I came out as a non-binary trans person in 2014, I knew I had a lot of explaining to do. I didn’t mind, though; in fact, I immediately started speaking out about the subject as soon as I finally embraced my gender identity. Since then I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to explain what it means to be non-binary and trans in such outlets as Everyday FeminismSplice TodayRewire.News, and the 2017 American Humanist Association conference. Other than the occasional troll sliding into my Twitter mentions just to say, “You’re a dude in a dress,” I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from both cis people who have since come to understand more about trans and non-binary issues, and fellow trans and non-binary people who appreciate me saying the things they’re too afraid to say.

Lately, however, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it. No matter how many articles I write or talks that I do or podcasts I’ve been on, transphobia is still the best seller in the marketplace of ideas. On the right are traditional conservatives like Ben Shapiro who argue that trans women are still men because of chromosomes. On the left are radical feminists (or radfems for short) like Meghan Murphy who not only echo Shapiro’s talking point, but also think trans women are men trying to infiltrate women-only spaces in order to assault women. In the center are members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web — the Popular Kids’ Lunch Table of public intellectuals — who are more concerned about Murphy’s recent Twitter ban than her hateful rhetoric, who think trans activism is inherently homophobic (which doesn’t make any sense), and who spread lies and misinformation about gender-affirming therapy. If there’s one thing that unites people from all four corners of the political compass, it’s hatred of trans people.

Read the rest here.


  1. Jazzlet says

    Trav I don’t think you should ever have to debate your humanity, and anyone who does is clearly lacking in that quality.

    I hope you’re getting good rest, food and fun? *older sister concerned tone* It far easier to burn out when you aren’t taking care of those thre.

  2. Alexis says

    Thank you for the work you’ve done to promote our acceptance. A former navy man, a submariner, told me about his one time captain who would go on shore leave and come back after way too many beers, puking his guts out. The captain would mix some alka seltzer and chug it then immediately vomit it out. Then he’d chug another one and throw it up. Another one would last a minute or two. My friend asked him “Hey captain, why do you drink the alka seltzer when you know your just gonna toss it back up again?” The captain replied “Each time, a little bit stays down.” So each time we explain ourselves, a little bit stays down.

  3. Allison says

    Yeah, I’ve gotten tired of it, too.

    Rather regularly the topic of trans people comes up in the comments thread of one or another of the blogs here, and at some point, I just want to walk away. I find that it always turns into a “debate,” to the point that I feel almost as dehumanized by the people who are supposedly defending us as by the transphobes. At some point, we get turned from human beings into debating points.

    I mentioned this feeling in one of the more recent such debates over at Pharyngula, and got told by one of our supposed defenders (I think they were cis, if that matters) that, basically, my pain at seeing myself turned into a debating point was not a reason for them to stop debating or to change how they debated.

    From my perspective, all the arguments in the world are utterly beside the point. I exist. My experience of myself (and my fellow trans people’s experience of themselves) is the only argument that matters to me. Everything else is just gaslighting.

    The debaters remind me of the story that (supposedly) science proves that bumblebees can’t fly.

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