on women’s day heres to all the gender variant babes who do not identify strictly as binary women.
your identities are forever erased and invalidated by our binaristic cissexist society.
your stories and voices are called lies and laughed at.
but your gender(s) and bodies are valid, precious, and glorious.
your survival and your existence are testaments to the power you hold.
and you deserve so much damn more.
It’s like saying, “I would RATHER you call me by these pronouns.”
When it should be, “No. You will call me by these pronouns. No questions asked. End of story.”
YES. SO MUCH. it isn’t a ‘preference’ it is the only correct way/s to talk about me asshole.
Some of us were born the gender we are now, and some of us lived as our assigned gender for a while then transitioned to something different.
Some of us are or were trapped, and some of us feel that there are no traps.
We don’t all require or desire the same things to feel comfortable, whole or complete.
There is not one standard trans narrative. We each have our own stories.
Where language gets problematic is when we aren’t the ones telling our own stories; when our narratives are reduced to cis-friendly tidbits.
It’s okay to talk about being trapped; it’s okay to say you were born a boy or a girl and are now something else. It’s not okay when the media would have society at large believe that there is only one way to be trans.
When reading things written by other trans folk, please remember that they may not tell their story the same way that you would. We are a community of many voices, not just one.
Submitted by http://fromembersandashes.tumblr.com/
And let’s remember that not everyone uses the terms you use, and not everyone finds the terms you find offensive to be so.
Anonymous asked you:
I’m sorry, this might not be the best place to ask this, but how do I get about understanding my gender identity? (I’m fifteen, raised female, madly tomboyish, and attracted to women). It’s just that it’s so many mornings I look in the mirror and I want to throw up or cry because it’s like there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, but not like, “ew acne” or “oh shit look at my hair” that I can fix. I don’t have anyone in real life I can really talk to about this kind of thing.
By all means, I’m glad you asked! (And congratulations - reaching out on stuff like this, talking about it, admitting it to yourself can be super hard!) I don’t know how much help I can be, so just in case the rest of this is unhelpful - tumblfriends, any suggestions of good nonbinary communities / trans men communities?
Anyway. I… really know what you mean when it comes to looking in the mirror and being horrified and wanting to cry, not over acne or ugly, but because it’s just so WRONG. :( *offers hugs and support!* You’re not alone!
First off, even before everything I have to say (a lot) I’m going to point you to this ‘trans 101 for trans people’, because it is wonderful and brings me to tears. If nothing else, read that! Now… I’m going to recount my understanding-my-gender-identity experience w/ commentary here first, then go over a bunch of more general stuff, if you want to skip one or the other.
Personally, probably the most important thing it took for me was letting myself be wrong; that I could make guesses and explore things and search myself without having to carve anything in stone, that that could come later. Unfortunately, of course, a lot of cis people and some trans people would see this as a reason to dismiss everything, and hence it had to be private / with very trusted-on-this-front people. But it helped; I was pretty oblivious and didn’t understand that all my gender-related Feels were related to not being a man (and didn’t even know the word transgender or anything!) until I was 18. And then, it took me over a YEAR of agonizing and reading up on stuff and battling my self-hate and whatnot before I could finally put words to it and admit ‘okay yes this is me, i’m not a man, i am a woman, i am trans.’ Though of course YMMV immensely. And even then, the horrible ‘UGH what if I’m wrong what if i’m really just a fucked-up boy after all’/’i’ll never be seen as anything but a man’ etc. feelings were still there, and took basically a lot of time (again, in my case, years) and working through my self-hate before I could be more honest with myself and they slowly faded out. The self-doubt and self-hate are horrendous. And as you might’ve noticed, my gender identity and understanding HAS continued a lot past when I came out! Then, I thought I was a binary woman, and I was wrong. I was right about never being a man/male, and about being binary!female sometimes, but sometimes I’m not and both binary genders are far away, and I’m genderqueer. And sometimes it gets fuzzy between those two >< So yeah; I definitely still wasn’t sure about this / unaware of it exactly when I first came out, but I knew ‘man’ was just too far away, too wrong, too awful. Though I haven’t dropped the fluid/genderqueer news to all but more trustworthy people thus far, again with the ‘people see vacillation/coming out again/unsureness/nonbinary stuff as a reason to misgender me’ thing.
More general things! So. A big hangup can be (and was for me) the “well, this can’t be, I’m too ____ to be ____”. And it’s clearly bull; there’s no such thing as “[too masculine/too feminine/not masculine enough/not feminine enough/too gendered/not gendered enough] to be [genderqueer/genderless/nonbinary/a man/a woman]!” Same goes with how you dress, style, interests, attractions, mannerisms, body, etc etc etc! These are all good things to know and ask on their own, but aren’t the same as gender identity at all. So. Getting hung up on that sort of thing instead of actual gender identity stuff can definitely be a big barrier.
Also, “well, if I were really ____ I would [want hormones/not want hormones/want surgery/not want surgery/not be okay with this body part/be okay with this body part]!” and voice and hair and frame and so on and so on! Not actually gender identity, also can apply to any gender. SO. Barring those things, which can help indicate but can also DEFINITELY get in the way and confuse, and getting down to gender identity can be pretty difficult! But some general types of questions can help sometimes (they did for me). A lot of unfortunately binary language coming up. “Do I want people to see me as a man? a woman? both? neither?” “Do I want them to think of me as their son/daughter/neither/both? brother/sister/sibling/none/other? aunt/uncle/neither/both?” “Would I want a partner to see me as her boyfriend? girlfriend? neither? both? What about husband? wife? partner? lover? a mix of these? other?” “What if I had kids? Would I want them to know me as their father? their mother? their parent? other? a mix?” “How would I feel walking around if everyone called me him? hir? them? her? sir? ma’am? miss? something else??”
And some more general stuff, but on a slightly different vein! Questions like ‘do I feel like one of the guys can be helpful in some way but ALSO can be misleading. ‘Cause there are lots of guys who are mostly friends with girls, don’t really feel much camaraderie with other men, etc, and vice versa, and various other permutations for the rest of us. And of course they can lead to devaluing our gender based on bigots’ opinions - I often feel ostracized by other (white) women and made to feel emphatically Not Welcome and Not One of Us, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still actually am. I’ve found that feeling commonalities with other women, feeling camaraderie with other women, feeling welcomed/accepted/supported/in-group with other women - and the lack thereof - are related to, but different from, whether I actually AM one, of course. That automatic reaction to ‘women’ or ‘girls’ that makes me assume I’m being talked about, even in the face of the reaction drilled into me while being brought up as a ‘boy/man’ to assume it didn’t. On that note, this is also the area where self-doubt/self-hate taught by cis and binary people can completely obscure you, so! These are actually much harder to answer than the questions above. “When people talk about men/women/others, do I feel like they’re talking about me?” “When people are being grouped up into men, women, etc, which, if any, instinctively feels like the group I’m part of?” “What sort of person would I be happy to see in the mirror?” “Is ‘men’ a word I think I should be a part of? What about ‘women’? ‘boys’? ‘girls’? ‘bois’? ‘grrls’? ‘others’? ‘genderqueer people’? “Do I think I can’t be ____ because it just feels wrong - or because I’ve been raised to believe that people like me can’t be?”
Yeah, those last two are HUGE. Which brings me back to what I was talking about earlier - it’s okay to not know the answer to any or all of these, to be confused, to have doubt, and especially to not know the answer to that last question! And also, as I only briefly mentioned when talking about myself, that some of the answers to these might actually vary at different times! (In my case, questions along the lines of “do you feel that ‘women’ is a group that includes you?” was one that I would’ve said no to long ago due to self-hate/self-doubt/being taught that women have vaginas and whatnot, and was uncomfortable actually answering; now, I’m comfortable answering it to myself, but the ‘real answer’ (as far as I’m aware now!) does actually swing around between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘kinda’.
So!!!! I’ve just said a TON. But if you want to talk more, I’m firstname.lastname@example.org (and am on a bunch of chat clients other than gchat, if you prefer; feel free to email me your handle and what service it is). And by all means feel free to send asks, I’m glad you did! :D
This was an anon’s ask, but I’m posting it as text for the ‘Let people answer this’ option, in order to get responses for the GOOD nonbinary communities / trans men communities I asked about :) If you know of any you’d recommend to gender-questioning anon, please let me know!
Mine is mage of mind
Prince of Rage
Knight of Hope
Yeah, okay, that works for me.
actually fixed this??? it now also lists n for nonbinary??? though the question still only lists ‘Are you a male or female of your species’ lol, which is by far the easiest part to fix XP
- I hate how much emphasis is put on CASAB by people beyond pointing out the fucked-up ways it’s used in society.
- I have found that when I am looking for other non-binary people like me, CASAB…
As someone who happens to be CAMAB, nonbinary, intersex, and trans* , I’m giving you a giant fucking side-eye for this:
“For example, when I am heard to be angry at transmisogyny, I am assumed to be CAMAB and an authority on the subject, a voice to be listened to. When I am heard to be angry at binarism and obsession with CASAB, I am assumed to be CAFAB and my voice dismissed, an ‘angry woman’.”
This assertion that CAMAB trans* people are privileged over CAFAB trans* people is complete and utter bullshit. The reality is that CAFAB trans* people are tremendously privileged in every possible way over CAMAB trans* people, and that doesn’t change when you’re talking about CAFAB trans* people who are nonbinary-identified.
The grouping of nonbinary-identified and binary-identified CAFAB trans* people is not a function of binarism or dyadism; it’s a function of this is a privileged group which needs to stop being oppressive towards the rest of the trans* community. Nonbinary-identified CAFAB trans* people lack binary privilege, but they still have full access to CAFAB privilege and they have just as much of a record of using that privilege against CAMAB trans* people.
Hahaha, this is such bullshit. I’ve never had a conversation about CASAB stuff where people who DIDN’T experience transmisogyny made fucking everything about themselves, AND FREQUENTLY MISGENDERED ME AS “AN ANGRY WOMAN” IN THE PROCESS. Honestly, the straw arguments are so fucking glaring - pretending that pwetm are calling cafab people female??? pretending that we give a shit about cis men, or think cafab folks have power over cis men??? (and of course, making transmisogyny convos about ‘you’re saying we have power over cis men baww’ IS WHAT ACTUALLY MISGENDERING PEOPLE OVER THEIR ASSIGNMENT LOOKS LIKE)
guhhhhh. Just came from a fetlife discussion where it went from this to non-pwetm saying shit like ‘i’m being targeted for my genitals’ (right, birth assignment is the same thing as genita-OH WAIT NO IT ISN’T) and ‘people never listen to ME in these conversations :’(’ and ‘my birth assignment isn’t something I can change!!! I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it!!!!’ and generally centering their own voices and emulating the way the worst ‘allies’ always act and GODS I AM SO BITTER.
I would take a sheet of paper and draw two little circles with a ‘f’ and an ‘m’ in them, and say “okay, so if this is where male genders are and this is where female genders are, (draw a line between them) then currently I’m - here” and draw an x several feet away from the two circles, orthagonally.
But uh, I’m not sure how conceptually useful that is to anyone else, even though it really clears things up for me??
Basically my genderqueerness is exactly as tautological as any other gender, which makes describing this a bit difficult! So I’ll talk about fluidity instead for a second, just as a basis of comparison.
So, about half the time (it used to be more? idk) I just feel very strongly grouped with other women. I’m just, on some not-really-self-aware level, all ‘yeah this is obviously a group I am part of!’ Whereas another half of the time, it’s just NOPE NOPE NOPE definitely not, I’m off over here somewhere; and I feel pretty separated and very much out-group to women and men, and off in some different fuzzy in-group.
Then a third quarter of the time (hi I study math), I’m some sort of fuzzy mix of the two places, kind of swimming in and out of ‘yes’ being a viable answer to that sort of in-group related question.
(That’s how I conceptualize gender identity, by the way; just a general sort of ingroup/outgroup classifications)
I hope this was elucidating or even slightly comprehensible…
- You are human. You are worthy of respect. You deserve to be treated with the same dignity as anyone else. There is nothing inherently wrong with your gender. You are not broken, you are not disgusting, you do not deserve to be hurt.
- You’ve been brought up and live in a world that’s designed to erase and demonize your existence, you’ve probably internalized a lot of that- and that’s not your fault. But it can be hard to deal with. But you aren’t alone in dealing with it. And sometimes you have to buy into it to be able to handle it (trigger warning: transphobic violence). And that’s okay.
- Your gender is no more or less than anyone else’s. Your history doesn’t make you “not really” or “less” your gender than someone with a cis history, it just makes you a person of your gender with a different history.
- You do not deserve to be held to higher standards than cis people. You do not have to “prove” your gender by forcing yourself into societal roles that may not fit. You are not “failing” anyone by fitting into societal roles that are comfortable. It is not your job to break down the binary/patriarchy/or anything else. If you want to, go for it, but you have no obligation to do anything for cis people just because you are trans.
- Being yourself does not hurt trans rights (so long as you aren’t trying to do so while stopping others from being who they are) and is not a reason why people don’t have to treat you with respect. There is nothing wrong with being a feminine man or masculine woman, or being a person who’s comfortable in their body, or being a person who doesn’t transition all the way, or being out about having a non-binary or genderqueer gender. You have not “failed” anyone by doing this, you are not “less” of your gender than someone else. Being who you are is not a valid argument for why people can’t treat you as who you truly are.
- No one else has the right to say your body needs to be changed. It only does if you need to change it. Or if you want to change it, that’s valid, too. Your body does not make you “less” your gender. It doesn’t make you “not really” your gender. It doesn’t mean you’re trapped in someone else’s body. You do not have to fix your body to “become” your gender- you already are your gender. All you need to do is what you need to do to be comfortable in your body. And if that includes reclaiming your right to label your own body, you are allowed to do that.
- You have just as much of a right to privacy as anyone else. You do not need to tell anyone about your body, your medical history, or anything else. Whether or not your body needs to be changed for you to be comfortable, you do not have to change it to deserve to be treated as who you are. You do not owe anyone intimate details about your personal life before you can be treated as who you are.
- You have no obligation to educate anyone. This includes trans people, but is most important with cis people. You are not a walking encyclopedia of transgender and/or transsexual information, you are a person. You do not have to answer every question any cis person comes up with, you do not have to represent trans people as a whole, (see 7) you do not have to bare the most personal and vulnerable parts of your soul to other people on demand.
- Not educating people does not “hurt” trans rights. NEVER let anyone try to guilt you into educating people or doing something you don’t want to do by insisting that doing otherwise will “destroy trans rights/acceptance/whatever”. Trying to force trans people to become walking information desks or to put themselves in dangerous situations regardless of whether or not you’re even up for dealing with this destroys trans rights and shows a great deal of intolerance. Asserting that you don’t have to tell anyone anything you don’t want to? That really doesn’t.
- If you do want to educate people, you are allowed to set limits and boundaries. You are allowed to say that you won’t talk about certain issues, or that you will only talk about them on your terms. You are allowed to decide which people you will talk to about which issues. You are allowed to change these boundaries if you become uncomfortable educating people you were previously willing to educate. You are not obligated to educate anyone just because you educated someone else.
- You deserve to take care of yourself- whatever that means. You deserve to be comfortable and safe. You deserve not to be in dangerous situations. If you can’t handle something alone, you deserve to ask for- and get- help or, if you can, take a break from it until you can handle it. Or just stop doing it all together, that’s okay. Taking care of yourself does not make you weak, it does not make you an attention-grabber or overdramatic, it does not make you “less” your gender, it does not mean you betray other trans people by not being a full-time (or even part-time) activist. You’re human, you have limits, and that’s okay.
- You deserve to have your boundaries respected. Any boundaries- how and where people can touch you, what information you give to who and when, what places you feel comfortable going or who you feel comfortable going with, what people can tell others about you.
- You deserve to have the words you are and aren’t comfortable being referred to as respected. You deserve to have the proper pronouns used (and, if there are times when it’s unsafe for that to happen, you deserve to have your safety maintained by those around you), you deserve to be called the proper name, you deserve to have the words you want used to describe your body used, you deserve not to be called by any label, pronoun, word, or name that you don’t want to be called.
- If you’re asking for something that you need to feel respected, comfortable, and safe- you are not asking for too much. Your identity is not “too complicated”. Your needs are not less important than anyone elses’.
- You are human. You are worthy of respect. You deserve to be treated with the same dignity as anyone else. There is nothing inherently wrong with your gender. You are not broken, you are not disgusting, you do not deserve to be hurt.
help it’s 6 am and i’m crying with relief from a tumblr post
Always, always reblog
Gender identity is like water.
Excuse me, let me elaborate. When cis people express confusion at my reports of having a gender identity, I conceptualize it as like being a fish that has never been out of water doubting a fish who has been out of water. They don’t believe my reports of what it feels like to be out of water, what it feels like to be flopping in an inch-deep puddle, gills gasping for air, what it feels like to have water around you and suddenly be ripped out of it. Complete immersion in water has been there their entire lives, never needing questioning or even bearing notice.
Gender identity is like this, to me. Cis people don’t notice them, don’t understand the concept really, because they’ve never had it denied like we have, never had to defend it, never had the imposition of a completely alien gender identity put upon them. Yet a cis person denying gender identity is like that metaphorical fish denying the existence of water and air.
Now, Butler comes into this because she, like so many others, takes this experience to mean that there is no such thing as essential gender identity, no core informing our gender. She claims as such over the lives of trans* people - and, ironically, appropriating the experiences of people who actually have no innate gender identity and chafe at the imposition of them.
And because Butler has said this, so bloody many people take it as an indisputable fact. Her works and ideas, properly or not, are cited as ‘proof.’
Butler is no divine authority on gender. She worked within a restrictive framework, seeking to answer questions about the genders of cis people, and our lives and experiences were blatantly misrepresented and crammed in as an afterthought.
When your theory directly contradicts our lived experiences, your theory is wrong.
And speaking from personal experience now, the pure-constructionist take on gender fails so, so badly to explain my own life. Our socialized view of gender does not have room for a girl who was raised as a boy, comfortable in a tomboyish masculinity, and nonetheless identifying as female. All the social messages around me while I was coming out told me that this was incorrect, incomprehensible, wrong, confused, sick. That my body was male, my affect was male, and my gender was male too. Nothing about my fluid, nonbinary, sometimes female gender identity was sanctioned or even recognized by the world around me. It made no sense even under the broader culture’s (twisted) narrative of transsexuality; I fit that far less than the male narrative, which was far more accepted.
Yes, the ways that we name our genders, perceive our genders, express our genders, and socialize our genders are very much socially constructed. Knowing that I’m genderfluid, female, and genderqueer tells nothing about my interests, my personality, or any of a bevy of traits that our culture genders. But it does give a sense of how I related to that socialization, how I internalized those messages, how I group myself with others.
And it informs my life far more than the ivory tower dictates of a cis academic who can’t look past her own bloody cis privilege.
smallish rant about gender under the cut!
(ETA commentary from brynncognito: “Er, can I just say I’m not a fan of the use of “non-binary” as a noun? My gender is not 100% of who I am. I am non-binary. I not ”a non-binary.”” Though of course I respect Re’s right to self-identify.)