No More Rachel Dolezals

“If someone can identify as another gender, why can’t someone identify as another race?”

I want to make something clear from the outset: Engaging with this crafty bit of rhetoric at all is completely beneath me, and it’s beneath you too. This argument doesn’t deserve the time of day, let alone the detailed attention of a protracted dissection. But this is weaponized rhetoric, designed to be wielded deliberately against the lives of trans people. So I don’t really have a choice about engaging with it, do I? I resent that immensely.

This is undeniably a bad-faith argument. To any person who actually knows trans people, it’s obvious that this is absurd and hostile, even if they may not be certain of how exactly to explain that. Yet many people who don’t know a trans person at all have nevertheless felt that they are invited to partake in this argument, particularly following the emergence of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who has made an entire life out of openly pretending to be black. Continue reading

Posted in History, Media, Philosophy and language, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mistaken identity: How a cis queer identity obscured my trans womanhood

Across the web, various trans-hostile blogs and other outlets have claimed that there is a “reparative therapy” aspect to transness, contending that gender-nonconforming cisgender gays and lesbians are being encouraged to become gender-conforming straight trans men and women. From the outset, this is wholly unsupported by the demographic evidence – a majority or near-majority of trans people identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or otherwise queer, and typically, only a minority identify as heterosexual. As a form of “reparative therapy”, this would be one of the least effective methods of producing a heterosexual outcome. Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Personal, Sexuality | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Do you need to have gender dysphoria to be transgender?

One question that frequently comes up on trans support boards like Reddit’s AskTransgender is whether a person needs to experience gender dysphoria in order to be transgender. Most commonly, a person feels strongly that they are indeed transgender for various reasons, but worries that their apparent lack of dysphoric feelings means that they aren’t “really” trans. This process of questioning can also be complicated by trolls across the internet who seem to believe they need to protect the very concept of transness by keeping out so-called “trans-trenders” who don’t meet some particular criterion (as if trans people have ever been considered to be more trendy, popular, or desirable than cis people).

This self-evaluation often weighs heavily in their decisions regarding their gender, such as whether or not to start transitioning, and these people deserve useful guidance. I have some experience in this area: before I transitioned, I didn’t think I had gender dysphoria at all – but I chose to start HRT anyway. This turned out to be the right choice for me even though I didn’t believe I was experiencing dysphoria at the time, and similarly situated trans people may also find that this is a positive choice in their lives. Here’s what this process looked like in my case. Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Personal | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Why some trans people don’t date cis people

Hi, welcome to Gender Analysis. There’s a certain genre of cisgender opinion piece that pops up from time to time, in which they explain to other cis people why they don’t date trans people, sleep with trans people, or find trans people attractive, all while taking pains to announce that this absolutely does not make them transphobic and protesting that nobody can “force” them to have sex with trans people. Clearly there are some dense layers of different issues wrapped up in this topic, and their often ham-handed take on this can be a real rollercoaster. A recent video by cis lesbian vlogger Arielle Scarcella, “I’m Transphobic Because I Like Boobs & Vagina”, is a representative example of the style and hits all the key elements note for note. (Note that this person runs a channel largely consisting of mad-libs headline grabbers such as “Gay Couple (Cut & Uncut) Shows Lesbian Their Penises” and “Lesbian Virgin Sees Naked Woman For First Time”, so keep in mind that this is the level we’re operating on here.)

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Posted in Sexuality, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The simple truth: A message of support for trans youth

Hi, welcome to Gender Analysis. Like the rest of you, I’m incredibly disappointed in the Trump administration’s recent decision to withdraw federal guidance recommending that schools allow transgender students to use the restrooms and facilities of their gender. This guidance was significant and so meaningful at a time of ongoing conflict over this issue – it was a message from the very top declaring that trans students are to be recognized and respected at school. Thanks to the Trump administration, we no longer have this crucial support in our corner. (Public schools should be aware, however, that even though the guidance has been withdrawn, the existing case law still stands. If you discriminate against your trans students, legal groups defending our rights can and will sue you for this – it will be very expensive and time-consuming for you, and you will likely lose.)

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Posted in Bathrooms and public accommodations, Politics and law, Trans youth | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment