So I was browsing an online genderqueer community and people were discussing dysphoria. The conclusion seemed to be that you have to have dysphoria to identify as trans*, and that if you identify as trans* without having dysphoria you're attention-seeking/trying to be rebellious/just a confused girl, etc.
I really struggled with this. I've recently embraced my genderqueerness, which has felt like it finally made sense of who I am and how I feel. But in general I'm OK with my body, I don't really want surgery, and I don't at this point feel like I need hormones. I don't have the sort of crippling body hatred that a lot of trans people do. For me it's more that sometimes I feel the need to present a certain way, including binding/packing, and if I can't do that I feel crappy and not right, and then I don't feel good about my body and stuff. And when I do present the way I want, I feel right.
I also much prefer gender-neutral pronouns. Sometimes I'm OK with people using 'she' to refer to me, and sometimes (especially when I'm presenting in a more masculine way) it really upsets me.
So I dunno. I don't want to be taking something away from other people, or using a label that I shouldn't be using. But this confuses me.
People there were also saying that when they see FAAB people (who identify as trans*) dressing femininely and/or saying that they're OK with their bodies, it makes them angry because those people are clearly girls just being posers. I feel kinda uncomfy about this, I mean someone wearing skirts or whatever doesn't make them a girl if they don't feel like they are.
I also feel attached to the social side of being female; I was assigned and brought up female, and I feel like it's shaped my life to an extent, and while I don't inherently feel female or male, I feel solidarity with women. So yeah.
Any thoughts on this would help. I really don't want to be appropriating labels and am feeling crappy about this because I finally felt like I had it sorted out.
Posts: 161 | From: europe | Registered: Oct 2009
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I can't get too involved in a discussion about this right now, so I'm hoping others pick it up, but I can at least hopefully say a few things that might be helpful.
It sounds to me like the folks saying what they are around this are probably a) not really including or addressing the entire spectrum of gender and gender nonconformity, b) might be people for whom their experience of *trans is or has been very much about the physical (which isn't the only aspect of gender nor people's experiences with gender: and by no means do all people who are trans* or even trans, period, have what they'd call crippling body hatred or dysphoria), c) have a lot of their own anger going on, and/or d) just are really only seeing through their own lens.
In other words, I personally don't think you're co-opting anything here. You can't co-opt your own experiences, after all. You know what pronouns you feel most comfortable with. You know what relationship you have with your gender and how you're most comfortable identifying it and having it identified. And I feel quite certain none of that is taking anything away from anyone else.
My best suggestion would be to try and choose spaces that feel welcoming rather than unwelcoming, rather than get caught up in this. For instance, I'm thinking a space like Genderfork might be qa good one for you?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 67933 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I've read a number of different trans* people describing being trans* while feeling ok in/with their bodies, so you're definitely not alone here. My impression is that it's more common for non-binary trans* folk to feel ok in their bodies than binary trans folk, but I've also read more than one binary trans person expressing ease and comfort with their body and some non-binary folk expressing severe dysphoria, so this really can go all ways round.
As a cis person, my angle on this is obviously limited. But with that proviso, it seems to me that at least some of this kind of problem is about the body-policing that's so common in so many different ways - that a certain kind of person does or should have a certain kind of body. Of course that's not true, and doesn't really help anyone. If you felt like you'd found where you're at with this, please don't let other people's opinions about what anyone's body "should" be like take that away from you. Your gender is what it is, and the way you feel about your body is the way you feel about your body.
I don't see anything appropriative in anything you've said. I only really think that something is appropriative if we're saying something like "well I have X experience, and that's Totally Like someone with Y experience/someone with Xversion1.4 experience". It seems to me that the people you're describing are denying the reality of some other people's experiences - like yours - and that's not ok with me.
It makes perfect sense to me that you would feel solidarity with women, having been brought up as one, and certainly to me that doesn't negate your gender in any way. As a cis woman, I feel solidarity with you too about that, while respecting that our genders aren't the same.
Someone's style doesn't necessarily reflect their gender. A feminine man is, well, still a man, so a feminine genderqueer person - whether that's just to do with the outfit they have on or their general style/positioning - is still a genderqueer person. Wearing trousers doesn't make a woman less of a woman, and wearing a skirt doesn't make a man less of a man (whatever some people say about that) so I don't think a genderqueer person's choices should signify anything either. That kind of policing reminds me a little of the old system (unfortunately not fully gone) where trans women had to wear skirts or dresses to convince doctors etc that they were "really" women, when cis women wore trousers without question.
You're not the first non-binary person I've read struggling with the question of whether to identify as trans* or not, and whether it's ok to. As a cis person, I seriously have no stake in that. I do feel though that gender isn't dividable into boxes, and I've come across non-binary folk knowing that trans* describes them, and non-binary folk who know it doesn't. As far as I understand, "trans*" means "being a different gender to the one assigned at birth". So, although I appreciate it may be very complex and confusing for the people involved while trying to figure it out, I can totally grasp how some non-binary folk would identify as trans* and some wouldn't. I think it would depend on each individual's particular experience of being non-binary.
I suspect that some of the problems like you describe among trans* communities or people comes from how damn difficult it is to be any description of trans*. Cissexist society makes it hard or impossible to be accepted as trans* and for dysphoric people to get the medical treatment they need, and I suspect that occasionally, small bits of the understandable and necessary pushback to that go in the wrong direction, that is, toward people who have a different experience of being trans* rather than toward the juggernaut that is cissexist society.
-------------------- The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not. Posts: 1699 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011
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