I’ve watched with increasing dismay as a person I admired very much, whose blog I read first thing every day, failed spectacularly to understand why her actions over the past year and more have been upsetting to trans women. I’m about to leave on a trip, so that’s as far into that quagmire as I’m wading for the moment. There’s something more important for me to say, anyway:
Trans women are women. Full stop.
Moreover, they are women who face misogyny of a particularly virulent kind. The ACLU has written two articles on the dangers they face, just trying to live ordinary lives. This one was written after seven had been murdered for being trans women. This was written after four more had been slain. A tiny fraction of a percent of our population identifies as transgender, yet the percentage of them being murdered is horrifically high. Trans women face a disproportionate amount of violence, and if they happen to be women of color, it’s even worse.
So the answer to those wondering if the violence they face is really all that different from that faced by cis women: yes. Yes, it is. It’s so very much worse.
I’m not much of an ally, but I’m trying to listen carefully to trans voices, and understand as well as a cis woman is able, and not add to the shit pile they have to dig through on a daily basis. To that end, I’ve paid close attention to the trans voices my favorite adults-only blogger, Submissive Feminist, has shared on her blog, and I’ve been collecting links. Now might be a very good time for me to share some with you. (While her blog is decidedly NSFW and includes a lot of BDSM, any links direct to her blog in this post will be PG-13. Just please don’t click them if you’re under 18!)
This, by Delia, is one of the most powerful statements on being a trans woman I have ever read. Go look at her photo series, and read the whole post. I’m including a mere snippet here, the part you should print out and tack to your wall if you’re in any doubt:
If we want to fight these myths and stereotypes, the only way to do so is to accept every transwoman as a woman, period.
At this point in my life, I have not had access to begin Hormone replacement. This does not make me any less of a woman,
I have a penis because I have not yet met the grueling requirements to be approved for SRS, and even if I had, I don’t have the money. This does not make me any less of a woman.
When I wake up in the morning, I have to shave my face, and cake on make up in order to be halfway happy with the way I look.
This does not make me any less of a woman.
A woman with a prominent Adam’s Apple is a woman.
A woman with facial hair is a woman.
A woman with a brow ridge is a woman.
A woman with thin lips is a woman.
A woman who does not shave her body is a woman.
A woman who wears pants is a woman.
A woman who does not wear make up is a woman.
A woman with a penis is a woman.
A woman with a Y chromosome is a woman.
Every Cisgender woman is a woman. Every Transgender woman is a woman.
Next up is a series of gifs created from a video of transgender people talking about things to never ask a transgender person. Your jaw will probably drop at some of the things they’ve been subjected to. This is why it’s crucial we combat ignorance, our own especially, if we want to be good allies.
For those who need a primer on the differences between gender orientation, identity, and expression, Transadvocate has a good one.
This article on The Bad Logic of Good People Can’t Be Sexists applies to transmisogyny and cissexism as well. All of us can be sexist, racist, phobic, etc., possibly without realizing. All of us can and will do sexist, racist, phobic, etc. things. We aren’t terrible people for tripping up. We’re pretty awful when we refuse to make a course correction, though. (And believe me, I’ve been guilty of that in the past, and probably will be in the future. Refer back to this post, copy these words, and remind me that I told you to let me know when I fuck up.)
In addition to a sky-high murder rate, trans people also face more than their fair share of depression and other issues, and have a far higher rate of suicide. Please know that there’s help available: call Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860, and if you can’t get through, reach out to The Trevor Project.
Finally, there’s an awesome project in, of all places, Bloomington, IN that will help transgender and non-binary youth get appropriate clothing, for free! This is a fantastic idea, and if anyone knows of any other resources like this, please share them in the comments. If I get enough, I’ll make us a dedicated page for the list.
We can make this a better world. I’ve seen the power of diverse people drawing together. I’ve seen deeply-rooted bigotries, ones I never thought we’d overcome in my lifetime, cut down to a size where they can wither in a corner of the garden while the rest of us get on with the growing. And we people, of all genders and none, can help trans and non-binary people not only survive, but flourish.
Let’s do this.