Why There’s No Space In My Gender

I identify as a transman. There is no space in that word for me.

This is somewhat unusual among trans people. In general, it’s convention to call people like me trans men, not transmen. In fact, when talking about the group in general, or an individual other than myself, I use the space. The same applies for trans women – I use the space unless a specific individual prefers no space, which is pretty rare. I use a space for cis men and cis women as well, to be consistent.

The reason for this space is that most people identify as men or women, and trans or cis are a modifier. Being transgender is usually a statement about someone’s history, not an intrinsic part of their gender identity. A lot of people feel really strongly about this, which is why the space has become the standard convention over time, although this was not always the case.

My experience is somewhat different than most people. I am not a man, with a trans modifier. I am a transman, as a complete gender. I do not separate my transness and manness – they are deeply connected for me, inseparable.

The fact that I experience my gender identity differently than many other people does not mean that I have any disagreement with them over the space. It seems pretty clear that for most people the space is important, and that for many people their complete gender identity is man or woman, with a transgender or cisgender history. My gender is not better than anyone else’s – it’s just different. It’s just mine.

Why There’s No Space In My Gender
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6 thoughts on “Why There’s No Space In My Gender

  1. 1

    Everyone’s identity is valid. They also aren’t set in stone. A friend of mine who identified as a trans woman for many years (had gender markers changed, etc), came to me one day and said they were gender queer, not trans. They sometimes can’t decide if they are neither gender or both. They may change their minds again

    And it’s fine. They’re fine. People change, you learn more about yourself… bottom line is that everyone deserves some amount of happiness and authenticity. So. Transman? Cool.

  2. Jac

    As a nonbinary MOC person who is struggling to unpack their own gender, I’d be really interested in hearing you elaborate on being a “transman” vs a “trans man.”

    1. 2.1

      I’m not sure I really have a lot more elaboration. It’s just that I’m not “a man like any other man” but something a little different. I like that – I don’t FEEL like “man” really fits my identity. My trans history is intrinsic to my identity and putting a space in it feels like separating two things that cannot be separated. I cannot imagine myself as anything but who/how I am.

  3. 3

    Will you be my best friend? I feel similarly. I’ m not a man. I’m not a woman. I’m not NB or agender, either. I’m a transman. A femme transman at that. Everyone else’s identity is also valid. You’re right about it being feeling based. Maybe there’s a better way to describe myself but I haven’t found one yet.

    1. 3.2

      Okay, slightly more to say on this:

      I think femme transmen and femme trans men are fucking awesome. I’m really into the idea that gender identity and gender presentation are different things. It doesn’t apply to me – my gender presentation is definitely in the masculine end, usually “casual geek” and sometimes “dapper bear” and sometimes “northwoods country guy” with camo pants and blaze orange hats. Once in awhile my aesthetic is more “kindergarten boy.” No matter what, masculine presentation works for me personally.

      BUT! I think recognizing that a whole range of presentations are open to me was super helpful and healthy. When I stopped thinking of myself as “Man, dude, guy, gotta prove it… be good man! MANLY!” and started thinking of myself as “transman, which means whatever the fuck I want” I was able to find presentations that work for me.

      Sometimes this means stretching the idea of what it means to be masculine (Pastel button down shirts. Kilts. Purple ties.) and sometimes it means finding the VERY masculine things that really work for me (3 piece suits. Wingtip shoes. Military haircut).

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