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[PSA] Still an Angry Transman by BlickFen

Since an interest in 'faving' this journal has been expressed, anyone who wants to reblog this can do so via this link: http://grendelblickart.tumblr.com/post/89635019569/still-an-angry-transman

Still an Angry Transman

...or, The Journal In Which Blick Gets Called a SJW Again And Still Doesn't Give A Fuck. Be warned, this is going to cover a lot more than just a single offensive word.

I've seen a lot of people telling me I should just ~embrace the term "cuntboy" on my previous journal because it's supposedly not offensive and words are just words. To get this out of the way first: cispeople have absolutely no business telling transpeople what is and isn't offensive to transpeople. Also those who will cite the singular transman who didn't mind the term who was a journal respondent -- look at all the other people of trans experience who responded echoing my words. He is a tiny minority. More power to him -- but he cannot speak for all trans persons, especially not when most of us disagree with him. This is likewise something said in the body of the original journal. I've also been told that anger solves nothing and I shouldn't be angry, I should just smile, and nod, and be accepting of others. In light of all of this, I figured I would reply en-masse in a new journal with more things that should be brought into the light about transpersons, cobbling together some comments from previous discussions and adding some more.

Regarding the supposed strength inherent in reclaiming a term I loathe: I have been through this particular argument too many times before to have much patience with going through it again in detail, but tl;dr "cuntboy" is offensive, it's ugly, it's particularly damaging to transpeople in that it's not just a derogatory term but it also gives people an ENTIRELY wrong impression of our sexuality, and given the hostility towards the trans community this and other words like it are a good chunk of the reason why children and teens of trans experience kill themselves. So no, attempting to reclaim a slur is not the only thing I can do. I can educate, and I can offer correction, and I can fight for my own goddamned right to live my life like a human being deserving of basic respect. I don't think someone attempting to perpetuate their idea of what they think I have or don't have between my legs is funny,[1] especially when it's wrong in practice and especially when it gives the totally wrong message about what my sexuality is like overall. I'm not going to embrace it and I never will.

What's behind a transperson's legs is anything but funny to them. That is an egregiously offensive thing to say to me. Let's say for argument's sake you're a gay or bisexual cisgendered man, which many of my watchers here more than likely are. If you're around my age you've enjoyed the golden age of the gay rights movement in America, given to you as a gift borne by the blood and tears and terror of those who came before you in the fight for social and legal equality. You get to watch more and more states accept and legalize gender equality. You can have children with your partners if you want to by either medical means or adoption. You get to have adequate medical treatment without fear of being turned away by hospitals or doctors or having paramedics refuse to treat you on-scene, all of which are realities for anyone of trans experience.

Trans people don't have those things; our fight has just begun. Our identities aren't legally recognized in many states. Many of us can't have identifying paperwork changed to reflect our identities without butchering our bodies and annihilating our sexual organs and therefore our genetic material and any potential of having our own biological children. Stonewall was a landmark in the gay rights movement, but it was precipitated by anger over people of transgender or gender-nonconforming experience being degraded by police and then defended by their gay comrades -- but we still have yet to see the advances in legal rights that the fallout of Stonewall has achieved for other people in the LGBT community. People have died in fear and pain and wreckage because other people can't get over being obsessed about what's in their pants once they realize their patient is trans. The APA and the AMA consider gender identity disorder to be a medical problem, not a psychological problem, and have repeatedly urged the government and insurance agencies to allow the trans community to be able to get the life-affirming and often life-saving treatment and surgery that they need, but we're almost all required to pay out of pocket and drive ourselves into debt just to be able to live our lives normally.

We're not that far removed historically speaking from homosexuality being considered a mental illness, but by and large that battle has been won. And you know what? Though I am ready, willing, and able to stand up for everyone on the LGBT spectrum at the drop of a hat, and have done so, your fight is NOT the same as my fight. Don't compare gay issues with trans ones. We have overlap, but we are NOT the same. As I said before, the trans battle for legal and social equality is really only just beginning and it's going to be harder than the homosexual equality fight because we're looked down on, derided, and disclaimed by nearly everybody. Take a look at equal rights legislation that has popped up in the US in the last five years alone that originally was supposed to cover EVERYBODY in the LGBT community -- the vast majority, and all of the legislation on the national/federal level (the ENDA, EEOC issues, etc), has the transgender-related clauses ripped out by otherwise supportive legislators because it doesn't seem like a "winnable" clause or the religious right won't let it pass with trans-rights intact. In my own state of New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie just vetoed a bill that would have allowed transgender people to amend their birth certificates without being subjected to mandatory sterilization, more than likely in an attempt to buck himself higher in the GOP's list of presidential candidates.

Take a moment to learn about how the cis-LGB community at large goes ahead with these measures anyway and then celebrates en masse because it nets them the rights they want now instead of standing together with its transgender brothers and sisters to support equality for EVERYONE. Transgender rights can come later, they say, it'll just have to be separate. Well, it's come too late for all of the dead transmen and women who weren't legally protected just because they were different, and this sounds a lot like 'separate but unequal' to me. Why the fuck is the LGBT community self-segregating? We should stand together. We're sure as fuck going to fall alone.

It's not a question of being unable to love myself and seeking acceptance at large, as one person suggested to me. I love myself just fine and I don't need people to sing some kumbaya bullshit with me if they don't believe it or are transphobic assholes, and in fact I'd really rather not associate with assholes at all. But until I have legal protections as a fully-fledged human being, which in the country of my residence (the United states) I do NOT, I DO need to get angry and fight for acceptance. I DO need to fight to be treated with respect. I DO need to fight for basic human rights which are not legally afforded to me. I DO need to be anything but a placid pushover who'll roll over and take it up the ass and chuckle along with people who degrade the core of my very identity for a cheap laugh.

So don't laugh it off and chant hakuna matata[2] at me -- what the fuck is wrong with you? My life matters, my health care matters, my rights matter, and my human dignity matters.

I will not shut up and smile. I will not be called a cuntboy. I will not stand by and let any other person of trans or intersex experience be called a cuntboy if they are not comfortable with it, which the overwhelming majority are not.

Instead, I'll get angry.

My fondest regards to those of you who are openminded enough to listen and actually hear,
Greg

[1] This was said to me elsewhere; "People take themselves too serious these days, what is in-between our legs and what people think is between our legs IS funny."
[2] This was said to me elsewhere specifically regarding living happily and laughing rather than angry and hurt. I AM angry, and I'm not going to LET myself be hurt.

[PSA] Still an Angry Transman

BlickFen

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  • Link

    Hear hear.

    My only issue with this journal at all is that some people find the term 'transman' or 'transpeople' offensive (instead of 'trans man' and 'trans people'). The idea behind it being that 'trans' is a descriptor, not a gender all its own. It seems to be a very individual preference, though. I'm not much bothered either way, myself, just letting you know, if you're aiming for 'political correctness' as it were, the space between the words is considered important.

    Other than that, I'm with you all the way, very well said.

    • Link

      That's offensive? Why would that be offensive? I hardly think that has anything to do with the actual situation here anyway.

      • Link

        Because it is othering. Trans is an adjective and not a noun. We are people who happen to be trans. You do not say Whitepeople, Blackpeople, Deafpeople, Gaypeople, etc.

        • Link

          Okay, that does make a bit more sense. Thanks.

    • Link

      Understood. I will try to change my wording in the future. And thank you.

  • Link

    I'd prefer to post to here, less crap seems to crop up.
    So why the hell are you not allowed to be angry at a word? If these people are not offended by this word, why are they using it? Or why do they feel the right to tell someone else to get over it. I'm not afraid of spiders, so should I tell someone who's agoraphobic to get over it?
    Not being trans I have no real say in the matter, but then again being trans gives no one the right to tell you to get over something because it doesn't bother them.

    Really don't know what else to say, your an awesome person and I'm glad I got to meet ya and can call you my friend.

    • Link

      Apparently people have minimal tolerance for those trans* queers who don't like to be content with being referred to by slurs and prefer us to be passive about rampant fetishization of our bodies instead of angry.

      And thank you! I'm really looking forward to hanging out with you again.

  • Link

    Every time the c-boy issue pops up, I have to wonder if people wouldn't be more upset if someone was throwing around the N-word.

    But seriously, man. I'm gonna link these journals to so many people. These are the most well-worded statements I've heard on the topic in a long time. Thank you so much <3

  • Link

    All I can say is: YIKES. It seems to kinda defeat the point of listening to trans people if you only listen to the trans people you already agree with.

    • Link

      I'm not sure what you mean by this in the context of my text.

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        I mean, like, when a gay guy says "I DON'T MIND BEING CALLED A FAGGOT", everyone points to that fella as The Reason 80 other gay people can't be offended anymore. Like every guy who fucks dudes is also a sociological expert/infallible representative of his specific marginalized group.

        (No yeah, whoops. I see how that could have meant pretty much anything, now.)

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          It was a little ambiguous, haha, that is why I wanted to check for clarification. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  • Link

    This is a very good post, thank you for writing it., and especially for taking the time to include the social context I hope some cis people take it to heart. "Just because your one [minority] friend says it about [him/her/them]self doesn't mean YOU get to say it to other people" is a really important thing about slurs, and "c*ntboy" is very definitely that.

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      I cannot wrap my head around the sheer number of cis people who are aggressively informing me that a term isn't offensive to me because it's not meant to be offensive, it's playful, and how I'm being an unreasonable person about this. I really just cannot.

  • Link

    What a lot of people really need to understand-- especially cisgendered people-- is that, to the gay community, transpeople have a tendency to exist as a side-show. There's a saying speaking to these criticisms: "GLBT, in that order of priority."

    The gay community has sort of treated the "T" part of "LGBT" as an addendum, as seen with how seriously the additional gender expressions have been taken to be inclusive. (If the sarcasm didn't communicate well: they don't take it very seriously.) Folks in the gay community will frequently joke about how it's basically become an alphabet soup of identities and whatnot without actually accepting the vivid spectrum of both gender expression and gender identity that exists among their ranks.

    As a transwoman living in what could very easily be described as Gay Mecca-- the San Francisco Bay-- I can tell you that, while my experience isn't necessarily one of harassment and violence, as so many transpeople experience, it hasn't exactly been entirely positive. The vibe I get attending events has a tendency to exhibit a feeling with the equivalent condescension the phrase "that's nice" carries. It could perhaps be the unfortunately twisted psychology of depression that comes with being transgender, but nonetheless, being trans here feels as if you're being supported because folks feel sorry for you.

    Now, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Having some form of empathy thrown my way for the utter pain and misery that has followed me the majority of my life because of the rejection of my gender identity? It's nice to be thought of. It's nice to have someone acknowledge that, yes, I am in fact struggling. I am, in fact, dealing with a series of hardships brought on by something I never really wanted, that being born in the completely wrong body. But being trans in the gay community? That's kind of all it feels like we get.

    Being trans in the gay community feels like someone has stood up to say "hey, they have it bad, too," but doesn't really care enough to do anything about it. It's as if they've snapped their fingers because they forgot to get whipped cream at the supermarket. Oh, darn. Those transpeople still have it bad. Nuts. Maybe deal with it later? I dunno. We've got such a tight budget. Better skip it.

    It's not to say things aren't going forward, though-- a company I'm currently in the rounds with interviewing at here in the bay have an extremely progressive pro-trans policy, down to how their health benefits cover the costs of certain surgeries. Nonetheless, it should certainly be addressed and made very clear that the gay community is not exactly the best ally for the trans community to have, due to their track-record for treating us more as entertainment than a cause to fight for.

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      All of this was very well said, so thank you for including your thoughts on the issue from an additional and very relevant perspective.

  • Link

    I want to thank you. Normally I'm too shy to speak, but I want to say something about this.

    Warning: Possibly triggering

    I'm Trans. Female to Male -- and I'm looking at never being able to change my body the way I want to because of how the systems work. It's expensive as hell, and I'm a very feminine man in the first place. All the research I've done points to only masculine men having even a chance at becoming themselves. A few of my friends know that I am Trans, and I have had to get offended when they decide to call me a "cuntboy." "But you can still have sex, right?" Why do they think it's okay to make me feel like a female fuck toy?

    It sickens me that the majority of the people I've found who are quote, unquote "accepting" of Trans folk do so because "DUDE that's hot" instead of deciding whether you like someone based on their personality. We are not a fetish -- to think so is gross. Yet we are treated as a fetish in so many places. (Fetlife, for example, there are Kinks listed for "Transgender" and "Intersex." I love Fetlife, but that just grinds my gears.)

    People like this are the reason I'm too afraid to be myself in public. When I'm at home with my fiancé, I'm a male. He has trouble using the correct pronouns sometimes, because I don't make people use the right ones outside the home. I'm too afraid of repercussions. I'm trying to build up the guts...

    I don't understand why wanting equality for yourself and others makes you a Social Justice Warrior -- a term said with so much disgust. If you attack those who are not the same just because they do not "struggle as much", then yes you are to be scolded -- everyone struggles with something. However, desiring equality is not a bad thing. Equality is what America was supposed to have for everyone. Not just those you happen to agree with right now.

    Cuntboy, Dickgirl, Shemale, etc. Those are all deplorable terms. I am not my sexual organs. I am a person, with thoughts and feelings and purpose. I do not want to be labeled by something which I do not even want. It reminds me, every time I hear it, that I was not born who I believe I should be. I feel like a mistake.

    There's no easy way to fix that, either.

    • Link

      I'm sorry that you are in such a shitty situation. For what it's worth, depending on where you are in the world (I suspect America since you mentioned it), you may be able to find a clinic that services the LGBT population in a major city near you where you can at least get yourself some HRT if that's something you want. Food for thought.

      The first person who noted me telling me that he's always wanted to mess around with me since he found out I was a trans man and he is totally into that was one too many. It's unfortunate how many other notes along those lines I've gotten.

      Additionally, I find it outrageously presumptuous that someone would assume that a trans man would want to A) have vaginal sex when it is such a huge source of dysphoria for so many of us or B) be on the receiving end of intercourse at all. Some men of course do fit into either or both of those categories, but I just cannot deal with how much of a leap of logic that would be when you are dealing with an individual who has undertaken a social and/or physical transition.

      • Link

        I've been trying to do research on what I can and cannot attain where I live. I'm in Washington state, living with my Fiancé. He's extremely supportive, down to cutting out people who shame me for who I am. He does want me to wait a year or two to actually chase any of this, simply because we are living hand-to-mouth right now. All of our money goes to bills or food. To that end he wants at least one year to save up. Still, I have been trying to figure out what I would be able to get because of how I am. I know I want top surgery at some point, but hormones I'm iffy about -- they can be extremely dangerous, and I'm very feminine in the first place. I don't know that I need them to be happy. My research is conflicting, and some says it's mandatory while other sources say it is only mandatory for a bottom surgery. I, however, am holding out hope for a better form of bottom surgery to be found.

        I've had a number of supportive people, but just the same I've had to explain to many others that I am not a cuntboy. If it's a fetish for someone to imagine characters born that way, I guess I can be okay with that. I've yet to meet anyone who is truly accepting of such terms though -- save for those who were also into it as a fetish. If someone wants to view themselves as a fetish object, that's their life. It does not, however, mean that is the view of the vast majority.

        Honestly, I fit into both categories with my fiancé, because I trust him so much. But he knows my hard limits and boundaries, and he knows what he can and cannot say/do to set me off into dysphoria. Most people just assume that it's a free for all, a sort of "I find you sexy, you should be honored."

        • Link

          I don't know why you say hormones can be extremely dangerous; as far as I know, if you take them under a physician's supervision and do your due diligence about preventative care and being checked up on, there should be no issues. Portland and Seattle more than likely have trans* resources available regardless. Many people suggest that you are on HRT before pursuing top surgery but I definitely know of individuals who have top surgery but nothing else. Some surgeons will only perform surgery if you have been on HRT for at least a year. It really depends on the individual practice and how far they are willing to let informed consent guide their treatment of transgender individuals.

          Also that last sentiment is one I have heard way, way, too often. A lot of trans individuals stay in relationships because they think it is all they are ever going to get. One of the first things my mother said to me after I came out is that "No one will ever want to have sex with you." When my ex cheated on me, it was supposedly because "Well, he's clearly straight, and now that you're a man he doesn't want you." When I pointed out that he cheated on me with another cisman, that became "Obviously he's gay, and you're not a real man." I internalized all of that and tortured myself with it for a really long time, and in some ways I still do, but I have realized that who she would and would not have sex with is not necessarily the same as anyone else's preferences.

          • Link

            I refer to the fact that hormones can have very dangerous side effects if not used correctly. Under a physicians supervision, the risk is drastically reduced. However, there are side effects to anything that could be more dangerous for one individual than another. There is still some amount of risk involved in HRT.

            I'll have to look into seeing if I can find resources up here. I'll also have to work on getting up the guts to actually go. Fear holds me back.

            Thank you for taking the time to write this PSA, and for talking to me as well.

  • Link

    Yep I agree. Part of the reason I actually left FurAffinity is because of people calling my character (and other trans man characters) a cuntboy (because he is completely me except for the fact that he's uh, a bird..deer..thing) and so I kept the FTM aspect of myself in my fursona. Whenever I tried bringing up the fact that "cuntboy" is in fact a SLUR, people became transphobe apologists and tried to say things like "it's just the name of a fetish omg calm down." Excuse you but I'm not comfortable with my character's body (MINE, actually) being part of someone's fetish and being called rude things like he-she and cuntboy. I'm fine with people being intotrans people, but they need to remember that we are PEOPLE first and we deserve basic respect like everyone else.