Dear LGBTQ+ Activists, STOP IGNORING TRANS MEN!
I’ve tried to keep quiet about this topic because every other time I’ve tried to bring it up I have been essentially told to sit down and shut up or that I’m no better than a cis man trying to pull a “what about men?” derailments.
Now, before I get into this I want to remind everyone that trans women are women, and trans men are men. This article is about my feelings and experiences dealing with being transgender and the walls I have been running into when dealing with feminists, non-feminists, anti-feminists, MRAs, members of the manosphere, and just people in general.
I see stories about trans women in the news quite often, as well as stories about them on various media outlets, from feminist sources to anti-feminist sources. The problem I have with that is that stories about trans men are far rarer and often are only “newsworthy” when the trans man has fully transitioned.
I hear talks about the bathroom bills going around, and when I try to speak up about my fears of using the bathroom matching my gender vs the extreme discomfort and even fear of using the bathroom matching what I currently look like, I get frowned upon as if I am taking away from the conversation about trans women….even though the bathroom bills affect both trans men and trans women.
I have been catcalled and harassed for using the bathroom matching my gender.
I have been harassed and yelled at for using the women’s bathroom because people either assume I’m a trans woman and that makes them uncomfortable, or I’m a trans man and I don’t belong in there.
Fuck, even using the family bathrooms gets me fucking yelled at because those are for families and how dare I take up the bathroom for just myself?
When I try to speak up during discussions about reproductive rights, I have actually been told that the majority of people who become pregnant are cis women, so that is why trans men are pretty much excluded. Never mind the fact that we can and do become pregnant. Never mind that we can and do develop breast cancer at the same rate as cis women. Never mind the fact that until we have had a fucking hysterectomy we still have periods and have to deal with the same physical shit that cis women do. Since we’re a minority we apparently don’t matter in the discussion as much.
Heck, that was the main reason I stopped volunteering for Planned Parenthood. I tried bringing up the fact that we were excluding trans men like myself and basically got told, “Be quiet, we’re talking about the people that matter”.
Let that sink in for a moment. Because up until very recently, trans men were actually excluded from the conversation about reproductive rights, yet somehow we’re the bad guy if we try to bring up that we can and do experience a lot of the same things cis women experience in their daily lives until we have fully transitioned.
I think one of my biggest stress points is that if I try to speak out about trans men among most feminists, I’m looked down on for “taking away” from the fights cis and trans women are dealing with. If I try to bring up issues that I deal with as a trans man in feminist groups, I basically get told to stop speaking about men’s issues and that I am trying to derail the conversation…even if I am the one who started the fucking conversation! I get treated as if I am a cis man who has lived as a man his entire life and that I am trying to worm my way into people’s private spaces. Forget the fact that I still deal with many of the same issues as cis women deal with, or that I’m trying to point out that we’re excluding a chunk of the population who also need help with various things that cis women also need help with…I’m just that evil fucking man over there.
I have even been told that since I am a man, I can not be a feminist.
I have yet to be told when I stopped being a feminist, since I did have to live most of my life as a woman and I have only been out as a trans man for a few years. Can someone tell me when my feminist membership expired and when my male privilege package will arrive? I have given birth, I have bled, I have lived like they have, but now that I’m a man, I’m suddenly an enemy.
Even among men’s rights groups or men’s groups, I and other trans men are looked down on as “lesser” men and we have to fight extra hard to be treated even close to equally. If I try to bring up my issues with the majority of cis men, I’m laughed at and told I’m not a real man. I’m told I’m just trying to get in on their little club, or that I’m never going to be good enough to be a real man. I get told that I’m actually just a butch woman, and to “get back in the kitchen” (don’t care if they are just joking around, it hurts).
I have to fight tooth and nail for recognition pretty much every day. Outside of fully transitioned trans men, I hear the same story over and over about how they have to constantly fight to not be excluded or overlooked.
Yes, this makes me bitter. Yes, this makes me feel like trans women are “hogging” the spotlight and the news when it comes to trans issues (even though I know it’s not their fault but society at large pushing an old and outdated narrative). Yes, I get tired of being told to sit down and shut up when I try to bring up trans men’s issues when discussing trans issues. Transgender issues are not just trans women issues, so when I get told to be quiet or that I’m trying to impose my will on others by talking about trans men’s issues…I get fucking pissed off.
Up until recently, as a trans man, I have found it difficult to find resources to help me with how to deal with my dysphoria, workouts to help achieve a more “masculine” body (the search results used to actually ask me if I meant trans women workouts), and my selection of tools such as packers and binders are still quite small. When compared to the resources that trans women have, it leaves me feeling quite overlooked and ignored.
If I try to bring up an issue that trans men deal with, I have to work extra hard to prove that I deserve to speak. I’m treated as someone who has full blown male privilege while also having full blown female stigma.
I can’t fucking win for mother fucking losing!
Feminists get angry with me because I bring up “men’s issues”, even if they are the same fucking thing as women’s issues. If I bring up that trans men deal with period problems, or cramping, or breast cancer fears, it’s as if I’m speaking some sort of alien language and all they are hearing is me screaming, “WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?!”
Anti-feminists tend to just dismiss me when I bring up issues trans men deal with, because of whatever pet reason they have for the week. Usually it’s the sex equals gender bullshit and trying to talk with them is like trying to talk to a dog that has chased and caught a parked car.
Manospherians tend to just dismiss me as someone who is not “man enough” and so my issues don’t count, because as we all know, only manly men get to speak about things, and manly men don’t talk about their problems!
I am fucking tired of standing in the shadow of other people, especially other trans people who then like to play the oppression Olympics when I call them out on their fucking shit. I’m tired of the fucking double standard that is applied to trans people, where trans women have apparently NEVER experienced male privilege (which is true, I will go into more detail in a bit), and yet trans men apparently have never experienced female stigma and have always had male privilege…yeah, my package apparently got lost in the fucking mail.
EDIT: I have done some MASSIVE edits to this next part, and I would like to state that even with the edits, it does not cover the issue fully and sadly does leave some things out. This topic is way more complicated than a simple blog post can cover, and comes down to forced socialization and upbringing, and having to unlearn old things and learn new ones. It has to do with the forcing of a binary and the expectations of what is a legitimate man vs a legitimate woman on trans people.
My issue is that while trans women don’t have male privilege, they were forcefully socialized as a man, and so will have certain thought patterns and traits that are considered “male” due to the forced socialization by others. She will have aspects of what people would refer to as “male privilege” even though it is remnants of forced male socialization. Not to mention, the parts of “male privilege” that are pushed on them aren’t something they want or ask for. But this is not on her, this is on society pushing it upon her when she doesn’t want it. She is a woman, so it is wrong for her to be forced to be something else.
But to turn around and ignore all of that, to ignore that trans men are forcefully socialized to be female, and are forced to deal with female stigma, and to claim that the moment they come out they have full blown “male privilege” is cruel and hypocritical.
Because of being forcefully socialized to be women, trans men have learned behaviors and patterns of thoughts that are considered female, which they have to overcome and unlearn, just like trans women do with theirs. It’s not easy, and it is exceptionally difficult to unlearn certain social actions, both my ex-fiance and I have been learning this as we journey through our transition together. She absolutely hates it when the remnants of her forced male socialization come through, because she feels she is not a “proper woman” and it causes her distress. She also hates that people listen to her more than they listen to me if we’re talking with them because I still look 100% female because she looks more “man” to them than I do. It’s not her fault, nor is it my fault that this happens, but it still gets really frustrating to be constantly reminded that I am not a man in their eyes because of my looks and mannerisms.
Because I was raised as a woman, even though I knew I was a man around the age of 8, I have experienced female stigma, even if I am not a woman. The problem is that people see female body and assume female. Because of periods, breast growth, pregnancy, and all the others, it has been noticeably harder to be taken seriously as a trans man than I feel is necessary. It only enforces the gender binary, erases intersex people, and tells people that if they don’t conform to the desires of the majority (status quo) then they aren’t legitimate people. I will be covering the push for trans men to engage in hyper and toxic masculinity at a later time.
Yes, once trans men fully transition they begin to see and experience male privilege. There is no denying that, just as when a trans woman fully transitions she will begin to experience and see female stigma without the interference of forced male socialization and “male privilege”. We’ve seen countless articles about trans men coming to terms with it, and how differently they are treated when people finally realize they are men. Again, this is not on the part of the trans people, it is on the part of society trying to force societal norms based on arbitrary views of appearance and gender.
As it stands currently, the ONLY time I experience anything even relating to male privilege is when I’m 100% online, with a male avatar, and no one can see my body or hear my voice. It is only then that people believe I’m actually a man, and not a woman playing the part of a man.
There’s a huge fucking difference though when it comes to how cis people interact with trans men. There are far too many cis women who assume or push the narrative that the MOMENT a trans man comes out, he will have full blown male privilege and has never dealt with female stigma. I have even found myself thrown under the bus by some trans women during my postings about the exclusion of trans men (See this article for an example). While the vast majority of trans women (like over 90% of them) have been nothing but awesome and supportive of all other members of the trans community, there are several who have bought into the cis talking points and sadly use it to score points and be viewed a certain way. It helps no one to push old and outdated narratives, nor does it help anyone to push the status quo when it is damaging to all parties. In my perspective, it feels like they are upset they were treated that way, and they now want others to suffer like they did. This might not be the case, as I said, this is my perception of their reactions and my interpretation of their statements.
Because of forced social norms and expectations placed on people due to their bodies (something they can’t control) trans men have to fight for the very privilege that trans women don’t want, and yet somehow WE’RE the fucking bad guys. Yes, there are a handful of trans women who still utilize the parts of forced male socialization to help themselves at the detriment of others, but that is not on trans women as a whole, nor is it due to them specifically but that sadly it is the only way they will be listened to. It isn’t by choice that they do it, but by survival. Trans men have to fucking fight to break away from the female stigma that permeates our very existence, and yet there are people who will flat out deny that we have ever in our lives experienced it…all because we’ve come out as a fucking man.
I am fucking tired of having to fight on all fronts.
I am fucking tired of having to fight just to prove I am WORTHY of being treated as a human being.
But most of all, I’m just fucking tired…