Parton Me: I Thought Doing A Trans-Specific Post On Trans March Would Be A Good Idea But I May Have Made A Terrible Mistake
For all ya’ll who do not have a Facebook, and thus can’t access the event, arrive at Dolores Park and look for all the people wearing purple armbands, bandanas, and making signs that say “Free CeCe” on them. If you send me an email with your number, I will call you on Trans March and tell you where to meet us.
A little fun fact about WordPress, for those who do not have one: the Dashbord feature of WP tells you what search engine terms people have used to stumble across your blog posts. My post about boycotting the Pride parade apparently comes up whenever you google Sarah Silverman and Pride in the same search. I also get a lot of hits from people looking for Dan Savage and the porno flick “Piledriving Miss Daisy”.
Look at my life. Look at my choices.
But never mind that shit.
Dear Ms Parton,
I have a concern that could use semi-professional advice. I hate nearly all trans men. I am a trans man–well, you could call me that.
This past year it was revealed that a local Women’s Health Clinic started doing masculinizing hormone therapy provisions (under informed consent protocols) and nonjudgmental gynecological and other health care for trans men and trans male people. They as of today do not provide similar care to trans women and trans female people. They provide counseling services to all women, and all trans people. I had an issue last year where I thought I was going to lose my hormone access so I asked a friend and local trans masc activist of some import about this women’s health clinic because I knew he started going there. I stupidly assumed quite incorrectly if they were going to be cool with the trans bros, surely they couldn’t be being dicks to trans women? In the end even before knowing of their ridiculously stupid and offensive trans lady care lacuna, I was 99% sure I would rather go off hormones than go to a women’s health clinic. More recently a few local trans women have organized together and brought to light that this queer supported and often highly touted clinic doesn’t do feminizing hormones and physicals and blood work for people incorrectly assumed male at birth. Part of what potentiated their response is the person I mentioned earlier was promoting (along with a few other people) a few fundraisery bar events to benefit the clinic. When trans woman A brought her concerns to light, I’m sure you can imagine the mansplaining, cissplaining, condescending, covering up, etc that went on to obfuscate the fact that it’s REALLY REALLY fucked up for a women’s health clinic which touts itself on its website as having a “trans greater access program” and serving “trans people”, apparently did not see the need to provide services to roughly half of who “TRANS PEOPLE” covers. The website now says they expect to start a pilot program for feminizing hormone care in September.
But what I can’t get over and am still reeling from is how the testosterbro in question refused to see how his event and the promotion of it as “for the trans community” was just the usual douchbaggery trans women and trans female people (and in some lizard hind brain of myself) have come to eye-rollingly expect from trans men.
Now, granted, I have had a great patient and hand holdy education from many trans women I’ve known over the years going all the way back to a certain “sex positive trans friendly girl-centered” punk rock message board I used to hang out on. I realize that a lot of recent bros haven’t had this and if they never get their heads out of their asses never will.
I like trans organizing. I like working with a broad spectrum of trans people to shall we say, topple the kyriarchy. I feel a special kinship with lesbian trans women, who I have started at least 7 unfinished craigslist misc romance posts asking if they would be BFF collectively with me.
Even more recently it’s come to light that other nationally prominent trans bros are tracks covering craven abusers and rapists.
AT TIMES I CONSIDER DETRANSITIONING THIS IS SO UPSETTING.
I can’t imagine myself going off the grid and being an all-but cis man. That would fit with part of my internal identity but not with my social justice-y side. But why are there so many awful trans men? How can I convince them not to be? How do I make friends with local trans women without seeming creepy?
PLEASE SEND HALP.
I believe you may be suffering from what I call “Highlander Syndrome”. Highlander Syndrome is the hatred of every other person who shares a particular common interest with you. I have been a vegetarian for three years and I hate other vegetarians. I received a Deborah Madison cookbook as a gift and I have yet to open it, because that would require I lift about 60 pounds of junk off of it, which would defeat the purpose of putting that junk there in the first place, which is to protect me from the evil that lurks within. Once I open it, it’s only a matter of time before I find myself at a table with other vegetarians, having the “who’s been veg the longest and has the most animal-friendly lifestyle” conversation to see who wins the honor of lecturing the virtues of kale to the meat-eater.
There are so many awful trans men because there are so many awful cis men. To be awful without fear of reprehension is a privilege of having privilege. All we can do is check privilege. Where rhetoric and polite discourse have failed me, checking mine and other’s privilege has yielded results.
Simply responding to a shitty comment with “—– privilege!” can be effective. Before you or any one else accuses me of shaming people in public, there is no shame in admitting you were wrong and speaking/acting out of privilege. Doing so gracefully can turn scorn into respect. In some cases, it can be the smartest thing you’ve said to date.
Trans women need to fill the gaps that are instead filled with trans men. We need to locate and identify areas/spaces/causes in which trans men are the only trans* folk speaking on behalf of the trans* community and speak up in those spaces.
We are not just the feminine counterpart to transbro activists. We have our own experiences, language, and relation to community. This need be made clear. Even if it means showing up uninvited to Buck Angel-and-Lucas Silveira-tete-a-tetes and shouting “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! YOUR COVER OF CRY ME A RIVER WAS PRETTY GOOD BUT NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.”
So much of this, I feel, would be greatly remedied with a widely distributed trans-feminine spectrum focused zine in the vein of Original Plumbing and Dude. And come on, girls: if your space/blog/project lacks a token trans guy, you do not need to seek one out. Especially if that trans guy is still a major organizer in queer women/feminist spaces.
Trans women need to resist and overcome the rape culture of trans men activists. We need to hold abusers/predators/rapists with the fervor that some cis women out and persecute trans women who attend MichFest.
I am not implying that rape and trans men are mutually exclusive. I have had nonconsensual sex with a trans woman before and it feels bad, man.
We need to spread the word, through blog posts, through fliers, through picket signs, each according to their means, on medical providers who keep trans men under the umbrella of “women’s care” but leave trans women to brave the storm alone.
All of these things, and others, need to be done by trans women, supported by trans women and held accountable by trans women. And they are. All o’er the land.
I don’t mean to tell trans women what to do, but rather affirm that these things are being done and I think it’s rad.
If you want to make friends with trans women, I would recommend finding ways to get involved in these projects/initiatives and find ways to support them WITHOUT TAKING UP SPACE.
If you find yourself speaking in the stead of a trans woman, or saying “well, I think you guys should”
You may have gone too far.
Is your privilege showing?
Be kind, rewind.
I’m not sure how to advise you on making new friends. Especially when the objective, as it seems from your question, is to make friends with someone of a different background/identity than you. Lots of people do this. Even me. Swept up in my outrage in white women shedding their White Woman Tears™, that most precious of natural resources, over CeCe McDonald’s sentencing, I reached out to certain trans women of color to offer my friendship, and only realized, after many an OkCupid message had been sent, that my face was smothered in White Woman Tears™.
I am, in subtle ways, a real scumbag.
“But an awesome scumbag!” according to a prominent TWOC blogger.
So I’m not sure where to point you re: making friends.
Maybe you and me can form a study group. A friendship cabal! SOON THE ARCANE MACHINATIONS OF THIS WITCHCRAFT WILL BE MADE VISIBLE!
Seriously, though. I’ll be your friend. Promise.
I’m sorry if this answer lacks caloric content.
Today is Trans March.
I hate Trans March.
I hate having to lie to get off work, knowing pictures of me in San Francisco will be publicly available.
I hate having longtime friends pretend they’ve just met me because they don’t want to introduce me to the people they came there with.
I hate how it falls on my shot day, and what was once an exercise in trust and care with my partner has now turned into another necessary evil to meet my requirements of how I should be living as a woman. Every year I wipe my tears, put a bandaid on my ass and shamble to a park where I exhaustedly compare myself to the thousands of my better dressed, better looking, and better recognized peers.
Every year I tell myself that next year, I will perform with a band on the stage. And then I spend 11 months telling myself that I suck, that nobody should hear what I have to say, and that I’d be doing the community a favor by just not participating in any capacity.
Maybe someone will take a flattering picture of me with my current hairdo that I can be happy with.
If I had to end this post on a witticism, I would say
If I want to enjoy pride, I need to learn to be proud of myself.
Feel free to tell me to stop writing these at firstname.lastname@example.org