This came out a while ago and while I immediately commented on Youtube about it, it has kept me thinking. In the video, they talk about how not wanting to be a transgender person isn’t transphobic. At the time, I said that it could be transphobic, depending on the motivation. Is getting rejected just because someone isn’t into you transphobic? Hell no. Can someone be transphobic if they reject you because you’re trans? Maybe, but in most cases no. I still feel that this issue is more complicated than they show in the video. They glaze right over it, even though it’s one of the biggest issues trans women have in the lesbian community.
I’ve talked about this issue previously, how trans women are tolerated within the lesbian community but not accepted—regardless of how much you “pass.” You could look like a cis female, have GCS (SRS), and blend right in, but if you’re transgender you will never overcome that. Lesbian maintain that they’re not interested in dick and that’s valid. I’m not into dick either, so I can’t expect any other lesbians would be either. So in the case of rejecting a pre-op trans woman because you want to be with a girl with a cunt, sure. No problem. That’s not transphobic. This is where it gets frustrating for trans women, though. Hear this bit out.
First of all, trans women aren’t going to force you down. They’re not going to force their penis onto or into you. My biggest issue is the presentation by lesbians of trans women being rapists because that’s how they repeatedly presented us. They even have gone so far as to claim that they know someone or know someone who knows someone that has been coerced into sex with a trans woman who used her penis, despite her partner’s protests. Well, I can’t disprove that this doesn’t happen, but I know I would never do this and I know many trans women personally who would hate using their penis during sex. That doesn’t mean that all trans women do. If a trans woman wants to use her penis, that’s strictly between her partner and herself. Again, I can’t prove that there aren’t trans women out there raping lesbians because there probably is a minority. Unfortunately, the same can be said about cis lesbians. There are rapists in every population. It’s not fair to paint an entire population as being rapists due to the actions of a few.
But let me reiterate for you: not wanting to have sex with a woman who has a penis doesn’t make you transphobic. Okay? Okay. And lesbians don’t owe anything to trans women to give them a shot. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. This is also where things get murky fast. Let’s say that a lesbian is interested in a trans woman—and believe it or not, this does happen—does that mean that the lesbian has a fetish? Let me say this, so it’s clear: NO. A fetish isn’t required to date or even have sex with a trans woman. This is where a lot of trans women get angry. The moment we’re reduced to a fetish is the moment we’re not women—not people—anymore. We’re objectified. Still, a lot of lesbians I talk to about this subject maintain that a fetish is required. You can’t just be with a woman who happens to be trans, you have to be “into that kinda thing.” This thinking looks down on trans women and their partners, turning their attraction into something darker, deviant. This is definitely transphobic. It’s fair to not want to be with a trans woman. It isn’t fair to criticize lesbian trans women or their partners, though.
It goes deeper. Specifically in this video, lesbians told me that even if a trans woman looks cis and had GCS (SRS), they still wouldn’t date them because they used to have a penis. This starts to get a bit obscure. Is this transphobic? It’s one thing that if a trans woman still looks like her original sex. It’s one thing if she has a penis. It’s another if she looks like a woman completely and doesn’t have a penis anymore. For all intensive purposes, she’ll be like any cis woman in bed. Yet some lesbians maintain that they wouldn’t want to have sex with a post-op trans woman. More alarmingly, they said that if one of their previous sexual partners came out as being trans, they would call it rape. Rape is a serious issue and rape culture is everywhere. But can someone retroactively call a sexual experience rape because they found out later something about them? Even if they were completely willing and consensual in the moment? I would personally say no. In fact, this kind of reaction is what we call the trans fear argument. There is a gay equivalent. Typically, it’s for violence directed as transgender individuals when their sexual partner reacts negatively when they find out their sexual partner is transgender. That any act of violence or damage caused isn’t their fault because the trans person is trans. There’s really no getting around this one: it’s transphobic.
Recently, I’ve been made aware of a little Facebook group called Gender Identity Watch, founded and run by Cathy Brennan. Those of you who are unaware, Cathy Brennan is a TERF (Trans* Exclusionary Radical Feminist). As a feminist, I find myself appalled to use TERF because it’s so divisive and I simply didn’t want to believe that such a feminist could exist. Feminism is all about unity: a collection of women of all walks of life and experiences. I was taught under third wave feminists, though. Some feminists never got out of the 70s. Some still think that The Transsexual Empire is a good source for information. I still believe there’s hope for everyone, though. Even people who are misinformed can be informed and change their mind. I refuse to believe otherwise because I know there’s good in everyone.
Now, the problem with Gender Identity Watch is that it’s under the guise of a transgender news and support group—a lot of trans* people have mistaken it for one, at least. I’ve spoken with the admin, which I assume may be Cathy Brennan herself, because she seems to have nothing better to do than google people. That’s what inspired this post. She googled me and found my Tumblr. She used it as leverage to try to scare me away, except I’m not ashamed of my Tumblr. She used the knowledge that I was a trans woman as ammunition against me, but again: not ashamed. I’m not in the closet and nor am I stealth. I am open about being transgender. I pointed out that this basic form of terrorism simply won’t work on me. My employer, all of my friends, and all of my family know that I’m both transgender and a lesbian. They won’t care. Aside from her making up lies, which I wouldn’t be surprised if she did; she isn’t above name calling, insults, and dominate, patriarchal behavior. She tried shaming me, calling me a racist, and a homophobe. She called me a racist because I pointed out how most of her posts on Gender Identity Watch revolved around rich, white women—which they do and shows that she’s stuck in the second wave. Somehow that makes me a racist. And how am I a homophobe? I simply talked to her. It’s a common insult she throws in the face of anyone who tries to talk to her on Gender Identity Watch.
But here’s some truth: Cathy Brennan, while vocal and toxic to the transgender community, is one woman with very little support in the feminist community. Most of them openly shun her. Her group has been labeled a hate group and has been banned at most feminist events. Third wave feminism included the poor, minorities, and queer people into the mix. Even though Cathy is a lesbian herself, she often uses her sexual orientation as a crutch than a source of agency—another herald of second wave feminism. I’m proud of who I am. I’m a trans woman. I speak for the trans women who are scared to. All of the women in the closet. My gender identity isn’t a crutch, it’s the source of my strength. I’m not ashamed of who I was because I wouldn’t be the strong woman I am today without growing up as I did. Nothing I do will change that I was born male, but nothing Cathy Brennan can say can deny my womanhood.
So I was Browsing the St. Cloud State Tag and I gathered that you either go there and I'm considering it for college and I was just wondering if you could tell me some of the good and bad stuff about it that you cant really get from the website. and I plan on Majoring in Graphic Design so anything you can tell me about the program would be great as well.
Sorry, I haven’t been active for a while. Not sure if your question is still relevant to you, but I’ll answer it anyway!
Personally, I enjoy the energy of St. Cloud State. It has a nice atmosphere and it’s really cool to meet new people with such diverse backgrounds. SCSU is also very active in the community, promoting a lot of interesting speakers that come to the school. Also, the student union is pretty cool—the Quarry is like stepping into the 80s, though. Crime is a bit of a problem at night, though. Never go out alone.
Also, I really enjoy the teachers that work in the graphic design classes. You’ll love Julie. She was very supportive of me and my transition and always made me feel like I had talent. She goes above and beyond her role as professor. You start off learning the basics, which is good. Despite what you think, graphic design has a lot of work off the computer. Learning to draw, sketch, and put together ideas off the computer will be key to succeeding in the higher level courses.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of shit this past year. I’ve mostly been trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. I spent the last four months in a haze. I think I’m beginning to step out of it, though. I’m having a moment of clarity and I decided to capitalize on it. Back to internship hunting I go. I’m taking another semester to get my shit together and really get working on this.
I decided to start posting everything I do to my portfolio. Everything. It’s electronic, so I don’t have to worry that much. I think it’s important to abuse this blog format to my advantage. I should allow possible employers to see all of my creative sides, so they know my personality and how they would use me in their organization. It seems silly that I hadn’t thought of this before. Seriously…
Also, I was such a drama queen in my last post. It was hardly a break-up. I had a thing with this guy, but it didn’t go anywhere. That was all that happened. That post is so embarrassing now.
When dealing with a break-up, the best people to have are those you already know. Your friends will comfort you, make you laugh, and make the sadness melt away like a spring rain. You can get better and they will help. My heart make be broken, but it will heal with laughter, smiles, and community.
Ah yay! You're back on tumblr! I was hoping you'd come back, I always love reading your posts.
Yay! I have a fan. I just try to post about things that are important to me. Sometimes I try to educate people on the transgender experience. Anything to increase empathy, especially within the LGBT community. It’s nice to have someone who isn’t LGBT that enjoys my posts too.
Perhaps the biggest problem I face is community. Everyone needs one and most people have one, whether they’re large or small. Ever since coming out, I’ve felt kind of like a stray, wandering around on my own. The truth is that I’ve been alone for a long time, I just didn’t realize or care. It didn’t matter to me because I was okay with the solitude—or at least that’s what I told myself. I didn’t trust anyone. It didn’t feel like anyone would or could understand me.
After coming out and joining a support group for transgendered people, I began to realize how lonely I really was and how strong I was trying to be. Trying and failing. I made some friends, but something still felt like it was missing. The group really didn’t create a community. It was just a group of people that showed up once a week.
I continued to wander alone, unsure of what I was actually searching for. I had friends that I would meet with, but it wasn’t the same. Not even my family understood me and I often felt like a stranger in my parents’ house. At the end of the last semester, I started attending the LGBT Alliance at my university and I thought, “Perhaps this is what I’ve been looking for.” I was doubtful, however, and I still lacked that feeling.
I’ve tried getting involved with the lesbian community, but I feel so foreign there. It’s not just me, but it just felt like I wasn’t wanted. I’m not saying it’s fair, but I understand why. It’s my curse being both trans and lesbian because I understand both sides. It isn’t fair that I’m subconsciously avoided because I was born male and lesbians like women. Isn’t fair, but it is what it is and I actually do get it. There was even a time that I considering dropping the lesbian identity from my personality and just saying “I like girls” instead. I realized that it wouldn’t solve any problems, though. I’m a girl who likes girls: a lesbian. I’m just a special kind of lesbian.
So I continue to walk alone, looking for a place I can be accepted as I am. I haven’t found it yet. I only found places that accept parts of me and not the whole of me.
As some of you may know, my name is Alison. I used to go by “Ali” for short, but apparently people kept getting confused on how to pronounce it. They would pronounce it like a certain prince from Aladdin. I’m not sure why it was that confusing, considering that I’m a girl, but I changed it. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being trans. I’ve only had this name for less than a year, so I can still decide to change it if I want to.
So what’s the big, new nickname? It’s “Allie.” What? Were you expecting a huge change or something? I just switched it to add emphasis to the “l” sound in my name, so people actually understand from the start. Ohhhhhh… So you pronounce it like the girl’s name. Uh, yeah.
Yes, I know that I’m silly, but I also know that my followers love me because I’m silly. See you on my next entry, my lovelies.