Archive for the ‘trans narratives’ Category
*Crossposted from My Blog.*
Lately I’ve been re-evaluating my concepts of “trans identity.”
I just read a post on the excellent blog Critique Of Popular Reason, about the use of trans and cis as adjectives rather than prefixes, which has sort of guilted me into cleaning up my use of the terms and being more meaningful in what I intend to convey when I use them.
I admit I’ve been haphazard in writing trans woman, transwoman, cis man, cis-man and so on. I’ve always realized in the back of my mind that each way of writing trans or cis represents a slightly different understanding of the terms, but I didn’t think it a big deal. Well, I do now, so the inconsistency stops today.
Here is what I’ve come to realize: As much as I talk about myself being a trans woman, I don’t honestly think of my being trans as an “identity”… so much as a description of my personal history.
I do not experience being trans in the same way I experience being black, for instance. For me, being black is very much an identity experience based on shared cultural experiences, shared language, and shared history having been born and raised in the United States among other black people. I am black not just because I am readable as black, not just because I was “assigned” to be black by larger society based upon my readability as black, and not just because that is how I am expected to identify my race on government documents and other demographic tracking forms. I am also black because my mama is black, because my family is black, because I am descended from the African Diaspora, and largely, perhaps ultimately, because I was “raised” black and because I am recognizable to other black people as black.
I do not feel quite the same way about being trans. For me, at least for right now, I am trans only because I was born into a society based on a truly shitty premise: that one’s reproductive organs predict and define the way in which you will experience yourself, that your genitals predict and define who and what you are, who and what you must grow up to be. I am trans because I was born into society that refuses to acknowledge the obvious fact that for many many people there is no direct correlation between their reproductive organs and the gendered bodies and the identities in which they find their most valid form of self expression.
To put it more simply… Society does not allow for being born with a penis and NOT feeling like that has anything to do with anything… other than having been born with a penis. That existing with a penis between your legs does not MAKE you feel like, think like, act like or identify as male… even when that same society makes every effort to force you to do exactly that,with its armada of rewards and punishments. (Of course the same is true of being born with a vagina and not feeling that necessarily connected to one’s being a woman).
Following this frame of reference, If I am to accept being trans as my identity then I must accept an identity which is based upon society imposing upon me its definition of me, externally, an identity with seemingly no other defining criteria than this particular experience of imposition. For me, an identity has to be based on much more than being in the same crappy boat as a lot of other people. I could define being black that way if I wanted… but I do not experience being black that way. For me, being black is a much fuller and more complex experience than a mere description of my racial phenotype and cultural history. I feel the same way about being a woman, as well. There is actually much more to my being a woman than other people’s perception of me and treatment of me as a woman. Or even a black woman.
But for being trans.. at this stage of my self-awareness journey anyways, it feels like something that is entirely about other people’s perception of me as trans, a mere description of my life trajectory having been assigned to be one gender but I vetoed and invalidated that assignment in favor of my own contrary self-knowledge and need.
I’m sure there is a much fuller experience of trans than what I list above. Certainly there is a unifying theme of the (apparently) uncommon drive to fly in the face of society’s explicit demands for conformity in favor of one’s own self-knowing. Time and again, I have experienced firsthand that instant bond of recognition and empathy between persons which is born of people living the same oppression. Especially, when it comes to being trans. I have definitely experienced community among my fellow trans people… so why do I feel so keenly that while being trans identifies my life experiences, it is not my identity?
Is it due to internalized transphobia of some sort? I know as I read this thru and come back to add this paragraph, what I’m saying sounds an awful lot like similar protestations I’ve heard: ”Being gay doesn’t define meeee, I’m just someone who happens to experience homosexual attractions…” etc. No that is not what I mean at all, I hope.
What I think I mean is that … so MUCH of my life, even to this day, actually revolves around accomodating the social consequences of my being trans…. but is mere oppression enough reason to take it on as an identity?
Personally, I feel I experience MUCH more blatant oppression around my trans status than I do with race. As far as life challenges go, being trans has been many times more difficult than being black and I probably think about it way more than I do race or any other zone of marginalization I live within. But is that due to my having a more multi-dimensional understanding of my blackness (identity, culture) than I do my transness (burden, stigma)? Or is it because I am loathe to acknowledge areas of privilege in my other identities (do I not experience being black as terribly oppressive simply because I am relatively privileged as far as my blackness goes, e.g. being light skinned, being middle-class, being from the U.S. etc…?) and wish only to attach the grand title of ”identity” to areas in my life I feel I can be more “proud” of?
Is it a lack of self-awareness or lack of appreciation for the complexity and positive reward of trans experience?
I’m not sure.. but these are questions that consume me on the daily. I am determined to sort this all out
So something a lot of trans people talk around while discussing transition, hormones, surgery, and other technologies we may or may not access is the idea of dysphoria or dysmorphia or dissonance. That is, the clash between what your body appears to be and what you know your body should be. Trying to maintain this dichotomy is known to be harmful trans people’s mental health.
I don’t know where this dysphoria comes from, or what causes it, but I’m not interested in the etiology. I have no idea whether trans people are socialized into being trans or it has a genetic cause, or a developmental cause, but then neither does anyone else. Being trans has no known etiology and everyone who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something. So just forget about etiology now. Work on practical needs. The DSM-IV-TR describes diagnostic criteria for gender identity disorder as:
A. A strong and persistent cross-gender identification (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex). In children, the disturbance is manifested by four (or more) of the following:
repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex
in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing
strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex
intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex
strong preference for playmates of the other sex
B. Persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex.
C. The disturbance is not concurrent with a physical intersex condition.
D. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
First of all, these criteria are completely cissexist (and allows for no one outside the binary), but that’s not really the point. I also think that many cis and trans people miss the language in D. that says “clinically significant distress or impairment.” A lot of cis people like to theorize all kinds of things about trans people and our lives, why we transition. And the popular narrative is a kind of softer, defanged narrative that says “All my life I felt I was assigned the wrong sex.” Said in any number of ways. But this narrative, however it’s worded, fails to convey what this is like.
What it is like for me is pain. It is the pain of having your skin wrapped badly around your body, fitting awkwardly at best. Reminding you that everything is wrong whenever you move, whenever you go to the toilet, whenever you undress, whenever you shower, whenever you wake up, whenever you go to bed, whenever you see a mirror. It is a constant pain. Everything reminds you of it – the pronouns others use for you, the name others use for you. The clothes you wear.
It’s like living in a world where everything is made of sandpaper and it’s always grinding into your skin – your skin that does not fit your body.
You know what your body should be like, should look like. That you have parts you should not and do not have parts that you should. Your body does not behave like it should, move like it should, smell like it should. Your skin is the wrong texture. Puberty changes your body in ways that alienate you further from your own ill-fitting skin. Your voice is wrong, your face is wrong, your chest is wrong, body hair and facial hair are wrong. Some of your internal organs are wrong. In some ways, your skeleton is wrong.
This is not about “I want to play with dolls, wear dresses, go to the hairdresser, go shopping, wear makeup,” or any other insulting and superficial characterizations of trans women’s femininity. That is placing the cart before the horse. What it’s about is this pain and doing what it takes to ease the pain. And you learn that all you do is ease the pain. Because it never stops. The romanticized stories of transition to surgery and a woman happily after? Those are the approved narratives that were told to the public. They were shaped to cis expectations.
But the truth is that it is still difficult. Hormones help a lot. After a time, your skin fits a lot better, but you can still see and feel and hear every single flaw. Flaws that cis people may never notice (but many will helpfully point to other flaws you may have missed!). Sometimes you might not even be able to judge what or how you look because the flaws you can see dominate everything else. But, just in case you happen to forget this even for a little while, you are reminded of the entirely naturalized idea that being trans is such an abject state you deserved to be mocked and attacked – even killed – just for daring to exist, daring to make peace with your own body. Even surgery (any surgery) does not fix this, fix the fact that you live in a transphobic – a trans hating – society. While it can do wonders for your comfort in your skin, it does not always do wonders for your history of living with dysphoria, or even correct all the dysphoria you have now.
Medical transition is the only treatment that helps. Medications don’t, electroshock therapy doesn’t, adminstration of hormones for your CASAB doesn’t work, psychotherapy doesn’t, nothing else works. They have all been tried.
And I am sick and tired of reading cis people’s extremely uninformed beliefs about why trans people are trans, and the motivations they believe we have for transitioning. You’re all fucking wrong: It’s pain.
Edit: One commenter suggested my writing universalized this a bit. This is my description of my experiences, and I am glad if others identify with similar or if they have their own experiences of dysphoria. The point is that this is not something that you can collapse down into something simplistic and benign, as many seem wont to do.
One thing that I encountered, over and over, early in transition was the suggestion (demand, even), that I document my transition. It’d be fascinating, document something important etc. The suggestion seemed nonsensical–I’ve never been a very visual person, I’m a writer, a poet–but worse than that, it annoyed and upset me. Like a lot of trans people, I have a fraught relationship to photography.
This post by Rebecca articulates a lot of things. She writes compellingly about the anger she feels at her parents for displaying photos of her pre-transition:
I’m angry at them for remembering as joyful (or even merely placid) the time I felt as painful and turbulent. I’m angry at them for happily framing and mounting photos that remind me of how horribly trapped I felt at all times. I’m angry at them for mourning the loss of someone who was never really there, regardless of how ‘normal’ he was or how little ‘fixing’ he seemed to need. And that anger, I haven’t really even started to address.
But the problem with photography goes further than simply “documenting” an unhappy period–it is that it comes with a cissexist history of interpretation which fixes the photographed trans person as “really” their assigned sex. In other words, like all texts claiming to merely “reflect” reality, the photograph constructs, placing the subject into an interpretative framework. Like all texts, we read the semiotics of the photograph generically–family photograph, wedding photograph, advertisement etc etc. And yet if we realise how fake magazine photos are (with its attendant airbrushing, lighting and so on), when it comes to the casual photo, we very often see it as truthful. As Cedar said:
And it is precisely the medium of the photograph, that purports to tell the unmediated, timeless, “unavoidable,” “natural” truth, on which nothing has been written, that propagates that violence across time to the present day, that amplifies the memory of oppression. It is precisely how a camera takes a person and makes a static image, an object that can be reproduced, moved, or displayed without my knowledge or consent that reiterates cis power to determine my body, its appearance, its reproduction, and its movement, and puts it on display without my knowledge or consent.
Cedar is suggesing that, like other marginalised groups (think National Geographic), the camera has had an oppressive history for trans people. Jay Prosser notes in Second Skins the ways in which trans narratives have been framed by photographs. I think we’re all familiar with the placement of “before” and “after” photos side-by-side, in magazines, in books about trans people. Their constant, almost obligatory, usage by cis people suggests that there is something important at stake for the cis gaze which is confirmed by the “before” photos–the “truth” of the assigned sex.
What I think is painfully missing from the world at large is a transsexual gaze. And no, I don’t mean the ability of trans women to possess an objectifying gaze (as I’ve read radfem interpretations of Laura Mulvey’s infamously misunderstood thesis about the Male Gaze). A transsexual gaze would register the changes and movements of transition, but would also begin from the position of trans legitimacy–from the straightforward proposition that trans people are our sexes.
What I mean is, we lack the ability to register across time, not “before” and “after,” but one mode of sex and then other. It would confirm not a cissexual truth, but a sex that already existed prior to transition (for we do not come out of nothing, creatio ex nihilio), it is that a cissexual gaze does not see the trans person there.
In other words, we need to see the woman in the pre-transition photo of a trans woman, the man in the pre-transition photo of a trans man. That, and only that, will help begin to dissipate the painful and fraught relationship so many of us have with photographs.
I originally posted this at Feministe in July. The reason why I’m re-posting is that I’m planning on posting a follow-up post in the next couple of days which critiques the assumptions made in the various criticisms the post attracted. So hopefully, it’ll be fresh in your mind. It was intentionally written for a predominantly cissexual audience, so it may be a bit 101 for y’all ;)
I hate it, every single time. Name, sorted. Then… clunk. Sex – M or F. Sod.
It seems like an easy question, right? For most people it is. For me, it should be an easy question. I live and identify unequivocally as female. I’m not a genderqueer person for whom the very either/or question is wrong. So why the rising sense of panic? The problem is this, my birth certificate says I am male, my gender presentation is female. They do not match. Until I can afford expensive genital surgery, I cannot change the marker on my birth certificate. No matter what I put, in a cissexist world, I am situated as a liar.
A small example: Imagine you went to the hospital, with stroke-like symptoms (it was later found to be “complicated migraines”). Because you want to actually be treated, you do not out yourself as transsexual. When the triage nurse filled in the forms, he puts female, and you leave it there. All is fine, the doctor for once treats you seriously, possibly because of the presence of your mum, aunt and cousin (quick lesson you learn when dealing with doctors while trans: there’s safety in cis scrutiny. Bring your mum or your partner with you into the examination room).
Fast forward to a week later, and I’m (sorry, you) at a neurology department to see a specialist to organize an MRI, when one of the reception people comes out to see you and starts screaming that you’re a GODDAMN LIAR because your forms say I’m female but some quirk of the computer system has found your birthdate and surname and pinged up an old treatment from when you were six. Because of this, they decide that your name isn’t real either, and it takes three trips to different departments with your changed birth certificate (changed in name but not in sex). In the end, they put a post-it on your file, with your name, your legal bloody name, in quotation marks like it’s a fucking nickname. And these are the people who are supposed to help you.
Now imagine what happens in an emergency situation.
Imagine you’re me, six months before this, and you’re young and naïve and full of stupid, figuring that putting M will help them you treat you better (ha!), checking yourself in to see a doctor because you’re struggling to breathe. And the dude takes one look at your forms and your barely passing self, and refuses to enter the room. He just stands there at the edge, asking you to holler symptoms at him, and you sit there knowing that if you collapse, this man will pause and debate whether to save you or not. This is what happens when forms, bodies and cis prejudice collide.
Now imagine what you do in a Customs line when you enter a country. Imagine you’ve heard from acquaintances who’ve been turned away by the US, or that worst-case-scenario lurking at the back of your head about Homeland Security issuing a memo about “cross-dressed terrorists.” What do you put then? What do you wear then? How do you present?
Imagine how vulnerable you feel. Driving (what if a cop pulls me over). At the bank (what if they think I’m trying to scam my own money). At the doctors. At school. At work. At anywhere they want a piece of ID, anywhere they want you to tick a box that divides humanity into two. Anywhere they want you to fill out a form. Confess, little tranny girl, confess. Tell them what in their minds what you “really” are. Or else. And they’ll get you anyway.
Because it’s not likely to be a problem for most of y’all, this is something that I’d wager the average cissexual person has rarely to never thought about. That tiny little box is the epicenter of governmental interest, of laws, of bureaucratic guidelines. Lawsuits are fought over the right to change the letter in that little box.
This year, the State of Illinois refused to allow two trans women who’d had gender confirmation surgery in Thailand the right to change their documents, because it didn’t occur in the US. Last year, in Australia, one state refused to let two trans men change theirs because they hadn’t been sterilized (no more Thomas Beatties for us please!). This little box is a political battleground, one that we trans people are fighting on for the right to not be outed at every single crucial moment of our lives. In essence, to have our identifications treated as real, as worthy of respect as yours.
For those of you who “don’t believe in gender” (as I’ve heard some feminists say) – I’ve got news for you. Sex and gender are always with us, on every form, every piece of ID. And every confrontation where someone scrutinizes your ID is one where they measure your gender presentation against your legal sex, to check to see if they match. So sure, you can not believe in gender, and maybe if you clap your hands real hard, it’ll disappear, but I fear it will be with us for some time.
Seriously? I understand the distinction being made there between outright wishing us violence and ignorance, but it’s not one that’s ultimately sustainable. Why? Violence against trans bodies is maintained by ignorance.
Ignorance is what fuels the vast majority of transphobia, not necessarily outright hatred. It’s what makes it hard for us to get work, what leaves us with few options to get by. Combined with fear, it fuels the bathroom panic.
Ignorance is what makes it hard to get decent medical care. When a doctor doesn’t know how to treat you, I’m sorry that’s a fucking problem. When a housing shelter doesn’t have a policy for people like you so you “just happen” to get put into your assigned sex to be put at risk of violence and rape, that’s a problem. Indeed, it’s not overstating the case to say that ignorance directly contributes to our deaths.
Ignorance is what tires us out, what saps our energy by making us answer the same question with every new person, every new institution. What makes us fight the same battles, over and over so we don’t have the energy to take care of ourselves.
The one thing ignorance is not is innocent, it is about having the power not to know and not to care.. and we simply can’t afford to be naive enough to think otherwise.
I want to riff off Cara’s post here, random and unfinished thoughts about female anatomy. My first thought is, like GallingGalla’s, that they are indeed unfinished. I don’t want to give Cara a hard time about it, since she’s careful to point out “these are just a few of my experiences, and so there’s obviously no way they’re universal or complete, and they don’t even begin to address experiences outside of my white, straight, cis perspective.” So, my problem is not with Cara (who posts regularly on trans issues and is in my opinion one cis (that is, not trans) feminist who tries very hard to get it), but rather with the language that we (yes, all of us) largely use to discuss bodies and gender.
Because like almost every discussion about bodies, there’s cis-normative assumptions through-out Cara’s piece and the comment thread. The problem is, the further a trans woman’s body gets away from cis, the more invisible it becomes in these conversations (and the same for trans men with cis male bodies).
So, I’m going to sketch out a few axioms, Eve Sedgwick style.
1. Respecting trans identities means rethinking your assumptions about bodies and gender and what they mean.
Fairly self-explanatory, yes?
2. Genitals do not of themselves determine gender
A penis is not inherently male, a vagina is not inherently female. If she has one, a trans women’s penis is female. Similarly, if he has one, a trans man’s vagina is male. Therefore, “female genitals” do not automatically exclude a penis, and automatically include a vagina. An analogy would be the changing fortunes of the word “marriage”–where “marriage” once implicitly and only referred to heterosexual relationships (as it continue to in many parts of the world), with the introduction of gay marriage in some areas this is no longer strictly the case. So it is with “male genitals” and “female genitals”–an overwhelming majority does indeed have one kind, but this does not apriori exclude the alternate configurations of some trans people.
“Male” and “female” are broader, fuzzy concepts that include all kinds of things – including genitals, body shape, skin depth, facial hair and body hair, hair softness, fat distribution, voice pitch, chromosomes, the social experience of being treated as your sex, and so on. Many of these are presumed rather than known–is there a genital check for day-to-day life? How many people do you know who’ve had a karotype to check to make sure they are indeed XX or XY? It is ridiculous to suggest that genitals are necessarily only and solely determinative of gender, when many trans people share so many of these as to go un-noticed in their day-to-day lives. Clearly, “male” and “female” precede any given genital/body configuration and therefore must include the totality of body expressions in those groups
But this is not merely a linguistic concern about what “male” and “female” mean. The equations penis = male, vagina = female are codified into law, determining a whole host of things from access to shelters to housing in prison. This is the cause of much oppression of trans people, because cissexist meanings have material social effects. For instance, if a trans woman has a penis in Australia (and indeed most parts of the world) she will be housed in a men’s prison, the wrong prison–and put at a high risk of rape and assault.
To summarise: the idea that genitals mean only “male” or “female” (depending) is a social and linguistic convention based on the number of people possessing them (trans people with mismatched presentations and genitals are after all a tiny minority). It is not however something inherent in flesh itself, and to insist entirely upon those meanings as solely determinative of sex is to expose trans people to violence and discrimination.
3. The meanings of “female” “male” and “genderqueer” are not reducible to bodies, but are not un-related, and we cannot know in advance how they intersect.
The meanings that trans people make from our bodies can be related to our bodies, but nevertheless stand apart from them. I know cis people often feel this way, and but this is not necessarily so. A person may feel that their genitals, breast or hormone status etc determine their sex, but they may not. In other words, identifications exist outside of genital status, desire for surgery etc, and they should be respected right now. Neither are the meanings reducible to appearance, passability-as-cis or hormone status, though they may be experienced that way.
4. Desiring a trans person is not inherently different from desiring a cis person, though it might be
What I mean by that is, the whole foundation of the “trans panic” defence is that having sex with a woman with a penis makes the cis male killer gay (and therefore it is only natural that the man kill the trans woman in question). No, it makes them straight (or bisexual if they also fancy men). And trans men are not kinder, softer men. If you conceptualise desired genders as binary (gay/straight/bisexual), desiring someone genderqueer identified may (or may not) problematise your orientation.
5. Trans ways of having sex may correspond with their cissexual counterparts, but they may not.
There’s a lot shame about trans people and what we do with our genitals. Classically, the diagnosis for gender dysphoria meant that if you masturbated or had sex before genital surgery, you were not trans. The theory goes, that trans people must be so cut off from our genitals that we can’t bear to use them unless after surgery. So besides, the originating gender dissonance, people had to manage their responses to gatekeepers that were always on the lookout for “signs” of an originary cissexuality.
Needless to say, this is bullshit. Some people might, and some people might not, but if we haven’t had surgery, the ways we have sex still do not ungender us—eg when a trans men is penetrated, he is not magically a woman.
Ok, so like Cara’s post, it’s still kinda work in progress which I might modify, if you have thoughts or I bollocks anything up.
ETA: Cheers to the radical “feminists” linking this post, selectively (mis)quoting and willfully misinterpreting my post as some kind of postmodernist free-for-all about genitals, divorced from institutional and social context. Your intellectual dishonesty and rubbish reading comprehension are, as always, appreciated.
cross-posted at Sexual Ambiguities
How do you mourn someone? Let alone people you’ve never met? Why would you?
Transgender Day of Remembrance is not a once-a-year deal. You don’t show up for services, murmur “lest we forget” and then promptly forget for the rest of the year. Today lives within us, because we cannot afford to forget.
Still. Today most of all, we remember those who were killed. Because we die violently, unmemorialised, and are mocked after our deaths.
Because the world sees us disposable, less than human (and who can mourn that?). Many of the dead lost their lives because they were trans women of colour, doubly disposable. Racism is killing our sisters every bit as much as trans misogyny is.
Who would mourn a thing, a that, an it?
Few will respect our lives as they were, and few will mourn them, and they must be mourned. Their lives were meaningful, their names and genders were real and important, and they lost their lives from hate.
Today we hold on to some memory, even if it only be a name and a photo, so that they are not as erased as completely as their killers would have.
Because the medical people treating them will have tried to erase them. The media. The police. The juries. Will try to excuse, to render less than real, the lives that have been lost. Because who would mourn? Who would bother?
This is not Pride. This is remembering our dead. This is not something you can make fucking upbeat and acceptable and call “awareness.”
And yes, today we remember those of us still living–our fear, the fear that lives at the heart of every trans person, that someone will know that we are trans, and will kill us for it. Today we remember all the other times we murmured “oh fuck” as we read the news. Today we discover the deaths we missed, because we couldn’t bear hearing about them anymore for awhile, even though we must. We must.
Sometimes we forget ourselves, you know. Sometimes we think that if we look like cissexuals, pass like them (are passed like them), that they must accept us. And we forget that it is only the fact that they have assumed we have the same gender history as them that keeps them from hating us.
We do not live fake lives. We do not live as nicknames, as aka. We live hard, we love hard–we have to. And we deserve to be mourned.
Elly Rouge wrote a post about her experience as a trans woman, and it’s different from my own in several respects. Also, several other trans people* have commented on my post in private messages, chat, and comments on my post both on this blog and in the trans_feminism LJ community to describe their own experiences as different from mine to mention that they didn’t feel represented, or even felt actively excluded – something I was trying to avoid, and I’m sorry I failed at it. I didn’t want to generalize my own experiences (although I did a couple times – I think I edited all of that out).
Not every trans person experiences sex and gender the same way. Not every trans person is aware of being trans from an early age. Not every trans person feels the same need to transition.
There is a tendency among some trans people to talk about being “trans enough.” For example, HBS advocates believe there is exactly one experience of being transsexual (or rather, of having Harry Benjamin Syndrome), and anyone who falls outside that definition is something else. I don’t believe that, and I think such philosophies are extremely damaging to trans people as a group.
The important question isn’t so much personal history (which I only discussed to highlight my own – and hopefully other trans women’s) experiences and relationships with male privilege, but what is important right now. If a trans person needs to transition, I don’t think it should be necessary to establish whether zie felt this to hir bones at 6 or 10 years of age, but whether zie feels it right now. And to establish that the range of experiences for trans people go from my own sense of being female at an early age to Elly’s lack of attachment to being male or that she didn’t socialize as a boy, and probably beyond in both directions.
For that matter, I don’t really want to hear that people are suspicious of narratives like mine. Yes, a lot of trans people had to lie to get treatment, thanks to the Standards of Care. Yes, my own narrative is very close to the approved narrative that would receive medical care, but I still had to lie about my own sexuality to receive that treatment – and those lies followed me for years as I tried to fit into the approved model and date men to whom I was never sexually attracted. Do not assume that an ideal story is problematic or that it is most likely tailored for the sake of acceptance. I want us to speak out more, not feel that our stories are too perfect or not perfect enough.
* I forgot about the men who also commented. Apologies especially to the man who inspired the hell out of this post.