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Why are my rages always letters? - Queer Rage

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December 19th, 2006


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ishyface
01:16 am - Why are my rages always letters?
Dear (certain) cisfolk:

We love you.

No, really, we do. We think you're just damn keen. Each and every one of you is a precious and unique little snowflake with its own interesting stories and fears and passions and desires and blabbitty-blabbitty-blah. So there's the obligatory reassurance out of the way.

But honestly, when transpeople is talking about their own experiences, THEY DO NOT NEED YOUR TAKE ON IT. They do not need to hear what you think about their transition. They do not need to listen to your 238956759267894376839 frillion and one reasons why their gender is a) purely biological or b) just a mistake from their vegan aunt serving them too much soy milk. They do not need to sit here and listen to you trot out your tired faulty arguments with that same smug little smirk that every-damn-one of you has every time you feed them the same old bullshit.

You cannot tell us anything we haven't heard before about our trans-ness. You are lucky enough to be in harmony with and satisfied in your bodies. Bully for you. This does not mean that you know anything about us that we do not know about ourselves. If you think you do, that's your cis privilege talking.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... shut the fuck up and let us talk about our own lives and experiences without your damn high-and-mighty interjections, assholes.

Sick of this shit,
Me

Current Mood: annoyedan-NOYED.
Current Music: Garbage- You Look So Fine

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tyger182
Date:December 19th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
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*offers a hug from a cisfolk who thinks you're fucking brave to be who you are*
[User Picture]
From:newdance
Date:December 19th, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
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Question, just a general question:

Why, exactly, do Trans* persons have to be "brave" — why can't Trans* persons just BE?

Yes, it can be an inherently scary process, but not every Trans* person really wants to be seen as "brave" simply for doing what they have to do to be seen as the people they are. Cisgendered people are afforded that privilege and, quite frankly, I think it's a tad patronising to be seen as "brave" and "impressive" and "wow" just for taking care of what many Trans* persons consider to be a medical condition.

I'm not trying to say it's the same thing, but is it "brave" to go get glasses when one realises that one needs glasses? Needing glasses is usually explainable by genetics, but sometimes it just isn't medically explainable, and aside from jabbing a stick in one or both eyes, there's little that one can do to make their eyesight worse. Being TS is still hard to pinpoint an explanation on, medically speaking, but a handful of people in every generation of millions will be TS -- and while nearly all TS persons struggle to be "validated" by society and any applicable legal systems, but that doesn't mean that every TS person necessarily wants or needs to be seen as "brave" by even a few cisgendered people. To them, it's just something that they, as Trans* people, have to take care of and "braveness" doesn't even figure into the equation.

It's great that you want to be an ally, but please choose your words carefully.
[User Picture]
From:tyger182
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
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I happen to think that ALL queer folk are brave for being able to be out and comfortable with themselves. It's something not everyone can do. There's a lot of risk involved, as I'm sure you know. I apologize if I came across as patronizing. I was simply trying to be supportive.
[User Picture]
From:mythomaniac
Date:January 3rd, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
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What does the asterisk behind the word "trans" mean, if you don't mind my asking?
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From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
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"Trans*" is a truncation of "Transsexual/Transgender" since not all "Transgendered" persons are Transsexuals and not all Transsexuals are "Transgendered" — example: it's probably safe to say that most (read: not all) members of the birls community are transgendered in that either they ID as or simply choose to express their gender as something that straddles the line between "typically masculine" and "typically feminine" (I have this big convoluted explanation about how "genderqueer" is essentially the norm, so I don't necessarily agree with it as an "identity", but I'm hardly going to tell other people not to self-apply it); even among those who are, not all of them are Transsexuals in that they neither ID as such nor do they desire to permanently alter their physical form (though a handful of them probably are Transsexuals). (This is the distinction used by not only myself, but my doctors, therapist, and much literature distributed by the University of Michigan Queer office at the student union.) Though, still using that community as an example, it's probably safe to assume that almost all of the members of that comm are Trans*-friendly.

Think like "veg*n" as a truncation of "vegan/vegetarian."
[User Picture]
From:mythomaniac
Date:January 3rd, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
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I have this big convoluted explanation about how "genderqueer" is essentially the norm

I'd love to hear more about that, if you feel like getting into it.

Either way, thanks very much for taking the time to explain!
[User Picture]
From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)

pt1 (I told you this was convoluted)

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Well, if you notice most of your "cisgendered" friends, you'll notice that there are many things that are typically acceptable for both men and women: long hair on Western men has been acceptable, even in the work place, for several decades (there was technically only about fifteen years after WWII when anything longer than a crew-cut on a grown man was considered "too long" or borderline-"fey"), and since the 1920s, Shorter hair on women has been acceptable, and the "Pixie Cut" (a "ladies' version" of the crew) has been acceptable since the mid-1950s (when the cut was "invented"); trousers are now seen as a gender-neutral clothing item that is neither exclusively masculine nor feminine, and the men's Kilt is basically just a skirt with a cut better suited for typically male bodies and styling more aesthetically considered "masculine." Most people don't think twice about men who dye their hair or wear eyeliner and nail varnish (though it's still only generally acceptable amongst "fringe groups" like Goths for male-identified men to wear lipstick), though more especially if the men in question are "artists" or musicians.

It still has a long time yet to become completely mainstreamed, but women are widely encouraged to take jobs and seek careers in positions that are typically masculine, and while one-hundred-fifty years ago, it was perfectly acceptable for me to know everything they could about sex and the workings of their own bodies, most information about sex is written to be directed toward women and modern women typically know more about their own anatomy then men know about theirs (though the uneducated people who know practically nothing about their own bodies are still greater in number).

Basically, gender "roles" and societal traits that are "gendered" are so fluid with the times that it's impossible to pinpoint what, exactly, are "male" traits and what exactly are "female" traits. Still, though, there is plenty enough evidence to further theories that "gender identity" is hard-wired into our neurochemical make-up, so to say "gender is a lie" is a lie itself. But I digress.

[User Picture]
From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)

pt 2

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Because the norms of gender expression (which is seperate from hard-wired gender identity), aren't absolutes amongst all cultures or even within certain cultures, terms like "genderqueer" are only valid during the time and space one lives in — a man like Oscar Wilde was considered "masculine" in Victorian Britain, but he'd be considered downright femme nowadays, and was probably regarded as such among the Victorian working classes, so even in his own time and space, the interpretations of Oscar Wilde's presumed gender could very well have varied wildly (pun not intended). Continuing to use Wilde as an example, the working classes, who outnumber the Middle, Leisure and Artist classes combined, would probably have viewed Wilde as "genderqueer" if that was a common term to them, then. If "genderquer" is defined by a majority, then you'd essentially be robbing him, and similar men, of them masculinity.

Now, let's take, oh, Steven Tyler (the lead singer of Aerosmith). In 1972, when Aerosmith's first album was released, one might assume that Mr Tyler looked quite fey, but his long hair and penchant for scarves have become so closely associated with teenaged boys "air-guitaring" in their basement bedrooms, that over the course of nearly forty years, Tyler's "gender" seems less "queer" now than it did then. k.d. lang's look in 1989 may have been perceived as "genderqueer", but there are so many woman-identified women who mimic such a look -- and at the same time, many "genderqueer"-identified natal women (I hate the term "biowoman" or "bioman" — it's sloppy and assumes too much about people's genetics, that even they aren't even wholly aware of — but I used to date a biology major, so I'm more arguing science than strictly social roles here) who also mimic her look, that obviously "genderqueer" has less of a concrete definition than "transsexual".

And I think "Transgender" encompasses the idea behind "genderqueer as an identity" already quite nicely: the psychological definition of "transgender" is easily paraphrased as "one who transcends typical gender roles and expression." And most of the people who use "genderqueer" seem to use it as synonymous with that definition, and it just seems convoluted to use yet another and newer neologism ("genderqueer") to mean what a just-barely-established neologism (transgender") already means. After all, just because language is a social construct doesn't mean that it's unimportant. ;)
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From:darquis
Date:December 19th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
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Heh, and here I was just about to write "right, and they'd be 'brave' too if they were in our situation". Seriously, is that *really* the first thing that comes to mind when cissies hear someone's trans? Not "you're smart" or "you're hot", but "you've got major gonads to seek a necessary solution"?
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From:newdance
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
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Seriously, is that *really* the first thing that comes to mind when cissies hear someone's trans? Not "you're smart" or "you're hot", but "you've got major gonads to seek a necessary solution"?

I've noticed that, for a lot of allies, that is the first thing they think. And ultimately it's because, as much as they say otherwise, they really don't see Trans* people as "normal", they can't see past the "Trans*." It's another way that Trans* people are objectified — granted, it's sort of like a "kinder, gentler" objectification, but when it becomes apparent that the "ally" in question is concentrating more on the "Trans*" than the Trans* person is, it's still objectification. It's kind of like how some "fag hags" are totally cool, but then there are some who are obsessed with the fact that their friend is "a gay man" — they're the ones who usually post to the "faghags" or "girlfags" community and wonder why they don't have "a cool gay friend to go shopping with."

But gay men have some degree of empowerment now — it's still not perfect, but it's better than what Trans* people have. So nowadays it's easier for gay guys to tell those objectifying girls to go take a hike. And some Trans* people don't feel they have that option if only because Trans* people are, in many ways, still WAY more marginalized than gay men. Personally, I do NOT feel that Trans* people should just "take what they can get" in allies when it's apparent that some self-appointed "allies" just don't get it.
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From:tyger182
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
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I would like to hope that this comment does not presume to address me. I respectfully state that you do not know me, or anything about my relations with or involving transpeople, and I would appreciate it if you would keep your judgements about me out of a public forum. This is not intended to start a long and drawn out debate, but I am letting you know that, as you have often criticized others for their lack of discretion in choosing words, you also can occasionally offend/hurt people with your choice of vocabulary. Making a sweeping generalization that "most" trans allies "really don't see Trans* people as 'normal'" is condemning all for the actions of some.
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From:newdance
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
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Who's presuming? Did I name you? No, I didn't. I am allowed to speak in very general terms.
(Deleted comment)
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From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
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I'm a "he" and a "him." Not something distinctly both and hardly something distinctly neither.
(Deleted comment)
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From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
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"Ze" also makes an assumption. It's really sad that you're too privileged to realised that.
(Deleted comment)
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From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
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Stop flaunting your cisgender privilege. It smells very similarly to transphobia.
(Deleted comment)
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From:newdance
Date:January 3rd, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
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Sorry, you knew my gender and chose to ignore it anyway by using pronouns typically self-applied by those who ID as "genderqueer" or simply "something neither or both male and/or female". Don't claim ignorance when I said it to you two days. You obviously remembered who I was enough to believe that I was "argumentative", so how is it too much to expect you to remember the single detail the bulk of that argument started with?

YOU are rude, offensive, callous, unintelligible and far too concerned with your own semblance of privilege to see past the end of your nose.
[User Picture]
From:tyger182
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
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I happen to think that ALL queer folk are brave for being able to be out and comfortable with themselves. It's something not everyone can do. There's a lot of risk involved, as I'm sure you know. I apologize if I came across as patronizing. I was simply trying to be supportive.
From:opheliafalls
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
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I will NEVER understand why people feel the need to give their comments/judgments on other people's sexualities/gender identities/etc. "Well, I THINK you're just confused about gender roles, not that you're actually TRANS!" "Well, I think that you had bad experiences with men and that's why you're a lesbian!" "Well, I think bisexuality happens becuase you're CONFUSED or INCAPABLE OF COMMITMENT. JUST PICK ONE OKAY?" "Well, I DON'T CARE ABOUT MY GENDER WHY DO YOU CARE!? " "Well, you're attractions are unpleasing to GOD!" "Well, God wouldn't make you that way, because...." etc. etc. etc.

I will NEVER understand it. I don't understand why glbtetc. people are so offensive to society, and I don't understand why any of it is even their business.
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From:montrealais
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Note to everyone: MY IDENTIFYING MYSELF TO YOU AS GENDERQUEER WAS PERHAPS SLIGHTLY TOO SUBTLE A HINT THAT FURTHER ATTEMPTS TO INFORM ME AS TO MY GENDER WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED, THANK YOU.
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From:sinful_grrrl
Date:December 19th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Have you noticed that any interest whatsoever in your body and what your body can do/does do cancels out your genderqueerness as far as the idiots are concerned? By interest in your body/what it can do/does do, I mean say, making menstrual blood art or something that requires something only a member of one sex could produce (as opposed to drawing things in regular blood, which both sexes could do, if so inclined).
[User Picture]
From:redstar826
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
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yeah, it seems to me that a big part of being a good ally would involve knowing when to shut up.

sorry you have to deal with such disrespectful people.
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From:uncommon_crow
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
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Oh so true, all of it.

(Also, I wish I had a vegan aunt who'd serve me soymilk. That'd be cool.)
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From:tekanji
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
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But... but... if we privileged folk weren't able to force non-privileged folk like transgendered individuals to listen to us spout off about things we know nothing about, then who would listen to us??????

This is reverse transphobia, I tell you! Cisphobia!!! Yeah!!!!

[The above message was written for humour purposes only, it should not be taken seriously by any who read it, and if I ever hear "cisphobia" said with anything other than a snicker, I shall forthwith hurt the person who said it.]
[User Picture]
From:lordhellebore
Date:December 19th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
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How stupid can it get, seriously. Being happily cisgenderd, how would I ever get the idea of telling transpeople about their experiences and lives? If I don't know much about a topic -- which I DON'T if it doesn't concern me personally -- I shut up and listen to people who actually have a clue. That's common sense - which I fear seems to be much less common than it would be necessary.

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