Sunday, 11 June 2017

This Transgender Woman Says, "I Am A Woman. Don't You Ever Tell Me I'm Not."

I feel sorry for my friends sometimes.  Because when my head really focuses on something it REALLY focuses.  Conversely when it doesn't focus it REALLY doesn't focus.
A case in point today.  I was out walking today and as I sat and had lunch I got to thinking.  Maybe being misgendered again by an old friend affected me more than a null amount.  Maybe I'd taken in more about some transphobic abuse recently than I thought.  And maybe reading this morning about the suicide of another abused transgender person made me more sad than I'd realised.
But I got to thinking.  This thought.
Thoughts that sprang up as I sat by a field today. They're quite long. Sorry about that.

There are phrases I refuse to use and really hate to hear used about me:

Clare identifies as female.

Clare identifies as a woman.

Why this refusal, when these things are of course a part of my identity?

Simple. It's because a cisgender woman would never be told they "identify" as a woman. They would just be seen as a woman. Full stop.

So no, I don't just "identify" as female, as a woman.

I AM female.

I AM a woman.

Full stop.

A woman, just like any other woman. I just happen to be a woman with a penis. But my genitals don't define me.

To insist on saying I "identify" is to place my womanhood in a different category to that of a cisgender woman. It's a belittling of my womanhood. Almost a denial. It leaves room for doubt a place for saying "Well it's all very well her identifying that way but ..." Or worse - him. Yeah, I got misgendered on Facebook only yesterday. Which stinks but in this particular case I forgive the offender.

I AM a woman. I AM female. Full stop.

Accept it. Because anything less than your acceptance of this truth is unacceptable to me.

I know most of you are fine with this. For most of you there's not a doubt in your head that I'm just as much a woman as your own mother is or was. I am safe with most of you and know that, even if we have arguments and massive disagreements, you will treat me as the woman I am.

If you don't accept this truth - that I am she, woman, female - then feel free to unfriend me because I really haven't got time or energy to waste on people who can't or won't accept such basics about me.
And if there happens to be anyone reading this who would ever dream of deliberately calling me "he" then just go. Please go. My life will be richer without you.
I posted my thought on Facebook.  Responses happened.  They included this one:
Like most people, your spirit is female, your mind is male and your body... well, you can't really argue with that can you? Well you can... You can argue until you're blue in the face, but it doesn't really change the world or stop poverty and homelessness now does it? I quite often feel like a man trapped in a woman's body, but I expect most normal women feel that way depending on their mood and men the same. It is NORMAL!!!! Going on and on about gender just feeds and breeds sexism and gender stereotypes. Sexism causes arguments and repression so give it a rest eh? Right, time to do the washing up.
And that's where I start to feel sorry for my friends.  Because I couldn't let it go.  Not at all.  My little autistic brain collided with my transgender nature.  Pow.  Pow.  Explosions.  Fire.
And this happened.  The tone police may be in contact with me very soon: 
What evidence do you have that most people's minds are male and spirits female? My mind feels pretty female to me thanks. And my body is mine. Since I'm a woman it must be a woman's body. QED. It's quite simple really. It's mine so it's a woman's. Just one that happens to have a penis attached. Which has made for a much harder life. Much, much harder.

Try to understand just how much harder it is to be transgender. And then you'll undoubtedly decide you're not in a position to tell us how it is. You'll be happy to not kick us from your social position above us.

I don't go on about gender much. I mean, you're the one who went on last weekend about how you were telling your child that I used to be a man and then quizzed me about what my name used to be (which is none of anyone's business whatsoever unless I voluntarily share that information). I didn't bring up my gender. I didn't think about sharing with your child that I'm transgender. You did. Not me.

And why the hell did you want to know my old name anyway? Why did you think that was your business? What does it matter to you?

I don't go on about it much. But it gets thrown at me:

Every time I'm treated as not a proper woman. Every time I get called he or stared and glared at or called shocking or an abomination. Every time some shit comedian makes a joke in which trans people are the joke. Every time someone wants my old name. Every time I'm misgendered to my face. Which hasn't happened to me since, oh when was it? Ah yes, it was yesterday.

Every time the person doing it tries to justify why it's okay to do it. Every time someone asks about whether I've had "the op" YET. Every time I get some dumb ass - often from the US military - sending me messages on Facebook because ooh they fancy "trannies". That time I was told I was shocking or that time a guy threatened to set me on their child because I was such a monster. Every time I'm told I'm not welcome in a space because it's for women. Every time I'm told I'm not as much of a woman as one with a vagina but the man who sexually assaulted me didn't seem to care about that did he?

Through all the days and years of fighting just to be me. Fighting to get my own gender on my own passport. And I needed a psychiatrist's letter for that. Have you ever needed psychiatrist's letters in order to convince organisations that you're a woman? I have.

And every time I hear about another abused and bullied trans person committing suicide. Which I haven't heard about since, oh when was it. Ah yes, it was today.

All we want is acceptance (never just toleration) as who and what we are. That's all. Acceptance. Full acceptance.

And we're not ever going to bow down to anyone who tells us to shut up about it and give it a rest. Not until we have that full acceptance. Not until people aren't disowned by their families for being trans. Not until people aren't bullied and abused in the street by strangers.

Not until people stop telling trans women they've got men's bodies and trans men that they've got women's bodies.

Not until we have a legal system in which we can define our own gender without it needing cash, boards of psychiatrists and supporting evidence from medical professionals.

And fuck it. And I don't in any way apologise for my language. I know that trans people being accepted isn't going to solve world homelessness. So bloody what? What the sodding hell does that have to do with it? I'll tell you. Nothing. At all. But what it will solve is the agony and pain and everything else that trans people suffer. And that's got to be worth it.

And guess what. There are plenty of people who have been chucked out of their homes for being transgender. Plenty more who have been chucked out for being gay, bi, lesbian. In fact about a quarter of young homeless people are homeless because they've been rejected.

So yeah, actually, talking about this and fighting for acceptance will solve some of the problem of homelessness. Because one day we hope to see a country in which no young person is chucked onto the streets because of sexuality and gender. Let's keep talking. Let's contribute to solving this thing.

And fuck it again. Do you really think we would have got as far as we have on this road to acceptance if people hadn't talked about it? Lots. We wouldn't. We'd still be back where we were decades ago when being trans was seen as a mental illness and when people tried their best to cure so many of us - just as they did to gay people.

We talk about it because talk changes things. It creates the better future that we want to live in.

And damn it again you. What do you mean "most normal women?" Are you in that category? Am I? Damn you if you think I'm not a "normal woman" when I'm a woman. You know what? If you believe that then feel free to unfriend me. Don't just feel free. Just do it. Please.

Because I am in no way a "woman trapped in a man's body."

I can't help what you feel. But me, I'm just a woman.

Thanks for listening.
Yes.  I feel sorry for my friends sometimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. But not spam and not obscenity. It's not all politeness though - religion and politics aren't banned.