Trans male: A tale of femininity.

If you have ever seen any of my previous work, you’ll know I have talked about gender stereotypes and femininity before (in fact its almost all I talked about in my work last year). if you’re new here, feel free to familiarise yourself with my work on gender after reading this- its all very important to me.

I am a male. This is not how I was labelled at birth, so I am a trans man. I am on hormones, I have a lil ‘tache, I have had top surgery that masculinised my chest and intend on getting a hysterectomy in the future, when the time is right. However, my gender identity and gender expression, don’t quite “align” in societies “norms” and this has had me thinking quite a bit about whether the way I restrict myself to fit categories is just a principal of safety or trying to please gatekeepers and strictly binary people.

*note: through this I will be referring to things as “masculine” and “feminine”- this is to societies standards, I don’t believe clothes/make up/etc is gendered*

First I want to talk about toxic masculinity, something that plagues cis men and often stops them sharing emotions, crying, generally being a nice human. It also prevents them from stepping foot in the womens clothes department because oh god I’m going to be seen looking at flowery blouses. What an utterly diabolical thought. It also prevents men having their make up done, even just for a bit of fun. Note to cishet men: wearing make up doesn’t make you *gulp* gay. Hint: You’re gay if you got the hots for men. Now, I understand this is personal preference, I’m not saying ALL men should wear make up and dresses and feel comfortable, that’s not how this works, however, men who do, shouldn’t fear being called f*ggot, fear being harassed or fear being assaulted. That is where toxic masculinity comes into play. Just leave people to be as feminine as they please and basically don’t be an asshole just because your version of masculinity doesn’t allow for people to express themselves and feel pretty.

I’m not using this piece of writing to rip into cis men (although I definitely could, sorry).

Trans men are just as bad for gatekeeping and enforcing toxic masculinity. I’m not going to mention any of the “public figure” trans men who contribute to this as they try their absolute hardest to please terfs- lets just say they’re predominantly white and do not deserve any of their audiences. However, these are the kind of people who invalidate gnc (gender nonconforming) identities, call people “trenders” for not wanting every surgery going or acting in any way feminine when they’re “supposed to be a man”. Toxic masculinity.

I played my own part in toxic masculinity too, I didn’t invalidate others, but I definitely invalidated myself. I’ve always advocated for people to live how they wanna live, present themselves how they wanna present themselves, but somehow always managed to invalidate my own expression. This was especially true when I hadn’t started hormones and when I was on hormones but didn’t “pass”- terrible terminology, sorry! I was trying so hard to hyper-masculinise myself, so that I didn’t get misgendered that I pushed down any desire to wear women’s clothing, that honestly you wouldn’t have even guessed was from the womens department, but god forbid I wore womens trousers. I knew where it was from and this meant I wasn’t man enough. I know retrospectively realise that this wasn’t the case and I should have just wore what I wanted because in reality who gives a damn. I fully understand why I was like this, it was because the thought of being called “she” because I was wearing eyeliner would ruin me and crippling dysphoria would kick my ass and to be honest I got misgender enough without being openly feminine. Even now, when I pass 90% of the time, I don’t think I can leave the house wearing make up or a dress without being misgendered, but one day, maybe. For now, I’m like a teenage boy experimenting with femininity in front of the mirror, but keeping it a secret from the outside world in fear or judgement (or dysphoria).

One of my biggest issues with this whole masculine, feminine deal is; how come its generally ok for cis men to wear make up and dresses, but the second a trans man does, he is “detransitioning”. What kind of crappy double standards is that? How is it “yaaas qween” when cis male mua’s flaunt their looks, but a trans man gets maliciously misgendered. How is it “men in crop tops *heart eyes*” but only if they’re cis, skinny and white. All men should be able to express themselves without judgement. What makes it even worse is when the transmed lobby is screaming trender and making people who enjoy traditionally feminine things feel as though they’re not man enough.

So a reminder to my trans male siblings, you do you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing being trans wrong. If you feel male, you’re male. Don’t let societies toxic masculinity stop you from expressing yourself how you want.

 

I hope this wasn’t too rambly- to put everything in short, do what makes you happy and stop feeding into toxic masculinity, its a very unattractive look on anyone.

 

Alex

Trans awareness week: Being aware vs being a good ally.

What is the difference between being aware of trans people and being a good ally? Surely awareness is enough, right? Wrong. Theres a huge difference between just doing bare minimum and knowing that trans people exist and supporting trans people to the best of your ability.

It is one thing to say “yeah trans people exist” and another to say that trans people exist as well as understanding that gender is a spectrum and accepting all trans people, regardless of if they’re binary or not. A good way to be aware is by taking time to learn about trans issues. Not only by talking to trans people (sometimes we get exhausted explaining ourselves to people constantly), google it. Many trans people have written guides to being aware of trans issues, utilise these resources. Trans people do not owe it to you to explain everything about their lives and experiences. It. Is. Exhausting.

Be “aware” of trans people all year. We don’t all come out of the woodwork just for November. We exist all year. We struggle all year. We want equal rights and awareness, all year. Understand that we are not the enemy, we are simply living life and would like the world to be more inclusive of not only trans people, but everyone. It genuinely hurts NO ONE to make things inclusive, it does however, make marginalised groups feel more comfortable living. It is a win-win situation.

HOW TO BE A GOOD ALLY

  • Use a trans persons correct pronouns, even when they’re not around. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but if someone refers to your trans friend/family member/coworker with the wrong pronouns, correct them, don’t change how YOU refer to them. Most of the time, the person will be grateful that you corrected them. This is especially important with GNC pronouns. Always refer to people with the correct pronouns.
  • Call out transphobia when you come across it. No matter where you are, call transphobia out. Transphobia can come in many forms; from physical violence, to off the cuff remarks. Sometimes, people don’t even realise they’re being transphobic, until they’re called out. This is why it is so important to call it out, so that people not as educated as yourself in trans matters, can become a better ally and not harm trans people.
  • Dismantle the rigid gender norms. For everyone. Its all well and good saying “men should wear crop tops”, but when that translates to “cis men should wear crop tops”, it becomes an issue. Many times when trans people wear clothes that don’t fit the box that they’re confined into, they are accused of not being trans and this is so harmful. Be a good ally and say no to confining people to the gender norms. This includes non-binary people too. When a non binary person wears “mens” clothes, they are still non binary. When a non binary person wears “womens” clothes, they are still non binary. stop policing what genders can and cannot do and wear.
  • Learn inclusive language. This can range from using they/them pronouns to refer to someone who’s gender you may not know (or to refer to GNC folks), to calling “feminine hygiene” products “menstrual products”. This also means you need to understand that trans men are men, trans women are women and that a persons genitals does not determine their gender. Understand that it really isn’t that hard to be inclusive and once you get into the mindset, it is one of the easiest things to do.
  • Lastly, understand your cis privilege. Understand that people are more likely to listen to cis people as they are the minority, so amplify trans voices, rather than speaking over them. Understand that some trans people are in fact discriminated against and murdered, purely for being trans. This just isn’t the case for cis people. You. Are. Not. Discriminated. Against. For. Being. Cis.

 

Side Note: Support trans creators. Trans people are often discriminated against in the work place and find it harder to get and keep a job, so support them the best you can. It really is appreciated.

Go to your local TDoR (Trans day of remembrance) event on 20th November. A great way to kick off being a good ally, is to support your local TDoR event, where we mourn the trans people who have sadly lost their lives this year.

 

Transphobia and the mainstream media

The dictionary definition of “Transphobia” is:

transphobia
/tranzˈfəʊbɪə,transˈfəʊbɪə/
noun
1. dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.
Which firstly poses terminology issues as the term “transsexual” is an outdated term and makes many trans people uncomfortable (although I can’t speak for everyone, you’re best avoiding this word). Next, it insinuates that both words are two different types of people, which they are not, as mentioned, one is just the outdated word. Whilst you could argue that its just because it is the dictionary definition and the dictionary is many years old, its to be noted that the dictionary is constantly introducing new words and changing definitions- hopefully this issue is also rectified.
In this post, as the title suggests and the above text begins to explain, I am going to talk about the transphobia within the mainstream media, mostly focusing on the UK. So get ready for some angry typing and this is a fair warning to trans people that some of this could be exhausting- it was exhausting to root through articles that mock and deny my existence. Cis people, please take note and read the end where I am going to list a few ways to be a great ally!
Continuing with definitions, I am now going to put the dictionary definitions of “transgender” and “cisgender” because I can already hear people whining that I have used the word “cis”. This is your first step to being a great ally- realise that cis IS NOT an offensive word!
transgender
/tranzˈdʒɛndə,transˈdʒɛndə/
adjective

 

Secondly, the king of transphobia himself, Piers Morgan.

If we rewind to September 2018, Piers Morgan lost his mind over trans girls being able to join girl guides. On Good morning Britain he openly said: “I think a transgender girl who still has male genitals, shouldn’t be with girl guides until fully woman.” Now, from my understanding, girls as young as 6, to age 16 are rainbows, brownies and girl guides? Surely, any sane adult would agree that this is a very odd statement to make about children and minors, talking about their genitals on TV and saying that this is a decider on whether or not they should be allowed to join an organisation. How is a guide leader going to confirm whether or not a girl that joins their group has the “correct” thing in their pants. Very perverted if you ask me!

April 2019 is a story much like James Martin, where Piers Morgan chooses to identify as skinny, promoting the false idea that trans people are choosing to identify as they do and it pokes fun at a marginalised and often targeted group of people. The spreading of garbage like this; making being trans look like a choice or a fad is harmful for trans youth/ closed trans people and makes it very difficult for them to come out, which can be traumatic and have life long consequences. So, just a quick suggestion, why don’t we just mind our own business and stop mocking people who are trying to live their truths,

September 2019, my last example of thousands of Morgan being transphobic, is his most recent tantrum about an aquarium in London not disclosing a penguins gender. Firstly, my jaw dropped when I saw that GMB had openly shared the clip on their twitter- how are they not embarrassed by his outburst? What was going through their social media directors mind?  It was bad enough him having a full blown tantrum on TV, never mind bringing that to twitter- I guess I’m not surprised though because the right call trans people ‘snowflakes’, yet they are the ones who get enraged by penguins! Charlotte Barcus, the sea life aquarist, stated, the fact that gender “isn’t an issue to penguins” is the point, and that the gender neutral penguin was meant to start conversations about gender with aquarium visitors. She added: “You don’t really see [gender roles] in the animal kingdom… penguins would have to have some sort of society where other penguins were putting pressure on little baby penguins that they should be more masculine or more feminine.” Which is one of the truest things I have heard in a while. Animals don’t impose gender roles on each other and by not making an animals gender known to the public, it doesn’t make them expect it to act a certain way. However, this set Morgan on a bizarre rant where he yells “OK, alright I’m a penguin. I’m a penguin. Identifying as a two spirit penguin. Everyone happy with that? Two spirit, gender-neutral, pangender, genderfluid, femme penguin… That’s where the world is going, folks, you can basically put your hand up and say whatever the hell you like. I’m going to the aquarium today… and I’m going to demand to be put into the penguin enclosure because I’m now identifying as a penguin…. That’s what I am and there’s nothing any of you can do about it.”

All I can think is YIKES this man is delusional. AGAIN, a 15 year old edgelord response to gender identities coming out of a grown mans mouth. This time with an added sprinkle of racism as “two spirit” is someone who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Native American people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. Mocking this, also mocks an entire culture.

I could rant forever about Piers Morgan, but lets face it, this is the guy who had a full breakdown over Greggs vegan pasties, so there’s not much point wasting anymore time on him. If you love yourself, stay away from his social media, as well as Good morning Britain.


 

Another favourite! Katie Hopkins. Everyones favourite right-wing journalist, who hates everyone who isn’t cis, straight and white. Again, she is another person that I could rant about for way over 10,000 words, but I’ll try keep this as short and sweet as possible.

Actually, I’ll just drop in some of her tweets, they say everything.

Despicable-Katie-Hopkins-forced-to-deny-shes-transphobic-after-vile-tweets-about-Celebrity-Big-B.jpg
Refuses to call trans women, women.
Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 21.28.07.png
She encourages parents to complain about gender identities being taught in schools- erasing trans people and ensuring that children don’t understand that trans people exist, thus stopping them being tolerant of trans people.
Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 21.31.24
Implies that trans girls shouldn’t be allowed to use female facilities and that they are threatening women rights. A fantastic word to describe this ideology is TERF.

In conclusion, Katie Hopkins really has it out for trans kids and trans women. UGH


 

Fun fact: Researching all of this transphobia all at once has exhausted me. It really isn’t pleasant actively looking for things that try to deny my existence. Its just as exhausting though seeing this in the media constantly.

The last person I’m going to look at is RuPaul, the face of “drag race”, which has recently brought out a UK season, which would be great, if RuPaul didn’t have a history of transphobic comments. It really does suck that even within the LGBT+ community, trans people are often erased and mocked.

The first instance of RuPaul being transphobic that I want to look at is in the earlier seasons of Drag race when “You’ve got shemail!” is often used. This sounds a lot like the transphobic slur that is used towards trans people and in the show is used to give  the challenges to drag queens, which then implies that drag queens are the same as trans people. This is incorrect and just plain transphobic. Nothing more really needs to be said there.

In 2018, there was the controversy of RuPaul’s comments about not letting certain trans women partake in drag race (even though, any one of any gender can be a drag queen!). RuPaul said “You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body. It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing.” this implies that a trans women isn’t a “real” woman until she starts taking hormones, which can be harmful towards trans women who haven’t yet medically transitioned, or does not wish to medically transition. As an “apology”, RuPaul then tweeted “You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics.”- showing that he had no remorse for what he said and believes that a trans woman competing on the show whilst undertaking HRT would be cheating.

Lastly, my FAVOURITE transphobic thing RuPaul has managed to do, which is honestly just funny is the tweet below- which was also in “apology” for his comments above. Thought I’d use this to finish my ranting.

446.png
HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THIS ISNT THE TRANS FLAG AND IS INFACT THE TRAINS FLAG I HAVE NO WORDS

If you got this far, I really hope you did, and you’re cis, here are 5 tips on how to be the best ally you can be!

  1. Call out transphobia EVERY DAMN TIME.
  2. Correct anyone who misgenders a trans person or calls them the wrong name, even when you’re not in the presence of a trans person.
  3. Support trans charities, such as Mermaids and Point of pride as well as supporting trans creators- especially Trans POC.
  4. ALWAYS ask peoples pronouns, even if you think you know their gender. If you make a mistake, apologise and move on. DO NOT make huge deal out of it.
  5. Don’t ask trans people personal questions, such as if they’ve “had the surgery yet”. This- unsurprisingly- makes people uncomfortable

 

Thankyou so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this.

-Alex

 

Protest

The last time I participated in a protest was Trans Pride Brighton, in summer 2018. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a protest, more a political parade- something I had never experienced before and instantly I wanted to participate in more. There is something so powerful about disrupting peoples journeys whilst standing for something you believe in and fighting for visibility.

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My most recent protest though was a counter-protest. The far-right in London were protesting to get former EDL leader Tommy Robinson out of prison, so of course I was on the other side of this, opposing his ideologies and the fascists that idolise him. For those who don’t know who Tommy Robinson is, you’re lucky! He is one of the biggest influencers of misoginism, racism and fascism in the UK and his huge platform and following is terrifying. So, I day-tripped it down to London to make my voice heard and to piss off some fascists (which I was massively successful in doing).

Read about the protests details here.

Some of my favourite hate messages from the far-right are below! Its always wonderful knowing you’ve really struck a nerve with terrible people. Truly lovely bunch of fascists *sarcasm*

IMG_20190803_130718_115

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colours

-Alex

ps. It totally didn’t take me hours to make that gif. Uh what?