its 4:30 in the morning and I’ve got a scalding hot take
the LGBT community failed trans men.
I’m gonna start this off by saying that I know a lot of you are younger and haven’t been around very long so you’d really have no way of knowing about all of this. Welp. I’ve been here for 10 years, watching firsthand as things changed (and didn’t change) over time. And I really hope you’ll take the time to read this, because it’s really goddamn important. I refuse to let anymore of our history be swept under the rug and forgotten. Somebody needs to talk about this, and since nobody else seems to be, I guess I’ll break the ice.
It is a very recent thing that non-negative posts about trans men are making their way to peoples dashboards. As in, it’s literally only been in the last two years that I’ve seen anything like this happening.
For as long as I can remember, it was a widely unquestioned and accepted belief that trans men should never be the ones talking about anything to do with the experiences or struggles of being transgender. It was always, always, always meant to be a trans woman speaking. Trans men were not considered to be oppressed enough to speak. By having a male identity, we were automatically determined to have the same level of privilege as any other cis male, and thus nothing we had to say about being trans was considered important or valid.
And this belief pervaded the LGBT community both in real life settings and online ones. Let’s talk about the former first.
It was extremely common for trans men to be told to stay quiet when they were in LGBT spaces or attending any sort of meetup or event. Trans women were prioritized to the point that we were utterly excluded. We weren’t allowed to say anything about any hardships we were facing — nobody wanted to hear a man talk about having a rough time, after all. How cringe, for a trans man to whine about his experiences when he has such a high status in society now.
(And I wanna state for the record that this was applied to trans men regardless of whether they passed or didn’t pass. Doesn’t matter at all if you’re still seen and treated as female 100% of the time—by the very nature of identifying as male you now were too privileged for anyone to consider anything you said as worthwhile.)
And so, knowing that we were not welcome and that nothing we had to say mattered, the vast majority of us gave up on attending any real life LGBT stuff altogether. And now This creates a chain reaction. When other trans men show up for the first time to these gatherings and they do not see anybody from their community, most of them were also quick to leave.
Do you know how it feels to sit all alone for hours and listen in silence as other communities get to share with each other? They talk about their experiences and are given the validation and support of others who have been through the same things. They get to listen to stories that resonate with them. They get to talk about themselves and be completely understood. They get to ask questions and get advice and bond with people who know exactly what it’s like to be in your shoes.
And we had nobody. And so we left. And nobody seemed to care about our complete absence from the majority of LGBT spaces. I honestly doubt that anyone even noticed.
So now we go online. Some of us that hadn’t had all of the hope drained out of us yet dared to think that maybe this will be better. Maybe it’ll be easier to find other trans men online. Maybe here we can finally talk about ourselves and have conversations with each other and receive support. Maybe here we won’t be so venomously unwanted.
Nothing is different. We are still expected to be silent. We are bombarded with negativity. We never, ever see anything about ourselves when we scroll through LGBT blogs or websites. We are invisible. Nobody seems to even acknowledge that we exist. Nobody cares enough about us to mention us, and they certainly don’t want to share anything that we’ve made ourselves in attempts to engage with the LGBT community.
In fact, the most common thing to happen when a trans man tried to post anything that was strictly about and for trans men was that they got attacked.
I remember January 2019. I remember that period of time where I was especially fired up about how invisible trans men were in the LGBT community. I had been seeing it happen for years and there were posts scattered all throughout my blog where I talked about it. But those posts never really got noticed outside of my close mutuals and followers.
But in January 2019 I was feeling angry. The more I saw my community being dismissed and uncared for, the louder my posts became. Especially because I had started to gain a substantial following of other trans men and boys.
I was often getting asks that thanked me for talking about my experiences and struggles as a trans man because I was the only person that they had ever seen do so.
And then, one day, my posts spread far enough that they were actually noticed. And things got very bad. very quick.
Death threats. Insults. Accusations. Mockery. My notifications flooded with a stream of aggression and negativity. And while I truly tried to remain unbothered, to stay strong and calm and set a good example for the trans boys who were watching, I was ultimately worn down by the overwhelming weight of knowing that, truly, nobody out there cared about me and my community.
I felt so heartbroken. So hopeless. I didn’t belong anywhere. I wasn’t wanted anywhere. And Ive carried a sharp, painful resentment in my chest ever since.
Now. Let’s talk about now.
Now I see things actually somewhat begin to change. Ive seen more posts about trans men in the last 6 months than I saw in nearly 10 years. I see people finally objecting to the notion that men have no value and speaking up when someone tries to derail a male positivity post with insults and mockery. And while maybe a lot of those posts aren’t thinking about trans men when they are written, this is helping trans men a LOT.
It’s good that we are taking steps in this direction. It’s good change that I am seeing. It has taken some of the sting out of the barbs that previous years had pierced through my heart.
But here’s what I’ve been building up to: it’s not enough.
I’m glad, obviously, that there’s a chance that the next generation of trans men won’t go through something as painful as I did. It’s good that there is actually some sort of effort being made to not exclude them.
But that doesn’t change the fact that countless trans men were scarred by how we were treated by the rest of the LGBT community.
It’s hard for me to talk about— hard for me to even THINK about— but it needs to be said: I have talked to dozens and dozens of trans boys — not men. BOYS — who have been emotionally destroyed because of how other LGBT folks have treated them.
They have no sense of self worth. They truly believe that they do not matter in any way shape or form. They are overwhelmed with guilt and fear when they try to talk about their experiences, feeling that they have no right to do so. They have been completely worn down by endless messages that all men are awful and have come to accept that as the truth. They feel so alone and they are so lonely and so desperate for a sense of community and belonging, but they will never again approach any LGBT spaces because they were so badly scarred by how they have been treated. They’re scared and they’re angry and they’ve internalized a painful belief that they will never belong.
And to be brutally honest? Support means absolutely nothing to me from people who won’t first acknowledge the severity of the damage that has been done to my community.
the LGBT community failed trans men. and I refuse to pretend that it didn’t.
I’ve heard from so so many transmasc non-binary people who have said “maybe I’m really a trans man who’s too afraid of how unpalatable I’ll become to my community if I come out as a man, but being non-binary is acceptable. Maybe I’m just a coward.”
And honestly, sometimes I wonder if I’m one of them too.