different subject that’s heavy on my mind rn but since i’m already being harsh let’s get into it. i wish it wasn’t automatically presumed to be some kind of truscum attitude when someone tries to express that different parts of The Trans Community have like, different needs and different risk levels and different experiences and that we have the ability to talk over each other, harm each other, etc... like when i put it that way people generally are like ‘of course that’s true!’ but is it ever really understood in practice? a number of people (not a large enough number, but still) are able to loosely understand ‘you can be trans and transphobic’ when it’s applied to the matter of transmisogyny but when a trans person tries to express distrust of or frustration with afab nb people due to how common it is that that category of person will, despite being trans/nb, espouse bioessentialist, anti-medical-transition, radfem-adjacent if not outright cryptoterf rhetoric, suddenly ‘trans people can be transphobic’ gets applied to... the person with a complaint about transphobia.
because he’s clearly an evil truscum man! regardless of if the person making the complaint is a trans man or trans woman, oops, lol. he’s a bad person who is attacking and invalidating and totally hatecriming the heckin’ valid, equally at-risk transgender identity of “an afab woman who isn’t a woman except when she pointedly categorizes themself as a woman because being afab makes them a woman who is ‘politically aligned’ with women but she’s not an icky unwoke cis woman because they don’t like being forced into womanhood although Really When You Think About It 🤔 all women are dysphoric because obviously the pathologized medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in transgender people is something that equally applies to cis women just default existing under patriarchy 🤔, and no, equating these things totally does not imply anything reductive about or add a bizarre moral dimension to the idea of being transgender, whaaaaat, this woman who isn’t a woman doesn’t think there’s anything immoral or cowardly or misogynist or delusional about being transgender, they would never say that because THEY’RE transgender, except when she feels it’s important (constantly) to make clear that she’s Still A Woman Deep Down Inherently Despite Not Identifying As One, and none of this ever has any effect on how they treat the concept, socially and politically, of people who actually wholly identify with (and possibly medically transition to) a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth, be it ‘the opposite gender’ or abstaining from binary gender altogether or ‘politically aligning’ with the ‘opposite’ gender from their asab. never ever!”
and like maybe that sounds like a completely absurd and hateful strawman to you! but in that case you’re either like, lucky, or optimistic, or ignorant. i’m literally not looking at random nb people and declaring that in My Truscum Opinion they’re ‘really a woman’ just because they’re not medically transitioning or meeting some arbitrary standard of mine. i am looking at self-identified afab nb people, who most often use she/they because, y’know, words mean things, especially pronouns, so people who are willingly ‘aligned with womanhood’ typically intentionally use she/her (sorry that i guess that’s another truscum take now!!! that pronouns mean things!!! the bigender transmasc who deliberately uses exclusively he/him wants it to invoke a perception he’s comfortable with!), who actively say the things listed above (in a non-sarcastic manner).
like, the line between a person who says “i don’t claim to really not be my asab because i know no one would ever perceive me as anything else” because theyve internalized a defeatist attitude due to societal transphobia, and a person who says that because they... genuinely believe it’s impossible/ridiculous/an imposition to truly be transgender (in the traditional trans sense, beyond a vague nb disidentification with gender) and are actively contributing to the former person’s self loathing... is hard to define from a distance! i think plenty of people who are, in a sense, ‘tentative’ or like ‘playing close to home’ so to speak in their identity are ‘genuinely trans’ (whatever that may mean) and just going through a process. they might arrive at a different identity or might just eventually stop saying/believing defeatist stuff, who knows. but there are enough people saying it for the latter reason, or at least not caring if they sound that way, that it’s like, dangerous. it is actively incredibly harmful to other trans people. and it’s fucking ridiculous that it’s so difficult to criticize because you’ll always get the defense of “umm but i’m literally trans” and/or “well i’m just talking about ME, this doesn’t apply to other trans people” when it’s an attitude that very clearly seeps into their politics and the way they discuss gender.
because it’s just incredibly common for afab nb people (most typically those that go by she/they! since i’m aware that uh, i am also afab nb, but we clearly are extremely different, so that’s the best categorization i’ve got) to discuss gender in moralized terms, with the excuse of patriarchy/misogyny existing, which of course adds another difficult dimension to trying to criticize this because it gets the response of “don’t act like misandry is real” (it’s not, but being a dick still is) and “boohoo, let women complain about their oppressors” (this goes beyond ‘complaining’). a deliberate revocation of empathy/sympathy/compassion from men and projection of inherently malicious/brutish/cruel intent onto men (not solely in the justified generalizations ‘men suck/are dangerous’, but in specific interactions too) underpin a whole fucking lot of popular posts/discussions online, whether they’re political or casual/social, and it absolutely influences how people conceptualize and feel about transness.
because ‘maleness is evil’ is still shitty politics even when you’ve slightly reframed it from the terf ‘trans women are evil because they’re Really Men and can never escape being horrific soulless brutes just as women can never escape being fragile morally superior flowers’ to the tumblr shethey “trans women who are out to me/unclockable are tolerable i guess because they’re women and women are good; anyone i personally presume to be a cis man, though, is still automatically evil, and saying trans men are Just As Bad is progressive of me, and it’s totally unrelated and apolitical that i think we should expand the concept of afab lesbianism so broadly that you can now be basically indistinguishable from trans men on literally every single level except for a declaration of ‘but i would never claim to be a man because i’m secure in the Innate Womanhood of the body i was born into, even as i medically alter that body because it causes me great gendered discomfort.’ none of this at all indicates that i feel there’s an immense moral/political gap between being an afab nb lesbian vs a straight trans man! it says nothing at all about my concept of ‘maleness’ and there’s no way this rhetoric bleeds into my perception of trans women and no way loudly talking about all this could keep trans people around me self-loathing and closeted, because i’m Literally Trans and Not A Terf!”
again, if that sounds like a hateful strawman, sorry but it’s not. i guess i’m supposed to be like ‘all of the many people ive seen saying these shitty things is an evil outlier who Doesn’t Count, and it’s not fair to the broad identity of afab shethey to not believe that every person who doesn’t outright say terfy enough things is a perfectly earnest valid accepting trans person who’s beyond criticism’ but like. this cannot be about broad validation. this can’t be about discarding all the bad apples as not really part of the group. we can’t be walking on eggshells to coddle what are essentially, in the end, Cis Feelings, because in the best cases this kind of rhetoric comes from naive people who are early and uncertain in their gender journey or whatever and are in the process of unraveling internalized transphobia, and in the easily observable worst cases these people are very literally redefining shit so that ‘actually all afab women are trans, spiritually, all afabs have dysphoria, we are all Equally oppressed by Males uh i mean cis men <3’ because, let’s be honest, they know that the moment they call themselves trans they get to say whatever they want about gender no matter how harmful it is to the rest of us. and those ideas spread like wildfire through the afab shethey “woman that’s not a woman” community that frankly greatly outnumbers other types of trans people online, because many of those people just do not have the experiences that lead you to really understand this shit and have to push back against concepts of gender that actively harm you as a trans person.
like that’s all i want to be able to say, is Things Are Different For Different Groups. and a willful ignorance of these differences leads to bad rhetoric controlling the overall discourse which gets people hurt. and even when concepts arise from it that seem positive and helpful and inclusive, in practice or in origin those ideas can still be upholding shit that gets other people hurt. like, i don’t doubt that many people are very straightforwardly happy and comfortable with an identity like ‘afab nb lesbian on testosterone’ and it would be ridiculous and hypocritical for me, ‘afab nb who wants to pass as a guy so he can comfortably wear skirts again,’ to act like that’s something that can’t or shouldn’t exist. it’s not about the identity itself, it’s about the politics that are popular within its community, and how the use of identities as moral labels with like, fucking pokemon type interactions for oppression effectiveness which directly informs the moral correctness of your every opinion and your very existence, is a shitty practice that gets people hurt and leads us to revoke empathy from each other.
like. sorry this is all over the place and long and probably still sounds evil because i haven’t thought through and disclaimered every single statement. but i’m like exhausted from living with this self-conscious guilt that maybe i’ve turned into a horrible evil truscum misogynist etc etc due to feeling upset by this seemingly inescapable approach to gender in lgbt/online circles that like, actively harms me, because when i vent with my friends all the stuff i’ve tried to explain here gets condensed down to referencing ‘she/theys’ as a category and that feels mean and generalizing and i genuinely dislike generalizations but the dread i feel about that category gets proven right way too often. it’s just like. this is not truscum this is not misgendering this is not misogyny. this is not about me decreeing that all transmascs have to be manly enough or dysphoric enough and all nbs have to be neatly agender and androgynous or something, i’m especially not saying that nb gender isn’t real lmao or even that it’s automatically wrong to partially identify with your asab; this is not me saying you can only medically transition for specific traditional reasons or that you don’t get a say on anything if you aren’t medically transitioning for whatever reason, now or ever. i just. want to be allowed to be frank about how... when there’s different experiences in a community we should like. acknowledge those differences and be willing to say that sometimes people don’t know what they’re talking about or that what they’re saying is harmful. without the primary concern being whether people will feel invalidated by being told so. because these are like, real issues, that are more important than politely including everyone, because that method is just getting vulnerable people drowned out constantly.