“True Trans”

So I’m just going to get this out of the way. B. Jenner. The interview was very respectfully done. The information given in the little side narration was accurate and important. But there was no mention of dysphoria directly. A big oversight, I think. And maybe Jenner wasn’t the right person to be put in this position. They said they weren’t a representative of the community, but by doing this, they are. And the confusion or whatever it was Jenner seemed to have about their own sexuality (calling themself heterosexual) just served to confuse others who aren’t educated on the topic. Jenner will never face the job issues, money issues, medical issues that most trans people do. Sure, they raised awareness, but all the jokes about Jenner that awareness caused don’t effect them so much as they effect all the other trans people that have to hear them on every radio show and media broadcast for the past week. And that’s where i am on that. Whether they actually do any good for the community remains to be seen.

*I chose to use neutral pronouns because though Jenner made it clear they are a woman, no pronoun choices were clearly specified yet. 
And on to your regularly scheduled programming…
There is a concept in the trans community of being “true trans” and also of being a “transtrender.” 
I was watching a show called “New Girls on the Block” and though it seems like a decent show in terms of trans issues that don’t revolve around surgery, I still couldn’t help but notice that pretty much everyone on the show talked about how they felt like a girl from a very young age. The true trans narrative in a nutshell. It’s the same narrative every documentary, sitcom, and interview follows. I’ve known since I was 4. I lined up with the girls in kindergarten until they told me not to. Blah blah blah. 
And that narrative is true for some. But not everyone. I didn’t know for sure I was trans until I was in my 20s. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. And when I first started to figure it out, I had my doubts, because this narrative was in my head as what it meant to be trans. It’s a stereotype, even within the community, and it hurts us. It teaches doctors that if we don’t follow it, we might not be a candidate for hormones or surgery. It promotes gatekeeping. 
And so do the people shouting “transtrender!” from the rooftops. Accusing people of pretending to be trans because the person doesn’t fit their definition of what being trans is. Pretending to be trans for attention and because it’s the “in” topic for laws and rights. Pretending, and then dropping it after a year or two and detransitioning.. But who the hell would choose to be trans? I wouldn’t. Being trans isn’t cool. It’s not fun. It’s terrible. It hurts, and it’s hard, and you think about it constantly. Try pretending to be the opposite gender than you identify with for awhile. See how long you last until it’s not a novelty anymore. People don’t fake being trans. People try not to be trans, and people run away from being trans until they don’t have a choice anymore. 
So this “true trans” junk needs to go. We’re like any other group.  We share a core trait – identifying as a different gender – but that doesn’t mean our histories, styles, and thoughts aren’t different. And we know ourselves and how we identify better than you do. Let me say it again. We know ourselves better than you do. One more time. We know ourselves better than you do. 
Until next time, fight like a trans grrrl. 
-Natalie

2 thoughts on ““True Trans”

  1. nice.

    you make some good points about b. jenner. i’ve been sort of cringing throughout the arc of their story and the media spectacle that’s accompanied it. s/he seems to be doing everything wrong, making every mistake my own doctor counselled me against, and, in doing so, she’s not only opening herself up to ridicule but potentially all the rest of us as well. s/he’s kind of bumbling along like a bull in a china shop, and with all of the resources s/he has at her disposal, she’s not going to be the one to pay the price for all this bumbling.

    that said, i do support her, wish her the best, and see in this a potential opportunity for social advancement. if jenner is our currently most-visible representative as a ‘community’, then judging by the overall tone of response on the internet (yes, i know, “consider the source”…), we seem to have more support than i expected we’d have. this bubble of positivity might last a year or two; we should take advantage of it while we can. jenner’s bumbling, among other things, has got the spotlight focused pretty firmly on us, so now is maybe time to clear up some common misunderstandings of who and what we are, as transpeople.

    “we know ourselves better than you… is a great meme. ☺

    Like

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