Why monster M. D., was more than Just a Monster

Yesterday, here on G+ Trans YouTubers Community (owned by Grishno, and largely led by Erica Ravenwood, and my being so far the only outspoken FtM member)–; I had meant to say that although for most of M. D.’s time in chat here the preceding two days (M. D. standing for Megalus Doomslayer, a sadistically, derangedly, combatively, and seethingly acting YouTuber who tied-up the whole chat-room from late on June 7 to around 6 P.  M.  on June 8, 2016–;) I thought they had been a troll or even a shill, until they finally started to open-up to Erica about their personal crises, which is something trolls (probably) didn’t do. As severe as their impact-here had been, the proper assessment of the event and the actor (M. D.) behind the event, is that this event is much more relevant and significant to the transgender community than whatever disruption or nuisance that person caused here–. Most of us want to shake this off or smooth our hair “in-the wake-of,” the “unfortunate” “disruption–;” but instead, I treat this as a crucial snapshot-in-time–; of a presumable widespread reality that is all over modern transdom–: Depersonalizing Disillusionment, as the long seismoid ocean-wave from the immemorial history of trans culture and industry-interface piles-into a tsunami at the shore, or like an especially long, 400 mph train derailing to crumple itself ten cars high, into a bank of high-rises. This crisis, which I would prefer to label as a horror–; has been coming straight-at both the rest of the trans community, and the rest of society–; for the past 60 years–; yet no-one has acknowledged any of the many conspicuous warning signs–; preferring as-always to play conversation-derailment patty-cake with the other party at each turn–:

“Ah, I’m Transgender–:”

“No, you’re not–: What you are is Confused–: Your ‘Move (sic),’ –!”

“You can’t keep just-snubbing all of us forever–; the press is in-on it, now!”

“Oh-my-god; we’ve got to toss those losers a crumb, to appease society that we aren’t as heartless as our extant stance has depicted-us–: We’ll let just a token-few of them through the gate, and that should quench even whatever sympathy cis-society ever had for these wretches; ha-ha–!”

“They make it a game. So here’s how to ‘win,’ ‘sometimes,’ .”

“More of them have made it through even our gate, than we planned.” “And now, they’ve got a battering-ram. We’d better do more P. R., and make it a little-easier again.

“It’s still hard–! The rest of you need to know that! If you ain’t ready to run their gauntlet–; you ain’t transgender–; you’re just a poser–; and you need to stay-closeted–!”

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Somewhere more-locally, the following-thread began here–: “Listen-Up–! You ain’t fooling anybody with your clownish closeted act–! You’re mispronouning yourself, in your Stockholm-Syndrome and PTSD. Stop it–. You’re not the gender you were born. You’re the other one. Abandon even your last-pretense of pretending. Please.

Wow.  I didn’t even know what any of those things meant.  I wonder if what they seemed to have-been saying possibly could have been right–?  Was there ever a time when even we actually were supposed to–; not-merely “invited” to, have come-out of the-closet–?  (And, even if I dare-to, (meaning of-course, the rest of the way–; since what there remained of my even-thencloseting–;” was analogous to a the head of the baby upon-whom somebody still has time on-whom not to finish that partial-birth abortion.  Your baby is already 80% out.  Let it come-out the rest of the way, huh?  (This is not an attack on partial-birth abortion, if you are a supporter of it–; it just seemed like a particularly-apt analogy, and frankly, partial-birth abortion is kind of mean)–; did I at this stage really know how to start coming-out the rest of the way–?

“Are these bank tellers being much more Politically Correct than I ever expected, proper-pronouning me–; or do I actually still pass, in my middle-age–?”

“Why can’t I find anything accessible about transgender on YouTube, in all my 11 years of looking–?”

“Oh-Shit–! Here it all Is–! But why were they hiding it all so-long–?”

“Whoa-Whoa-Whoa-Whoa–! Where are all my Trans Brothers and Sisters–?” I don’t see any of either my elders nor my age-peers anywhere on any of these channels–. In-fact, I don’t see anyone within a generation-and a-half of myself. It looks like I’m living in NO-TRANS LAND–! Here all by-myself–!”

“But look at who is out and trans–: They’re all either living in a sort of “submarine” or protected bunker, in a college-dorm–;” or they haven’t left-home yet–. It’s just like that thing about the “black hole.” Those who are outside it can’t see into it. Those who are inside it, will never come back. Or some permutation on that. Okay, we can see them, but they can’t see us. We can see all of both of our Enemies clearer than we want to see them. But they can’t see them. It’s laser-clear from every syllable that they post, that they do not see one-iota of the street-law that rules (with an iron fist) out-here–! We can’t tell them that–; because their solipsism makes them think that what they are is as-it is-everywhere and has always-been–! In-fact, they dismiss everything–; that is even the slightest-bit different–.”

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Returning to this thread–:

“It’s still hard–! The rest of you need to know that! If you ain’t ready to run their gauntlet–; you ain’t transgender–; you’re just a poser–; and you need to stay-closeted–!”

The rules at that time, still put many of us even deeper into the extant closet, making us more invisible and more unconnecting.

The transitioned were a tiny, elite corps. The changes in the rules resulted in decreasing delays for accessing transition. Someone noticed how much better it worked as the ages got younger. That’s when one of the endo doctors snorted, “Well, DUH–! If it were up to US we’d do every single transition before puberty–!

So what do you have, then–? A still very-small handful of very soldier-ish (sorry both ways, Erica (Ravenwood)–; as both a member of that transitioning generation and a literal armed-services member), old-school transitioners who have been socialized to view transitioning as the definition of transgender–; A few people who finally named the elephant in the room about the physiological optimum time to transition–; but who happened to be doctors (both the people who performed transition (industry), and the people cis-society listened-to without-question (institution))–. And, probably a million other transgender people who were untransitioned, socialized never to have expected-to–; and who either were heavily structuring our lives around passing at least “recognizably,” or closeting altogether (and, as statistics show–; also generally not coping with it).

And which group did society listen to–? The tiny minority who were telling them their unemancipated kids needed to transition right then in order to be “transgender–;” or the million of us who were all told to STFU–; For-Life–?

That’s-Right–: The Tiny Minority–; at the expense of the literal Silent Hyper-Majority–; of living transgender people–; who also were the social veterans of the reality of nonaccessible transitioning, and prohibitive and universal transphobia. As well as people old enough to be mature, logical, and articulate. We’re your uncles-and-aunts, and great-uncles and great-aunts.

But you don’t-know that–; because the same people now barking for “your” “liberation” gagged us and put us in the closet for 40 years the last 16 of which you spent here alive. If this were only “our” problem, we might not talk about it here–; but since we are the only living people born transgender who have gone through puberty, matriculated school, fledged, and spent our lives experiencing transphobia, and conducting research and just learning how to negotiate and communicate respectfully as just adult people regardless of whether we were cis or trans–; you have both have no role-model that’s any closer to how you were born than your own generally-cisgender parentsaunts-and-uncles, or grandparents–; and these cisgender elder-relatives, also lack the trans-issue backgrounds to enable even the maturity or adulthood that they obviously share even with us, to equip them to be effective listeners or advisors about the transgender identity experience.  But since we have been identity-erased to you and gagged from bespeaking our experience, you are cut-off from having the benefit of identity-community elders whether as role-models or as adults sharing your experience–; and it’s the reason you’re all stranded in a “Langoliers“-like, un-grounded socio-cultural limbo like this kid in this video.  (Even the author realizes that this is a so-called “extreme-case–;” but the case is chosen to highlight the typology in-order more swiftly to make-the-point.  Use it the way one uses a Cartoon.  Please only bother watching this video from 1:30 to 1:40–:  The mean remarks of this video’s host are far even worse than anything even the frighteningly robot-like or smarmy kid in his clips is doing, of course–). A hazing-like hyper-malleability and indoctrinatability analogous to what might have become-induced in Patty Hearst when she was (in her case, it was deliberately done to her, of-course; and of course therefore much worse, but the example is for analogy only) in the captivity of the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist group.  And because of the factors responsible for our being masked and gagged, there’s nothing we could have done to have prevented this, and no, you’re all not going to “be-okay–;” and neither will further generations of kids born-trans, because there will be other interdictions between yourselves and them that will dwarf those that denied us the option of extending any help to you.

Neo would gasp at a “matrix” like this one–!

A man who wrote children’s books for my Dad’s generation still published them into mine. Dr. Seuss wrote “The Sneetches,” about a monkey who built a mechanized clinic for tattooing flightless island rails who were ostracized for not being born with an elite birthmark. When the birthmarked rails saw the counterfeit birthmarks, he built another one to take their birthmarks off. An arms-race ensued with the same rails repeatedly having tattoos removed or reapplied until they all exhausted all their finances, whereupon the monkey left with all their money, and nobody remembered who initially had the birthmarks.

That was “The Sneetches.”

That’s what this is.

A panicked, desperate race to win a mark of social acceptability, in this case, before an unreasonable deadline.

We’re letting the medical industry insist we do this before puberty (or at least during it–;) while we can’t overrule our parents until well after that time (and many of us cannot do it even since then, because of insurance, expenses, and other things that aren’t well discussed–;)

I didn’t like the character who was doorbashing us yesterday either–; nor do I agree with their (I read them as male–; and I’m switching to him for them)–; precepts for terrorizing us yesterday–; I think it characterized him as a punk of the nth magnitude–; but not to see beyond that–; to the actual forces that created this kind of despair at not boarding the bandwagon at this time–; is to feign obtuseness and is disingenuous–.

We’ve created Lord-of the-Flies / Hitler Youth / The Lost Boys/Girls–; through  Silencing two generations socialized never to expect Transition.  Telling half a generation that they would also spend their lives closeted and would self-destruct unless they strong-armed their shelter-owning parents into letting or enabling them to tackle a resistive, medical/legal gatekeeping system, to get aggressive medical treatments that few if any people their parents’ ages either got, or probably even knew about.

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We’ve all seen 65-foot trees that got topped at 20 feet by lightning, how the re-growth trunk is 1/30 the area of the top where it broke-off. However aggressive or obnoxious anyone-here thinks I am now–; didn’t know me when I was M. D.’s age–. I haven’t even aged well. Some of my nicknames were “Killer,” “Monster,” and “that Gorilla over-there.” There are parts, of the experience of being this kind of a person over the course of the years which M. D. indicated was their age, that are indescribable to a person who either has never attained that status, or who has been injured out of it. Yeah, this kid IS every-bit the monster we see them to be. Yet he/they sees tons and kilotons of stuff that the rest of us either can’t see anymore, or never will see–. And it all was burning-up right in front of all of our eyes–. He/they got trapped in the middle of a Comedy-of-Errors–; which–; like all Comedies-of-Errors–; comes from the two-sides refusing to listen to either the other side–; or to a party that’s just caught-in the-crossfire–. If people like me, socialized my whole 42-year post-puberty life that I’d never transition–; would have been able to talk to someone like M. D. before he/they got surrounded by, and put in a windowless echo-chamber of Tumblr and YouTube, laser-pumped by unopposed voices (because they were the “doctors,” of course) saying “Transition must be rushed (or presumably abandoned, whether-or-not they actually come-out or say this–;) it’s possible that he/they might have-gotten at-least just enough of a countering toehold on reality, NOT to have slid-over the cliff into thinking he had to abandon everything to transition-now OR-DIE–!”

Reblogged from Sam Dylan Finch Dec. 12, 2015 “Let’s Queer Things Up.”

Why Aren’t More Trans People Denouncing Truscum?

BODY POSITIVE, TRANSGENDER

Why Aren’t More Trans People Denouncing Truscum?

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If you asked me where the vast majority of my online harassment comes from, you might be surprised to know that it comes from other transgender people.

Ever since I published this article on why body dysphoria is not what makes a person transgender, the pushback on social media by a small but vocal minority has been intense.

The efforts to silence me, all on the basis that I am not “trans enough,” has revealed a really dark side to the trans community that I never knew existed.

This minority has consisted of transmedicalists (also referred to as truscum), who believe that the only valid transgender people are those who experience body dysphoria, desire a “binary” medical transition, and are pursuing hormones and surgery.

All other trans people are not considered “true trans,” and are referred to as traps, imposters,transtrenders, or fakes.

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I remember the first time I was ever harassed by a transmedicalist. I had been (desperately) trying to navigate a complicated insurance policy, having been living in Michigan where testosterone was not covered and now being in California with the same insurance but distinctly different laws.

It was an emotionally exhausting time as I tried to figure out what my options were for beginning my medical transition, coming up against legal hoops and road blocks galore.

It was around that same time that a transmedicalist appeared in my Twitter mentions, accusing me of pretending to be trans for attention and tweeting to followers of mine that they should withdraw support from me because I was not yet on testosterone.

Imagine the hell I was already in: I wanted testosterone and I couldn’t access it. I was struggling to figure out how to come out to my family, fearful of rejection. Every day I was trapped in a body that I could not change, sitting on a secret that I was convinced would destroy my family.

And then a transmedicalist – someone in my community – was punishing me for not having the very thing I was trying desperately to get. It was a slap in the face.

I can’t describe the pain to you. After all of my struggles as trans – the self-hatred, the desperation, the dysphoria, the self-harm, the confusion – I was being told that I was faking it.

Faking it.

I hadn’t known up until that point that there were actually trans people that thrived on being violent towards other trans people. I didn’t think a transgender person would ever intentionally misgender, harass, and silence other trans people.

But they’re real. They’re out there. And every so often, they pitch a fit on social media, hurling violent language in my direction. They ask me invasive questions about my body, intentionally misgender me at every opportunity, interrogate my validity as a trans person, and mock my transition.

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It can be tempting to say that these folks are simply an exceptional bunch – not really representative of the community, something we should ignore or disregard.

It can be tempting to write them off as a small minority that poses no real threat to the larger community.

But I’m not here to do that.

I’m exposing this harassment publicly – including just a fraction of some of the tweets I received in one day – because the trans community needs to acknowledge that these kinds of toxic ideologies exist in our spaces.

We can’t maintain the attitude that if we keep them out of sight and out of mind, everything is okay.

It’s not okay.

The reality is that our community can’t continue to ignore a harmful, violent minority that actively excludes, attacks, and misgenders people under the guise of “protecting” transness.

Our community can’t continue to ignore the harassment that non-binary people in particular are enduring because we refuse to speak out against toxic and exclusive definitions of transness.

Our community can’t sit on the sidelines while this violent rhetoric continues to silence, shame, and harm trans people everywhere.

If we give other trans people a free pass to attack our integrity and our identities, what do you think will stop cisgender people from doing the same?

Transgender people are not defined on the basis of their bodies. They aren’t the surgeries they may get or the hormones they may (or may not) pursue.

Transness is an identity, a sense of self in relation to culturally constructed ideas about gender. It’s how we identify; it’s the framework that we place ourselves within to better understand who we are. And it’s fucking personal.

Every person should be able to define their gender on their own terms. Otherwise, what the hell are we doing? We fought to reclaim our genders from those imposed on us at birth. So why would we impose it again onto other trans people?

Real talk: “Transgender” is not an exclusive club that we can bar people from because they refuse to conform to cisnormative ideas about bodies and gender.

When we deny transgender people the right to self-identify, that is an act of violence. How can we demand respect as a community when we aren’t willing to respect one another?

There are countless transgender people who either do not want to pursue a medical transition (their prerogative), or are unable to access it due to financial barriers or abusive caretakers.

They are arguably the most vulnerable in our community, and they are subjected to abuse not just from the outside world but from people in our own community.

If we are not denouncing this kind of violence against other trans people – if we sit idly while they spew this kind of hatred – we become complicit in it.

We allow people in our community to be degraded, erased, and attacked when this kind of behavior goes unchecked and unacknowledged. And by extension, we give transphobic people outside the community full permission to engage with us in the exact same way.

Transmedicalists are not unicorns or make-believe. They attack me and countless others on a regular basis, with more fervor than the time before, feeling emboldened by the total lack of accountability.

It’s easy to say they aren’t really a part of our community. It’s easy to ostracize them, block them, dismiss them.

It’s more difficult – and yes, truly necessary – to realize that underneath the violence is a shaken, fragile, and troubled transgender person who is still a part of our community. For that reason alone, we must call them in.

It’s more difficult to say that, as a community, we must act – because if we don’t, the violence will continue.

Yes, it’s our responsibility to hold them accountable, and to stand in solidarity with those who have suffered at the hands of their abuse.

Because if we aren’t taking care of each other, who is going to stand up for us?

Today, I was harassed. But tomorrow, it could be you.

 

 

THIS ENTRY WAS POSTED IN: Body Positive, transgender

by

Sam Dylan Finch is a transgender activist and feminist writer, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!, a blog which tackles politics and pop culture from a queer, feminist perspective. With a passion for impacting change through personal narrative, Sam writes about his struggles and triumphs as trans and bipolar with the hopes of teaching others about his identity and community. (www.samdylanfinch.com)

35 Comments

  1. I am really sorry. It seems that in every community these extremist ¨purists¨ will pop up. I remember being a kid and seeing women dress down and then shun my lesbian mother because she had a son. Apparently they believed lesbians should only have daughters. Not a pretty sight at Pride, I tell you. Especially for a five year old. I am so glad you are saying something. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I am so sorry that you experienced this Sam. We need to support each other, no matter what our journey’s are or how we identify. There is enough hate out there it should never come from within our community. Sending love to you.
    Gavin Wyer

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeepers. And, holy shit! Now I have more to think about. And worry about. As you may remember, I am the proud father of a teenager who came out as transgender at age 14. As of this writing, she has not expressed a desire to medically transition. We’ve talked a lot about stuff, but this has never come up as something they want to do at this point. I had never considered that this could be a potential problem for them. This inside reason I follow your blog. You provide topics of conversation and valuable food for thought. Thank you …

    Liked by 3 people

  4. *is the reason, not inside. And my apologies for the gender pronoun “she.” Still getting used to this …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Of course! It takes time. My parents are still working on it, too. We’ve got to hold spaces for parents to make their own transitions as they come to know us as we know ourselves.❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on drugssexpolitics and commented:
    I have personally experienced more online harassment from truscum than any other group of people. This is a very real issue as a nonbinary person.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Man, truscum is the scummiest. My beloved BFFFFF from high school, bat, had to deal with a lot of years processing that he was trans enough even if he had no desire to have surgery or hormones. He has little to no body dysmorphia, but that doesn’t take away from him that even if afab at birth, even if mainly okay in that body, that he identifies as trans* and that is that, and that is valid.

    Which is to say, once again you write a thing that makes me fistpump because it makes me happy to see someone standing up and being brave.❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, thanks for shining a light on this horrible crap. I’m sorry you get this. I hope articles like this will make more people sit up and take notice, but I fear the internet is always going to be the hang-out of choice for those who have nothing better to do than cast mean judgements on others. Sigh. If we have the energy, we must all call out this shit wherever we see it, so that those who don’t have the energy know we’ve got their backs. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve heard of truscum but I have been fortunate to not run into them personally – yet. This is something I do worry about somewhat since I’m also a nonbinary person . I have medically transitioned but I’m very adamantly not male nor female, and I have some friends who are also nonbinary but will not be medically transitioning.

    I am so sorry that you’ve dealt with this awful harassment. Thank you for writing about this, even though it must be tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ugh. Truscum, eh? You’d think that having at some point walked in your shoes (or maybe they just flew, who knows), they’d be compassionate and supportive rather than nasty. This is one of the reasons I socially isolate, which is probably not healthy. It’s definitely the reason I quit social media except for blogging. I find social media just annoys me and hurts more than it helps, for me personally. I do get the occasional blogging troll, but they get slapped so hard they go away fast and so far, I’ve got one who keeps coming back in order to make hurtful remarks, and one lurker who keeps changing his IP address so I can’t block him right quick. Those two I ignore. But Twitter, no. Facebook, except for the pages I run, forget it. I know that for many, social media is essential for getting the word out and (hopefully) having meaningful discussions. I personally am too sensitive, and it’s detrimental to my well-being.

    I very much appreciate what you’re doing for all of us in the non-binary world. I wish these bullies would wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the “truscum” phenomenon is a result of generational differences more than anything. I personally think gender policing of any shape or kind is wrong, and harassment and cyber bullying is completely uncalled for, but if you take a look at all the contextual factors here it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for some of these people.

    I’m 31, and I kind of straddle the “Gen X/Millenial” line. I just started transitioning this year. I grew up and went through puberty and everything in a world that approached trans people radically different. When I was 20 or so, after reading the terrible “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” I diagnosed myself as an autogynephile, and figured there was no way I was really trans. I was just a sex pervert.

    I think the majority of people labeled “truscum” come from this mindset. When they transitioned they had to adhere to a strictly heteronormative, binary gender/sexual identity if they wanted to transition at all. They had to be diagnosed and prove their “transness” to medical professionals if they wanted to do any kind of medical transition. The criteria for a diagnosis of “gender identity disorder” in the 80s and 90s was really just a litany of ridiculous gender bias. The prevailing practice was to have someone live in their desired gender for an entire year before *any* medical intervention(hormones, mainly) was prescribed. They had to be intensely medicalised before they could call themselves “trans.”

    Even after these people were able to medically transition they had to assimilate back into an incredibly transphobic, pre-Caitlyn Jenner society. For them transitioning was like entering the witness protection program, they would typically lose family support, and be forced to deal with precarious housing and employment situations. These are still issues today, obviously, but things are getting better. And like today, these folks had to deal with a constant questioning of their gender identity from cis-society, but they didn’t have the abundance of online support that is out there today.

    The medical diagnosis received was their badge of legitimacy. Having clear symptoms, a clear diagnosis, and clear course of treatment offers legitimacy for people who are going through what most of our society still considers “a radical, unconventional, and unacceptable lifestyle choice.” When you realize that you no longer have any family, friends, romantic relationships, or employment opportunities because you transitioned, being able to point to a medical answer for why you seemingly upended your life can be very helpful.

    I think the “truscum” see non-binary identities, in a way, as an affront to all that they’ve had to go through. I think they’re worried that an acceptance of “gender as a spectrum” could de-legitimize everything they’ve fought for in their lives. Yes, these people are wrong to harrass younger, non-binary trans people. Yes, they should be more accepting of gender identities. I feel nothing but sympathy for what you’ve had to deal with. They clearly aren’t making any attempt to understand your perspective and are hurling hate speech your way. But, at the same time, you’re not really making an attempt to understand their perspective either. These people are survivors. They came out and transitioned before it was understood. By switching between binary genders they opened the door for non-binary forms of gender expression. I would bet money that 90% of the people labeled “truscum” prefer “transsexual” over “transgender.” I think we just need to take their comments with a grain of salt. They’re the trans equivalent of the Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”. They’re harsh and out-dated and problematic, but they’re also a product of their environment. It’s often easier to just ignore them, particularly in online discourse, than to get drawn into arguments in which no one will change anyone’s mind.

    Again, I don’t condone any kind of gender policing, and I’m really sorry you had bad interactions with people, but hate begets hate. Labeling folks with pejorative terms and excluding them from the dialogue isn’t going to help. It just serves to reinforce the “us vs. them” dichotomy, when we just different sides of the same coin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, I absolutely encourage folks to be compassionate as a rule. You’re clearly not familiar with my work – I have dedicated my career to creating accessible, compassionate articles that call folks in and educate.

      But I also believe that we must hold one another accountable when violence is happening in our community. And what is happening here? Violence.

      Your comment, while I appreciate your efforts to see “all sides,” still reads to me as a dismissal of violence and abuse. It still lends more legitimacy to the abuser. And it victim-blames.

      I don’t need to be tone policed after enduring months of this abuse. And I certainly don’t need to ignore the abuse as it happens.

      And to read this article as “hate” that is equivalent to what they’ve done to me, as if I’m making no point here and I’m just being too sensitive, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what accountability is.

      I’m glad you can ignore them. But I don’t have that privilege. Because they harass me and they won’t leave me alone.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I want to add that you’re not wrong about these folks being complex and being human. I express this sentiment towards the end of the article. But I’m not sure, when someone writes an article about abuse, it’s an appropriate time to ask them to be nice and “stop being divisive.”

        I’m not sure that you’d do this to any other victim of abuse, so I’m not sure why you thought it was a perfect time to ask me to be nice and ignore them. It’s hurtful.

        Accountability matters and sometimes we call people out because ignoring them is not remedying the abuse. I think you underestimate just how deep and serious of an issue this really is for many trans folks online.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’m genuinely sorry if my post came across as victim-blaming or tone policing. That was absolutely not my intention. Re-reading my post it is kind of pretentious, and I certainly wasn’t trying to invalidate your experiences or anything like that, and again, I am truly sorry if it came across that way. You’re right, I wouldn’t treat a victim of another form of abuse that way, proposing a devil’s-advocate argument and suggesting they ignore it. This was not the place to post this and I’m sorry I caused offense. I’ve been thinking about this problem a lot, and I should have just written this someplace else.

        I agree with you, by the way. The “truscum” and “TERFs” of the world are people who refuse to acknowledge other people’s right to exist. When someone starts with the position of “you aren’t human” or “your identity isn’t valid” there really isn’t anywhere to go with that. What does accountability look like for them? Attempts at no-platforming or otherwise calling out people like Germain Greer simple allows them to feel victimized and/or sympathetic and draw more people to their cause.

        As more people, of increasingly varied gender identities, get involved in the trans movement and trans activism the “truscum” and “TERFs” of the world will continue to be seen as the extremist fringe groups that they are. I was simply trying to express that sometimes the energy required to hold accountable or condemn people with already-widely-seen-as-abhorrent views is too much. There’s been a dramatic change in the perception and acceptance of gender variant people in the last twenty years, and that isn’t going to change. We’re not going to go backwards as a society. The “truscum” are just another version of the segregationist blocking the schoolhouse. They’re awful, and hurtful, but they won’t be around forever.

        Again, I am truly sorry if it felt like I was trying to invalidate your statements or experiences or to blame you for anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m also sorry if I came across as really hostile – it’s definitely coming from a place of hurt. This has been the last few months of fielding abuse that hits on my own fears that I, as non-binary, don’t have a place in the community.

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  11. My girlfriend who has fully transitioned is a bit of a transmedicalist. I am just coming out trans, and she is confused by and trying to rationalize in her own mind why I already look so much like a woman with nary an added hormone or anything. Its kind of a compliment, I suppose, though I know it’s coming from a place of complete misunderstanding of what it really means to be trans, truly trans – the awareness of being with or without genital reassignment surgery. We have a new neighbor who moved in recently, and my friend had heard that they too might be trans so asked me about it. I returned that it seemed so since they had changed their name from a male spelling to a female one. Her response, “Well either you have a c*** or you don’t,” taking it crudely and simply down to genital reassignment only and offending me in the process – she knows I have no desire for surgery at this point. It seems to me it’s an old-school-mentality type of construct. And with things of that nature, the afflicted are the ones that come across looking out-of-touch and uneducated in the matter. I’m trying to educate my friend. It’s not as easy as it ought to be though, which I find truly perplexing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am so glad I signed up to get your blog by e-mail, so I never miss one. You are one of the most thoughtful writers about gender I know.

    Transsexual purists, as I like to call them — I’m uncomfortable with calling people scum, but that’s just me — have also harassed me online. I’ve learned to block them as soon as I get the first whiff that that’s where they’re coming from. But you’re right — avoiding a problem never contributes to a solution. I need to re-evaluate how I approach this. I’m thinking I need to blow on the embers of my blog and bring it back to life for topics like this.

    I’ll add this thought — it’s not just online harassment; that’s current but temporary. But what is published lives forever.. When I was first coming to terms with my own gender in 2005 (at the tender age of 53!), part of my process was a lot of serious, in-the-library-stacks, Google-all-night research (hey, I’m a librarian’s daughter). Figuring out who was being honest, and who was pushing an agenda, was the hardest part. It wasn’t only Janice Raymond (Patron Saint of TERFs), it was also the more subtle, more scientific sounding people like J. Michael Bailey and his theory of so-called “autogynephilia”. Not just that he published it, but that so may trans people apparently support it. And of course HBGDA/WPATH is so easy to get sucked in by — they’re doctors, they have (some) research, they sound so official (“Standards” of Care lol). It’s easy to reject the Christianist arguments, but the people who claim to be objective and supportive, yet undermine us through the chinks of doubt in our identity armor, are far more dangerous, more damaging.

    Thanks for the wake-up call.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for this comment!

      And I totally struggle with the “truscum” label. I use it so that folks know what group I’m talking about and because transmedicalists have reclaimed it, but I much prefer “transmedicalist” hence my using them interchangeably.

      And your discussion here about the more subtle and institutional ways that these ideologies are supported is so true. In a way, transmedicalists are not the person behind the curtain – they’re the illusion on the wall, you know? But they’ve got bigger and less overt forces behind them that support these ideologies. Those are important to examine, too.

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  13. “It’s more difficult – and yes, truly necessary – to realize that underneath the violence is a shaken, fragile, and troubled transgender person who is still a part of our community. For that reason alone, we must call them in.”

    You have a big heart, Sam. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a transmedicalist, but I hope if I did, I could respond with as much strength and compassion. You are very right in that their violence is probably rooted in their fear and insecurity. Doesn’t make it right, but it does give us some understanding of how we might change their minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve encountered these people before. I have no patience or tolerance for them. My opinion is they are masking their own insecurity about the legitimacy of their identities by attacking others who’s transitions are different from their own. You don’t need anyone else to define who you are – you do that.

    I read your other article. I thought it was OK. I can understand maybe a little why someone might have had at most a minor bone to pick – the extremes of body dysphoria that some of us experience as part of our gender dysphoria are savage. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on a convicted terrorist. But yeah, not everyone experiences this in the same way, to the same degree, or even at all. I’m actually happy about that – seriously, nobody should go through what I did! You don’t quite emphasize that, so someone might interpret what you wrote as minimizing the physical side of gender dysphoria. (I didn’t read it that way, but I can see how someone might’ve.)

    Picking on you about this is just awful. Anyway, you are real, authentic, and totally legit in my book, hon. (Not that my opinion matters – like I said – “You define YOU.”)

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  15. Pingback: My identity is not up for debate | the funcrunch files
  16. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear’s Queer/Trans News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NMand commented:
    Sam weighs in on the transmedicalists and how their message is hurtful to many in the trans community who don’t or can’t transition medically. This obviously contributes to non-binary erasure as transitioning to a non-binary gender identity does not always involve medical intervention. By reblogging this I am standing up against harassment of trans bloggers like Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this piece, you have very eloquently put into words some thoughts I have had myself for quite some time. Having been actively involved in LGBTQ activism in the last few years – and during this time having realized that I am non-binary – my experience is very similar to yours. At this point I have almost stopped talking about my gender at all, except when in very particular spaces, as I feel way too scared to do so. Having faced such overwhelming lack of respect from a big part of the trans community and a rhetoric coming from the most prominent local trans activists of my country, according to which non-binary folks are just cis people appropriating trans identities in order to not acknowledge their cis priviledge (and, at this point, being unable to even talk back, as its my word against theirs and, as I said, these are prominent trans activists), in a strange way it’s a relief to know that what is happening to me is an actual thing – that I’m not making it up, that I’m not being way too sensitive and I’m not exaggerating. So, THANK YOU. And you are right: this is not OK at all. It’s not OK that it’s happening but, worst of all, it’s not OK that it’s not even acknowledged. We need to speak up.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m really sorry about the harassment you have faced. Transmedicalist generally try to hold member’s of their community accountable and reduce that harassment, but we can’t control everyone.

    That being said, the experience you have had does not represent the beliefs and actions of most transmedicalists. The most vocal few always seem to be the most mean and conservative of the bunch, and this is an unfortunate reality in many areas of life. I do not in any way support the people who have harassed you or others. Here is the transmedicalism I support:

    Transmedicalists believe you need some sort of physical dysphoria to be trans. Dysphoria is not hating your body. Dysphoria is not complete and utter disgust or endless discomfort. It can be those things, but it can also be just a disconnect, a feeling of “this is my body and I’m okay with that, but some things don’t quite line up; I’m a guy and most guys don’t have boobs. I’m generally more comfortable binding them.” That’s dysphoria. A lot of people who claim to be nondysphoric experience that feeling and simply don’t recognize it because there is so much misinformation spread.

    Transmedicalists are not purposefully trying to exclude trans people because they’re not “trans enough”. They come from a fundamentally different perspective of what gender is. They don’t believe that gender is a feeling, because it doesn’t make sense to claim that all guys feel one way, all girls feel another, and all nonbinary people have some unifying feeling with people of their gender. They don’t believe that gender is determined by gender roles, because gender roles are bullshit and should be abolished. They don’t believe that gender is determine by stereotypes for the same reason. What does it mean to “feel” like a certain gender? If it wouldn’t exist if the social construct of gender (which is exclusively harmful) were eliminated, is it worth maintaining? Isn’t it more radical to be a nonconforming cis person than to identify as a different gender because you don’t think you feel like the other women and men feel? You may be surprised at the variety in how cis men and women relate to their genders while still identifying as cis.

    Finally, (many, if not most) transmedicalists do believe in nonbinary genders. It is possible to have physical dysphoria that does not align with a binary sex. And many transmedicalists will accept you as nonbinary regardless of how your dysphoria present because specific labels aren’t that important. If that’s the label that makes you comfy, go for it.

    I am not personally a transmedicalist. I used to be, and believe me, I did nothing like what you described in this article. I would never dream of harassing anyone or telling them they’re not trans just because they don’t fit my definition. I really didn’t tell anyone anything about my beliefs at all because I was so terrified of the backlash. People spread misinformation about transmedicalists to the point that it is impossible to have even mildly transmedicalist views without fear of losing your friends because they have been told that transmedicalists are “scum” who harass people and think you need to hate yourself in order to be trans.

    So yes, the people you described in this article are definitely harmful to the trans community. What they are doing is wrong, and it is awful. But transmedicalists are part of the trans community, and portraying them as all being harassers who don’t believe in nonbinary genders and think you need unbearable dysphoria is harmful to a large number of transmedicalists who have never harassed anyone or believed the things you claim they believe. Generalizations like that are harmful to the trans community too.

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    • Really appreciate you weighing in here. But it’s also important to understand that necessitating “dysphoria” to be trans is still problematic, still erasure, still violence – and that kind of erasure is what is used to justify harassment like this.

      The harassment I faced is the direct result of this delegitimizing of trans people. The direct result of the ideologies you describe. And the direct result of a lack of accountability within this community and the larger community.

      When a community – transmedicalists – are responsible for a belief system that actively disempowers trans people, they cannot claim that they’ve been harmed when people are calling out the abuse that is an extension of those ideologies.

      Because these beliefs – sans direct harassment – are still abuse, still harming trans people.

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    • I also want to encourage you to read the original article that accompanies this. Because I, too, used to believe that dysphoria was necessary. I, too, used to be aligned with this ideology.

      But I owned the harm that I caused. I don’t make efforts to defend those ideologies because I recognize them as abuse.

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  19. Experienced this hate myself, and I am binary transgender! It’s not only a nonbinary issue. I’ve been told that I’m “not trans enough” because I feel very mild dysphoria and have an androgynous build body. Also I do not want any surgeries. But you know what? Nobody asks about my reasons. Many transgender people do not want medical transition and/or surgeries due to the risks. I suffer from a rare tumour disease and have several disabilities. So no, I don’t want to take the risk to die on the surgery table. I wanna live. And if I can do that quite well without surgeries, just being on T, I will do this! I don’t let myself getting told I’m not trans enough just because I don’t rather die during a surgery than to live with this body I have.
    And I find it very sick from those people to trow their hate to other trans people! Don’t we get already enough trouble from cisgender people? We should take care of each other, respect different identities and support each other!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I first came out at 18 to a CRAPTON of social and familial pressure to go back into the closet. So I did. At age 22, after my life took a turn for the messed up, I decided to come back out.

    I did a bunch of research into options. I knew I would have to go into gender therapy to get where I wanted to go, but I didn’t quite know where that was. So I turned to yahoo answers, and subsequently learned my lesson. I asked if there were options for an afab to get phalloplasty but keep their vagina (because, hey, sex is awesome as is). I got all sorts of vitriole about how I was a faker, how I wasn’t really trans, how I should get off the trans wagon and deal with my mental illness, etc. All crap that I got from transphobic friends and family members.

    So I went in the opposite direction: ALL MALE ALL THE TIME!!! I turned my nose up at anything even REMOTELY feminine because I didn’t want to be seen as a faker. And guess what? I STILL wasn’t happy. I’m queer. I’m not a guy. I feel like I should have been born male, but I’m still not a guy. My spouse helped me see this and helped me backpedal away from my “end goals.” Certain surgeries are still in the options pile, but nowhere NEAR as drastic as I was “wanting” before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes yes yes! This is so similar to my own struggle! I’m just now at a place where I’m finally welcoming “femininity” back into my life after having felt that I had to reject it in order to be seen as valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Why Aren’t More Trans People Denouncing Truscum? | COMMUNITY QUILT

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