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When it comes down to it, we’re here to promote equality and GLBTQ* visibility in the media. We want to be a place where everyone has a voice. We want to hear your story, see what you’ve created—because we believe everyone, GLBTQ* or straight—has a story to tell.
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Or, why does the trans community forget we exist? A little blog about how identifying as genderqueer has shaped my perspective, and how the GLBT community at large tends to gloss over our existence.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=genderqueer in case you’re curious.
We’re all part of the same family, but why oh why do more than a few FtM communities on the internet shame and marginalize their brothers for falling under the GQ or non-op/no-hormone route in their transitions?
To understand this we have to get into some pretty uncomfortable territory, meaning looking at culture and gender and assigned sex at birth, among other issues. What’s in your pants being another. Most if not all FtM men that are doing this glossing over and shaming, do not in the slightest wish to acknowledge their past as females, and perhaps to accept their genderqueer brothers—they would have to stare androgyny in the face. That might be uncomfortable to them. Perhaps they are afraid of seeing their own past mirrored back at them? Maybe they genuinely believe they are right, that identifying this way is the ‘easy way out’ and that genderqueer bois, female-bodied men, genderqueer people in general are not wiling to face the harsh reality which is medical transition.
I cannot speak for MtF genderqueer or male-assigned female-identifying individuals. I can only speak for myself. Some days I identify more male, present as such, use my pronouns to reflect that, etc. Some days it is the opposite end of the spectrum. I am female-assigned in my physical gender, but oftentimes will use packers, prosthetics, etc. depending on my presentation at the time. I do not generally use neutral pronouns because they don’t feel comfortable to me. They work for some people. I’m not one of them.
My point being, the FtM community cannot gloss over the fact that we who are genderqueer and identify as men, dress as men, bind, pack—etc…We are not less than because of the lack of testosterone. We are not less than any man because of our choice not to have surgery or HRT. Nothing makes us less than the sum of who we are at that moment, which is men—Through and through. One chemical does not a man make. This leads to the question what does make a ‘man’ and not a ‘woman’? Can one person truly say, “You are not a (trans) man, and here is why I think so?” no. You can’t. Or, you shouldn’t. Because it’s unfair and cruel to dismiss anyone’s identity or anyone’s experience simply because it is not the same path that you have chosen.
I am not less of a man for choosing not to transition. I am not less of a man for not using testosterone. I challenge anyone to say to my face, “Kiran, you are not a man because you’re not on HRT/having top surgery/etc.” Bring it on. I’ll deny that every time.
Why am I man? What makes me a better man than you at that moment? Because I am not judging you as you are so cruelly doing to me and my brothers. I am not looking down on you and shaming you simply for being who you are. Because I am classier than that. Because I’m better than that. I provide for my family, I provide emotional support for my partner, I will provide for my children, I will be a loving husband and a loving father—Despite my lack of a beard, chest hair, or a deep voice. I will be chivalrous, respectful (ahem.), polite, and teach my children empathy and kindness toward others.
That’s what makes me a man.
Glad we got that settled.
Where do I even begin? There is so much wrong with this article on such a basic level that it’s almost astounding, not to mention insulting. In the time it has been posted, someone had the common sense to address the glaring issue the author glossed over. This issue was the complete lack of genderqueer/trans visibility in the blog post. Thankfully, some kind soul that has a much nicer manner of speech than I do picked up on it.
I had sleepovers when I was a kid. With boys. With girls. I had sleepovers with three boys and my parents didn’t bat an eyelash. This could be because one of those boys was (and still is) very, very gay, the other was my brother, and the other one was just assumed to be non-threatening? I’m unsure why we got away with half the things we did. The point is, our parents never sat us down and had a talk with us about the possibility that we might sleep with each other. Ew, mom. No way. /eyeroll. Did we use hetero-normative behavior to cover up sleeping with one another? No. We just didn’t even consider it. All in all, the conversation was mostly awkward. Is that a cultural difference between 15 years ago and today? I lean toward yes, but am willing to be overruled.
As for my female friends and I? I kissed one of them, but it certainly wasn’t at a sleepover. My parents knew damn well I was sexually active (ahaha and by that I mean I lost my virginity to another girl when I was 18, which was like saying I was 30), and I got the same talk everyone else did. When I came out, they seemed to assume that I didn’t need any further talking to on the subject. Sleepovers weren’t addressed. There was an underlying level of trust there, that no—Really. I wasn’t going to sleep with my friends, and if I was sleeping with a girlfriend—That we were tested and safe about it. Sure, my friends and I got up to some strip poker, truth or dare, a bit of making out—but nobody flat out slept with anyone else. If they did, they were already dating. I was never in that bunch.
I never conformed to a gendered ‘female’ role, despite heavy pressure to do so. I knew from a young age that I was gender variant, and came out as genderqueer/transgender at 13. I have attempted medical transition twice in my life, and have finally settled into androgyny as where I am most comfortable. Was my lack of a ‘sleepover talk’ because my parents didn’t want to even touch the subject with a daughter who clearly didn’t identify as female? What about young trans girls? Where are they in this? There is plenty of discussion for two gay male teens and probably lengthy lectures, due to the cultural stereotypes that surround homosexual male sex. (Disease, drugs, etc.)
Lesbian women, genderqueer men and women/bois/genderfucks/etc. are dismissed as irrelevant in the article, and the kind soul discussing that brought up the topic of trans invisibility, but within that, there is genderqueer invisibility. So many people are aware of FtM and MtF transsexuals, but genderqueer is largely glossed over or assumed as just being ‘confusing’ or ‘too chicken shit to transition’ in much of the community. There is still an underlying current, especially in the FtM community, that if you do not seek medical transition that you are somehow ‘less of a man’. I identify as male more than female some days, and I’d love these men to say that to my face. It is not ones chemicals injected into their systems that make them a man. If you think the presence of testosterone is all that makes a man, you’ve got a long way to go.
That, however, is a post for another time.
To sum it up, it would have been nice to see the author of this article include the entire demographic she was trying to cater to—Instead of leaving half of it out and praying they wouldn’t notice.