[TW for body and gender dysphoria, issues around fetishes, abuse, sexual assault]
I’d like to talk about about trans men* and male privilege.
This showed up on my tumblr dash – actually, just this part:
Trans men are MEN. Not special edition sparkly vampire fluffy unicorn womyn-space-compatible men-lite. It is utterly, utterly, utterly fucked up to even suggest that they should be allowed in womens’ spaces, especially at the expense of trans women.
And since it’s a subject of particular importance to me, and coincidentally I recently talked at great length about it, I reblogged it with my own thoughts.
You got trans guys insisting they should be allowed access to women’s spaces? I will give you my phone number, you call me, hand them the phone, and I will put them through the motherfuckin’ ringer.
Hey fellow trans guys, I know this is hard for some of us to get a handle on but THOSE ARE NOT OUR SPACES ANYMORE. It sucks and it feels unfair and it really, really hurts, but that does not change anything. If you’re a trans guy insisting you should be allowed in women-only spaces, you’re saying a hell of a lot about how the women of that space should regard trans women. About how YOU regard trans women. And what you’re saying is ugly fucking bullshit and you need to stop it right the fuck now.
A lot of us tend to be less tied to traditional gender expressions, which is great! But if you are getting conditional male privilege in your day-to-day life, if you do a masculine presentation most of the time, if you insist on be regarded as a man or masculine in your public life, then the price is giving up your place in women-only spaces. If you understand why these spaces are important, then you should be able to understand why you shouldn’t be trying to access them anymore. If you don’t understand why women-only spaces are important, then I suggest you find some feminist resources and study up.
AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT, everyone perpetuating this “man-lite” bullshit needs to check themselves. I’m masculine-leaning-genderqueer, but in public spaces, I am seen as male. It’s really fucking uncomfortable for me to be treated as “A MAN *wink* *wink*” by other queer people, often in queer spaces. Queer cis women, please please PLEASE stop doing this to trans guys you’d like to date and/or have sex with. I definitely do not want to be treated like I’m just really, really butch or Diet Man. Which has happened. On more than one occasion.
ONE LAST THING, could everyone stop being “I, FOR ONE, AM SHOCKED! SHOCKED!” at the fact that trans men say and do misogynistic crap? How is this even a thing when women do misogynistic crap all the time? You know, internalized misogyny? This assumption that trans men are automagically always feminists seems to be linked to the stereotype that trans men were all Lesbian Women’s Studies Majors at some point. Women who are lesbians and Women’s Studies majors are great. Stereotypes about trans people’s histories and backgrounds are not.
The buzz word in popular feminism today is empowerment. When I became a feminist many years ago, the word we used was liberation. Unlike empowerment, liberation is a collective concept which means that even if my life is all rosy and “empowered,” it doesn’t mean shit for those women who are doing low paid jobs while trying to raise families. In fact, there is a very good chance that elite women’s empowerment is built on the backs of other women whose exploited labor provides the goods and services that enable a good career and a comfortable lifestyle. The low pay of nannies, cooks, cleaners, sweat shop workers, and day care providers means that wealthier women are freed up to make a salary that no doubt does feel empowering.