Posts Tagged ‘trans women’

Need To Express Your Hatred Towards Trans Women? There’s An App For That

October 28, 2010

Apple has apparently decided to put its stamp of approval on the mocking and belittling of of trans women. There is an app available in iTunes called “Peek-a-boo Tr***y.” In case you couldn’t tell from the transmisogynistic slur in the title, it exists for the express purpose of being fucked up, offensive, and hateful. And it targets trans women, who are among the most horrifically oppressed women in our society.

Call Apple at +1 (408) 974-2042 and tell them that this is not acceptable.

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Trans Women, Lactation, and Exclusion

August 19, 2010

While I have discussed the obstacles faced by cis women who wish to breastfeed many times, I have neglected to delve into the reality of trans women and their experiences with breastfeeding. This is unacceptable, and a reflection of the cis privilege that I enjoy. Contrary to popular belief, almost every person regardless of gender has the necessary equipment to nurse a child. If you have a healthy breast, you can probably breastfeed.

Now, when a cis woman wants to breastfeed, she is in for an uphill battle. She will get so much misinformation from health care professionals, well-meaning relatives, friends, and advertisements. Her decisions on when and how frequently to nurse are going to be policed by total strangers. If she nurses for “too long,” people will accuse her of being selfish (as if there were no health benefits to full-term nursing or child-led weaning); if she doesn’t nurse “long enough,” then people will accuse her of being vain or lazy (as if there were no legitimate reasons to choose not to nurse or to choose mother-led weaning), which not only is disrespectful to a woman’s bodily autonomy, but also feeds the “rabid baby-fetishing mommy-guilting breastfeeding zealout” meme and turns more women off to even considering breastfeeding in the first place. If she wants to take breaks at work to pump, she will have to deal with coworkers and superiors who may be less than understanding.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for cis women. For a trans woman, take all of those issues and multiply them by a million.

Misinformation regarding, well, almost anything about trans women’s lives is regurgitated and unchallenged by the vast majority of the cis population (who, naturally, dominate the medical profession as well as every other discipline of our society). Trans women have to deal with discrimination from the medical community on a horrific level; things that cis women do without much thought, such as filling out medical forms, are not such a carefree task for trans folks. When I see a new doctor for the first time, I don’t have to wonder if she is going to be so bigoted against me that she will not even enter the room or touch me.

While I feel snug and protected by the laws in my state that guarantee my right to nurse publicly, trans women do not have the same luxury. They cannot take for granted that someone will not challenge them (or arrest them!) on the basis that they are “not really women.”

While many cis women can take for granted that their milk will come in without much effort on their part, there are many trans women who will not be able to afford the hormonal regimen that will allow them to simulate a pregnancy and induce lactation. Insurance companies already overwhelmingly fail to provide support and supplies for lactating cis women; trans women can expect to get exactly squat to even spur lactogenesis in the first place.

The books that I’ve been reading about breastfeeding are of course filled to the brim with cis-sexism. There is a complete black hole in regards to the needs and concerns of trans women who wish to nurse their children. This is something that needs to change. When the “pro woman” battle cry really means “pro cis woman” (and let’s be honest – it almost always certainly means just that), then we are failing. We are neglecting our duties as supporters of health care, as womanists, as decent damn people.

My silence about the needs of trans women in breastfeeding advocacy is a testament to my bigotry. I’ve been fucking up. And I need to do better.

Help Nikki Araguz

July 26, 2010

A woman whose husband has died is being sued by her in-laws, who assert that because the widow is trans, the entire marriage was a farce and she has no right to his death benefits. On top of the fact that the in-laws are grabbing for money only a few weeks after her husband’s death, they have also publicly outed her as a trans woman and have endangered her life by doing so.

For more details, check out Cara’s post on The Curvature.

Mrs. Araguz is currently living off of donations since her assets have been frozen. Please help. If you can’t afford to donate, then at least spread the word! I doubt very seriously that the big GLB orgs and celebrities are going to come running to her assistance; trans issues just don’t rate very highly on the list of Things That Matter in any cis-dominated sphere. Every little bit helps.

On Identity and Telling the Truth

June 3, 2010

Today, thanks to a conversation with a friend, I’m thinking about lying.

Specifically, I’m thinking about being accused of lying when you are, in fact, telling the truth. I had it happen to me a few times as a child, as I’m sure everyone has at least once or twice. I remember how it felt. It was awful, I felt helpless (if the truth couldn’t save me, what could I do?), and I remember how furious my helplessness would make me.

On one occasion, as a young adult, I told my parents that I was sick and could not go to work that night. They accused me of lying and argued about it with me for over an hour until I finally, tearfully, begged for them to just let me go to bed and sleep it off. My mom took my temperature an hour later and discovered that I had a fever of 102. They did apologize, in the face of indisputable evidence, so that was something.

I lost my glasses during the second week of my freshman year of high school. I told my parents and they accused me of lying; they thought that I’d purposely thrown away my glasses in order to get a new pair, so they adamantly refused to buy me new ones. I went through my first two years of high school having to copy my friends’ notes in class because I couldn’t read the blackboard. They didn’t get them for me until I needed them for my driver’s license, at 16.

When I was 19, I was dealing with a serious bout of depression. I was suicidal. I had a huge fight with my parents and ended up leaving home. I stayed with friends for a week, and when I went back home, I tried to explain to them what was wrong with me. When I tried to tell my mother that I was depressed, she told me, “You’re full of shit.” She didn’t believe me. She thought that I was making up excuses for my behavior.

I don’t bring these things up in order to vilify my parents. It was a long time ago, and my parents were/are very young; I genuinely believe that in some things, they just didn’t know any better. They didn’t and still don’t understand much about depression. And I don’t believe that they ever said the things that they did just for shits and giggles. What I’m thinking about is how I can avoid doing the same to Eve; children are people, and people lie. Sometimes people lie for fun and sometimes they lie to cover up what they’ve done, and sometimes they tell the truth even though it hurts to admit and it can be scary. But how do you discern the difference?

This also ties into a debate that I’ve been having about trans women with some asshole on an online forum I frequent. Like most cis people, as soon as the topic of trans folks came up, he started talking about “honesty in relationships” and “I just think they should be honest” or whatever. No one was even talking about relationships; we were actually just discussing the media and LGB’s constant misgendering of Tiwonge as a gay man rather than the woman that she is. I made the point that a cis person jumping up to talk about the importance of honesty in cis-trans relationships is like a white person butting into a discussion about interracial relationships just to throw in, “And I hope the black guy knows not to steal her TV!” It’s offensive and unnecessary to question the honesty of trans folks just because they are trans.

This is not even getting into the fact that trans people are not dishonest for not disclosing their trans status unless you think that “trans” = “not really the gender I say that I am.”  A trans woman who says “I am a woman” is not a liar if she leaves out the trans qualifier; she is a woman. But trans folks who don’t disclose their status are frequently framed as being deceptive by cis folks, as if by claiming womanhood fully, a trans woman is somehow trying to sneak her way into cis lives.

Fuck, while I’m thinking of it, why don’t cis people disclose their status? Something like:

“Hi. I really like you. Before things move along any further, I just wanted to let you know that I’m cis, meaning that I was assigned the gender that I identify with at birth, and therefore I have tons of cis privilege that allows me to ignore the concerns and suffering of trans people, not to mention gives me an unearned advantage in millions of ways, one of them being that no one ever questions my gender identity and I never have to ‘prove’ my womanhood in order to ‘earn’ recognition of it. I also don’t have to worry about people murdering me because they discovered that I’m cis, and I don’t have mainstream feminists idolizing women who advocated for my genocide like Mary Daly did. I hope you don’t mind because I really like you, but I just thought I should let you know, because if you’re trans, I will probably cluelessly stomp all over you with my privileged ways of thinking.”

Yeah. That sounds good. Any cis person who does not disclose their cis status to their partner is a fucking liar.

I remember the helplessness and rage that I felt whenever my parents accused me of lying when I was telling the truth. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to have almost the whole world call me a liar just for saying, “I am a woman,” even though it’s true, and for that world to hate me just because I refuse to placate them with a lie.