Trans-misogyny: the (mini) round-up

Trans-misogyny is “the unique and particular form of misogyny that targets trans women” – Natalie Reed

So, I have been doing a lot of research on trans-misogyny and have found out that I am not the only person out there who thinks that some of the privileges trans men have need to be examined.

After I tentatively dipped my toes into the murky pool that is trans-misogyny, I wanted to share some of my reading with you.

I have selected a couple of the articles that I found the most thought-provoking and well-written. I especially like the videos, which are kinda tongue-in-cheek.

1. Funkyfest On Trans Men and the Word “Tranny,” or: Cut Your Entitled Bullshit Out.’

“Just because you’re trans does not exempt you from the patriarchal binary gender system. You’re still a dude in a very dude-positive/lady-negative culture, and the queer community is no more immune to that than you are.”

However, I wasn’t sure about this:

“Generally speaking, for a body marked as female to embody masculinity is less shameful than for a body marked as male to have a feminine or embodiment.”

What do you guys think about this statement? Can we really quantify oppression (say minority 1 + minority 2 = more oppressed body)? And how useful is this argument? Things are so complicated, I am not sure we can calculate such things. However, I do strongly believe that bodies read as male are privileged over bodies that are read as female. But can we really say that one type of trans gender identity experiences more oppression than another?

2. Hands up if you have ever downplayed your femininity to get laid more?

Morgan M. Page, a Canadian trans activist, really struck home with me when she said this:

“I’ve recently been seriously talking about changing my identity to trans man, because it makes way more sense in terms of who I hang out with and the politics I have and it also gets me hit on more.”

Yup, my hand’s up. I’ve totally changed my gender presentation to less feminine in order to be seen more in the queer community in Berlin. It’s pretty sad.

She also made this hilarious performance which highlights our collective adulation of trans guys. To be viewed with a pinch of salt.

3. Jack Radish has noticed that he gets a lot more cred as a trans man for saying exactly the same thing that trans women have been saying for, like, EVER. However, I can’t help but thank him for saying this:

“When the same people start saying, “our group is open to trans women, but I guess there are just no trans women who want to come,” I have to get up, walk away … and join the ranks of the trans women who don’t want to come to their stupid events. I leave them scratching their heads, still wondering (but not too hard) why everyone who comes to their events looks just like they do.”

Sound familiar Berliners? Oh, yeah.

4. Lastly, let’s finish this with a bit of man-hating. Red Durkin, vlogger extraordinaire, tells us all why she just HATES men. I think this is half-joking, kinda, sorta…

8 thoughts on “Trans-misogyny: the (mini) round-up

  1. Anna

    Hey, just a comment about #2. The quote talks about “shame” and you talk about oppression. Are they the same thing? I can see how shame is internalised oppression, but I can see differences too.

    Also when you say “However, I do strongly believe that bodies read as male are privileged over bodies that are read as female. But can we really say that one type of trans gender identity experiences more oppression than another?” I don’t understand the distinction you’re making – if you believe that bodies read as male are more priveleged than those read as female, surely one can infer that someone with a (trans) female identity is more oppressed than that of a (trans) male identity.

    Hope this makes sense – I’m not nit-picking at all I think it’s a really good article and very important points.

    1. Lipstick Terrorist

      Hmm, I think shame is a form of oppression but oppression also takes many more forms. I guess what I got from this article is that embodying femininity is shameful. That as a culture we understand why a butch woman or a trans man would want to embody masculinity. We adore masculinity and it makes sense to us when other people adopt it. However, we don’t understand why someone, such as a sissy guy or feminine transsexual woman would seemingly ‘choose’ to embody femininity (especially if they apparently have the ‘choice’ to be a man), when we all know that femininity is artificial, weak and silly.

      I am not sure I agree in general with this idea anyway. From what I’ve seen, the mainstream world is extremely tough on butch women and barely knows trans men exist. However, in the queer community, we definitely see this adultation in operation. Being butch or a trans guy is cool, but as a transsexual woman, you are pretty much at the bottom of the pile.

      To respond to your second point, I see the perceived maleness or femaleness of a body as a separate observation from its perceived cis or trans status. We react differently to a person we assume to be a cis woman than to a person we assume is a trans woman.

      You are right though, that phrasing is confusing and it needs to be fleshed out more. I recently read a blog about these 4 different intersections of identity in the way we treat people (man, woman, cis, trans) but I cannot remember for the life of me where I read it. If anyone can tell me, that would be great!

  2. Reblogged this on regan5 and commented:
    Hey boys and girls I’m doing the paramedic thing this week from baton rouge thanks to hurricane Ivan. Rather then try to blog from my iPhone I’m sharing a cool post I found waiting for the storm to pass.

  3. supernaut

    I thought you’d mentioned Chaz Bono here, but doesn’t seem to come up in search, so maybe it was elsewhere, nonetheless, it kept occurring to me the difference between the media attention he gets and that of Lana Wachowski. Granted, the latter has always been adverse to media and the former not shy of it at all. However I think the difference between the attention, validity, and gravity afforded to Chaz compared to Lana — given their relatively similar social positions as Hollywood people — pretty much encapsulates the trans-misogyny/trans men fetishism situation.

    Also to say I hope you don’t stop writing this stuff just because you’re leaving Supergeil, voll Krass, Bombe Berlin.

  4. Lipstick Terrorist

    Hey supernaut, I had never heard of Chaz Bono or Lana Wachowski so I just googled them. I have, actually, heard of “the Wachowski ‘brothers'” in the context of the Matrix, but not of Lana’s transition. It would be interested to see if she is taken less seriously as a director now she has come out as a woman.

    Although I don’t know these celebrities, I am ready to believe that a trans man is taken more seriously by the media than a trans women. I think is plain old-fashioned misogyny: ‘men are more deserving of artistic credit, serious consideration, than silly little women.’ Misogyny makes it so much easier for us to discredit trans women than men. It’s horrible. I think Julia Serano wrote about this in Whipping Girl, but I can’t remember exactly. Have you read it?

    And, yes, it’s great to have a dedicated blog reader. I do fully intend to keep writing here, and on other websites too, no matter where in the world I live! :)

  5. supernaut

    Hey, well there’s another blogger I’ve been reading who is writing fairly similar stuff to you and I have no idea who it is now.

    There was a long piece a couple of days ago in New Yorker that was reblogged as being all about Lana’s transition, but in fact was mostly on their new film. Somehow I like that she is very matter of fact about it, and has a (kind of Arendt-ish) public/private separation. It seems to make it difficult to either trivialise her or turn any discussion about her and her brother’s work to her gender. In what she does say, she comes across as way more self-reflected and critical than Bono — who sounds like a misogynist asshole sometimes.

    Whipping Girl, yes read it! I give it to friends to read and think it should be compulsory reading.

    And you’re in my Feed (^-^) In bocca al lupo for tonight also.

    1. Lipstick Terrorist

      Hey supernaut! Thanks for the thoughtful comment, as always. Just wondering, do you remember who that other blogger is now? I am totally up for networking with other writers :) Thanks a bunch, dear!

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