Over the past few weeks I have drawn more hate from one statement above all others. The statement is simply this; I am a man. I have been called a traitor, a TERF, a “cis-terf masquerading as trans”, “a disgrace to the trans community” and “a self hating transphobe” to name but a few. Yesterday evening I received a wonderful diatribe on Twitter from “Sarah” who was very keen to tell me I was a “disgusting human being”. It’s a good job I can laugh it off!
I’d like to share with you some of the common arguments that I keep hearing.
“You can’t be trans. if you say you are a man.”
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard this one. It’s an old favourite that is used on a daily basis to discount any trans person that acknowledges they are still male. The logic is that if transwomen are women then any male trans person who disagrees isn’t trans.
Being trans is about a “mismatch” between biological sex and gender identity. If I deny my biological sex, how can I be trans? Where is the “mismatch”? I am transsexual precisely because of this mismatch; I have been unable to accept the gender roles and stereotypes expected of me (rather an understatement!) and as a result I have Gender Dysphoria.
Far from not being able to be transsexual if I say I am a man, I would argue that I can actually only be transsexual when I acknowledge I am a man.
“Why do you insist on identifying as a man?”
I’ve always been intrigued by this idea of identifying as a biological sex. I don’t identify as a man – I am a man.
To say otherwise achieves nothing.
- I don’t want to be a man.
- I don’t like being a man.
- My being a man impacts on my mental health and yes, it hurts to know I am a man.
- I feel profoundly uncomfortable with the gender roles and stereotypes assigned to men.
But what does it change to deny my biology? When I say I am a man I do not do so with pride and I am not making any comment as to my gender identity, simply I am acknowledging reality with the same acceptance I would have when I say “I have two legs”.
“But transwomen don’t look like men?”
“Woman” is not a costume; it’s a biological sex. Attached to that biological sex are certain expectations as to presentation but the essence of what it means to be a woman is not in appearance. A woman with short hair and no makeup is no less a woman than someone with long flowing golden locks and immaculate makeup.
By the same token a man with long hair and makeup is no less a man than a stereotypical beer bellied, balding man burping over a lager slumped in front of a football match on TV.
Yes, I love makeup and I feel comfortable in makeup but it doesn’t change my sex. Society needs to stop defining biology by shallow stereotypes.
“Calling a transwoman a man is hate”
There are times when calling a “transwoman” a man is indeed hate but that doesn’t mean the statement isn’t true. Any statement, true or not, can be used in a way that can hurt someone.
Let me give you an example:
A veteran who was severely injured in both legs during military service is struggling to walk down the road. A group of kids walking past yell “cripple” and laugh. That is of course inappropriate and would constitute hate speech because the intention is to embarrass and humiliate. However sadly the statement that the person is crippled is not incorrect; due to an incident that person is indeed unable to walk properly.
A middle aged woman walks past and sees the veteran struggling and offers to hold their arm as they cross the road. The two get talking and the lady asks our veteran how they came to be injured; the two chat away freely. The veteran is touched by the woman’s concern and appreciative of the help. In this situation the same reality is acknowledged but in this case that acknowledgement is far from being hate.
As the old saying goes “It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it”.
Walking down the street laughing at a transsexual shouting “man” is a hate crime but it doesn’t mean it isn’t factually correct,.
To simply acknowledge my biological sex is not hate and how can it be? It may hurt to hear it but in the absence of any malicious intent, who am I to claim it as hate speech?
“Any transwoman that calls themselves a man is self hating.”
For an addict the first positive step is admitting they have a problem.
For an anorexic the day that person can look in a mirror and not see fat is a tremendous breakthrough.
I could give countless examples of many physical and mental health conditions where the acknowledgement of the reality of the situation is always a positive step towards recovery.
That is of course until it comes to trans issues where suddenly denial of reality is seen as the norm. There is nothing productive or beneficial about calling myself a woman when I am not.
I am transsexual; I have Gender Dysphoria. Despite assertions to the contrary Gender Dysphoria is a psychological disorder. I deal with it as best I can, but that starts from a place of truth – “My name is LonelyTS and I am a man”. Far from self hating it is a positive statement that allows me to move forward with my mental health and cope with the challenges of life.
If you love someone you will be honest with them. If you love yourself you will be honest with yourself. So no, I don’t hate myself.
“‘Woman’ is an umbrella term”
Why are we redefining “woman” to accommodate rejection of gender roles and stereotypes? Why are we refining “lesbian” for that matter?
Woman is an adult human female; one half of a binary sex class.
It’s only an umbrella term because of attempts to make it so. It doesn’t make it true.
Sex is a spectrum, look at the new research. Transwomen are women.
There is indeed research that says that sex is a spectrum. So what? There is infinitely more research to say that it isn’t. Just because a scientist says so, doesn’t make it true. The use of big words don’t suddenly make something credible!
The case against science is straightforward; much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance….
Dr Richard Horton, Editor of “The Lancet”
….the poor quality of medical research is widely acknowledged, yet disturbingly the leaders of the medical profession seen only minimally concerned about the problems and make no apparent efforts to find a solution…
Richard Smith, Former Editor, British Medical Journal
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.
Dr Marcia Angell, Editor, New England Journal of Medicine
OK, if transwomen aren’t women then transwomen are transwomen.
This seems to be a compromise position that a number of trans people use. “If we don’t call ourselves women and don’t want to call ourselves men then let’s call ourselves transwomen”. It’s a novel idea but “transwoman” is not a binary sex class. We are either male or female.
Of course gender identity is indeed a spectrum; for that reason you cannot label a gender identity due to the infinite number of nuances and variations that exist. Are there really any two people alive who share exactly the same gender identity?
“You can’t call a transwoman a man – not when they have been on hormones and had surgery”
Is a woman who has had a hysterectomy and a mastectomy still a woman? I doubt anyone would argue this point; of course they are!
Is a man who has had penile cancer and had his penis surgically removed still a man? What if the cancer had spread to the prostate and the man had received treatment that caused breast growth (some prostate cancer treatments do indeed do this)? Again, of course they are still a man.
What’s the difference between the second example above and a man who has modified their body through the use of hormones? Of course that person may tell you they have changed sex but does that make it true? Every single cell of the human body is encoded with biological sex.
“So you’re just a man like any other then?”
I can only speak here as a transsexual and from my own experiences.
Whilst I acknowledge my biology it would be unfair to say I was “just like any other man”. All too often the question to a transsexual “are you a man” is a trap. Many a positive acknowledgement is followed with “well then you must be like all the rest of them then”.
Just because I am a man doesn’t mean I align to the gender stereotypes of being a man.
I don’t need you to call me a woman.
What I need is your acceptance that just maybe I love spending weekends shopping for clothes and makeup. That maybe I would rather stay at home and knit than go down the pub. That just maybe I would rather read Cosmopolitan than watch sports.