Someone asked me, “Will you still consider yourself to be a part of the LGBT community after your transition?” I hesitated; I hadn’t thought about that. Having identified as a lesbian for most my life,seeing myself as LGBT, and having others view me in this way was almost habit, it was a part of me. But changing gender… Do I identify as male and disregard my transsexuality? Do I identify as male and identify as straight? Do I reject my connection with the LGBT community and find community with cisgender, heterosexual men?
There’s a lot to think about once you’ve completed gender reassignment, or when you are happy with the way you are, whatever stage you’re at. Do you let your appearance dictate the way you are perceived, or are you proud of where you came from, what you body has been through?
I don’t think I could ever neglect a part of me.
I hear of some bio-females going through gender reassignment after being very unhappy most their life, struggling with a lesbian label, and being ‘different’. But once their transition is complete, and they ‘pass’, they let go of all links to LGBT labels. They let go of their foundations. They fade into the crowd of misogynistic men, objectifying women, and belittling gay men. It’s almost like they forgot what they grew up in, what they went through to get to where they were. I see it as such an advantage, being able to be on both sides of the coin. I understand what it is like to be oppressed as a woman, and I will never forget that. I’ll hold onto that even though I call myself a man, and even though I look like a man, I will continue to be a feminist. And I know there’s a stigma surrounding men being feminists. Some say that men will never know how it feels to be a woman, and can’t ever call themselves feminists. I guess some men don’t really want to know, or just don’t see a reason as to why being a woman is different in the first place. In my opinion, transmen make better feminists, well, they could make the better feminists, if they realised that they have such a unique perspective.
Saying this, I understand that being a woman, you are subjugated, there’s no doubt about it, that’s just the way it is. Men dominate. And being a gay woman, part of that minority, you’ve got even less say. And when a bio-female transitions, they’re suddenly read as a male, and they see how they are treated differently, they feel that being a man has this sense of authority. They can act and behave in ways they couldn’t before and get away with it, because they are a man. And it’s got to be empowering for some people. The oppression is liberated, you don’t face that sexism any longer. But chances are that you might become a pretty misogynist man.
Transmen start acting like ‘real’ men so they can more convincingly ‘pass’ as male. And it works! Making sure you are the ‘alpha male’, dominating most situations, and throwing around sexist behaviour, it’s ‘the way men are’. From a young age, we are ‘taught’ to be boys or girls, our behaviour is moderated by parents, extended family and even teachers. If a little boy starts touching himself or runs around naked, we laugh, and say ‘boys will be boys’ and pull his trousers back up. He is just a child. If a little girl exposes herself in public, there are wide eyes and a hushed telling off, hoping no one else saw. She is just a child too, but it’s more acceptable for boys to be mischievous, and immature. The same way in which a man in a business environment, climbing the corporate ladder, will know what he wants, and will get it, with a ruthless approach, every man for himself. He’s praised for being so motivated and dedicated to getting to the top. A woman in the same situation will be seen as aggressive, and her behaviour will be seen as negative. I watch The Apprentice (BBC, UK TV series) and when I see male contestants admired by the judges, I think, if one of the female contestants had the same goals, orders, and actions, she would be treated totally differently.
Everyone has been ‘taught’ to accept and understand that these traits – aggression, immaturity, sexism – are a part of being male. You can’t change it. That’s just the way men are.
I just don’t understand why, when transmen have this advantage of understanding what it’s like to be oppressed by patriarchy, and disempowered by a misogynist culture, they would want to act like a ‘real’ man. It’s almost hypocritical. They’re in a better position to set an example to other men. There are such blatant differences between the sexes, and if we’re going to play up to these gender roles and stereotypes, then the difference will always exist, more obvious than ever.
Take a look at “Girls will be boys“, for a tongue-in-cheek, visual representation of what this post has been about.