Anonymous asked: my friend has a super cool shirt with a uterus right over where her actual uterus would be. but i was thinking is that kind of offensive to the trans community?
- “the trans community” is not a monolith with one voice or identity. no community is. a community in this sense organized solely by including people under a possible shared definition. I say possible, because for any community to genuinely have some set of identity, people within that community would need to be including themselves of their own voltion. otherwise, we’re just lumping them into a group for the purposes of our speaking.
- since trans* persons are not the sole defining characteristic of any group that I belong to, I couldn’t begin to tell you how any one of them might feel about that shirt nor how any group of trans* identified persons might feel about it.
- I am not sure why you asked, but if you want wear the shirt or inform your friend that you think that it is offensive for you - then why not just do that?
- if you want to know what any trans* person thinks of it, pause for a minute and think if this is about wanting to know their thoughts because they are your friends who happen to be trans* or if this is some internal ‘looking good’ / ‘avoid looking bad’ conversation in your head. if it’s the latter, then you may want to just keep that to yourself rather than drag someone into that because you think they are trans*.
- however, if you wear that shirt at michfest, singing praises about being womyn-born-womyn, then it would be likely that most trans* persons and groups would be offended by that essentialist garbage…but it wouldn’t really be about the shirt.
If a Trans* Person Asks You to Use Certain Pronouns
Do it. Just fucking do it. It doesn’t matter what we look like, what our mannerisms are like, whether we’re out or not in separare spheres of our life, how long you’ve known us, whether you still think of us as our assigned sex, anything. If you respect us as people, you will use the pronouns we ask you for. If you don’t, we will be forced to conclude that you don’t respect us.
A lot of cis people seem fond of saying that pronouns are “just words” and that if they mess them up repeatedly it shouldn’t be a big deal because they still respect us and it’s just “hard for them to remember.” No. That won’t fly. It may be just a little word to you, but here’s what it means to a trans* person when someone who claims to care for them repeatedly messes up their pronouns with no sign of improvement:
- You don’t care about me enough to ensure my happiness and mental well-being by doing this relatively minor thing I’ve asked for; how can I count on you to do major things, like defend me from an attacker or fight for my medical rights, when I need them?
- You still think of me as my assigned sex and don’t believe what I have to say about my own identity; you don’t respect my ability to self-determine.
- Your freedom to avoid things that inconvenience you is more important to you than my right to be respected and feel safe.
Basically, someone repeatedly messing up our pronouns for months at a time and consistently brushing it off as a “mistake” that we shouldn’t be angry about because it wasn’t an aggressive act of deliberate misgendering—that’s the biggest, clearest sign we’ve got that someone who claims to be in our camp is actually not trustworthy.
Let me repeat that: if you keep making this “little mistake” and brushing it off when we get upset, we will be forced to conclude that deep down, you don’t actually care about our happiness, mental well-being, safety, or self-determination.
It might just be a word to you. But for us, this is a word with some serious weight. And if you truly care about us, you have to take that weight into account and respect it. Because if you don’t, what you’re telling us is that you don’t respect us. It may not sound like that to you, but that’s the subtext we read from it. This is why pronouns matter: it’s not just the literal word, it’s everything that word carries with it.
Pronouns are important. Respect trans* people’s safety. Respect our pronouns.
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The Neon Test - A Transgender Bechdel Test
This is a repost from my old blog
Inspired by yesterday’s Guardian article, I propose this reinterpretation of the Bechdel Test for trans people:
- It must feature a character that the audience knows is trans
- In a non-principal role
- Where their trans status is neither the source of comedy nor tragedy