My performance at Unicorn Chaser at The Butch Femme Salon on May 12th, 2012. I perform an ode to self-love (and narcissism) to Beyonce’s Why Don’t You Love Me. Video by Carson.
My fellow trans people who happen to have been CAFAB:
I’m so, so sick of this shit.
Every conversation about transmisogyny— literally every conversation— descends into a mess of privilege denying, privilege qualifying, and derailing.
Yes, we get it. CAFAB trans people are oppressed by transphobia. We know. CAFAB trans people can be oppressed by femmephobia. CAFAB trans people may not be granted male privilege 100 percent of the time because CAFAB trans people may not have passing privilege 100 percent of the time. Yes. We know. We have it hard too.
But this is not fucking about us.
We are not oppressed by transmisogyny, and in fact we benefit from it. Why is it so fucking hard for us to own this?
Why, instead of joining in conversations about transmisogyny to express our rage that it exists and lend our support to CAMAB trans people and stand in solidarity with them and, most importantly, listen to what we should be doing to help make things better… are we pulling the same shit again and again?
Why do we incessantly make it about us? Why are we so fucking threatened by admitting that we are privileged, on at least one goddamn axis, on the axis of transmisogyny, and that we benefit from that privilege?
I rarely, make that almost never, seen real hardcore privilege-owning from CAFAB trans folks without a bunch of fucking qualifying. And yeah, I get it, your privilege may be fucking qualified. But it’s still better to have qualified privilege than unqualified oppression. Or even qualified oppression.
And even more rarely than hardcore privilege-owning do I see CAFAB people making any commitment to actually oppose transmisogyny. In fact, by derailing these conversations, by making it about us, we are contributing to transmisogyny. We are making it worse. We are centering our privileged selves while oppressed people are trying to discuss, process, and oppose their oppression. We don’t lift a goddamn finger to help. Instead, we hinder. Every. Step. Of. The. Goddamn. Way.
I can’t stand this shit. Stoppit. Now.
Here’s the sick thing. I feel like CAMAB trans people generally have my back. I feel like CAMAB trans people I know are actually very sympathetic to my CAFAB specific issues like “eff tee em” fetishization. Maybe that’s because I don’t center them all the fucking time. But broadly, I see CAMAB trans people reaching out and being willing to have solidarity and give support to CAFAB trans people, and CAFAB trans people just fucking smacking it down, intentionally or not, all. the. time.
It’s ironic that the phrase “oppression olympics” is used to shut down so many conversations about being privileged by transmisogyny. Because that’s exactly what we do. We make it about us. Not just oppression olympics, an oppression pissing contest. Who has the most complicated relationship to masculinity. Who is most conscious of the nuances of passing in daily life.
Fuck that shit. When the topic is transmisogyny, talk about transmisogyny. Do not fucking make it about you.
Better yet, make a commitment to learning about transmisogyny, listening to the people who experience it, and supporting their struggles.
For the love of fuck why is this not already happening?
A trans man who gives a shit about transmisogyny
P.S. Not identifying as male does not mean you don’t benefit from transmisogyny.
Being non binary does not mean you don’t benefit from transmisogyny.
You’re femme? Cool, you still benefit from transmisogyny.
You don’t pass all the time? You still benefit from transmisogyny.
Not on T? You still benefit from transmisogyny.
P.P.S. Saying “not all of us are like that!” in this context isn’t gonna work anymore, especially when that same protest has been used to derail so many threads on transmisogyny. Not a privilege-denying jackass? The burden of proof is on you. Show it in your actions.
Word, this is great, I’m really glad to see a CAFAB persyn writing this. I think a lot of times trans folks want to believe that all trans people experience ~the same oppression.~ Which is totally wrong and ignores intersectionality of oppressions and recreates tokenizing things that the dominant culture inflicts on us. There are so many intricacies to the ways an individual is oppressed, that sharing an identity may not mean a shared experience on any level.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that it is really important to recognize transmisogyny as something distinct and different from other forms of trans* oppression, and CAFAB people should not try to act like we share this experience. We need to listen to what trans-womyn have to say about their experiences of transmisogyny. I finished Whipping Girl a little while ago, and would be interested in reading more about the ways CAFAB trans* folks benefit from transmisogyny, and what that privilege looks like. I’d love suggestions if my followers have any!
I was to them the mythic frog prince, the ragged chimney sweep turned Cinderella. I could hold this story close to my breast, hide it, and no one would ever know. My scars, afterall, are quite invisible. According to the tale, the prince never spoke of his former life as a frog and Cinderella never told of her life as a servant. This is part of the magic of fairy tales. The transformed heroes or heroines assume new identities while keeping their secrets to themselves.
Forsaking a life of experience in exchange for a new life doesn’t seem like a great deal to me, but I didn’t make a deal with anyone to forsake myself and become Cinderella. This tale is mine to tell, freely, and without shame.