ciscentrism

Good, now maybe we can start working on the problems that are jeopardizing the lives or LGBTQ people who aren’t white, cis, gay and middle- to upper-class! 

Like the genocide being committed against trans women of color, or the fact that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ teens - most of whom were kicked out of their homes for being LGBTQ, or maybe the fact that 41% of trans adults report attempting suicide while >70% report facing workplace descrimination for being trans, or maybe the fact that the “trans panic” defense is still usable in 49 states, or that it’s still legal to discriminate against trans people in terms of housing, employment, criminal justice and medical care, or maybe the fact that trans people still struggle to get medical care coverage through insurance, even with the gains that we’ve made with ACA.

I’m sure those white, wealthy, cis gays will stick around and fight with us since we worked so hard on getting them married, right? Hey … where are you going?!

I am not surprised by this.

Just exhausted.

UPDATE: There was an “I’m sorry if you were offended” fauxpology. Cis people are pouring in to tell him he either shouldn’t have or that they think he’s great for the fauxpology. I do not take his apology seriously, he has experienced no consequence for his behavior, and his history shows he will do stuff like this again.

anonymous asked:

What is the "ciscentric and cis-enforced narrative of transness"? If there are such definitions of transness that hold cisnormative values like that, then it makes since to me that such a definition should be abolished and that no one should agree to it at all. What definition of gender is ciscentric and cis-enforced? Are gender roles ciscentric? Cis people made them and invalidate trans people based on it, but trans people can sometimes support them too.

Edit to add: This is in reference to this post.

The ciscentric and cis-enforced narrative of transness I was referring to is this accepted narrative of the trans person who has always known since they could formulate a notion of gender, who is consumed with debilitating dysphoria and thus whose sole goal is transition - which always consists of hormones and surgery - and whose gender presentation is strictly binary and very masculine or feminine depending on their identity as men or women. There’s often this tragically inspirational element to it, too, which requires the subject to be “brave” and “sacrificing” and either pure of motive or punished for wickedness. 

There’s little room for queer identities and non-binary notions of gender. 

It’s also very white. If the subject does happen to be a person of color, then the narrative demands them to be victims, sex workers and/or drug users. If the subject is white, however, then they’re either a middle-age, middle-class white woman who is married to a woman and has 2.5 children and the narrative focuses on the cost to the family of the woman’s transness or else they fall into one of the above categories (compare Transparent to Dallas Buyer’s Club) - and, of course, if it’s a film, the woman is played by a cis man - who is then called brave and bold and an artist for the portrayal. 

And that’s if the main character is actually trans and not drag queens - the two biggest “trans” influences when I was a teen were “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything - Julie Newmar,” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” And “Boys Don’t Cry” came out a little later in there somewhere too, but there wasn’t a lot in that movie for me, personally.

Because these stories permeate our culture, when real trans people try to tell our stories, the media focuses on our genitals, our sex lives, our families’ struggles and our conformity or non-conformity to gender stereotypes and ignores the rest. They cut out everything that doesn’t fit their narrative in favor of a shot of a trans woman putting on makeup. They blue-screen when confronted with a young, dmab, non-binary lesbian with punk butch aesthetic, for example.

The worst part of all of this is that this narrative was so accepted as the norm that conforming to it was the only way to navigate the mess of gatekeepers in the medical and psychological communities who were positioned to block access to the treatments we needed. That conformity justified and perpetuated its existence while also imbuing those who navigated that mess with the sense that all the effort and cost they pais had to be worth it, since they had to do it - and obviously, they wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary and valuable to do so - and thus everyone else should have to as well. Look at hazing rituals and the Justification of Effort theory.

And, as trans people, we are not immune to this cultural narrative, either, unfortunately. We buy into it, too, and look with doubt on those who don’t adhere to it, even if that person is ourselves. I had doubts for a long time about whether I was trans or, worse, trans enough because I didn’t know for certain that I was 100% a girl when I was younger. I knew I was different, but I didn’t have the whole picture. And then when I was older, I didn’t have the same certainty I assumed other trans people felt when I considered my gender, because my location on a gender map seemed to shift around. 

Of course, I’d never heard of non-binary genders, let alone bigender, and there was no Internet with readily visible trans activists telling me that I was trans enough, that I wasn’t just cis and doing it wrong, causing me to be miserable. My little state university in the middle of Podunk, Illinois had a BGLFA (Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians and Friends Association), but you will note, no doubt, that there was no T in that acronym. I assumed I was in the F since I was a (mostly) straight (lol) ally, and there wasn’t anything else in there. I think in the years since I’ve left, they’ve renamed themselves to be more inclusive, but that’s beside the point.

I fell outside the narrative, even if only a little, so I followed the social script I thought was my only other choice. I lived as a man, married a woman, had two daughters and joined the corporate world as a wage-earner. I buried everything else that fell outside of that narrative, because not enough of what I buried fit any other narrative enough to “justify throwing it all away.” 

There were not enough trans stories available to hear, and those that were available had little to no diversity to show that there isn’t only one true way to be trans. The cis dominance and control of media stifles and narrows the limits of acceptable trans narratives, and trans people who haven’t learned better continue that work.

So, that’s what I mean by ciscentric and cis-enforced. 

I hope that helps.

Can we have a conversation about how a lot of the words that trans girls use are used because of survival?

Can we talk about how things like girl in a boy’s body, things like “I used to be a boy” and stuff like that are elements of cis people’s lack of understanding and that it’s safer and more effective to just deal with their ignorance then force them to think?

Can we have a discussion about how many trans girls only get cis language to talk about being trans, that we’ve only heard their words, only heard the messed up or screwy things and that’s all we have to describe ourselves?

Can we talk about how things like “female assigned”, “wrong body”, “I’m not fully a girl till I get the vagina” are only criticized when trans girls say them but no one bats an eyelid when ignorant as shit cis people force the same concepts on us again and again? That a given trans girl using it is applying it to herself/themself while cis people apply it to FUCKING EVERY ONE OF US?

Can we fucking talk about who the real problem is?

The cis people using the words with the power they wield and the backing of society behind them? That we’re forced to stand in their lines to get the basic understanding from them so we can have basic medical care, resources to deal with disturbing amounts of childhood abuse (sexual or otherwise), dv, rape and assault. To avoid being harassed. To have even some humanity?

I’d love if we could have that discussion.

I think it’s funny when cisgender queers get all worked up about specific body parts being !!!necessary!!! in order for them to be attracted to partners of a given gender. Like, the junk that I would find the most appealing on a partner would be, probably, a sensate nine-inch electric-purple glitter-cock that glows in the dark, but you don’t hear me fucking complaining.

“Don’t talk to me if you’re transphobic” - A cis person

But like… why are you disconnecting yourself from other cis people? Why don’t you go talk to them? That doesn’t seem like good behavior for someone of your position. In other words: Red Flags for a Cookie-Seeking Ally, Part I

Why I say Libertarians are Racist, Sexist, Classist and also Elitist.

First off: This isn’t really a rage post.  It’s more informative and why, from a female, middle class, person of color point of view, I find the ideology of the Libertarian party to be dangerous to the ideals they are trying to promote.  This isn’t an attack on politicians, or activists, or individuals, but rather a breakdown in why Libertarian politics and policy are short sighted and only benefit those who are already benefiting from their race, gender, or class.

Libertarians, for those who don’t know, strongly believe in maintaining and returning to a Republican government MEANING, “small central government” and a lot of power to the states.  They believe that a lot of how the United States of America is currently run takes too much power from the states and should, primarily, only focus on National Defense and International Diplomacy. 

Also, they strongly support privatizing next to everything.  Libertarians believe heavily in the character, independence and personal direction of the American people.  They also think that a free economy will self-regulate and support the independent needs of the American people.

This means that roads, education on all levels, healthcare and even the police and fire department would be privatized under a 100% Libertarian government.

So far, that doesn’t sound racist, or sexist, or classist, does it?

But actually it really is.  I have a lot of general criticisms for the US government in general, but under it’s own ancient, republican mandate (when the opposing party was called Federalist, meaning Big Central gov’t, less power for the states) what it does while working inside those constraints is actually pretty awesome.  What I find troublesome is usually on the state level, where there’s a breakdown in service of education, healthcare and citizen protection.  Not all states find equal education to be a priority, and therefore aren’t a whole lot of safe guards in place for districts that are primarily low income, and therefore don’t have as much money from property taxes to fund schools.  Not all states mandate insurance sales or acceptance to help the poor and/or elderly to get the most out of MedicAid or MediCare.  Not all states are willing to crack down on police abuses or corruption, ESPECIALLY in cases of obvious xenophobia/racism/misogyny/ciscentrism.  Just by looking at what is or isn’t on state law books, someone who is foreign-born, who is non-white, who is a woman or not conforming to the gender binary can see where in this nation is a safe place to be, to raise their children.

And since Libertarians in general love the idea of privatizing all these services, those flaws will just get worse and wider. Seeing that Libertarians are big on the whole “personal liberty” thing, hate crime definitions and laws that are put in place to insure that the minority citizen is protected from discrimination (also known as “affirmative action”) would be wiped clean, erased.  So these privatized services won’t even be held accountable when individual bigotry will start making company policy because, let’s face it, most of the US population is non-Latino white, and most of the CEOs that are already running our private industries are also male, as well as white.  And while I’m NOT saying that every white male is a raging ethnocentric chauvinist, I am pointing out that most white people in the US don’t come into contact with large groups of people of color.  Having ONE black friend, ONE gay friend, “lots of girl friends” isn’t going to make you aware of the troubles that come with being born “not normal” - because the way US society is set up, White Male is standard, and everything else is a deviation. 

And that’s the trouble I’m seeing with Libertarians as a whole.  A lot of Libertarians I meet are males, overwhelmingly white, and ALWAYS upper middle to upper class on the tax brackets.  A privatized America would not affect them or their ways of living.  They might even think it would make THEIR lives better, because they’ll have more ‘choice.'  What they don’t seem to be realizing is that by giving this portion of the population more options, they are taking away opportunities for every one else.  The reason these opportunities are “manufactured” by the federal government is because it was brought to the attention of Senators, Representatives and Presidents past that if a safety net wasn’t in place for anyone who isn’t a white male, it would actually harm the country. Affirmative action is in place to counteract the systemic bigotry that puts these people at a disadvantage. 

Poor people aren’t JUST poor because of bad decisions or lack of motivation.  Poor people can be poor because they were born poor, lacked teachers and tools that could get them beyond poverty, and continue to muddle along in their poverty because they don’t know, or CAN’T escape it. 

Women don’t just make less money because they “pick jobs that make less,” but are actively penalized for DARING to start a family in high stakes industries.  A lot of people in economic power still think that women should be primary caregivers, and men should be the primary breadwinners, and dole out raises, promotions, and benefits accordingly.  

People of color don’t just make less money OR dominate the prison population because of “their culture of poor decisions” but because of the binary of white = good and not white = not good.  When you assume a person is a criminal enough times, they’re going to become one.  It’s as simple as that.  And also, those assumptions also lead people to think (wrongly) that people of color are less intelligent, less motivated, and have “wrong priorities” leading to prejudiced hiring practices.  White Ex-Cons are more likely to get hired at any job than a Black man with no record of equal skill and education. This is a measurable fact.

In short, Politics and Policy that dismantle the flimsy but-still-better-than-nothing safety net that protects people who aren’t White Men is dangerous.  And thinking that removing that safety net and privatizing everything will make life better for everyone makes you naive.  And it’s a level of naivete that transcends naivete and just makes you racist, sexist, and classist. Even if you don’t mean to be.

As addendum to that absolutely fascinating message I just got: did I ask for special products? No, all I said I wanted was more gender neutral labeling.

That said, why the fuck shouldn’t I get special products? Why does everything have to be about white dresses and pastel coloring and those weird flowers that everybody knows is a metaphor for blood but nobody has the guts to say so?

Let’s see some advertising for menstrual aids (hey, that’s a good label. Somebody draw up a marketing proposal) that involves, I don’t know, motorcycles, and flamethrowers, and really butch tattooed lesbians that don’t have time for this menstruation bullshit. Which brings up another point: there are a lot of cisgendered women out there who aren’t exactly being represented by the advertisements you currently see out there. What’s wrong with asking for a little more motherfucking inclusion?

I really wish there was a more gender-neutral name for “feminine hygiene product,” since apparently “pads and tampons” are too crass for grocery stores and commercials to handle.

Maybe I’m being a little too sensitive about this; the vast majority of people who use those products self-identify as female, so is that unreasonable to match the labeling with the target audience? But the thing is, having my period is already a really vulnerable time for me. I have to deal with a host of really shitty physical side effects that I won’t go into here, save to note that I missed five days of work last year solely because of my period, and I have to deal with all the bullshit social stigmas that surround menstruation just like ciswomen do. But at the same time I can’t help but feel like I’m being excluded somehow, because of all the emphasis being placed on the fact that women are the only ones affected by menstruation.

I walk into the store and look around for the little pink sign reading “feminine care,” and it’s like I’m being told, “here you go, you disgusting parody of manhood. Have fun suffering through another month of not being a real boy.”

I wonder if transwomen feel anything similar when they see commercials for this stuff on tv?

Boy Meets Girl…

What a gosh darn icky movie lemme tell ya. Once more, we’ve got the trans girl who really loves clothes and is very crafty + resourceful, the hyper-bigot military dude (who she slept with earlier in her life, which is why he literally can’t help but throw slurs at/about her apparently), an assault scene, gay sex (which was explicitly called straight pretty much, b/c trans girls sleeping with cis girls is Very Straight), lots of cisnormative ideas of sexuality, a male savior best friend, the unsurprising a full frontal penis shot, and the “we’re all human” message.

This movie is fetishistic as fuck.

blog.talkingphilosophy.com
What Lesbians Don’t Understand About Heterosexual Men

This is an apologetic by a so-called philosopher in defense of white American cis men pretending to be lesbian women.  At one point, he says: “This back and forth virtual-switching of identification is especially delicious because of course it tacitly involves the illicit thrill of being a woman, at the level of imagination, as well as desiring one.”  Besides the fact that he suddenly thinks he can speak for all straight men, he’s completely erasing trans people too.

What about trans men who would find it nightmarish to return to a female body, even for a fantasy?  What about trans women who when fantasizing about being a lesbian, didn’t do it for kicks, but because that’s her actual identity?  What about gender fluid people who genuinely experience some situations as lesbians but others situations differently, even when with the same partner?

He also claims this lesbian-empathy is why men are so accepting of lesbians but so rejecting of homosexuals.  Cuz it doesn’t have worth as its own thing unless it titillates a straight cis man.  Got it.

So like, went to a student org meeting tonight, and it was fun, but like, I just gotta accept that sometimes a space is too cis for me to be a part of. I don’t have the energy or patience to alleviate some of the cisnormative, transmisogynistic pressures in there. Five classes and two jobs? Nah, no energy for pretty much anything.

Idk, immediately walking into a space I felt vaguely objectified. Key word: vaguely, not intensely, but I think it was there. Some phrases said: 

  • “Ashley your selfies have been so good lately!”
  • “Wow your nails!”
  • “Your shirt is so pretty!”

None of these were malicious or even gross, just kinda did the half-smile nod, thinking “It’s always about a tranny’s appearance, huh? No ‘hello’ first? No 'how are you?’ I haven’t even sat down yet…”

And I don’t think any of them are bad people. They’re not. I just don’t get the vibe that they’ve been unpacking things for very long, or that thoroughly, ya know? I’m not gonna blame them for it or anything, because people need time to do this, I just need to be around people who already know their stuff to a degree that I’m comfortable with.

So I guess Bailey Jay is a part of a car now? [TRIGGER WARNING for the t-word]

(image description in the alt tag)

This (cis) woman was tagging photos of Bailey Jay with the t-word, and was mocking trans people who asked her not to. After a somewhat frustrating conversation in which she responded with increasingly nonsensical cissplaining, she gave me this gem.

(submitted by butthunter)

Nice to see cis people respecting us and taking us seriously! (/sarcasm)

4/24/13: Antoinette's breakfast with an old friend

 Today I met with someone from my past- a casual friend of mine from when I used to work retail. We always used to share comfortable conversation, and her company was always something I viewed as pleasant. As often happens with friends made through work as an adult, we grew distant for a number of years (3-4) after going different directions in our work choices, and have only recently become reacquainted. Today was the first time we have actually been able to share anything substantial with one another in all that time,   

Every once in a while it seems that someone from my past who is not familiar with me as female will re-enter my life, as was the case today. I have become accustomed to a number of anxieties that tend to accompany these meetings. At the very beginning of the day, I spend a lot of time considering what I will wear and how I will present myself. It occurs to me today that this anxiety stems from having been conditioned to expect a period of validation. When I spend time with cis people from my past, no matter how kind and understanding, I always anticipate scrutiny on some level, and almost always experience it to one degree or another. Because sex and gender are seen as oppositional, I will be in competition with their past perception of me. I chose to to wear light make-up, a blue blouse and vest, and a nice pair of fitted sailor style slacks.

When I arrive, she greeted me with a hug and told me how beautiful she thinks I am, and we were shortly thereafter seated at a corner booth next to the kitchen. Immediately, we began to exchange stories about how things have changed over the last 4 years or so. I recounted my work history, telling her about how I lost my last two jobs due to transition-related discrimination, how things have been with my family, and how my romantic relationships have progressed. She recounted the same for me, discussing her children, work, and marriage. At one point she told me about her daughter breaking down over not wanting to grow up, to which I responded with “precious”. A near by waitress refilled my coffee, and made a quick remark about how the comment reminds her of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, she recounted the classic line “It puts the lotion on its skin”, and asked if either of us remembered the title of the movie. I replied curtly, with a smile. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being jeered, but chose not to show any offense, because what if she wasn’t intentionally jeering me? We received our bills and began to close our conversation.

Before we left, the topic of the weather came up and I mentioned that I have become very sensitive to the sun as a result of HRT. I also mentioned that my skin has changed in a number of ways since starting HRT. At this point, my friend responded that she noticed how soft my skin was after we had last hugged, and mentioned with a frown that it is even softer then her own skin- A comparison that did not go unnoticed by me, but seemed all too casual in tone. Similar things have been said to me many times. I wonder why so many cis women believe it only logical that my skin would be less soft then theirs, as though they are the measure of femaleness that I will never be able to match. They never for a moment question their assumption that my identity as a female or woman is somehow less valid than theirs and will always be apparent in some physical way. I let the remark slide unchecked. I have learned to pick my battles.            

She kindly offered me a ride home, which I accepted. We continued conversation on the short drive back to my apartment, and topics fluctuated between art, feminism, and humor. Right before I got out of the car, she referred to me using my old “given name” and quickly corrected herself and apologized, making several excuses for why it may have happened, but mentioned that she hoped that she didn’t hurt me. I opted not to mention that such a slip-up two years ago would have guaranteed that I would never spend time with her again, and instead offered her some advice as to how she could practice my name so that it doesn’t happen again. I am tired of fighting with the ghost of who I was for space with friends I once had. It’s no surprise to me that some folks just give it all up and find a fresh start somewhere else, but I want my history. I am just tired of fighting for it.    

-Antoinette

anonymous asked:

shit wait do i have it all wrong are they not different now im confused

It’s all good! And I’m glad you asked about it, and while there is… technically a difference between sex and gender on a purely semantic level, it’s important to know that this dichotomy is actually dangerous. (long-winded response incominggggg!!!)

The sex/gender dichotomy is actually harmful to trans people, especially trans women. As an example, I’m sure you’ve heard folks say “Right, you’re a woman, but you’re male.” This states that gender = woman and sex = male, and this is always used as a way to misgender + degender trans people.

It’s a sneaky way to tell a trans person that they’re not their gender. It’s also been used as an excuse to tell trans women they aren’t allowed in women’s spaces, but trans men and non-women are. It’s part of the reason why trans men and non-women are allowed into women’s colleges at the expense of trans women. Trans men and non-women will use and have used this dichotomy of sex and gender for their benefit at the expense of trans women.

Sex assignment at birth is a way to impose gender. It adds nothing meaningful to the conversation or classification of bodies, and it is simply oppressive. (I wrote a bit more about it here!)

To add more to this answer, I wanted to link to another piece I wrote regarding socialization arguments, as I go much more in-depth about this particular dichotomy and the social construction of sex.

If you have anymore questions, you can send me another ask :3 However, there are no guarantees that I’ll always be up to teaching people things, though I get the vibe that you’re aware of that and will respect when I’m not feeling it.

anonymous asked:

What is ciscentrism, and what's the difference between that and cisnormativity?

Ciscentrism is the institutionalized system that others trans* people and places their needs and identities in a place of less importance than those of cis people.

Cisnormativity is the assumption made by most of society that any given person is cis, or that if someone doesn’t make a point to say that they are trans*, then they are cis.

They’re closely related and overlap a lot, but they’re not quite the same thing.