Gendernauts: A Journey Through Shifting Identities (1999) is available free to stream on Netflix (now through May 26th, 2013). Some parts of this movie may strike one as rather dated (in terms of terminology, descriptions, or otherwise) or potentially problematic - still, there is much of interest and, I think, much to be gained from watching.

Description: Monika Treut’s provocative documentary explores the little-known world of transgenderism through profiles of several “gender cyborgs” living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In candid interviews, Treut’s subjects share their personal experiences, their perspectives on gender and their plans for the future. The film also delves into the options – and challenges – gender-bending hormone treatments and surgeries provide.


Sandy Stone


When we as trans people criticize Caitlyn Jenner, y'all have been butting in with:
“Well, at least Caitlyn started the discussion! Now everyone’s talking about transgendered issues right!?”

WRONG. We’ve been screaming, fighting and literally dying in the streets to have this conversation. But y'all dont fucking listen.

Let me ask you something:
The first documentary about a trans woman, The Christine Jorgensen Story, came out in 1970. Have you seen it?
Or how about Let Me Die A Woman (1978), A Change Of Sex (1979), L'exil Entériur (1987), Paris Is Burning (1991), Orlando (1992), Ladyboys (1992), Stone Butch Blues (1993), Shinjuku Boys (1995), Different For Girls (1996), The Adventures Of Sebastian Cole (1998), Gendernauts (1999), Boys Don’t Cry (1999), Southern Comfort (2001), The Cockettes (2002), Venus Boyz (2002), Screaming Queens (2005), Transgeneration (2005), Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She (2005), Transamerica (2005), Cruel and Unusual (2006), Paper Dolls (2006), A Girl Like Me (2006), Transparent (2006), Red Without Blue (2007), Be Like Others (2008), Prodigal Sons(2010), My Prairie Home (2013), Bambi (2013) and the *over two dozen* projects being produced in 2014/15? Have you seen or read any of these?
Any of the countless essays, dissertations, biographies, autobiographies published by and about trans people and our stories?

See, mostly, we’ve been talked about, by you, many of these projects are damagingly sensationalist and exploitative, for your entertainment, however many of them contain small, precious bits of truth some of us were able to put out into the world.

But the reality remains the same: Y'ALL DON’T FUCKING LISTEN.

Let me tell you a story.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

In 2013, 72% of victims of anti LGBTQIA+ violence were trans women. Of that group 89% were trans women of color.

In the first four months of 2014, 102 acts of violence against trans people were reported. Many of them were murdered.
An 8-year-old boy was beaten to death by his father.
A 14-year-old was strangled to death and stuffed under a bed.
Two 16-year-olds were shot to death.
Three 18-year-olds were stabbed to death/dismembered/shot.
Two 18-year-olds were murdered with no details being reported.
An 18-year-old suffered two violent attacks by a mob and survived.
Among the 102-person figure: “36 persons were shot multiple times, 14 stabbed multiple times, 11 were beaten to death, three were burned to death, three dismembered/mutilated, and two were tortured, two were strangled, one was hanged, one had her throat cut and one was stoned to death.”

In 2015? 11 people have been murdered so far. That we know of. Some by police, some by their rapists, some by “family”.

The average American has a 1 in 18,000 chance of being murdered. A trans woman? 1 in 12.

Of course, these are just estimates since the overwhelming majority of trans folk’s deaths go unreported or misreported. The wrong name, gender, photo is used. Their identity is completely erased, they are dressed in clothes they had cast off and buried in shame.

20% of trans people will be homeless at least once in their life.

We have the highest suicide rate of any minority group in the country.

In most states, there is no legal protection for trans people from employment, housing, medical, or governmental discrimination. And we are rarely ever included in hate crimes legislation. Don’t forget the immense amount of violence we encounter with the police.

It’s a story we know all too well and it’s a story you’ve never heard, refuse to listen to and won’t do anything about.

So don’t you dare try to tell us how to feel, who to celebrate, and how wonderful this thin, white, able bodied, neurotypical, heteronormative, (brand new) trans woman whose life was bought and paid for with conservative, Republican, male privilege and who has unlimited resources and support is, and how she is here to save us all.
Don’t tell us about how “grateful” we should be or how “brave” she is.
She has NOTHING to lose.

Shut up and LISTEN.
Learn our names, learn our pronouns, stop asking humiliating, invasive questions and treat us with a modicum of respect. Stop trying to interrogate, trivialize, and devalue us. Stop trying to distract and derail our conversations and always trying to recenter them on you and your precious feelings.

We have been who we have been, we are who we are and we will be who we will be.
And we have nothing to prove to you.
Your approval is neither desired nor required.
But basic human decency would be nice.

Don’t forget it’s you that’s brand new to this, not us. These are our lives, we have to live them. The very least you could do is listen.



Allow me to clarify, since it seems a few individuals missed the entire meaning of yesterday’s post.

You have one job: LISTEN.

It is not now nor will it EVER be your job to tell trans people how to talk about our struggle.

This has less to do with Caitlyn Jenner and more to do with the immense entitlement cis people, specifically cis gay folks have in trying to tell us as trans people how to seek justice. The irony of course is that cis gay folks have a long and storied history of shaming, villifying and erasing trans folks, effectively throwing us under the bus since most of can not or will not assimilate into heteronormativity. We are actively and routinely removed from important legislation, silenced within movements, policed out of visible roles, and have reduced access to resources more readily available to cis gay people.

Now, as to Ms Jenner, nothing I can say could ever actually “discount” her story in the first place. I don’t have that amount of sociopolitical bargaining power, Diane Sawyer isn’t asking me what I think.

And as for her “story”, there is nothing wrong with her story being told, unless it is the ONLY story being told and it is. The truth of the matter is that she is being lifted up because she is the definition of the model minority when it comes to trans people.
She seeks to uphold the status quo while also profiting form it.

Let’s look at the facts:
Caitlyn Jenner has an immense amount of privilege.
Caitlyn Jenner passes.
Caitlyn Jenner has nearly unlimited resources.
Caitlyn Jenner has never faced employment, housing, governmental or medical discrimination or prejudice.
Caitlyn Jenner is a registered and outspoken Republican.

How much support do you think she would get if she:
Was black?
Had been a sex worker?
Was a rape survivor?
Was autistic?
Was poor?
Was fat?
Was HIV positive?
Chose not to change her appearance to fit into society’s definition of woman?
Had a visible disability?

Because the trans women who can not or do not “complete their transition” as “flawlessly” as Caitlyn Jenner are getting murdered in the streets.
Because they wouldn’t make it the cover of Vanity Fair.