trans march 2013

i’m really tired of being told binarism isn’t a thing.

i was tired when i attended the 2011 trans leadership summit hosted by the transgender law center and miss major called on people in the audience with “ma’am” and “sir” based entirely on appearance, even after the facilitator asked her/the speakers not to do that multiple times, even when some audience members corrected her or clearly fumbled for words at being misgendered

i was tired when the genderqueer caucus at that same conference was taken over by well-meaning binary trans women asking for 101 instead of letting us network or share our experiences

i was tired when i tried to read whipping girl and absolutely could not get past the fundamental binaries the text is based on, the constant lumping together of trans men and non-binary (dfab sometimes specified) people, that all dfab people have male privilege (even if male is in no way part of their identity; and, vice versa, no dmab trans people do even if part of their identity is male?)

i was tired when i attended every trans march from 2009 on and they all barely mentioned genderqueer people, definitely didn’t know the word “non-binary,” and every single performer addressed the audience as “ladies and gentlemen” and “trans brothers and sisters”

i was tired when at the 2013 trans march the chant list for “when [X identity group] are under attack, what do we do? stand up fight back!” didn’t have genderqueer or non-binary people listed, and i had to step forward to ask if i could lead a rendition that included us

i was tired when at the 2013 trans march we finally led a chant of “hey hey ho ho the gender binary’s got to go” only to be immediately shut down by a trans woman protesting “hey the gender binary is very important to some of us” who was very resistant to our explaining that we did not want to do away with binary genders but with the enforced compulsory binary

i am tired of trans men and trans women telling me there are too many pronouns and identities to keep straight and that we need to standardize them and until then they will just treat me as a trans man, and that because they’re trans they cannot be oppressive towards me on a gender axis

i am tired of messaging the transgender law center and the national center for transgender equality asking for non-binary/genderqueer inclusion, thanking them for even mentioning “gender non-conforming people”, asking for clarification on legal rights and being told “we never thought about that, it hasn’t come up” without any sort of “we’ll look into that” (re: having to choose a restroom when neither “corresponds” to my gender identity; having an ‘F’ marker and a flat chest and going topless in public; having employers respect a non-binary pronoun in speech and/or on paper; having a genderfluid presentation and how do restrooms and dress codes work for that; having to choose a binary legal honorific like ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ on your petitions because that’s the congress system; etc etc)

i am tired of being told that there are plenty of resources for non-binary dfab people seeking to transition when i’ve found so very few accounts of low-dose t and its effects and its access, of getting approved for or even wanting top surgery without nipple grafts or of getting a reduction deemed medically necessary, of how to present as femme while still validating your gender as not cis woman (and as not trans man), of vaginectomy or any type of genital surgery other than phalloplasty or metoidioplasty, of oophorectomy and hrt that isn’t full-time t or full-time e, of what kinds of oopho +/- hysto +/- vaginectomy are medically possible or advisible or have surgeons willing to perform them or insurances willing to cover them, of medically transitioning while openly non-binary, of how to shop for clothes that don’t make you dysphoric about your chest but aren’t super manly masculine andro

i am tired of being told that i, a dfab person who does not identify as male or masculine in any way and whose presentation varies, benefit from male privilege (as opposed to do not face transmisogyny or misogyny, which is true) and must always identify my dsab or else i am being deceitful and disguising my privilege

i am tired of the constant dividing and redividing by dsab at all times under the guise of preventing transmisogyny, and the insistence that this is in no way and could never be cissexist or binarist

i am tired of the argument that because the western white gender binary is western and white, western/white non-binary people are not truly oppressed by binarism (/are oppressing themselves?) and are privileged over cis people of color not only on a race/color axis but on a gender axis as well (because intersectionality isn’t a thing?)

i am tired of being told that because transmisogyny and racism and colonialism/imperialism and male privilege exist, binarism cannot and does not exist (because again, intersectionality is not a thing, and dfab people are universally privileged over dmab people in a totally non-cissexist way)

i am tired of being told binarism is a madeup attempt to escape male privilege, to be a special snowflake, to claim to be more oppressed, to get attention, to reinterpret plain ol’ cissexism

i am tired of having zero representation, of being grateful for a trans dc poster campaign that has a single white gender non-conforming person with the pronoun ‘they’ who talks about both binary genders, of being told that because tumblr/internet presence therefore overrepresentation

i am tired of being told non-binary people are included in “trans,” that we have no cause to feel excluded; that we cannot have “trans*” to indicate a space where we might be included because some people have been using it wrong, that we are overrepresented and overpowered and overincluded when i never see any trans organization use “trans*” much less genderqueer much less non-binary because it’s too much work to keep up with anything past “gender non-conforming” and surely our needs will be met by the binary lobby anyway (except where is our legal gender marker battle, where is our laws about “corresponding” restrooms and dress codes and locker rooms and fluidity and solid nb identity - oh wait that’s too confusing for now isn’t it, whups best wait a few decades wouldn’t want binary trans people to not get their rights first, they’ll come back for us right?)

i am exhausted and it is because of binarism and because non-binary people are routinely excluded from trans discourse and activism, are not even thought about, are a surprise and an afterthought and a nuisance and don’t fit neatly into an oppression hierarchy and a shared-experience model

and seriously y’all. binarism. it’s a thing.

The most important reason why we need the word “cis” in our lexicon is because it tells the thousands of young trans people out there right now who are struggling with their sense of identity, some of whom do not even realise yet that that is what they are doing, that there is something that you can be that is not what you were told you could be.

I did not know the word “cis” when I was 8 years old, imitating the handwriting of the girls in my class. I did not possess this language when I was 15, and attempting to put on makeup in secret without the guidance of my mother or my aunts, and copying the clothing styles of the girls in my high school. I did not have this language when I was 24, with hair down to my waist, wearing my girlfriend’s clothes to work. I did not have this language at 33 years old, before I proposed to my wife, or at 37, when we decided to have a child before we got any older.

I didn’t even know this language at 40, when I finally understood that the days of my life were not going to be many more in number if I did not attempt to find out if the feelings I had been feeling all my life would lead me to a better life.

But I certainly knew the word “transsexual”. I knew the words, “Renée Richards” and “Wendy Carlos”. I knew the word “freak”. I knew the word “mutilation”. I knew the words “liver damage”. I knew the words “shorter life span”. I knew the words “no children”. I knew the word “faggot”.

We need the word “cis”, because those children need to know that their choices aren’t limited, not anymore. Those children need to know that the alternative to “man” isn’t “freak” and the alternative to “woman” isn’t “abomination”. Those children need to know that “abnormal” means “statisically fewer in number”, not “unnatural”.

We need the word “cis”, because all the children of this Earth need to know that “cis” is just one thing you can be, and not what you necessarily are.

—  Gemma Seymour, 6 March 2013

SAKJLFGJHDSLA;DFJHK AT TRANS MARCH I MET ONE OF THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE AND WHEN I SAY I MET I MEAN SHE INTRODUCED HERSELF TO ME NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND OH MY GOD *vomits every rainbow* GOSHHHH she shook my hand guys my hand she shook it *waits for nobody but me to care* but yeah she and a Brother (I didn’t know they had Brothers but she introduced him as Brother ___ to me unless I’m just really awful at hearing I’m not sure) whose name I didn’t quite catch, and this other fellow. and omg

gosh

gosh you guys

goshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

they came all the way from Eureka and she introduced herself and shook my hand