I think people should have to get psychiatric, medical and government permission to be transphobic. Also, make sure your spouse, family and friends approve too. We wouldn’t to upset their lives by your selfish and rash decision to be transphobic would we?
And before you get a diagnosis of transphobia, you need to go through the real life test where you have to live a year with everybody knowing you’re a transphobe but you’re not allowed to do or say transphobic things.
And your therapist will have to make sure you really want to be a transphobe too. And ask you if maybe you’d be okay with just being a homophobe. Also, how long have you had these feelings of transphobia? Did you have them as a child? Did you wear transphobic slogans on your clothes as a child?
And if you want to go all the way with your transphobia, you’re going to need 2 doctor’s notes and about $20,000.
This whole “cis people as gatekeepers to trans medical treatment” thing has been nagging at the back of my mind lately. Mainly in relation to the coverage of Angelina Jolie’s preventative mastectomy. Of course what she has done is amazing, it just highlights how easy it is for cis people to surgically alter their own bodies compared with trans people, who are inevitably forced to jump through endless hoops to obtain what can also be life-saving surgery. Urgh.
Small glimmer of hope is that some countries are starting to get it right (obviously not perfect yet, as discussed in the article).
Trans women are women. Logically feminism cannot exclude trans women and still call itself feminism. I mean obviously it has a history of doing that. But it’s complete and utter bullshit.
Feminism by definition is for women. Trans women are women. Fat women are women. Women of colour are women. Disabled women are women. Poor women are women. Queer women are women. Mentally ill women are women.
The thing that gets me is the very premise of feminism is about dismantling power structures and oppressive institutions., Yet somehow early feminists decided to bring a bucket-load of those oppressive structures with them, and established them in the roots of the feminism movement.
Anyone who wants to promote some exclusive version of feminism can fuck right off.
- Be willing to confront instances of transphobia, cissexism, cisnormativity, cis-centrism, cis privilege and other forms of destructive bias where you find them (especially when you find them within feminist, activist or queer spaces), not through “call outs” or other toxic, self-defeating or abusive strategies, but by taking the opportunity for genuine discourse.
- Don’t take a purely passive, reactive approach. Rather than waiting for things like someone saying something overtly cissexist, or a trans person bringing up a particular concern, be willing to proactively introduce trans issues, or trans-relevant aspects of broader issues, to feminist discourse. Likewise, proactively treat possible consequences, perspectives and concerns relevant to trans people and trans experiences as being not only significant but essential to all feminist issues and conversations.
- Don’t assume any given issue is strictly, or even primarily, relevant to cis women. All feminist concerns are also transgender concerns, and vice versa. There are no feminist dialogues in which trans voices “don’t belong”, or to which trans voices have “nothing to add”. There are no social issues related to gender that don’t have consequences for trans people.
- Proactively seek out transgender voices, perspectives and input on all issues, not simply what you regard as “trans issues” or situations where the value of such perspectives is immediately obvious to you. Come to us, rather than waiting for us to come to you.
- Don’t treat the larger social conflict of gender as being dialectic or binary in nature. Don’t assume a unidirectional model of gender-based oppression.
These points are expanded on and explained more in the article. Please do read the full piece - it’s awesomesauce.
As a trans woman, not many things give me a headache the way the entire concept of passing does. Passing is the idea that if a trans woman (or any person who is presenting as a woman) looks, dresses and acts a certain way, people won’t be able to tell they are anything other than a completely “normal” woman. If you look at online trans communities or forums, you’ll find tons of tips on how to pass better – everything from hair removal tips to workouts to how to walk and sit more femininely.
All of this presupposes that there is only one right way to look like and be a woman. And it’s infuriating. On the one hand, whenever I go out in public or post pictures online, a part of me is deathly afraid that I’ll be insulted or worse. I desperately want to be accepted as the woman I am. On the other hand, I hate that in order to feel safe, I’m expected to fit into the very narrow box that is labeled “woman.” Tips on how to pass always seem to say that you should avoid building muscle mass and avoid wearing clothes and makeup that are too costumey, that you should try to hide your shoulders and soften your features. Trans women are often told that if we want to pass, we have to try our hardest to be petite, soft, have just the right amount of femininity, and not stand out too much. But what if I want to be a different kind of woman? What if I want to look like Grace Jones or Kate Moennig? What if I want to look like Beth Ditto or Dolly Parton? They’re all cis women; don’t they pass?
The moral of “passing” discussions always seems to be: if you get bashed it will be your fault.
|—||“Transgender Communities: Developing Identity Through Connection”|
Hm you know I think that a large part of the reason that the “I always knew/I was always different” narrative of trans experiences is so popular and widely spread is that it’s comforting to cis people.
When a trans person tells a cis person that they always knew they were different, the cis person can feel comforted knowing that that’s not their experience; they’re not a budding trans person, they’re Safe.
Whereas when a trans person tells a cis person that “well you know I never really knew; it was just something that came up” the cis person doesn’t have that buffer; if it Just Happened to someone else, why couldn’t it Just Happen to them? There goes their security; this trans person hasn’t been Different all their lives, was always as Normal as the cis person, but then they weren’t. maybe Cis Person is actually just like Trans Person, but they just don’t know it yet. Whoa. Scary.
So cis people reject that idea, because no way in hell are THEY ever going to be Like That. And I think that’s a large part of why people who don’t say it’s something they’ve always known are shamed and told that they’re not trans enough, not really trans, just faking it. In reality all trans experiences are equally valid, but in this system of hierarchy only certain trans experiences are allowed to be exposed to the world at large.
I had trouble identifying with the term “trans” because of this. I couldn’t understand how I could be trans, when I grew up thinking trans people always knew they were trans. I knew of trans people, I had met them, and I was pretty content thinking that they were a completely separate group of people who have always had their trans identities figured out from childhood. I wonder how many people are living their lives feeling like something is missing, feeling confused but not understanding why, because they have been told that they can’t be anything but cis if they didn’t have it figured out as children.
Still don’t have my identity figured out and it’s been 18-20 years since I first found out being trans existed.
Definitely comforting to know I’m not alone on this.
These wonderful infographics about reproductive health were recently released by The Guttmacher Institute, a foundation which aims to advance knowledge of reproductive health worldwide. They also bust myths surrounding abortion and reproductive health with this super amazing tool called “science.”
These infographics show the often sad realities of abortion in America — for many facing unintended pregnancy, it’s a nearly unattainable, expensive procedure with barriers that worsen for those who are in poverty or are people of color.
Wonderful from a cis perspective, yes, but completely erasing for trans men and non-binary people who can also get pregnant and also need abortions. And even less wonderful when you consider the group they’ve completely ignored will face even more barriers to abortion than their cis counterparts. Not to mention the disparate health outcomes overall.
These inforgraphics have definite scope for improvement.
I think it’s extremely problematic that you look at a study of pregnant people and assume they were all ciswomen. Unpack your knapsack and think about why you didn’t assume that they also studied pregnant transmen.
We live in a world where cissexist attitudes are the default (i.e. no one ever has to “come out” as cis). This means that, in a study where there is absolutely no mention of trans people being included, it’s safe to assume they weren’t included.
If the study *had* included trans men this would have been discussed as a variable. Trans people face even greater barriers to abortion access (and all forms of healthcare), which is what the entire study was looking at in the first place.
There is no chance this study did indeed include a cohort of trans men and completely neglect to mention that fact. I simply don’t believe that accredited and peer-reviewed research entities would forget to discuss something so important. Especially when they’ve been conducting this longitudinal study for the past four years and have had ample time to think “oh yeah, all those trans people we interviewed, we forgot to write about them or their unique circumstances”.
And in case you missed it, I am actually critiquing that perspective not endorsing it.
P.S. It is generally considerate to put a space between “cis” and “woman”, and between “trans” and “man”.
P.P.S. Due to this post and this post, and the way you worded your commentary above, I’m almost certain you’re a troll. However, I’ve decided to give you one sincere “benefit of the doubt” response. I won’t be entertaining any further responses from you.
Yes, I do like this idea! Thank you for being awesome and helpful as always <3
What happens to women denied abortions?
by Annalee Newitz
Abortion is a hotly debated and poorly studied medical procedure. There are a fewstudies of dubious validity that connect abortion to mental illness and drug use. Politicians have used these studies to justify greater limitations on women seeking abortion in the United States.
There has been no sustained effort to study what happens to women who want abortions but can’t get them due to restrictive rules. Until now. These women are called turnaways. A new longitudinal study reveals what happens to their economic position, health, and relationship status after seeking an abortion and being denied it.
Public health researchers with the UC San Francisco group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) used data from 956 women who sought abortions at 30 different abortion clinics around the U.S. 182 of them were turned away. The researchers, led by Diana Greene Foster, followed and did intensive interviews with these women, who ran the gamut of abortion experiences. Some obtained abortions easily, for some it was a struggle to get them, and some were denied abortions because their pregnancies had lasted a few days beyond the gestational limits of their local clinics. Two weeks ago, the research group presented what they’d learned after two years of the planned five-year, longitudinal “Turnaway Study“ at the recent American Public Health Association conference in San Francisco.
Here’s the short version of what they discovered, from a post they made on the Global Turnaway Study Facebook page:
We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.
Below, you can find the longer, more complex version of the story. I spoke with Foster about the groups’ preliminary findings.
The women in the Turnaway Study were in comparable economic positions at the time they sought abortions. 45% were on public assistance and two-thirds had household incomes below the federal poverty level. One of the main reasons women cite for wanting to abort is money, and based on the outcomes for the turnaways, it seems they are right.
Most of the women who were denied an abortion, 86%, were living with their babies a year later. Only 11% had put them up for adoption. Also a year later, they were far more likely to be on public assistance — 76% of the turnaways were on the dole, as opposed to 44% of those who got abortions. 67% percent of the turnaways were below the poverty line (vs. 56% of the women who got abortions), and only 48% had a full time job (vs. 58% of the women who got abortions).
When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line. Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers’ increased reliance on public assistance programs.
Violence and Drug Use
In the Turnaway Study, the researchers could find no statistically significant differences in drug use between women who get abortions and women who don’t. There appears to be no correlation between abortion and increased drug use. One interesting bit of data they did find was that drug users who couldn’t get abortions were more likely to give their babies up for adoption.
Unfortunately, when it comes to domestic violence, being denied an abortion makes a really big difference. Turnaways were more likely to stay in a relationship with an abusive partner than women who got abortions. A year after being denied an abortion, 7% reported an incident of domestic violence in the last six months. 3% of women who received abortions reported domestic violence in the same time period. Foster emphasized that this wasn’t because the turnaways were more likely to get into abusive relationships. It was simply that getting abortions allowed women to get out of such relationships more easily. So it’s likely that these numbers actually reflect a dropoff in domestic violence for women who get abortions, rather than a rise among turnaways.
This pattern of violence is also part of a larger pattern that shows turnaways are more likely to remain connected to the fathers of their children. Obviously, this isn’t always a good thing, as the violence statistics reveal. But even in the vast majority of cases where violence isn’t involved, Foster noted that these men aren’t living with the turnaways. The researchers asked women about cohabiting with partners, and found that men were no more likely to live with a turnaway who’d borne their children than they were to live with a woman who had an abortion. “The man doesn’t stick around just because you have the baby — that’s the crude way of putting it,” Foster said.
One of the biggest concerns about abortion is that it causes emotional problems that lead to clinical depression. The Turnaway Study looked at that question from two angles: how did turnaways and women who got abortions feel; and did they become clinically depressed. “It’s important to remember that how you feel is a separate question from whether you have a mental health problem,” Foster said. We’ll look at women’s emotions here, and discuss mental health in the next section.
As the researchers said at the American Public Health Association Meeting, “One week after seeking abortion, 97% of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65% of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion.” Also one week after being denied an abortion, turnaways told the researchers that they had more feelings of anxiety than the women who had abortions. Women who had abortions overwhelming reported feeling relieved (90%), though many also felt sad and guilty afterwards. All of these feelings faded naturally over time in both groups, however. A year later, there were no differences in anxiety or depression between the two groups.
In other words, the Turnaway Study found no indication that there were lasting, harmful negative emotions associated with getting an abortion. The only emotional difference between the two groups at one year was that the turnaways were more stressed. They were more likely to say that they felt like they had more to do than they could get done.
None of this translated into clinical depression. “Abortion and depression don’t seem directly linked,” Foster said. “We’ll continue to follow these women for five years, though. So we might find something else down the line.”
Physical and Mental Health
The Turnaway Study found no indication that abortion could be linked with increased mental health disorders. There were no statistical differences between turnaways and women who had abortions when it came to developing clinical depression.
But turnaways did face a greater health risk from giving birth. Even late stage abortions are safer than giving birth. The researchers said at the APHA meeting:
We find physical health complications are more common and severe following birth (38% experience limited activity, average 10 days) compared to abortion (24% limited activity, average 2.7 days). There were no severe complications after abortion; after birth complications included seizure, fractured pelvis, infection and hemorrhage. We find no differences in chronic health conditions at 1 week or one year after seeking abortion.
If you look at all this data together, a new picture emerges of abortion and how the state might want to handle it. To prevent women from having to rely on public assistance, abortions should be made more widely available. In addition, there is strong evidence that making abortions available will allow women to be healthier, with brighter economic outlooks. By turning women away when they seek abortions, we risk keeping both women and their children in poverty — and, possibly, in harm’s way from domestic violence.
The Turnaway Study was funded entirely through donations. If you would like to support more research into the lives of turnaways around the world, please consider donating to the Global Turnaway Study on Indie GoGo.
I have a conundrum and I would appreciate advice.
So, I know it’s extremely lazy activism to reblog cissexist stuff and simply put an asterisk/content warning to acknowledge the language is cissexist. Like, yes, it’s good to remind people that men can get pregnant but I feel this asterisk/warning doesn’t go far enough.
So, I’m thinking why not go further and actually get rid of the cissexism? There are ways to present the above information without erasing trans people and their reproductive rights.
But, the conundrum arises because I don’t think it’s always okay to edit something in order to be more inclusive. I mean there are instances where I think it’s fine (you might disagree), and I wouldn’t hesitate to make someone’s commentary on Tumblr more inclusive (obviously putting a footnote to that effect).
But, when it’s citing a study that contained only cis women as participants, making the language gender-neutral erases a relevant part of the study.
So, advice please?
Today my son drew himself as a boy for the first time in his life. He’s five and a half years old. For that many years, when he has drawn himself, he has drawn himself as a girl.
In the mediums of crayon, colored pencil and marker, our son is a beautiful girl with long red hair, a big puffy ball gown the color of cotton candy and a tiara with a gigantic heart-shaped stone front and center. Sometimes he’s a sassy girl in a jean skirt, black leather jacket and knee-high boots. Sometimes he’s a girl going to school in a hot-pink t-shirt dress and purple high top sneakers with turquoise socks peaking out.
It took his dad and me a while to get used to seeing our son’s self-portraits. For a long time there was the urge to correct him, to remind him that he is a boy and his renderings weren’t accurate. We fought that urge until it wasn’t there anymore. Feelings of uneasiness popped up in us here and there when it was time for arts and crafts, especially when there were other people around. I’ve had to remind myself that you never tell an artist that his or her art is bad or wrong — art can’t be those two things (especially when you are five).
Being acutely aware that children who continually, over an extended period of time draw themselves as the opposite sex are more likely to be transgender, we have always wondered if and when the day would come when our boy would draw himself as a boy looking like a boy. We imagined that if it ever happened we would feel a sense of relief and happiness. Then, it happened and we were nothing but sad.
C.J. has just started kindergarten and at his school every kindergartner is matched up with a “Kinderbuddy,” an older student at the school who will see C.J. on a regular basis throughout the year to read to him, play with him and mentor him. Hopefully they will have a mutually beneficial and special relationship.
Because the school tries to match up Kinderbuddies based on sex/gender, C.J.’s Kinderbuddy is a boy. Because C.J.’s sex and gender aren’t in total alignment, that process for matching up Kinderbuddies isn’t exactly ideal.
On their first day of meeting, the Kinderbuddies had to sit together and draw a picture of themselves together. That’s when it happened; C.J. drew himself as a boy next to his boy Kinderbuddy.
“Mommy, I got a Kinderbuddy today. And, he’s so cool! He’s a teenager!” C.J. said after school. By “teenager” he meant “sixth grader.”
He showed us the picture that they had drawn together. We didn’t recognize our son. We looked at each other in shock.
“Hey, Buddy…how come you drew yourself as a boy?” C.J.’s Dad asked casually.
“Oh, that’s because I didn’t want my Kinderbuddy to know that I like girl stuff,” C.J. said matter-of-factly.
Our hearts sank. We had always thought that things would feel more right, more normal, on the day that C.J. finally drew himself as a boy, but things didn’t. Things felt sad because our son had to do it out of self-preservation. He did it to adapt and conform. He did it to hide his true self. It felt like he had lost some of his innocence.
Diane Ehrensaft, an expert on raising gender nonconforming children, once wrote:
“Gender creative children are blessed with the ability to hold on to the concept — that we all had one time in our lives — that we were free to be anything we wanted – boy, girl, maybe both.”
With that drawing, it felt like our son was losing his grip on the concept that he is free to be anything he wants to be. Was he losing his grip? Or, was he tightening his grip on the concept and exercising control over when it could be on display and when it couldn’t?
C.J. didn’t want to hang his Kinderbuddy drawing on the fridge or his bedroom door for all to see like he usually wants to do with his art. He wanted to throw it away.
“Why?” I asked.
“Cause that’s not really me,” he said as he sat in the sun at our dining room table, drawing himself with a side ponytail, purple shirt with a pink heart on it and an orange skirt.