Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sex Is Not Between Your Legs

There's an article going around right now on the subject of preferred pronouns being asked upon admission to a college campus.  There was a lively debate going on in a trans male forum I frequent.  The debate was largely centered on this paragraph:
"Because I go to an all-women's college, a lot of people are like, 'If you don't identify as a woman, how did you get in?'" said sophomore Skylar Crownover, 19, who is president of Mouthing Off! and prefers to be mentioned as a singular they, but also answers to he. "I just tell them the application asks you to mark your sex and I did. It didn't ask me for my gender."
Before I continue, I should mention something about the article.  It refers mostly to genderqueer and other nonbinary trans folk.  Nonbinary transfolk and binary-privileged trans folk have different issues despite considerable overlap.  I include this excerpt from the article not because it is directly relevant to the group I'm talking about, but because it's what springboarded a discussion in a group which is exclusively made up of binary-privileged trans men.

Anyway, on to my point.

In feminist and GASD/LGBT/queer communities, there is often great care taken to distinguish "sex" from "gender."   Sex is used to talk about physical characteristics, most notably genitals and chromosomes but also hormones and body shape and things like that.  Gender is used to talk about roles and identity.  This is often explained quite simply with the phrase "Sex is between your legs. Gender is between your ears."  In many ways this idea is transgender 101.  For years it's been used as a justification for the mere existence of trans folk as well as intercultural third gender categories.
Today I learned about "Anthropology Major Fox."

It's also wrong.

Well, OK, it's not all wrong.  In practice, the sex/gender distinction is a way some academic fields and communities describe things that aren't as simple as a rigid binary gender system is comfortable dealing with.  Making that distinction is an excellent stepping stone to understanding that not all people who have a certain chromosome set or genital configuration are going to have the same gender and that not all cultures have the same gender categories.

The problem is that it's oversimplified as well as contrary to peoples' lived realities.

When I was hanging out with newer trans people more often it was almost a daily occurrence that somebody would complain that they had to fill out a form that said "sex" instead of "gender."  There was a real deer-in-headlights confusion because trans 101 had maintained that sex and gender are two entirely different things.  In other words, even though these were people who were living their whole lives as a particular gender, they had it in their heads that if somebody asks for their sex it automatically means "what genitals are you sporting" or "what chromosomes do you have."  So you'd get a lot of people who said things like "my sex may be female but my gender is male."

This confusion makes sense when you're partially closeted or filling out a request for an ID or you're filling out hospital intake forms or something like that, because what sex you are listed as can affect things like what medical services you can get or your risk of being erroneously tried for fraud.  However, this confusion has spread so far and wide that people even stress out when they're filling out something like a dating site or a survey or some other thing that isn't tied to this sort of difficulty.  There's no reason somebody who lives male full-time should need to put "female" on a social media profile, but many people are wary to do so because we assume--having been cultured by the social justice community to believe this rigid sex/gender distinction--that "sex" automatically refers to assigned-sex-at-birth.  It rarely ever does, though.

It's also a mistake to look at cases in which "sex" is used instead of "gender" and automatically turn our noses up as if we are significantly more enlightened in knowing "the truth."  The sex/gender distinction has never been a universal practice, and like all binary distinctions it's limited in its usefulness to the context that created it.  The vast majority of times people ask for your sex, they are in a practical sense asking for your gender.

This rigid sex/gender distinction can actually be harmful rather than helpful to trans folk because it is yet another way we are obligated to identify ourselves with our birth sex despite that identification being inaccurate (and possibly triggering). The main issue is the "sex" half of the equation.  What constitutes "sex" is much more culturally defined than people assume, and these characteristics are also NOT immutable.  The medical therapies most binary-privileged trans folk go on markedly change our physical characteristics, meaning we wind up with a "sex" that is contradictory and mismatched.  It's perfectly possible for a man to have a penis and two X chromosomes, or a vagina and no breasts, or for a woman to have two X chromosomes and a high testosterone level, or any other number of combinations.  Really the only physical characteristic that can't be changed (yet?) is what sex chromosomes you have, and unless you've had a genetic test done you can't even really be sure what yours are anyway.

In short, your gender is an identity, but when it all boils down to it, so is your sex.

Should we scrap the whole sex/gender distinction altogether?  I wouldn't argue for that.  Like I mentioned above, it's useful in some contexts, including as a way of managing complicated self-identities.  But it is important that we facilitate the understanding that people don't have to identify with what they were assigned at birth, even when people are asking their sex.  That distinction is not nearly as hard-and-fast as people believe it is.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Some Maple Bacon Apple Pies

So yesterday was apparently Thanksgiving.  I went deer hunting.  I didn't get any deer.  I did almost flatten a flock of turkeys on my way home, though.
Delicious Motherfuckers
My family is celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow afternoon because most of us worked yesterday.  Because of this I decided to make a pie.  A delicious, delicious, Internet-friendly pie:
This one is the "lazy pie" I made for my family party tomorrow, meaning I used a pre-baked shortbread crust.  It's an apple pie (made using this recipe from Deliciously Organic) that I lattice-topped with maple-flavored bacon.

It's not the first time I've made a bacon apple pie.  Somebody made one years ago and I thought it looked cool so I made it.  And enjoyed it.  Last time nobody would touch it but me and my mom.  If the same thing happens this year, all it means is more for me.

I also made three mini-pies.  These are made using the exact recipe I linked to above--including the crust--except instead of the topping I used more delicious, delicious bacon (for the sugar I used the maple sugar I made back in July) instead of coconut sugar.  These ones I made as gifts:
They look the same size as the first one apparently.  They're actually significantly smaller, as I cut the bacon into quarters.

Four Points on Trans Male Pregnancy

Shout out to Heather McNamara for reminding me of this subject.

In the reproductive health and justice quadrants of my life there is an increasing campaign to degender the language used to refer to what are typically considered women's issues:  Pregnancy, childbirth, birth control, abortion, etc.  This is both because they're not relevant to all women and because there are people of all genders (including men) who require these services.  I'm pretty well aware of this; after all, I am a man who has sex with other men, and I can get pregnant.  My own access to birth control, reproductive healthcare, and abortion are very important to me, and by principle the right of trans men to give birth if we choose is also important.

But it's really not as simple as "make sure people constantly bring up that trans men can get pregnant!"  There are pros and cons to this advocacy. Four of my personal pros and cons (two pros, two cons) are as follows, and while I don't speak for the rest of the community by any means, it's something to think about if you're planning on creating a reproductive health campaign and including trans men so you can hopefully avoid some of the more offensive ways of going about this.

1. Trans men have died because their doctors were to freaked out to work on our genitals or they were too embarrassed to seek proper care. Advocating for doctors to know a thing or two is paramount.

My first pelvic exam was by a nurse practitioner who noticed the odd back-and-forth my medical system was doing with my name change (they couldn't figure out if I was going from Jackie to Jack or vice versa), figured out from the context that I was transitioning, and asked if I'd ever had a pap smear, explicitly explaining that she was aware a lot of trans men do not seek that kind of care.

I know there would not have been a chance in hell I'd have asked for this, so having a doctor who was sympathetic to those issues was extremely important to me.

Although it's thankfully happening less and less, one need only watch the documentary "Southern Comfort" to recognize why this isn't something that should just be ignored.  Trans men who still have our reproductive organs might have access issues preventing us from receiving lifesaving care, just as Robert Eades was denied cancer treatments for no reason other than he was a trans man.

So that goes on the "pro" side.

2. The idea of pregnancy gives a large chunk of trans men extreme anxiety.

Case In Point
Con: After the Thomas Beatie "Pregnant Man" story came out, one of the first pieces I saw written by a trans man was called "I Hate Thomas Beatie."  He didn't actually hate Beatie, but was expressing discontent that after his story broke his mother will not stop pressuring him to get pregnant, a concept which is a huge dysphoria trigger for him.

Although I support the right of trans men to give birth (and be open about it), I often wish people understood how much the media attention given to pregnant trans men has negatively affected some of us.  My grandma, for instance, decided to lecture to me about how I "gotta give birth at least once while I still can" while I was fixing her computer a few weeks ago.  Even pre-T she never would have said this were it not for the media attention implying that giving birth is something trans men as a whole desire.

It's important to recognize that most trans men don't want to give birth... many of us don't even want to be reminded that we can give birth.  Trans men who do want to give birth are a minority, and by overemphasizing our ability to get pregnant we're feeling more and more pressure from relatives to do so.

Dysphoria exists on a spectrum.  Take the poster featured to the left, there.  It's a great thought, but for somebody with extreme dysphoria it's like shoving a sign saying "YOU HAVE A UTERUS" in his face.

3.  There's a tendency for people to use trans men to decentralize women from issues largely affecting them.

Most of the people I personally witness engaging in this advocacy are doing it from a feminist or womanist standpoint, so this isn't a huge concern (not as an intentional thing, anyway).

It's important to remember that trans men are still men, and that what connects trans men to these issues is female lived history, female perception, and biology... not our manhood.  Trans men are affected by these issues (with some exceptions) as an extension of misogyny.

That said, emphasizing trans men can edge dangerously close to a "what about the men" argument if it's not done carefully or if it's done in opposition to feminist efforts.  When somebody brings up a topical, serious issue affecting pregnant people, zeroing in on their having said "women" is derailing rather than enlightening.  The fact that trans men (or cis men for that matter) are affected by something doesn't automatically mean it's not best framed as a women's issue.

I think it's reasonable to believe that one day we will be at a point where not defaulting discourse about pregnancy on cis women will be a viable option.  That said, I do invite you to start using that language now.  I usually do, too.  Be the movement so to speak.  As it stands right now, though, I do worry about the potential to derail.

4.  Pregnant trans men are probably more common than people think they are, and they deal with a lot of unique issues.

Another pro... it's easy to assume that trans male pregnancies are ridiculously rare, so rare that they don't require any unique attention at all.

Personally I wouldn't be shocked if this was mostly a problem of media attention.  Thomas Beatie, who was marketed as the "first pregnant man," wasn't even close to the first trans guy to get pregnant, even after hormones (he wasn't even the first pregnant man who got media attention... Matt Rice was in The Village Voice several years earlier).

This number is likely increasing if for no other reason than now people know it's do-able.  This is part of a major cultural shift... for a long time trans folk were almost universally expected to be perfect specimens of our lived genders if we wanted treatment, so male pregnancy would have been out.  Thanks to those pregnant trans pioneers, there absolutely are more trans men who want to have biological children in this way.

And that brings up a host of problems.  Trans men who do get pregnant can expect to be treated unfairly by their health insurance companies (which may see a client labeled "male" getting services typically associated with women and get suspicious) and denied social services available to pregnant women.  I believe it was Thomas Beatie who had medical staff request he shave his face and pretend to be a woman to make other pregnant people more comfortable.

Bringing up trans male pregnancy, then, can lead to an increased cultural understanding of this issue and the removal of these barriers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Pre-Holiday Recipe Trials

I have a book called the 2014 Sabbats Almanac which starts with Samhain of 2013 and goes through the year. For Yule there is a recipe for a Brie and cranberry bake that I had to try.  It looks kind of gross on the plate but was delicious... I assure you.

In addition I copied a recipe I saw at work. I had no idea what cheese they used, but it tasted goat-y, so I used plain soft goat cheese.  They're Bosc pears cut in half with goat cheese and bacon on top, then baked at 350 until I decided they were done. The bacon didn't cook very easily so in the end I pre-cooked it and just stuck it on top.  Tastes better cold.

A whole wheel of Brie baked in a dish, covered with a
homemade cranberry sauce, and baked again.
Bacon-layered Bosc pears and a scoop of the Brie bake.
Yes, I know what the Brie bake looks like. Still delicious.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dear Transphobic Fearmongers: This Is My Locker Room Story

Trigger Warning: Detailed description of gender-dysphoric experiences.

 I used a group locker room today in a city that just had transgender-protecting legislation withdrawn (pending hopeful better success later) due to alleged swarms of community responses frantically worrying that it would mean trans people would be in their restrooms and locker rooms.  This is a frustrating development as somebody who was raised fully believing I lived in a community that had at least a shred of decency.

The fact that I did, in fact, use a group locker room on the same day I learned of this was a coincidence, but a telling one.  Cis (non-trans for those not in the know) people thrown into a frantic, ignorant haze spouting bullshit about trans-protecting legislation inviting rapists into women's restrooms are predictable and tiring and entirely ignore the fact that we already use these venues without incident every fucking day.

This fervor isn't about me.  I am a well-passing, mostly-stealth transsexual man, meaning people don't regularly realize I have a female history... and those that do figure it out don't bring it up.  Trans women as well as trans people who do not have the privilege to allow them the medical care necessary to integrate as I have (also known as "non-passing") and non-binary trans people will inevitably get the brunt of this ignorance.  They always do.  Think, for instance, about the transgender child (yes, child) who is being harassed and assumed a predator by grown-ass-adults in Colorado for using a locker room.

Still, because it's topical in that I did just use a group locker room today, I'd like to give you a little taste of how that went.
  1. I walked in the locker room with my duffel bag and tried four lockers before I found an empty one, averting my glance from the naked men changing around me because I don't want them to think I'm checking them out--just in case they're homophobic--and I don't want them to get too good a look at my still-feminine eyes.
  2. I shove my duffel bag in the locker as quick as I can and pull out my gym clothes, taking them to the changing rooms or--if those aren't empty--a bathroom stall.
  3. Even though the doors lock, I stand facing away from the door just in case somebody tries to get in and the lock fails, so if they see me naked they only see me from the back.
  4. I go and work out, almost constantly worrying that my binder (the garment I use to conceal my breasts) is too loose and that people will notice, or that it's too tight and will cause me to pass out.  The latter is no small thing because I personally know people--including other trans men--who have had medical personnel stop working on them when they see their anatomy.
  5. I return and decide whether or not I am going to shower.  About half the time I will decide the vulnerability is not worth it and I will just go home.  Today I opted to shower.
  6. Unlike the changing rooms, it does not lock, so I put a towel over the top bar so people know there is somebody in there.  I hang my duffel bag in the shower with me, risking it getting wet to avoid being too far from my clothing.
  7. As is the case in the changing rooms, I am likely to stare at the back wall just in case somebody comes in.  I shower as quickly as possible.
  8. Before I pull my towel off of the bar, I always place a pair of shorts or something so there is always something over the top bar.  I do not go even a short second with nothing proving that the shower is occupied.
  9. I pull on all of my clothing in the shower, because the short walk from the shower to the changing room is too risky even if I wrap myself in a towel.
  10. I leave the locker room.
  11. I get home and find that a bunch of people wrote my city's lawmakers about how scared they are of me in their locker rooms because they were that infuriated by the prospect that maybe I should have a right to fair housing like every other human being should have in theory.
By this point there is something you should have figured out:  Using public single-sex venues like locker rooms and restrooms is terrifying for trans people.  In this whole discourse, people spend so much time frantically theorizing about how unsafe cis people will allegedly be.  What's lost is that trans people have terrifying experiences because of how we expect cis people to treat us if they find out.

I have a friend who will sit on the toilet and wait for everybody to leave before he takes a piss because he's worried the fact that he's sitting is going to out him.  I know somebody else who repeatedly dropped out of her college gym class rather than share locker rooms with cis people because she was so terrified.  There are inumerable trans people who have been beaten up in locker rooms and restrooms just for being there.  Where are these stories?  Why are we so hellbent on focusing on something that might happen in some transphobic cis person's dirty fantasies when there are real stories like mine and theirs that happen every day?

Because we're already using these venues, every day, mostly without incident until some gaggle of transphobic "think of the children" assholes and concern trolls decides to make an issue of it.  And when it comes to trans people using single-sex venues, the only people who really have to worry are us.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Deer Corner of the Shrine and Pendulums

I (somewhat by accident) created a nice little Deer Spirit section of my shrine, centered by a decorative plate I found at a thrift store and including a pendulum I got at a local Samhain event (I liked the drop from one pendulum they were selling and the deer pendant from another so they put them together for me).  It's actually kind of topical because deer hunting season is coming up in a couple of weeks and I'll need somewhere to leave offerings.
 I also got a pendulum book.  Pendulums are very easy for me and so I've been using it more often.  So that's another divination tool in the arsenal (I don't do much divination anymore but I have a lot of tools).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Eleventh Unexpected Trans Annoyance

So I wrote that list a little while ago about unexpected trans annoyances, and I plumb forgot the one annoyance that actually inspired me to write the damn list.  So here it is, number 11:

11. People still expect me to wear women's underwear for some reason.

I focus on underwear in the title, but this goes beyond panties.  It just so happened that my first realization of this phenomenon had to do with panties.

I'd been out for probably a year when I went home for a summer.  As it happens, my clothes got dirty, and I decided it was about time to do some laundry.  I do a load of laundry and forget it in the dryer.  Dad winds up finding it, and is very confused by the fact that there are (gasp) men's underwear in it that clearly aren't his.  Around that same time he also realized I do not wear bras.

Previously I'd already been through the drama when I rejected a pair of embroidered women's shorts from my grandmother and my parents acted as though it was weird that I didn't want them.  I'd written a long rant to them a few months into my social transition because it was clear that they didn't truly understand that when I said I was a transsexual man it didn't mean I was just a particularly butch woman, and after some drama everything seemed fine.

But somehow, despite that rant, despite several conversations in which I was trying to assert very clearly "I am a man now and acting shocked when I do or wear things typically associated with men is very offensive to me," underwear slipped through the cracks.  Also slipping through the cracks included men's scented deodorant and cologne as well as men's vitamins (I've known two trans men who had relatives begin buying them women's vitamins as soon as they came out when they'd never done it before, assuming this would be appreciated).

Here's what really irks me about the underwear phenomenon, as I call it:  It specifically focuses on things that most people don't see.  It makes the assumption that no matter how masculine a trans man looks on the outside, he's "probably" still doing everything the same "behind the scenes," like wearing women's panties or deodorant.  It's an extension of the idea that being trans is a costume rather than a sincere identity, and having that viewpoint crushed makes people uncomfortable.

I assure you: There is no anatomical difference that makes wearing women's panties necessary for trans men.  Some trans men do still wear them (as do some cis men), but typically we wear men's clothes from top to bottom just like other men.  Plenty of us are also more-dedicated consumers of male-advertised products just because it helps with dysphoria in its own way to purchase things specifically advertised to men (there's this ridiculous ad going around for a manly yoghurt and I just know there are trans men who will buy it).

So to conclude, when somebody comes out as trans, if you're going to assume weird things about what we wear under our outer-clothes, don't assume that these are--or should be--clothing cut and designed for our assigned-at-birth sex.  Typically they won't be.

The God Graveyard: Atheists vs. Minority Faiths

A couple groups of campus atheists created "God Graveyards," containing the headstones of deities "Once worshiped by entire civilizations, now only myths."  Notice anything about them?

...literally all of these are still being worshiped.  Not by as many people, but they're still worshiped.  I mean, second from the left there is my Patron God.  I would be limited to rolling my eyes about it (because I'm well aware most people believe my Gods and several others are no longer believed in), but Krishna?  Really?  There are like a million and a half Hindus in the US alone, where it is decidedly a minority faith.  In India Hinduism is a majority faith.  Calling Krishna "dead" as if nobody worships him is at the height of cultural ignorance.

But oh, here's a comment from Saara Wintersgill from the North Georgia Skeptic's Society that I guess makes everything OK:
I organized the Skeptics event. We used Krishna while knowing he is still worshipped, but when there were inquiries about it we showed students how the current number of followers is much less than it used to be.
(The AHA group at UW-Madison, according to a different comment, explains that in their graveyard they took care to only include Gods that aren't worshiped today... despite including some rather popular Gods among Neopagans.  You tried, I guess.  I am focusing on the NGSS for this essay.)

These are people who know damn well that some of these Gods are worshiped by thousands of people, and they still declared them "dead."  This is extremely disconcerting because it's a rather transparent view of some of the bullshit mainstream Western atheist activism has going for it:  Atheists absolutely do experience religious bias and discrimination, but it's mostly in the context of being a member of a minority faith experience.  Things like having to deal with constantly seeing Christian symbolism in places it shouldn't be (like courthouses, legislation, pledges) are not unique to atheism.  In fact, there are even troubles like this that atheists don't regularly experience, like being told to hide required religious symbols to avoid offending people (Muslim women being told to take off hijab, baptized Sikhs have some paraphernalia their faith requires them to wear that they're often told to remove too), getting denied a day off work to celebrate a religious holiday, and so forth.

Rather than accept that religious hegemony is a huge issue that affects a lot of people, there is instead a tendency for atheists to shit on and mock minority faiths without considering that members of such faiths also experience oppression. The assumption by these atheists is that there is such a thing as "religious privilege" or "theistic privilege," in which all people who have a religion are privileged over people who do not.

This graveyard stunt is one among many based on this assumption.  These groups are using minority (mostly polytheistic) faiths--and perceived "dead" faiths--as ammo against monotheistic faiths without an ounce of consideration for the amount of ridicule and persecution members of those faiths experience.

Islam is now a pretty popular target, especially among famous shitmongers like Richard Dawkins.  Today he tweeted this piece of hilarity:
The hilarious thing about this is that Dawkins is a vocal supporter of racial profiling and singling out Muslims at airports, and yet having a little jar of honey taken away means "Bin Laden has won."  Dawkins is in fact a well-known Muslim-basher--one of his favorite targets being hijab-wearing Muslim women--and being a high-profile atheist activist this means a lot of atheist n00bs also become Muslim-bashers because if Dawkins says something it must be cool.

Similarly we have members of the parody faith "Pastafarianism."  What started as a reasonable movement against teaching mythology in science class now involves fighting for the right to wear colanders on their heads in legal forms of identification, a clear attempt at mocking the rights of Muslims and Sikhs to wear their necessary head coverings in the same identification.  These stunts make light of a serious problem affecting a lot of people, in the process implying a false supremacy of minority faiths in comparison to atheism (again, usually Islam).

Finally, I should mention--because I've certainly heard some non-asshat atheists bring this up--that it's easy to see cases of religious hegemony (again, usually Christian hegemony in the West) and view it as something generically religious when you do not personally have a religion.  This is certainly not how it's perceived as a member of a theistic minority faith, knowing that things often labeled "ceremonial deism" are absolutely not either ceremonial or deistic to the people who fight to keep those symbols in place.  References to God are not generically religious when you have several Gods, or you only have one but know from context that that God isn't being referred to.

Honestly, these atheist stunts get more and more grating as time goes by, simply because of the lack of inter-religious knowledge required to think they're appropriate.  The problem isn't atheism, though, it's self-absorbed single-issue activism, something that unfortunately permeates activist culture as a whole.  That's what I really want people to take away from this... atheist activism (and all other activism) needs to have greater world perspective to avoid insensitive displays like this one.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Five Misappropriative TDOR Events

I don't want to write this as a "how-to" because there are plenty of more experienced people than me writing similar things on the Internet.  Instead, I'm going to post a little context and then a few ways people have attempted to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance that I really could have done without.

Some context, in case you're a total noob:  Transgender Day of Remembrance (or TDOR) is a yearly observance on November 20th that began in honor of a murdered trans woman of color named Rita Hester.  TDOR honors the lives of trans people who have been killed through murder or neglect the prior year due to their gender identity/expression/presentation.  Most of the people honored will be people of color, usually trans women or AMAB people presenting in a feminine manner, often sex workers, often poor, often people in other countries.

It's important to keep that context in mind when you run a TDOR event because boiling the issue down to "transgender people get murdered a lot" takes a great deal of ignorance about intersectionality.  There is a world of difference in experience between a white trans guy like myself and a trans woman of color, a huge difference in risk.  Unfortunately both the event and the amount of risk is misinterpreted, leading to TDOR event fails like the ones I've seen here.

1. My very first TDOR event was a showing of Transamerica and a drag show.

Keep in mind that for my own purposes, any transgender related event that happens around November 20th is labeled a "TDOR event" even if it has nothing to do with TDOR.  The reason I've designed it that way is because making a transgender event around that time is usually an appropriation of the date of TDOR.

My very first TDOR event was in college.  It was a showing of Transamerica and a drag show.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with doing either of these things.  I already mentioned recently that Transamerica has a lot of problematic elements.  Drag shows also vary as far as how offensive they are to women and trans people, and drag is a huge part of trans culture.  But on TDOR?  A solemn day of remembrance of people who have been hatefully murdered?  Absolutely not.

2. A happy fun time dance spectacular.

A couple years ago there was a group that decided that TDOR was too gloomy and decided to make it happier and fuzzier by making it a dance spectacular instead.  When some trans people who actually know a little about what they're talking about pointed out that TDOR is not a happy fun day, the organizers criticized them for being too negative.

3.  Any event that tries to create perceived equity between trans female and trans male murders.

There are people who claim trans men do not experience persecution.  And they're wrong.  But I also don't blame them for thinking that way when you have trans men trying to make it look like we share the same risk of murder as trans women, which we don't.

I have an automatic irritation with any TDOR event that tries to create a quota for trans masculine people featured to make it appear as if as many of us are murdered as trans women.  The same would be true if one did the same for white, non-poor, non-sex-worker trans women... but I have yet to actually see this.  I have, however, seen events run by trans men that focus on the trans man known as "Brandon," which happened twenty years ago.  While including him in your event would not necessarily be offensive, taking TDOR and making it about trans men is.

The main point is that if you have a TDOR event you should focus on the people most likely to be murdered and not the people most like you.

4.  Trans male top surgery fundraiser time!

It should be clear by now that I have kind of a disdain for trans men taking over TDOR.  It isn't that we shouldn't be involved, it's that too many of them do it without considering any of the above context.

This year there is at least one TDOR event that is raising money for a trans man's top surgery.  While top surgery fundraisers are totally standard and fine (no matter what Buck Angels says), using TDOR for it is wildly misappropriative.  If you're going to be raising money with a TDOR event, there are so many more relevant causes it could go to.  Find another day for your surgery fundraiser, please.

5. "Transgender Awareness Week"

A couple groups now expand TDOR to a week-long event dedicated to transgender awareness, usually with TDOR set aside on the 20th.  This is certainly an improvement on some other things, but in practice what's happening is taking an observance dedicated to the violent deaths of trans people--again, usually otherwise disadvantaged trans people--and using it to talk about more privileged trans concerns.

That doesn't mean that having a Transgender Awareness Week is a bad thing.  Far from it! You should do that!  But like the top surgery fundraisers, this is really something that should be done at a different time to avoid appropriating TDOR.