Sunday, July 13, 2014

Transgender Blog Challenge Day 23: Stereotypes

Today's question is:
What stereotypes are put on trans people?

And you know, this is such a typical question that I almost said "fuck you" and didn't answer it.  This is not a challenge, it's 101 shit that makes me want to write my own list of more in-depth stuff.  With all due respect to the author, anyway.  So I'm going to talk about a few stereotypes that aren't as typically discussed or stereotypes that exist within the trans community.  Only a few, though, because I don't really like this question much.
  1. Trans men are accepted in queer spaces while trans women are not.
    For a while it felt like every other trans woman was talking about how trans men are oh-so-accepted in queer spaces and trans women aren't.  This is a half-truth, though.  Trans men in general face fewer risks than trans women, due to things like invisibility and male privilege.  But it's important to recognize that "queer space" is not all the same.  In many cases they're talking about queer spaces dominated by women that are ridiculously obtuse about fully including lesbian and bi trans women.  Gay and bi trans men have difficulty integrating into queer men's spaces, too, considering the phallocentrism of that community.  And you know what else?  There are trans women who are in those spaces, too.  So while it's an important issue to talk about, it's just not true that trans men are universally accepted in queer spaces while trans women are not.
  2. Non-binary people are just "trying on" transgenderism and will eventually come out as binary trans folk.
    There are certainly binary trans people (including myself) who once identified as non-binary of some type, but that this is overall the case is just not true, for the same reason "bisexuals are just gays unwilling to come out" is just not true.
  3. Testosterone turns trans men gay.
    Testosterone actually made me less gay, if that makes sense.  Here's the story:  I tongue-in-cheekly identify as an ex-gay.  I identified as gay for years.  No, strike that... I was gay.  I couldn't imagine wanting to have sex with a woman.  Then, during one of my more radical streaks, I decided that my lack of attraction for women was probably sexist and that I should be more open-minded.  After that I developed attraction for women.  In some--but not all--people, sexual orientation can be changed.  The problem with the ex-gay movement isn't that they say people can change, it's that they make it into a moral obligation where they just fucking isn't one.  Anyway, I identified as bi starting maybe five or six years before testosterone, so testosterone didn't make me bi.  But it did make my sexual desire and interests much more expansive to the point where I could theoretically be turned on by god-damned near anything if I think about it hard enough.  So testosterone can contribute to changing your sexuality, but it doesn't for everyone, and it doesn't typically cause a complete flip from straight to gay, and there are many more reasons somebody's sexual orientation might change than just hormones.
    I've heard, by the way, that there's a similar phenomenon among trans women.  The explanation I've heard from some of them is that sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are probably more linked than queer theorists want to admit, and that loving men as a man and loving men as a woman (and vice versa) just don't have the same vibe.  That makes a lot of sense if you ask me.