It seems that with every week that passes we receive yet another attack on our existence. This week is sadly no exception. To be perfectly honest, I have come to expect nothing less. The middle-aged privileged cis feminist lobby has an extensive platform in media. They make their claims that they are not transphobic before launching yet another lazily composed rehash or the same old rhetoric. Natalie discusses this week’s Times piece, so I’m going to discuss something else, the growing voice of the trans transmisogynist.
Now it gets a little confusing, so just a couple of definitions. A transmisogynist is someone who holds prejudice against trans women like many of these opinion piece writers. A trans misogynist (with space) is a trans person who holds prejudice against women like some problematic views held by certain prominent trans women. A trans transmisogynist is a trans person who holds prejudice against trans women in particular.
Sadly, this latter category is used against the trans community at large on a regular basis. They commonly side with the so-called radical feminist lobby that denies trans women their existence. The commonly stated tropes of gender is a social construct designed to oppress [cis] women, sex is in the chromosomes and immutable and that trans women are men are repeated by these people much to our distress. So many times do I see programmes and articles bring out these people to deny our existences. “This self-identified trans person says they are a man, so that makes you one too!” I am sick of the hypocrisy of it. I can almost forgive the self declared transmisogynists, they are coming from an us v them mentality, succumbing to an animalistic fear of difference they must attack.
How does a trans person hate themselves so much? Without delving too much in pop psychology are they a product of years of cultural misogyny? Is it a means of trying to come to terms with their own identity? If they don’t identify as women, why did they transition? These are questions only they can answer. What I take great offence to is the attacks they launch at trans women. To give some nameless examples, I have been told by another trans woman that I should only use the women’s toilet if I “pass” and have “sought permission” from the other facility users. Of course this individual is exempt. They also stated that I should not claim scientific funding aimed at women because of my “privilege”. I fail to see what this “privilege” is that I have over other women in my profession. Others have stated the immutability of chromosomes to me, yet fail to understand the biological nature of sex – hint: it is far more complex than you could imagine! Yet more comments are made by trans women about feminism and how other trans women (except them) should not comment on feminism as we have not had the same experiences in childhood as cis women.
The thing is no trans experience is the same. These transmisogynistic individuals will cite their own privileged upbringings. Fine. They may have grown up with a silver spoon in their mouth, told that mummy cooks dinner and cleans the house while daddy builds his business empire for junior to inherit in “his” thirties. Junior inherits the business and then comes out as trans in their fifties and continues the business. Perhaps this hypothetical person can’t really comment on the glass ceiling of women professionals, and has upheld the cultural misogyny that plagues our society. In that case I would agree, perhaps that person should stick to what they know, but does that mean all trans people cannot have a say because of the privilege of a few? What about the person who came out at 4 years old not really knowing how they were different but that they were? The person who faced bullying at school and home, faced oppression of their identity, faced the same cultural misogynistic attitudes until they conformed or escaped? What say do they get? What about the trans people facing oppression in the workplace, family rejection and daily abuse and hostility, the trans people that are literally killed? The trans community is as diverse as any other, we have our villains and we have our heroes. If you are considering selling out other trans people because of your own views stop and think again. We have enough enemies without you adding to that voice.
Dr Charlotte McCarroll (@DrCharlotteMcC)