Trans* Narratives in Mainstream Dialogue

I am trying to appreciate trans* stories being included in mainstream dialogue, but what will it take to show people that saying a trans person was born as a woman (for example) but then ‘becomes’ a man after op is invalid and cold. It’s such a shallow analysis. I struggle with my gender identity, wanting to be open as identifying as a trans man but not wanting surgery. So by these peoples ideas I will never be what I know I am. That is even more difficult because some days I would more readily identify as agender. It just pains me that I am required to prove my gender via genitals.

A friend of mine posted this to their blog and it reminded me of something my partner and I were talking about a while ago. They’re just beginning to transition and do not see themselves as someone who was “born in the wrong body” or who is moving FROM one gender TO another or “becoming” the gender they “always wanted to be”.

The mainstream narrative of trans*ness depicts a person moving from one binary gender to another and centers around transition, necessitating GRS/SRS to validate the person’s gender as “real” or “true”. This narrative in outdated and inapplicable to a lot of trans* people, but it is still used by the mainstream to describe trans* people and explain trans*ness in a simple, digestible way. This is problematic for a variety of reasons, among them the fact that it is an oversimplification, it erases non-binary trans* people and folks who choose not to transition, and it encourages the idea that trans* people’s bodies have to conform to cis people’s body essentialist ideas about gender in order to “really” be their genders.

Being trans* is not that simple, and we need to advance the narrative that is being used to tell our stories so that it reflects the full complexity of our lived experiences. We need to change the way people talk about trans*ness and what it means to transition (in part, in full or not at all).  Right now, we’re telling our stories through their (cis-centric, binarist) lenses to make ourselves more palatable. fuck that. If we have to water-down our stories and erase our complexity in the hope that they’ll “understand” us, then they’re never fucking going to understand us.

all of the above is why I really appreciate this post by Mx. Punk and why I love Asher Bauer’s Trans 101

NOTE: I’ll ask my partner to write a post about how they DO feel about their transition, but I can’t make any promises that it’ll ever happen.


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