This post is to help people who are asking “Am I Trans?” decide if they are trans.
To oversimplify, there are mainly five kinds of people, regarding being trans:
- Clearly cis: They generally don’t ask such questions.
- Cis by default: They don’t have a strong gender identity. Many of them have trouble understanding the issues faced by binary trans people. Both cis and nonbinary may be acceptable labels to them.
- Non-binary: People who ask “Am I Trans?” are probably nonbinary.
- Mostly-binary trans: Both trans and nonbinary may be acceptable labels to these people.
- Binary trans: Provided they have realistic information about trans people, and not the negative stereotypes spread by many news sources, binary trans people generally don’t have doubts about their being binary trans.
Besides these, there are genderfluid, bigender/trigender and other possibilities for gender.
The psychiatry community does not accepted the terminology used by the transgender community. Instead of using male and female to classify people by gender identity, they insist on using the terms to classify people by the state of their genitals.
This is one of the reasons why the transgender community is being systematically hurt by the psychiatry community. Essentially, their terminology implies that without genital surgery, transwomen are men, transmen are women, and erases the existence of nonbinary people.
Until the psychiatry community accepts the right terminology, they cannot accept the gender identity of trans people. Many psychiatrists have harmed the trans community in various ways, and there is pervasive distrust of psychiatrists among trans people. Essentially, most trans people regard psychiatrists as gatekeepers who need to be conned with stereotypical trans narratives, and bribed with consultation fees to allow them to transition, and most psychiatrists deserve neither the trust nor the money of trans people.
Changing terminology is a big issue, especially because the psychiatry community is part of the community of doctors, and the trans community does not have much representation within the community of doctors. But this step is essential if the psychiatry community and the trans community are to work together, and have a relationship based on trust rather than on gatekeeping and misrepresentation.
Natalie Reed says: Cis people get genders, we only get “gender identities”. They get pronouns, we get “preferred pronouns”. They ARE, we “identify as”.
Here are some tips for coming out as transgender. I’ve listed only stuff that are usually not covered in the other guides on the internet. These are biased towards my social circle, modify them as required.
- If you are the weaker person in a power imbalance, for instance a chronically abusive environment, the fix the power imbalance before coming out. Why? Because the more power you have at your environment, the less likely you are to face abuse on coming out.
- For coming out to any group of people, like family/work/etc., instead of coming out to them all at once, come out to them individually in private, and ask them to keep it a secret. Once they’ve had enough time to digest the information, come out to the group as a whole. Why? This will allow you to control their reactions, and prevent the group from ganging up against you.
- Start early, and come out gradually. Start by coming out as gender dysphoric, and say that you are seeing a professional for it. Gradually discuss what you plan to do about it, maybe passing your plans as the professional’s recommendations. Even if you plan to present as your actual gender, do not reveal this too early. Why? People are generally more accepting of things that they’ve had more time to process.
- If you are doing hormone therapy, hair removal, etc., maybe start it before coming out to parents/colleagues. Why? If you establish an androgynous look, people think that you will cis-pass easily, they will usually be more accepting of you.
If you’re okay with sacrificing some authenticity for acceptance, here are a few more tips. I’ve separated these out as they are triggering or otherwise unacceptable to many trans people, as pointed to in the first comment.
- Do not come out using the word “transgender”, use the word “male” or “female” instead. Why? Because the word “transgender” has very negative connotations for a lot of people. For instance, many people think that trans people are sex workers, and that sex work is evil, therefore trans people are evil. Also, a common misconception is that all transgender people belong to a gender outside of the male/female binary, which is a problem for binary trans people.
- If you are nonbinary, consider coming out as binary transgender instead. For instance, if you are male-assigned, come out as female. Why? Because many people are not aware of nonbinary genders, and will be more accepting of binary trans people than of nonbinary people.
- If you are coming out as nonbinary, prefer “they” as nonbinary pronoun. Why? “They” is the most widely accepted nonbinary pronoun. You will probably get better results asking for they/them pronouns, rather than your preferred pronouns.
Many people, confuse transition and being transgender.
One do not need to take any steps to transition to be transgender. Taking more effort to transition does not make one more transgender than someone who takes lesser effort.
If one take less effort to transition, they are more likely to be misgendered, but it is not their fault, it is a fault of society.
If one present visibly outside the binary (like Conchita Wurst), they are likely to be face violence and hostility, again, it is not their fault, it is a fault of society.
Post-transition transgender people face societal pressure to be heterosexual. In terms of numbers, a larger fraction of transgender people are homosexual, asexual, skoliosexual, etc. than cisgender people.
Ironically, social pressure to conform to the gender binary is stronger for post-transition transgender people than for cisgender people.
I find that I face a lot of social pressure in my transition. To counter this, for every step I take to transition, I first decide whom I am doing it for: for myself, or for societal acceptance.
Submissions are invited for January 2015’s Carnival of Aces about nonbinary people and asexuality. Possible topics include nonbinary experiences of asexuality, and asexual attraction towards nonbinary people.
A blog carnival is an event in which many people write blog posts around a single theme. These posts are then collected at the end of the carnival and linked together by the carnival’s host.
To submit a post, put it up on your blog, and write a comment to this post with the URL of your post. If you do not have a blog, but want to submit a post, I am willing to host guest posts here. Posts can be submitted up to the end of January 2015, at which point I will round up all the submissions.
Alternate forms of media are welcome. If you are not sure whether your piece is okay, submit it anyway and I will figure it out.
Also, help me out by signal boosting this call for submissions, in nonbinary and asexual communities. Thanks!
While Facebook’s new gender options are a big improvement over the male/female binary options it used to have, there are still a few issues:
- Facebook provides predefined options only for male and female. Add a predefined nonbinary gender as well, with They-Them pronouns.
- Some of the options available in gender, for instance “Transgender”, are a mix of gender and assigned gender, and labeling them as “Gender” invalidates the gender of transgender people. Label them as “Gender stuff” instead.
I’ve wondered why transphobia and homophobia are so difficult to fight. This 2010 article in the Boston Globe has one possible answer.
When I was eleven, one girl that I was close to, used to make fun of my friendship with a guy. She was suggesting that we were homosexual, and I didn’t exactly understand what she was saying at that time.
Turns out she was partially right: I am not a heterosexual guy. But it took me many years after that, to realize that I am asexual.