Click on the images for larger views and my comments about each one.
One of the more common complaints I hear leveled at non-cisgender people is that we’re oversensitive and easily triggered. What many cisgender people don’t seem to understand is that they are viewing our lives from their perspective of privilege. There are very real dangers and discriminations which non-cis people face – up to and including violence and death.
Each of these (unfortunately very) common questions or statements miss some very important things. First, being trans is not a choice; a trans person gets to the point where they share their gender with you only after a lot of soul searching and self-analysis. Trust me, we’re trying to find ways to *not* be trans! Next, there’s a message that “I know you better than you know yourself.” This simply isn’t true. The only person who can determine if someone is transgender is the person themself. Nobody else. Finally, there is a pervasive attitude of “you’re making me uncomfortable, so you should just deny your true nature, just to make me more comfortable.” How insulting and uncaring!
As I’ve said before, few things take the fun out of a performance than when someone makes a joke using cross-gender people or ideas. It’s cheap, it’s lazy, and we should demand better from our media.
This is along the same lines of the “girl trapped in a boy’s body” oversimplification. I am me, and this is my body. So this is the body of someone with my gender.
At this point in my journey, I welcome questions that come from honest curiosity and are well-intended. But I have made it clear to everyone I am out to: I reserve the right to answer “I don’t know” and/or “I’m not comfortable discussing that with you.”. I can foresee a time when I will be less patient with some of these questions – when I have reached my own peace and am happy with myself. If you’re cisgender, consider this: how often (and how) are you questioned about your gender (as assigned at birth)? Is it fair for me to have to answer questions which you would find offensive if someone asked the same question to you?
Ugh. I feel this a lot. Whether it’s intended, I feel pressure to only express the gender I was assigned at birth. And that leads to a lot of guilt and shame. Guilt that I’m “hurting” those around me when I express my gender, and shame that my gender doesn’t exactly match the one I’ve been told I am. Yes, it would be easier for those who have power and privilege to ignore the existence of those less powerful and less privileged. But it doesn’t make it right. Women and minorities still suffer simply because of what they are. As a society, we are better than that. We can do better. We should do better.
Yeah, being gender non-conforming feels like I burden everyone around me. Whether it’s (implicitly) asking them to accept me for the gender I am expressing (or worse, feeling like I’m forcing it upon them unwelcomely), or my spouse watch me slowly changing, I feel like I’m a burden a lot. I feel guilty about being on this journey. But the thought of returning to the closet and bottling these feelings back up scares me even more, so I continue on my path, praying for peace for myself and my loved ones.
This is accurate for both anxiety and introversion. As an introvert, I want to control my social interactions, but that doesn’t mean that I want to avoid them altogether. I enjoy being around people, but parties are particularly draining for me. And, when I have anxiety, it saps my will to do anything, and makes me question myself. “Why am I like this?” is a very common question I ask myself when my anxiety is high.
How very true! Cissexism enforces gender roles to our detriment. If everyone were allowed to express themselves for who they really are, I believe there would be a lot less negative behaviors towards each other – less assault, less rape, less hate.
Poignant and humorous. This is a good example of what I’m grieving – I don’t know what experiences I would have enjoyed because I cut myself off from those stereotypically associated with the gender opposite of what I was assigned. I feel like I missed out on my childhood.
Yes. More people need to realize the hidden message when the “man in a dress” trope is used for comedic effect. It reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with a male-bodied person wearing a dress, and that when one does, they are trying to “trick” or “fool” other people. This is so much untrue. When a trans person dresses with the clothes of the gender they identify, they are proclaiming to the world “here is who I really am”. This is something to be celebrated, not laughed at.
I love this one for two reasons. First, the point that the boy makes about “how do you know you’re not a woman” because the adult has never tried it out to see if it fits. And second, because the adult has a light-bulb moment, and switches to being supportive of the boy and defying gender norms himself.
Yes. So much yes.
I read this two ways: One is a defiant “take your definition of man/woman and shove it!”, and the other is “you define yourself, so you are hereby granted permission to ‘keep your [self] made-up definition for [of] yourself'”. But the other important point of this comic is that there are as many definitions of man/woman as there are people who use those terms. Every person expresses their gender differently from every other person on Earth. Everyone has some mixture of masculine and feminine. For most people, there is a very strong identification with many/most of the gender norms for a particular gender (and for most of them, it matches their assigned gender), but for people like me, our identification falls somewhere more towards the middle.
Right in the feels! When I saw this one, I realized that I don’t know how to play. Not really. My childhood was spent studying the role I perceived as my assigned role (that could never change) and doing my best to fit in. I simply never had the time nor energy to just play and be a kid. And I mourn that loss to this day.
While this one touches on TERFs, But it also is a response to the “bathroom debate” that continues to rage. When people talk about “protecting women from men who dress up as women just to molest them in their bathrooms and locker rooms”, that is equating gender non-conforming people to molesters and rapists. This is simply not the case. Trust me, when I use a public restroom, I’m not there to sightsee – I want to get done with my business as quickly as possible and get out of there, regardless of whether I’m using the bathroom that matches my assigned-at-birth gender.
No, not really. Well, maybe a little bit.
The nugget of truth in this one is that many cisgender people perceive that a gender non-conforming person’s revelation is that they have changed in some fundamental way. That they were one gender, and have now “changed” to a different gender. For me, I’ve realized that I’ve always been the gender I feel, but I lacked the awareness (at first) and confidence (once I became aware) to express it. This is one reason I don’t care for the phrase “born a boy/girl, but became a girl/boy”. For the majority of us, we’ve always been who and what we are, we are just finally revealing it to others. The costume was the the way we hid our true selves until we came out.
I’ve been fortunate to have the people in my life be supportive and not question the feelings that I have. Many others aren’t so lucky, and are told that their identity cannot exist (in a variety of ways).
Maybe someday I’ll delve into the topic of “TERFs” – Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. The short version is that there is a small but very vocal group of feminists that believe that trans women are not women because they weren’t born with female bodies.
See my post about “passing” for more about this topic.