The Trials and Travails of Transness: Trans-Misogyny

by Shaker Alexmac, a transgender woman studying at the University of Florida.

[Part 4 in an ongoing series. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here; Part 3 is here.]

[Trigger Warning]

In this post I am going to deal with the intersection of transphobia and traditional sexism which impacts trans women most strongly. Julia Serano terms this intersection to be trans-misogyny. This synergistic (in a bad way) relationship can be seen in the pay gap between MTF and FTM transsexuals. You can also look at the much higher death rate for trans feminine spectrum people versus trans masculine people at the Transgender Day of Remembrance site. Unfortunately, there has not been very much research into the state of the transgender community and specifically trans feminine spectrum people.

We should first look at trans-misogyny in feminist communities. There is a long and proud history of trans-misogyny in the feminist community stretching back at least to Jaynice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire, published in 1979 with this wonderful quote:
All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, and appropriating this body for themselves. [...] Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive.

The transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist feeds off woman's true energy source, i.e. her woman-identified self. It is he who recognises that if female spirit, mind, creativity and sexuality exist anywhere in a powerful way it is here, among lesbian-feminists.

I contend that the problem with transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.
It continues today in trans woman exclusion at the Michigan "woman's" music festival and places like Lu's pharmacy (also see here).

Media treatment of trans women often comes in the two flavors that I described in my first post—"pathetic tranny" or "deceptive tranny." From the pathetic tranny archetype can come the horrible men in the bathrooms slur. You see, trans women are just men in dresses who want to rape little girls. Also popular in this category is men in drag, oftentimes with facial hair and deep voices. We trans women are just crazy "men" who think they are women. (See also: Buffalo Bill.) The opposite depiction is that we are deceivers and something disgusting, as can be seen in this wonderful clip. These tropes can often be found at the same time, as seen in this article about the murder of a trans woman
Stewart, more than 6 feet tall, was known to wear stylish, provocative outfits with towering high heels, neighbors said.

Stewart also apparently had undergone surgery to give him larger breasts and other female characteristics, neighbors said.

"She looked like a girl but when she turned around, you knew it was a man," a 17-year-old neighbor said. "She had a big jaw and an Adam's apple."
This post really only skims the surface, but I am feeling too triggered by all the wonderful links I have been finding. There are many more cases of trans-misogyny from psychologists and GID, to "autogynephilia" theory and the depictions of trans women in porn as "chicks with dicks." Society has special venom for trans women, because we are "traitors" to male privilege. We suffer from regular sexism if we are read as women and worse if we are read as trans. My next post in this series will talk about some constructive things you can do to help trans people and hopefully be a bit more up-beat.

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