I am not invisible.
Or, why does the trans community forget we exist? A little blog about how identifying as genderqueer has shaped my perspective, and how the GLBT community at large tends to gloss over our existence.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=genderqueer in case you’re curious.
We’re all part of the same family, but why oh why do more than a few FtM communities on the internet shame and marginalize their brothers for falling under the GQ or non-op/no-hormone route in their transitions?
To understand this we have to get into some pretty uncomfortable territory, meaning looking at culture and gender and assigned sex at birth, among other issues. What’s in your pants being another. Most if not all FtM men that are doing this glossing over and shaming, do not in the slightest wish to acknowledge their past as females, and perhaps to accept their genderqueer brothers—they would have to stare androgyny in the face. That might be uncomfortable to them. Perhaps they are afraid of seeing their own past mirrored back at them? Maybe they genuinely believe they are right, that identifying this way is the ‘easy way out’ and that genderqueer bois, female-bodied men, genderqueer people in general are not wiling to face the harsh reality which is medical transition.
I cannot speak for MtF genderqueer or male-assigned female-identifying individuals. I can only speak for myself. Some days I identify more male, present as such, use my pronouns to reflect that, etc. Some days it is the opposite end of the spectrum. I am female-assigned in my physical gender, but oftentimes will use packers, prosthetics, etc. depending on my presentation at the time. I do not generally use neutral pronouns because they don’t feel comfortable to me. They work for some people. I’m not one of them.
My point being, the FtM community cannot gloss over the fact that we who are genderqueer and identify as men, dress as men, bind, pack—etc…We are not less than because of the lack of testosterone. We are not less than any man because of our choice not to have surgery or HRT. Nothing makes us less than the sum of who we are at that moment, which is men—Through and through. One chemical does not a man make. This leads to the question what does make a ‘man’ and not a ‘woman’? Can one person truly say, “You are not a (trans) man, and here is why I think so?” no. You can’t. Or, you shouldn’t. Because it’s unfair and cruel to dismiss anyone’s identity or anyone’s experience simply because it is not the same path that you have chosen.
I am not less of a man for choosing not to transition. I am not less of a man for not using testosterone. I challenge anyone to say to my face, “Kiran, you are not a man because you’re not on HRT/having top surgery/etc.” Bring it on. I’ll deny that every time.
Why am I man? What makes me a better man than you at that moment? Because I am not judging you as you are so cruelly doing to me and my brothers. I am not looking down on you and shaming you simply for being who you are. Because I am classier than that. Because I’m better than that. I provide for my family, I provide emotional support for my partner, I will provide for my children, I will be a loving husband and a loving father—Despite my lack of a beard, chest hair, or a deep voice. I will be chivalrous, respectful (ahem.), polite, and teach my children empathy and kindness toward others.
That’s what makes me a man.
Glad we got that settled.