Quite a few people come to us to discuss the validity of our identity, that in itself would be fine, however the manner of approach is not.
“I respect you as a woman but……….” do you see the problems there? let me break it down for those who failed to grasp the issues.
Problem 1, but………. , this is fairly simple really, if you respect somebody as who they are would you really need to add the but?, let’s rephrase it a little, “I respect you as a human being but…….” How about “I respect your opinion but……..,” try “I respect you as not a complete asshole but………” Now once more with feeling do you respect my identity or not? adding a proviso to respecting my identity just shows me you have about as much respect for my identity as is convenient for you at the time, it tells me your respect for me is worth precisely jack shit.
Problem 2. If you respect me as a woman why would you need to validate it in such a way? would you go up to a white hetero non trans individual and say “I respect you as a white hetero non transsexual”? didn’t think so, why not? because if you respect a person then you don’t just play lip service to respect, you respect a person in your actions. So we reach my problem, in many communities the but mentioned earlier is added , “I respect you as a woman but you are not a woman” being the usual one . So you respect my identity yet you are now going to completely invalidate it? So respectful. Here’s the kicker though, did you know when you say those words to a trans woman, or tell a trans man you are not a man you are not the first person to tell them that?
It is standard practice in the gender clinics to remind all trans women of this fact throughout the process, because believe it or not, despite whatever you may have been told gender transition is an actively discouraged practice within the NHS.
Transition takes usually a minimum of half a decade, during that time do you assume we are helped? no, what happens during that time is all the indoctrination of a childhood, all the misoginy, all the bullshit, neatly compressed into 5 years. During transition you don’t get forced into present day gender roles, you get pushed back into roles better suited to the 1940s. Dress adrogyne, refused treatment, dress too masculine, rejected, dress like any other woman on the street and you’ll be told you’re not even trying.
Ever been refused medical care because your eyebrows weren’t waxed? I have, have you ever had a medical professional laughing behind your back as you walk away from hospital? How about having your records actively lost for over a year?
Oh also did I forget to mention the NHS have an additional requirement before hormones? a period of time living full time in role, that means going out every single day presenting as best you can as the gender you are transitioning to.
While this gender roles bootcamp is ongoing people outside the medical system decide to attempt DIY reparative therapy, corrective rape, assault, being spat on, cursed at, and publicly humiliated are day to day routine if you do not pass, and believe me no matter how good you are those first few months you will not pass.
Over recent years I have been assaulted over 30 times, had a knife shoved in my face twice, being sexually assaulted more times than I care to count , and being raped twice. After the second assault I couldn’t even go to the police again, I was crossexamined by a male officer after a sexual assault, who repeatedly mispronouned me, made it clear it was all my fault, and did fuck all to find my attacker.
My dentist is now advising me my jaw may need surgical correction for the sheer number of hits it has taken, it cracks every time it moves. All these attacks have one common factor, they all start with somebody guessing my birth sex, when you deliberately or accidentally use the wrong pronoun it isn’t big, clever, or harmless.
Those 5 little words are like a cork in a bottle of trauma, every time they are said all that pain, all those memories, all the nightmares spill out. I’m pinned again while that maniac holds a knife to my face and mutters how he thinks I’d like it if he cut it off then raped the wound. I’m back in the park, alone where I was ditched by people who used to be my friends, when they found out about my transition used those 5 little words. I’m surrounded again by 5 grown men all the other people around just walking by looking away, none of them will stick their neck out for me because “you are not a woman” Those words to a trans woman are trauma incarnate. Still think mispronouning does no harm?
If so go back read again and think about it a little, then come back and talk to me I’ll be happy to do so in a respectful and polite manner, however if you mispronoun me I reserve the right to be pissed off.