Storify: Cis Actors in Trans Roles

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads. 

Content Note: Violent Transphobia.

Cis Actors in Trans Roles: My thoughts on the upcoming movie "Anything" produced by Mark Ruffalo with Matt Bomer playing a trans woman.

Okay, here is a thread of things people need to STOP saying re: cis actors taking trans character roles.

"Maybe no trans actors applied for the job." They did. Even if they hadn't, they should have been actively sought. If you cannot get a trans person to take the role, SHELVE THE SCRIPT until you find out why and can fix it.

"Maybe the cis actor was the best for the role." They are not. Even if they were, there are reasons to stop casting cis folks as trans.

"I don't blame the actor for taking the part." You should. Not taking trans roles is BASIC allyship from cis people.

"The cis actor is gay." Cis gayness is irrelevant to being trans.

"The cis actor is LBGTQ." No, they literally fucking are not. Cis people are not "LBGTQ". There's a T in that acronym.

"Maybe they didn't know this was bad to do." They were told. Even if they were not, it's a basic google search away when researching a character.

"Maybe they'll listen. They've been good on [other issue affecting cis people]." Trans bigotry isn't cancelled out by other activism.

"Maybe they'll listen anyway." They're batting zero on listening so far. Just because YOU just found out about this doesn't mean THEY have.

Stop worshiping Ruffalo because he was a Bernie fan, and Bomer because you loved Magic Mike XXL. STOP. I liked Magic Mike XXL too, that doesn't mean the actors involved haven't said and done misogynistic and/or transphobic things. People can be BOTH bigots AND attractive to look at / listen to / watch on the silver screen.

You don't have to throw all your Ruffalo and Bomer movies into a bonfire! Just stop defending their latest bigoted trashfire! Before you tweet a defense of Ruffalo/Bomer just quietly close the browser and go look at kitten pictures instead. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

This is the bare minimum of allyship: knowing when to NOT TALK because this isn't your lane to speak up in. Thank you. (& god bless all of the cis people who DON'T do this. I see you and I thank you.)

Honestly, of all of these, the "Bomer is gay" take bothers me the most. A gay man should not be playing a straight woman. The ONLY reason he is doing so is because of bigotry. Straight trans women are not cis gay men, and the assumption that they are is getting them killed under "trans-panic" legal defenses.

Our legal system literally uses homophobia and transphobia--FEAR of gayness and transness--to murder trans women. So, yes, it is in fact a big fucking deal for gay dudes to play trans women. Do not give me this "I don't blame Bomer" bullshit. Ruffalo and Bomer could be using their money and influence to (a) cast a trans woman and (b) make noise about "trans panic" legal defenses.

Storify: Enby Gaslighting in TERF Spaces

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

So a friend has been digging through the usual TERF sites and reported back to me on something that makes me very sad and upset. There are TERF campaigns going on right now to *actively* seek out AFAB enbys and seed them with TERF rhetoric.

The goal is to break up trans communities by sending in enbys with TERF rhetoric to hurt trans people and sow distrust. And if the enbys are hurt in the process and confused about their own gender identity, that's a bonus to the TERFs running these campaigns.

This makes me sad and furious, both for the enbys being gaslit and the older trans people they're being sent out to hurt. So here's some thoughts and prayers and advice and definitions and stuff from an enby. Take it as you will.

If you're having confused genderfeels, please find an experienced enby-friendly trans person to talk to. I follow LOTS of them and RT often. If you can, talk to a lot of sources and not just one. There are a lot of different ways to be transgender.

Transgender doesn't mean "transition". I'm transgender because the gender assigned to me at birth isn't mine now. It's that simple for me. You don't have to want surgery or prosthetics or anything else to be trans. LOTS of trans people don't get surgery or pack or pad or bind. You don't have to have dysphoria to be trans. LOTS of trans people are perfectly happy with their bodies. Or unhappy in non-trans ways!

You are an expert on YOUR identity, but you are probably not yet an expert on what it means to be nonbinary trans for others. We're ALL experts on our OWN identities, but the terms and ideas and conversations in the trans communities take time to learn. Like WHY we don't define transness as dysphoria or transition, and WHY exclusionary definitions hurt people. Inclusive is better.

For folks who don't have or want a gender, understand that many nonbinary people treasure OUR genders and don't want them abolished. Gender identity is not the same as gender roles or gender stereotypes. Be wary of anyone who conflates these things.

People who are not transgender are called "cisgender" by the trans community. The term is not a "slur" or an insult. It is a *trans* term. Non-trans people don't get a vote on how trans people talk about the world around us. Non-trans folks don't get to tell us not to use "cis". "Cisgender" is not an identity to "claim" or "deny". It is a word trans people call non-trans people. Please do not police trans language.

Please learn to recognize TERF arguments and why they are harmful, for the same reason you need to recognize any form of bigotry. Red flags for TERF rhetoric are an opposition to "cis", to gender existing at all, to trans people facing unique anti-trans prejudice. Trans people face prejudice *because* they are trans, not merely because of our genders (though we face gender-based prejudice too).

Be careful out there. Not everyone welcoming us enbys with open arms has good intentions. Be safe.

Storify: Transition and Fluidity

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Transition and Fluidity: They're not the same thing.

*sets up chairs and blankets and foods and pillows* Come. We are going to have a thread about identity and fluidity.

Some people experience fluidity of identity. For example, some people experience gender in fluid ways over time. Some of those people who experience gender in fluid ways may identify as genderfluid. (I do, for example.)

Other people who experience gender in fluid ways may feel their gender was static THEN and is static NOW, but shifted over time.

Other people do NOT experience gender in fluid ways. They may have a static gender from start of life to finish.

Some of those genderstatic people may not RECOGNIZE their gender right away because maybe people kept telling them they were something else. "I didn't have the words to recognize I was [gender] in spite of people telling me otherwise" does not equal "my gender shifted over time."

Cis authors sometimes use the act of coming out as trans, or the process of medical transition, to suggest an identity change or fluidity. I will not say that *NO* trans person would describe their coming out / medical transition that way but I think that is the exception. In many (most?) cases, coming out and/or medical transition are ways to affirm an identity that is already there, not "changing" a identity.

Cis people tend to see transition as an identity change because THEY have to "change" the pronouns they've been using for the person. But that doesn't mean the trans person views their transition as a change from Being A to Being B. It is more likely that they view the "change" their cis friends experience as "using the right words for me instead of the wrong ones."

Similarly, when queer friends come out as ace or aro or bisexual or pansexual, this often isn't an example of fluid sexuality. "New" queer friends are usually going "oh god, look at all the identity flags I missed over time, how did it take me this long to see it??"

Gender and sexuality CAN be experienced in fluid ways! But "coming out" shouldn't be read automatically as "becoming a new identity". Coming out is just as likely a case of "using a new WORD to explain the identity I've had for years but didn't see". When we treat cisness and unqueerness as a default that people "change" from in order to "become" new things, we entrench the problem.

(Which isn't to say no one should describe their trans or queer journey that way. I'm talking about NON-ownvoices narratives.)

So to the cis people: please do not call all trans people "genderfluid" or imply that transition is "changing" one's gender. And to the unqueer people: please do not imply that coming out as queer is sexual fluidity or changing one's sexuality.

Let us also understand that challenging the DEFAULT state of cisness and unqueerness is a valuable and important rhetorical act. Sometimes I joke about giving "Do You Know Bisexuality Is An Option?" brochures to straight girls because I needed to know that. People compare the idea to conversion therapy and corrective rape because just POINTING OUT that people might be queer is viewed as violent.

Pointing out that transness and queerness are options is important when we live in a society where many of us didn't know until adulthood. We can't treat education about transness and queerness existing as equal in any way to violent cis-normativity and unqueer-normativity. Hell, I spent YEARS thinking I couldn't be into girls because I prefer penetrative sex to oral and I didn't know girls could have that.

Wanna reiterate that I spent ACTUAL ADULT YEARS as a miserable 'straight' because I didn't KNOW girls can have penetrative sex together. So, yes, we goddamn need brochures. We need comprehensive sex ed that acknowledges bis, pans, aces, aros, and transness. And we need people to understand that coming out / transition doesn't mean we totally WERE that default but aren't NOW. Some of us may have been but for many of us, we were NEVER that "default" we were shoved into.

People who thought we were cis/unqueer may think we're "changing", but really THEY are being asked to change how they perceive us. This is how we get parents saying "I miss my daughter!", without realizing they (maybe) never had one. They had a son. They still do. I think it's understandable to miss a thing you never had; when I divorced my ex, I missed the man he wasn't and never would be.


It isn't right to load trans and queer folk down with the fantasy you had for them. We are who we are. We aren't a fantasy.

Storify: Gender Non-Conforming (and why I'm not)

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Since folks come to my yard for trans stuff, here's a thread on "gender non-conforming" and why I don't use it for myself.

My gender is a nonbinary gender; my gender is demigirl.

I "conform" to my gender because it is MY GENDER. Anything I do is something a demigirl can do, by definition. I cannot say I am "non-conforming" to gender expectations, because my gender (demigirl) doesn't COME with expectations.

And I most certainly refuse to identify as "gender non-conforming" to womanhood because my gender is NOT a woman. If someone were to suggest I'm "gender non-conforming" because I'm not acting like a woman as assigned, that would be misgendering.

So these are some of the reasons why "GNC" isn't a 1-to-1 synonym for transgender or enby, and why I do not identify as GNC.

I love my demigirl gender, and I conform the fuck to it. My gender is the most comfortable set of clothes I've ever worn, molded to me. There's kinda a weird thing that some cis people do where they fixate on assigned gender at birth more than they should. I'm trans *because* my assigned gender at birth was incorrect, yes, but that doesn't mean that incorrect gender is always relevant.

It would feel very weird (to me! ymmv! talking about myself) to define myself as non-conforming to an incorrect gender assigned to me. I'm a brunette, I'm not a "non-conforming blond". (Even though I was blond as a baby, ironically enough for this thread.) I'm a demigirl who also happens to be transgender because they didn't put 'demigirl' on the birth certificate. So when people call me gender non-conforming (which has happened a couple times), I will correct them.

My gender is demigirl, and I conform to it beautifully. Whether I conform to any gender I'm NOT is irrelevant to me.

Storify: Who Defines Transness?

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

A thread on transness by an enby trans person watching growing anti-trans sentiment on the internets. (1)

I & many trans people in the community define transgender as being a gender other than what was slapped on your birth certificate. (2)

This definition is deliberately simple and inclusive. It welcomes nonbinary people. It includes non-dysphoric people. (3)

It doesn't tie itself to gatekeeping or recognition by the medical community. It welcomes folks who can't afford to transition. (4)

It welcomes folks who can't transition for other reasons: closeted folks, folks with phobias around surgery. (5)

It is a definition that is simple to explain.
- "Trans" = on the other side of
- "Cis" = on the same side
Chemistry peeps know these terms. (6)

Now here is the thing. There is a lot of stigma in our society about what transness looks and feels like. (7)

I grew up being told that trans people changed their bodies, got surgery, wore clothes and makeup I wouldn't wear. (8)

I associated transness with an image of drag queens, and it never occurred to me that I might be trans because I wasn't like that. (9)

A lot of the push by non-trans people right now to redefine trans as "transition" is based in those stereotypes. (10)

When folks say "trans is transition!" they are denying transness to people who can't access transition. THAT IS NOT 'INCLUSIVE'. (11)

The "trans is transition!" movement coming from non-trans people is inherently, fundamentally exclusion. Not inclusion. (12)

Now here is the thing. Nobody has to call themselves "trans" if they don't want. You say you're not trans? Okay. You're not trans. (13)

But once you're Not-Trans you do not get a say in trans terms. You do not get to vote on how the trans community defines itself. (14)

You do not get to demand a narrower exclusionary redefinition that HURTS trans people just so no one ever mistakes you for trans. (15)

Repeat: Non-trans people do not get to THROW TRANS PEOPLE OUT OF TRANSNESS. And we're not going to pretend that's inclusion. (16)

Here is what non-trans people get to do:
- say they aren't trans

Here's what they don't get to do:
- tell trans people how to define trans

And non-trans people especially do not get to use anti-trans bigotry to define transness in a bigoted way. (18)

I see a LOT of enby people lately pulling the "trans is transition!" bigotry because that's the 'common view' of trans people. (19)

Without ever examining that the 'common view' of trans people is bigoted, so they're arguing for definition through bigotry. (20)

Here is a comprehensive list of the people who get to define transness:
- Trans people.

That's it. (21)

You're not trans? Okay! You don't get an opinion anymore on what transness is. YOU DON'T GET A VOTE. You don't. Bye. (22)

Nonbinary folks don't get to straddle this fence and say, "oh, I'm not trans but I still get to be on the definition committee." (23)

You want a say in what transness is, you gotta be trans to sit at the definition committee table. (24)

Because demanding that trans people adopt an exclusionary, bigoted definition of transgender to suit non-trans people HURTS TRANS FOLK. (25)

An inclusive definition of transness doesn't hurt enbys who don't identify as trans. An exclusive definition throws out trans people. (26)

While I am on the topic, enbys don't get to pull the "I can't hold bigoted views, I'm nonbinary" card. (30)

There is nothing about being nonbinary that makes us magically not-bigoted towards binary trans people. (31)

We come back to a definition of transness, held by me and many other trans people: being a gender other than the one assigned at birth. (32)

And trans people tend to define cisness as "being the gender you were assigned at birth" and/or "not-trans". (33)

If non-trans nonbinary people want to come up with a third term they use for themselves, I support that but-- (34)

--that third term isn't "nonbinary". I'm transgender *because* I'm nonbinary. I accept there are non-trans enbys, but nonbinary does not equal Non-Trans.

Folks positioning nonbinary as inherently non-trans are throwing me and a lot of other enby people out of our identity. (36)

Positioning nonbinary as inherently non-trans is *exclusion*, which is harmful. And, in this case, rooted in anti-trans bigotry. (37)

You cannot define me out of trans without reaching for anti-trans bigotry about what trans people "should" look and be and live like. (38)

My transness is not a statement on my gender or lack thereof, it is a statement on institutional privilege. (39)

People who are trans--who aren't the gender assigned to them at birth--face systemic oppressions that non-trans people do not face. (40)

We need to be able to talk about trans oppressions and cis privileges in order to correct the problems we face. (41)

Non-trans people do not face trans-bigotry. Non-trans people do not face "harm" from inclusive trans definitionary terms. (42)

Is our definition perfect? No. Of course not. I will give you an example. (43)

Let's say a kid is born. Has a penis. Parents name the baby Christopher McBoyson. But someone prints the birth certificate with an F. (44)

The parents go through hoops but get the F changed to an M within a few weeks. Christopher grows up he/him and identifies as a man. (45)

Yes, by my definition in #2 (trans is being a gender other than what is on your birth certificate), McBoyson is technically 'included'. (46)

McBoyson: "Ha, isn't life funny? But, no, I'm not trans. Thanks for asking." Okay, cool beans. Not trans. (47)

Inclusive definitions cast a wide net ON PURPOSE so as not to leave anyone out. It is UNDERSTOOD some people will say "thanks but no." (48)

Inclusive-with-opt-outs is better than exclusionary. The former leads to some occasional awkward convos. The latter kills people. (49)

Trans lives outweigh the feelings and a few awkward "haha I'm not trans" convos on the part of non-trans people. (50)

If you are not trans, being occasionally mistaken for trans is NOT HARM unless you consider transness a bad thing to be. (51)

And we are NOT going to redefine transness in a way that EXCLUDES trans people to satisfy the desire of non-trans people. (52)

We may need to have a conversation about whether to redefine cisness to suit nonbinary people who don't want to be called cis or trans, (53)

BUT that conversation will need to bring something to the table other than anti-trans stigma about transness. (54)

Which so far has not been done. (Again: "trans means transition" IS STIGMA, harms trans people, and folks using it should be ashamed.) (55)

And I will add that TERFs are deliberately driving this stigmatizing redefinition of transness.

TL;DR: Out-group members don't get to define in-group terms to be exclusionary for their convenience. NEVER.

Storify: Including Trans People In Your Anthology Calls

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads. 

For the short version of this thread, hop down to the ** addendum at the bottom.

Y'all, we gotta have a serious thread about trans inclusion and some stuff we've been seeing with clumsy allyship. First of all: THANK YOU for accepting enbys as valid and wanting to be an ally!! You're trying and learning, thank you. But some terms.

- "AFAB" means assigned female at birth. AFAB does not mean "women and enbys".

- "Women and enbies" are groups that include AMAB people! (Trans women! AMAB enbies!)

- "AFAB" is a group which includes men! (Trans men! AFAB genderfluid men!)

I see groups struggling with how to say "this women's thing is open to more than women". Like anthologies, meetings, etc. If you say "women and enbys welcome" are you willing to include masculine enbys? including AMAB masc enbys? Are you willing to include trans men? Why or why not?

Side note: I coined "fembys" to include enbys who are feminine identified (demigirls, girlflux, etc.) but I realize that term isn't widespread. So this may be a case where more words help you. And, no, I don't have perfect words for this. I'm not sure anyone does. "This anthology is for women and nonbinary people with feminine-adjacent genders"???? Idk. But understand a few things:

- Enbys include AMAB people.
- Enbys include masculine people (regardless of assignation at birth!)

Please also note someone's birth assignment tells you NOTHING about their genitals either then or now. Please stop mapping AGAB to genitals. "AFAB" and "AMAB" are very useful terms in the trans community for discussion, but some allies are kinda being.... clumsy with them. Think long and hard about what you mean to convey.

If an anthology is for women, saying "submissions from AFABs, pls!" in an attempt to be nonbinary-inclusive then polices out trans women and AMAB enbys--and implies you think trans men are women. Saying "submissions from women and enbys, please!" is maybe okay in theory, but again ARE you okay with AMAB demiboys submitting? If yes, you may want to stress "submissions from women and ALL enbys" or something to make your intent clear.

If no, then what do you want? Women and feminine-identified / feminine-adjacent enbys? I think you can just say that! TL;DR: Inclusion is hard and I appreciate trying, but please think about how you word your inclusion outreach.

This doesn't mean people should stop using AFAB/AMAB, just a request that folks think about what they mean when they use them. Also the gentlest of warnings against broad statements like "AFAB people are socialized to...XYZ." As a general rule, socialization is done around gender. Women and people-perceived-as-women are socialized to XYZ. Socialization is complicated but understand that assigned gender at birth is not something immediately obvious at all times with all people.

I see enbys who are regularly perceived as their assigned birth gender making this mistake of using AF/MAB to mean People Perceived As F/M. And those two things--(1) Assigned Gender at Birth, (2) Perceived Gender Now--are not the same thing for everyone. And socialization about what boys/girls mean and do are soaked up by EVERYONE, not just people with specific birth assignations. When we say "AFABs are socialized to be nice", there's some implied weirdness going on there that, say, trans women missed that message.

I understand why fembys want something more than "women are socialized to be nice" because we're NOT women, but "AFAB" isn't it. "Women and people perceived as women are socialized to be nice" or "Society expects women-perceived people to be nice" maybe. The larger point here is that nonbinary-inclusiveness should NOT throw out trans men and trans women with the bathwater.

And here is the point where I scold cis people very very very gently. Cover your eyes if you can't deal with scolding. Cis Allies, I better see you put AS MUCH IF NOT WAY MORE effort into outreach for trans women and men as you do for us enbys.

Back to 'how do I word the anthology call to be trans-inclusive?' how do I KNOW that "women authors" means you include trans women? "Well, you should just assume I'm not a TERF--" no sir, that is not an even risk calculation there at all. Consider making your trans inclusion explicit and not a quick afterthought. Like: "This is a trans-inclusive anthology call. We accept submissions from cis and trans women, as well as feminine-adjacent nonbinary genders."

If the only way I can guess you're trans-inclusive is a wave in the direction of enbys? THAT IS A PROBLEM, MY CIS FRIENDS. "But I include enby people--" So do a lot of TERFs, my friend. Still doesn't mean you are safe. So please please please PLEASE make your trans-inclusion efforts explicitly outreach to binary trans men* and trans women, not just us enbys.

* An addition, but: Why are you excluding trans men? Consider this carefully because it again ties back into the question "what is the anthology for?" If you're wanting to talk about childbirth and periods, or about growing up perceived as a girl, or really any number of things... trans men are going to have a valid perspective on that. Trans men are men, but they're not cis men.

** If you're open to trans men being included in your thing if they want to be--and 9 times out of 10, I think this is optimal--consider just saying "open to women and all trans people". That covers everyone and you don't have to haul out things like "feminine-adjacent genders" which is going to alienate some folks because it's potentially reinforcing of the gender binary.

Storify: Stop Defending Cis Men from the Opinions of Trans Women

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

This was written in the wake of one trans woman writing an article criticizing a call to ban women from gay bars, while another trans woman was being harassed for suggesting straight men examine their genital preferences in sexual partners to determine whether those preferences were genuine or reflexive assumptions they'd made (thoughtlessly associating genitals with gender, for example).

If people could stop piling onto trans women for discussing their experiences with misogyny from cis men, that would be great? I don't really give a rat's ass if people agree / disagree with trans women talking about straight cis men or gay bars, you can jog on??? "Well, that's certainly an opinion!" people can think before going on to talk about literally anything else than a Trans Woman Is Wrong!

Men--especially cis men, and regardless of sexual orientation--live and breath misogyny. Trans women do not have institutional power or privilege over cis men. Stop defending cis men from trans women's opinions!? We know for a fact that trans women are given less space to talk in our communities AND are torn down for smaller mistakes. Sometimes the best way to ally with a marginalized person you disagree with is to talk about something or someone else.

Whatever you think about genital preferences, you lose NOTHING by letting trans women talk about their experiences with cis men.

Whatever you think about gay* bars, you lose NOTHING by letting trans women share their opinion over being kicked out of them.

* I have also seen no discussion wrt "gay bars" about how "gay" is often used as an umbrella term within the queer community?? I am honestly unsure how people are supposed to know which "gay bar" is Just For Men and which includes all Queer people. I've seen "well, trans women can go to lesbian bars" which okay great where are the aces, aros, bisexuals, pansexuals, and enbys** welcome?

** I see people defending gay man against a "mean" trans woman sharing her opinion, and a LOT of erasure of nonbinary trans experiences. We are NOT going to pretend that I wasn't harassed for the ENTIRE PRIDE MONTH because I wouldn't call myself "gay", but then pretend that OBVIOUSLY the "gay" in "gay bar" means Gay Men And Only Gay Men.

Do not think I don't SEE how many people were upset about women's spaces ("but enbys!!") when it was ONE women's movie showing of Wonder Woman but when a trans woman argues that gay bars should be gender inclusive, it's all either criticism or crickets.

Folks are so happy to pick up enbys to wield against women having ONE Wonder Woman showing, but we aren't welcome in gay bars. Thanks. But if we call ourselves "Queer" instead of "Gay" because gay isn't welcoming to us, we're harassed and doxxed and told to kill ourselves.

Y'all can talk about BAD BEHAVIOR at gay bars without banning women. And all the questions we had about "wait, HOW are they telling gender???" with women's spaces don't stop being valid for gay spaces. I need folks to interrogate why they get so antsy about women's spaces, but don't get antsy about (gay) male spaces. Hint: The answer is misogyny. Which is what the trans woman writing that article wanted to talk about.

Furthermore, I am upset at the total erasure and non-discussion of enbys with regard to gender-segregated queer spaces. Which is jarring as fuck, because we DO talk about enbys whenever the "no men allowed" signs come out. If you defend enbys against women-segregated spaces but leaping on the "gay bars are for men-only" train, we need to talk.

I'm also not going to pretend that enby bisexuals aren't routinely erased and told we're anti-trans bigots for using the Bi word. What the fuck are we supposed to be? Lesbians and Gays don't want us, and we get attacked for using Bi and Queer. But I guess carry on defending gay bars from trans women and trans enbys--even though none of us have privilege over cis gays.

Sorry if I seem salty after being harassed for the entire month of Pride because I won't treat Gay and Queer as interchangeable. This is *why* I won't treat Gay and Queer as interchangeable. I'm just supposed to *know* that "gay bar" means "not ME".

Anyway, if allyship people could stop defending cis men from the opinions of trans women, that would be great. I see it & it hurts. Part of being a cis ally is realizing trans people may have different perspectives from you. You don't have to agree, but you can listen. At the very least, you can choose not to contribute to viral discussion which is just going to end in harassment for more trans people.

The sheer irony is that a LOT of these threads are cis women defending cis men from a mean trans woman, but thinking they're allies. Gold star for defending cis men from a trans woman with an opinion about her own experience with misogyny in gay spaces!

OH AND ALSO this is happening in a week where cis men are joking about killing trans women for being trans. Like. Do... do y'all not see how INCONGRUOUS it is for folks to tell me that gay men don't feel safe with trans women in their bars?? I see people slamming a trans woman for saying women shouldn't be banned from gay bars & the SAME people ignoring [a viral "joke" about a cis man killing a trans woman if she 'tricked' him into dating her] thing.

How many cis men kill trans women? How many trans women kill cis men? But folks are defending cis men from trans women in their spaces. Not even defending men from trans women BEING in their spaces. Defending men from a trans woman SAYING their spaces should be inclusive. It hurts when you roll out big threads to defend men from trans women asking for inclusion, but are silent about men killing trans women.

So please leave that woman alone. She asked for inclusion in an online article addressed to her queer community. Point your outrage at the people joking about killing trans people and the people calling us rapists for asking that cis people examine their genital preferences for a few introspective minutes.

Open Thread: Weirdly Weathered Masonry

The recipe for the above seems to be
1: Build Church.
2: Leave outside for 166 years
My lack of knowledge of anything remotely relating to weathering means that I have no idea why this particular section of the front of the church has more depth and contour than the average artificial climbing hold while the rest of it looks more . . . normal.

This is the State Street UUC Church which is up the street (and I do mean up, this is a hill) from where the Casco Bay Bridge (which goes over the Fore River, not Casco Bay) makes landfall in Portland.


We have a special open thread set aside for discussing the 2018 movie A Wrinkle In Time (including plain text spoilers.)

We also have a special open thread set aside for discussing the movie Black Panther.


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: A Wrinkle In Time (2018 Movie)

This is a place to discuss the movie A Wrinkle In Time, including spoilers (without need for ROT 13 Cthulhu summoning.)

Unfortunately the "Current Comments" feature removes whitespace so, to avoid spoilers appearing there, please use some space for non-spoiler comments or just start your comment with some nonsense.

Example nonsense:
[nonsense] Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, id soleat doctus sit, cum te erant omnium. Invidunt periculis at cum, eos diam vivendum no, ea qui vivendum legendos. Verterem similique ut pri, iisque prodesset voluptaria no nam. Eos esse mollis et, mei no putent utamur praesent, nec ex solum saperet. No has soluta molestie.[/nonsense]
And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Storify: Transness and Our Community

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

I'm super grateful to @D_Libris for live-blogging the trans panels at the SFF thingy this week but hooboy I wanna TALK to some folks.

I Have Opinions With How Transness Is Discussed In Our Community, a paper by Ana Mardoll.

I have Opinions about Wordsmithy People calling transness "transgenderism". The -ness suffix means "state or quality of". The -ism suffix means "practice, system, philosophy, or ideology." This isn't neutral in a climate where everyone in opposition to trans existence claim it's an ideology being chosen and forced on others.

I have Opinions about Enbys confidently stating we are the Most Ignored of the Trans Band. Enbys are often ignored, yes. Trans men are also invisibled like whoa. Trans women are subjected to violence. AMAB enbys are regularly ignored. AFAB enbys are... sometimes ignored, but often used as weapons. I just don't think anyone can confidently state that of all the Trans Band, [xyz] faces the most erasure / lack of attention.

I have very strong Opinions about genderqueer representation through the medium of aliens and robots and non-human entities. While conceding that human gender ideas are, after all, human, I have issues with looking to non-human characters for representation. I am not an alien for being genderqueer. I'm not a robot. I don't have MORE in common with non-humans than I do with cis human siblings.

I was invited to a couple panels on things this year and had to sadly decline because of travel costs, but as of January 2017, I didn't feel qualified to talk about gender to groups as a professional. I now reconsider this stance. Maybe I can drag my disabled butt to some 2018 panels, idk. But the way we're talking about transness troubles me.

Storify: The Gender Binary Is False

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

The Gender Binary Is False... but binary genders still exist!

Alright, apparently I'm going to be trapped on twitter talking about gender today, so here is a thread about The Gender Binary.

The Gender Binary is the idea that there are only two (hence "binary") genders to choose from: man and woman. This Gender Binary is false in the sense that nonbinary people exist. I exist as a nonbinary gender, ergo there are more than 2 options. QED.

HOWEVER, the two genders that make up "The Gender Binary" (man and woman) still exist. My nonbinary existence doesn't negate those genders. A lot of people have misunderstood "The Gender Binary Is False" to mean "The Binary Genders of Man and Woman Don't Exist". "The Binary Gender Is False" means there are MORE than the "big 2" (man and woman) to choose from. It doesn't mean the "big 2" don't EXIST.

There is also a thing people do where they decide that everyone has their own unique individual gender and no two genders are the same. This is incredibly hostile to trans people! It means I can't identify as a "demigirl" if someone else has that word. The framing of "custom gender for each person" means trans women don't share a gender with cis women, for example.

"Everyone has their OWN gender, dude! Groovy!" sounds super socially aware and educated and inclusive, but it's actually massive erasure. There are many, MANY people whose gender fit into the Big 2 (man and woman), and we call those "the binary genders" for shorthand. Calling man and woman "binary genders" separates them from all the many, MANY "nonbinary genders" for now.

So when we say The Binary Gender Is False, we are saying nonbinary people EXIST. We are NOT saying binary gender people are nonbinary. To say binary gender people (men and women) are nonbinary is to literally deny the genders of trans men and trans women. Don't do that!

Storify: Calling In Our Own

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

I'm going to say some unpopular enby things now, so go ahead and mute/block me in advance, I guess. A thread.

1/ I say this as my opinion and an enby person: enby people shouldn't be going after enby-exclusionary trans women.

2/ Are there enby-exclusionary trans women? Yes. I've run into them. It hurts. Harm is done. Undeniable harm.

3/ And I absolutely think if someone is enby-exclusionary at you, it's fine and appropriate to talk about the facts of what happened.

4/ But I've seen enby people take "X is enby-exclusionary" as a reason to harass trans women they've had no previous contact with.

5/ "Privilege" doesn't work well as a concept among trans groups, imo. But trans women receive a tremendous amount of harassment.

6/ We do not need to be adding to that harassment pile, EVEN IF they "deserve" it.

7/ Trans women will collect their own. I know many many trans women on here who confront enby-exclusionary people about their behavior.

8/ Lateral violence from enbys will not help change their minds (probably they've already been hurt by enbys!*) and makes others unsafe.

9/ *and, yes, it's relevant that a lot of TERFs claim to be enbys in order to hurt trans women. They may have only encountered THOSE enbys.

10/ Does that make enby-exclusionary language right or harmless? No! That's why I'm grateful for the trans women who call in their own.

11/ But our being trans as enbys doesn't mean we get to beat on trans women as easy targets for our very real pain.

12/ There are eleven zillion enby-exclusionary cis people over there. We generally don't confront them because THEY could hurt us.

13/ But if we're hurting trans women because it's safer than hurting cis people, we need a long look in the mirror as to who that helps.

14/ Bigotry is bad, no matter the source. But our choice of which bigotry to address can itself be bigoted.

15/ Anyway. Let trans women call in their own. And we need to be more vigorous in calling in OUR enby own.

16/ I see enbys harassing trans women for being trans-exclusionary but then look the other way when TERF enbys roll through here.

17/ If your activism is only looking out for yourself and not calling in our problematic enby siblings, it's not really activism.

Anyway. Sorry. My two cents as an enby out here.

(Also, for the record, all this applies to trans men too. Enbys don't need to be going after trans men. Let trans man call in trans men.)

Storify: Social Constructs

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Can we do a thread on everything that is a social construct?

Gender is a social construct, yes. Social constructs are real to US, as human social creatures.

Money is a social construct.

Weeks and the days therein? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday? Social constructs.

Marriage is a social construct. Good luck explaining how cheating isn't "real" because your monogamy vows are a social construct. Polyamory is a social construct too. One that VARIES WIDELY, by the way. Not all polyamory models are hierarchical, for example.

Property ownership is a social construct. The deed to your house, your car? Those are just paper. They're imbued with meaning by society.

Meal times are social constructs. Lunch? Breakfast? What's appropriate to eat at those times? SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS.

Writings: Fire Mage Chapter 1

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon. Further updates to the story will be published there for subscribers to read.

In January, I gushed on Twitter about the new project I'm working on: a fantasy WIP in which pretty much everyone is trans and/or disabled. I've always loved fantasy and Lord of the Rings and epic world-building, but I never get to see myself on the page and I'm interested in correcting that!

The response was amazingly enthusiastic on Twitter! People signed up by the droves when I mentioned eventually I'd be posting chapters on my $5 Patreon tier. Welcome and thank you and hail and well met!

Now I'm a bit torn because I don't unusually put material online until I've had a chance to polish it at least a little. Knowing that stuff will change makes me reticent to post something so rough here--and also my pervasive and persistent perfectionism doesn't help, so you see my dilemma. Buuuuut you are all so excited and enthusiastic about this project that I don't want to be like "well, come back in three months". Let's not do that. Let's all be enthusiastic together.

Today I'll post what I have right now for Chapter 1, when you get to meet the main character who is a trans woman with chronic pain and also the heir of a major magic guild. Later posts may include character concepts and fun stuff like that! Normally the full chapters will be set at the $5 tier, but I wanted everyone to see this one. (I'm excited! Can you tell?)

[Author's Note: In this setting, "Master" is a gender-neutral title which is earned within the magic guild. "Master Aisling", "Master Nievh", "Master Eilish", "Master Hypatia", and so forth are all women.]


Chapter 1

Open Thread: Second Winter

Or . . . fifteenth as the case may be.  I haven't been keeping track.

It can be hard to tell in pictures such as this, but I assure you (as one who was there at the time) that is most definitely April Snowfall and not remotely April Showers.

Picture of the side entrance to the South Station Bus Terminal from the train platforms of South Station, in Boston (for that is where South Station is located) today, in the early afternoon.


We have a special open thread set aside for discussing the movie Black Panther (including plain text spoilers.)


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Time Quintet: Cloven Pines

[Wrinkle Content Note: Fascism, Hypnotism, Captivity]

Wrinkle Recap: Charles Wallace has "allowed" himself to be hypnotized and is now being piloted by IT. Meg and Calvin have been led to see her father.

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 9:IT

Things are going to start happening faster now; there are 12 chapters in this book and we're on 9 at the moment. This is interesting to me from a craft standpoint because there were quite a few chapters which came before in which mostly... nothing happened. What was the narrative value of the flying centaurs singing passages from Isaiah? How did the visit to the Happy Medium advance character? Never mind, let's go, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

Transcending Flesh: Why You Care

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

a pink and blue sky with a radio tower

I've read some books this year in which quick body modification was part of the world-building, either by magic or science fiction technology. These books were written by cis authors and the degree to which they did or didn't think about how trans people would utilize these services was a topic which interested me.

I'd initially planned to publish a series of essays talking about how to write "easy body changes" in a setting while still keeping trans people in mind; I still may try to collect all these at the end, but the more I wrote the more it became clear to me that (a) I'm only one trans person, with opinions and experiences which are not universal, and (b) I could go on all day about this subject.

In order to make this a little more accessible as a project, I've decided to publish pieces here on my Patreon first. I hope you enjoy these and I welcome feedback on these essays. Thank you!


Transcending Flesh in Fiction and Fantasy:
Essays on Gender and Body Modification in Futuristic and Fantastical Settings


So you want to write a fictional setting with easy body modification--including primary and secondary sexual characteristics--and you're wondering how the introduction of this magic and/or technology would affect transgender people in your world? Come on in! Maybe you're writing a futuristic science fiction planet with surgical options beyond the dreams of mortal men, or perhaps you're penning a magical fantasy land with instant body changes through the power of magic, gods, potions, spells, or scrolls. In either case, you're aware that transgender people exist and you want to look into how this will affect them. I'm here to help.

Writings: Metal Malice (Accidental Hero)

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

I couldn't leave you on a cliffhanger, so here's another Harken story. We finally get to see Teagan, and I hope you love her as much as I do. She has my autism and it's so amazing to be able to write an autistic character on purpose (instead of before when I was apparently writing autistic characters without realizing, solely through the accident of basing them on myself, ha).

Chapter 1, Accidental Hero
Chapter 2, Sister's Sword

Story so far: Harken has come home after burgling an ancient shrine and receiving a sword and a mysterious blessing. While seeking his sister in the forest near their house, he is ambushed by one of the deadly metal wardens who stalk the land indiscriminately killing people. 

Metapost: A Short History of My Dominant Hand

I suppose I need to make an announcement about this instead of belly-aching all over Twitter, so here goes: My dominant hand needs surgery.

I found this out on March 9th when I went to a hand doctor about my finger (middle, right hand) acting funny. They diagnosed it as a "trigger finger" about to lock up and gave me a shot that had a 50/50 chance of clearing up the problem and possibly alleviating some of the pain. Not only did the problem not clear up, the pain increased and the condition spread to the next finger over (ring finger).

I wanted to get surgery as soon as possible and bounce back right away, but two problems stood in the way of that: one, my insurance wouldn't let me have surgery until April 9th (for horrible, no-good reasons) and two, apparently my hand will have stitches in it for two weeks. Cue screaming because I honestly do not know how to go two weeks without writing and survive.

What does this mean right now? Well, from now until May I will be less available to blog, tweet, write, email, comment, moderate, or otherwise exist online. (I know about voice transcription and yes I will try it again, but previous forays have indicated that it is not conducive to my creative process.) I am hoping that this doesn't affect my book publishing plans and my patreon schedule, but I mean. That's... we'll have to see.

And that's all, really. Sorry to bear bad tidings! 

Open Thread: Below the Surface

The past is always lurking there, less than two inches away, and in places where the roads aren't maintained it even comes out to play.

Beneath the modern asphalt exterior the roads of Portland are all cobblestone and trolley tracks.

In other news, I am perpetually annoyed by the fact that the wonderful phrase "what lies beneath" was taken by a mixed review horror film


We have a special open thread set aside for discussing the movie Black Panther (including plain text spoilers.)


Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

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