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.


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