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.


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