By Julie Slowinski
Somewhere on Facebook. . . .
Person 1: I think those that transition are beautiful human beings. I admire their strength and it pains me to see how they are treated in society. As a CD I know a little bit about being stigmatized for just trying to be who you are.
Person 2: STFU, you know nothing about my journey. You’re a CD, which means you’re filth.
Person 1: Actually, I might not be a CD. My dysphoria has ramped up recently. It’s rather intense. But, I don’t think I can transition — my family needs me.
Person 2: Why didn’t you say so? I’m sorry — if you have dysphoria you’re definitely part of the sisterhood.
Person 3: What?!? That cis-het garbage is not part of the sisterhood. Not until they actually start transitioning, HRT at least, can they call themselves trans.
Person 4: I have no dysphoria, no surgeries and am not planning to start HRT any time soon. But, I also live authentic full-time. Are you saying I’m not trans? What gives you the right to determine who is and who isn’t trans?
Person 5: Hey, could one of you ladies help me out? I’ve never dressed in women’s clothes before. I don’t even know where to start. I can’t do it at my place. Maybe we could meet up at your place and you could make my dreams come true.
Person 2 and Person 3 in unison: STFU!!! Crawl back into hole from whence you came.
Person 5 (to themselves): Wow! That was really stupid of me – “go over to their place”? Who in their right mind would accept such an offer? But, I’m so desperate. I wish I could find someone to help me figure out who/what I am. Maybe I should try fetlife? Hmmm, what’s this sissy stuff? Maybe that’s what I am?
Person 4: Hey Person 5, sounds like you’re in a lot of pain. When I first started discovering my true self, I too was in a difficult family situation. You want to meet up for coffee and talk about things? No dressing, just talking.
Person 5: That would be great, thanks. I have so many questions. By the way, do you know what they mean by a trap?
Person 1: Hey, could I join you two?
Person 6: All of you people are sick in the head. Women are oppressed people. The last thing we need is men, who think they are women, invading our female only spaces.
Person 3: It’s not us. It’s those crossdressers. They’re the men invading female spaces. They’re the fake ones and they go back to their male privilege whenever it’s convenient. We hate those sick fetishist fucks too — jacking off in their wives’ panties. Trans women (the real trans) truly are women. We have the physical and emotional scars to prove our authenticity. On top of that, society treats us worse than cis-women.
Person 6: I don’t care what you call yourselves. Do what you want in private (with or without your wive’s’ panties), but stay away from my daughters.
Person 7 (your friendly neighborhood Julie): The problem with gatekeeping is that it’s always a reflection of the one drawing the line. The line always seems logical, but it’s actually emotional. Why is it that the person drawing the line is always on the noble side? Why does every line require exceptions to include people we ‘feel’ should be in the tribe, but don’t meet the always flawed criteria? If you’re into gatekeeping, you might want to consider this theory from an armchair psychologist:
The Imposter Syndrome: That little voice in my head saying that I might not be what I say I am. That nagging feeling that everyone can see right through me. My natural response is to resort to bullying — seek out and mock those that are what I’m afraid to be seen as — not unlike the classic middle school bully, who seeks out and mocks the socially awkward, hoping it will mask their own social anxiety. The alternative response, the response I seek, is to face my fear and recognize that who I might be, it is not a cause for shame, but merely evidence of the human condition. Once I acknowledge that each of us can be judged for who we are and decide not to judge myself, then I will not need to judge or rail against others.
The one thing I have learned about our community is that we are infinitely diverse — full-time, part-time, pre-op, post-op, non-op, HRT, dysphoria, euphoria, fetish, under-dressing, MIAD, enby, fluid, CD, TV, TS, drag queen, drag king. The list goes on and on. And for many, we are best described by a combination of labels. Personally, I identify with 3 of these labels. I’m probably best described as 1/3 drag (I glue my eyebrows, over-contour my makeup and would never think of going out without my foam hip pads), 1/3 trans woman (except for work and family, nearly all of my social interactions are as Julie — some might call that socially transitioning) and 1/3 fetish CD (can you say autogynephilia?). Of course, all of this might be transient and could change over time.
We should also remember that drawing lines enables transphobes and empowers them to draw lines to eliminate all of us from society. Seems like a better approach is to work toward a world without lines — everyone with a gender incongruence is part of the tribe and welcome in society. Open the doors wide and embrace the spectrum — including the tucute and the fetishists. Embrace a trans positive attitude — all trans people, regardless of their place on the spectrum, are valid and should be celebrated for pursuing their own personal happiness. Based on the cis people I have come out to, and there have been many, I know that our allies are disgusted by this division within our community — it goes against everything they understand about inclusiveness and civil liberty. This, IMHO, is the only way we will get to a society in which gender freedom is not only a right but, achieves the ultimate goal of being inconsequential.