I begrudgingly selected “female” although I do not identify as either, but since at least that way people would be closer to understanding who I am. In other similar dating apps/websites, I make sure to publicly identify as trans where I can, to avoid the hassle that this app has very quickly provided me.
Last evening, I began speaking with one handsome young gentleman a couple years my junior. The conversation began normally, nicely, and eventually got to the point where I had to have the dreaded “reveal.”
The following is an almost direct transcription (edited slightly for typos and clarity) of the conversation from the moment I claimed my identity. It is a perfect example of how never to speak to trans people. If any of you notice any similarities between his diction and how you have spoken about these issues (either directly to transgender people or not), please note that he never once exercised kindness nor political correctness. I will refer to him as A (for asshole, obviously) and myself as B (also obviously).
B: Friendsy does not have a very ample understanding of gender so I put female because it's closer to true but I identify as transgender
B: Which a stupid amount of people have problems with
A: Wait wait so you're a dude
B: And that is a prime example of how not to speak to trans ppl
B: I am a lady
B: I use feminine pronouns
B: My ID documents all say female
B: Referring to me as a dude is injurious to my dignity
A: I'm from Texas we don't have that
B: Yes you do
B: Please stop treating me like another species
B: I am a human being
B: I am not a “that”
B: If you're done insulting me I think I'll go
A: Will you chill when you say transgender I think that you are a male turned female
B: Ok that's the problem
B: You're goin off what you think
B: Instead of what I'm telling you
B: It's my life
B: I'm the expert
A: So what's the deal
A: Are you a girl
A: Or a boy turned girl
B: You're being simplistic and reductive
B: Take a gender studies class
B: I am not here to teach you
B: I'm here to find a date or a fuck buddy or something
B: Not explain myself to ignorant people
B: You're more than welcome to read my blog
B: Which is a proper venue for educating yourself on these issues
B: But be a fucking decent human being next time around
A: What the fuck do you mean
A: If you're a boy fucking tell me
A: I can't hook up/ go on a date with a dude
A: If it's not heterosexual I can't deal
B: Did I say I was a boy? Did I say I was a dude?
A: Idk you said transgender
B: I said very plainly I am a transgender lady
A: Do you mean bi sexual
A: I can do THAT
B: You are now systematically insulting me
A: Jesus lady
A: You are sensitive
B: You're just incredibly rude
A: Am not
A: Come over and we can hash this out
B: Why the fuck would I ever want to meet up with you now?
B: I'm sorry I don't fit into your nice little packaged idea of sexuality
A: Sorry for checking to see if you were a girl
B: Not interested
A: You said transgender
B: I am not a boy
B: I am not a girl
B: I am not male
B: I am not female
B: I am feminine
B: I am transfeminine
B: I am a lady
B: I am a translady
B: You may refer to me as she
A: Okay so you were born a girl and just are bisexual
B: You are not listening
B: Your narrow-mindedness is frankly astonishing
B: Have I even mentioned my sexuality? No
B: Where do you get bisexual from?
A: Okay give me the plain Jane version
B: I just did
A: What is transgender I'm so confused
B: Transgender refers to many people with many identities
A: What were you born as
B: I was born a baby
A: Male or female
B: Why does it matter
A: Umm one makes me gay the other doesn't
B: If you have sex with a lady
B: How does that make you gay?
B: What's wrong with being gay anyway
B: Plain Jane version
B: I am a queer, Christian, transgender, white, creative, redheaded poet, activist, playwright, and lady
B: I am able bodied and middle class
B: I am a younger sibling
B: I like to run and bicycle
B: My parents are married
B: My biggest fear is losing my memory
B: And my body is none of your fucking business
A: Well move the fuck around
B: Honey I was just answering your question
B: I moved the fuck around 20 minutes ago
B: I really hope you do check out my blog
A: Fuck outta here
Although I obviously could have treated him with more respect and fewer expletives, I was also blown away by the fact that each time I thought I had made a solidly clear point he only retreated further into nonsense.
The impetus should not be on us as transgender individuals to have to explain and defend our existence in every space of our lives. The necessity is exhausting. I am personally working on establishing an overall less defensive mindset, because it frequently prevents me from enjoying my life to the fullest. Unfortunately, interactions like this make that harder.
- In what world could cisgender people actively educate themselves on trans identities and issues?
- white people on identities and issues of people of color?
- straight people on queer people?
- men on women?
- the wealthy on the impoverished?
- the able-bodied on the disabled?
- Christians on everyone else?
But even more concerning:
- Since when do privileged people of any kind like to acknowledge the things that have helped them in life over others?
- Since when do we thank the circumstances into which we were born as opposed to our own supposed intellect, or talent, or shrewdness?
I am at an impasse. It seems to me the solution to the problem is one that can never naturally come about in this society. It seems to run contrary to the ways capitalism has taught us to think, and short of proposing anarchy, I am at a loss for answers.
All I can ask is please. Please educate yourselves. Please remember where you came from and where those around you came from. Remember and be cognizant of what is necessarily different and seek and what is the same. Embrace them both. It is not a loud revolution that I suggest; it does not trumpet from the ramparts with exploding cannons; it is quiet; it is simple; it is the slow accumulation of doing the right thing; it is human.
For now, I have undermined the heterosexist regime that is Friendsy by adding a photo to my profile of the following phrase:
I am transfeminine
and not interested
in your ignorance