fuck yeah sex education




Sex Positive and Body Positive educational place. Includes information about different relationships, genders, sexuality, sexual preferences, safety precautions and everything else that could pertain in the education of sex. Accepting of all walks of life.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: http://fyseq.tumblr.com/ask, though check out http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/FAQ!


How to Fight Cissexism and Transmisogyny

tranzfat:

How Not to Derail a Conversation and What Derailing is:

(These are at times a bit facetious but very informative on what derailing looks like)

http://tumblinfeminist.tumblr.com/post/12171070300/notaskingforpermission-derailment-bingo-by

http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

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What Transmisogyny Looks Like:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/03/what_transmisogyny_looks_like.php

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What Transphobia Looks Like:

What transphobia looks like: A primer for family, friends and loved ones

Print
A misappropriation of terms and complexity of factors have served to muddy what is quite clearly inappropriate, and sometimes abusive behaviour on the part of some friends, family, lovers and partners of trans people. The following behaviours go beyond mere ignorance of trans issues and land squarely in the category of harming others, writes Xander Sarkisova.

26 December 2011

The following is an unrepresentative sample of some behaviours which can be emotionally harmful to trans (includes but is not limited to transsexual, transgender, transexed) people:

1) Refusing to accept the exploration of trans identity.

Example: You bring up the possibility or curiosity of what it means to be trans and your partner doesn’t want to talk about it. They claim they are “overwhelmed,” “not ready for it” and that it is unfair to do so. 

What’s wrong with this?

While it is fair that a partner may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of exploring a change which may reflect back at them a lack of fit for their own identity, or a complication of how they know themselves, or you, shutting down a partner sends the message that there is no space to talk about the possibility of being trans. It effectively sends a message of shame and fear to a potential trans identified person.

What can I do differently?

Address your own transphobia. Explore the resistance you have to talking about your partner’s transness with trusted friends, or a counsellor. How can you be supportive while dealing with your own complicated feelings? Why are your feelings complicated? Explore all the facets of fear of loss, change, and assumptions about identity you may have.

Deal with yourself first – do not make being trans the problem. After getting support to process your feelings, don’t be a “martyr” and stay with someone you are not into. Trans people don’t need people to pity us, we need folks to accept and love us unconditionally, and there are plenty of folks capable of doing this.

2) Refusing to gender/name your partner or loved one as per their request.

Example: You tell your partner/family member/friend you would like to use a new pronoun/name. They may laugh in response. Maybe not.

Sometimes they tell you flat out they won’t “be able” to do that.

Sometimes they will complain about how difficult it is to use your new pronoun/name.

Sometimes they agree to use your new pronoun/name and continue to introduce you to anyone and everyone by the old pronoun/name.

Sometimes they apologize. Most of the time they do not even acknowledge their disrespect. They claim you are being unreasonable when you correct them.

What’s wrong with this?

Introducing a trans person by their old pronoun or name can be a selfish act of avoidance “cis” people engage in when they aren’t brave enough to confront gender norms. It is based in a sense of shame and fear of being “othered” along with the trans person.

What can I do differently?

Take a risk! Stand up for your trans loved one and deal with the consequences accordingly by putting people in their place if they have a shitty response. Standing in solidarity with trans people sends the signal to others that transphobia is not okay.

Quite often, people don’t even have a problem with it! Address your own shame around what it means, societally, to be trans.

Get support for this. If you make a mistake, immediately correct yourself and apologize.

3) Talking about how much you love the person’s original parts and how you don’t believe they should go through with surgery. Characterizing surgery as drastic, too traumatic, unbearable or even some form of mutilation.

What’s wrong with this?

Partners or lovers, or even family members, of trans folks may have particular attachment to a trans person’s body parts and plenty of imposed meaning on those parts.

Reacting to a trans person’s desire to converse about the possibility of surgery with shock, fear, revulsion, or avoidance signals to trans people that a major option for their embodiment and potential release of anxiety and discomfort is unavailable.

Acceptance of the trans person and risk of abandonment become tied to whether or not that person desires surgery as a form of embodiment.

What can I do differently?

Acknowledge your feelings around the potential loss of relationship and particular meaning associated with your significant other’s body parts. Commit to spending time with supportive others/a counsellor to properly do this.

Change your language so that acceptance of the trans person is not contingent on their potential embodiment.

Do not project your grief onto your partner as a way to manipulate the steps they may take to come into themselves wholly. 

4) Claiming the language used by trans people to own their bodies is offensive.

Example: Trans folks may often use “blended terms” to refer to our junk, as a way of reclaiming the meaning imposed on our bodies.

We may call our parts “man boobs, chesticles, mangina, hole, gurl pussy” etc. etc. In response, others may view these terms as degrading or misogynistic without consideration for the context.

What’s wrong with this?

Trans people aren’t referring to YOUR bodies, we are reclaiming OUR bodies. Whatever terms you use to describe your junk are your business, and vice versa. Terms for ‘sex organs’ are loaded with cis normativity and privilege and taking back words or creating new ones can be very powerful ways for trans folk to own and represent our bodies as we see fit.

What can I do differently?

Laugh accordingly, and use the terms we use for our bodies. Trans folks often have a wicked sense of humour which shows our resilience in the face of so much oppression, violence, and degradation.

Many of us adopt a sense of playfulness about our bodies and how people view them. If you are having a reaction to this, check it out.

Maybe your assumptions about body parts need to be reconfigured and your cis normativity and privilege dealt with.

5) Transposing notions of acceptable embodiment onto trans folk.

Example: Your cis partner tells you how much your body frightens them. They disclose a history of assault and equate your musculature or size with their assault, stating they don’t know if they can date you because of it.

What’s wrong with this?

Trans people have struggled with our embodiment, and transgressing gender norms since our coming into this world. We navigate impositions of what we can and should be every millisecond of our lives. We have struggled hard to attain and live with physiques that provide a modicum of solace and comfort - at great expense, violence, and exclusion from many facets of society.

Equating your abuse history with a trans person’s physical embodiment - something which we cannot undo and is essential for our survival - is to say that the embodiment is the source of your trauma.

In fact, size and strength do not determine who an abuser will be. Small/slight statured people can also be seriously abusive, and moreover, emotional abuse has no physical form.

What can I do differently?

Get support for dealing with your trauma history. Process through with someone other than your date or partner why it is you are feeling triggered and do not transpose this onto your date’s body. If you are feeling uncomfortable, end it respectfully, and work on providing yourself the safety you need. 

6) Treating a trans person differently once you discover they are on hormones.

Example: A trans guy has been taking T for several months with no noticeable changes. Suddenly, when it becomes apparent physical and vocal changes are present, the same friend(s) ask with suspicion if you are taking T.

Their body language has shifted considerably, clearly suggesting discomfort and hostility. Your behaviour hasn’t changed, but your gender markers have. This is immediately equated with what are considered to be the worst aspects of hetero-normative masculinity.

What is wrong with this?

What is wrong is that your assumptions are not in line with the person’s actual behaviour. Two seconds ago, when you didn’t know your friend was “transitioning” you treated them just fine. Now that you are aware of the changes you treat them based on how you expect them to behave. You assume that their masculinity, not their behaviour, is the problem.

What can I do differently?

Reflect on why it is you are feeling uncomfortable with your friend’s shifting presentation. Look at your friend’s behaviour, the things they say and do - not their bodies/voices. If they are using their bodies and voices to take up space in misogynistic or paternalistic ways (ways that infringe on you or others), then it is fair game to talk about such behaviours. But, do not assume or predict that this will automatically be the case.

7) Telling a trans person that they are far more attractive as their “original” gender and that they make an unattractive woman.

What is wrong with this?

This is seriously degrading and abusive. Don’t ever do it.

What can I do differently?

Get help now. You are not the gatekeeper or barometer of “womanness.” Seriously commit yourself to psychotherapy to process and deal with this. Avoid interactions with trans people until you sort this out.

8) Attempting to limit how your partner identifies. Telling your partner they are abandoning “Butch.”

What is wrong with this?

Your partner may have very complicated feelings and grief around what it means to be Butch, if they have identified this way. Normative community narratives have made a congruence of butch and trans identities unavailable and shameful, while not recognizing some folks may identify as both, either simultaneously or sequentially.

What can I do differently?

You are not the arbiter or protector of Butch. It is valid to feel protective of Butch identity given the particular struggles of those living this reality… however, it is not your responsibility or place to determine what Butch is and whether folks can be Butch and Trans. Do personal work around expanding your awareness of the many ways trans/masculine people may come into their identities and be supportive of this.

9) Refusing to take a partner’s trans/femaleness seriously because they have a beard, or body hair.

What is wrong with this?

Being a trans/woman/female/feminine person is not contingent on amount of body or facial hair. Some really hot trans women have full beards! Furthermore, many women have full beards (if they didn’t wax). Projecting this onto trans women is unfair and loaded with transmisogyny/disrespect for their femaleness.

What can I do differently?

Do your own work around deconstructing the gender binary. Respect trans women for who they are, no matter how they present. Do not make validation and affirmation contingent upon normative standards of female beauty.

10) Refusing to date trans women, especially those who identify with having cocks, or who haven’t had “bottom surgery” - particularly if you identify as lesbian. Viewing dating a trans woman as some form of accomplishment and indication that you have challenged transphobia.

What is wrong with this?

Tying your refusal to date trans women with your lesbian identity reifies your inability to see trans women for who they truly are. It denigrates their identity and presentation and signals your perception that they are “less than” women.

It is not an accomplishment to see someone for who they truly are (especially related to gender) - it is a basic ability as a human.

Furthermore, if you are into rubber cocks and penetration yet you refuse to date trans women with cocks, penises, or pussies that are different from yours you are arbitrarily discriminating against these women based on their transness or transsexuality (credit to Alaska b. for this point).

What can I do differently?

Don’t talk about how rad you are for crushing on or dating trans women. Don’t treat or talk about it with friends as some kind of new project for yourself.

Start to deconstruct some of your transmisogyny and how your behaviour is not tied to a lack of desire, but rather your unwillingness to validate transfemale realness.

Do work around unpacking the “cis” male privilege you are incorrectly transposing on trans female bodies, whether they have cocks or not.

Xander (Sly) Sarkisova is a queer and trans person who has been working in mental health and addictions counselling for the past twelve years. He uses writing to explore the intricacies of his trans/male/butch experience, greyness, multiplicity, and the invisibility of mental health issues. Xander blogs at The Space in Between

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tumblrs/websites:

http://youreatransmisogynistwhen.tumblr.com/

http://lgbtcenter.ucdavis.edu/lgbt-education/words-that-are-transphobic-and-why

(I will periodically add more, so come back to check for new ones in new edits of this post)

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Trans Respect/Etiquette/Support 101 (http://www.jewishmosaic.org/page/load_page/67)

by Micah Bazant (updated from from TimTum: A Trans Jew Zine) Please use widelyAdd and subtract from this document as neededPlease acknowledge this source

Please send suggestions, feedback, etc to: info@timtum.org.

I am using the word ‘trans’ in the broadest sense, to include labels like genderqueer, transgender and transsexual. This was originally written from my own experience as a white transperson/ftm who is perceived as both female and male. Of course, every trans person is different, and would write this list differently. Also, some things, which are totally inappropriate with strangers or acquaintances, may be fine or welcomed in the context of a trusting relationship. I’m sad to say that I’ve done most of the things on this list at some point in my life, and had most of them done to me even by other trans people. As with other forms of oppression, they are socialized into us from birth. We are all taught to be transphobic, and unlearning it is a process and a responsibility.

Pronouns & Self-Identification

Respect everyone’s self-identification. Call everyone by their preferred name/s and pronoun/s. Use language and behavior that is appropriate to their gender self-identification. Do this for everyone, all the time, no matter how much you think they deviate from what a “real man” or “real woman” should be.

What we truly know ourselves to be should be the only determinant of our gender in society. Set aside your doubts, start educating yourself and respect that we are who we say we are. By doing this you are saying: “I see you, I support you, I respect you.” By not doing this, you let trans people know: “I don’t understand you and I’m not trying to. What you tell me about yourself is not important, all that’s important is how I think of you. I am not your ally. You are not safe with me.” Being referred to or treated as the wrong gender feels painful and disrespectful to us.

It’s hard and dangerous to change your name and pronoun. Know that it has taken a lot of courage for this person to let you know who they really are; they are sharing something very precious. It may seem hard or silly to you at first, but it can be a matter of life and death for us.

If you don’t know what pronouns or gender-labels someone prefers (and there’s no mutual friend around to clue you in), just ask them. Politely. And respectfully. For example: “What pronoun do you prefer?” or “How do you like to be referred to, in terms of gender?”

Usually when people can’t immediately determine someone’s gender, they become afraid and hostile. If you misrecognize someone’s gender, it’s okay, don’t freak out. Apologize once and get it right the next time. Misidentifying or being unable to classify someone’s gender does not have to be an awkward or shameful experience. By asking someone in the right way, you can indirectly communicate: ‘I want to be respectful of you and I don’t want to make any assumptions. I see your gender ambiguity and/or fluid gender expression as a positive, fabulous, creative and honest (need I go on?) thing.’

Some transpeople are bravely making more space for gender diversity by using language creatively. Respect these efforts and don’t dismiss them as silly, funny, weird or too difficult. (Remember Mahatma Ghandi’s words: “First they ignored us, then they laughed at us, then they tried to fight us, then we won.”)

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 1

For example, some people prefer to be referred to as ‘they’, or as both ‘he’ and ‘she’ interchangeably. Some people prefer to be referred to only by their name. Some people use non-binary pronouns like ‘ze’ and ‘hir’.

Invasive Questions

Medical Information

You do NOT have the right to know any medical or anatomical information about anyone else’s body, unless they decide to share it with you. This means: don’t ask about their genitals, their surgeries, the effects of their hormones, etc. This is private! The first question usually asked to transpeople is, “Do you have a penis?” or “Do you have a vagina?.” Would you ask a non-trans person about their genitals? To do so is incredibly invasive and disrespectful. It reduces us to one body part, as if all the rest of our minds, hearts, bodies, contributions and personalities are not important. Our bodies are not a community forum, or a tool to educate you!

Also, don’t ask us about our surgeries, medications, etc. If we want you to know about something, we’ll bring it up. For example, just because your friend-of-a friend-of-a-transperson told you that someone is having surgery, doesn’t mean you have a right to come up and ask them about it (especially in front of other people).

Don’t ask us if we’ve had a “sex change operation.” Gender transition doesn’t happen through one magic operation. And the operation you’re thinking of probably involves transforming our genitals, which, again, is reductive and disrespectful. Some of us never want to have any surgeries. Some of us desperately want surgery and can’t afford it or don’t have access to it. For a lot of female-to-male transpeople the surgeries they would want don’t exist.

Even if you’re curious, don’t interrogate us. It’s not our job to educate you and we may not feel like answering your incredibly personal questions right now. Unless we bring it up, don’t ask us how our gender is affecting our personal relationships. For example, if you just met me, don’t ask me how my family is taking it.

If you want to find out more about trans bodies or our families, educate yourself through books, websites, films, etc.

‘Out’ing

‘Trans people have a huge range of ways that we navigate the world, based on preference and necessity. Transphobia functions very differently than homophobia; being ‘out’ is not necessarily desirable or possible for us. Being a trans ally means supporting people in being more safe and healthy – which may mean anything between letting everyone they meet know they are trans, to keeping their gender history entirely confidential. Its crucial to support people in being as ‘out’, or not, as they need to be.

There are many situations in which being ‘out’ could have serious negative repercussions; transpeople are killed every year just because other people find out they are trans. Revealing someone’s trans status could cost them a job, a relationship, or their physical safety.

Many transpeople are perceived 100% of the time as their preferred gender, and no one would ever suspect they had been through a gender transition at some point. Some of these folks prefer never to be ‘out’ as trans and, in fact, may not even consider themselves ‘trans.’ This is a completely valid choice

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 2

among the huge spectrum of gender diversity. If you know someone who’s trans experience is completely private, respect them by honoring that privacy.

Some of us are most comfortable being ‘out’ as trans all the time, some of us may never reveal our trans status to anyone.

Do not assume that just because you know us in one way, that we are able to, or choose to, live that way in every other part of our lives. Some of us express our gender in different ways in different parts of our lives. For example, we may not be able to find work as the gender we truly are. Or we may only find peace by living some of the time in a more masculine gender and some of the time as more feminine.

For myself, even though I hate being called “she,” if someone refers to me that way, I might or might not correct them depending on many variables: whether I’m going to have to see them again, how confident I feel, who I’m with, how much backup I have, etc.

Think about when and why you ‘out’ someone as trans. Are you talking about your ‘trans friend’ just to prove how open and hip you are? Is it necessary to out this person, or are you doing it for your own personal reasons?

Names

Names are very powerful things. For a lot of trans people, the names given to us by our parents represent a gender identity which was wrong, humiliating and forced. Changing our names carries a lot more weight than it does for non-trans people. Don’t ask someone what their old name was. And don’t ask if our current names are our ‘given names’, or worse yet, ‘real names.’ If someone wants you to know, they will tell you. If you know someone’s old name, don’t share it with other people.

Some transpeople go by multiple names, because they are in transition, or because they prefer it that way. Again, don’t trip about it. Just ask them what they prefer to be called and then call them that, every time. It may seem strange to you, but it’s completely normal for us.

Also, don’t make comments about the gender associations of trans people’s names. This is especially annoying in a cross-cultural context. A name that means (or sounds like) ‘Badass warrior king’ in one language, might mean (or sound like) ‘Nellie flower picker’ in another. Don’t assume that you know what meanings or gender implications our names have.

Transition

Don’t assume that our gender transitions are linear, one-way, or start or end at a fixed point. For example, some intersex people(who aren’t “born male” or “born female”) have trans experiences, and may also identify as trans. Some transpeople, for example, may express themselves as masculine, feminine and then back to masculine. In an ideal world this would be no different than having long hair, then short hair, then long again.

There are infinite ways to transition. Things like binding, packing, tucking, electrolysis, hormones, surgery, or changing our name, legal ‘sex’ and pronoun, are some of the possible steps of a gender transition. Trans people have the right to make all, some or none of these changes, and in any order.

For more information about intersex issues, visit www.isna.org, the website of The Intersex Society of North America. © Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 3

Do not ask us if we are sure, or remind us that our transition is irreversible and that we may regret our changes. Do not tell us we are coming out as trans just to be ‘trendy’. We have usually been

thinking about and dealing with our gender issues for a long time, although we may not have shared our years of internal torment with you. We are aware of, and probably very excited about, the consequences of our decisions.

Do not tell us how you liked us (or certain things about us) better before we transitioned. There is a normal and healthy grieving process that people go through around any

major change, including gender changes by people in our lives. It’s important to acknowledge and deal with your feelings, but not with us. We are going through enough stress, and we really just need your support.

Do not tell us how hard this is for you or how uncomfortable we make you. However challenging it may feel to you, it’s much harder to live as a transperson. Many many people become

amazing trans allies and effortlessly call all their trans friends by the right names and pronouns. You can too, its really not that hard - its just a different way of thinking about gender. If you are uncomfortable with someone’s gender, find ways to work on it yourself or with other, knowledgeable non-trans friends.

Passingand being passed

Don’t judge our ability to be seen as male or female. For example, don’t say: “Maybe if you did______, or didn’t do _______, you’d pass better, and we would be able to accept your gender better.” Also, it is not always appropriate to compliment people on how well they pass. Whether or not we are passed as the gender we prefer is often a matter of money and genetics, not desire or determination. We are not all seeking to pass in the same ways, for the same reasons, or at all! These comments are divisive to trans communities. They reinforce straight, binary gender standards by labeling certain traits (and people) as ‘good’ and ‘real’.

Fetishization/Tokenization

Yes, it’s true, trans people are all incredibly sexy in our own unique individual ways, but don’t fetishize and tokenize us. Don’t tell us how you love FtMs because we were socialized female and therefore we aren’t like ‘real men.’ While this may be true for some individuals, FtMs are just as diverse as any other group. Many transmen identify as ‘real men’ who are just as (or more) masculine than people assigned ‘male’ at birth. Don’t tell us how MtFs are the ideal sex partners because they are ‘chicks with dicks.’

Don’t expect any one of us to speak for all trans people. Don’t assume that you know about trans issues because you once knew a trans person. If we are offended by something you do, listen, apologize and reflect – don’t excuse your bad behavior by saying that your other trans friend didn’t mind. Don’t

In this context, ‘passing’ refers to trans people being perceived as non-trans members of their correct gender category. While this is a goal for most trans people, I think its important to stay aware of the systemic power imbalance that is implicit in this term. I prefer the term ‘being passed,’ because it emphasizes the fact that trans people do not have total control over how we are perceived, and that the power in the equation of passing lies completely with the non-trans person who ‘passes’ us. It is something done to us, not something we are able to control.

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 4

showcase us as tokens of diversity in your social circle or annual report, without being a real friend or truly integrating transpeople into your organization.

Transphobia + sexism + racism + classism = a big slimy mess

It is a stereotype that all trans people are sexist: that all MtFs are still “really men” and still have male privilege, and that all FtMs are becoming men because of their internalized sexism. Trans people can be sexist towards ourselves and others, but we are not any more or less sexist than non-trans people. It is not inherently sexist to be trans.

Similarly and unfortunately, trans communities are just as racist, classist, etc. as the rest of the world, but not more so. And these dynamics play out in particular ways among transpeople. Just like some people will tell you all gay people are white, some people believe that all trans people are white, and that being trans is just a privilege of white people. Of course it is easier to be trans (or anything actually) if you are white and have money, but most gender-variant and trans people are working-class and poor people of color, because most people in the world are poor and working-class people of color. Being trans is not inherently racist or classist.

Age

Don’t be surprised if you or others radically misread a trans person’s age. It may be amazing to you, but we are used to it, and probably over it.

A lot of trans people on the FtM spectrum look much younger than they are, especially if they are not on hormones, are on a low dose of hormones, or are just starting hormones. Because of this, we may experience some of the lovely effects of adultism, such as not being taken seriously, getting carded all the time, and being condescended to. A lot of people on the MtF spectrum look older than they are, and experience the delightful effects of sexism, like being treated as less important because they aren’t seen as young and pretty.

Fascinating trans films/ politics/TV shows/etc etc…

It is really important for people to educate themselves about different experiences of oppression, however, someone who has had to deal with that oppression all the time may not want to hear about it, or process how hard it was for you, as someone not directly affected by it. For example, when the movie “Boys Don’t Cry” came out, many many people every day took it upon themselves to try and discuss it with me, ask me if I’ve seen it, explain how tragic it was and how hard it was for them to watch as a non- trans person. We have to deal with transphobia all the time and so we don’t always want to talk about it. Check yourself before you bring up the ten latest, most horrifying transphobic things you heard yesterday - your trans friend may actually not want to re-experience them with you. If you want to discuss a movie, book, current event or experience that relates to trans issues, bring it up with another non-trans person. If a trans person wants to discuss it with you, they’ll bring it up.

“Extra letter” Syndrome

Gay and lesbian organizations all over the country have added a token ‘T’ to their names, without doing anything to include trans people or issues in their organizations. Although queer issues and trans struggles are interlinked (don’t forget who rioted at Stonewall), they are very different. For example, access to transition-related medical care (such as hormones and surgery), and issues of legal

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 5

identification (such as changing our names and ‘sex’) are huge struggles faced by transpeople, but are non-issues for gay and lesbian people. As mentioned above, being ‘out.’ which is desirable in many GLQ spaces (especially white, middle-class ones), is not a goal of many transpeople. The world of issues around sexual orientation is fundamentally different than the world of gender, so don’t assume you are serving us at all by just adding a “T” on the end of your acronym.

Recognize your own gender uniqueness and how transphobia affects you, but don’t speak for trans people. Also recognize that within trans communities, not only is each individual’s experience different, but each group of individuals’ experience is different from other groups. Just as you probably wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) ask a gay man to explain lesbian issues, you shouldn’t lump all trans people together, because we all have unique experiences and perspectives. For example, African-American transsexual issues are different from disabled genderqueer issues, which are different from drag king issues, and so on. Also, most indigenous cultures have non-binary gender systems, and many of us identify with our ethnically-specific gender identities (such as two-spirit, hijra, timtum, fa’afafine, etc.) that may overlap with, but are distinct from being ‘trans.’

GOOD THINGS!

There are so many positive things you can do to be ally to trans people, even if you do not have that much experience with trans communities.

Start with being honest about how much you know, or don’t know. It is refreshingly wonderful to hear someone say: “Actually, I don’t know anything about trans people. I want to support you and respect you, so please forgive my ignorance. I’m going to start educating myself.” Almost all of us started out ignorant of trans issues – even trans people! The important thing is to pro-actively learn more once you become aware.

Educate yourself and take action!

•• Look at books, websites, films. •• Talk to other non-trans people who know more than you do. •• Start an unlearning transphobia group with other non-trans friends. •• Help write a non-discrimination policy for your school or workplace that protects gender identity and

expression. •• Pay some trans folks to do an educational presentation for your group or organization. •• Especially if you work in a school, faith-based organization, governmental agency, or a social justice,

social services or healthcare organization, try to integrate trans-inclusive policies and services. •• Work to create bathrooms that are accessible for all genders (for example, single-stall gender-neutral

bathrooms) •• Think critically about your own gender and your participation in the binary gender system. •• Reflect on how you can be a better ally to trans people.

Once you have educated yourself, educate other non-trans people about gender issues. This is so needed and appreciated!! There have been so many times when people said offensive things to me when I wished I had a non-trans ally to refer them to. Trans people shouldn’t have to do all the work. Besides, even though there are way more of us than you think, there aren’t enough of us to educate all the hordes and hordes of non-trans people in the world. Also, it’s a lot harder for us to do this work, because we are more vulnerable. Helping someone unlearn transphobia usually involves hearing and sorting through a lot of hurtful crud while people sort out their feelings about gender.

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 6

Interrupt transphobic behavior. This is also usually easier for a non-trans person to do, because they are not making themselves as personally vulnerable or a target for retaliation.

For example, correcting other people when they refer to someone by the wrong pronoun is very important. When introducing people, it is good etiquette to clue them in beforehand about the language preferred by any trans people who are present. By this I don’t mean outing any trans people who would prefer not to be out, but letting people know how to refer to anyone who might not ‘pass.’ Simply saying things like, “I’m a lady, he’s a guy,” or “that’s none of your business,” or “actually, his voice/body/manner is just great the way it is, and I don’t want to hear another comment about it,” can save the day.

Above all, talk to your trans friends, listen and educate yourself. If you are not sure how to best support someone, ask them. If you are not ready to support someone in the way that they need, don’t pretend that you are, just figure out what you need to do to get there. Starting to be an ally doesn’t require you to be an expert, just be honest with yourself and take some risks.

Remember: gender is a universe and we are all stars.

Transphobia limits and oppresses all of us. By becoming an ally, you’ll not only have the satisfaction of doing the right thing, you’ll get to experience your true starry brilliance.

© Micah Bazant, 2006 Page 7

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I will make another post on “Die Cis Scum” and Rad Fem/Rad Scum so please come back to read that and how it relates to being and “ally” fighting cissexism and transmisogyny, and what that looks like.

-Zane

Sex 101: Gender Identity

edinburghsexpression:

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Welcome to the second post in our Sex 101 series, where we try & cover all the basics of sex & relationships! This post is going to be on the topic of gender identity, including trans* identities, intersexuality & how to be a good ally. If you’d like to see other posts in the series, including our first post on the subject of consent, you can find them here

If you’d like to suggest a topic for us to cover in Sex 101, or if you’d like to ask us a question about anything relating to sex or relationships then our ask box is always open.

This post has a trigger warning on it for discussion of issues surrounding gender identity including but not limited to transgenderism & intersexuality.

If you are questioning your gender identity & feel in need of support there are plenty of great organisations across the UK who can help, & you can find a list of them here.

Here are the questions:

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is the 100% personal & subjective experience that someone has of their own gender. 

So, it’s whether someone feels male or female?

Not really. Although some people may identify as male or female, man or woman, there are plenty of other gender identities out there, some of which are on the male-female spectrum, & some of which aren’t. All of these are 100% valid, & the gender binary is a really out-dated way of looking at gender, which can be really harmful towards people who identify as trans* as it basically erases them & their identities.

So it’s not the same as sex? Or orientation?

Again, no.

The word ‘sex’ is generally used to describe a variety of biological differences between males & females, such as genitalia, chromosomes, & hormone levels. However, just as with gender, it’s important to realise that sex is not a binary. The number of people who are intersex is very high, & intersexuality covers a wide range of conditions, for example atypical genitalia or hormone levels, or unusual chromosome combinations. Sex has nothing to do with gender. Someone can have a “vagina”, XX chromosomes, & high estrogen levels, & still be a man, & the same goes for women with “penises”, XY chromosomes, & high levels of testosterone.

Orientation refers to who someone is romantically & sexually attracted to. Again, this has nothing to do with gender, except in the sense that someone’s gender identity may influence what term they use to describe their orientation. For example, someone who identifies as female & who is attracted to other women might choose to describe their sexual orientation as homosexual, whereas if they were to identify as male, they could identify as heterosexual. Basically, people of all genders can be attracted to people of all genders.

What does cisgender mean?

Cisgender is usually used to describe someone who identifies with the sex & or gender that they were assigned at birth. So, if someone was assigned female at birth & currently identifies as female or a woman, they could be described as being cisgender.

What about transgender?

Transgender refers to someone who does not identify with the sex & or gender they were assigned at birth. However, it is generally used to describe someone who does identify with one of the two gender in the gender binary.

Is that the same as trans*?

Trans* is a more inclusive umbrella term, which can be used by people who identify as transgender, but also anyone who is gender variant or does not identify with the gender binary. This covers a wide range of gender identities, including but not limited to transsexual, genderqueer, non-binary, genderfluid, genderfuck, intersex, third gender, transvestite, cross-dressing, bi-gender, & agender. 

A lot of these gender identities may be new to people, & there are some terms which are used a lot in discussions about gender which people might not be sure about, so we’ve compiled a glossary of terms relating to gender identity which you can find here. We’ll be adding this to our glossary page, & if you have any suggestions for additions, feel free to message us. It’s important to remember that gender identity is an incredibly personal & fluid thing & while someone may identify using one or several of the terms below their experience may differ from the description given & that’s fine. These are only intended as guidelines.

What about the word tranny/she-male/hermaphrodite/he-she etc.?

All of these words have, in the past, been used in a derogatory way & have hurt many people. Because of this, you must be very careful how you use them. In some cases, these words have been reclaimed & that’s great but remember: you can only use them if you are part of the group which has been oppressed by the word, & while it’s ok to use them to describe yourself you should never apply them to anyone else, as they can still be hurtful.

How do I tell what gender someone is?

It’s not really any of your business how someone identifies - you don’t need to know & asking can be extremely insulting. If someone wants you to know what gender they identify as, they will let you know. Not prying is part of being a good ally.

A question that you may need to ask someone is about which pronouns they prefer, although remember that pronouns don’t always indicate gender. 

The best way to find out what pronouns someone prefers is simply to wait until they refer to themselves, & in the mean time just refer to them using neutral pronouns i.e. they & their.

If you are in a position where you need to know which pronouns someone prefers, first understand that it’s a very personal & sensitive issue, especially if they are attempting to present as one of the binary genders (this could suggest to them that they are not passing as the gender they wish to present as). They may also not be comfortable talking about their gender identity, either with you or in front of people, particularly if they are in a situation where doing so could put them in danger.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to opening up a dialogue with someone about their preferred pronouns:

  • Take them aside or wait until the two of you are out of ear shot of others.
  • Make it clear that they don’t have to answer if they are not comfortable doing so.
  • Politely ask “What are your preferred pronouns?”. This question has nothing to do with their sex, or even really their gender, so do not phrase the question in a way which makes it about those things.
  • Respect their answer (use their preferred pronoun at all times & if you make a mistake, apologise immediately), thank them, & move on. 

My friend or partner has just come out as trans*, what can I do to support them? How can I be a good trans* ally?

The short answer is: pretty much the same way you go about being a good friend or partner to anyone.

The longer answer is:

  • Be supportive - this means respecting them & the choices they make. Make sure they know you’re there for them & listen to what they have to say. Coming out as trans* & transitioning can be a tough time for a lot of people so they may be looking for someone they can depend on & talk through their problems with.
  • Part of being a good trans* ally is about educating yourself. There are tons of great resources online regarding trans* identities, & taking the time to educate yourself can take a lot of pressure off trans* people, especially if you’re close to them. Coming out can be tough enough without feeling like you have to explain yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them but be sensitive & respect them if they don’t want to answer.
  • Take note of their preferred pronouns - for advice on how to ask, see above. You should also check when you should use these pronouns. Especially if the trans* person is your partner or close friend, it’s possible they have come out to you & not to others, so by checking when to use which pronouns you can avoid outing them. Outing someone is a terrible thing to do & can put people in danger. Never do it. Personal information given to you in confidence is not to be shared, & if you’re not sure whether someone knows or not, don’t share with them until you’ve had confirmation.
  • It’s understandable if you want to ask questions about the future, for example whether they plan on transitioning & if so how, but again, understand these are personal questions & ones they themselves may not know the answer to, so don’t pressure them.
  • More broadly, part of being a good trans* ally is challenging your own assumptions of gender, & working to break down the gender binary. You can do this by not assuming people’s gender, using gender neutral pronouns unless you know someone’s preferred ones, avoiding making links between gender & sexual orientation, & not defining things like clothing & hairstyles as masculine or feminine. 

So, remember, gender identity is 100% subjective, 100% personal & 100% none of your business. As with all things in life, be respectful, educate & challenge yourself & others, & be supportive.

If you have anything to add or any changes to suggest we’d love to hear them & you can send them here. Our glossary of gender terms is here & we’ll be adding them to our main glossary as soon as possible.

sexisreallygreat:

Packing for the Cisgender Women

edencafe:

No, my turn-on is simply the idea of having my own secret hiding between my legs. I’m not doing it to get anyone hot but myself. I don’t feel as though I “belong” in any one group that practices packing. I just fucking love to pack, period. I love the feeling, I love walking around with this warm weight between my legs that is foreign and familiar to me at the same time. And when I get home after being out in public all day with “my little secret”, I can hardly wait to strip down so I can fondle and squeeze and stroke my dick until I’m rewarded with what I know will be a mind-blowing orgasm. Is that so hard to understand? (via Packing for the Cisgender Woman | Eden Cafe)

Sex ≠ Gender ≠ Sexuality

For me personally, this was a very eye-opening article to read.