Change Your World-NOT your Body

Monday, November 15, 2010

Transmen: Who is Transitioning


Transmen-where Femalephobia meets the flesh.

dirt
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50 comments:

  1. Dirt, are there any recent statistics on the incidence of this? How many of these young FTMs are there now? It seems to be an epidemic.

    I think we need to continue to examine and counteract the social factors that drive this trend in young women: the valuing of maleness over femaleness, invisibility of role models, body dysphoria, self-harm (and the relationship of this to other forms of self-harm such as cutting and anorexia), peer pressure, internalized misogyny (and in some cases internalized homophobia), not wanting to grow up into the expected female social role, not identifying with the images of women they see in the culture, escaping into a fantasy world of yaoi because the real world sucks, wanting to be a gay man or a straight man in order to avoid being a female in a relationship, etc. These are just a few of the multiple factors driving this trend, and I think that's why it's become so prevalent.

    Also contributing to this, in my opinion, is that our lesbian and gay communities have enabled it. We aren't the lesbian community any more, we're alphabet soup- LGBTIQQ (and I'm probably forgetting some letters there) and everywhere we're being called LGBT, where as recently as the early 90's, we were just referred to as gay and lesbian. Where did the lesbian community go? Occasionally I decide maybe we should venture out into our "community", and then I discover it's really not even there any more. There was a Butch Voices conference- I thought that sounded cool, and then I found out it was full of FTMs too- what the hell?? You look on line and find Butch/Femme websites, and those websites are all full of FTM stuff too, in fact, those are often the more active threads on the websites. I opened up the local gay paper and there were 4 articles congratulating FTMs for this or that. The local dyke bar closed recently- we only went there about a dozen times because we're not into the bar scene, but it's still sad to see all the dyke places disappearing. There was a lesbian organization in town for years- it folded about three years ago. All the currently existing local organizations and spaces are "Queer" with a heavy emphasis on Trans stuff. Now, when you look at the gay male community, they have actually managed to maintain their own spaces pretty well- they have more money, and perhaps they tolerate less bullshit.

    I am seeing the beginnings of the reversing of this trend, though. Recently there was a big conference on Lesbian feminism of the 1970s at CUNY, and this has been covered by Ms. magazine, Bilerico, and some other news sources. Maybe women are looking for some radical empowerment again. I sure hope so.

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  2. All I see in these girls faces is complete misery.

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  3. I wish there was something I could do to help these girls :-(

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  4. Oh dear, the chest scars of the girl in the very last picture are brutal. OUCH just looking at it makes me feel sick.

    And to think, the surgeon who butchered her laughed all the way to the bank.

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  5. DM,

    I'm not aware of any recent stats, and given their(trans) reluctance to truth/reality, it would be difficult to trust any if there were.

    I've been thinking about seeing what I can do strictly from an observer POV with regards to youtubes, where transmen have self ID'd.

    On everything else you said, my experience as well and I agree.

    dirt

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  6. Jane, I hear ya and its sad.

    dirt

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  7. "the valuing of maleness over femaleness, invisibility of role models, body dysphoria, self-harm (and the relationship of this to other forms of self-harm such as cutting and anorexia), peer pressure, internalized misogyny (and in some cases internalized homophobia), not wanting to grow up into the expected female social role, not identifying with the images of women they see in the culture, escaping into a fantasy world of yaoi because the real world sucks, wanting to be a gay man or a straight man in order to avoid being a female in a relationship, etc"

    Very important things to consider indeed. I also think birth culture is important as well-many FTMs coming from the more progressive North Europe seemingly can't see this but I, as a Southern European, a region where, even at the relative apex of humanity, women were thought of as little more than breeders (Greeks and Romans)and the most valuable quality was male stoicism (Romans especially), can. This should also apply to Muslim and East Asian cultures (basically the most hardcore patriarchies)

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  8. I wonder what percentage of actual males have topless pictures of themselves up on the internet?

    Or are all transmen from New Jersey or something...

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  9. Part1

    Well articulated DM and I agree with much of it.
    “Now, when you look at the gay male community, they have actually managed to maintain their own spaces pretty well- they have more money, and perhaps they tolerate less bullshit.”
    I don’t see the transitioning trend occurring among gay men. First of all men have a lot to lose by giving up male privilege and that includes atypically masculine men. For all the gym-bunny hairy-bear hyper-masculinity in aspects of the gay community they have always honored and had spaces for gays who are “flaming” (radical faeries, drag queens etc.). The only major trans colonization of gay male spaces is coming from the same demographic – trans”men” turned “gay male” from injecting testosterone, and the women who would have once been “fag hags” who now try to partner with gay men by appearing male through hormonal body modification.
    And also, yes, the less bullshit factor- and because born-females are socialized to be less likely to interject themselves aggressively against male boundaries, unlike women’s spaces which have always been the expendable dumping ground for anyone looking for a place to colonize, especially straight people looking to get their freak on.
    By allowing the T to attach itself to the L we’ve basically become advocates for the very straight men that have wanted access to our spaces forever. And most trans up to this day have been straight men, make no mistake. So we have opened our doors to any straight man willing to put on a set of pearl earrings.
    Not only that- but his decision to act out becoming a member of the underclass is supposed to mean that we are somehow “privileged” OVER HIM by being actual members of that class. The entire lesbian and gay movement is now overrun with straight “queers” who don’t share our cultures or our concrete political goals.

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  10. Part2

    In terms of the state of Lesbian culture it seems like waves and trends have a way of working their way through our subculture- and it’s the one subculture that has absolutely no support from the ruling class because we have nothing to offer the ruling class (men). And we have less money for that reason. The recent option of marriage and babies among lesbians has shifted the social needs of our community as women are hunkered down at PTA meetings and not off running crew at some cool women’s festival. Maybe the trans trend among gay women is part of that trend towards assimilation into the heteronormative community. What is more heteronormative than being a straight male after all.
    There have been other nutty trends in the women’s community- as anyone who remembers the 1980’s therapy/twelve step/recovered memory fad can attest. That one lasted around a decade before it burned itself out.
    There are already signs the trans fad is fading: many of the “leaders” are detransitioning (Feinberg, Coyote etc). The rhetoric is becoming less bizarre: a few years ago the trans party line was that female bodied trans people actually “became” male bodied in some grand act of transubstantiation. Now they seem to have given up on that (cause no one was buying it) and even some of the most fantasy-clouded male autogynophiles are willing to admit that biology and science do exist after all.
    Trans”men” are starting to admit that they are basically like women who get big breast implants so they can better market themselves to male supremacy.

    The photos are very very sad. History will not look kindly on this episode of medical and psychiatric malpractice.
    It’s understandable that women want human (male) privilege, and they want it NOW. It’s tragic that the only way they can accomplish it is to reify male supremacy and murder their inferior (female) selves. If only that demand for privilege had been externalized on society at large rather than internalized against their own biology and bodies. What an incredible SOCIALLY TRANSFORMATIONAL force that would have been.

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  11. This guy would NEVER "pass":

    http://assets.blog.sfmoma.org/public/uploads/2009/09/TUCK.jpg

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  12. OMG! They look JUST like girls!

    http://coolsaysme.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/amos-and-rocco.jpg

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  13. People are just being polite when they don't out this guy I'm sure:


    http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ky517ri3l01qzijm0o1_500.jpg

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  14. You can really see in all their faces what you were talking about in your article The Real Effects of T--their faces have a sameness about them.

    I'm finding that to openly disagree with this trend is to invite people to scream I'm judging them.

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  15. Wow, I had no idea about this whole craze going on until I found this blog, I've sent all my friends with teenage daughters the link, I'm sure they'll all pass it along, etc.

    It seems like some sort of strange cult almost. Where are the parents? Do they know their daughters are being brainwashed?

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  16. Alexander (same one again)November 16, 2010 at 5:32 AM

    I think there might be something approaching a statistic here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/7664231.stm. It's only relevant to one clinic, but it shows at least the change in who is transitioning and when. I am concerned. I feel hypocritical being concerned as a young trans man myself, and not one who 'knew from an early age' especially. I have read other posts talking about the butch narrative having been co-opted as a trans narrative, and from inside the 'community' I've observed that as well, that people join queer spaces as butch women and leave as trans men. This is something that really does worry me, I don't know what goes on in anyone else's head, but I do know that sometimes someone says they're going transition and I just think "don't", because I really don't think it'll make them happier. In the end, it's not my judgement to make though, especially as someone who hasn't experienced the difficulties of being a butch lesbian in society.

    With regards to trans men in women's spaces, this sickens me. If you're making the decision to transition, that's your right, but if you want to be seen as male, want to live as male, consider yourself male, you have no right to be in butch spaces, and whether or not you're invited, you shouldn't accept. As a man who socialises in gay male spaces, I've observed that I am generally accepted as male, whether people are aware of my biology or whether they presume me to be a late developer. Why would I want to use female spaces if I'm not female.

    A lot of trans men deny they have male privilege, which is something I simply cannot grasp. Trans man... MAN... male privilege, no?

    Sorry this got a bit disjointed

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  17. I have given no permission for my image to be used in this forum. I would like it taken down imediately please. I could not find a way to contact you directly hence posting here. My image is top row third image from the left.

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  18. anon @ 9:34 PM and 9:37 PM: every now and then you can get a photo of a transguy that look like he might pass (http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ky517ri3l01qzijm0o1_500.jpg) but generally, transguys are easy to spot a mile off.

    features that always alert me to an ftm are: tranguys are shorter than cis guys, they often have femmey hips, womanly bums and mouths, small hands, less defined inguinals, a shorter length between the ingunials and the chest, and nipples can often seem an odd size.

    these things aren't bad or whatever, but you for some reason wanted to put up these pictures of transguys who looked obviously transmale to me but who i guess you thought passed really well?

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  19. @Alexander. Not every butch/masculine/non-normatively feminine woman is a lesbian. In some ways, it's easier for lesbians to be butch, because no one expects them to be otherwise, and once you're out, you're out -- no one can use the insinuation that you might be gay against you, because they're just pointing out the obvious. (The pc version of that insinuation is that butch straight woman is closeted, how SAD for her, why doesn't she just come out?) I have the sense that a significant number of straight women devote a lot of energy trying to stay on the right side of the femininity line to avoid harassment or misguided liberal pity. And as DM said, it's not the least bit suprising that some straight women are horrified by the idea of being the female half of a straight relationship, because there's so much emphasis on playing a role that is so completely, absofuckinglutely inhuman and unnatural. Lesbians are not immune to this role crap, of course, but the larger society does not come down on you like a ton of bricks for opting out of it (they're too busy coming down on you like a ton of bricks for being gay.)

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  20. Anonymous said... I have given no permission for my image to be used in this forum. I would like it taken down imediately please. I could not find a way to contact you directly hence posting here. My image is top row third image from the left. November 16, 2010 8:59 AM

    hello anonymous. on the front page of dirt's blog you will find a way of contacting her directly. just look in that right hand column, it's pretty hard to miss.

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  21. I know queers in detroit. I'm sure they will figure out who you are.. and then we will talk face to face about these issues.

    The anonymity of the internet is empowering, Dirt. But being an asshole isn't. It's a wonder how you fall asleep at night.

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  22. Anonymous @ 9:24 PM makes a key observation: "Maybe the trans trend among gay women is part of that trend towards assimilation into the heteronormative community. What is more heteronormative than being a straight male after all."

    Your observation is right on target. Back in the 60's and early 70's, we had Women's Liberation (which the stupid media immediately trivialized as "Women's Lib" and "bra burning") and we had Gay Liberation. The early marches weren't called "Pride", they were Gay and Lesbian Freedom marches, and they weren't sponsored by corporations like Budweiser, they were PROTEST marches, they were demonstrations. These social movements were about smashing restrictive gender roles. Women carried signs like "I Am A Lesbian and I Am Beautiful" and "Proud Dyke".

    And what has our community made its primary goals since then? Gays in the military. Same-sex marriage. And now, the right to pay thousands of dollars to be the "right" gender to fit into society's roles better?

    Speaking of marriage, my partner and I received a wedding invitation from an FTM. We were completely shocked by the incredible insensitivity and rudeness. Obviously they didn't even consider that we, as a long-term lesbian couple, do not have the same rights.

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  23. Alexander (same one again)November 16, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Anon:
    I'm not by any means stating that every butch woman is a lesbian, more that my hypocritical concerns about people transitioning have tended to be about people who have lived as butch lesbians, and that that is one struggle I haven't dealt with. As a butch woman, or perceived that way, I never found it especially problematic, but there are other oppression dynamics in the lesbian community which might lead people to wish to transition that I am not party to.

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  24. @DM. Both marriage and military service have to do with the rights and responsibilities of full citizens. Restrictions on both have historically been used to keep racial minorities second class citizens; the same thing is true for gays now. Personally, I'm glad the current gay movement has made them priorities. When I die, I don't want my partner to take a brutal tax hit because we're legal strangers in the eyes of the Federal government. I also love my country, for all its flaws, and the suggestion that my sexual orientation makes me less worthy to defend it, perhaps die for it, in time of need is deeply offensive. Whether or not you think marriage should exist, or the military should exist, is a separate question from whether or not gays should be included in those things. Even if you dislike those institutions, the issue of inclusion is a vital one.

    However, I think it's bizarre that we've been able to have a national conversation about an ENDA that includes "gender identity," but won't consider reviving the ERA.

    For anyone who doesn't remember, the full text of the ERA is "Equal treatment under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex." Not only would that help women of all kinds, and some men, it's hard to imagine even the current SCOTUS failing to construe that wording as including trans people, as well as gender non-conformists. But for some reason, it's just not considered cool to pursue legislation that is primarily intended to remedy boring old plain vanilla sex discrimination. Frankly, I think it's because women in general are usually seen as either boring or laughable.

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  25. @DM ... so I'm assuming you get offended when a straight couple asks you to their wedding? Your statement is preposterous.

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  26. Anonymous @ 2:20 PM: my point is that the movement has mainly focused on assimilation, and I see the trans trend as being related to that assimilationist focus.

    There was an expression back in the liberationist days: "We don't just want a bigger piece of the pie- we want a whole new pie."

    The military and marriage are both patriarchal institutions. I agree with you about equality: as long as we're living in this society we should have the same rights as everyone else in this society. Yes, there are social benefits of marriage: social security, taxes, etc.

    I'd like to see the ERA revived too. Yes, there is a relationship between pervasive sex discrimination and anti-gay anti-lesbian discrimination: not fitting society's stereotyped sex roles, being the "wrong" gender to marry one's partner.

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  27. Human IS a label too! The lets all remove language so we can communicate and understand each other better talk complete IGNORANCE and make even less sense.

    There is nothing wrong with labels, unless you are ashamed of the labels which categorize you.

    Personally I am an out and proud Butch lesbian and as such there are issues that are very specific to my label that have zero to do with the rest of the soup mix and visa versa. As a lesbian it is in my best interest to focus my attention on issues affecting lesbians.

    That doesnt mean I cant never support an issue that isnt lesbian specific, it merely means I have a right and a duty as a lesbian to focus first on lesbian issues.

    Seems those so concerns about each letter working on their own issues would prefer the rest of the soup mix to do their bidding while they sit on their asses.

    dirt

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  28. @DM
    So this FTM wasn't a close friend? Because if not your friend, *maybe* I could see why you'd be shocked. Maybe. But if he is/was a friend.. I'm sure he simply desired your presence there as such and didn't reduce your friendship to politics.
    I am an FTM and am legally married... yet I still put stickers on my car, vote and campaign for marriage equality and fight for it every chance I get... you people make me question why I bother. Why fight for a group of people who are seething with hate for you anyway.

    Good luck on being happy in this life carrying around all that negativity. May society show less hatred towards you than you show others.

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  29. I find it very interesting that you look like a man dirt and yet feel that society should accept your appearance and consider you as much a woman as any other... yet if an FTM doesn't look male enough to you and your audience, then he doesn't deserve respect.. and about that "hard butch jawline" you talk about in YouTube... WTF. You're a woman ... butches don't have certain physical characteristics. You want to be a masculine woman and hate men and Transmen but come off like butch is a separate gender. Then you have an abandoned blog out there saying you were going to transition... sounds to me like sour grapes.

    The more I read on here the more I detest lesbians...

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  30. @DM. To me, the trans trend looks more like left-over queer anti-assimilationism.

    As for marriage and the military being patriarchal institutions, so is almost everything else under the sun. As far as I'm concerned, those are human things, not male things, despite the fact that males have been running the show for a long time. I'm quite sure that if women were in charge of the world, people would still get married, and still go to war. I'm in favor of assimilation; to me it doesn't mean capitulating to heteronormativity, it means having my full humanity acknowledged.

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  31. I don't think it's at all preposterous to feel offended- as a straight couple they have rights that we do not have.

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  32. What are those lines on the chest of the girl in the middle picture??? Looks horrifying.

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  33. "Anonymous said...
    I know queers in detroit. I'm sure they will figure out who you are.. and then we will talk face to face about these issues.

    The anonymity of the internet is empowering, Dirt. But being an asshole isn't. It's a wonder how you fall asleep at night.

    November 16, 2010 11:03 AM"

    More threats from the trannie swarm. I hope Dirt forwards this to the police. FTM terrorist tactics make me sick. Pathetic.
    Thank you Dirt for having the bravery in the face of all the death threats and rape threats to provide a place for a dialog to take place on these issues. You are truly saving lives. Sorry you have to put up with the Trannie Taliban for doing so.

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  34. TAKE MY PICTURE DOWN YOU STUPID FUCKING UGLY SLUT!!!! FUCK LESBIANS!!!

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  35. I'm a butch who, looking back at my childhood, would fulfill the criteria for Gender Identity Disorder. And who knows, if I had grown up in the US during my formative years, this comment could've started with "I'm a transman..."

    Throughout my young adult years, I fluctuated with this desire to be masculine. I noticed that in times of psychological stress this feeling would become more pervasive, eg starting university, moving houses, breaking up with girlfriends. I had bound my breasts, used male toilets exclusively, shaved my head or sported buzzcuts, felt pleasure at being mistaken for a young man, intensely wished for a mastectomy, taken a few doses of illicit testosterone. I didn't even realise that I had GID to a certain extent.

    Now that I'm in my thirties, starting a nice well-paying career, a family in tow, stable relationship, I searched for this desire to become a man and I couldn't find it. I'm comfortable with my being a person who happens to have female sexual characteristics but who defies society's conventions of femininity. I ignore my breasts these days. They're there but they're not bothering me as much.

    This leads me to wonder whether young transmen nowadays, if given enough psychological support, a few coping mechanisms, a change in their situation, would really have transitioned.

    Having said all this though, I have no problems with transgenderism. They in real terms have not harmed anyone else by transitioning. I just wish that they would not try to encroach on lesbian spaces. Those who purport to be men need to kindly leave lesbian spaces. It's cowardice to straddle and manipulate their transness to get the best of both straight and lesbian worlds.

    I think lesbians and queers have very little in common.

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  36. @Ben,

    Why do you bother indeed with campaigning for gay marriage? We didn't solicit your support nor do we need it. We don't need trans martyrs. As far as I'm concerned, you're straight. So off you go into your straight privileged world. Enjoy.

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  37. I don't think it's preposterous to be offended either. If you don't get it, google Pond-Langbehn and Jackson Memorial Hospital. Then look into what it costs a gay couple in lawyer's bills to achieve a very fragile, weak appromixation of the rights automatically granted by a marriage license. Now, why are gays in this situation? Oh, right. Their biological sex.

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  38. Ben, you sound like you think gays owe you something.

    No one's "seething with hate" for you. Some of us just don't buy the "born in the wrong body" line.

    Also, you may detest lesbians, but a lot of gay men aren't too thrilled about having FTMs in their spaces, either. Do you hate them as well? And did you not notice the comments by straight women who also don't think highly of the FTM trend? Do you also hate straight women? Believe me, the more FTMs try to date straight women, the more straight women are going to be saying, "what the fuck?"

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  39. Ben sounds like a white guy I used to know who justified his racist comments by mentioning that he'd marched on Selma and been a civil rights activist back in the day. Actually, I've known a few white guys like that. They expect graaaaatitude and when they don't get it, they throw a fit.

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  40. @ST-
    " I noticed that in times of psychological stress this feeling would become more pervasive, eg starting university, moving houses, breaking up with girlfriends."

    I've seen Sooo many transmen start transition at the height of a bad breakup...

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  41. @ST:

    It bothers you that straight people help in the fight for gay rights and marriage equality? Why? There are a lot more straight people, especially in politics, than there are gays/lesbians. We need allies; we're outnumbered. So why would you reject the support of a transman because in your eyes he's a heterosexual man? That seems quite shortsighted.

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  42. Stop being a typical cunt and take our pictures down. DO IT NOW FAT BITCH!!!!

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  43. They all look like lost little girls.

    Makes sense...they are.

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  44. Alexander (same one again)November 17, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    ST:

    I found your comment intensely illuminating for me, and it's actually leading me to think about my own identity in a new way. May I ask you a couple of questions? Feel free not to answer obviously...
    I presume you identify as lesbian. Do you think you'd have come to the same conclusions if you'd identified as staight?
    Also, did you have a positive strong butch community around you, and did that help?
    I know you're under no obligation to answer these, but I'd appreciate it if you (or anyone with a similar experience) would

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  45. Stop being a typical cunt and take our pictures down. DO IT NOW FAT BITCH!!!!

    what is a typical cunt? why are you bringing fat phobia into this?

    TAKE MY PICTURE DOWN YOU STUPID FUCKING UGLY SLUT!!!! FUCK LESBIANS!!!

    you are confused. transmen don't fuck lesbians. lesbians fuck women.

    The more I read on here the more I detest lesbians...

    nobody is forcing you to read this. please feel free to leave us be with our discussions and thoughts. personally, i wish you well on your journey and hold no hatred against you for detesting me, my community and my kind. may you find peace.

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  46. @C. It's fairly obvious that ST was reacting to Ben's "I have a pro-gay bumpersticker and phone-banked for marriage equality so how dare you disagree with me" attitude. A lot of people think that doing good deeds buys them the right never to be challenged. It doesn't work that way.

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  47. @C: I object to Ben's sense of "wounded martyrdom". I don't object to straight people campaigning gay marriage, obviously. Give me some credit please.

    @Alexander:
    If I were straight, it's more than likely that I won't have these gender dysphoria feelings. I would probably go through life knowing that transmen exist but not be bothered one way or the other about that. I wouldn't come to any conclusion about transmen, they being in the periphery of my consciousness.

    As regards to the second; no I didn't have a strong positive butch community. I was lucky to have some coping mechanisms (not perfect) to deal with life.

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  48. The woman in the middle posted a YouTube saying that she shouldn't have been included "with the others" because she's a real man and they aren't.
    The dysphoric mirror- incredible.

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  49. I'd love to punch you in the fucking face.

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  50. All of you who are saying "all you see is misery" and that "it looks horrifying" are a bunch of IGNORANT ASSHOLES. These GUYS are happy. They found who they truly are. They are living the lives they were meant to live and are can finally be HAPPY with their bodies. This whole blog is complete shit. Do the research first you asshole.

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