I’m sharing this with permission from the author–though anonymously–to get this message heard. These are justified, angry words from a trans woman. They need us cis women to hear this, internalize it, and do better. Especially right now.
This was a post on social media that I’ve cut and paste for the sake of sharing here.
Just got called “this man over here” by a young cis woman, while I’m wearing my pink skirt and top, presumably because I have a receding hairline and haven’t shaved today.
If you are a cis woman, I need you to understand that you are privileged beyond belief, and that I and many other trans women have experienced more direct violence from cisgender women than we have from men.
And men are typically just as violent towards us as toward you.
And I have seen NO evidence that any of you truly realize that, let alone what it means.
You all act so fucking high and mighty, as if only you know what it’s like to be female in this world, and I am DONE with that fucking bullshit.
It’s just another day in the fucking worthless life of a trans girl. It’ll happen again and again until Trump’s goons come to get me.
I may be ranting more here as the night goes on. I’m not going to pull punches, and I’m not going to hold hands.
I’m going to continue to use “you” to refer to all cis women. And if you’re a cis woman I expect you to take the same advice about taking that personally that you expect of men.
Before I go on, I want to get a few things out of the way, because what follows is gonna hurt:
I am alive because of a few cis women. Those handful of cis women and a couple of trans people have been the only people in my life who have been there in my darkest hours, right at the moments when I would not have survived, and gave me substantial help. Both emotional and bureaucratic. Cis women have been the ONLY people on my medical team who have consistently and tirelessly gone to bat for me for.
And they were able to do that because they had the privilege to be able to graduate from
medical school and open practice.
And, you all experience a few things that I, and most trans women and girls will never get to experience. Like unwanted pregnancies. But those are double edged swords for both of us. You usually get the privilege of being able to get pregnant if you want to, while we don’t. We have that robbed from us during our own fetal development.
And usually many of you experience a degree of daily catcalling that I personally have yet to encounter. But other trans women get the joy of that, and some cis women don’t experience it. And those of you who don’t, you feel ugly because of it.
Well, guess how I feel…
But you’re stuck in a middle ground. You get harassed and assaulted and belittled and psychologically tortured by cisgender men your whole lives. So you’re all dealing with this crushing trauma, and it’s hard to control.
And along comes these other women, or people of even more marginalized genders, non-binary people, who you’ve mistaken for men until they come out and say, “hey, I’m not a man, and you’ve been hurting me, and I need you to stop.” And that’s gotta be scary and weird and hard to adjust to.
You’re not used to following your own damn directives regarding privilege and listening. But on top of that, your trauma is screaming at you to not trust us. To shut us out. Keep us at a distance. Force us away. Shut us down, so we can’t take away what little power you feel you have being what you all erroneously call “the most oppressed gender on the planet”.
You don’t think you call yourselves that? Pay attention to your own fucking propaganda on Women’s Day for god damn once.
I don’t envy that position, at once being abused and also the abuser.
But, guess what, I’m white. I gotta own that shit when it comes to things like race, myself. As do many of you. Us white women have a lot of our own words we gotta eat. And fast, if we want to survive what’s happening in the world today.
And like, I don’t get any of the trappings that cis women get that usually give your lives purpose. I’ve earned less than most of you, those of you who are also white anyway. I don’t get to have children. I’m divorced because I’m trans. I don’t have my own family or home to keep. And I’m unemployed, with no career in sight.
And my prospects for gaining those things in my lifetime are close to nill.
Yes, there are other trans women who have these things, but statistically, we’re much less likely to.
But that’s just setting the stage. Letting you know where we stand.
So, what happens to us trans girls and AMAB embies is that cis boys and men beat the fuck out of us starting in kindergarten. If we’re not out yet by then, they sense we’re different, see our femininity or queerness showing through, and follow through with their patriarchal programming and physically attack us for it. Relentlessly.
And we get sexually assaulted, too. Some of us raped. Some killed. And while our suicide rates aren’t as high as that of AFAB trans folk, it’s fucking hell, and it takes a psychological and physical toll on us, leaving us with higher rates of cPTSD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety that you generally experience.
So, driven away from the boys, we follow our instincts, our own directives according to our actual genders in the case of us trans girls, and try turning to you. You who SHOULD be our people.
In a class of a couple hundred students, there’s only likely to be 2 of us. We need more peers than that.
But when we turn to cis women and girls for solidarity, you fucking attack us.
If we’re not out yet, you tell us to go away because we’re “boys” or “men” and “will never understand you.” If we object and plea for even an ear, you tell us to shut up and listen to you. Often, you fucking sick your boyfriends on us to beat us up some more.
I spent my late teens through 39 fucking nine years old being yelled at by cis women for not owning my “male privilege”. Ridiculed, called out, belittled, cajoled, insulted, told I must have a small dick (which I did, because I’m intersex) since I couldn’t take a hint.
And I listened, and contorted myself into owning that privilege that wasn’t mine, and put you above and ahead of me. And suffered in my career and social life because of it, because when a queer trans person who is mistaken for a man fails to act like the worst example of a cis man, we get shut out even faster than cis women do. We don’t make it.
I say, “I want to die because my hips will never be wider than my waist.”
And you all respond with, “I hate my wide hips.” or “Some cis women have narrow hips.”
I say, “I have to shave my face every day, and even though I do it constantly feels like sandpaper and gives me sickening dysphoria and I get misgendered regularly for it.”
And you all say, “Lots of women have to shave.”
Anything we have to say about our struggles and fears, you god damn minimize it. You ignore the fucking context, tell us off, and then turn your god damn backs.
You never invite us to girls’ nights out, or anything else you do with other women, unless it’s a protest for ill named “women’s” rights. In which case, you all god damn say, “come support us!” Like we’re some lowly fucking allies.
When we do, on the rare occasions, get to join you in gatherings of other women, you don’t treat us like peers. You turn your shoulders away from us. You talk amongst yourselves about your children and your husbands. Or your jobs. And you never ask us any questions to bring us into the conversation.
Unless it’s time to talk about trans stuff.
You shut us out, ostracized us, quietly disinclude us, forget about us, shun us, treat us like children (which is how you treat men, by the way), treat us like perverts, or oddities, and you change the subject when we’re talking.
You pull every god damn trick of schoolyard social bullying and layer it on thick over techniques you use to abuse your own children, and top it off with the kinds of retaliation you wish you could give to cis men and get away with it.
And it’s non-stop, and it never ends.
And while some of you are great, and lifesavers, even those of you who are like that still perpetuate all of this in little ways. You slip up, while your peers attack us mercilessly with the death of a million slights.
You hope you never do this?
Too bad. You do.
Stop telling us you mean well.
Stop asking us to tell you when you screw up.
There are too many times in which you do and, when we do tell you, you fucking go on the defensive and argue with us, and it gets worse.
Just do better.
And make your cis peers do better, too.
And you gotta pull yourselves together FUCKING FAST, because fascism is riding in fast and we’re right in its target sites this week. And when it starts killing more than black, indigenous, and Hispanic people for just being on the street, we’re so few and rare we’ll be gone before you know it.
I need you all to read this. All of it.
And take it to your family, your work, your schools, your stitch ‘n bitches, to the fucking DMV, and smack your cisters upside the face with it.
Because none of us can count on the cis white men to do anything of the sort. They’re too busy getting ready to kill us all and enslave you.
What is SUPER infuriating is that so far 27 out of 30 people who have reacted to this post are trans. Only 10 of you, at the time of this comment are presumably cisgender.
The vast majority of my cis female friends have unfollowed me at this point, because they can’t stand to have me on their feed for some reason or other (admittedly, I post a hell of a lot, but this disparity between cis and trans people reacting to this post is fucking damning).
The people whom I need to read this rant the most are the ones who will never see it. They’ve already shunned me.
So, if you have any mutuals with me who are cisgender, make sure they see this post, PLEASE.