How to tell a trans person they are beautiful
omfg fucking perfect i almost cried
I think I reblogged this before, but here it is again.
I’ve yet to finalise the middle name that I want but I’m debating picking one that begins with E so that my initials spell QED and I can make jokes about the latin phrase QED
In terms of my transition, this is what’s been happening lately:
I’m seeing this too often and I want it to stop.
I talk about asexuality and someone responds with “I know what that’s like, because sometimes my sex drive is low and I don’t want sex at all. And you don’t see me calling it ‘asexual.’”
A demisexual person talks about the difference between normative sexuality and demisexuality, and someone responds with “I sometimes have sex with people I’m not attracted to. And I didn’t want to have sex with my partner until I knew hir better. You don’t see me calling it ‘demisexual.’”
A gray-asexual person talks about the difference between normative sexuality and graysexuality, and someone responds with “So what? Sounds like you’re just really picky. I don’t want to have sex with everything that moves either, and you don’t see me calling it ‘graysexual.’”
People, people. The reason folks are identifying with these labels that seem so useless, irrelevant, and redundant to you is that they are not having your experience. They are using these words because they relate to sexuality differently than those with normatively sexual relationships. What are you getting out of it by walking into a room and saying “Excuse me, I don’t understand your experience or why you say it’s any different from mine, so I am going to assign you a Special Snowflake complex whenever I can’t process your reality”?
Enough with the anecdotes, folks. We understand that you don’t get it. We understand that you think we simply enjoy creating microcategories to describe ourselves, perhaps because (like many people who confuse behavior with orientation) you believe we think sexuality is icky and that we want to separate ourselves from being lumped in with icky people. We understand that from the outside, asexuality looks like abstinence, demisexuality looks like slow-growing normative relationships, and graysexuality looks like being picky. But that’s the point. From the outside, that’s what it looks like. That’s what it looks like if you judge us by what you see on the surface instead of listening to what we say.
From the inside, moving through a sexual world without relating to it normatively is significant and influential, especially during our formative years. People who are gray and demi identify that way partly because they experience the world the way non-gray/non-demi asexuals do much or most of the time. They have a partially or primarily ace experience in their lives, and they find it useful to involve themselves with other ace-spectrum people who get it. I haven’t seen as much confusion here over non-gray and non-demi asexuals as long as they don’t have sex and make everything “confusing,” but for what it’s worth, asexuals who aren’t willing to have sex often get told they’re either gay in denial or not-at-all-special straight prudes. We’re really not trying to look special by using these words. We’re trying to communicate with you, and hoping you’ll understand our experience instead of mocking it.
But here’s the thing. We’d love you to understand us, but we’re not asking for your permission. On the inside, we find these divisions and labels useful while talking about our attractions or lack thereof. On the inside, we have helpful and enjoyable conversations about our experiences once we have the words to describe them. On the inside, we find fellowship and understanding, and we don’t need anyone’s blessing to do that. We aren’t specifically “trying to exclude” anyone by acknowledging that there IS an inside. Don’t take it as an offense that you are naturally excluded from a group that’s having a different experience from you. Don’t look at us and say “I don’t relate to this at all, and I don’t like that they’re naming it and acting like it’s real.” We’re not doing that to you. We acknowledge that you exist. We don’t try to tear you down and say your relationships don’t need words.
If this is not your experience, you are outside. And that’s completely okay. It’s not a fence that’s dividing us. It’s not a suggestion that we’re on different levels of any kind, or that any group has a right to look down on the other. It’s not some wall we’re putting up to tell you to stay out of our space—that isn’t what we’re asking. But when you—you who identify as a majority-group sexuality—look at a minority group and tell them to stop annoying you by talking about themselves, you’re telling them that only your experience is real and important. And you’re doing that with the power of the status quo behind you.
There’s nothing wrong with just telling us you don’t share our experience. We aren’t asking you to. Ally with us, or ignore us if we’re just too annoying to you, but don’t tell us to stop using words to talk about who we are, and don’t reduce our identity to a childish ploy to shame “sexual people.” We don’t think of it like that at all, and the main places I’ve seen that attitude thrown around are cases of non-ace-spectrum people putting those words in our mouths. (And I’m sure someone could find an ace person behaving poorly and quote hir while representing hir words as our prevailing attitude, but seriously. No.)
If you’re quoting our definitions and telling the world how you just don’t get why our experience is in any way non-normative, you’re by definition not having our experience and it’s therefore not yours to describe. If your experience isn’t our experience, don’t tell us how to talk about it.
Not from the outside.
You are a perfectly acceptable human being right now, this minute. You are just as valid as any other human being, without changing a single thing about yourself. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to want to grow, evolve or improve yourself, or you can’t do better sometimes, it just means right now this instant, you are worthy of your own self love. Even if it is hard to love yourself sometimes (and boy, is it!), or you’re struggling with some really difficult stuff in your life, you still deserve it.
So dearest you, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and give the best version of you that you can give, but know that even in the tough times, you are still valid, worthy and deserving of your own self love.
“So don’t you dare dismiss my gender as construct, drag, or performance. My gender is a work of non-fiction.” (from this performance piece)
Sex is no more an immutable binary than is gender. There are intersex people who are born with non-binary genitalia, as I have already mentioned. There are people with hormonal anomalies. In fact, hormone levels vary wildly within the categories of cis male and cis female. Chromosomes, too, vary. If you thought “XX” and “XY” were the only two possible combinations, you have some serious googling to do. In addition to variations like XXY, XXYY, or X, sometimes cis people find out that they are genetically the “opposite” of what they though they were– that is, a ‘typical’ cis man can be XX, a ‘normal’ cis woman can be XY.
The fact is that the concept of binary sex is based on the fallacious idea that multiple sex characteristics are immutable and must always go together, when in fact many of them can be changed, many erased, and many appear independently in different combinations. “Female” in sex binary terms means having breasts, having a vagina, having a womb, not having a lot of body hair, having a high-pitched voice, having lots of estrogen, having a period, having XX chromosomes. “Male” means having a penis, not having breasts, producing sperm, having body hair, having a deep voice, having lots of testosterone, having XY chromosomes. Yet it is possible to isolate, alter, and remove many of these traits. Many of these traits do not always appear together, and before puberty and after menopause, many of them do not apply.
Asher Bauer (via inherhipstheresrevolutions)
Everyone, read this. The male/female body dichotomy is a myth.
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1. Ask permission to ask questions. Even if you think you know they are comfortable answering, they may actually not be or maybe not in that setting, and it is just rude and pretty off-putting to not ask. Say, “Hey do you mind if I ask you some things about your transition? I’ve been a little curious – feel free to not answer or say no.”
2. Avoid private and personal questions. Even a so-called open book like me doesn’t want to discuss my sex life with most anyone. If you really want to know about trans men and sex, ask in general terms – i.e. “Are many trans men ‘stone butch’ in bed?” vs. “Are you stone butch in bed?” BIG difference.
3. Do not ask questions that in any way challenge the trans person’s gender identity or expression or could obviously lead to dysphoria. Do NOT, for example, ask if a trans man will grow to be ‘average male height’ or if a trans woman is uncomfortable with the size of her hands. I’ve gotten, “Are you ever going to look your age?” Ouch, honey.
4. Phrase your questions in a way that affirms a trans person’s gender. And avoid anything that defines the trans person in terms of who they once “were.” This is pretty simple, actually. Instead of asking if someone is “still legally female,” ask what the steps are to becoming legally male and if they have completed them.
5. Avoid comparisons to non-trans people and never use the term “real” in distinguishing between transgender and non-transgender people. “Cisgender” or “non-trans” are the only appropriate ways to signify non-trans status.
6. If it is a general question, try Google first. There is a lot of information on the internet and an open trans person should not be a stand-in for your own research.
7. Do not ask what the person’s birth name was. There is absolutely no reason for you to need to know this and it is likely something this person wants distance from. It is a particularly offensive question when phrased, “What is your REAL name.” After all, Sebastian is my real name and has been since I started asking people to use it.
8. Request specific permission to ask questions relating to genitalia, even if you’ve already received general permission to ask other personal questions. “Are you comfortable discussing your genitalia?” Chances are they aren’t. After all, do you want to talk about yours? But some people are and I acknowledge that there is definitely education needed on the topic so I am not opposed entirely to asking questions, as long as you get extra permission first.
9. Be wary of your phrasing. If you aren’t sure how to talk about trans issues, you need to announce that in the beginning. Be open to correction and don’t get defensive if a trans person is offended by something you say. As a heads up, don’t refer to a trans person as their previously-assigned gender – don’t say “when you were a girl” to a trans man for example. A more accurate and safer route is “before you transitioned” or “when you were living as a girl.”
10. Be aware of your setting. These are private conversations. Don’t approach someone at a crowded party or in algebra class and expect them to have a trans chat with you.
11. Be sensitive to the person’s comfort level throughout the conversation. If they’ve given you permission but are obviously growing uncomfortable discussing things, don’t press. Be grateful for the information you’ve gained and change the subject.
12. Respect the person’s privacy. Unless this person stated otherwise, the personal information they gave you is not for you to share with the world.