Trans and homophobia

When I realised I was lonely and I wanted a relationship that’s what got me thinking well, I don’t want to be with a man, so the other option is to be with a woman. I thought I can’t be with a woman as I am because it just feels wrong. I saw a documentary on TV and I didn’t realise that women could transition into men so it was from that and realising how unhappy I’ve been all my life, that’s what I wanted to do.

Oh God, I thought, that’s just what gay people who want to drop the T from LGB say we are: it is internalised homophobia. I can only love a woman if I am a man. Being a lesbian “Just feels wrong”. I was bothered to hear this on Radio 4, Ovid in changing times. It also had an old interview with Jan Morris:

-Is it not the height of arrogance to assume that, having your penis taken off you can say “I am now a woman”?
-I have not said that. I am a person who felt self to be of feminine gender so adjust body to fit my inner feelings.

Later we hear her say, I was in a difficult situation, not certain of myself, I tried to be more one or the other. Now I know just what I am, I’m in the middle, really, I’m a bit of each. It’s a comfortable place to be.

We adjust what we say about ourselves, to fit what others will accept. I don’t know about “comfort”. Possibly rather she felt reconciled to the journey, she was not resenting or fighting it. Though I loved her for this:

-Are you ever able to stand up and see an element of absurdity?
-No. I think it is beautiful.

Of course I am absurd. We retain the concept of “normal”, even if we recognise that Diversity is a good thing, and I am certainly not that. I wanted something which many would call ridiculous, and I cannot justify except that I wanted it, because it was the way I could best express who I am. Emotion is absurd, and therefore people are absurd. But I resent on her behalf that allegation of a lack of insight- “Are you ever able”. What arrogance in the interviewer, to suppose that one could only transition if one didn’t understand.

I think I am beautiful.

But that line, being with a woman just felt wrong as he was. He talked of envying his male cousin’s anatomy in the bath, as a child, and how being a girl had been bad enough but puberty was awful; so there are two narratives here. It strikes me he is trying to justify his change, to create as many arguments as he can, and that is one. And gay people would say of course a woman can be with a woman. It is not “wrong”. I would agree- but this trans man said it was wrong for him.

If a gay person objected to trans on that ground, they are denying our existence, our ability to see our nature and make our choices. Phobic? Right back at you.

It does not help that his voice sounded female. Not everyone’s voice breaks properly on T. There is a trans man sound which some men have, a roughened alto, but his was completely female-sounding. The excerpt was without context, beyond that he was 39 at the time: I have no idea where he was on his transition journey.

Narrator: Not every change works out. We are always striving after what is forbidden, Ovid wrote, and coveting what is denied us.

4 thoughts on “Trans and homophobia

  1. I’m still following all those transphobic blogs, although I can’t bear to read them very often. They claim to be presenting another point of view but they reek of hatred and derision. However, there was a post today on one of them that kind of interested me and I didn’t detect that element, only concern. Here’s an extract, I’ll send you the link if you want:
    “Our kids’ sudden change in gender identities has been easily accepted by their peers, schools, therapists and doctors. Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries are routinely encouraged as necessary next steps. The level of enthusiasm is stunning. There is an absence of caution. We don’t know how many young people will grow up to regret their permanently altered bodies. Which of them will wonder what their lives could have been like had they not taken this path?”

    How do we balance this (if it is genuinely happening – “the absence of caution”) with eliminating stigma and ensuring people can choose how they express and present themselves?

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    • Select text- right click- search google for selection. In this case I had to put the quotation marks in to find her. Isn’t it odd how they use these ugly old themes? 4th Wave Now has had plenty of anger and derision in her time, and one could easily paint her “concern” at worry that people are doing what she would not choose for herself. I have read that the rate of regretting and reverting is as low as 2%.

      Here’s the concern- people should not have bits cut off them. People should not become dependent on medication unless it is unavoidable. But- we choose this, and we think about it a great deal before we do.

      She compares GRS to lobotomy, as an operation intended to make things better which really made things worse. I don’t think the comparison works- doctors often get enthusiastic about invasive treatment, which turns out later to be a mistake, there are lots of examples, and lobotomy is not the closest analogy. GRS is an operation people want.

      I have come round to agree with her, just about- my next three posts say transition is a mistake, and in August I wrote that I wished I had not had the operation. I see transition as a long-drawn out process which I can’t see is wrong for me until it is too late, because I kid myself that when I have completed it I will feel better. My ideal now is self-discovery and self-expression without body modification. Like in The Danish Girl, the doctor who performs vaginaplasty is just as much an exploiter wanting to make money and have a human guinea-pig as the doctor who points a radioactive source at Lili’s privates. The piece of the puzzle I don’t have is that expressing female seems to give me permission to be me, and I felt I had to pretend to be a real man, presenting male. Can we really be ourselves, while presenting male?

      Though when you last commented here you said None of us surely ever feels completely comfortable, and we’re all searching to some extent or another for the missing bits that will complete the illusion of comfort. And I resent not feeling completely comfortable, having felt the polar opposite.

      I don’t know about the absence of caution. We tend to feel we are blocked, that the psychiatrists act as gate-keepers and cause undue delay. Dr Stuart Lorimer of Charing Cross points out the NHS can’t do mere body modification, it has to show a therapeutic benefit. I understand the NHS does not give puberty blockers. Yet a lot more children are being referred to the Tavistock.

      A medically qualified consultant psychotherapist said of me, “He is clearly unhappy and at times has felt despairing and, I suspect, suicidal. I am not sure formal psychotherapy is likely to help, and will require a direction and intensity of therapy which we cannot offer…even if he were able to engage with the process of psychotherapy the threat to his defences may well make him feel much worse without necessarily leading to any effective change.” Yet what might have saved me from transition is precisely that level of psychotherapy which he did not think possible. I resent that transition, with castration and penectomy, giving me a lifelong dependence on synthesised hormones and making me visibly queer, was the best available option to allow me to bear being me.

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      • I’m sorry it’s not gone well for you. The thing about that post was that it was one of the few that didn’t have hate in it, so I wondered if the call for caution was justified. It is quite frightening when children and teenagers are making such huge decisions – and I can’t help but think in the USA the profit angle adds to the confusion.

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        • It may have gone as well as it possibly could.

          Perhaps not hate, but distortion. One long-term study has shown that suicide rates, compared to those of the general population, are significantly higher in those who have medically transitioned. Of course we kill ourselves more than straights do. Gender specialists and trans activists continually scare parents with high suicide attempt statistics from a flawed survey study which did not ask whether suicide attempts occurred before or after transition. She impugns our motives.

          Parents should be cautious, but this woman is not calling for caution. She calls for not transitioning. Parents always are surprised and worried by child gender dysphoria. They take care. When she says “there is an absence of caution” she is fantasising.

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