Why do trans women hate each other?
There am I on facebook, where you must be exceptionally careful to have a pleasant experience. Someone on a trans “support” group asks if anyone has any experience with progesterone. Does it improve breast growth? I say that it gave me too great highs and downers to be manageable. Some self-appointed expert said you should only use natural progesterone, not synthetic. I asked her if she could cite journals as authority, and she said I should do the googling, it was not for her to do my research. Someone else said that we both seemed touchy- are we on progesterone? The silly facebook spat ended with her blocking me, and me announcing my delight in that because I would not need to see her comments any more.
Arguably what she said crossed a line into medical advice. Why do doctors continue to prescribe synthetic progesterone? Why should I believe her? How could I know what is best for me? And, arguably, she was trying to be helpful, though I feel she was mostly concerned to be seen as the expert, the trans who’s been round the block.
Yes, I really dislike her, after a brief interaction on facebook. I know I am being ridiculous.
In the BBC drama “Mrs Wilson”, after the hugely charismatic author Alexander Wilson dies in 1963, his widow discovers he is still married to his former wife, and then that he had a long-term girlfriend who was hanging around the back of his funeral. All three women have children. They find and confront each other. Wife 2 even forges a decree absolute, though as it is not on the register it is easily refutable. She is horrified to see a typewriter in Wife 1’s front room: Wilson spent time with her.
Each of them has an insight no-one else can have into the feelings of the others. I saw their hate, and willed them to weep on each others’ shoulders. Yet each is also the evidence of their husband’s crime, and of their victimhood and disgrace, and they hate each other, and threaten each other, and make demands trying to retain some shred of respectability at the expense of the others.
So with trans women, perhaps especially those of us long-transitioned. We know what each has been through, we can sympathise more fully with each other than any cis person can. Yet when I see her, I see myself; my failure to pass, my hurt, my vulnerability. All that I cannot accept in myself I hate in her.
I am unsurprised, though more hurt, by one’s insistence that she will defend trans rights when appropriate, and not mine.
I am unsurprised by certain trans women’s alliance with the terfs. We are men, says one. We have autogynephilia, say others. They want validation from the cis, at any price. They try to achieve a fragile respectability at the cost of the rest of us. “No, I’m not like them, the bad trans,” they insist. It does not work, but they are so desperate.
We trans women can see each other, more clearly than anyone else can. We should sympathise with each other. But that requires being truthful with ourselves.