Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The solution to internalized transphobia in the trans community is not more transphobia

This is a post based on a series of Tweets I made about an hour ago which are surprisingly popular.

You know what I'm sick of?  White, otherwise privileged trans people acting as if in-group policing is a trans only thing, or that it's worst or worse within the trans community.  Besides that it's being said from a place of privilege where you have no clue about policing in other communities (disability, non-white, etc), it also erases the experiences of those of us who are trans AND have identities that intersect with other groups.  For example, as a Chinese Canadian trans woman, I get policed about whether I'm Chinese enough, too Chinese, not Canadian enough, too "Canadianized", and that's on top of in-group policing I get as a trans woman (and body policing as a woman, and whether I'm disordered enough to count as having an eating disorder, etc etc etc).  By claiming that trans in-group policing is "the worst" or acting as if it's a unique thing to the trans community, you're not just being dismissive of the experiences of other marginalized people, but you're being dismissive of those of us trans people who intersect with other marginalized groups, all of which have their own toxic forms of in-group policing.

SECONDLY, I'm also sick of this attitude being pinned specifically on trans WOMEN, that trans women more so than any other group are the worst at in-group policing.  There's a lot of misogyny in that attitude, and a lot of seeing women's actions as "cattier", more vicious, etc than men's, combined with the trans misogynist narratives of trans women being more dangerous, and obsessed with stereotypical femininity.

Thirdly, if you're not a trans woman, you ESPECIALLY don't get to talk about how in-group policing is especially bad, or "worse"/"worst" among trans women.  There ARE important discussions to be had within communities about behaviour and treatment of people within that community, and a good ally knows it's about the members who are being treated badly, a bad ally (or a giant jerkface) makes it about the group, makes generalizations, and broadcasts a stereotype to the world.  These discussions are about us, they're meant to help us, and you do not get to co-opt them to use against the trans community.

And finally, I've seen "nobody hates trans people more than other trans people" bandied about in these kinds of discussions too, or words of that vein.  Again.  WTF.  Yes.  Nobody hates trans people more than trans people, except TERFs, and MRAs, and evangelicals, and the WHOLE FUCKING SOCIETY.  Yes, there's in-group policing.  Yes, it sucks.  Yes, I've gotten trans women telling me unsolicited how I should act, what I should wear, and that I need to "fix" my voice.  Yes, I've experienced trans people policing who counts as trans, and who doesn't.  And yes, that should be criticized.  But the shit above, is just more transphobia, it's no better than the internalized transphobia of the self-policers.  The attitudes of those self policers come from the transphobia, the transmisogyny, the gender essentalism, and the ciscentricism of cis society, they did not spring from a vacuum in the trans community.  And the whole narrative is just playing into more transphobia: "look at those messed up trans people, they can't even stand each other!"

Yes we have our own s- to sort out.  But that doesn't mean that trans people are the "worst", because not only does in-group policing happen in other spaces, a lot of us trans people ARE IN THOSE OTHER SPACES TOO.  We experience that policing as well as trans in-group policing, and you don't get to tell us that one is worse than the other.  Nor should intra-community dialogue be co-opted to play into transphobic and transmisogynist narratives.  The solution to internalized transphobia in the trans community is not to be even more disrespectful to other trans people.

1 comment:

  1. in-group policing happens in just about every minority group I've ever spent time in, near, or learning about.

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