Lately, I watched Contrapoints on Youtube talk about the term “Trans-trenders” and as she does in all of her videos, battles the philosophy behind it, and shuts gatekeepers down with their bigoted opinions on what “counts” as Transgender.
Using her Nonbinary character “Baltimore Maryland”, she explains that because brain scans are not used to determine gender dysphoria, that the ‘feeling’ of distress to diagnose dysphoria, is similar to how nonbinary folks ‘feel’ a disconnect with their assigned gender at birth, and thus, binary trans folks and nonbinary trans folks aren’t so different. I only say ‘feel’ in quotes because that word is important here.
So many folks who still identify as transsexuals instead of transgender, and trans-meds, trans people who believe that being transgender is strictly a mental disorder and can only be diagnosed, like to say that these “transtrenders” or trans folks that they think are only being trans for a trend, are infiltrating the transgender community and making a “mockery” of it by perpetuating stereotypes.
These stereotypes tend to be related to the exploration that teens or young adults go through when they are figuring out their gender identity. Like coloring their hair, changing their style, gender expression, etc. But later on in the video, she explains that this is an extremely damaging way to think of things. For one, thinking everyone’s transition is going to be the same as yours is selfish and small-minded. And is definitely not intersectional and a diverse way of thinking.
This can also damage kids, teens, and young adults who are simply finding themselves. And instead of welcoming them into our community and letting them explore themselves, trans people in our community are telling these young people that they are invalid, that their feelings aren’t real, and that they are really just cisgender. This is exactly what these kids were afraid of, and then they are forced back into the closet because they are scared that they will never be accepted. And that is extremely harmful, especially since so many kids and teens in the trans community have depression.
She goes on to go back and forth between herself and her character ‘Tiffany Tumbles’, a self-described transsexual. Shutting down each other's logical arguments into what makes someone ‘Trans’ and what doesn’t. And because so much of dysphoria and disconnect with gender is related to how you ‘feel’ and that science can explain feelings, that trans people don’t really need a reason to give to people who are cis as to why we are trans. We just are.
I just think that is so so important. Because so many of us strive to explain it to cisgender people, so many of us try to quantify our gender experience into measurable science but it doesn’t work like that. It’s still science, it’s anthropology, it’s sociology or psychology. It’s the human experience. In your head and in your heart. And that’s what makes it so beautiful.