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Kate Lamothe [userpic]
Transmasculine/Transfeminine and my hatred these terms
by Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
at February 3rd, 2011 (10:49 am)
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Hey ya'll,

Sorry if this was posted before (even possibly by me...ooops *blush*) but it's been coming up a lot for me recently so I thought I'd get it off my chest. It's about my frustration with labeling ALL MAAB folks transfeminine and ALL FAAB folks transmasculine.  

Recently, I've been getting referred to as transfeminine a lot more by folks who are attempting to be inclusive.  But, rather than feel "included" by the term, the hard butch dyke in me just ends up feeling erased.  For those who don't know me IRL, I'm covered in tattoos (incl. neck & knuckles), I wear feminine attire only once or twice a year (and it's usually only for performances), I own more plaid than I know what to do with, my hair is cut in a "Go Fish" kinda way, I've lasered off most of my dark hair but often sport long blonde ones on my chin, when I out myself as trans people often assume I'm on the trans male-spectrum, and I could go on and on.  And yet, people still want to label me "feminine" simply for being of the female (albeit trans) persuasion.  

Most of the time I don't say anything because I just simply don't have the energy to engage in these conversations.  But inside I'm usually screaming "BEING FEMALE DOES NOT EQUAL BEING FEMININE."  One time, after having my thoughts on this matter dismissed, I asked that person if they would consider Sinclair Sexsmith, Ivan E. Coyote, Lyndell Montgomery, or any of the lovely female-identified folks on Butchlab to be feminine, to which they replied "NO! Of course not!" Well than why me, just because my femaleness has that trans attachment before it?

Anyway end of my ranty rant rant.  I really hope this doesn't come off as me ragging on femininity, cause I simply adore all things feminine/femme....just not.on.me.

xoxo
Kay 

Comments

Posted by: BriarDragon (blackberryqueer)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
obaona-nerdyangel

I agree.
I'm not masculine I'm fem; just because I'm a -trans- male doesn't make me masculine (even if I can be a lazy fem & geek stuff tends to get shoved into masculine by default -I- don't think it's necessarily masculine).
I think it's partially a side-effect of so many considering trans female folks to transition because you're ~really~ gay men and/or feminine men and trans males being uberbutches.

Posted by: awkwardly in the middle (ilanthefirst)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)

"I think it's partially a side-effect of so many considering trans female folks to transition because you're ~really~ gay men and/or feminine men and trans males being uberbutches." <--Okay, so to be fair, I've never actually seen the use of these terms in any way other than self-identification, but do you really think it's because of people assuming that all trans people fall into the dominant stereotype for their gender? I'm much more inclined to blame it on the difficulties in coming up with a truly inclusive term that still indicates the gender assigned at birth without considering the words themselves, that male=/=masculine and female=/=feminine.

Posted by: BriarDragon (blackberryqueer)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
Word!

Posted by: awkwardly in the middle (ilanthefirst)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)

Posted by: BriarDragon (blackberryqueer)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: BriarDragon (blackberryqueer)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Eemp (k0m1sch)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)

I agree! And I would say why but I am distracted by how hot you are! Uh, I agree! :D <3 /fans himself

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)

awww you're too sweet *blush*

Posted by: Viva la DORK (cykotyks)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)

Personally, I only use the term in conjunction with MTF (and transmasculine with FTM) as a general term encompassing people who lean to that particular side of the spectrum (as opposed to those in the middle or not on it at all). It's not a word I'd use on individuals who have preferred labels, though, and I can definitely see where your frustration is coming from. If people tried to assume that I possessed all the masculine qualities expected of men just because I'm on the transmasculine side, I'd call them a moron. I'm like you from the other direction - a relatively effeminate gay man.

I mean, on the plus side, it's a good thing that trans folk are being recognized as able to cross gender boundaries just as fluidly as cis people without negating our gender identities (as in, you're not being discounted as a woman because you're trans and butch), but at the same time, our levels of masculinity or femininity have just as little bearing on gender identity for both trans and cis folks, and it would be nice if people could respect that, too.

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I totally feel (and get) that 9 times out of 10 this generalization is coming from a place of good intention. It's just weird that gender identity (ie: trans man or trans woman) gets conflated with gender presentation (ie: masculine or feminine).

I guess another aspect of my frustration with it is when I see the terms used to promote workshops/zines/etc that are supposed to be inclusive. You know, being on the trans female-spectrum, I get that Original Plumbing and DUDE magazine are not my 'zines. But, then I get confused because they label themselves as being for ALL folks who id as transmasculine...well I ID that way (being that I am trans + I am masculine) so shouldn't those zines then be for me?

*Sigh* wouldn't it be just fabulous if there was language we could all be comfy with?

Posted by: Viva la DORK (cykotyks)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ellyrouge (ellyrouge)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)

Posted by: Viva la DORK (cykotyks)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)

Posted by: ellyrouge (ellyrouge)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC)

Posted by: Marja Erwin (marjaerwin)
Posted at: February 11th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)

Posted by: ellyrouge (ellyrouge)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)

I pretty agree on this. I have the impression that being a trans female soft butch, my "butchness" is already sometimes seen as less legitimate by some people and I tend to interiorize that I am not "butch enough", so I really do not need "inclusive" people to explain me that I am not masculine, but feminine...

I guess I also have a problem on the broad "spectrum" notions: I am okay with the fact that transgender is more than just transness and transition, but I really don't see what makes me on the same "spectrum" than a male crossdresser... I mean, what are we supposed to share? We don't live in the same gender, we have very different gender expressions, different identities, and so on...

Posted by: Invert Sugar (montrealais)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)

Frustratingly, while on one side masculine trans women's masculinity and feminine trans men's femininity are used to dismiss their gender -- on the other side, feminine trans women and masculine trans men are accused of aping or parodying (cis) femininity/masculinity or doing it because they think "that's how wo/men are supposed to act" or perpetuating gender stereotypes. (Especially those trans people who find they have to play it up in order to be consistently correctly gendered.)

So, again, trans people find themselves in a double bind and can't win.

Edited at 2011-02-03 06:00 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:51 am (UTC)

What I call the Janice Raymond syndrome hehe

Posted by: ★ саша ★ (nasha_sasha)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)

I read it twice. Could not see the point u were making (not disputing there is one). Feminine does not equal female. Golden is not the same as gold. It kind of goes without saying, for most audiences.

Other than u have a long thick neck.

Am lost :)

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)

Maybe third times a charm?

Posted by: gennee (gennee)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)

I do see your point. I follow the advice my mom always did; accept people as they are. Maybe because I came out late I'm not hung up on putting a label on others (which I don't). Kay, I'm just happy for you being you.

Posted by: Kalamah (galhea)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
Daisuke: glasses

I hear you. I'm often assumed to be on the trans-masculine side just for not having a (particularly) femme presentation, when in fact I'm neither male nor female, feminine or masculine. I get rather annoyed with the assumptions made based on presentation too, since the only androgynous option leans toward masculine. I often feel rather alienated because I don't fit into the binary boxes and dislike being gendered binary, and that's not even getting into how I'm assumed to be genderless because I'm not binary.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: A story with no plot (homo_impetus)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)

IA

Posted by: BriarDragon (blackberryqueer)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Not A Studmuffin (gymx)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)

The terms are completely busted, I agree. They don't say anything that couldn't be said more clearly in other ways. Also, your photo is amazing. |=)

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)

aw thx! I was thinking of posting one of me in the classic butch stance of chin slightly raised and arms crossed over my chest but I thought it might be just a lil' *too* cheesy! Glad you like the second choice :)

Posted by: identityfail (identityfail)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)

Word. x1000000. I'm trans male(ish), but I'm sure as *hell* not transmasculine.

The conflation of this shit is the same logic that's behind my parents being all "you don't actually think you're masculine, do you? lololol u can't be tranz" in response to my being like, hey, i'm not a girl.

so, yeah. fuck that shit.

Posted by: Lisa Harney (lisaquestions)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)

I do not understand how masculinity and femininity are also trans. These are cultural definitions of behavior, and while I won't argue that they are static or unchanging, I fail to see how a trans woman's femininity or masculinity is somehow different from any cis person's.

Posted by: Kyle (arrow_arrow)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 05:15 am (UTC)
BC5$

(Hi Kay!)

Posted by: Kate Lamothe (mindtheft)
Posted at: February 4th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)

oh hi there! Fancy to meet you online...finally! Jeeze, we've only met IRL, must be behind the times haha

Posted by: becomestrangers (becomestrangers)
Posted at: February 5th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)

I think you make a good point. One that applies to so many different situations in society today. I am in this community though not trans myself I am a huge advocate for the trans community. I am myself a lesbian and very feminine. I am often insulted by fellow LGBT community members because how can i be both girly AND a lesbian?!? Which brings me back to your point, society (even queer society) has rules on who should be what and what gender rules and stereotypes are supposed to be followed. I think it's hardwired into us from a young age. Just recently I had a debate over whether a man can be pretty or a woman hansom. Keep being you and don't worry about what exactly that has to mean to anyone else :)

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