Every time I’ve tried to write for the past couple of days I can’t keep my anger, upset and betrayal from the tone of my words. I am outraged, I am livid, and I am beyond tired of there being little to no transman visibility outside of the transmen that play into the idea that being transgender is something to be sexualized. I am tired of the refusal to view transmen as men, all too often we are thrown into the fray with the women, and this is most often done by transwomen that identify as lesbian!
Outside of Buck Angel (who made a career for himself doing porn) and Aydian Dowling (who can never seem to keep his shirt on) pretty much the only time that you see a transman in the media is A) when he’s being misgendered and called a lesbian after his suicide or B) there’s a news report on transgender people in general and he was “lucky” enough to be interviewed. Beyond that transmen are lucky if we are mentioned in passing in groups that are dedicated for transgender people!
A search of most TG support groups leads one to believe that only transwomen exist, or maybe they are the only ones that deserve support. More often than not the icons and banners designed to represent the groups only have women on them. You have twitter hashtags for transwomen along with cult-like followings of any celebrity that a transwoman, no matter their character. While this is great for transwomen, it leaves the average transman left alone in the corner with no support and feeling rather alone.
I personally know of a transman who thought that he was the only person that felt like he does (a man in a female body) for years because the only support groups he could find were for transwomen and the only information that he could find on transmen were on lesbian run groups that denied them (transmen) their identity as men. Transmen were labeled as butch lesbians, called traitors if they mentioned transitioning and ostracized from the lesbian community even if they didn’t transition. These are the same women that scream people are practicing misogyny for calling transwomen men; yet they refuse to acknowledge transmen as men. It’s almost as if they are practicing misandry and think that everyone to be worthy of existence has to be female.
Then there is the media coverage and exploitation of transgender adults and even children; all of which have been Male-to-Female. The media sensationalized Jazz Jennings, then Laverne Cox and now Caitlyn Jenner; who has sold out her status of transgender to the media to capitalize on something that many people would consider to be a birth defect. First the interview with Barbra Walters, then the Arthur Ashe award for bravery and now the I Am Cait show; all of which use her transgender status to slingshot her celebrity reputation higher than it was when she was “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.
Also, if you look at the extreme feminist movement, not only has it destroyed the social constructs for women, but has also taken a grand toll on the community for transmen. Where it was once socially unacceptable for people born as women to wear male clothing and present themselves as male this is no longer the case. Due to this, transmen fit in better in society in a generalized sense; however, this is only when they are viewed as women dressing as men. Once again you have the problem of transmen being viewed as women and not men.
So with the lack of visibility when it comes to media coverage (unless we’re being sexualized), the lack of support from others in the TG community, and the prevalent idea that transmen aren’t to be considered man but rather women, where do we fit in? Where do we belong in the grand scheme of equality, or do we continue to not exist?