Due to the fact, however, that I was read as “more” female — or at least because I felt different enough from typical social groups — I found myself more comfortable in gay and lesbian circles. My relative transparency as a trans woman, and the conditional cis privilege that came with it, led to me being at least nominally “welcomed” into queer women’s circles; this however lead to a remarkably disturbing insight. For the first time, I began to hear the way cis people talked about trans people — and trans women in particular.
Much to my own shame, I joined in from time to time. Yes, penises were gross. Yes, “tr—ies” were ugly. They were mockeries of women. Nothing would be more disgusting than to engage in sexual activity with one of them (trans women). Anyone who did so was, by proxy, gross. They (trans women) were “men in dresses.” They were just “really gay men.”
They … They … They.
On occasion, there was even an approval for violence toward “them” because they were “raping” women by the very virtue of their existence. The appropriation of women’s bodies, they argued, was an act of rape. And, of course, the fact that queer trans women were sexual beings, and not the non-threatening subservient eunuchs the system had instructed us to be, this changed the tone as to which trans women in these contexts were tolerantly received. Queer trans women were violent, sexually aggressive, rapists, predators, deviants, and perverts. And thus crossed the bridge from eunuch to rapist in the false choice imposed on all trans women.
But the cis women I was around weren’t talking about “them”, nor was I. We were all talking about me. I was gross and ugly, a mockery, a disgusting person with whom to be intimate. My existence was an act of rape and I was not worthy of basic human consideration. As time passed, and as I heard more and more of the things they said about trans women, my shame and disgust with myself won out.”
I’m glad someone’s writing what it’s like from the other side.