Recently, somebody called me a “transsexual man”, and I think this was meant to be insult: that I was biologically male, and transsexual, and therefore still a man. There is an element of truth in this, although by strict definition, I don’t think I am a man, because whatever my biological sex might have been, my legal sex is female. I don’t think I can be described as “transsexual” either. At least, that is what quite a few transsexuals have told me anyway, insisting I am not transsexual, and that intersex people cannot be transsexual (usually accompanied with something about me not being allowed to say anything about transsexualism, or the trans community, they don’t like on that basis).
My understanding of a “transsexual man” is of somebody who was biologically female, and who transitions and becomes legally male. I have met many transsexual men, and they are some of the nicest and self-aware people I have met, many having themselves come through radical feminism, although a few are still quite angry about how they have been treated. So, I don’t mind being called or taken for a “transsexual man”, as I admire and respect them. I am over gender pronouns – they are not that important; they are important to people who go along with and support the maintenance of an oppressive binary gender system which is mainly of benefit to men. But this mistake does kind of speak to aspects of my own experience. As an infant, I had genital surgery, which was part of my experience of social gender reinforcement as a child, and while this was not sex assignment, or sex reassignment, it was what is best called sex confirmation surgery, and part of my masculine gender reinforcement. It was surgery intended to reinforce my masculinity as a male. So, there are similarities to some of the surgeries some transsexual men have. I had further surgery later in childhood, which was also more sex confirmation surgery, in part carried out in order to to reinforce my masculinity as a male. That and the psycho-social reinforcement didn’t work, my masculinity was not reinforced. But, there is a point of similarity between what I experienced, albeit without consent, and what transsexual men experience out of choice.
So, yes, I do see myself as having had some similarities to a “transsexual man”, for part of my adult life. I didn’t ask to be treated that way, I would have preferred if I had not been. I rejected it. If I could make a wish and snap my fingers, I would be the way I was before that, only grown up naturally and without interference. I am quite clear that is not a possibility, just as making me a man was never going to work, or anything else really. I am stuck with the way I ended up, and I try to work with that as best I can, and live my life in a way that reduces the dysphoria that followed me into adulthood as much as possible. I cannot buy into these gender stereotypes that a heteronormative society presents, so now I am “gender non-conforming and queer”.
Repeat after me “queer”, “batty boy”, “faggot”; this is the sort of abuse I and other people tend to be more familiar with – and if abusive people want to be accepted within the mainstream, they really need to target their abuse in a way bigots in wider society can understand. “Transsexual man” might be a bit long too long-winded for normal bigots – to them it is just another type of queer.
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