Genderqueer 2 genderqueer's Blog

Where we belong

Posted in Uncategorized by genderqueer2genderqueer on August 27, 2010

I understand the anger, I am not saying it is wrong,  particularly when the same communities kick out out trans women but… but…

I worry that this view ignores non binary people a friend of mine considers zir self to be a transgender butch, while not female zie does consider hirself part of the lesbian community, zie used to be on T but isn’t anymore, is sometimes read as female and sometimes as male, but it is more than that.

I want to tell a story, this story is from memory and the details may be wrong, I also do not know how this guy ided, other than being a faab transtioning person, but I do remember him requesting male pronouns

Sitting around in a trans support group, the topic of the day was chosen family a young man spoke of loosing family twice, first being abandoned by his birth family for being queer, and then loosing those who considered him their family because he came out as trans, his mentors, his chosen family came from the lesbian community, he had been a lesbian, and his chosen family turned their back on him.

In his story, his voice, his eyes I saw a defeated bitterness, a person who discovered that to be himself, meant being abandoned yet again.

History is important, it makes us who we are, cis men generally don’t have years of being seen as a lesbian and seeing themselves of a lesbian.

I do not have a theory, I am not trying to say that this is a fundamental world view, but I know what happened was wrong.

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3 Responses

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  1. Lucy said, on August 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

    I think the problem here is twofold. One problem is cissexism. I’m a trans woman whose place in the lesbian community has always been somewhat precarious. Even though I’ve been a lesbian for decades, I’m still treated as though I’m new to all this by some lesbians and just plain don’t belong at all by too many others. Toss in me being attracted to men and being involved with a trans man and suddenly I don’t belong any more. Compare this to cis lesbians who become involved with trans men who are often considered edgy and at the least don’t have their lesbianism questioned by others. Trans males/men often don’t get kicked out of lesbian communities because of their history and quite simply because they are still seen as lesbians, as women, as female, and generally end up getting classed as “super butches” even if they are fem/femme. When trans men/males do get made to feel like they no longer belong it’s almost inevitably because they are seen as being too much like cis men.

    The other problem is one of entitlement. My lesbian history does not entitle me to be in lesbian spaces when I’m not a lesbian. Now, it doesn’t mean my friends should all turn their backs on me if they’re my friends, but I might find we drift apart as we no longer share currently existing as lesbians. As another example, should I still go to the Christian church I was brought up in even though I am no longer Christian, no longer have the same concerns as Christians? I still have chosen family there, mentors. But the truth is that my history does not entitle me to being in a community that is no longer mine. I am not that person anymore.

    I am sorry to hear about what happened to the person whose story you relate. It’s awful that he was treated that way. But I think his pain/abandonment comes not so much from losing his place in the lesbian community but from not having a community to move into after the lesbian community no longer fit him. I’m not denying he would still feel a sense of loss, but he wouldn’t have had such pain if he had a community to be welcomed into. But taking his pain to mean something while only concentrating on his personal experience without a social analysis leads to the idea that the lesbian community is the proper place for a non-lesbian. That makes no sense.

  2. GallingGalla said, on August 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I think that this is the limitation of organizing communities around identities. Because identities are ultimately policed, and when a group tries to cut a sharp line around identity, some people are going to get cut, because identity is never that simple.

    A space organized for people who experience misogyny – regardless of their gender – would have room for you, your friend, and for trans women and other trans* amab people.

    I feel a little sad and feel my stomach churning on reading this post, partly in empathy for your friend, but also because it almost sounds like you’re positioning the situation as one where in a particular space, there can be room for afab people or for amab people but not both, and in my experience, I know where that leads: amab trans* people such as myself are excluded. I don’t even bother to try to participate in “women and trans” spaces anymore; I’ve been burned too many times and so have my amab trans* siblings.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

  3. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on August 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    @GallingGalla about space for either faab or maab, that is exactly what I am trying to avoid, I am sorry if I failed, I guess I want communities to be broad enough to support those who need them, and I feel like while my freind might not want to be in say a lesbain club, the boarder policing is part of why he lost his freinds.

    @lucy yep, I think what you wrote is pretty much right, although I am not sure it is entitled to claim ones history, I guess with the christian situation I would say, it less about the churth and more about still being able to go to the craft circle, or the coffee afternoon to see the people you grew up with.

    Athough given we are talking about womens community I might choose a less dominiate (in a AUS/US context) and talk about still visiting the Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist community get togethers


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