I am invisible
So says the badge that often sits on the back of my bag.
I am not sure where it is from, but I keep it because it is true, in a whole lot of different ways.
Invisibility is contested territory when trans people talk.
But the process, watching myself become invisible is fascinating, I am not read as male by those who do not know me, and as someone who is genderqueer, I will probably never be correctly read by the vast majority of people.
I am invisible
Unlike most trans guys I know I was reasonable femme as a girl, and reasonable attractive by mainstream standards for a lot of my childhood* adolescence and young adulthood, I was a target, I was public property, my interactions with men are still based on that dance of fear, when I always have my guard up, and I never smile at strangers.
Failing to present as male, and managing to present as an ugly girl, butch dyke, lesbo! gets me a lot less attention, in the most part and fuck it is good, and I am not the only one who has noticed this.
I wrote a couple of times before about the privilage of being left the fuck alone, and I am glad of it.
[trigger warning: sexual harassment, child abuse]
Their are exceptions, I was surrounded on a train four or five big guys, kids but I know I probably couldn’t have taken one of them, abused, told that I should be “raped straight” with detailed discussion of how they would like to do it, and then having had their fun they left,
I will probably not ever be completely free of this, their will be people willing to make me bleed for being a not sufficiently masculine man, just as their where for being either a fuckable, or non fuckable women.
But this whole experience reminds me why I am a feminist, because no body, deserves this treatment and whatever I can do to stop it happening to other people, I will do that.
*I was one of those young girls who got marked as adult and therefore suitable to adult attack on my sexuality young “if their is grass on the pitch it ok to play” I personally knew what that mean, knew that threat before I left primary school.
She shouldn’t have been arrested, she shouldn’t have been placed in a male jail, she shouldn’t have died.
She sat at the intersection of too many kinds of hatred, and she died for it.
I found a incoming like to this blog, which I will not like back about someone joking about trans men’s fear of victimisation in jail.
This to put not to fine a point on it, triggered the fuck out of me, because I am scared, because I suffer from flashbacks and memories of past victimisation, because in a male jail I would be a small non passing guy with breasts and a cunt.
I would be vulnerable, and because of a law discussed in my state, that looked good on paper about the searching trans* people by police was writen is such a way that a detective could argue that they where in the right because they assumed that a butch women was really a _trans man_ and therefore it was appropriate for them to search her, rather than treating her in the same way that a gender conforming cis person would be treated.
Lets be clear, conversations about rape need to centre women, the primary victims of sexual abuse, and convsations about trans* victims of rape should center trans women, and other maab trans people, as they are at higher risk of victimisation, but we do ourselves no favours by ignoring abuse, any violation, treating it as as not important.
But, I care about humans, and that means stepping back from a rigid kyriarchical analysis and recognising that all victims are stripped of their humanity, and reconfirming that humanity should be a step on the journey.
It’s absolutely acceptable to center a particularly oppressed group when talking about rape, especially when you belong to that group yourself. I find it entirely acceptable and even positive for women to focus on rape committed against women, and to not be constantly compelled to talk about men, who are in a position of relative privilege. I find it similarly acceptable and positive for trans* people of whatever gender to focus on rape committed against other trans* people, and to not be constantly harassed about caring more about cis survivors. I find it acceptable and positive for people with disabilities to talk about sexual violence specifically committed against other people with disabilities, and to not have to deal with constant reminders that abled people are raped, too.
And I honestly have not the slightest clue why anyone would think that I might want to take that from them.
But actively denying those survivors you don’t center is a different story. Castigating someone else for talking about them ever, and for even calling their experiences rape, is an entirely different subject. Outright saying that you do not care if they are raped may indeed be an expression of righteous anger, but it’s sure as hell not getting us anywhere, collectively. Ejecting other survivors from a larger community of survivors is alienating, as is also attempting to eject those who dare mention their existence.
That post made me feel a lot better, because I know that I have privilege in this society, I know that many people have it worse than me, and I feel once again like I am standing with the community knowing that those around me wont tell me that my issues are unimportant, that they can be gotten too, later, or not at all.
TL;DR: Look, I don’t expect you to advocate for me, or focus activism on me rather other groups, particularly when those groups are in as bad, or worse a position socially but supporting you shouldn’t be based on pulling me, or anyone else down, or thinking that another oppressed group should be raped because that is just so gosh-darn-funny, and you know, edgy
This is a trigger warning, I am talking about some heavy stuff.
I have been abused.
I have had my boundaries walked all over.
I don’t yet know how enforce by boundaries, under stress, in all conditions.
When I had just turned 18 I had sex I didn’t want to have with a much older man, he argued that it meant much more to him that we had sex than it meant to me that we didn’t, I still get nightmares about that.
I internalised this message, I didn’t say no, when I was tired, when I was sick, when I was so angry that I wanted to vomit.
I take sleeping pills sometimes, I found myself wanting to thank my partner for not abusing my intoxication on them, for curling up with me and patting me and making me feel safe.
I identified as female or something like it, most of my life, I am almost always read as female.
Rape culture taught me well, and those lessons are going to take a long time to unlearn.
I have read this post several times of the years, and every time, every point makes me want to scream in agreement.
I am terrified that because of my victimisation I am now damaged goods, broken, I was scared to see my partner and my lover because I though they would reject me, that what we had would be destroyed because I was no longer, unspoilt.
You don’t need to be female to be a femalizied victim.
To be a victim of this fucked up world