You Can’t Ignore the Bug

Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism, rape, assault, violence, harassment

I write this piece from a position of privilege and thus, my beliefs and opinions on this are also tainted by this privilege. As a white trans man who has no worry about being outed for being trans*, I am able to write and discuss something that has little effect on my personal life (in terms of my identity, rights, and body). Thus, I respect and understand beliefs, reactions, and thoughts that are different than mine. Not everyone is afforded the same luxury I have with this.

I see many people talk about how ignoring Cathy Brennan is the best course of action. How is we stop feeding into her trans*phobia, cissexism, and especially her transmisogyny, that she will just go away. I have a major problem with this approach. Cathy Brennan is more than just a very vocal TERF, Cathy Brennan is a very active person in the queer community. She actively works against trans* people, especially trans women, and their supporters. She slanders their names and posts them to websites along with murderers and rapists. She accuses their existence of raping cis women and that they are actively homophobic against lesbians. She contacts their places of employment, sometimes outing them as trans* which puts their livelihoods (both physical and monetary) in danger. More recently, Brennan and her crew have pushed a young trans* teen to be put on suicide watch.

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Where Do We Belong?: Gender and Privilege

Privilege is always a sticky discussion. It is something almost everyone experiences in varying degrees in some aspect of their lives whether it is gender, sexuality, race, social status, etc. Privilege and the lack of privilege is something that is extremely important in the discussions about intersectionality and oppression in feminism. However, as someone who presents and IDs as male, I’m left in a weird gray area.

As a trans man, where do I stand in feminism? I’ve experienced misogyny and sexism in the past, especially since I worked in a video game store for most of my working adult life. For 20 years of my life, I presented as female even if my gender identity did not match this, this is how I was perceived by the world. Working in a male dominated area, I experienced sexism and misogyny. I have a history with these things, a very personal history. Transitioning does not erase my history, as my history is part of me. I do not deny being trans* and fully embrace it as part of my identity. I should not be excluded from feminist spaces (not women’s spaces, as a man, I do not belong there). I also must sidestep and let women speak before me. I must acknowledge, accept, and understand how my new privileges affect me in my life. I am seen as a man (most of the time). However, this does not erase my history with sexism and misogyny.

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