Detransition – Clarifying My Conflictions

I’ve received supportive words regarding both my brief attempt to detransition and the future choice to detransition, when I am ready. These responses invoke a deep gratitude in me, and I cannot help but feel my heart expand with the sympathy/empathy given by the many compassionate people from all points of the political plurality surrounding me. Many have asserted, in many different ways, that if transition is not right for me that there is no shame in admitting this. And I agree with the sentiment.

Yet there is a misunderstanding here. A big one. There is the assumption that if I choose to detransition, then transing was not right for me.

Right for me? And the alternative is?! That we are positioning one as “right” and the other as “wrong,” depending upon the person and whether they are ultimately helped by one more than the other (transition vs. not) is to ignore the social context – and the fact that this reifies the two options and by extension, the patriarchally-enforced bio-medical complex.

The two non-options that we transsexuals are given:

“The process of de-ethicization of behavior by psychology and psychiatry has particular relevance for discussions of transsexualism and the consequences which follow. By attributing transsexualism to biological or psychological causes, scientists, as stated previously, are conveying that there are only two choices: (1) adjustment to one’s body-role; or (2) surgery and counseling to transform one’s body and role. In effect, both of these choices are biomedical – choice number one adds up to biology-is-destiny, and choice number two states that, this failing, hormonal and possibly surgical treatment (contingent upon one’s “passing,” of course) are indicated. Either way, the transsexual cannot really make an ethical choice because there are no choices to make.” [bolding added - MA]

Raymond, Janice. “The Transsexual Empire.” 1979. Pg 126.

Transition would be the ultimate embodiment of my gender conformity. It would result in a patchwork life far more pleasant than the alternative of adjusting to my body-role. I used to doubt that penile-inversion surgery could alleviate the weird combination of a desire to mutilate myself and the coping method of imagining myself “inverted” physically. The dual travesties of sex dysphoria and autogynephilia. Yet after watching videos of the surgery, after witnessing the moment the surgeon took the hollowed-out penis, devoid of its inner wholeness, and deftly flipped it backwards and inside-out, I knew.

Surgery would be the penultimate debasement of my life, the evolution of a disjointed and wailing self into the semblance of a doll with mouth sewn shut, eyes leering in clever satisfaction few others would fathom. The alchemical transmutation of lead to pyrite.

And I know I would love it. Having become accustomed re-shaping myself to the expectations of others, I would take to it like a submissive squeezing themselves into a box.

Yet the ultimate debasement would be the denial of myself, and I am not speaking of the rejection of my male body. I am speaking of the debasement of that part of myself which strives to climb and cares not for the long fall beneath. For if my body matches well enough the role that society deems my behavior to best “fit,” the bulk of the conflict would be equalized. The responsibility of dysphoria, of not “matching” my gender, would no longer be mine.

All I have to do is give up that part of myself which refuses to comply. Become innocent, free from the challenges of real choice – like a child.

Why do you think we keep calling ourselves “girls”?

The decision to detransition is not made lightly. Nor is the decision to hold off on it until I can formulate a better strategy than simply taking increasingly lower dosages of spironolactone and estradiol, as if all I am dealing with here is a dependence upon mere chemicals. Even drug addictions are more than just drugs – and this addiction is so much more:

It is an addiction to gender.

What makes this addiction problematic is I can’t tell the difference between using and sobriety. No one else seems to be able to tell me, either. There is an impulse to think of my “goal” as lying somewhere in-between the two choices of body-role compliance and pledging allegiance to the transsexual empire – but this is just another spectrum/duality in a world drowning in them. Patriarchy is dependent upon duality and hates plurality.

So what am I? How can I just be myself? How can I detransition unless I know what that even means?!

The choice to detransition is not informed by what “feels” best for me. It is not informed by which “choice” offers me the best chance to live with myself. It is decided upon by ethical considerations. By the realization that my decisions change the world and that the individual’s assertion that their life “doesn’t change the world all that much” is the precise reason the world is burning.

I refuse to comply. I refuse! But I don’t even know what that means. The choices are obfuscated, I keep turning corners, and the Minotaur endlessly pursues.

So is detransition or transition right for me? The answer, in no uncertain terms, is that neither are right. Neither are wrong. Both comply with the status quo, both serve the machine. I refuse to comply! Ah, but I repeat myself.

Because I don’t even know what that means. Someone let me know if they figure it out. I’ll do the same.

In the meantime, my transition will continue and in full conflict with the knowledge that I should detransition. That it is the ethical choice in a world of non-choices.

“I don’t wear makeup:” the Fetishizing of Women’s Liberation

Oppression is a politically useful identity – especially if you are privileged.

If you are male, and a white one at that, and outwardly heterosexual either for real or for pretend, your unearned access to opportunities is well beyond a casual attempt to account for them. Fortunately, there are a great many members of marginalized groups able and willing to describe these privileges to us – privileges we take for granted and would rather not know about. I suspect that deep down, most human beings do not enjoy being oppressors; yet, it is this very discomfort with being an oppressor that encourages those in privileged positions to ignore the reality that such a lofty status directly correlates to the lowly status of others.

There is an interesting narrative rather popular within the mainstream trans culture. It is an unsurprising one, an obvious one, and in retrospect a predictable outcome of identity politics: males who suddenly “identify” as women not only become women by virtue of said desire, but also retroactively alter their entire past to have always been female. This is additionally taken to mean that the aforementioned male was unaffected by sex role socialization and thus is “exempt” from analyses of abusive male behaviors, behaviors which invariably result from being socialized as a member of the abuser class.

Abusers engage in many tactics. One very common tactic among male abusers is to “play the victim.” The following quote is taken from Lundy Bancroft’s work “Why Does He Do That?” and is part of the description of the abuser profile known as The Victim:

“Pay attention to how he talks and thinks about abused women. A genuine male victim tends to feel sympathy for abused women and support their cause. The Victim, on the other hand, often says that women exaggerate or fabricate their claims of abuse or insists that men are abused just as much as women are.”

This one statement could be said to describe both the men’s rights activist and trans activist movements in a nutshell. Male-to-transsexual members of the trans activist movement consistently downplay the oppression of women while exaggerating their own marginalization (from false statistics to outright lying about the actions of radical feminists), and have a vested interest in the recreation of reality to suit their particular worldview that sex is a social construct.

Play the victim, obfuscate abusive tendencies, recreate reality – I think we get the picture. This is the male fantasy of the victim, a reversal of how abusive, misogynistic men think women are really like.

The victim fantasy gets old after a while. Let’s move on to the next fantasy, as exemplified by the following:

screenshot-by-nimbus (1)

 

Meet Sarah Brown, former UK politician notable for such spectacular statements as telling women to suck his “formaldehyde pickled balls,” saying (as a self-described “lesbian”) that vaginas are “a bit off-putting sometimes,” and launching an (unsurprisingly) failed campaign to name the waste fluids that accumulate and subsequently leak out of his inverted penis cavity after a feminist who is a well-known advocate for abused women. Oh, and of course, the above tweet as well.

Let’s just set aside his boorish attempt at characterizing gender-critical analysis, which is obviously not something he understands well enough to describe and/or disparage meaningfully. Look at the middle statement, spoken by him in this particular fantasy, and which is his inviolate response to the machinations of the equally fantastical gendercrit villains:

“I don’t wear any makeup.”

You probably see where I am going with this. However, bear with me a moment longer while I display one more example to etch my point in stark detail. The following is taken from their livejournal blog:

screenshot-by-nimbus (2)

It’s the “get back in the kitchen” part that truly exemplifies the sheer audacity of this fantasy. This male person is claiming not only that they are a woman and have been marginalized as such, but that they have the lived experience of a lesbian woman who has actually had to fight against patriarchal norms such as forcing women to wear makeup or risk often severe economic, social and/or physical consequences.

The first stage is the fetishization of female subjugation, romanticizing it as an unspoken alternative to the responsibility of owning up to one’s privileged position in society. The second stage is the heroic triumph over adversity, discarding the now-boring victimization fantasy for the more impressive delusion that they are a female lesbian who has – through countless struggles – found the courage to rebel against patriarchal strictures.

The male, whose former lack of makeup was a privilege, is now fulfilling an internal heroic fantasy by not wearing makeup. They are literally doing the exact same thing they did before, but now this non-action represents the fantasy of a courageous rebellion against societal norms. This mentality is seen over and over when self-defined “lesbian” MtT point towards particular behaviors or lack of behaviors which supposedly show their victimization by, and victory over, the societal norms that – according to their fantasy – attempted to force them into the female sex role. It is a way for men to congratulate themselves for literally doing nothing. It is the natural next step beyond the victimization fantasy, and represents a colonizing of the Women’s Movement.

This is the fetishizing of Women’s Liberation.

Delineating Autogynephilia: Porn-and-homophobia-induced vs. Transvestic Fetishism (a personal story)

[Just as a warning, talking about autogynephilia and my sexual past inevitably involves some things people will probably find disturbing/gross/weird/all-of-the-above. To clarify, this post is probably WAY too "awgawd-I-didn't-want-to-know-that!" for many of my readers. If so, please be aware that not all of my posts are like this.]

There’s a reason so many radical feminists refer to AGPs as “porn-sick men.” If a study were to be done, it would no doubt find that an overwhelming proportion of those suffering from autogynephilia (and who make others suffer with them) are addicted to pornography (overwhelming would probably mean all). In my personal experience with autogynephilia, and my observations of those purported to be “just like me,” I would posit a difference between those who have had their AGP induced by a combination of pornography and internalized homophobia, and those who have a long and rich history of transvestic fetishism, AKA erotic cross-dressing.

I am fortunate to be able to state that I am not a transvestic fetishist. The AGP cliche of stealing and subsequently ejaculating into female family member’s underwear is a memory I (very thankfully!) do not have. I have cross-dressed all of three times in my life prior to transitioning.

The first was for a Halloween party, and ironically (is it ironic?) my girlfriend-and-future-wife suggested I go dressed in women’s clothes. Apparently multiple people simply thought I was a woman who had been too unimaginative to dress in a costume, and my girlfriend later told me, humorously, that upon seeing me from behind she thought, “who is that ***** wearing a jacket just like mine- oh, that’s my boyfriend.” To me, it was a rather boring affair and I wished I had thought of something more interesting – especially when a guy I knew started hitting on me in a very creepy fashion.

The second time, I was really wasted. It was probably a week after I had first told my then-wife that I “wanted to cut my balls off,” again while I had been drunk (the next day I just pretended it didn’t happen – how difficult this must have been for her). So, I threw on a little skirt and a sequined top, and looked at myself in the mirror. My god, I was so fucked up that night (on multiple substances).

Now, as a little history, I had found erotic pleasure in my own mirror image for a very long time, probably since the age of 11 or 12, when my male parts started demanding that type of attention. I didn’t cross-dress…I was attracted to the male person in the mirror. Probably because I am attracted to males in general, and I won’t be shy – I am my own type (jesus, how weird is that?). Ok, so I got turned on by this image – but then a funny thing happened. As I became physically turned on, I realized – with mounting horror – that I wasn’t attracted to me in women’s clothes, but rather to what they were hiding, and was attracted to the idea of taking the clothes off so I could get at the real deal…the delightfully male body in the mirror.

There was a great deal of dissociation represented in that moment, and it threatened to “break through” the mental blocks protecting me against the realization that I was a gay man in a (nearly sexless – my wife later told me she always felt like I was “doing her a favor,” how horrible that must have felt) heterosexual marriage, and that I refused to come to terms with my weird desire to mutilate my male parts beyond recognition. The man in the mirror was my homosexual partner, and he was safe because he was me, but he was also not me. Yeah, this was a mindfuck I engaged in for about 17 years.

Third time, similar situation. It was after I started socially transitioning, and I was still addicted to pornography, alcohol, and drugs. The particular thought pattern that led to this act of cross-dressing is fuzzy, but it may have been based upon reading some experience of an undoubtedly fetishistic crossdresser/transsexual and I was like, “is this me?” So, in typical unabashed fashion of someone in the throes of a porn addiction, I decided to try it out, see if it was something I enjoyed. It lasted all of 30 seconds. Why? What was the problem? Well, I couldn’t see my body in the mirror anymore. I was becoming UN-aroused.

This is not the reaction of a transvestic fetishist. When I read the experiences of men who are turned on by it, I just don’t get it. Their stories simply do not have anything to do with me. They bear no relevance upon my life.

So where did my mostly-unconscious AGP come from? Why was it there? I posit that a deeply ingrained internalized homophobia in combination with pornography led to my experience of it. When watching pornography, I would imagine that I was the woman – by necessity, this was the only way I could enjoy being penetrated by men without “being gay.” When watching my body in the mirror (and when I did not have access to porn, a mirror was ALL that I needed) I could be attracted to men without it “being gay,” because I wasn’t actually being attracted to other men! How clever of me, to engage in the dual injuries of dissociation and narcissism as a way of circumventing my attraction to male-bodied people.

When a month or three of sexlessness had passed, and it came time to have sex with my wife who was feeling incredibly lonely, unappreciated, and ugly (frequent cuddling, light kissing and/or statements of how wonderful she was did not function as a replacement for sexual intimacy), I engaged my AGP in order to “make it work.” For those who may not understand, when someone is in this type of relationship, it is not enough to just focus on pleasing them – they can tell. They need you to also be enjoying the act. Seems obvious, I suppose. Pretending to enjoy it was something I got good at, but a man can only fake so much, know what I mean? So, when it came time for the full performance, I imagined that I was a woman, and she was a man, and that everything going on down there was inverted, so to speak. Weird stuff. Most of the time this occurred at the border of conscious and unconscious – I was an individual deeply in denial about pretty much everything.

[Let me just re-iterate how shitty this situation must have been for her. To my readers, please imagine her in her current relationship - full, happy and joyous, as I hear from my friends - and considering that her current husband was living with us during our failed, two-year attempt at a polyamory, I know they have a great sex life.]

So, fast-forward to me now. Things are a little different. It has been almost 7 months since I stopped consuming pornography, drugs and alcohol. These were all interrelated, of course, but the pornography had the worst effect upon my mental health. It is hard to describe how I can say that AGP has diminished to the point of no longer seeming to be there, but I recognize it in certain moments – namely that the only times I become turned on now are when I imagine being involved sexually and intimately with a man. I do not fit the common narrative of AGP in which a man is simply a “prop” for validation of my “feminine identity.” This was something I realized a short time ago, and which caused me to think realistically about detransitioning.

Feeling the level of dysphoria I once felt – feeling that terrible sense of unreality/dissociation and self-hatred again – is almost worth it in exchange for an honest, loving relationship with a man. The catch is that I am not ready to detransition yet (or ever, who knows?) and that in order to be successful at it, at least during this period of my life, I would need the love and support of a partner to help me through. Yet, I may be able to work it, somehow – there are some pretty amazing people out there, and I bet some of them are men who might fall in love with me, weirdness and all!

My AGP, from what I have observed of my own behavior/actions, seems to have been the result of a dual process of porn-sickness and internalized homophobia. As I have eliminated porn from my life (including television, whose advertisements are just porn to me) and have come to terms with needing/wanting to be in love with – and be sexually involved with – other men, the AGP has either dissolved, gone dormant, or taken a backseat in my psyche.

This does not mean that I never was AGP. Oh, I definitely was, in my own way, and I am terrified that if I ever decide to detransition, I will feel its malign fingers upon me again. But the motivations leading to it are important. Men who are transvestic fetishists have a different lived experience and behavioral trajectory than someone like me. I don’t feel anything remotely similar to the constant sense of satisfied lust seen on the faces of fetishistic cross-dressing men, or to the delusion that I am constantly walking around as the star of my own movie. I am also not attracted to women, and the fact that I am attracted to men puts me at an increased risk of violence. The fact that I also care about passing, so that people simply ignore me in my day-to-day life, increases the chances of facing “gay panic” reprisals. There are differences.

However, there is a last point to be made: a man who finds personal satisfaction in being seen as an “attractive” woman (to their own male gaze, of course), whether they themselves are aroused by their own image or not, is enacting autogynephilia in my view. What this means is that, at least on some level, a male transsexual who devotes effort to being perceived as a “pretty woman” really cannot claim that they are entirely unmotivated by autogynephilia.

To my mind, AGP is not so much a particular identity as it is a nearly inevitable aspect of being a male transsexual – the difference is how much, in what way, and by whom (obviously there are going to be exceptions – which is why I said “nearly”). The homosexual transsexuals will have a different motivation to their AGP than will a heterosexual transsexual who may be attracted to their own image as a “woman.” This distinction is made obvious to me as my body slowly changes to resemble less and less that of a man and subsequently my mirror image loses its erotic appeal.

Further, the transvestic fetishists who go on to become transsexuals will display AGP in a way which may seem entirely separate from what other transsexuals experience, especially if they are motivated to transition entirely because of this, and not sex/body dysphoria. Because of these disturbing examples, and the fact that many transvestic fetishists are also pedophiles/rapists/sex-offenders, very few transsexuals will admit to also being influenced in some way by autogynephilia.

This is how I think of it: all aspects of self are essentially neutral (well, almost all). Take, for example, being self-centered. This can be a really good thing, especially if someone is going through a difficult or traumatic event and needs to focus on themselves. A certain degree of self-care and self-focus is healthy. However, take someone with narcissistic personality disorder. These people are not very nice! They could do with a significant lessening of self-centeredness. However, saying that one engages in self-centered behavior is not saying that they are just like these narcissists.

In the same way, saying that someone is engaging in autogynephilic thoughts/activities as a male transsexual (literally, a male doing anything that makes them feel satisfied as being perceived as a “pretty woman,” sex dysphoria or no) is not necessarily a “bad thing.” There are a ton of reasons why a male transsexual would not only want to pass, but to look “pretty” – not all of them are as disturbing as a transvestic fetishist who is constantly aroused by themselves, and many of these reasons have to do with survival and/or finding a romantic/sexual partner in a rather fucked-up, patriarchal world.

Autogynephilia may in part be a survival tactic for many male transsexuals in order to maintain a healthy level of self-confidence and ability to find a romantic partner, or it may be the entire motivation for transitioning, as in the case of transvestic fetishists who go on to become transsexuals.

A strict delineation of those with/without AGP is not in my opinion especially accurate, nor does it aid in analyzing the phenomenon of transsexualism.

The Trickster

My transition has in many ways saved my life.

Over the past 11 months of transition and almost 7 months of HRT, I have: quit pornography; quit using drugs and alcohol; quit smoking; come to terms with having been raped; finally let go of my ex-wife; watched as my autogynephilic fantasies slowly faded due to the absence of pornography addiction and admission of childhood sexual abuse; and lastly, and almost more importantly than all the others, have overcome the suicidal ideation and self-rejection attached to my denial of being gay.

I am stopping HRT. I will no longer be transitioning and will no longer consider myself a transsexual, or even a transgender. There is no internal gender identity. It is time to just be myself, and part of who I am enjoys things associated with the gender performance of femininity. Yet wanting to wear jewelry and adorn myself with colorful things – as I did when I was a child – does not make me a woman. Delighting at the natural curls in my hair and wanting to scent myself with unique floral mixtures of essential oils does not make me a woman. Needing to be in love with and be loved by a man does not make me a woman.

Nor does standing with the sharp base of a tanto knife resting against my testicles, because I desperately need to cut them off, make me a woman.

The mistake I made was attempting to confront the trickster. One does not confront him, unless they want to chase him down the rabbit hole. Which is what I have been doing – what it seems the entire world has been doing, in order to get us into this big mess we’ve made of our world, and our humanity.

Some people call the trickster the shadow self. Sure, that works. To me, it is the part of one’s existence that is winking at you around the corner of yourself. It is the hall of mirrors – from him came my autogynephilia, the dissociation, my narcissism, my self-hatred and the despising of my attraction to other men. From him comes my desire to mutilate myself in the interest of separating myself from masculinity.

Masculinity is destroying the world. It is the lifeblood of the war machine. It is the great game that men play with people’s lives, a game we sometimes allow women to join in, but in just enough token numbers to say, “hey look, it’s not just men! The problem is women, too!” This is the trickster. This is humanity lying to itself, men pretending that we don’t enjoy war as a group, that we are doing only what is necessary, that things like nuclear weapons and state-sponsored genocides are unavoidable in certain circumstances.

Masculinity told me it was okay to watch pornography. Pornography is a mockery of sex. It mocks the act of love. It mocks women. Masculinity is a long, hard, mockery of women, of the natural world, of humanity itself. It tells us to control ourselves and to control others, with violence if necessary. We as a species are on the verge of self-destruction in a literal sense, because of masculinity and male violence.

Gender can become somatized. My testicles represent all that is wrong with the world, the dominance structures that I am ordered to take part in, the people I am encouraged to hurt and abuse, the life I am told that caring about makes me weak. The trickster has me by the balls, not just figuratively, but physically. Over time the dictations of gender not only become somatized, they become associated with chemical responses, such as testosterone. I am like Pavlov’s dog, programmed to respond to the pressures of gender not only in a symbolic way, but in a biochemical fashion.

To transition is to confront the trickster. To remove his power over me, to cut off the balls he grips so painfully. To reject his machinations.

Yet this is not how one overcomes a shadow. To confront the trickster is to become him. He is a paradox, he is myself, he is not my enemy. To treat him like one is to become my own enemy – which is the current predicament I am in now. It is the predicament of the world at the moment as well. The trickster defies order, an order which all state societies seek to impose upon their citizens. In seeking to confront and control this aspect of humanity, in seeking to stop evil and prevent violence, these state structures become the evil. When you play with the trickster, he always wins.

This is how people come to believe that engaging in war will bring peace, even though this pattern has been shown to fail over and over for as long as we have written down human history. We refuse to believe that evil is a part of us, that it is not something that exists out there, that if we just find and stop the right people all of this wrongness will end.

No. It starts with us, it always starts within ourselves. The trickster is chaos, he is the itch that never leaves us, he is the mad desire to see the stars close up, whatever the cost.

I will no longer fight the trickster. I will work with him – because he is me. To cut him off is to be half a person.

We Desperately Need New Ideas

Among gender-critical trans, there is an oft-spoken of distinction between gender dysphoria and sex dysphoria. This is taken as fact, and yet I cannot help but wonder what the basis for this distinction is – and in what is it grounded.

The explanation makes sense initially and seems to provide a useful method for delineating between people who are transsexual and those who are transgender. According to the logic of this division, people who experience sex dysphoria and are therefore transsexual (assuming they physically transition, of course) feel a myriad of negative emotions towards their own sexed bodies, ranging from discomfort to disgust to hatred; people who experience gender dysphoria are feeling a similar discomfort/disgust/hatred but rather towards the oppressive system of gender itself. The latter group may or may not have any feelings of wanting to change their sexed bodies – the desire is to express aspects of personality which they are not permitted to express because of the roles, stereotypes and expectations placed upon their biological sex category by a gendered society.

This is by no means to say that those who experience dysphoria in relation to our bodies are the same as those that do not. Do not mistake me in this regards – there is a huge difference in terms of lived experience, and this distinction is crucial. However, my point is that sex dysphoria and gender dysphoria, both of which are experienced by people who do not identify as trans, have the same cause – gender itself.

One of the attractive features of gender-critical analysis is its basis in logic and, well – analysis. It attempts to avoid the feeling-based ideology of transgenderism that says male and female are, like gender, socially constructed, and that biological reality is not a reality at all, but a feeling. This is, of course, because “gender-critical” transsexuals are taking the analyses of radical feminism and running with them. Somewhere – and not always in the same direction as radical feminists.

For example, one of the most famous writings about transsexualism by a radical feminist was by Janice Raymond when she wrote “The Transsexual Empire: the Making of the She-Male.” Raymond did not talk about sex dysphoria as if it was a separate issue from gender dysphoria. She talked about it as if it was the same thing.

“My main conclusion is that transsexualism is basically a social problem whose cause cannot be explained except in relation to the sex roles and identities that a patriarchal society generates. Through hormonal and surgical means, transsexuals reject their “native” bodies, especially their sexual organs, in favor of the body of the opposite sex. They do this mainly because the body and the genitalia, especially, come to incarnate the essence of their rejected masculinity and desired femininity. Thus transsexualism is the result of socially prescribed definitions of masculinity and femininity, one of which the transsexual rejects in order to gravitate toward the other.” [emphasis mine]

- Janice Raymond, “The Transsexual Empire,” pg 16

I think there are a lot of aspects of radical feminism that do not answer the nuanced questions of transsexualism, and do not adequately address the main problem – what do we do with our dysphoria? For those who experience dysphoria in relation to our bodies (as I do), the idea that our problem is really with gender does not seem to compute. Certainly there is a difference between theory and practice; realizing that there is a problem does nothing to immediately ease the problem itself.

However, I see a problem for the future public presentation of gender-critical trans/dysphoric people. Members of the public will ask: “isn’t basing your transsexualism on sex dysphoria really just relying on yet another feeling?” Certainly, positioning sex dysphoria as something that cannot be questioned or analyzed does nothing to help us over the long-term. And yet, questioning biological bases for the existence of sex dysphoria does nothing to immediately resolve the lived experiences of those suffering from it.

Ultimately I agree with the radical feminist idea that transsexualism/transgenderism is a “social problem,” as in, it is related to gender, whether or not these issues develop into a psycho-somatic body dysphoria. This is the premise upon which my activism, and my life, will progress.

Radical feminism was not created for trans people. It exists by, and for, women. Obviously it is not going to answer the problem of what to do with our dysphoria, whether we experience it as social or sex dysphoria. To me, radical feminism points out a mess that trans people and dysphoric people such as myself are in – but it does not tell us what to do. This is ultimately up to us.

The transgenderist movement is old hat – it puts a feather in the cap of gender and walks down a desolate street with a fake swagger in its step. It ignores studies which show no lessening in suicide risk after transition while at the same time claiming transition is necessary to prevent suicide. The trans movement is just another lie in a world already choked with them.

The world is in desperate need of new ideas. The world is dying from lack of new ideas.

So are trans people dying for lack of new ideas. We need more people to explore this frightening terrain. Hopefully we can find alternatives to transition.

Those alternatives will, by necessity, require the altering of society.

The Restroom Revolution Vanguard

The restroom debate is a central topic in both trans and gender-critical issues and one which is often portrayed in simplistic terms by those on either ‘side.’ All parties tend to paint it as a conversation about safety, one which would be easily resolved if only participants in the discussion could embrace compassion and acceptance. I do not think the restroom issue is simple at all. I think it is complex, and needs to be made even more complex. In order to accomplish any real change in society at large, I recognize the restroom as a place in which revolution must begin – those of us trans who are willing should muster our courage and take up arms against the real problem faced by all trans and by all biological women: male dominance and gender itself.

 

Safety

In a survey published in 2013 of 93 trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the DC area, it was found that over 70% of respondents had experienced some sort of harassment in using sex-segregated (the study calls these gender-segregated) restrooms. Compared to the demographics of DC, the study was over-representative of whites and women (unfortunately I have to state that, yes, I am talking about women, AKA adult females). However, the study was somehow representative of income-based demographics. The respondents were over-representative of higher education levels versus DC averages. Unsurprisingly, the brunt of verbal harassment and physical assault while using sex-segregated restrooms was borne by low-income PoC.

Eight of the respondents (9%) reported being physically assaulted while attempting to use the restroom of their choice. One transwoman reported being sexually assaulted in the men’s restroom. This is the only reported instance I have heard of a male-to-trans being attacked or assaulted in our biologically correct restroom.

The above study is one of the only scholarly works analyzing the phenomenon of trans harassment in the context of sex-segregated restrooms. It is, as the author herself states, merely an exploratory introduction to further studies, and itself is subject to many limitations, such as the survey method being convenience sampling, and the respondents being not statistically representative of the DC area’s demographics.

It is a testament to the transgender movement’s need for dramatization in order to accomplish its goals that this study is unanimously cited as showing that “70% of transgender people surveyed reported harassment or discrimination in trying to use a restroom” here, here, and here, while failing to mention that this was a small study conducted using unreliable survey methods, and was not representative of the larger population (vital for a study’s generalizability).

 

All other instances of violence, whether sexual or no, have occurred when trans attempt to use cross-sex restrooms. For example, a female-to-trans (transman) was violently attacked in the men’s restroom: this is obviously a hate crime based upon the (male) perpetrator having carved ‘it’ into the female-to-trans’ flesh. Two other instances that are popularly touted as examples – the Hercules High assault and the Chrissy Polis case – are not, in fact, examples of trans experiencing discrimination in cross-sex restrooms. In the former incident, the student admitted the entire incident was falsified, and the Chrissy Polis assault was not due to them being trans, but because she was perceived as having been flirting with the perpetrator’s boyfriend (her assaulters thought she was a woman).

 

Fuzzy Discrimination

No one should face violence when using a restroom. No one should face harassment. However, when the claim is made that trans are being discriminated against when prohibited from using cross-sex restrooms, I have to ask: what makes this discrimination? A male-to-trans prevented from entering, or being told to leave, the women’s restroom is not being denied access because they are trans, but rather because they are male. The individual may disagree with this assessment, and in many cases the law is on their side in terms of gender identity/expression.

But not everyone thinks only in terms of gender. In fact, I might posit that most people either conflate the two concepts or would describe their process of differentiation more in terms of biology rather than self-expression through clothing or mannerisms.

So for example, if male-to-trans AKA transwomen are male (which we are), and all other males are being denied access to the women’s restroom, then someone who perceives the male-to-trans as male is not discriminating against them for being trans but rather applying to them the same restrictions ascribed to all other males. Understandably, this is embarrassing for the trans, and I know first-hand that being trans itself can be construed as a source of embarrassment, but we must acknowledge that this does not necessarily fit the definition of discrimination.

 

Validation Conflated With Violence

A trans being denied access to cross-sex restrooms is not, as I posited above, necessarily about discrimination. It is representative of the refusal by many individuals (myself included) to concede that biology itself – and the social realities that have become entwined and embedded within these biological categorizations from conception – are mercurial dependent upon the individual’s internal assessment of such. An individual who has been socialized as male, has been perceived as a man throughout their entire adult life (and received the privileges inherent to this class membership), does not suddenly and retroactively rewrite their entire life history to have “always been a woman” – unless one removes all meaning from the word ‘woman’ except whatever meaning the transgender movement allows to be included. We must remind ourselves that language not only describes, but also dictates, our relationship to reality.

Validation has become conflated with violence in trans circles. ‘Misgendering’ is violence and speaking openly about male-to-trans being male is regarded as an outright attack by well-known transgender activists. When the act of recognizing biological reality is tantamount to a hate crime, no conversation is possible.

It also prevents trans from being able to distinguish, and name, the real problem: male violence. Why are male-to-trans AKA transwomen afraid of going in to the men’s restroom? Supposedly, it is out of fear of greater risk of assault. Even though this has not been shown to necessarily be the case, it does illustrate that male-to-trans are aware of the issue of male violence enough to be wary of such places. The added threat of invalidation nails in the conviction that using men’s restrooms are less safe.

This is the same reason so many women are anxious about the idea of male-to-trans using the women’s restrooms: we are male, and they do not want males – many of us with a lifetime of masculine heritage – gaining legal access to their restrooms and places of refuge from men. To reiterate: the reason that male-to-trans (transwomen) avoid the men’s restroom is the same reason that women do not want us in theirs. Or, as someone else so succinctly described the issue:

“If trans don’t feel safe being around penises in spaces segregated by biological sex, and expect special accommodation because of their need for safety, then how come they won’t allow women the exact same consideration?” (comment by Cheryl in an article about Sheila Jeffreys).

 

Confronting the Problem: the Restroom Revolution Vanguard

What is the Restroom Revolution Vanguard? In short, it is a front-line confrontation of masculine supremacy and male violence. It is a way to turn the conversation around, so that the real issue of male violence, and the oppressive nature of gender itself, can be addressed. Not all male-to-trans – and this is truly a front-line protestation of specifically male-to-trans against other males – will be willing or able to join the RRV. For many, if not most of us,  the idea of invalidating or outing ourselves, or of deliberately putting ourselves within the scope-sights of the male Gaze and of possible male violence and harassment, is unthinkable.

Which is why this is a ‘vanguard.’

The more passing, the more feminine, the more perceived as a woman you are – this is the ideal candidate for revolution. Those who participate in the RRV would ideally have a solid understanding of gender-critical topics, and be able to effectively communicate these ideas with speed if and when they are confronted by other males or authority figures. Male-to-trans who are still legally male, and can provide documentation of such, are the most useful candidates. And last, but certainly not least, you should be willing and able to defend yourself.

The reasons for the above desired attributes are as follows:

  1. Witnessing a woman entering the restroom will initially cause confusion/distress and activate male-socialized paternalism. When closer inspection (or disclosure by the MtT) results in recognition of the individual as male, this will subsequently activate masculine tendencies towards homophobia and/or enforcement of social norms. The tendency towards aggression by the male in question is representative of their weakness. It is this weakness that is advantageous to the RRV.
  2. Being able to calmly and politely discuss gender-critical topics even in the face of emotional reactions may result in the unexpected education of individuals who would otherwise never (or rarely) be confronted by such topics. This opens the possibility of actively engaging the ambassadors of masculinity in revolutionary discussion.
  3. Being legally male offers a justification for being in the restroom, allows for an easy example of the distinction between sex and gender (an in-road to gender-critical discussion), and may provide recourse if accused of attempted prositution by law enforcement officials.
  4. The capacity to defend yourself is self-explanatory. I suspect that the risk is low considering the elements of homophobia and the discomfort most men would feel by being confronted with the specter of femininity in the man’s restroom, but as shown by the single instance reported in the study I referenced at the beginning of this post, violence can and does happen. Be careful. Confronting male violence and the reasons it occurs (masculinity) is no easy task, and not for those unsuited to its dangers. Yet I would also give an additional warning: do not allow yourself to desire such conflict or embrace its occurrence. If you participate in the RRV in hopes of ‘beating up a homophobe’ or some such, then you are part of the problem, you are part of the phenomenon of male violence. Learn how to de-escalate situations, first and foremost. The fundamental principle of the RRV is to start a conversation that is unerringly being silenced.

The truest revolutions occur within the mind. The RRV is a means to bring gender-critical conversations to the right audience: men. One of the foremost questions we of the RRV are assuredly going to be asked is why we do not use the women’s restroom. To a gender-critical trans, the answer is easy: we are not women, by virtue not only of having been identified as male at birth, but more importantly by having been subjected to male socialization.

This is a perfect opener for a conversation which needs to be had, a conversation which no one but radical feminists and gender-criticals seem to be asking for us to have. It is a way to bring to national attention the fact that people like Laverne Cox, who claim on television that they were not identified as male but rather ‘assigned’ male, are not representatives of all trans.

The RRV is an attempt to forcibly bring this conversation to a population that has ears only for those who represent the ideological dead-end of post-modern identity politics. It is a way to overcome the silencing tactics and no-platforming by the transgender movement.

Our mantra: “we do not identify as male, we are male.” Sex is a category, not an identity.

It’s about time we recognize the importance of this reality.