Guest Blog: Blake Croissant on Transphobia

This is a special guest post by my friend Blake. I was going to put it on the “Your Stories” page, but decided that this piece deserves front page treatment. So I turn it over to him:

As a queer transgender male, I am familiar with transphobia and homophobia. Morgan Freeman has said, “Homophobia isn’t a phobia, you aren’t scared, you’re just an asshole.” As a trans guy, I fight discrimination constantly in a transphobic world. Often it stems from people not understanding. Often people say that I am a woman. I was born a woman. I have female genitalia. Insurance refuses to pay for my therapy although I have gender identity disorder, which is when your designated sex at birth (DSAB) does not match what you identify as. For me, regardless of what my DSAB is, I identify as a man. I am a man because I see myself as a man. It does not matter if I do not have male genitalia. It does not matter that I haven’t had surgery to remove my breasts.

Our definitions of male and female is even transphobic, written by cis people (people whose gender identity matches their DSAB.) Our definition of transgender is an umbrella term. There are females to males, called ftms, trans guys, trans boys, trans men, trans bois. That’s just for one part of the umbrella and the part I’m most educated with, because I’m a trans guy. I’ve used several terms when describing myself. There are the gender queers, people who identify as neither gender. There are the male to female. It’s all an umbrella term used to herd us into a group and say there, that’s trans people. My own father has thought it is okay to call his son (he still has a hard time seeing me as his son) a tranny and transvestite. If you point out that these are offensive terms, like calling a black person a nigger, they get very offended.

I’ve experienced homophobia as well, and the worst has been when it’s from members of the LGBTQQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Allies) community. Even that acronym, which has been so much better about including others, leaves members of the community out. What about the asexauls (people who are attracted to others, but do not want to have sex), the polyamorous (people who believe in open relationships)? What about the people in between? We are often left out.

My uncle is a gay man. When I came out as transgender, he told me you are not a man. You are just a very butch person. I was very hurt by this statement, because I know that my uncle faces discrimination every day. I thought he would be able to support me on my gender identity but he did not. He is a member of the LGBTQQA community. He is transphobic. He wanted nothing to do with it. I recently spent the weekend with my extended family. My uncle was there. He did not talk to me about it. No one talked to me about it. He did not call me Blake. My cousin picked me up from the airport and said, we know you’re a guy now, but we are not going to use your preferred gender pronouns (pgps) and we are not calling you Blake. Don’t get offended, but I have a ten-year-old and I don’t know how to explain it to her.

How was I to not be offended? The way she said, I don’t want to have to explain my cousin, it made me feel like I was sick, diseased, unwanted. It happens every time I’m in class and people see me as a woman. It happens when I date someone and they say things like, well, don’t have the surgery to make yourself match your identity. The common response I’ve heard has been, I don’t care if you are a guy, just don’t do anything to make that true physically. When I was recently in therapy, I pay for each session, well over one hundred dollars a session, because my insurance company refuses to pay, she is a transgender specialist. I pay for each hormone shot. If I was cis, I wouldn’t have to. In therapy she told me that it doesn’t matter what I look like. There is never an excuse to repeatedly misgender someone. Instead of dating now, I stay single because there is always a condition placed on me and my transition.

When I came out to my grandparents, my Grandma said, well your birth certificate says you’re a female. I laughed and said it also says that I was six pounds. A lot has changed. I usually have humorous retorts. I have been known to get sassy. But there is never a reason to repeatedly misgender someone. There is never a reason to repeatedly use the wrong pgp’s or preferred names.

The world is transphobic. We’re homophobic. It happens every day. I can be fired in the state of North Carolina for being queer and trans. There is violence in the world. Every November there is Transgender Day of Remembrance, TDOR, because we are being murdered. People are shocked when they find out. This is the twenty-first century; surely we don’t murder people because they have a partner or because they started out as a woman and became a man. It does happen. We don’t talk about it. Statements like I don’t care what you identify as, but I’m not going to respect you because I don’t know how to talk about it or understand it, need to stop. Ultimately, if you cannot respect my gender, you can’t respect me, because it comes down to so many different aspects of my life.

I fight it every single day. I’m sick of fighting. I just want to live my life as a simple man and not have it be a big deal. I want to love someone without the fear that they will leave me, like everyone else has, for a cisgender person. Hatred of any kind needs to stop being tolerated.

– Blake Croissant

About fliponymous

Bisexual activist, thinker, writer, husband and father, non-traditional Graduate student, member BiNet USA Board of Directors. When I grow up I want to be an Existential/Feminist Psychotherapist, a community college instructor, and expand my work for bisexual visibility and equality for everyone in the QUILTBAG. This is my personal blog and the views here do not represent the official position of BiNet USA.
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18 Responses to Guest Blog: Blake Croissant on Transphobia

  1. tschulte0296 says:

    Wonderfully written. Some of us do care and respect the hell out of you for being true to yourself.

  2. Nico says:

    Hi Blake. Thanks for writing… it means a lot to find people who share the same dream. Good luck to you. I love you.

    • Thank you so much for the love, friend. I am happy to write things for the community and spread some education out there. Thank you for listening to what I have to say.

  3. budgetmtg says:

    My two cents (a cis-guy engaged to a trans woman) is that you refuse to acknowledge people (specifically family) if they don’t use the correct pronouns.

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  6. This was a very well written piece and I found it very interesting. I’m sorry to hear about your family. Good luck in the future :3

  7. Michael says:

    The thing I most dislike about trannies is how impossibly rude and ill-bred they are. They don’t “get” that the FIRST rule of Polite Modern English is: “Never correct people.” If someone calls you a captain in the army and you are actually a boatswain in the navy, and he is evidently sincere in his misapprehension and means no ill by it–smile and let it go. The second rule is: “Never insist that people address you on your terms”–Who has ever known a tranny who understood THAT little nicety of civilized behavior?

    • I’m confused. When was I rude or being ill-bred in asking people to respect my identity?

      • Michael says:

        Your identity, if you have one, is one of those things you needn’t–and ought not to–require other people to respect, above what normal good manners dictate. Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?

        • fliponymous says:

          Michael, for someone concerned about “good manners” you are very insistent on your right to deny basic courtesies to others. How would you feel if I addressed you as “Chimpy” and claimed that it wasn’t an insult because names are arbitrary labels and why are you so wrapped up in your identity?

          Good manners require us to use the names and labels that others prefer rather than just sticking our own names and labels on others.

    • fliponymous says:

      Michael: Your comment has been answered by Blake on today’s front page, but let me add: you are yourself not only rude but positively hateful.

      Your only use to me is to serve as a bad example to point to. Go shit in your hat.

      • Michael says:

        The other thing I find most revolting in these hybrid vulture/women (Harpies that they seem to be) is their willing recourse to scatology: flinging feces while they screech opprobrium. Speaking of bad examples.

        • fliponymous says:

          You opened this discussion with a slur. What did you expect? Now you double down on them. Blake has been nothing but polite to you — *I* am the one who envisions feces dripping down around your ears, and I stand by that statement. Continued use of transphobic slurs will result in your being banned.

          You want to talk about manners? Fine. It’s poor form to come to an article about transphobia, make transphobic comments, and then complain that you’re the one being ill-treated. It would be rather like going to a cafe and peeing in someone else’s coffee because you feel that it’s your right to do so.

          The only reason you have been allowed to comment here is so I could shine a light under your rock and watch you wriggle back into the slime from which you came. If you wish to behave, stop using slurs and insisting that your comfort is more important than the self-determination of others, then we can talk. Keep it up and you can look forward to wondering why your comments aren’t showing up anymore.

  8. judyt54 says:

    and to throw another ember on the fire (flip, you may delete this if it seems out of line) , is how much I dislike shit-stirrers who react to the wrong part of a message just because they can. I expect people to respect my identity, my name, my public persona. Not a lot to ask. But I do have to earn that respect simply by behaving as if I HAD a public (i.e. always aware of who might be watchng, reading, listening) persona that I cared about.
    Blake, as a card carrying human, is asking for just that. The sad thing is, he has to ask.

    On the other hand, if someone wishes to see him as rude, or opinionated, then by god they’ll find the button and push it. Including using language that is specifically calculated to offend, and to push their own point home.

    Blake makes an interesting (if inadvertent ) comment on the nature of humans themselves: We are the animal that Keeps Score, and we are the animal that Names. We have a need to identify everything, from “Bear” and “Turtle” to “small black and white Kiiwi indigenous only to Disneyworld”…If we didnt have the need to gender ID everyone to feel comfortable about ourselves and where we fit into all of it, life would be kinder to everyone. We’d only have to live up to ourselves, not our hashtags.

    Blake, excellent post. Thank you for helping me understand far more than I did.

    • fliponymous says:

      Judy, the day I delete you is the day I delete myself. You taught me how to do this, deah, and I love ya for it.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I had to say and for listening. That is all I wanted when I wrote this, was for people to stop and think about their actions if they are transphobic, and see how they affect people. Because words hurt. I shouldn’t have to be asked to be seen as a human being, but sadly I do.

  9. judyt54 says:

    Blake, not so very long ago as these things were counted, women were in the same position: learned and wise men debated in serious tones over whether women were even the same species as men. Did they have souls? Did they deserve the same rights and privileges as the far more superior (read, “I am superior because I say I am, and I can shout louder”) males. They were bought and sold like property in land deals (called doweries), where everyone won but the young women. They had to realize themselves that they had value, and worth, and souls. Once they did that, they became accepted.
    This may be why so many women of any persuasion can understand and sympathize with that need to be considered human you experience. And it may be why so many men (some of whom should, quite frankly, understand) are so hostile about it. They don’t have to deal with the conflict of the inner you battling the outer physical you waging its own war for acceptance.
    I think, too, it confuses them; it angers them. Maybe even scares them a bit. It doesnt fit their tidy world view.
    I have a URL that might be worthwhile looking into, Blake.
    http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/tag/rev-sean-parker-dennison/

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