“People like you and I are virtually invisible”

I thought this comment (left last night by Juniper) was really on point and relevant to what I am concerned with right now so I wanted to feature it in a post (I know not everyone reads comments here.)   I am also including the reply I just wrote.

____________________________________

 

Hey Joel,

I think that it is very important that the gender spectrum be as inclusive as possible and that all kinds of differences in gender expression are supported in textbooks and are visible in the media.

At this time, I see no viable visibility in the media for people who are androgynous, de-transitioning, or who meet the textbook criteria of transgender but chose to live and accept their bodies. A young person who is gender-variant may feel that they have few options but to pursue transition or to live inauthentically. People overwhelmingly hear in the media that surgeries and hormones are absolutely necessary for people who are transgender to live meaningful and happy lives.

There is no representation in the media for people who live quite well and enjoy balanced and well-adjusted lives yet radically defy gender stereotypes.

Our story is not told. People like you and I are virtually invisible.

So, what happens to the kid who is questioning their gender? They look into their options and literally see a DEAD END. No matter what they do, no matter how far they go with surgeries and hormones, they cannot change their DNA or their root socialization. How can they be sure that society will change their perception of them? Can they be sure that they will “pass?” Can they be sure that the secret of their sex at birth will ever be exposed?

They hear that it will be difficult to find a life-partner, that the surgeries are prohibitively expensive and that they will never be 100% like other men and/or women. They learn that surgeries and hormones can only do so much.For instance, if they are FtM, it is unlikely that they will ever have a successful “bottom surgery” even after paying $100,000. And if you are 5’1 as a woman … guess what … you will be 5’1 as a man.

They hear from the media that their future is bleak. This is a lot of stress for a young person to handle. They seek support in the transgender community and there is no Transgender “Pride” parade but rather a Trans Day of Remembrance to remind them that suicide and murder are very real outcomes in their community and that they are disproportionally at risk.

Do you know how many women are raped or killed by boyfriends and stalkers? My god – if women’s history month was all about rape, I would have killed myself a long time ago!

Where is the support to believe in one’s inherent worth? Where are the examples of (so many) people who have lived long and well WITHOUT surgeries or hormones? Where are the stories of people who have survived extreme challenges and suffering yet have moved courageously forward to detransition and reclaim their lives?

Our voices are silenced as we are made out to be the “enemy” … We are called TERFs or transphobic or “failed transitions.”

No wonder young “transgender” people commit suicide. They are trying to find themselves and figure things out and when they seek help they are told that they have no option but to change themselves if they want to be loved. No one tells them that they are perfect just as they are. No one tells them that there are many ways to live. No one says “Hey, I made it … I am happily married, I have a good life … it will get better … I was a lot like you in High School and I am glad that I kept my body as it is and/or that I learned to love myself for who I am.”

Many people who are diagnosed as transgender may not be aware that there are lots of ways to live outside of the gender lines. More perspectives need to be shared so that young people can decide for themselves what what resonates, and feels right for them.

  • Joel Nowak says

    (Edit)

    Thanks for this. I am going to feature this in a post. I really think that it is important that these alternative narratives to being Trans start getting heard. There is an embargo on these voices currently, with these narratives being ignored or removed from internet forums virtually nobody (aside from social conservatives) interested in publishing them or writing about them. (I applaud Michelle Goldberg among a few others for writing about this stuff.) There are alternative narratives to the Trans that don’t look like Walt Heyer’s judgemental and one dimensional “repent or die” blatherings … but when all people hear is that crap they get a very distorted view of how open and liberating some of those narratives can be (compared to the increasing rigidity of the Trans movement).

 

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Comments

    • Joel Nowak says

      Thanks for sharing. I do hear a lot of that sort of thing and it makes me sad. That was a great post by the way … I don’t spend too much time reading FTM detransitioning blogs for a number of reasons but I think that crashchaoscats is always beautifully written, insightful and INCREDIBLY moving (and the author seems like a really cool person.)

  1. lee says

    My granddaughter is nine-years-old and at risk for trans propaganda due to being more masculine, and also autistic. So, to answer this question (I just started reading the comments): “Where are the YouTube videos showing gender variant kids being proud of NOT transitioning?” I’ve been giving her videos I download about Sam Day, the girl football player. She is a real inspiration to my granddaughter.

    • Joel Nowak says

      I think this is a good idea. I know other gender nonconforming women who as girls looked to other female athletes or competitors as role models. I tried to find Sam Day on the Internet and I found someone who appears to be very much of a “bloke”. (Australian rules footballer.) I did find Sam Gordon, an 11 year old football phenom though (not sure if this is who you meant or just another Sam who is great at football.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3njTuI7dtSY I seriously think it is cool that you are doing this for her! Thanks for sharing.

    • Joel Nowak says

      Cool thanks for sharing. I can’t really speak too much about the butch experience for obvious reasons. I hope that the reports I am getting of this identity being supplanted by “trans man” are greatly exaggerated.

  2. The Sceptic says

    You are right Joel. You really can’t be bothered to take the time to respond to those silly unimportant issues which I have had the unmitigated hubris to bring up. I really don’t know what else to say or how to say it without damaging your delicate sensitivities. IMHO opinion, the reason people like you have such a difficult time with the simplest things is that it is all about the argument and being right. Even when people are agreeing with you, your damaged ego forces you to argue with them…even as they are clearly AGREEING with you.

    In answer to Juniper’s rather bizarre and off the wall accusation that I am angry, I can only chuckle in dismay and disappointment. It really seems so obvious that neither of you have any idea what anger is. I guess it must be that you are all so wrapped up in your “gender” and micro-aggressions that real, white-hot anger is as foreign to you as the man on the moon. You guys really do have no clue.

    But please, do carry on. Enjoy your victimhood.

  3. says

    It’s sad to see how gender-nonconforming teens and twentysomethings have become a dying breed. I’ve always considered myself gender-atypical and more stereotypically masculine than feminine apart from my physical appearance, and in recent months I’ve come to find out many young women only 15 or 20 years my junior now feel that has to mean they’re trans. I see all these ‘How I Knew I Was Trans’ YouTube videos listing “evidence” such as loving Pokémon, Spiderman, and toy trucks, and hating dresses, Barbie, and dollhouses. I personally believe I may have been a man in at least one past life, but I’ve never had any desire to become one in this life. My oldest friend, who’s my age, has a young son who’s been rather gender-nonconforming too, and since we grew up before this exploding trend of transing young children, she hasn’t assumed anything or pressured him into blockers, hormones, and visits to the gender therapist. He’s just a boy who likes painting his nails and sparkly things.

    • Joel Nowak says

      How sad we live in a world where for a girl to love “Pokémon, Spiderman, and toy trucks, and hating dresses, Barbie, and dollhouses” leads so many to think that they need destroy so much of their natural bodies, potentially put their health at risk for life and become dependent on medical providers for the rest of their lives. It used to be this intervention was only used in the most extreme cases and when all else had failed. It was also extremely rare. Now it is the de facto intervention (especially since laws are being passed that all gender related therapy other than affirming a child’s gender ideation is “reparative” and illegal.) Where are the YouTube videos showing gender variant kids being proud of NOT transitioning? Why can’t that become the new alternative “cool” and be ok to talk about without being considered transphobic? I am sure there are some kids making those videos, but I can’t imagine they are getting the same validation and admiration for their “bravery” as kids who are doing the trans thing.

  4. Joel Nowak says

    4thWaveNow featured Juniper’s comments in this post on their site today and provided some really important context. This is something that I have been thinking about a lot too – the fact that a lot of gender variant kids who are getting a lot of care and support are still suiciding. So much is being done in the name of Leelah, but other kids right now obviously need something else that they are not getting. We lost 4 gender variant kids in San Diego this year to suicide. Sure, stigma probably played a part, but I fear there was more going on, something deeper that many are afraid to look at. 4thWaveNow wrote about this as well on Tumblr a few months ago.

  5. The Sceptic says

    If you are one of those “people who live quite well and enjoy balanced and well-adjusted lives yet radically defy gender stereotypes”…why would you need media coverage?

    What is being missed is that those who “self-harm” to the
    point of suicide have a myriad of psychological issues not related to gender. “Gender dysphoria” may very well be the symptom rather than the cause. It seems to me that those who have attached themselves to this “trans”narrative and have heavily invested in it have a very difficult time accepting that perhaps they made some serious errors in judgment and are now faced with the consequences of those mistakes.

  6. Joel Nowak says

    The Sceptic said (apparently qoting Juniper) ‘If you are one of those “people who live quite well and enjoy balanced and well-adjusted lives yet radically defy gender stereotypes”…why would you need media coverage?’

    So this right here tells me that you had no idea what Juniper’s post was about. Juniper is fine without media coverage, what she was saying is that it would be good to show an alternative narrative than just transition to people (especially young people) who are uncomfortable with the rigidity of gender norms. In other words, the need for media coverage was not about her it was about others. That might be hard for you to grasp, because it seems like you view this discussion entirely through a lens of self-absorption that tries to make everything match your own self-serving agenda, which from what I can tell has something to do with your belief that there are some special snowflake “true transsexuals” and all the rest are misguided fools and the mentally ill who must now admit to themselves the errors of their ways and face up to the harsh consequences of their mistakes.

    Of course it is fine for you to believe that (and yeah, I get it that you REALLY REALLY believe that) but when you are so fixated on that and can’t really listen to what other people are actually talking about it does make your arguments a bit less compelling (to me at least.) I actually believe that a lot of people who are acting out cross-gender behavior are motivated to do so as a coping mechanism to help them deal with some other mental distress they are going through. (I think that was probably a large part of my story.) But I also think that a lot of people who transition are mentally “well” and this is just something they want to do with their lives. I think a lot of people are happy doing this. (As I say all along, I still think we need to work out how people can do this without violating other’s personal boundaries and beliefs about sex and gender.) And the other thing that I keep saying is that Trans people are not going away. And I do think it is important that those who have transitioned lead healthy lives and not be expected to live in guilt and shame for making the “wrong” decision. Right now large swaths of our society and the media say that transitioning is a very healthy thing to do. I think that a lot of people who transition are doing so mindfully and informed by the best available advice that is out there. The message that I think we need to start getting out is that the “advice” (as it is right now) is far from complete and is informed more by optimism and ideology than any serious empirical research.

  7. juniper says

    Sceptic,
    Many of us have friends who are suffering because of the dangerous side-effects of hormones or failed surgeries. I was “lucky” in that i never took hormones or pursued gender reassignment surgeries. I was a teenager before transition was as common as it is today. I knew people who were transgender but I knew that there were other ways that I could express my strength and toughness, fearless nature, intellect, athleticism and leadership abilities that did not require me to change my body. I have kept my birth name and life long-gender pronouns. I wear what I like, cut my hair as short as I want etc. and I act like “myself” … sometimes this is mistaken as being “transgender” or “gender queer” of “non-binary” etc. etc. I really don’t care how people label me. I am secure in being female. I don’t need anyone to validate my gender identity. I don’t even care if people think I am going to hell.

    I do care that young people who I have never met and a few people I know (one very close friend, in particular) may die prematurely because they can’t take societies’ unrelenting hate. My friend (like many people) felt forced to start hormones and have surgeries in the hope of finally being accepted. To me, this path is a slow suicide and while I respect a person’s right to make that choice (in adulthood) I feel badly that many people feel up against a wall as if there is no other viable choice. Sadly, for my friend (and for others) the hormones and surgeries have not provided a “cure” but have added to their difficulties in many ways (and turning around for them now would be very difficult.)

    For the people was transition and are happy – I am happy for them. I just wish I knew someone in real life who had this outcome.

  8. The Sceptic says

    As usual, I am forced to disagree with your rather biased, (negative), and obviously defensive and myopic interpretation of my comment. The fact that Juniper’s post bemoans the lack of “media coverage” providing an “alternative narrative” to transition seems to have escaped you.

    And yes Joel. “true transsexuals” do in fact exist and do in fact benefit immensely from a total and complete medically assisted transition. The fact that the vast majority of those seeking and undergoing such a transition fail to benefit, and in fact end up in worse shape, is IMHO the result of those who know so little, (based on extensive reading of “research” conducted by misguided social justice warriors), making so much noise and spreading so much happy horse-s**t.

    The facts really are pretty obvious. Unfortunately the truth hurts and so rather than face that truth, people choose to hide behind all sorts of theoretical constructions and demand “acceptance” of “women” with penises and bearded ladies, (“men”) who get pregnant.

    I guess you simply ignore this rather simple declarative sentence: ““Gender dysphoria” may very well be the symptom rather than the cause.” and choose instead to co-opt and appropriate its meaning by accusing me of “self-absorption” and the saying essentially the same thing….” I actually believe that a lot of people who are acting out cross-gender behavior are motivated to do so as a coping mechanism to help them deal with some other mental distress they are going through.”

    As for being self absorbed, I guess this says it all…(I think that was probably a large part of my story.) ~Joel

  9. Joel Nowak says

    My tone was nasty so I apologize.

    Ok, just to try to close this out on my end – you say:
    “The fact that Juniper’s post bemoans the lack of “media coverage” providing an “alternative narrative” to transition seems to have escaped you.”
    That was perhaps her main point. I was responding to your obvious missing of why she was saying it when you asked the rhetorical (I presume) question ‘If you are one of those “people who live quite well and enjoy balanced and well-adjusted lives yet radically defy gender stereotypes”…why would you need media coverage?’ Which I interpret as “If you really are doing as well as you say your are why do you need the media?” and which I replied basically “because kids need to hear other narratives”. Am I reading you wrong? Were you saying something else? If so I missed it. Sorry.

    I agree with you that some actually do benefit from transition and surgery. I just don’t buy this “true transsexual” stuff. I also notice that so many who claim this for themselves spend their time just trying to knock other Trans people down, maybe based on some inner drive that it will somehow make themselves more legitimate on some level. I watch people online going through this and it just seems to me like such a sad way to live, rather than focusing on themselves they are OBSESSED with others.

    You say
    ‘I guess you simply ignore this rather simple declarative sentence: ““Gender dysphoria” may very well be the symptom rather than the cause.” and choose instead to co-opt and appropriate its meaning by accusing me of “self-absorption” and the saying essentially the same thing….” I actually believe that a lot of people who are acting out cross-gender behavior are motivated to do so as a coping mechanism to help them deal with some other mental distress they are going through.”’

    I wasn’t “co-opting” anything … I was just pointing out that I agree with you that this is the case SOMETIMES but then I go on to make the point that I don’t think this is always the case and that I believe many Trans people are mentally fine, that it can just be a lifestyle choice. Did you miss my saying that?

    I know you tried to end your comment with a “gotcha” by repeating back to me my allusion to my own past struggles if you want to make the claim that I too can be self-absorbed I will concede that point as well. I think a lot of people suffer from this to varying degrees (lack of mindfulness). I’m working on it.

  10. juniper says

    Hey Sceptic,

    Joel understood my point and I will try to clarify it of you.

    My point is that the media is saturated with transgender perspectives: there are ads on Pandora promoting Transparent, major magazine covers and newspapers regularly featuring transgender people or the issue of transgenderism and even the movie theatre is currently promoting two films featuring transgender characters in transition. The Woman of the Year and the Courage Award went Kaitlyn Jenner … do I need to continue?

    The popular narrative on gender today seems to be that if one’s gender expression does not match one’s appearance that is associated with this gender, the only path to survival is transition with hormones and surgeries.

    I don’t see any visible representation of other alternatives. And what concerns me most about this is that young transgender people are committing suicide because they may feel like they have no option but to change their bodies. There are so many uncertainties and so many possibilities for medical complications, emotional difficulties or simply limitations in what can be done for them (even if they had all the resources in the world available.)

    It seems to me, that at least a percentage of gender questioning youth will find ways to live an authentic and fulfilling life without surgeries and hormones, if they are not pressured to pursue these paths before they can learn of options and decide for themselves was feels like the best fit to them.

    But the pressure from many transgender activists seems almost invariably to counter discussions about accepting one’s body. And if Leelah’s Law passes, these conversations may become illegal and branded as “conversion therapy” if a psychologist, teacher or medical professional shares all perspectives on gender.

    Skeptic, You seem very angry. I don’t understand why it troubles you that I simply want people to hear the whole story about gender expression. Being non-binary, even radically gender variant does not equal death … in fact, it might be a very comfortable state of being for some people. For me, it as natural as breathing.

  11. The Sceptic says

    Joel. I am not interested in the least in “gotcha” games. My interest in commenting here lies in my agreement that, ” Right now large swaths of our society and the media say that transitioning is a very healthy thing to do. I think that a lot of people who transition are doing so mindfully and informed by the best available advice that is out there. The message that I think we need to start getting out is that the “advice” (as it is right now) is far from complete and is informed more by optimism and ideology than any serious empirical research.” …Although, I am not so sure about how “mindful” they are, as opposed to obsessed.

    My concern, which I share with the author and the parents at 4thWaveNow, is the amount of damage that is being done to these troubled individuals and their families. Taking the position that “we” as a society, or the therapeutic community should “respect the lifestyle choice” of these “trans” folk is a Pollyanna-ish, head in the sand cop out. It is totally avoiding the issue that society cannot be bullied into accepting those things which it rightly perceives as un-natural or just plain weird. Is drug addiction an accepted life style that must be respected? What about prostitution? Or robbery or rape?

    Yes Nature is fully of anomalies. Not everyone falls within one or two standard deviations of the norm. Should they be welcome as part of the community of Man? Obviously, yes. Yet at the same time the fact that they are different should not be denied nor disparaged.

    Young children, boys and girls should not, and cannot be expected to all be the same and get along. Some will excel in some ways and not in others. Others might withdraw and not be part of the “in crowd”. How can an “in crowd” even exist if were not for all those others who did not belong. Personally I was never part of any in crowd and was then, and I still am, perfectly happy to follow my own path based on my own personal values and sense of right and wrong. Nevertheless, without any societal norms of what is acceptable and/or right and wrong, there is no society There will be only anarchy, depredation, depravity, and ruin.

  12. Joel Nowak says

    I can’t spend a lot of time with this reply. I will only say that I have known and also have met people who I consider to be excellent parents who are helping their kids with transition. This is based on the advice not only of their therapists but also now the APA and SAMHSA among others. I don’t believe it is a decision taken lightly but is driven by their compassion and caring for their dearly loved children. As you know I believe that there needs to be more information out there so that people can make a better informed choice. I am not nearly as gloom and doom as you are and I think eventually we’re going to get this right. We need to have basic respect for other people’s decisions and values if we are going to have this conversation. That is something that’s going to have to happen no matter where you stand on this issue. Otherwise everyone is just yelling and driving each other away by trying to impose their values on others. Again I see that on all sides of this issue.

  13. juniper says

    To Quote Skeptic:
    The message that I think we need to start getting out is that the “advice” (as it is right now) is far from complete and is informed more by optimism and ideology than any serious empirical research.” …Although, I am not so sure about how “mindful” they are, as opposed to obsessed.

    I think we are in agreement here.

  14. The Sceptic says

    “I can’t spend a lot of time with this reply. I will only say that I have known and also have met people who I consider to be excellent parents who are helping their kids with transition. This is based on the advice not only of their therapists but also now the APA and SAMHSA among others.”

    I can’t believe you actually posted this, much less believe it justifies your position. Are you forgetting, (or just ignoring the reality) that it was these very organizations, along with WPATH and the various other trans-lobbyists that help get you, TWT, and countless others into your current situation?

    If you take the time to follow the comments at:

    http://4thwavenow.com/2015/12/27/activist-clinicians-tout-cultural-humility-surgery-on-demand-for-nonbinaries-genderfluids/comment-page-1/#comment-8783

    ….you will find that the nightmare not only continues, but get much, much worse.

  15. Joel Nowak says

    I am surprised you came to the conclusion my comment about those organizations was my endorsement of their policy recommendations, when the truth is quite the opposite. I was simply stating the reality that their current guidelines influence the decision making of people out there trying to figure out where to go with this. I feel very passionately about this and I am writing more about this currently. You will see it here soon.

    Yes I have already read that link. I agree with it.

    I spend so much of my “blogging time” defending myself to you and I can’t really continue this, especially once school starts again for me and my available time is even further reduced. If you want to keep on criticizing me you are welcome to, but I can’t continue to address everything going forward as there is other stuff I need to get to and this just feels like it goes nowhere.

  16. Joel Nowak says

    I am so glad you are getting your voice out there Juniper. What you are saying is so important for people to hear. I guess I could go line by line with this response and say “I agree. I agree. I agree.” but that would be pretty boring. I agree that is so important to love your body and I think that gets so lost in many of the current discussions of Trans (that kids are hearing and internalizing.) Yes, if you want you can modify it if you get to that place where you absolutely have to, but it is important to start loving it now. Today. Even with what you perceive to be “flaws” .. so much unhappiness comes from not being ok with your body, from eating disorders to self loathing. Yes, you can work to make it healthier (and more to your liking) but it is so important to come to love it now. I struggled with this myself. For years I avoided mirrors (and even glass reflections) because I hated to much what I saw. I think it is so important to keep reminding people, especially impressionable young people, the importance of loving your body. I believe that a lot of Trans people, prior to transition and while they are transitioning, feel like their current body is disposable and it will be replaced soon by a new and better one. But it is the same body and no matter what you choose to do with it, it deserves love now.

    There needs to be acceptance for those who don’t fit “gender norms” and this is a great worry that the current focus (and kids are seeing this everywhere just as you point out) is that the best way to “fix” this is to transition and try to fit into another box (embodying the gender of the physical sex opposite what you were born as.) There are so many other beautiful options that people aren’t really seeing anymore (or at least not being seen without the filter of “this must be Trans”). As I wrote about soon after your first comment here Juniper, even I fall into that trap. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and for just being you. I am grateful to know you. :-)

    that some of us are never going to be comfortable with gender “norms” (

  17. Joel Nowak says

    This is very sobering and very sad. There are people that I too have seen go through transition who seem to be somehow “less” once they go through it. Where they used to be interesting and dynamic, they become one dimensional and boring. I do have to say that this is certainly not EVERYONE I know who has transitioned and, unlike you, I do know folks who as far as I can tell seem to be quite happy (and are far from boring) after transition. I wish everyone could have these outcomes, but the fact that so many don’t continues to be a very sad reality. I also believe that simply “fixing society” is not enough to alleviate all of this suffering.

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