The trope of the "deceptive tranny" is so embedded in our popular psyche that it is difficult to think of a movie or book that features a trans woman character that does not, to some degree, reference it.
Even Emily Yoffe over at Slate recently addressed a question (rather horribly) about a family squabble instigated by a trans woman's "failure" to disclose her trans status in a manner deemed timely by the writer.
Akio? Mr. Flip? envisages bands of roving trans women "on the prowl trying to have sex with heterosexual men," who feel "they have full right to violate straight men who wouldn't otherwise have sex with another man."
Mr. Flip is so preoccupied with the statistically remote possibility he might be fooled by some mythical predatory trans woman that he actually links his readers to a photograph of a vaginoplasty. He has, no doubt, spent many hours anxiously scrutinizing such photos for evidence of some "telling" feature that distinguishes a trans woman's vulva from any other woman's, either in appearance or function. (Of course, if the surgery was competently performed, even a gynecologist can't tell by superficial examination, never mind a typical "manospherean", whose familiarity with female anatomy we should not presume.*
He writes that "having their penises removed, taking hormones and proclaiming, I'm a woman, is enough to become a real woman."
He seems utterly unaware that many trans women never have surgery (whether by choice or financial constraints or age/health conditions). Some trans women don't even take hormones. And yet they are women too -- not because they "claim" to be, but because they have been born with an unconscious, and almost certainly hardwired, gender identity that is at odds with their genitalia.
The fact that a certain percentage of the population is (and always has been) transsexual forces us cis-gendered folks to acknowledge that a person's gender identity develops to some (as yet unknown) extent independent of chromosomal configuration. The fact that trans sexuality exists (not only in humans but other animals) certainly makes me ponder what it is, exactly, that supports my own conviction that I am, indeed, "a woman." Sure, I can look down and see my genitals match my internal sense of self, but I know that even if I woke up tomorrow with a six inch clitoris and a full beard, I would not feel any less "female." I have had a hysterectomy and no longer produce estrogen, but ain't I a woman? My vagina, breasts, fat distribution and passion for bright nail polish do not define my gender, although the fact that everything "matches" makes my life easier. Does Akio Flip's penis define his "manhood?" (Wait, better not answer that, I'm afraid what the answer might be.)
"Cis-gender" may in Matt Forney's opinion be just a politically correct way of defining "normal," but in actuality it's a very specific and invaluable term that allows us to conceptualize and discuss gender more accurately. It's an important word because if science and human experience tell us anything, it's that gender is a lot more complicated than we realized. And that Mother Nature loves diversity, even if her children don't always.
Mr. Flip cites Janice Raymond's notorious rad-fem screed, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, to support his view that transsexual women are not accepted by the lesbian community either. In fact, this book is widely dismissed as a kind of
According to Mr. Flip, "Shemales have tried to argue that our aversion for transsexualism is a by-product of our gender roles, which according to them were assigned by artificial social constructs." How many lies can be packed into one sentence? First off, there are many cultures that have no particular "aversion for transsexualism." Second, I have never read any trans writer argue that all "gender roles... were assigned by artificial social constructs."
Mr. Flip claims that "anyone who requires advanced medical procedures to “realign” their entire physiological makeup isn’t in any position to deem what is or isn’t natural." This will be news to anyone who has undergone medical treatment for any systemic condition. It also vastly overstates the complexity of the kind of medical intervention most transsexual women require to "align" their bodies. Transforming a penis and scrotum into a clitoris, vagina and labia requires expertise, but is surprisingly "simple" -- perhaps not surprising, after all, in view that male and female genitalia are highly parallel structures.
Mr. Flip argues that the "evolutionary reasons for the distinction between male and female remain." Again, his assumption that all trans women elect to have surgery that sterilizes them is fallacious. My partner has five biological grandchildren (so far). Despite being a transsexual woman, she has certainly outperformed me in terms of reproductive success.
Mr. Flip encourages trans women to seek acceptance in the arms of "gay and bisexual men," ignoring the fact that gay men are by definition not interested in having sex with women and in fact generally evince a strong preference for "masculine" partners. Although transsexual women sometimes emerge from the "drag queen" community, the conflation of feminine performance and feminine gender identity is an endless source of confusion and obfuscation.
Mr. Flip also implies that all transsexual women are attracted to men, which is obviously not the case. The sexual orientation of trans women -- like women in general -- is all over the map. Many identify as lesbians. Some are strictly straight. In terms of preference, a number are somewhat fluid (for lack of a better term, "bisexual"). I've met trans women who are only interested in other trans women, or who wind up partnered with trans men. And I'm confident they are represented in the asexual community as well.
Mr. Flip claims that "most straight cisgender men... gag at the mere mention of kissing a so-called transgender woman." If that is true, it is a measure of those men's internalized homophobia and fragile sense of their own heteronormativity. The fact is, a lot of straight men (and lesbians) are attracted to women they know to be trans. They're attracted to them for the same reason they are attracted to other women: because they're beautiful, because they're feminine, because they're clever, because they're strong, authentic people who are often more self-aware and more compassionate by virtue of their own personal gender struggles. And a lot of them are coming out of the closet too, despite efforts of people like Mr. Flip to "shame" them too.
I appreciate the trans woman in my life because, having lived the first half of her life "as a man," she can give me insights into what it is like to be socialized as a man, and yet because she explicitly identifies as a woman, she inspires me to embrace my own feminine nature. Trans people have so much to teach us cis-genders about what it means to be a Man or a Woman.
Mr. Flip concludes his post by reassuring trans women he doesn't mean them any harm, while at the same time warning them that "the average heterosexual... if he learned he had sex with one of you... would scream, become physically ill, and maybe even try to kill you." [italics mine]
Yep, the good ole "panic defense," the one that (almost) got Gwen Araujo's murderers off the hook. Wow, blaming violence on the sexuality of victims. Where have we heard that before? Sorry, buddy, that shit don't fly anymore.
It's posts like this that contribute to the disproportionate risk trans women face as victims of violence. Like most of what is posted in the "manosphere," it is hate speech, straight up, pure'n' simple, and not even thinly disguised.
* Hey, speaking of which, remember "The Thirty Types of Pussy?"