Are we TruTrans or are we Trender?

I had a little chat with ContraPoints on Twitter about this stuff and it was really interesting actually. A lot of good points were made but with Twitter being Twitter, I feel like this discussion needs to be opened up a lot wider for everyone who calls themselves trans to weigh in on. I’ll get things ‘started’, here’s my fully fleshed out perspective on what counts as trans and what I think trenders are.

Lets start with trenders as I think that is probably the simplest to explain from my point of view. By trenders I mean transtrenders, to me that means someone who suffers no dysphoria yet adopts the language and often ‘gender blends’ their gender expression. Usually they do this as a sociopolitical statement of gender non-conformity. Gender in this context meaning the social constructionist view, ie stereotypes and expectations of binary sex.

They tend to be of the feminist or social justice persuasion and, in essence, they’re just trying to smash the patriarchy in their own way. The idea being that by not conforming to the traditional gender roles and expressions, they have thwarted the evil system of oppression that is patriarchal gender. Its from this central conflict that they create new pronouns, new identities, new whatever.

I think this can create a lot of problems for non-trender trans people who suffer dysphoria and a legitimate medical condition. It’s kinda like referring to all non-whites as PoC – it strips them of their individuality and their diversity, despite the people who use it claiming that they want to do the opposite of that. It’s pretty dumb, especially when there’s a lot of nuance between all of the groups that should really be respected.

Yet instead we’ve forced this perception that they’re all the same thing and so if a group of trender types try to campaign against freedom of speech then it looks bad on everyone else. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal for me if the trender types had to remain visibly trans. At least then they would be causing shit for themselves, but in essence, their trans is just a costume they can take off any time they want to. There are no such consequences for their actions, where as people like me will likely have to live with them for a long time.

Trenderism has also been pushing for the depathologisation of trans. To make being trans not a medical condition. Problem is that ‘being trans’, if you include trenders, isn’t a medical condition. You could transition tomorrow and you wouldn’t be officially pathologised anywhere, that’s because gender dysphoria is the pathology behind trans. To depathologise gender dysphoria would threaten the medical support of thousands of transsexual people. Suffice to say its a very thoughtless idea that could really put people like me at risk.

And my final point on why I dislike trenders is that its a choice for them. They have chosen to identify the way they identify based on their sociopolitical stance on gender. The idea that you can just “be who you want to be” and just decide that kinda fundamentally goes against transsexuals claims. That gender identity is innate, that it can’t be changed, that we are who we say we are. Things like gender-fluidity spit in the face of that. They make gender into an outfit and claim a new identity for each look they put on.

Transsexuals on the other hand are people who suffer gender dysphoria and have taken some kind of step to alleviate it. I know, that sounds super wishy-washy, and there’s a lot of nuance even in that attempt to sum up my perspective, but bear with me!

I believe that gender dysphoria happens on a scale of severity. Not everyone who has gender dysphoria will take any steps to transition and there’s probably a fair but uncomfortable argument to be made that some of the more feminine gay guys likely experience gender dysphoria. Just at a level where they don’t need to transition. That’s all fine, people can deal with their shizz however they like. So I think that it would be a good idea to remember not everyone with GD is transsexual, however everyone who is transsexual has GD.

This does seem kinda crappy, a lot of people can’t transition because of bad situations or whatever and so it seems a little unfair to be like “well you’re not trans then”. But I also think that not doing this kinda makes the word “trans” arbitrary. Words don’t have meaning they have function and from my knowledge the function of “trans” in a sentence is to describe a type of person. A trans woman. If you haven’t taken the steps to transition and instead live your life as a dude with dysphoria – much like the feminine gay guys above – does it make sense to still call you trans at all? I don’t think so.

That being said I do have friends online who can’t transition because of their situation and well, out of kindness I do call these people trans and such. But I think if you want to get into the nitty gritty details of it all, I don’t think I would class them as trans though I do respect their struggles with GD all the same. That can’t be easy.

I don’t think either group should cease to exist, I just think that both groups need to be respected as different entities rather than the same thing. This is partly why I use the word transsexual – because its somewhat separated from the more ideological “transgender”. Though I’m often told that transsexual is offensive and stuff, whereas I really disagree. Its far more accurate than transgender is at describing the way I experience my medical condition. My med condition is very much about my body being the wrong sex for who my brain says I am, its nothing to do with this socially constructed view of gender that is paraded around all the time.

Sorry for all the waffle, but that’s what I think anyway. Always happy to hear what you guys think too, I really want to get this conversation rolling so please start talking about it – respectfully of course! Its a problem that has been around for a while now and I think its about time we put it to rest, don’t you? 




5 thoughts on “Are we TruTrans or are we Trender?

  1. ramendik says:

    Two points:

    – The “wide” (later known as “umbrella”) definition of “transgender” has been proposed by Leslie Feinberg, who was transsexual by your definition (took definite medical steps). In Leslie’s viewpoint, the common needs of all kinds of people strongly limited by the gender binary expectations were significant enough to create a common group.

    Of course, it is a frequent occurrence that some people have some common interests and some diverging interests. And when we talk about rights, an additional key complication is added by the existence of people who would qualify for a diagnosis but for some reason or another have no access to medical care even to the point of getting said diagnosis.

    – In your text, I think you are either being unfair to the “trender” group or don’t include a third group, depending on definitions. Not everyone who is not transsexual and holds some kind of trans identity is doing it for political reasons. There are a lot of people for whom the need for expression culturally linked to the opposite biological sex it is a genuine part of their personality even while they do not have clinically significant body dysphoria. If you want to use ICD-10 terms (and “transsexual” is in ICD-10), then “dual-role transvestite” generally applies to the group I am talking about. Modern medical literature, as I understand, tends to use “gender non-conforming” (“GNC”), and if they want to lump these groups together with transsexuals (for example because a diagnosis might not be initially available), “TGNC” is used.

    You rightfully complain about lumping transsexual people with political activists of a certain view. Lumping every GNC person who is not a transsexual with political activists of a certain view does not seem to be much more fair.

    In fact, even lumping *gay* people with those who fight against free speech in the name of gays is not fair – even though in this case there is no distinction of condition, as these gays are other gays (like pro-free speech Peter Tatchell) are equally gay.


  2. Melissa Karlee♥🇺🇸 (@MelissaKarlee) says:

    I made a lengthy response to someone else but I’ll post that here as it is relevant to the discussion at hand.

    Let me make something abundantly clear from the get go. I do not give a fuck if you want to call yourself non-binary, agender, or a big red firetruck. I also don’t care how you want to present yourself in terms of how you dress. None of this I personally give a damn about. Have at it.

    So why is this such an issue for me? Well the short answer is treatments. Somewhere along the line someone told genderfucks that starting HRT will make them more androgynous. For whatever reason this has a great appeal to genderfucks and they started seeking out transsexual care. Now if you are a genderfuck, let me make something abundantly clear. HRT will cause you to transition, it will not make you more androgynous. Look at any of the hundreds if not thousands of “my transition timeline” videos. It doesn’t happen over a curve, it happens abruptly.

    Moreover, HRT has all kinds of nastiness associated with it. It makes you at a greater risk for heart attacks, blood clots, cancers, and may cause changes you aren’t so happy with based on your genetic disposition. For example, if you are an AFAB (assigned female at birth) non-binary and you take testosterone to appear ‘more androgynous’ what may very well happen is that you could start growing a nice carpet of back hair. Stopping HRT will not make it go away either, once it is triggered, that’s it and you’ll be shelling out thousands in electrolysis to remove it.

    In fact, this is happening all time. These genderfucks start HRT and then they sue the doctors that helped them. What this causes is doctors to not help people that ACTUALLY need these treatments–transsexuals. The doctors that will work with us are few and far between and the last thing transsexuals need is genderfucks screwing around with something they don’t need (medically speaking) or understand, and suing the doctors effectively precluding them from working with transsexuals.

    This isn’t out of hatred, bigotry, or whatever. I’ve legitimately seen genderfucks force Dysphoria on themselves by fucking around with transsexual treatments. Let me make something abundantly clear, I hate Gender Dysphoria. There is nothing romantic or awesome about it. Everything about being a transsexual sucks. It’s not cool, it’s not a club, it’s not fun, and it has a whole lot of hassle that I–quite frankly–wish I didn’t have to deal with. But shit, my brain is fucked and this is the only way I can live a somewhat normal and functional life, so you do what you gotta do.

    Here is a true story. A while ago I found this AFAB non-binary girl who was about to start Testosterone on Tumblr. I legitimately pleaded with her to not start HRT. But she was being cheered on by the thousands of people liking and reblogging her shit, so I was derided as ‘truscum’ and my warnings and pleas went ignored. She and her consorts reported me for being ‘hateful’ and I got banned. What happened? Well I looked her up in hopes she decided against it, much to my chagrin, she did not. She got some results that she was none too happy with (she grew chest hair and back hair) and wrote a miles long post basically regretting her decision and forced Dysphoria on herself. She has since quit Tumblr and I don’t know what happened beyond that. I certainly hope she did not commit suicide, because that’s a nasty side effect of Dysphoria. I wish I could grab all those idiots by the ear who filled her head with all this non-binary HRT will make you more androgynous bullshit and show them how they encouraged this girl to fuck her life up.

    For this reason, transsexuals need to leave ‘transgender’ behind. I mean completely and utterly abandon it. It causes nothing but confusion and it blurs the line between what is a medical necessity and a social phenomenon. Again, I don’t care if people who do not have dysphoria want to run around calling themselves a non-binary demi-girl agender asexual. It makes no difference to me, but what needs to happen is there needs to be a strict and ridged line between genderfucks and transsexuals. Whatever struggles you think you have is in NO WAY related to transsexuals.

    This is all I have to say about this.


  3. ramendik says:

    @Melissa would you at least not take a look at the “classic” argument, that by Leslie Feinberg, before proclaiming the NO WAY thing? Here it is, it is not too long:

    You are right about inappropriate medical treatment and lawsuits. But this is a matter of either WPATH gatekeeping or clearer consent procedures. However, you go beyond the medical area to say that ALL struggles are not related. However, there is a serious argument that non-medical social struggles are. I won’t even try to make the argument because Feinberg does it already, and she had a LOT of experience.


  4. ramendik says:

    (Importanly, Feinberg did get certain rather drastic treatment and for all I know did not regret it. So Feinberg is not some trender coming at it from a fun perspective).


  5. Citizen Charlie says:

    Ultimately it is a choice. Are you bothered enough by being male/female that you do transition. I feel like my position on this quite known. There’s simply nothing reliable that says you are trans much like well gayness. Which makes it psychological in nature. To call it a disorder of the mind is also a bit strong as well like you say, surgery can fix gen. dysphoria. We have “evidence” of trans brains and possible differences in the way certain sex molecule receptors respond. But it’s still meh, not totally definitive, however like being gay there are definitive behavior and feelings that are hard to change if at all possible.

    I however have a huge problem non-binary aliens. These people feel trans because they like pink or want to wear eye-liner etc. All these things are perfectly free for you to choose if you so desire. However they want to have sex like their biological sex, or like me border on asex. Due to trauma or awkwardness. So, they feel like sometimes they don’t need to be male/female get x done and well lawsuit. Also there’s this unhealthy attitude that psychosis are inherently oppressive in their sjw sense. They wand GD gone because feelings shouldn’t labeled as it’s oppressive to be called a disease somehow.

    Anyways later,


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