Update: Comments from the gentleman who took the video and a different trans lady with an interesting take on the whole incident. Video showing a self-identified transgender woman having a moment after being misgendered has gone viral and this raises some important issues. The issue is one of genuine presentation, civility, and having realistic expectations. In my opinion while civil rights cannot depend on how a person looks humans are visual creatures. Transgender people need to accept this and learn to work with this fact. Not trying to pass necessarily but trying to genuinely present as the sex that corresponds to the gender they identify with. Otherwise, accept that they will have to explain to and educate people about the pronouns they wish to be addressed with in a good natured manner. Not running around like a bull in a chinashop.
I am not the only one who has complicated feelings about this.
I found this video a day ago and was hoping it wouldn't be a thing. That it would die quietly or be shown to be a fraud of some kind. Now the hundreds of really vile video responses demand a response.
Two Fundamental Principles of Human Rights.
- Self-identifications should be respected and how a person identifies should not be held against them. Whether that is racial, religious, or political, nationality,sex, sexual orientation, gender etc. (Yes races are to an extent a matter of social self ID. i.e. Within Europe the notion of a unified "white race" isn't really a thing. )
- Humans are visual creatures and instinctively react to how other people look.
A consequence of those two principles is that how we look is most often how we are identified. Too often how we are identified dictates how we are treated and mistreated.
I am not saying that is right, or wrong or ideal or how things should work. That is never the less how things do work. It is better as a transwoman to adjust to how things are. Looks can be a life or death matter for us.
The police officer identifies as a police officer by wearing their uniform. They earned their uniform through training and employment. The doctor identifies as such by how he or she dresses in the hospital. They earned that. They took a great financial risk and put in a lot of work.
Being transsexual is provably an immutable quality of the brains of a small percentage of people. It is neurological not purely psychological and certainly not a choice. We have the power to choose how to live with this.
Skin In The Game.
This is the only not totally offensive video response I have seen so far. The Hodge twins have some good points. Reasonable people who are not transphobic will respect the genuinely presented gender identity of a transwoman or trans man.
Where the line is drawn is in respecting the instant change because a person screams “I am a Ma’am” and kicks over display cases.
Passing cannot be the standard.
Anyone who knows enough transgender people can always tell when given a long enough interaction or look. Most 99% won’t give a darn. Even guys like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson who will argue their theoretical objections to transgender people will admit that they would not mis gender a genuinely presenting transwoman on a one to one basis.
I am by no means a beauty queen. I have had days where wearing funky grey torn lightly stained sweats, I got ma’am and days when dressed to the nines I got sir’d. In my experience if sird people usually apologize without me needing to say anything when they get a better look at me. That could be “passing privilege”. That is a real thing. I would say it is more a genuine presentation privilege. My height is probably the reason for that. Being 5’9”…but that happens to tall Cis women too. Notably if I am in a situation where there are a lot of other women about my height I never have this issue.
This brings up another important aspect of visual self identification.
Identity is not just contained within the individual. It is a socially negotiated and changeable thing. It depends not only on the visual, and verbal signals we put into the world but what we receive from the world in return. Transgender identity is a core part of who we are. Given that core important is it really asking so much of a person who expects to be visually recognized as a woman that they take steps to look the part beyond a pink shirt and pink canvass shoes?
One afterthought, most of the video responses to this are unbridled transphobia. Furthermore, this whole situation seems almost tailor made to be fodder for 2020 campaign commercials. It makes me wonder if this is not some sort of a troll or prank.
This is the video UNCUT and without commentary.
An interesting take on this incident from noted author Marissa Alexa McCool. She like me is a trans woman and she wrote a book to which I contributed called "Shiny New Science Vagina: How I got my Vagina 33 years late" (beat me by about 4-5 years.)
I can see where Marissa is comming from on this. As I shared in my youtube video I was misgendered while in the hospital by one particular nurse. Given I was there for the surgery and that particular wing of that unit is all about the surgery I was taken aback a little. The bigger deal was not getting my pain pill in a timely fashion which left me in very real intense pain.
Never the less, I can immagine the frustration of many days of constant insults and denigration.
As a person of color that happens.
If one is white but not educated, or does not have money, or ... who transtions and is early on in the process that happens. I can empathize with the emotion expressed by the woman in that video. That said, it just can't be OK to loose your composure. If so the US would be a never ending race riot.
Part of being trans is sadly learning to live with people who will be nasty for no reason at all. I won't link it but for a time in the mid 2000's the online transgender community was putting out information trying to say I was an internet faker who did not exist.
Here are comments from the man who took the video on what happened around it. From what he says. If he is being truthful then this may have just been a case of someone who took one too many kicks loosing it.
Blaire White's reaction is worth watching.
UPDATE1 The Person who took the video offered me comments
So there you have "John's" statement. Yes I have had activist members of the transgender community act unreasonably nasty towards me since at least 2005 and maybe earlier.
UPDATE2 The Transgender Woman, Tiffany Michelle, gives her point of view
Did I ever tell you about the time I was called a "gay Gay GAY FA**OT!" in a support group? Yeah that happend by a transwoman who claimed to be on hormones and stereoids and who pumped iron and who couldn't understand why though we were largey dressed the same I could ride the L from Forest Park to Wrigleyville on the day of a Cubs game with no issue other than guys leering at me... and she has/would have different issues.
It happened after I described that taking hormones AND anabolic steroids is counter productive if the goal is to pass. Again not that passing is the end all and be all of transgender life. If one wants that and the ease it can bring to life as a transwoman one cannot have that and also manly musculature. Sadly even cisgender muscular women are not treated well by our society. For mentioning what is simply a fact of our soceity I got screamed at .
That is a long story for another day. I mention that story to say that, I write what I write on this because I know our community are not all angels.