transmisogyny as the foundation for transphobia
March 10, 2013
(rebloggable by request)
So from a couple of your posts I have seen you say transmisogyny rather than transphobia or similar things and as a cis person I was wondering what you meant by that. If you are willing to, I would like to hear/see what you mean by that. Thank you!
I don’t even know if this anon will still be around… but I finally have time to answer this question. (although, re-reading the question i’m realizing that my answer is actually to a different question, but I’ll answer this question ,.., i don’t even know what I”m talking about here. lol)
To make it very clear: transphobia depends on transmisogyny. So. If we address and dismantle transmisogyny, we’ll also take care of transphobia at the same time. However, the converse isn’t true. If all we do is talk about and attempt to dismantle transphobia, we’d still end up having to take care of transmisogyny (and, by extension we’d have failed in dismantling transphobia in any meaningful sense of the word).
Now. This seems like a fairly… large claim and one that probably should be substantiated in some way.
When you look at the history of ‘transphobia’ and where it may come from, we can see that the historical roots lay in colonization and (along with what I”ve said in the past about the binary) the colonial enforcement of white genders.
We can see the roots of transmisogyny (I guess the ‘birth’ would be more apt) in the writings of missionaries and other colonialists, who encountered any of the many trans feminine range of genders. You can see it in how they describe us and how clearly the misunderstand essentially everything. And…
You can see it how, in 400+ years later, the fascination that the white gaze has with our bodies, our exists and all the fear and disgust that accrues around this fascination and surveillance hasn’t changed. At all. Nor has the constructions of us as ‘men in dresses’ or as un-women have changed.
And yeah, I realize that many a trans man would point to their near erasure from history as evidence of a broader understanding of transphobia that includes transmisogyny… but. That would only represent a move to decenter trans feminine people from our place in history. It also places a positive valuation on all the colonial attention paid to us as something… enviable, rather than recognizing that this attention is literally the source of systemic oppression of trans people (but most especially trans feminine people of colour). It isn’t accidental that trans women of colour are the most adversely and violently impacted trans people. It is simply the modern iteration of a 400+ year campaign to eradicate us from the face of this planet.
All of this is why I say that the default for cis people is transmisogyny. Because conceptualizing transmisogyny as a subset of transphobia is both historically wrong and transmisogynist. Transmisogyny is the foundation that transphobia is built on, this is also why pretty much any attempt that trans men have made recently to dismantle transphobia has simply resulted in their being massively transmisogynist and, well, shitting on trans feminine people. This is also why, in a larger sense, trans men have been more effective: because cutting down a branch is about a bajillion times easier than uprooting the tree.