i dream of being possible

the parallels and intersections between anti-Black misogyny and transmisogyny

This post won’t leave me be to play Super Mario RPG, so I’m writing it and moving on.

Not too long ago, on tumblr, I saw that someone described the denial of a cis Black woman’s womanhood as ‘transmisogyny’ (could’ve even been ‘misdirected transmisogyny’). If memory serves, it was in the context of saying that some cis Black woman looked like or appeared to be ‘a man’. I can see why someone would make this error given that many ppl on tumblr and around will say that whenever you say a cis woman looks manly (like a man) you are being transmisogynist. And in casses where we aren’t talking about Black women, I’d maybe agree…

However, when we are talking about Black women, it isn’t ‘transmisogyny’ that enforces a regular, systemic denial of Black womanhood. It is anti-Black misogyny. And saying that a cis Black woman being denied her womanhood is ‘transmisogynist’ (misdirected or otherwise) manages to be both anti-Black misogynist and transmisogynist at the same time.

It might seem, on the surface, confusing to assert that there exists two subsets of women who are regularly and systematically denied womanhood but whose experience of this denial is not the same despite the impact being the same (ie, ‘being denied womanhood’).

And yet… here we are. The reality is, is that while both trans women and Black women (cis and trans) are regularly and systematically denied womanhood, the source and cause of this denial are distinct.

Trans woman are denied womanhood bc of transmisogyny.

All Black women are denied womanhood bc of anti-Black misogyny.1

To assert that it is transmisogynist to say a cis Black woman looks like a man is to completely erase the individuals who exist at this intersection: trans Black women. Who are denied womanhood based on both anti-Black misogyny and transmisogyny at the same time.

Indeed, since the denial of womanhood is an act of violence, that Black trans women exist at an intersection of two different kinds of violent denial of womanhood (or personhood) is precisely why Black trans women are the targets of so much material violence in the world.

People wanting to see how this plays out in discourse, should look to Monica Roberts’ Transgriot blog. Especially interesting is her discussions of the Williams sisters and how they are treated in the media.

Denial of womanhood is a defining feature of anti-Black misogyny and it is anti-Black misogynist to suggest otherwise.

Denial of womanhood is a defining feature of transmisogyny and it is transmisogynist to suggest otherwise.

And no one else experiences the unique denial of womanhood that Black trans women do but Black trans women.