Today’s guest post is by Hex.
As a non-binary person who is just starting to physically transition, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that process is valued by queer and allied communities. I’ve been out as trans for almost a year now. I’ve been using the same pronouns and presenting myself roughly in the same way for most of that time. About two months ago I started taking testosterone. Soon after starting I told an acquaintance about it and she immediately said “Oh, I have a friend who’s doing a project and wants to include a trans voice. Can I give him your name?” Of course, the tokenism at work here could be the subject of a whole post of its own, but the salient point is that I had been trans all along, but it was only after starting hormones that she thought to mention this. In fact, as people found out about my taking hormones – long before there were any actual effects – my preferred pronouns were used more consistently. I started getting requests to sit on panels or to lead trainings. In short, people became noticeably more respectful of my identity.
This is a problem I see happening over and over again in different communities. Despite rhetoric about self-identification being the most important thing, time and again I see hierarchies of who is “really” trans being constructed around who fits the dominant narrative of physical transition, mirroring our mainstream media’s obsession about the physical aspects of transition. The ones who are most respected are the ones who, like me, take medical steps to change their bodies. This ignores the fact that many people who are as legitimately trans as me choose not to or are unable to access these things.
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t take hormones or get surgery. Continue reading