Quitting Queer: a Trans Woman’s Handbook to Extricating Yourself from Toxic Radical Communities
I try to resist the urge to change my poems because they are reflections of a me at a specific moment in time, a person that is always changing and growing. And it’s hard being honest to myself especially when I can see the flaws that I used to have, ones that caused me a great deal of pain. But also necessary. I’ve been thinking about what motivated me to write the poem "how to tell a trans person they are beautiful" two and a half years ago and how much this poem represented to me at that moment, what it represents to me now, and what it means to others.
But there’s just this one part I’m hung up on, towards the end.
Don’t tell me I’m beautiful because I’m passing as something I’m not
Tell me because I am who I am
Whether I like it or not
Let me know that I am beautiful
no matter what
This part can be ambiguous, and there’s actually two ways it can be read.
"Don’t tell me I’m beautiful because I’m passing as something I’m not, tell me because I am who I am. Whether I like it or not, let me know that I am beautiful not matter what."
"Don’t tell me I’m beautiful because I’m passing as something I’m not, tell me because I am who I am whether I like it or not.Let me know that I am beautiful no matter what."
There’s a difference between these two.
Honestly, I don’t know which way I meant it. I imagined that I originally meant it to be read the second way. I have a vague memory of the last two lines being a pair, a complete thought on it’s own. However, I just looked up the video that I posted on youtube (and since taken down) . And I was surprised to see I read it the first way, pausing after “I said I am who I am” and having “whether I like it or not” leading into the last part of the poem.
I am actually horrified by this.
I wouldn’t be so much except that this poem was really passed around widely. It kind of became one of those weird internet famous moments when I really wasn’t meaning it to be, 17,000 views on youtube and people passing it around on facebook. And right there was an invitation for people to cross my boundaries about something very vulnerable. That line “Whether I like it or not let me know that I am beautiful no matter what” is honestly just too much. It gave permission for people to tell me I am beautiful, again and again, just how beautiful I am. And if I just understood how beautiful I was, the way they saw me, I wouldn’t be hurt anymore and perhaps I could be saved.
Perhaps they could save me.
If only I believed them. And I did, I have chosen to believe that others, my saviors, see me as beautiful when I still couldn’t see that in myself. And this is where I become horrified, because I crawled myself into their eyes. Seeking a warmth that never lasts. Always shutting my own eyes. Craving what others gave me, but I couldn’t give myself.
I believed I could attain Beauty by the words that were offered by others, but never myself.
But let me say this now, this poem is not meant for anyone to save me. I need to save myself, I have always needed to save myself. I am sorry I have led others to believe otherwise.
And let me now not deny that I know.
I Am Beautiful.
Not because others tell me so
But just simply because I am worthy.
No more apologies, no more lies, no more doubts.
Always and forever.
Only after letting go of what you lost can you appreciate what you have
I actually object when trans people are not included in Queer. I write about frustrations I have with queer spaces when they don’t talk about trans issues or when they talk about queerness only in terms of sexuality, because it’s impossible to talk about sexuality without talking about gender. So if you are talking about sexuality without talking about transgender people, you’re being transphobic. And I object to transphobic queer people.
Also, I don’t define queer as not “cishet”. I think the whole point of creating the identity of queer was to move away from policing identities and seems hypocritical to define it in that way. I think certain “cishet” people live queer lives. I’m thinking about Janet Mock’s peice of the shaming of (cishet) men who date trans women. I think it’s important to talk about this. A
I deleted the tumblr app off my iphone which was really healthy. Honestly, I was way too in the habit of reading everything off tumblr, needing to feel constantly updated and reading the #transmisogny tag. It was the first thing I was doing when I woke up and the last thing I was doing before going to sleep. Reading about transmisogyny does not make me feel well. And while a part of me feels validated knowing that: 1. yes transmisogyny is a real thing and that there are other people who have had similar experiences and 2. no I wasn’t crazy for feeling the way I did when certain patterns of abuse were happening; there’s a part of me that also gets triggered seeing these things happen. I mean people will #transmisogyny specifically as a trigger warning because this stuff is super traumatic, especially for individuals who have been impacted by transmisogyny.
I can spend forever giving advice to other trans people about the importance of self-care, but I’m pretty awful at actually practicing it myself. I’m starting to see this as a larger pattern where I don’t value myself enough to actually take care of myself. I don’t act as if I’m worthy enough, but I know I am.
I have people who love me, really truly dearly love me. And I really don’t know why because I am not generous with that same love towards myself. This needs to change.
Knowing the above, I need to re-evaluate the role this blog plays in my life. There is something therapeutic about writing personal posts and publishing them. There are several people I follow that are willing to share openly about themselves, and I am so thankful that they do. They help me grow and feel in community with people who have had similar experiences. However, I cannot ignore how much talking about my vulnerabilities has attracted abusive people into my life, via this tumblr. I decided to stop sharing about myself on this blog a year ago because fundamentally this is not a safe space.
I have 976 followers. I have no idea who most of you are. I do know that a number of you are people I do not trust. There are quite a few fetishizers following me because of the pictures I have post and their fascination with girls like me. There are quite a few activists who follow me because every once in awhile I post angry things about the ways I’ve been hurt by queer and trans* communities and they find me to be educational. There are voyeurs who are just simply fascinated by me, but at the same time have very little sympathy. And then there’s the folks who want to save me, who actually end up hurting me in ways that can’t even see.
And then there’s the folks that follow me because, they are like me. In some way they are struggling with the things I’m struggling with, we are healing. And it’s like, I want to keep reaching these people, because it feels so important and it’s healing to me too.
This silence has been suffocating.
But I believe that I will be soon finding a new resilience in myself. Perhaps my biggest problem wasn’t sharing my vulnerabilities but it was believing lies I was told about myself.
seriously I can’t stand tumblr anymore.
Superyoungshemales just started following you
WTF like seriously I don’t even post anymore selfies because if shit like this. Any what is with everybody on this fucking website trying to get my number and asking if I have a boyfriend??? I don’t want to date anybody right now, especially some random ass guy from tumblr. And it doesn’t make it better if your trans*. Actually it makes it worse. LIke seriously, you’re going to have a million posts about feminism, and how aware you are of misogyny since, you know, you were “socialized female” and then you have the fucking audacity to treat me like a sexual object?????? Or think I just like the attention? And then when I tell you off, you’re like “I’m so sorry (that you’re a crazy tranny)”
Or how about whenever I dare to bring up misogyny in trans* communities, how much hate I get thrown at me. I can’t fucking stand it.
It’s gotten to the point where I feel like so many of my followers follow me because they think I’m so haaawt, not that they care what I have to say.
And then there’s the creeps out there who pretend to be me by stealing my pictures and lifting my blog posts and creating OKCupid accounts.
And it’s so ironic (except not) that one of the biggest bloggers about transmisogyny on tumblr is actually a a white AFAB trans* person who’s pretending to be trans woman of color. Literally stealing our experiences and creating this whole persona of Quinn who does not exist offline. And then coming up with a whole unbelievable story to explain it away. Like this person is fucking dangerous and destroying TWOC communities of tumblr but no one seems to fucking care. And now they’re running a support blog for trans women survivors??? They’re not even who they claim to be and now they’re collecting a whole community of trans women who have been abused. This is not safe y’all.
And it’s like I’m still fucking pissed that trans men of color decided to name their youtube collab channel Trans People of Color, without including any trans women, except as a once in awhile weekly guest. You’re inviting us to be a guest in our own home??? Please
And it wouldn’t be to upsetting except that I see people reposting their videos when it’s just so obvious how much transmisogyny it took for them to rationalize ignoring multiple trans women of color criticize them them. Like WTF you could’ve just called you channel Trans Men of Color, which it fucking is!!! And it makes me even more pissed off that you invited a trans women to be your first guest. Tokenizing us does not fix the problem!! It just hides it
So I’m just done, I’m exhausted of dealing with everybody’s shit on this website. These are not safe communities, I can barely trust people on here. And it’s sad because this there are things I’ve learned on here that have really helped me, but it’s time to move on. I hope you all clean up your act
Somewhat necessary background for understanding why Julia Serano’s recent post on appropriation not only misses the point, but reinforces certain white centric aspects of her thought, is the subtle form of gender essentialism she espouses in whipping girl:
This strongly suggests that certain…