This is my answer to a question that was posted on a forum on whether or not there should be trans people who don’t fit into the traditional gender roles (feminine trans men and masculine trans women) visible in the media. It’s a bit generalised, and I don’t think that all cis people are transphobic monsters at all, so sorry if it comes across that way. And obviously I can’t speak for all trans people here, it’s just what I think would be best for us as a whole.
I think you’ve got to consider that what would be best for cis people to see and what would be better for trans people to see are two different things. I think initially it would better for cis people in general to see trans people who fit into the stereotypical gender roles, pass well, and are just like other regular guys; people who grew up playing in the mud and refusing to wear dresses. Being able to see people who fitted into the traditional gender roles might help some people be less wary of us, and break the stereotype of us as people who just have a fetish/want to spy on people in changing rooms/are trying to invade women’s spaces or gain male privilege. Cis people often don’t understand us, and that’s why some of them can be against us, because what we don’t understand can be scary. When I tried to come out to my mother last year she said that she didn’t understand why I felt like I needed to live my life as a man because she doesn’t do things that are stereotypically female, but she’s still comfortable as a woman. If she understood that [i]some[/i] people who act like tomboys/femme guys are actually male/female then she might have been more accepting and not just ignored the whole thing.
Of course there’s the problem of teaching them that it’s okay not to hate pink or bake, or do anything else that is feminine. I think society is slowly coming around to the idea that it’s okay to break these stereotypes of what each gender is doing as the genders are becoming more equal; women are going out to work so men have to do the housework, marriages no longer make the woman the property of the man, and there are plenty of people living on their own, both male and female. I think in time things will sort themselves out so that it’s okay to do, and like whatever you want, and not be considered too masculine or too feminine. It helps that there are people out there who have the balls to do what they want and not care about anyone else’s views (example: [url]http://www.hisblackdress.com/[/url] ) so things are going to move on, and it’ll be better for both cis and trans people who are interested in things that aren’t “what they’re supposed to like”.
However, if they were only to show people who fitted into the gender roles it would be harmful for trans people who were questioning their gender identity and their families. If they only saw people who were fitting into the gender roles would they have the confidence to come out to themselves and their families about being trans? I’m a pretty masculine guy, so to some extent I don’t know what it would feel like, but I’m pretty bad at video games, and sometimes if I’m feeling bad anyway, I feel like I’m less of a man than all the cis people around me because I’m not 10th Prestige on COD and I don’t have 3.1 kill-death ratio (mine’s something like 0.34 heh…) Video games aren’t a major part of my life though – and I would much rather play Skyrim to Black Ops any day – so I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a trans guy who liked things like baking and sewing, and to only see other trans men who hated those things.
In a similar way it’s going to be harder for the parents and friends of trans people if the person they’re close to doesn’t fit into those gender roles, but all the people they see in the media do. If I was a parent who didn’t know anything about trans issues and my child came to me, wearing feminine clothes that they had chosen, and had only done feminine things their whole life and told me that they were trans, and a boy, I wouldn’t be very open to the idea that they were actually male. If I had seen trans people in the TV and they’d been a bit feminine, and had said that they liked female things for whatever reason, then I would be more likely to say, “Oh okay, you’re a feminine guy, that’s allowed.” So from the point of view of both the parents and trans people it would be better to show a types of trans people on the TV, even if it makes it a little bit harder for them to be accepted by everyone in society.
There are some people who don’t pass straight away, even when they’re on T, and it would be good to show them that there are trans men who pass, but they’re going to think that they’re broken or something – I also don’t have personal experience there. Showing them people who also struggle to pass sometimes will help put out the message that it’s okay to be a man who doesn’t look 100% like a man, but that might also reinforce the stereotype of us just pretending and not being taken seriously. Cis people might find that it’s easier to see us for who we really are if they’re used to seeing trans people on the TV who don’t look exactly how they’re “supposed” to, and less importance will get put on our physical features, and more on who we say we are. Genderqueer need some sort of visible role model as well I think, otherwise that’s going to be a huge bunch of people who aren’t represented at all, and are just going to sitting at home wondering what’s wrong with them, and thinking that they’re the only people who feel the way that they do.
Overall, I think that we need both trans people who fit into the traditional gender roles to help cis people feel more comfortable with the idea of there being men and women who don’t have the parts that they expect them to have out there, and show that actually, we’re just like them. In other words, ease them in gently. It’s like boiling a live frog; put it in a pot of boiling water and it jumps out, put in in cold water and heat it up and it doesn’t realise, if we can slowly open people’s minds then being transgender will no longer be a taboo, it’ll be on the same par as some people being green eyed. And we need trans people who don’t fit the gender roles to be role models for people who are questioning their genders, their families, and society in general who are still hung up on what men and women should and shouldn’t do.