One thing that gender critical women fail to recognize is that transgender people (both male and female) agree that gender has nothing to do with how a person dresses. It’s not about clothes or makeup (or lack thereof). What you’re talking about is gender presentation and that is fraught with stereotypes and is definitely influenced by the patriarchy.

How a person chooses to dress should never invalidate their gender identity. Some people conform to societal norms in regards to their presentation, some do not.

Take actor Bill Porter as an example. He is rocking those red carpets with gorgeous dresses and makeup, but that does not make him transgender. Nor does he claim to be. Just being gender non-conforming in one’s presentation does not make anyone trans.

So, why do many transgender people, like myself, follow societal expectations when it comes to how we dress, style our hair, etc? Simply because we want to be viewed by society as the gender we identify with, not the sex we were born as. In order to feel accepted as our gender, when we first begin to transition, the easiest thing to do is to dress more feminine/masculine (based on societal stereotypes). The rest comes later, through the use of hormones and/or surgery.

Most transgender people hate these damned stereotypes as much as you do, but if we don’t conform to them, we get misgendered and that’s really all we’re trying to avoid.

Transgender writer and author. I primarily write on LGBTQ issues, with a focus on the transgender community.

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