Transgender Men are not Failed Lesbians
While the gender critical community tends to focus most of its vitriol towards transgender women, they certainly have their share of opinions regarding transgender men as well. One that I often see in discussions, and I’ve had this accusation thrown at me, is that transgender men are just failed lesbians. That somehow, we weren’t having any luck being lesbians, so we thought we’d try being men instead.
That particular argument is easy to poke holes through because not all transgender men are attracted to women. Some of us, like myself, are only attracted to men. Others are bisexual, pansexual, or even asexual. It seems that some people can’t understand that sexuality and gender identity are not linked. Transgender people’s sexuality spans the same spectrum as cisgender people.
When that argument falls flat, then the gender critical folks like to accuse transgender men of internalized misogyny. That either we hate womankind so much, that we’ve come to hate ourselves, or we can’t take dealing with misogyny from men so instead we join their ranks.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right!
Let me pause here and say that I do not want to make light of the misogyny many women still experience on a daily basis. However, no amount of catcalls or pussy grabbing is going to make a woman want to change her gender identity, much less go through the pain, time, and expense of medically transitioning.
I’ve also seen the argument that somehow Anime is responsible for us being transgender, especially Yaoi Anime (also known as Boy’s Love Anime). Yaoi is a category of Manga and Anime in Japan that is written by women, for women, featuring gay male couples in stereotyped hetero-normative relationships. There’s always a clearly defined top (seme) and bottom (uke) roles in the depicted relationship, and this portrayal has been highly criticized by the gay community.
I’m not sure how anyone could imagine that Yaoi Anime would make anyone want to change their gender, especially since they also use this as an argument for how transgender men really are still just women. It’s another fallacious argument, since not all transgender men are even fans of Anime at all, much less fans of Yaoi. I think the reason the gender critical community finds some transgender men into Anime is simply because the majority of transguys who are publicly out skew towards the younger generations. Anime is simply more popular among Gen Z and Millennials.
Many of us who are Gen X or Boomers live stealth, and our interests generally don’t lie with Anime. I had a passing interest in it when I was a pre-teen back in the 1980s when Robotech and Voltron were popular afternoon shows. However, I also enjoyed watching He-Man, Go-Bots, Thundercats, and a myriad of other cartoon shows from that era. I’m pretty sure my enjoyment of cartoons at the age of twelve isn’t why I’m transgender.
Finally, the last fallacious argument I often see from the gender critical community, is that transgender men must have experienced some kind of trauma as children, especially sexual trauma. Their hypothesis is that because we were probably sexually abused, we no longer want to have female bodies. If this hypothesis were at all true, then I think there would be a lot more transgender men in the world.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 11% of female children experience sexual assault. However, only 0.6% of the population is transgender, and less than half of them are transgender men. While some transgender men may very well have experienced sexual assault when they were children, not all of us have. I was lucky enough to have never experienced sexual assault, even as an adult.
The gender critical community continues to grasp at straws, trying to find some reason why people come out as transgender that will still fit their narrative that we’re not born this way. Somehow it must be something in our environment that’s causing us to reject our birth sex, because according to them, gender isn’t real.
The gender critical community refuses to accept any of the facts from various scientific studies that verify the reality of gender identity, because it shows that there are some structural differences between male and female brains. While this fact doesn’t imply any form of superiority of one gender over another, these facts fly in the face of the gender critical rhetoric.
Regardless, I’m still not a failed lesbian, Anime fanatic, or sexual abuse survivor. I’m just a transgender man trying to live my life and wanting to be comfortable with my body while doing so.