Morerotethanmeaning Profile picture
Jul 23, 2018 25 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD: I didn’t have rapid-onset gender dysphoria, but for #ROGDWEEK2018 I want to share the reasons I thought I was not a woman and tried to transition.
Both parents came for traditional Welsh and Mancunian working class backgrounds. Insidious gender stereotypes were stamped all over the fabric of our family, whether they knew it or not. On the one hand I was unusually lucky to have a breadwinner mother (doctor)
On the other, I was unfortunate enough to have a bitter, entitled, lazy and narcissistic father who abused us both sexually and emotionally. He resented our drive and our intelligence (qualities he lacked) so did everything possible to undermine our confidence and independence.
Dad always spoke about women as though they were objects defined by him and owing him their validation, respect and existence. He frequently made fun of other women for anything that was perceived as ‘feminine’ or ‘girly’. He also made fun of their physical attributes
He was incapable of talking to women without talking down to them. He considered himself to be superior. He failed/dropped out of things again and again, yet it was never his fault. It was always because of some ‘neurotic woman’.
I was the oldest followed by a brother 3 years later. Brother was routinely treated as more competent, fun, interesting. I was humiliated for any interests that deviated from gender stereotypes. Despite those same ‘feminine’ interests being routinely ridiculed.
Dad was extremely uncomfortable with me being GNC, but he didn’t want to be seen as being critical. So he told me that is was my mother who was uncomfortable (lies). My fashion/interest choices were routinely ridiculed.
Mum left when I was 11 for another woman. What followed was years of homophobia. The word ‘lesbian’ was so dirty I couldn’t say it, yet I had already started to realise I was not heterosexual.
Dad made fun of my crushes at the same time as telling me it was ‘just a phase’ I would grow out of. When I didn’t he started asking me if I thought my sexuality was ‘normal’ or ‘natural’. The implication being that it wasn’t.
There weren’t many lesbian characters on television at the time, but when they did appear he would turn over in disgust. ‘Why are they showing such revolting things on TV?’ he would say. I sat in shameful silence. I had not ‘grown out of it’
My extended family were well-meaning but extremely patriarchal. If something broke they always assumed my brother was the one competent enough to fix it (when actually it was me). I wanted to do ‘boys things’, but always got lumped with knitting and cooking.
My brother always got far more latitude than me. Was allowed to get away with far more than I was. Had his ego shielded and coddled while mine was pounded into submission.
At school I was isolated. I didn’t want to play with the girls as we had nothing in common. My interests were science, engineering, Star Trek, climbing trees etc. I was quickly labelled ‘tomboy’. I remember being genuinely confused as to why there had to be a special label for me
I grew up in the late 90s/early 00s. It was a time when gender stereotypes seemed to be aggressively reasserting themselves following the gender-non-conformity of the 80s. Being ‘girly’ was the only option ever presented to me, but it was also widely pilloried
At school I wasn’t allowed to play football because I was a girl. When I passed the 11+ and 4 boys in my class didn’t, it was widely assumed by teachers and pupils that the test given at the girls’ grammar was easier than that given to the boys.
This was when I started to question the role imposed upon me, when I first started to hate being a girl.
When I went to said girls’ grammar I was viscously bullied for years. Bullied for my hairy legs, for my interests, for my clothes. I tried to ‘girlify’ myself (even started going by a simpering diminutive) to make myself more popular. They just took the piss out of that too.
I was diagnosed with autism at 14, which was when my behaviour started to become excessively pathologised.
On television the only women seen as attractive were stick insects with androgynous bodies. ‘Curves’ were just a consolation prize for ‘fat’ women. I watched programmes on women with ‘pear’ shapes who were told to have liposuction. Imagine my horror when I developed as a ‘pear’
A number of things were clear to me: a) I was crap at being a woman b) being a woman was not desirable unless your only concerns were make up, Barbie and boy bands c) as a hairy pair shape my body was ‘wrong’ and unattractive d) women were not seen as entities distinct from men
e) lesbians were disgusting women who were so ugly men didn’t want them f) lesbians only eschewed gender stereotypes because deep down they wanted to be men g)men were seen as more intelligent than women h) men were allowed to be more confident than women
Is it any surprise then, that I decided I was trans? It was the only possible explanation, since ABSOLUTELY NOBODY would say I was fine the way I was. That my interests, clothes, feelings and frustrations at the way I was treated because of my sex were not pathological.
The radical feminist analysis saved my life when I was 29. I wish I had been more receptive to it before, but radfems were routinely monstered in the same way lesbians were (ie ugly, bitter etc) and I didn’t want to be seen in that light.
The irony is, in order to save myself from the toxicity of gender, I had to wholeheartedly embrace that which I feared the most - my true self: a woman who refuses to be defined by men. Such defiance is still a dangerous act of gender treason, even in 2018.
By equating ‘femininity’ with ‘female’ the #transcult just reinforces and imposes the gender prison on all of us. We must make sure that children, particularly girls, have the freedom to express themselves without being pathologised, medicated and mutilated #ROGDWEEEK2018

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