Please be aware (in case you didn’t look at my profile), I myself am transsexual and you are talking about my direct experience.

Myth #1: you make reference to “conservative and TERF claims.” You misrepresent those claims because they are based on sexual anatomy, not gender performance. As you spend a lot of time in Myth #1 pointing out, the two are mutually exclusive. Trans people are often VERY mentally ill, but a lot of these illnesses have to do with anxiety, depression, discomfort, and in a lot of cases, gaslighting and shaming. There are a lot of borderline personalities in my trans support groups. The myth is that a trans person’s transsexuality makes them mentally ill, but it’s not right to make the myth seem as though trans people don’t have mental illnesses. Almost all of us do and clearing up the dysphoria doesn’t solve all the rest of our life issues. As I indicated in my first post, one of the most dangerous ideas perpetuated by trans activism today is that transitioning will change everything about a person and erase their past. (Related a bit to Myth #2 are the couple of “trans women” I knew who used it as an excuse to not pay child support or live up to other social and legal responsibilities incurred prior to transition.)

Myth #2: The problem with male-sexed people using women’s spaces has never been trans women, it has always been cis men pretending to be trans women. It is naive to believe that no cis men will do this (I’ve had direct experience with it, actually, and it set back my own transition for over a decade, see my parenthetical in Myth #1). In fact, one of the “TERF” contentions about women’s prisons is allegedly-trans sex offenders who wind up there, where they have even more access to commit sex offenses against women. Both transsexual people such as myself and cis gendered women are fighting for our bodily autonomy, and taking that away from one to cater to the other is part of the problem here. We have to find a way to prevent cis men from piggybacking off trans activism for nefarious means. So yes, it is a myth that trans women are dangerous; the danger lies in giving cis men another avenue through which to attack ALL women, both cis and trans.

Myths #3 and 4 are somewhat together but underreporting detransitioning is harmful to the trans community for a lot of reasons. First of all, plenty of trans people detransition for a lot of reasons, and not all of them have to do with regret. In my immediate experience, detransitioners I’ve known have done so because of life circumstances, trauma, or lack of funding. Ignoring detransitioning or trying to portray it as a myth is harmful because it removes this option via shaming. For that matter, sexual reassignment surgery is out of reach for the vast majority of us on hormone therapy. I’m lucky, I have good insurance that will cover it but the majority of people I encounter do not, and in many cases the surgery isn’t confirming enough, exacerbating dysphoria. Looking up gender surgery online also doesn’t tell you about the cons, only the pros (while also supplying terrible “results” pictures and mostly showing images of surgeries in progress… ick). Coincidentally, I learned today a few of the cons of metoidioplasty and phalloplasty from my surgeon, but these issues are usually shouted down as “transphobic” by people writing articles discussing “myths.” I’ve seen this happen when anti-affirmative care trans people like Buck Angel and Scott Newgent try to address issues like vaginal atrophy or phalloplasty complications. For example, did you know that for trans men, there’s only a 70% chance of being able to urinate while standing? This is a HUGE priority for a lot of trans men, who are led to believe that meta and phallo will always allow this by a media that downplays or ignores these inconvenient facts. So ultimately, no, gender assignment surgery is NOT always affirming and because it’s an emerging field, it’s going to take time before it is. While my discussion was with a surgeon in Miami, this applies even to the Thailand surgeries.

Another important thing to point out about all of these myths is that they apply to transsexual people more than they do transgender people. This is one of the biggest areas where there is confusion because of the emergence of “trans people who don’t want to transition,” something that technically doesn’t exist in a world where “gender refers to the continuum of complex psychosocial self-perceptions, attitudes, and expectations people have about members of both sexes.” From the experience of my own transition and the interactions I’ve had with trans people in my South Florida community, the only thing that changed about any of us was our bodies, not our minds. If sex refers to anatomy, then you are conflating people on HRT with people who put on gender performance with no intention of medical intervention.

The worst part about it is that most of these myths are indeed myths, but when you label gender performance with the same terminology as sexual anatomy, you only help confuse the issue and empower those conservatives who are spreading the myths to begin with. A more balanced approach is needed that addresses the pros and cons in an honest and objective, but also sensitive, manner. Your piece had a lot of promise in that regard but fell into the same trap of making transsexuality seem like it’s the answer to everything for ALL gender nonconforming people.

Card-carrying nerd, rational feminist, spiritual observer, ally of free thinking and objectivity, Harvard student, power metal is life! Trans man, he/him prefd

Card-carrying nerd, rational feminist, spiritual observer, ally of free thinking and objectivity, Harvard student, power metal is life! Trans man, he/him prefd