A while back I said that I wouldn’t be using the word trans with an asterisk because some people consider it offensive, but I’ve recently been looking into it some more and wanted to make a short post about it.
In programming languages, an asterisk is usually added at the end of words when using search engines in order to find other words that have something in common. So if you were to search for trans* and add an asterisk, the results would include other terms like transportation, transmisogynist, transform or transplant. It was therefore created to be inclusive. This is the only argument I found in favour to using the asterisk, really.
Some consider it offensive because it’s as if those who aren’t “trans enough” can’t be included under the umbrella term unless the asterisk is used, meaning non-binary genders wouldn’t officially be trans (I don’t recognize this as a valid reason since some people who are genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, cross-dressers, etc., don’t identify as trans, even though others with the same identities do. Those who don’t wouldn’t be included under the word trans but would under the word trans*). Another reason for not using it is because some say it is more often used by those who were FAAB, therefore excludes trans women, which I can’t really agree with either.
However, Natalie Reed makes some different good points against the asterisk over at this place and Jack is also against it for other reasons.
Now you can decide yourselves whether to use or not. I won’t.
I haven’t mentioned Pear yet. Before I introduce her though, I thought maybe I should stop putting letters as people’s names and maybe assign them fruit instead so they are less confusing. Pear has nothing in common with a pear by the way; the names are chosen randomly.
Pear and I met at drawing classes. I try to be as outgoing as I can when meeting new people, otherwise I’m most likely to end up alone in a corner of the room, so I got into the habit to talking to everyone in my drawing class (30 people). This means that I have a good relationship with everyone and walk around the room talking to all and none in particular (I think that’s what you call a floater when studying high school girl cliques?). When Pear showed up half way through the year, nervous and solitary, I also presented myself and we soon became great friends. I usually get bothered with people fairly quickly and have an urge to run away after they talk for too long, but she was different. I consider her to be my best friend and I often get an earlier train to see her in the mornings.
One day we were walking to the train station together; we were talking about manga and, somehow, she ended up saying that she loved characters who dressed up as the opposite sex, as well as androgynous Asian singers. I thought that it would be a good enough moment to come out as non-binary, but I cowardly changed my mind. Instead I gave her one of my smirks with hidden meaning and agreed, then proceeded to say a list of characters and gender-bender series that I also loved.
Five minutes later she started complaining about her boyfriend, because he didn’t let her cut her hair. I knew she’d be bothered if I went into feminism mode and told her that her boyfriend had no right to decide which haircut she should have, but I did tell her she should be doing whatever she wanted with her own hair. Anyway, then she said she was sick of relationships and “wished she was asexual”. That definitely caught me off guard as I was incredibly surprised that somebody in the mainstream population (cis-hetero-monogamous-vanilla) would know about the term. Second time that I had a perfect opportunity to come out and stayed quiet.
Another day we were scribbling our names on a piece of paper and drawing flowers around them, when the guy sitting in front of us said to another friend that “all the girls around him turned into lesbians, even Pear”. I don’t think I need to make much of a comment on the nature of this statement, seeing as it basically speaks for itself, but I could’ve taken this (third) opportunity to come out to her. As usual, I didn’t.
Of course later I was ashamed of myself for not saying anything. She is the most accepting person I know and would have no problem whatsoever with me being trans or ace. But if you think that my chances of disclosing my identity were over, you should know that I was given yet another opportunity to do so.
It was last week. I thought I might as well mention that there’s the Barcelona Pride this Saturday, and that I’d be going. She was upset because she couldn’t go, so I said I’d buy her a flag or something. She told me she wanted the pansexual one. I made sure to tell her that I’d be buying an asexual one for me and in response I got “why would you want an ace one, being asexual is so sad!”, as she proceeded to tell me that only 1% of the population is asexual. I wasn’t going to waste this chance so I butted in with a “I’m part of that 1%!”. She was shocked for a second or two but then started squealing and jumping up and down, saying that she finally met an asexual person and that she’d always wanted to know my sexuality (really?).
She’s been very interested and asking a few questions these past few days about asexuality and aromanticism. I also came out as genderqueer. She suspected it and says it’s fine, that she has no problem whatsoever and feels so much closer to me now. Turns out she’s pansexual too (not a lesbian).
You probably know what this is about from reading the title of the post, but I’ll spell it out to you anyway: I have reached 30 followers! I never thought so many people would read my blog and my little ramblings, so thank you to all my followers and readers. You really do encourage me to continue staying positive about these issues and help me get the negative thoughts out of my head. And also a special thanks to all of those who comment and like my posts, you know I love it when you do that.
(I hope there are many more followers to come!)
Also a short notice to announce that I will no longer be using the asterisk after trans*. Many people have complained about the asterisk, saying that it’s disrespectful. I actually started using it precisely because I had heard the opposite; that it was supposed to be inclusive of any kind of transsexual, non-binary, transvestite or transgender person, as well as many others. Most people around the spaces and networks I visit, who are usually very open-minded, also write it this way. But since there is so much controversy and some are getting offended by the asterisk, I think it is best if I stop using it as to not hurt anyone.
Here, I posted a cake for celebrating. I’m not really a cake person myself, so I’ll just take the M&Ms.
I haven’t mentioned this before, but ever since I have began to interact with “real life queer people”, I have become friends with people like P, who I have already talked about, P’s girlfriend and L. L and I have become good friends because we are the same age and we are going through the same circumstances and situations at school and in life in general. The other day, though, L told me that P isn’t trans because he doesn’t want to be a boy, referring to the fact that he is non-binary, has no preference for pronouns and hasn’t undergone surgery.
P was telling me a while ago how he had bought a binder and how he was planning to have top surgery as soon as he could pay for it and convince his parents. I also know that he has been through a lot of difficult experiences because of his identity, so I didn’t really like L’s comment. But it isn’t the first time I hear people saying that non-binary people aren’t really trans, or completely ignoring or invalidating their existence.
I am also non-binary, but I can tell you that I very well am trans. I have somewhat found a way to feel comfortable with my body and have accepted the way society may perceive me and my gender instead of letting myself succumb to dysphoria. Who says I am not trans because I sometimes use the girls’ toilets? Shall I tell them about how hard it is to not be able to listen to Korean music regardless of how much I love it because of the amount of jealousy I feel towards the singers? Do I have to mention that just the other day I was insulted while walking down my very own school because of my gender expression? Do I have to give explanations as to why I like wearing pink, why I giggle sometimes or how I cry when watching “Bridge to Terabithia” for the fifth time even though I identify as a boy? Do they not understand that I don’t want to undergo surgery, that I love my body, that my fear of injections is much bigger than my fear of being misgendered by a stranger? Did they know that I say I’m comfortable with my body but still spend half an hour in front of the mirror deciding which clothes to wear because I don’t want my breasts to show or my hips to be noticed?
Does the way how somebody feels uncomfortable about themselves determine their transliness? Of course it doesn’t. Neither does the way they love their bodies or how they act or the way they express their gender. Surgery, hormones, clothes and experiences are completely irrelevant when it comes to determine a person’s identity. P is trans, I am trans and so is L. And so is anyone else who says they are. We are all just different types of trans.