‘Not Trans Enough’ Is Not A Thing, And Insinuating Otherwise Is Dangerous

‘Not Trans Enough’ Is Not A Thing, And Insinuating Otherwise Is Dangerous

Important factors to consider before issuing this invalidating statement to an already marginalized and at-risk group.
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As a member of the transgender community, I hear the phrase “not trans enough” tossed around by transgender and cisgender (people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth) alike.

Whether it has to do with someone’s age, wardrobe or medical transition status, there seems to be an unspoken guidebook of what qualifies someone as being “actually transgender.”

The definition of transgender is a simple one: someone whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth. This includes people that identify both within and outside of the gender binary of male and female.

The statement I just made, however, is often denied when it comes to gatekeeping. That’s right; as a non-binary person who experiences gender dysphoria (distress at the lack of alignment between my body and gender identity as well as disregard of my preferred pronouns), I am apparently not trans.

The idea of the term transgender applying only to those born male who identify as female and vice versa is often perpetuated by the media. Transgender celebrities such as Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono are the faces of the transgender community, and are often the standards by which someone is judged as being “actually trans.”

These celebs also perpetuate transgender rulebook lesson number two: if someone hasn’t medically transitioned, they’re obviously faking it.

Although many transgender people do decide to medically transition, whether through hormone replacement treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery, there’s another portion of the transgender community who either can’t or don’t want to transition. Whether due to financial difficulties, medical complications, age, inability to come out or simply lack of desire to change their body, lack of medical transition offen bars transgender individuals from receiving the validation and acceptance they deserve.

This emphasis on passing (the ability to be seen by strangers as a cisgender member of the gender one identifies with) is yet another issue, both within and outside of the trans community. Often, one’s ability to pass is based on their body type and wardrobe. I am biologically female, meaning I have curves that don’t lend themselves to clothing from the men’s section. It also means that I don’t always look androgynous. It doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly cisgender or “faking it.”

There are also many instances in which passing can be unsafe, as according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 55 percent of all reported LGBT homicide victims were transgender women, and predominantly transgender women of color.

Younger members of the transgender community also experience increased violence and discrimination from peers, with 78 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming students from kindergarten to grade 12 experiencing harassment. In addition to mistreatment from other students, young transgender people are often invalidated by adults, including those who are also trans. Just as younger members of the LGBT community are told that it’s “just a phase,” transgender kids are often labeled as confused and attention-seeking. Yes, gender and sexuality can be fluid-- but that doesn’t make the identity and associated emotions of young transgender people any less real or valid than those of adults.

There is no such thing as being “trans enough,” and insinuating otherwise can be incredibly damaging.

Transgender people already have a suicide rate that is 25 times higher than that of the general population; do we really want to further contribute to that statistic?

All members of the transgender community deserve respect, regardless of the specific aspects and status of their identity. Accepting transgender individuals as who they are (that is, as actual transgender individuals) regardless of whether they meet a set of made-up, irrelevant standards is crucial, especially in the current political climate.

You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer that their disease isn’t legitimate enough to be taken seriously; telling someone that they aren’t “trans enough” is a sickness in and of itself.

And unfortunately, that sickness can be just as deadly.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Edelman

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Please, If You're Somehow Still Using The 'R Word'— Leave That Habit In 2018

Come on guys, its 2018. Google a new word.

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Maybe it was because I witnessed two boys get in trouble in elementary school for using this word as an insult.

Maybe it's because I fell in love with a thing called Camp Able. Maybe it's because one of my best friends is a special ed major. Or maybe it's because I try to be a decent human being. I do not use the R word.

Until this past semester, I hadn't really heard anyone use it often despite one encounter in 6th grade. Most of my best friends I have met while serving at places like Camp Able or Camp Bratton Green where summers are dedicated to people with diverse-abilities. I think having been surrounded with like-minded people for so long made me forget that some people still use it as an expression.

Let me tell you, it's annoying.

The word itself has been brushed off even in a "scientific" sense. It means to be slowed down, but it has stretched far beyond that meaning and has turned into an insult.

It's an insult of comparison.

Like any word, the power behind it is given by the user and most times, the user uses it to demean another person. It's like when you hear someone say "that's gay."

Like, what? Why is that term being used in a derogatory sense?

Why is someone's sexuality an insult? Hearing someone use the R-word physically makes me cringe and tense up. It makes me wonder what truly goes on in someone's mind. People will argue back that it's "just a word" and to "chill out," but if it was just a word, why not use something else?

There is a whole world full of vocabulary waiting to be used and you're using something that offends a whole community. Just because you don't care, it does not mean it shouldn't matter. Just use a different word and avoid hurting a person's feeling, it really is just that simple.

There is not a good enough reason to use it.

I volunteer at two summer camps: Camp Bratton Green and Camp Able. If you know me, I talk nonstop about the two. More realistically, if you know me, it's probably because I met you through one of the two. Even before I was introduced to the love at Camp Able, I still knew that this was a word not to use and it never crossed my mind to think of it.

The history behind the R-word goes back to describe people with disabilities but because of the quick slang pick up it was sort of demoted from the psychology world. Comparing someone or something that is negative to a word that you could easily avoid speaks volumes about who you are as a person.

The word is a word, but it is subjective in its meaning and in its background.

Just stop using it.

A List of Objective Words/Phrases to Use:

Fool/Foolish

Blockhead

Nincompoop

Silly

Ludicrous

Dim-witted

Trivial

Naive

"A few beads short on the rosary"

"On crack or something"

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No, Victoria's Secret Is Not Obliged To Use Plus-Size Or Transgender Models

After Victoria's Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek made it clear the models walking the runway for the lingerie line would not be changing anytime soon, critics decided it was time for the company to adopt a more progressive mindset and encourage inclusivity of every kind of woman.

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On November 8, 2018, as the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion show was set to film and backstage its most recognized models, including Sui He, Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, and Romee Strijd, prepped and interviewed, their Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek's interview with Vogue.com was going viral.

It's no secret the lingerie company is exclusive in the models it hires to represent the brand. Even its most diverse models, spanning from Asian to Black and Brazilian, mirror typically white features, and the models make no effort to hide the months of physical training and dietary rules they keep to achieve their slim runway bodies. The last time the show even attempted to include "plus-size" models was in 2000, which Ed Razek himself dubbed a failure.

However, most critics drew the line after Ed Razak's comments to Vogue were released prior to filming that Thursday in which he essentially stated that transgender and larger-sized models would not be seen on Victoria's Secret runway anytime soon, even though he made it clear they have considered their inclusion in the past. The remarks sparked an outrage online and several models responded with social media postings expressing their support for the transgender community.

The question here is, should Victoria's Secret feel obligated to incorporate transgender and plus-sized models into their shows to represent "all women?" Or are they at liberty to determine who and what their brand represents, and the specific women who will don their lingerie on the runway?

Like any brand, Victoria's Secret is just that: a brand, with a targeted consumer, a determined aesthetic, and deliberate marketing strategy to draw that consumer in and keep them as life-long buyers. More than that, Victoria's Secret, with its internationally televised annual fashion show (that draws in nearly 1.6 billion viewers in 190 countries), has transformed into a label filled with superstar models backed by a devoted fan base. The company extends beyond its retail shops. It's a source of entertainment and as Ed Razek puts it, "a fantasy."

To force Victoria's Secret, or any brand or company for that matter, to alter who represents their product for the sake of political correctness is misguided.

If you don't approve of the models who walk in their shows, don't buy their clothing.

Further, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is comparable to the Superbowl of modeling. The sixty models selected to walk are chosen from hundreds of models who, in addition, beat out thousands of other models to simply land that audition. They work incredibly hard to become physically fit for the runway, to the point that several high-fashion brands refuse to allow them to walk in their shows, deeming them too fat. To belittle their work and efforts in the name of "inclusion" is what's genuinely shameful.

Yes, it may be disappointing to the plus-size or transgender models who dream of walking for Victoria's Secret or the customers who don't see themselves represented in their marketing that the company refuses to reassess its image, but several other brands including ThirdLove or Savage X Fenty exclusively market to these women. Like any fashion line or clothing company, not every consumer will feel inclined to buy their products, so they choose another store to shop at. However, that does not determine the preferences of other consumers, and many women around the world, like me, are fond of the Victoria's Secret brand and what their models represent.

To me, they're fit, beautiful, and empowering women who faithfully back the people and company they represent.

If you don't agree, that's OK; but don't slander the models who spend years with Victoria's Secret as the end goal of their career in mind or the women who feel empowered and beautiful in their clothing is unjust and really, quite ironic. If your intention as one of these critics is to see the support and acceptance of all women, that must include those who work tirelessly to achieve the bodies and careers that you're shaming for being too "perfect."

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