A paradox of talking about transness with the cis is that the best way to convince them we should have bodily autonomy is by pointing out the dangers that arise when we don't. Yet highlighting those dangers further entrenches the idea of transition as an unfortunate necessity.
CW: death by suicide

Talking about suicidal ideation among trans people is definitely a great way to underline the stakes of what we face as a community. But underlining those stakes also subtly reinforces the idea that we are much more in need of sympathy than empathy.
This dichotomy also leads to the condescension of "you're so brave!!" when most of us just want to do our thing without being turned into symbols of the essential triumph of the human spirit or whatever the fuck.

Tbc: I am an essential symbol of the triumph of the human spirit.
It is apparently hard for the cis to think of their genders assigned at birth as prisons, or to imagine a lifetime spent dissociated, or to understand how hard it is to be depersonalized, or to feel the horror of not recognizing your own body.

Not IMPOSSIBLE, but VERY hard.
(Necessary clarification: There are several psychological conditions -- e.g. body dysmorphia -- that cis people can struggle with, which often make them more capable of empathizing with trans people. That's good! I think it's rare to have the full cocktail if you're not trans.)
When I write about trans stuff, I always resist putting in statistics, and every time, it's the statistics about how hard our lives can be, which I add at the behest of others, that speak most to the cis people who read my stuff. I'm a little exhausted by it.
Trans joy is a much more potent force than our pain, gender euphoria is more powerful than gender dysphoria, and our stories of our lives are a better way to understand us than statistics and studies.

Get to know us; stop trying to quantify us.

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More from @emilyvdw

4 Apr
Half the movies in this year's Oscar list just made me want to rewatch it American Honey, a movie that somehow continues to grow in my estimation with every new day. And I already thought it was a masterpiece!!
I grew up in the place depicted in both American Honey AND Nomadland.

Nomadland better portrays how that place sees itself: rugged, romantic, individualistic. American Honey better depicts it as it actually IS: hollowing out, riddled with class issues.
I don't think either goal is a bad one for a movie, but Nomadland's aesthetics promise you something more naturalistic than you're actually getting. I'm still not sure how I feel about that.
Read 7 tweets
19 Mar
I am astonished at how quickly This Whole Deal went from being about a specific platform's specific policies to a handful of personalities who enjoy casting themselves as the protagonists of reality.
I get the allure of being the protagonist of reality! But it's hard to miss that this story has gone from "Substack's lack of transparency places many people who publish there in a bind" to "A handful of trans writers with no authority are trying to censor ME specifically!!"
Turning this into a simple "Jude Doyle/Emily VanDerWerff vs. Jesse Singal/Glenn Greenwald" narrative ignores the real issue, which becomes more clear with every Substacker who tells their story: This company doesn't want you to know who its money is supporting.
Read 8 tweets
19 Mar
The only way to do a Frasier reboot is to flip the dynamics of the first one. Frasier is the old dad set in his ways. His son (now in his 30s) is the one trying to get dad to change. Frasier is still effete; Frederick is a struggling gig economy worker and hipster.
More importantly, Frederick is the pov character. Frasier is now the show's soft antagonist.
The first episode starts with Frederick (whom we do not know yet as Frasier's son) hooking up with a guy. "Let's go to my place. My dad's asleep by now."

But no! Frasier is still awake, listening to Toscanini. "Ah! Frederick! Sherry?" "No, dad, this is Tom." *laughter*
Read 8 tweets
19 Mar
I have become weirdly obsessed with the 1979-80 two-season McLean Stevenson vehicle Hello, Larry, which has a reputation as one of the worst shows ever made. I haven't seen a single episode. I HAVE seen the opening sequence, which is terrible.

Things I know about Hello, Larry, based on its opening credits:
--Larry hosts an advice show on the radio
--Despite this, his two kids ask him questions he can't easily answer
--He's a single dad
--Joanna Gleeson plays his romantic foil? Maybe?
--Portland is a long way from LA.
In season two, the producers thought they could do better with Black viewers, so they added former Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon. He played himself.

Read 4 tweets
19 Mar
A brief list of things I have said publicly about this whole deal:
--Substack's lack of transparency creates an unnecessary impression it supports transphobic jackasses.
--More prominent Substackers should say Graham Linehan seems like he sucks.

For this I am discoursed?????
This is the post over which Glenn Greenwald gatekeeps my queerness. Like at least do this over one of my spicy takes, Glenn!

emilyvdw.substack.com/p/on-substack
The more times this happens to me, the funnier it becomes. It's like going scorched earth over getting a C-.
Read 4 tweets
19 Mar
Glenn.................................................... you got me. I transitioned as a bit.
In addition to being “a tran,” I am also a bisexual (who has kissed women AND men), a writer, someone who sings Taylor Swift’s “Mine” at karaoke, a big fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and a golem made out of a shuttered Pottery Barn.

Which is to say, I AM queer culture.
The irony of this is that if I had been in a long-term relationship with a man before transition, then stayed in that relationship post-transition, I would have been insufficiently queer in a DIFFERENT way. Glenn will move the goalposts every time.
Read 5 tweets

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