perpertuating cissexist bullshit so transphobes don’t have to: a longer post (with a little more commentary on things about OP that make neil itchy)
don’t know how substantive my comments will be, so i’m just going to cut and paste some points i really liked on this tumblr thread
trigger warning: this post discusses the fucked up ways that a lot of folks talk about trans male bottom surgery, and frankly i got kind of mad and angsty just writing it, so, yeah: stay ‘way if that shit’s upsetting for you (as it quite reasonably may be)…
basically my objection is: trans male bottom surgeries (especially phalloplasty) are way hated-on and marginalized in a lot of trans and queer spaces, including so-called sex-positive or body-positive or trans-positive ones
this often has the effect of marginalizing and really fucking hurting guys and female-assigned-at-birth genderqueer people who have had or want to have such surgeries; it also really marginalizes folks who think that post-bottom-op guys have sexy and desirable genitals, and makes it really really difficult to find safer sex and other types of sexual health info on the bodies of post-op folks
(seriously - i have literally never come across sexual health info resources that deal specifically/explicitly with post-op dicks; in my experience, most guides to safer sex for trans people don’t even mention that some guys and FAAB non-binary folks have genital surgeries at all - best i’ve found is in the primed guide to gay sex with trans guys, which basically just acknowledges that sometimes trans guys have genital surgery)
that’s so true, and i’ve not thought about it. beyond safe sex there’s definitely very little information out there about having pleasurable sex with folks who want/have had bottom surgery, and that’s really awful too considering the plethora of “how to have good/fun/pleasureable sex” guides for trans guys (or trans folks) out there for assorted ways of doing it.
i’ve heard a lot of guys, some of whom i expected to know way better, say terrible shit about post-op dicks: that they “don’t work” or “look ugly” or whatever
this shit is clearly transphobic because it’s about hating on trans-specific dicks; it’s also cissexist because the reasons that people give for this marginalization set up a way of thinking about dicks that means that cis dicks are pretty much by definition the only dicks that could possibly be good dicks: people will say that post-op trans dicks ‘don’t work’ because they don’t produce sperm, or are ‘too small’ (for metoidioplasties), or don’t get hard on their own (for phalloplasties), or ‘look wierd’
this is especially icky sometimes when people make a point of comparing trans male surgeries with trans female surgeries - i’ve heard several times trans guys claim that trans women “have it better” because “their post-op junk works and ours doesn’t”, basically because post-op trans female genitals tend to look more like conventional cissexual cunts and can function more normatively in penetrative sex - folks never say (in this context) that trans female genitals ‘don’t work’ because they don’t self-lubricate or don’t produce eggs or need to be periodically dilated: this says a whole lot about the varying ways that dicks and cunts and cisness and transness are valued, y’know?
as if a dick’s a failed dick if it can’t do everything while a cunt’s a successful cunt as long as it’s fuckable and looks cis-aesthetically pleasing
that’s gross and sexist and cissexist and i hate it
obviously, individual people with their own feelings of dysphoria or dissonance or displeasure with the surgical options available to them should have those feelings respected: it makes a lot of sense for a person experiencing bodily dysphoria to feel really really unhappy with the fact that they may not be able to get everything that they personally want or need for their body, due to medical limitations or cost or whatever else
but it’s never ok to put down and ignore the bodies and desired bodies of other trans people
and, like: i get that bottom surgery isn’t something that every FAAB trans person wants, obviously, because there’s nothing that every FAAB trans person wants for their body; and also i get that lots of people don’t even have bottom surgery on their personal transition radar because it’s often prohibitively expensive
but, c’mon folks: ‘i-statements’ are our friends
“i don’t think i want to have any bottom surgeries because i like the dick i have now”
“i don’t think i want to have a phalloplasty because i like the cunt i have now”
“it would make me feel a lot better to have a bigger dick but the idea of taking a skin graft from my arm is scary and makes me reconsider whether i think it would be worth it”
“i think i need to get a metoidioplasty but i have a lot of concern and anxiety over the amount of money it would cost and the possibility of losing erotic sensation, and i’m afraid potential partners will judge my body negatively”
“i think i want bottom surgery some day but none of the currently available options are a good fit for what i need for my body, so i’m going to wait and save up”
not. hard. y’all.
the way that post-op folks get pushed aside or straight-up assumed not to exist is appalling, and totally ignores that fact that lots and lots of FAAB trans folks love their post-op dicks and have partners who’re way into them; and it makes it even harder to tell more complicated narratives about bottom surgery without fear of ridicule or disbelief or other negative repercussions
this is why i think original plumbing’s title is transphobic and cissexist: it’s a reference to a phrase that some trans male folks who haven’t had bottom surgery use to talk about their genitals in personal ads; mostly gay/queer personal ads on forums like manhunt or craigslist
so while it’s ostensibly supposed to be a compact reference to trans male bodies and to the ways that trans male folks negociate queer sexual spaces, the decision to call the magazine original plumbing is part of a whole culture of disparaging and marginalizing the bodies and desired bodies of a whole lot of trans people, and of setting up ways of thinking about dicks that assumes cis dicks are the only dicks that are ‘good enough’ or ‘real enough’ for anyone and everyone, regardless of individual feelings of pleasure or dysphoria
and that is some hurtful bullshit
teen wolf pretty kind of sums up what i think about OP:
As for Original Plumbing, i have my issues with the magazine. It’s almost exclusively made up of trans men who are: hipstery, able-bodied, white, young, and skinny or buff. I appreciate the eye candy, but i’d really love to see all kinds of bodies, ages, and colors represented. As well as people who aren’t on the cutting edge of fashion.
While i love swooning over all the cute boys, i really want it to showcase all kinds of trans men. Personally, i’m attracted to fat people, people of color, and people with disabilities. I wish OP didn’t show a preference to one type of body, because it reinforces a pre-exsisting hierarchy. Trans folk already deal with a lot of shit as people with non-normative bodies, and our liberation is really closely tied up with other groups whose bodies have been rejected, shamed, de-sexualized, and fetishized (fat people, disabled people etc), so i think it’s important that we don’t displays those same preferential behaviors within our own communities.
I realize that Amos and Rocco mainly interview people who run in their social circle, so i’m hoping that as the magazine gains momentum, more kinds of trans folk will be featured.
yeah, that. also, i’m going to take a moment and say that i feel like op is really tokenizing about the people of color who actually are in their magazine. i read the last issue, and while there were really great pieces by and about people of color, they were alongside this really terrible piece of some guy who’s thesis was “i’m a WASP and people who try to incorporate that kind of fashion but didn’t grow up in it are hipsters but PREP will never die because that’s the point of it.” as if there aren’t preppy people of color who grew up preppy, or as if fashions can’t be as changeable and revisable as anything else that’s socially constructed. also i was REALLY MAD about the collasping of WASP fashions into prep fashion. That acronym is white anglo-saxon protestant. What does it mean to take pride in being a WASP? To me, there’s not much of a line between being proud of a certain kind of ostensibly white lifestyle and, well, white pride. AWKWARD.
I do think that some guys do need an outlet, though, to express frustration with current medical availability of something that suits us. Sure, post-op cocks can be great but to so so so many of us they are not what we want…and letting it be KNOWN that current surgical methods are inadequate is at least something of a push for NEW surgeries to be developed that are more pleasing to more guys, and damn-well-hopefully more cost-effective, too.
That’s why I think what besttumblr and mmf said about I-statements is really true.
as a bonus, this post is also a really fantastic illustration of how what may seem like subtle changes in language (I-statements vs. statements without subjects that thus have a super problematic generalizing effect) make a *REAL* DIFFERENCE in how/the extent to which oppressive systems are perpetuated in speech/text/sign
guess what everyone: speech has “force,” it perpetuates oppression, it is not empty, it is not the weaker-sibling to “action”
It’s one thing to say, “I wish that there were better/more accessible bottom surgeries for trans guys out there and it’s just not for me right now” and quite another to say, “God, I hate phalloplasties, they look so FAKE and they don’t do X and they don’t do Y, etc.”
ok, gotta get back to work/my 250 words on “how marginalization has affected me” for the point foundation scholarship.