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How can transwomen know they are a woman trapped in a man’s body?

(96 Posts)
IwankaTramp Wed 23-May-18 14:36:42

I don’t understand.

Could it just be they don’t feel they fit into how they perceive men in society are gendered and their logic is that they must therefore be female?

If you are born a man how can you possible know what it is to be woman? That is not your frame of reference.

Why do most transwomen present as hyper sexualised versions of women?

Why are many trans activists insisting on transwomen being called real women when they are trans women who have a need for their own particular protections and services unique to their experiences? Surely being trans is something to be celebrated in its own right?

Why are the perceived needs of so few suppressing the needs and rights of so many?

Why are women called transphobic when they have absolutely no issue with men identifying themselves as trans women and want them to be protected from discrimination as such?

What is wrong with asking that a process is in place that protects trans women and women from men who would exploit the self identification for nefarious purposes? Surely it benefits both?

Trying to unravel this and struggling.

SpareRibFem Wed 23-May-18 14:51:04

You and me both (sigh)

spontaneousgiventime Wed 23-May-18 14:57:15

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SomeDyke Wed 23-May-18 15:11:36

I don't have such a problem with someone using this as a meaningful or useful description to themselves, and others they talk to as to how they feel. The objection comes when the rest of us are supposed to accept this subjective and personal description as objective (or legal) fact.

For those with dysphoria, it may be a useful way to try and describe what that feels like. Or to those trapped in various social roles.

Of course, now gone way beyond this -- dysphoria and attempts to alleviate that dysphoria in a compassionate and proportionate fashion are in danger of being replaced by -- I am what I say I am (and you're a bigot if you disagree!).

bobblyflower Wed 23-May-18 15:13:26

I don't believe any man feels trapped in the wrong body, it's all BS. Read forums, most if not all start as transvestites and love it so they take it a step further - full time in woman's clothes, make-up, heels etc

This really isn't true. My sister is transgender. She certainly didn't start out as a transvestite - she came out as trans and then it was a process of dressing as a woman for nights out at first but quite androgynous during the day, to eventually as a woman full time. I've never seen her in a pair of heels (and she's not even tall). She wears makeup but dresses like any other young woman, not as a parody.

As for why she believes she is a woman - and she does believe she is - that's harder. Personally I think as a young gay man she didn't fit into any box really...she was never a blokey bloke but she wasn't a camp gay guy either. I think there was a lot of underlying unhappiness with her sense of self. I think the idea of being trans came along as a kind of answer. Whether it makes her happy or not only time will tell.

spontaneousgiventime Wed 23-May-18 15:19:07

bobblyflower My comments come from Trans forums, so from their own mouths, so to speak. I will happily modify and say most start as transvestites and not all, but I read it from their prospective.

bobblyflower Wed 23-May-18 15:23:26

Ok but you need to consider that not all trans people are posting on these trans forums. A lot of them like my sister are just normal people quietly trying to get on with their lives.

womanformallyknownaswoman Wed 23-May-18 15:26:41

she was never a blokey bloke but she wasn't a camp gay guy either. I think there was a lot of underlying unhappiness with her sense of self. I think the idea of being trans came along as a kind of answer.

For one group that seems to be the underlying issue that Bret Weinstein has observed in many TIMs - that they don't live up to the expectation of parents/society of being a "manly man". That discomfort is somaticised. Transitioning is sold on SM as the magic answer to said discomfort.

Then there's another group who seem to enjoy the domination of invading women and women's spaces.

And there's some who use it to gain access to women and girls for their sexual entitlement

womanformallyknownaswoman Wed 23-May-18 15:28:07

I don't think that men can feel they are women trapped in a man's body - it's a rationalisation they use - they may think they are but the thinking is based on flawed logic.

spontaneousgiventime Wed 23-May-18 15:28:10

bobblyflower No, not all trans people do post on them, but those that do are from all different backgrounds, have been trans for a long time, just starting out and everything in between. Therefore I don't think It's difficult to pick out patterns. Your trans sibling is, as you say possibly a confused gay person, yes, that is also something you read loads on those forums. I post what I read, what I've learned and so what helped me form my opinions, no doubt you do exactly the same.

Italiangreyhound Wed 23-May-18 16:59:20

@IwankaTramp yes I agree with much of your opening post. I do not believe a male can understand how it feels to be a woman. And I do wonder if the thing is they do not feel male, so assume they must feel female.

@bobblyflower I hope your sister is happy now. I do feel that genuine transexuals have got the rough end of the stick because trans activists have shone a spotlight on transsexuals which many do not want.

HotRocker Wed 23-May-18 17:08:11

I’m sure non-GD TW do have a feeling of something, but I’m not quite sure how that feeling can be of being a woman. They have never been a woman so have no point of reference. In my experience, as a woman, the only time I feel like a woman is when my body is doing something that only female bodies do, menstruating, carrying a child, giving birth etc, or when I’m being treated in a negative way due to my being a woman, or very occasionally for me, consciously performing the socially recognised gender identity of being a woman. The rest of the time I just feel like me, and trust me, I’m not making any effort to conform to woman during that time. I think the key difference for me is that I can shave my head and wear mens’ clothes because society just brushes me off as a butch dyke and ignores me. That level of relative freedom is not available to men because they have to be seen to be performing masculinity at all times. I’ve said it before on another thread, but you don’t even see the most flamboyant of gay men walking around in womens’ clothing because it would be so utterly socially unacceptable, in fact, even gay men are surprisingly misogynistic.
I think the thing is, and please forgive me because I’m thinking aloud here, as women we understand misogyny secondhand, rather like passive smoking. We know what it is and we know how it operates, but we don’t understand fully how it operates within the brain of a man, because obviously, we aren’t men and never have been, rather like the point of reference for TW of being a woman is what they observe and come to understand from the outside.
Anyway I think the point I’m clumsily trying to make is that some men feel that there is no way to express themselves within the strictly enforced framework of masculinity so somehow they are not men, and what is less than man? Woman. .

Italiangreyhound Wed 23-May-18 17:16:04

@HotRocker spot on. A transsexual woman I know told me the gay male 'community' (I know it is not one community) are very unaccepting of effeminate gay men. So the drive to transition can be very strong.

Conversely, I believe (correct me if wrong) the lesbian community is more accepting of butch women. So in some ways it is very difficult to understand why so many young women who are lesbians or bi, or even straight are identifying as boys.

LangCleg Wed 23-May-18 17:20:29

I don't think that men can feel they are women trapped in a man's body - it's a rationalisation they use - they may think they are but the thinking is based on flawed logic.

Yes. It's a case of whatever gets you through the day. To which, I think, most people are sympathetic. I'm sympathetic - up until the point women's rights or safeguarding frameworks for children are affected. At that point, I say no.

HarryLovesDraco Wed 23-May-18 17:23:00

They can't.
They cannot know what it means to be or feel female. What they are feeling is something else that they incorrectly identify as 'female'

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 23-May-18 17:27:21

I struggle with it too. I read threads in here and they overwhelm me because I feel like I missed the beginning of the debate and now can’t keep up.

In an exam I invigilated today, there was a student who had identified as a boy but was born a girl. He’s been segregated from school, brought in for exams only, wore the boys uniform etc, but still currently has a ‘girls’-name. Obviously, with 2 silent hours to think about this my mind has wandered- how did ‘she’ know that her body was wrong? How did she decide on her new name- as well as identifying as a boy, what made ‘her decide to be a Charlie, or a Cooper, or an Ethan, or a Dave? We all have social constructs of what a name ‘means’ and I’d imagine at 15 even more so. How have his parents dealt with it? His school experience has clearly been troubled as he is segregated voluntarily. Who are his friends?

The overwhelming conclusion i reached is that clearly, evidently, we are still teaching young people that boys and girls are inherently different. Are they? Do I want my children to think that, or not? I’m very confused and conflicted and feel like I don’t have my ideas in order yet. I don’t know what I think or believe. I hate to think of a child, troubled and confused, but the brief snapshot of this child showed me that in fact, he has simply traded one set of troubles for another. I wonder where that child will be in 10 years time and what sort of adult he will become.

OrchidInTheSun Wed 23-May-18 17:31:11

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HotRocker Wed 23-May-18 17:31:39

Greyhound, a significant proportion of the lesbian community are butch looking women. Instead of being rejected, a lot of women actually find it attractive.

HotRocker Wed 23-May-18 17:34:33

Oh yeah, greyhound, to your second point: I can only assume that it’s the hyper feminisation of popular culture and pressure to conform, and throw in a bit of homophobia and there you have it.

Terfulike Wed 23-May-18 17:56:20

I also don't think they do feel like a woman. They don't feel that embarrassment and panic when they're having a conversation whilst stood up and they suddenly feel blood coming out; they don't feel the drop down reflex when their baby cries etc etc.

And how can they know? I may as well say to my friend with a headache oh my headache's worse than yours.

What about those ladies in a certain country who wear many rings around their necks- tim's never identify like that. Or men in South America in the rainforest who put discs in their lip? I never saw a transmen do that.

Therefore I conclude it may be that they are merely copying. They are perhaps using method acting.

I can kind of relate to this and know it's possible as I do something similar myself. I often feel that I am socially inept, and this sometimes makes me play a role - I try and pretend to be a nice and cool person when meeting people as I don't trust myself without extreme conscious monitering. I know it's stupid but there you go.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Wed 23-May-18 18:15:35

The only way I can make any sense of any of this is to assume that if we ignore the fetishists (I have the impression a lot of those are middle-aged) the other people identifying as trans have learned very, very young (long before they can truly understand about gender stereotyping) that there is some sort of acceptance in society generally and possibly also in their own family of what a boy should be like, what a girl should be like. People who notice a child not acting the way they expect frequently comment on it. In most cases if the parents tell the child that that kind of comment is baloney, that the child is fine as they are, that they love the child as they are, the child will grow up undamaged.

But sometimes the child doesn't get that reassurance, or it actually comes from a parent, or the child believes, perhaps erroneously, that they are failing to live up to what their parents and/or other important people in their lives expect of them.

And in these cases what they hear is 'You're not a real [girl/boy] because you do/don't do X .... ' or 'Put that down, only [girls/boys] play with those!'

Not too difficult to see how a very young child would make a leap from 'I'm not a real [girl/boy]' to 'But I must be something and if I'm not a [girl/boy] I must be the opposite, so I must really be a [boy/girl]'.

In other cases, I've read heartrending accounts from people who were sexually abused as children who tried to make sense of what was happening to them and concluded it was a result of having a particular kind of body. They came to believe that if they had the other kind of body they'd be safe and everything would be fine. Sadly, all too often it isn't.

SpareRibFem Wed 23-May-18 18:16:55

I sometimes pretend to be what men perceive as a woman in a work environment to avoid being described as a hard nose b***h, but I'm playing a role based on male perception, I'm not any less or more of a woman when I do that.

QuoadUltra Wed 23-May-18 18:17:32

In answer to the OPs question, they don’t know they are women. They just don’t feel like men and want an escape.

scotsheather Wed 23-May-18 18:21:45

I was kind of the reverse. I was into football, mechano, lego, computer stuff. Never wore dresses unless only real choice (weddings, dances etc.), same with makeup. I was very much a tomboy, thought I might be a lesbian but got boyfriends and settled with my lovely DH. I work in IT, am non fashion conscious, do minimal housework. But hey, I'm still a woman and the thought of doing hormonal or surgical things to my healthy body doesn't bear thinking.

Lichtie Wed 23-May-18 18:23:08

How can transwomen know they are a woman trapped in a man’s body?...
How can you know they are not. We are all unique, none of us can say we know what it's like to be like anyone else.

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