Notes on the Journey

Posts tagged ‘lesbian erasure’

Sarah’s Story

FROM POSIE PARKER:

At our Washington DC a 19 year old detransitioner spoke. She describes her coercion into the cult and her ostracisation since she left.

Thanks to Rowantrees of Mumsnet for transcribing.

“My name is Sarah, I’m 19 and I just wanted to – so I just wanted to talk, it’s not really a question. Ever since I came out, in eighth grade I’ve been completely involved in radical queer and trans circles and I just wanted to talk about my experience.

So when you first come out nowadays in – every LGBT group is very … inclusive, let’s just say. It’s just – you must respect everyone. When you’re young, you’re like, OK, I mean I want to be accepted by people, it feels bad when people are mean to me, of course I don’t want to be mean to someone, right? And so if you don’t really – and everything is accepted uncritically.

I know this transman, a trans identified female, and they got a double mastectomy at 15 and had been on testosterone since they were 13 or 14, and you’re not allowed to raise questions about that because then you’re evil and sort of being in this circle where any woman who’s gender non-conforming is obviously not a woman. It’s very easy to gain that idea. I think that even older people theorising about it can understand conceptually, but being in that space it’s a very difficult mindset to get out of. And I’ve been really lucky, I have some radical feminist friends who’ve been really nice but since I discovered and understood radical feminism – I’m skipping around this story but it’s fine.

I recently lost my entire friend group. So I go to college but I lost all of my friends because they were like, actually, you having three separate opinions from me means that you’re unsafe and are equivalent to a nazi. Because obviously, saying that lesbians can have sexual boundaries is the same thing as kill all Jewish people. You know, it’s obviously the same statement. I don’t know how anyone can see it differently.

But – OK, going front to back – being part of that environment and being a lesbian and having it be not a socially acceptable thing in these spaces that are intended for same sex attracted people – it’s just extremely damaging and you start to think, well, maybe I’m not a woman. I don’t feel like a woman, I don’t look like the women around me, you know. And being a woman is deeply traumatising.

I think almost every trans female that I know, especially detransitioned women like myself – I got a double mastectomy – we are all – a lot of us are autistic and don’t fit into gender roles and don’t really understand it and we’re absolutely preyed upon in that sort of way. And almost all of us have experienced sexual trauma and just being a woman and experiencing things like that makes you disgusted with your body and not want men to think about you, not want to be – it’s just so profoundly traumatising.

And when you’re given this option of, you can escape misogyny, you can escape experiencing things like this again, even though that’s not true – women who pass as men, as soon as men find out – I mean I’m friends with a lot of other detransitioned women and a reasonable number of them pass as men in their daily lives – and as soon as someone finds out they’re going to be treated with violent misogyny, right? And so it’s a complete lie, but it’s a very enticing lie.

And even speaking about the potential side effects, even if you’re like, I support the decision that you’re making but I want you to take into account the ways that this will cause damage in a genuinely informed consent way. I mean I’m against – you know what I mean. That’s just not something that happens.

Additionally – so when I was going to get my double mastectomy after identifying as trans for four years, I just had to go to a doctor, say ‘I’m trans and I want top surgery’ and then they’re like, OK, you know, then they’ll ask me some questions about my life, but there’s no like, maybe you’re a lesbian who doesn’t want to be seen as a lesbian because you live in a homophobic area, maybe you’re dealing with – you need to deal with some sexual trauma. Maybe there’s other things, other than this sort of idea. There’s none of that, it’s just like, OK! And so then the next time they were just like, OK I’ll write a letter to your insurance saying they should pay for it.

You know, it’s just – women are really being let down, especially lesbians.

And I don’t know, it’s just very – going on what you were saying? I just feel so bad about my peers because it’s very hard to get out of. It’s such a cult-like mindset because if you talk to anyone different you are going to be excommunicated, right? You’re just not going to be allowed to interact with people. I mean it’s like my friends who just dropped me, you know, it’s really difficult – I don’t know if I’m over my time limit – I just, I don’t know, when people were saying about how it’s really hard as a young person to not be accepted by your peers – it is terrifying, it is so … scary, but it’s really an important thing because so many women I know, every lesbian I know in my day to day life who’s not a complete normie who’s never been online, has identified as trans, even if they haven’t transitioned, has previously identified as trans.

Because it’s just – being a lesbian sucks, guys.

I mean it’s wonderful once you’re able to accept it and interact with other women, but this is a terrifying societal position to occupy and I’m completely proud and out now but it’s just a really scary thing because these people who are supposed to be supporting you would rather you be anything but a lesbian.”

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