The Invisible (trans) Man

“Tracey thought I was having an affair, or gay, but I said ‘No, I’m just like you, I identify as female, and can’t fight it any more’. We both sat there and cried” — Kellie Maloney

You’d have to be as blind as a non-binary bat to have missed the trans debacle (bats are actually extremely sexually segregated, especially the male greater mouse-tailed bat (Rhinopoma microphyllum) who ‘hang’ out around cliffs at higher and cooler elevations while the females forage in lowlands around a river delta). It’s all the rage, which you can find plenty of here;

And that’s without looking very hard. What’s it all about, Alfreda? And by the way, where are all the trans men and their demands to join the Freemasons, the golf clubs, and rugby teams? Where is their night and day tweeting at biological men? Accusations of cruelty, made up acronyms… #TERPs — trans exclusory radical penises (you’re welcome).

Why does it matter what trans men are doing? First of all, the question itself is quite telling. Imagine looking at someone from a broken home with a history of abuse who’s managed to resist taking out their frustrations and disorders on anyone else, what are they doing differently? What can their habits tell us? What’s in their recycling bags? And second of all, because I care.

The ratio of trans women to trans men is different for a start, 3:1 apparently, though that seems extraordinarily low based purely on the ‘optics’.

One theory regarding the difference in numbers is that because we all start out as female in the womb, boys are already used to the whole ‘transitioning’ thing! That it is deep in the psyche, a natural process, like coming home (in wedge sandals).

Also, according to one ‘poster’ (whose name I can’t remember but it’s quite possibly on Quora or Yahoo Answers which where I go to inform all my important life decisions and why I drink turpentine at weekends and am typing this on an IBM Thinkpad Butterfly) they believe that the high ratio of MTF transitioners is because women have such incredible freedom — stay with me — with behaviour and dress…and even profession! Whereas men are confined to a suit and tie, perhaps on a really wild weekend, experimenting with some sculpting wax.

That feels like a bit of a stretch because you could say that the numbers of FTM transitions should be sky high due to the thousands of years of male freedom, inventing stuff (like suits and ties), God(s) , running the world, having success, enjoying freedom, having wars and spending afternoons in Menkind.

I wonder if one of the reasons for the lower number is because girls and woman are overly familiar with medical interference with their bodies at an early age and consider it a success to go a few years without being poked, scraped or having something removed? Blood, growth, change, pain, birth. Not much of a novelty, more something to enjoy a rest from for five minutes.

It might also be that part of the reason to become a man to is to be left the fuck alone! There was an Oprah show years ago where they gave women a makeover (a well good one, not a Gok Wan one — which can be a fun skipping rhyme to chant in a school playground) to look like men and go out and about. Then they’d come back and talk about the experience. They all said how invisible they felt.

Perhaps once you’re a man you’re not expected to have a huge smile for every mummy with a pushchair, a one-liner for the old lady who’s made eye contact with you whilst looking aghast sifting through manky potatoes, or a kind word for every trans woman who wants you to be a supporting actor in the eternal pyjama party they were expecting (which seems a particularly cruel trick being played on trans women AND women-women. Told you I care).

Is there a link between the desire to be a woman and the dreadful, pervasive lie that womanhood is ‘inclusive’? Girly groups huddled together, whispering and giggling and hooting at the local bar. We’re all about inclusion (and what a horrible word that is, inclusion. Needy and evocative of gluey limpets sticking to a rock for safety, a baby being lifted into a playpen or creche, or begrudgingly being picked for rounders teams. Who wants to belong to a club that would have you as a member anyway?).

The perception is reinforced by everything from Sex and the City to a million high school films, to middle aged middle-class shit coms that portray woman-ness as one long Tupperware party/sleepover. A belief that being a woman is membership of a ‘community’, an instant set of fairy wings and invite to a hen party included and it’s all hugs and ‘support’ and girlie talk about nail varnish and boys (that’s only on Saturdays). Anyone could be forgiven for buying this given the constant subliminals (and ’liminals..?’). I think a lot of actual women imitate this themselves the propaganda being so strong. “Let’s catch up have a goss! Do something girlie!” I hope they mean witchcraft or blackmail but it will be shopping splattered with vague self-help affirmations.

It was revealing when trans woman India Willoughby, while in the Big Brother house, reacted to Rachel Johnson talking to someone else about politics, by eye-rolling and exclaiming “It’s all getting a bit serious I’m going off to have a disco dance”. This wasn’t what she signed up to. What a let-down it must be to find out that no one welcomes you into the girls’ world and they can smell desperation too. Women usually make friends gradually (barring those love at first sight friendships where you read each other’s minds, cut crosses in your palms and vow to meet up in the next life) by proving over time they’re not too mental but not too boring, not over friendly but not rude, showing they like you by remembering little details, asking how your shark painting class is going or if that frog is still blocking the guttering or if your mum still hates Sue Barker or if you’ve found out why…?

A finely tuned antenna honed over years of preservation, too friendly and we assume they need an instant friend for an alibi like in Gone Girl or they’ve got a room with pictures of you all over the wall with arrows and a strategy that they regularly present to a tiny voodoo doll (also of you).

A frequent accusation is that women are being violent and causing deaths by not being inclusive (bleugh) by worrying about allowing trans women into every single space. For some reason, they (well some — there are of course many perfectly rational and non-whiny transwomen, who are also regularly harangued and wished death on and deserve all the support in the world, if they want it) want to be in every space. Referring back to trans men, why aren’t they muscling in on MRA groups? Fathers for Justice? Or shutting down men talking about prostate cancer in case they get triggered into next week. Vaginas can be male! Are they beating the doors down with their well-earned biceps (MTF almost always pass incredibly well, is that because women are used to being scrutinised, judged and buffed to perfection? I also know ‘pass’ is considered offensive to some but so is absolutely everything and what if I find people taking offence offensive?’ Well I do so fay nights forever, you’re ‘it’, no returns wahhhhh!) Couldn’t that be said by every girl ever banished by the cool group? That they’ve ‘been excluded’ that the others ‘want her dead’? Or is it different, are they not a protected, politicised class…

I can see how to the cold, competitive, callous world of ‘men’ the ‘world of women’ could look at a glance like a fun coffee morning. Women with shopping bags chatting and laughing, trying on clothes, hugging each other and being caring to children and animals. It could seem from the outside like a Betty Boop-shaped anti-depressant. Here’s your woman costume and here’s your group of friends who will talk about things in a way that you’ve seen in a soap opera and be endlessly supportive and find you fascinating you may pass Go and collect two hundred pounds (of disappointment).

Another interesting question is, do ‘women — women’ have to exist for there to be ‘trans’ women? I mean, what if after years of having their spaces invaded and history appropriated and called every name under the sun for their trouble, stay with me again…we all, collectively decided to ‘re-brand’ Say, paint a number 9 on our foreheads and wear a triangle on our heads and carry a fishing rod and wee and poo in an empty KFC box we carry around. Would ‘trans’ women begin doing it too? Would they only identify with the ‘woman’ brand up until 2018? Do they need women to exist and would they keep morphing into whatever we did, wherever we went? If so, isn’t that…parasitic?

Who wins from this spiteful lie which surely leads to the hysteria in the first paragraph? Didn’t anybody tell them that being a woman can be a profoundly solitary business devoid of groupy girly chats and constant self-reflection, huggy hen nights, spa days and smear test coach trips.

If done properly.