A lot of times on social justice-oriented websites you’ll the word “trans” written with an asterisk, like “trans*”. It is thought that the addition of the asterisk was made by dfab trans people who felt like trans women were talking about their struggles too much and that there needed to be more room in the community for everyone else, which is an issue on it’s own. But most people using the asterisk don’t know this, and use it because they think that it makes the term more inclusive of all identities under the “trans umbrella.” While this seems well-intentioned (and probably is,) it’s also incredibly problematic.

You see, there is no “trans umbrella.” Trans (or transgender) is the umbrella term. Transgender means to identify as any gender other than–or in addition to–the one you were assigned at birth (this includes identifying as multiple genders or no gender at all). That’s it! Saying that the asterisk is somehow “more inclusive” is like saying that some non-cisgender people aren’t “trans enough” to be called just trans. Often these people who apparently aren’t considered trans enough are trans women, non-binary people, non-op people, and those who do not experience dysphoria.

People who insist that there is a trans umbrella often include cisgender crossdressers and drag performers under the umbrella, and would like to include them in conversations about the issues and experiences of transgender people. The issue with this is that it’s an example of cis people claiming ownership of a discussion on issues that they don’t experience. Now don’t get me wrong, cis crossdressers and drag performers (especially dmab ones) do experience a lot of societal pressure for dressing in a way that is not acceptable for their sex. However, if they identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth, regardless of the clothing they wear, they are not transgender. Cisgender people don’t experience the same oppression that transgender people face every day, they don’t deal with a general population not believing in or accepting their identity. It isn’t right for a cis crossdresser or drag performer to say they share the same exact struggle as trans people, especially in a time when so few trans people’s voices are heard or taken seriously.

transwoman

Often times, the asterisk after the word trans can also be used to invalidate certain trans identities and call them “not trans enough.” Like sexuality, gender is a gradient, and there are many identities in between “man” and “woman.” Just because someone doesn’t fit into one of the binaries doesn’t make them not trans. Being transgender just means identifying as any gender other than the one a person was assigned at birth. And if someone–for whatever reason–does not want surgery, that in no way makes their gender identity less valid. Some transgender people want surgery, and that’s perfectly fine for them. But the ones who don’t are just as trans as the ones who do.

There are transgender people in all shapes, sizes, identities, and presentations. I understand that most people using the trans asterisk don’t know the meaning behind it and are trying to be inclusive. The fact is, however, that it needlessly excludes and invalidates so many people. We need to do away with the asterisk, whose creation was a backlash against trans women, and whose existence tells so many people that they aren’t “trans enough.” The word transgender on its own means to identify as a gender other than the one assigned at birth, and I don’t know why we’d need some asterisk to make it any more inclusive.

genderfluidpicnicker   nonbinaryshopper

Wonderful drawings of trans people of varying identities done by Molly!!

 

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August 25, 2014

Comments

YES! Honestly I was always wondering what the difference between “trans” and “trans*” was on tumblr because those that used the asterisk always seemed more aggressive somehow. This is so informative! I am going to share this everywhere.

First off, I admire the illustrations. This is a cool article, but the only thing that bugs me is the origin of the trans asterisk (*) —
http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/01/10/trans_what_does_it_mean_and_where_did_it_come_from.html
It was always my understanding that the asterisk was a response to certain non binary identified people feeling left out of the term, and was a means to be more inclusive so that people who didn’t necessarily feel their transition was crossing genders in the binary understanding weren’t left out in the cold. The problem with that was that it opened doors to accepting cross dressing cis people as trans, which is problematic for reasons I’m sure I don’t even need to type, as you did a fine job outlining some already. The understanding of the term transgender today, like in this article, is affirming to non binary identities without tacking anything onto the end of the word as some sort of “exception”, as it should be.
I’m not quite sure where you got your info from that trans men were all for the asterisk, as most trans men I see (especially on tumblr) cling onto the binary concepts of gender with a death grip and expressed distaste for more than one or two non binary gender labels. Maybe I’m just on the wrong side of the internet. Sorry for the long winded response, I just get worked up sometimes.

Hey Moll,

Thanks for reading the article! To my knowledge the asterisk was added on by dfab trans people (sometimes called “transmasculine” people I guess,) not trans men. So sorry about that typo, I just fixed it.

I already emailed you, but here are some points to consider (for anyone else who has the same question):

— From what I can tell this article (http://practicalandrogyny.com/2013/10/31/about-that-often-misunderstood-asterisk/) does a pretty good job of outlining the first reasons for the addition of the asterisk, though I don’t agree with all the conclusions the author draws. This tumblr post (http://theroguefeminist.tumblr.com/post/64810447498/stop-using-the-term-trans-with-a) also brings up some good points.

— I’m also sure there are some nonbinary people who feel the way you said (that they don’t feel their transition was crossing genders in the binary understanding,) but for me the addition of the asterisk in that situation is still problematic. I’m dfab genderqueer/genderfluid, and so I don’t have the experiences all trans people have and I can’t speak for everyone, but this is my take on it from a linguistics perspective.

— Being trans isn’t going from one binary to the other. The definition of trans that I prefer to use (and have seen most other trans people use as well) is simply identifying as anything other than the gender you were assigned at birth. THis post does a good job of outlining that–> http://makingmountainsoutofmountains.tumblr.com/post/70870181938/why-i-started-and-stopped-using-an-asterisk-after

— Though it wasn’t always used in an inclusive way and I understand that, adding an asterisk to a word that in its original form is already inclusive… to me that does nothing? It doesn’t really actually further the inclusion of non-binary trans people. There is this idea that genderqueer people really aren’t trans enough, and to me adding at asterisk just really solidifies that.

— It may have been in the beginning that the asterisk was meant to be inclusive. But I’ve seen it used to exclude trans women who don’t “pass” well enough, pre-op people/people who don’t ever want to get surgery, non-binary people, and people who are trans but don’t experience dysphoria. And to me that is really not a good thing.

— In addition, a lot of people I’ve talked to are just told it’s inclusive and so they use it, rather than questioning why. I used to use it too, until it dawned on me that it was actually kind of offensive. I think if you really do critically think and still decide you like the trans* label for yourself, you should feel totally comfortable using it, but I don’t like it when it’s used as a generic term for queer spaces, because to me (and a lot of other people I’ve talked to) it feels very exclusive and “well you can come here but you’re not really trans” ish. Like, in that case, why don’t we just have “trans” spaces and “*” spaces?

I hope that clears stuff up for some people who maybe have the same questions you do!

Hi! This was very informative, thank you, but I was wondering about something. I’m bigender(male and female) but since I do identify with my birth gender(famle) along with male, am I still considered trans? Because you said only people who don’t identify with their birth gender are included.

Seems like a couple people have this question, so I’ll send you both a reply (not sure if you guys will get an alert if I don’t reply directly to you)

Tori — I’m trigender and genderfluid, so I totally get the confusion! It was a wording issue, one that I’m fixing right now. Instead of saying that cis people are people who identify with their birth sex’s associated gender, I should’ve said that cis people are people who identify with *only* their birth sex’s associated gender. Multi-gender people who identify with their birth sex’s associated gender are trans of course, and I’m sorry that my wording made it seem like they/we are left out! Big mistake, I’ll change that right now.

Hello! I actually have the same question as Tori. Throughout the article nonbinaries are mentioned, but bigender isn’t. Seeing as someone who is bigender can both identify with the gender they were assigned, and with a gender that they were not assigned with, that sort of is being cis and trans? Is there a term for that? Where do I belong?

Seems like a couple people have this question, so I’ll send you both a reply (not sure if you guys will get an alert if I don’t reply directly to you)

Leyda–if you read my above reply to Tori, I think I explained the issue (it was my fault! I worded the definition poorly, and I will fix that as soon as I publish this reply). I don’t know how to answer your question about being cis and trans; I’m trigender and genderfluid and I’m still not sure what to call it on days when I ID as female. Am I cis on that particular day? Who knows? Although I don’t know the term for it, I would say that we (multi-gender and/or genderfluid people) are 100% trans if we individually choose to identify that way. We might identify with our birth sex’s associated gender sometimes or even always, but the fact is that we identify as *more* genders than just that one, which is what makes us trans. Fixing the wording right now!

Thanks a lot for your reply! I always felt a bit forgotten when people mentioned they supported “non-binaries and transgender people”, but it’s nice to think that I’m included as well.
Also for future reference, people do get an alert if you reply to someone else as well 😉

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post to call me out on semantics or to ask questions! I just want to say that I am always happy to discuss things and not only that, but I always appreciate knowing where I’ve made mistakes (even when they’re just simple wording ones) so that I can clean up my act and not do that in the future.

Hi!

I was just wondering if you had a source for this section:

“The addition of the asterisk was made by dfab trans people who felt like trans women were talking about their struggles too much and that there needed to be more room in the community for everyone else, which is an issue on it’s own.”

When I searched I struggled to find one origin for the term trans* and I was wondering if the above was more your lived experience than the actual, definite origin of the term? I got that impression from your comments that read:

“It may have been in the beginning that the asterisk was meant to be inclusive. But I’ve seen it used to exclude trans women who don’t “pass” well enough, pre-op people/people who don’t ever want to get surgery, non-binary people, and people who are trans but don’t experience dysphoria.”

Obviously your lived experience is still very valid, but it would be good practice to edit the article to reflect that, if that’s what it is. I did enjoy your article though and I do agree that the asterisk has some major issues associated with it. I also think you’ve done a great job editing your article and have been very eloquent about your views 🙂

Hello there! Great question 🙂 I do have sources, but I think my wording was incorrect. I don’t know (except by word-of-mouth, er, word-of-tumblr-text-post) that it was invented by dfab trans people, but I know that the addition of the asterisk is made by dfab trans people in ways that are transmisogynistic. Etymology of activist terms is sometimes hard to find, and upon searching I couldn’t find a definite history of the term, only histories of it’s problematic usage. I also know through personal experience (which I can link posts to you for as well if you’re interested, but I feel like it’s not directly related to your question) that there is a lot of transmisogyny in trans spaces exactly for that reason– that is, dfab trans people feeling like trans women take up too much space. There’s also a lot of erasure and invalidation of trans women’s identities tied into it’s usage. I’ve linked you to some posts above (here‘s another one), and will edit my wording in the article (and include sources!) as soon as I can.

I’m really happy you liked the article 🙂 And thank you for calling me out on this! I’m always trying to improve as a journalist and an activist, and improvement and growth require dialogue and learning experiences.

Conversation about trans men outweighs conversation about trans women in trans spaces by anywhere from 30% to 2:1. Conversation about cis people in trans spaces outweighs conversation about trans women.

And people have the gall to suggest that trans women’s issues “dominate” trans spaces? Somebody needs their misogyny checked.

I know, right? (PS– where did you get those statistics? If you have/know of the source I’d love to take a look at it, it’d be great to cite in this article or in future conversations!)

I do not agree with the idea that “trans” is the umbrella term for anyone who isn’t cis. If people aren’t down with the * that is one thing. But telling the rest of us that we are all defacto trans people just because we aren’t cis? That is really reductionist and not fair to anyone. Our identities are different. Our struggles are different.

The correct umbrella term is “gender queer”. Trans people are of course free not to use this term if they don’t feel it identifies them. But it is what is used for the rest of us.

Unfortunately I’m going to have to disagree with you here. Transgender is an umbrella term. I did not tell anybody that they were “defacto” trans people, I said “Transgender means to identify as any gender other than–or in addition to–the one you were assigned at birth (this includes identifying as multiple genders or no gender at all).” This is true. You are welcome not to use that label for yourself if you don’t feel it fits you! But defining transgender as it is is not reductionist or unfair to anyone.

As stated by ,

“Transgender”, while often considered an umbrella term for persons whose gender expression and identity is non-normative, an umbrella, as such, under which genderqueer may belong, is a term that tends to be associated with the binary identities of male and female, such as Female-to-Male (FTM, trans men) and Male-to Female (MTF, trans women), and with the process of transition, physically or in presentation, along binary lines. Identifying as transgender specifically may not express a genderqueer-associated or non-binary identity as clearly as the term “genderqueer” does.

In addition,

Non-binary refers to gender that is not binary (not man or woman) and has overlap with the term genderqueer, while they are not to be used interchangeably. While genderqueer can include those who are non-binary g(except for in the case of referring to expression / performance exclusively), not all non-binary identified people consider themselves genderqueer.

Genderqueer is a fine umbrella term for people who don’t feel that “transgender” is the label they want to use, or that it doesn’t fully describe how they feel. But saying that genderqueer is the “correct” umbrella term for those who are not cis, whereas transgender is strictly binary/post-op/etc., is as reductionist and unfair as it would be if I were to say that all non-cis people automatically identify as trans.

I believe that you are writing this in good faith, but I find it extremely off-putting and want to explain why. Later in your essay you object to the trans asterisk because it needlessly invalidates trans identities, but the paragraph before that you do exactly that when you explain why crossdressers and drag performers are “not transgender,” that they are “cis people owning trans issues.” This certainly isn’t something originating with only you, and I keep hearing it more and more as time goes by, but I wish people would understand that for many years the idea of trans being an umbrella explicitly included crossdressers. Suddenly now it’s fashionable to go on about how they aren’t trans, but that’s not true. If a crossdresser identifies with the trans community, there’s clearly something about them that is neither fully male nor fully female for them to feel it’s an appropriate identity for them. They’re not cis.

It’s true that they experience different levels of oppression and stigma than other trans people. The same can be said for literally any group of trans people… a trans man does not experience the same oppression as a trans woman, different non-binary gendered people have different experiences of oppression, and even within those categories the types of oppression we experience vary based on things like income, race, et. al. Transness is not defined by how much oppression you experience, it’s defined by your identity.

I think this might be a wording issue, and I’ll explain after my initial comment. You’re right: if a crossdresser identifies with the trans community, then there’s clearly something about them that is neither fully male nor fully female (or perhaps just something that isn’t in line with the gender they were designated at birth) for them to feel it’s an appropriate identity for them. They’re not cis.

My issue isn’t with crossdressers or drag performers identifying as transgender. My issue is with crossdressers and drag performers who identify as cisgender who claim that they experience discrimination for being trans, even when they explicitly identify as cis. Cis people cannot experience discrimination for being trans simply because they are cis, not trans, and can’t experience discrimination for something they are not.

Of course trans crossdressers and drag performers experience the oppression and stigma of someone who is trans, because they are trans. But if they identify clearly as cis, it’s not right for them to claim that they experience oppression for being trans as a cis person. Could they have transmisogyny and transphobia directed their way based on misinformation? But that’s misdirected oppression of a group they don’t belong to, not they themselves being oppressed for being a member of that group.

“My issue is with crossdressers and drag performers who identify as cisgender who claim that they experience discrimination for being trans…”

This is something I have never witnessed firsthand or heard about as a trend. I’m interested in learning more – where is this happening?

Unfortunately 🙁 I think the best instance of it in pop culture is highlighted in this article from Salon.com:

[the following in tweet form from Rupaul]– Forget an outside threat, the “Gay Movement” will eat itself from the inside out #OrwellAnimalFarm. Orwell’s book “Animal Farm”: The pigs didn’t really want a revolution, they just wanted to BE ‘Farmer John’…It’s not the word itself, but the intention behind the word…I’ve been a “tranny” for 32 years. The word “tranny” has never just meant transsexual. #TransvestiteHerstoryLesson

[then from the article] RuPaul’s points are well-taken: The host of a uniquely inclusive reality show may well have insights that those seeking to take offense are missing, and someone who’s been on the scene for many years may know a great deal about the history of how words were used. However, those possibilities don’t automatically mean that anyone who takes umbrage at RuPaul’s terminology — like the transgender former “Drag Race” contestant Carmen Carrera, who vocally criticized the “She-Mail” language earlier this year — is attempting to become an Orwellian oppressor. That other people than RuPaul might be bringing their own experience to bear on how they experience language seems as though it hasn’t occurred to the reality-show host.

There are a lot more examples of this occurring throughout pop culture, but I think this is one of the most famous/well-known. Thanks for your question, and I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner!

Hi there, I just have to respond to something you said above.

“Cis people cannot experience discrimination for being trans simply because they are cis, not trans, and can’t experience discrimination for something they are not.”

I really don’t think that is true. Gay bashing is not only confined to gay people, but to anybody who a gay basher deems is gay, or gay ‘enough’. Cis people can experience transphobia when they crossdress or perform in drag if they get discriminated against because they are cross dressing. That is transphobia and they experienced it, even if they identify as cis. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the person being gay bashed is gay, it matters whether the gay bashers think they are gay. It doesn’t matter if the person being trans(bashed?) is trans, it matters whether the person discriminating against them thinks they are. I hope I have made my point clear 🙂

I think my wording may have been a little unclear, my apologies! You are completely right. What I meant was not that cis people can’t be targeted by transphobia. I just mean that in the end, somebody bullying somebody else for being trans is an action based in transphobia, not cis-phobia or something like that. So while they can certainly be affected by it, cis people are not the ideological target of transphobia. In the end a transphobic person is prejudiced against trans people, though they may certainly target cis people by mistake.

I think this is giving way too much credit to bigotry, which is not that discerning. When in the history of ever was a cis crossdresser thinking, while being brutalized, “This is transphobia directed my way based on misinformation; I’m not being oppressed for being a *member* of that group.” I cannot even articulate the degree of frustration I feel about this. Who benefits from this demarcation? Haven’t we in the non-cis community already taken the class that it’s no fun to be excluded? Like, every day? The only thing I want to say to anyone who is marginalized in any way is, “Thank you for coming. I’m glad you could be here.”

My reason for using the asterisk has been to share a sense that there are many kinds of non-cis identities (the misunderstood inclusion variety you mention), but also to make sure that I’m distinguishing between my privilege as a genderqueer person often identified by others as cis because of my presentation and the oppressions experienced by other people who are transgender and whose presentation is often a site and source of violence, hate, bias, and discrimination. I have been given to understand in many trainings around LGBTQIA issues that Trans* includes me–I have never heard that the “umbrella inclusive term” is genderqueer until your post. So I’m just not sure here. I want to be accurate to my experience without co-opting the identity terms of people whose row is much harder to hoe than mine.

Trans does include you, if you identify as such! Genderqueer can be an umbrella term in the sense that people can identify as genderqueer and also identify as trans, agender, non-binary, etc. I wouldn’t say, however, that the trans asterisk denotes the privilege of “cis-passing” genderqueer people. Instead I would say that it is harmful in the sense that it invalidates the identities of genderqueer, non-binary, (etc.) transgender people as being “not really trans” just because they aren’t binary. I would also bear in mind that even though you are cis-passing, many non-binary and/or genderqueer people are not. And so the trans asterisk does more to invalidate the identities of non-binary people who very often may experience the same kind of oppression for being trans as a binary trans person than it does to denote privilege of a specific set of genderqueer individuals. Does that make sense?

Yes–thanks! I suppose I was taught to see transgender and Trans* as both being positive and affirming, one of a narrower category and the other of a broader category–one that included me, which I was happy about. But I see how your concern is that the broader category might serve to make it seem like one must be binary to be “really trans”, when what I was taught was the opposite (I felt welcomed, not alienated, by inclusion in the broader category, and it gave me the opportunity to try to avoid co-opting the narrower one).

Thank you for writing this post – I’ve learned a lot from reading it and all the comments. I’m a journalist who has been struggling over whether to use “trans*” or “trans” when writing articles, and someone on reddit linked me here after I made a query about it in /r/transeducate.

I will say that researching into the asterisk’s usage in the first place taught me a lot; like Meklorka above, I used to believe that “genderqueer” was the all-inclusive term, and that “trans” and “transgender” only referred to those who were transitioning between binary genders. Reading about the asterisk (and the word “transgender” more generally) was what made me realise that “trans” referred to a whole world of genders beyond that. But even after I determined that I should be inclusive and use the asterisk, I always felt uncomfortable doing so, like I was doing it for show. I think part of the reason I’m uneasy about the * is because its connotations of being used as a “search wildcard” are very specific to the computer age and those who are digitally literate, and that in itself seems exclusionary. I love terms that have evolved on the internet and creep their way into everyday conversation, but only when they refer to things that are digital and online. And speaking of conversation, how are you supposed to express “trans*” when speaking to someone? Do you have to vocalise it somehow or you’re not being inclusive? What about the word “transgender”, is that accepted as an umbrella term or not? No-one ever puts an asterisk next to that, but why not, if it’s so important?

These are all reasons why I couldn’t fully reconcile myself to using the * even though it seemed like such a good idea in theory. But like I said, I did learn from it, and I’m learning even more now.

I had always thought that the asterisk was a ‘wildcard’ symbol, like in programming. In that usage, ‘trans*’ would mean ‘transgender, transsexual, transman, transwoman, etc.’ Back when there was still a lot of discussion around ‘transgender’ vs. ‘transsexual,’ using ‘trans*’ was both more convenient and more inclusive. That’s why I started using it. I stopped for a similar reason: most people I talk to started to know what I was talking about if I just said “trans,” so I dropped the asterisk out of laziness.

The comments discussing “genderqueer” as the inclusive term are confusing, to me. People I know who identify as genderqueer have been very clear that they use the word to mean a variety of things unique to themselves, but they almost always seem to include “having a nonbinary, fluid, changeable, or uncertain gender; or questioning the whole concept of ‘gender.'” I had thought that people such as myself, whose gender can be described and recognized by the binary system in a fairly accurate way, were NOT genderqueer.

I think there are varying perceptions of who the word genderqueer includes. However, the definition I found on genderqueerid.com’s FAQ page says that

“Genderqueer is a term used to describe those whose gender is non-normative (‘queer’) or who ‘queer’ gender through presentation or other means (queer in the latter case is being used as a verb).”

They also later say that

“Identifying as transgender specifically may not express a non-binary identity as clearly as the term “genderqueer” does, which may be seen as its own ‘umbrella’ category differentiated from, and overlapping with, transgender.”

In this particular instance I think what they mean by “‘umbrella’ category” is not that it encompasses all trans people, but that it is an umbrella term that can be used by many different sorts of non-binary people (who may or may not also identify as or fit the “definition of” transgender).

Another term that has to be eliminatede for many transgender persons is the term “pre-op.” Since I don’t plan to have surgery, I am a “non-op” transgender woman, and I’m not “pre-op” because there is no “op” pending, so there can be no “pre-” anything. The term “pre-op” is a grossly inaccurate description of those like me who have no plans for surgery. “Pre-op” is another constricting term placed upon transgender persons. It presumes all transgender persons will have an operation, no doubt yet another attempt to put rules on who is really transgender and who is not. I’ve yet to see a real cry from others like me who are mislabeled this way, as though an “op” is the only way to be “trans enough,” as though you’re less when you’re a “pre-” but you meet society’s sexist expectations of your genitalia when you’re a “post-.” I suggest the terms “pre-op” and “post-op” and “non-op” be used.

Alouette, Thank you for informing me! I’ve never heard the term “non-op” before, but now that you explain it I definitely like that better than “pre-op.” I will change the language in the article later today.

First time read of Pulp Zine, I’m trans (not sure what, rather just say trans-eccentric or just plain ‘tranny’) and whilst I enjoyed reading the article, I have a few grievances towards it – or rather, towards the Trans/* community as a whole. So, prepare to be bored by my long-winded thoughts!

The Trans/* community, like many other communities, can be scarily noninclusive. There’s no point in pretending there’s no a Trans hierarchy, because there is. There’s no point in pretending there aren’t certain Trans people who think they deserve more authority in their opinion because of either the lengths of surgery or suffering they’ve been through on their journey. And it’s understandable: it’s a viciously rough and confusing journey, and given the amounts of discrimination and harassment, it’s understandable why the Trans community has grievances towards their ‘cisgender’ counterparts, but when we talk about the oppression of Trans people, maybe we could also open up the discussion of Trans-on-Trans discrimination and invalidation?

I – and many Transgender people I know – have been made to feel as if we’re ‘just not Trans enough’ by members of the Trans community themselves. I was born with a penis, and assigned male at birth. But I’ve never been a male. I’ve never felt like a male. I think I probably should’ve been born a female. Suits feel far more like drag attire than dresses do. But given all that, I’m now some gender-eccentric being who is neither Arthur nor Martha, or, at times more Martha than Arthur, and vice versa. Now, as far as I can see, that makes me Trans.

trans- [prefix]:
“across, through, over, beyond, to or on the other side of, outside of”

I’ve recently graduated as an English teacher, so I tend to get excited over certain words. And Trans is definitely one. Why? Because, by it’s very description, it’s all inclusive. It takes in a range of ideas, it’s ‘off the spectrum’. I think each word of the definition describes my gender perfectly, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m Trans, and entitled to be part of the debate – whether or not I want to, or feel the need to, permanently assign one gender to myself or not. And yet, there are plenty of people who have duly ignored, or dismissed, my contributions to the discussion, because they are the opinions of someone who won’t have surgery, take hormones, or legally change their gender.

And that’s why I just can’t bring myself to agreeing that Crossdressers and Drag Artists shouldn’t be a part of the conversation, or be welcomed into the Trans community, if so they wish. I understand there are issues between these two identities and the Trans community, but surely, that’s all the more reason why Crossdressers and Drag Artists need to be included in the community conversation? Given the description of the Trans prefix above, I think surely it’d be fair to say – at least a little – that Crossdressers and Drag Artists fit into that description? Even if someone’s ‘cisgender’ 99% of the time, surely that 1% where they are not qualifies them to an opinion and a voice in the Trans conversation?

I have witnessed, both online and in the real world, situations where well-meaning cisgender individuals have ‘got it a little wrong’, and have been ruthlessly ripped apart by the Trans community (similarly, Queer allies by the Queer community). It’s sickening. How on Earth we can warrant the respect of the non Trans world when we can be so vicious towards our well-meaning (but sometimes not terribly well-articulated or well-versed) counterparts? I’ve been rancorously reprimanded by self-appointed Trans spokespeople and activists for having a difference of opinion to them on Trans issues – one such example was being told by a Trans woman that “any self-respecting Trans Ally needed to boot me out of their space with a large wooden pole” because I said that the Queer and Trans community was sometimes guilty of self-victimisation (and I’m sorry guys, but it’s an inconvenient, yet understandable truth). The most worrying thing? This lady was a leader in the University’s Education Network. A very scary thought, considering Education should be all about the exploration and discussion of ideas and knowledge.

I believe that if society has a whole had a debate over what exactly ‘gender’ is (and what it’s not – such as misogynistic, societal expectations) – and what ‘Trans’ means – there’d be a LOT more people who’d probably subscribe, and embrace, a ‘non-cisgender’ identity. Articles on whether an asterix is appropriate or not are well-intentioned, but guided towards a part of society that is already ‘on board’ with the Trans community’s fight for acceptance and respect. We need to go back to the grass roots of the cause. When you read comments describing individuals such as Caitlyn Jenner as ‘Science Projects’, when Transgendered youths are made homeless by their families, and when violence and harassment of Transgendered individuals still continues, whether or not an asterix is needed when using the word Trans is surely not a high-priority discussion?

My parents know very little about Trans issues, but have always been supportive of myself and my identity – as they’ve said, ‘we don’t care, as long as you’re happy’, and similarly with a lot of my friends (something I’m incredibly fortunate for, and something I hope will be commonplace in the future). That’s what I think we need to work towards in society in regards to Trans and Queer issues. We shouldn’t have an expectation of non-Trans people getting it right all the time, nor an expectation that every member of society should understand the deep and complex issues revolving around Gender Identity. We need to discuss these things, educate through discussion, and not enter society with a list of demands that even the Trans community can’t agree on. We shouldn’t be requiring our Allies to have the same amount of gender/sexual identity exploration and knowledge as us, but rather, looking towards Allies as being the people who are respectful and supportive of our individual identities as people. I can forgive a few slip-ups and clusters of ignorance for unwavering support of myself and my individual identity.

In regards to other comments, I do believe that some cisgender people face Trans prejudice, and therefore have valuable input into the discussion. The reason why misogyny is so rampant is because we categorise and box people, and we place ‘expectations of standards’ upon them as a result. Misogyny is the cause of so many prejudices towards Queer & Trans people. Straight people often find themselves the victims of homophobic harassment, and if the goal is the elimination of homophobia, then these people need to be included on the conversation, and encouraged to join the fight – rather than the disassociate themselves with the movement because of their identity doesn’t ‘fit’. Their experience of homophobic or transphobic prejudice is JUST as valid (and damaging) as anyone else’s – imagine how horrible it is facing discrimination for something you’re not?!

We’ve GOT to be inclusive, or else we’re guilty of placing the same expectations and standards on people and their identity that we’ve faced too; and we’ve got to deplore any act by members of the Trans community that show the same sickening discrimination and isolation Trans people face themselves. In ANY cultural community, there are those by which are members by identity or birthright, and those of which who have been welcomed in through support or Allyship. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who supports my gender or sexual identity is an Ally, and therefore a part of the community. And if they want to identify as a Trans-ally, then they’re under the Trans umbrella too. We could all learn a lot from listening to our Allies – not least, on ways in which we can get more Allies on side (pssst, I think Education through sensible, open-discussion is a great place to start!).

Anyway – just my two cents! Sorry for the long post.

Tigre x

No need to apologize! I’m so glad this article made you think so much. I understand what you mean by this not being a high-priority issue. Certainly, an article about social justice semantics is not directly saving the lives of trans kids in abusive situations or anything like that! At the same time, I think discussion of all sorts is needed, not just basic lets-educate-the-public talk. My hope is that through discussions that revolve around topics like semantics (which are arguably not immediately relevant) activists who are working to further acceptance for and within the trans community can evaluate our stances and the impact of our actions, and thus be better educators and more conscientious in our daily lives about who our actions affect (especially as activists, who are raising our voices above the clamor in the name of rights for trans and gender non-conforming people).

I also would say that while there are cis people and straight people who have been targeted by transphobia and homophobia, it does not in my mind mean they have experienced what it is like to be trans or not straight in society. Even if they are offended and hurt by the prejudice they face, at the end of the day it is misdirected. They can still go home and know that they are cisgender and heterosexual, and that those insults were not meant to hurt them. It’s very different to be upset (as a reasonable cis, straight person would be!) by transphobia and homophobia when it doesn’t target you than to know that the words people are spitting in your direction are condemning an identity that you hold close enough to your being to claim it as your own. I’m not saying that misdirected hatred is easy for the person it’s been shoved at (no matter how much it applies or doesn’t apply). But it is easier than knowing that the hatred you are experiencing is truly meant for you.

I am also a strong believer in educating rather than condemning people who may have never been introduced to concepts such as being transgender. I also see what you mean by allies being valuable, and I think that is true! But I think there is room within activist spaces to work on educating and gaining acceptance from the general public and to deconstruct our own ideas and think about our activism and views on subjects (like how we classify gender) in new and different ways.

Trans* has been used by international TRANS activists groups to be more expansive http://transactivists.org/trans/
Trans*
Global Action for Trans* Equality
“GATE uses the term trans* to describe those people who transgress (binary) (western) gender norms, many of whom face human rights issues as a result.

Trans* people includes those people who have a gender identity which is different to the gender assigned at birth and/or those people who feel they have to, prefer to or choose to – whether by clothing, accessories, cosmetics or body modification – present themselves differently to the expectations of the gender role assigned to them at birth. This includes, among many others, transsexual and transgender people, transvestites, travesti, cross dressers, no gender and genderqueer people.

The term trans* should be seen as a placeholder for many identities, most of which are specific to local cultures and times in history, describing people who broaden and expand a binary understanding of gender.”

Hm. I understand where you’re coming from, especially with the “specific to local cultures and times in history” bit. However, I think still think that when people use the term trans*, and are not intending to describe people who are members of any and all groups you listed above, it is the wrong term to use. I do think we need a way to talk about all people who present and/or identify differently than their expectations assigned at birth, but I think there could be a word to describe that that does not use transgender identity as a vehicle (especially when many members of that group may strongly identify as cisgender, even if they wear clothing that isn’t a norm for their gender assigned at birth).

As a trans woman and activist, I love the use of trans, trans* and transgender as umbrella terms

In my experience, the problem we have is one of semantics, rooted in whether transgender means:
(a) people who break the rules of gender other than in who they sleep with (i.e. people whose identities *and/or expressions* differ from that assigned to them at or shortly after birth )
or
(b) people who cis society perceives “cross over” from one binary gender to another, even though many actually identified that way their entire lives

When I was introduced to the term “transgender,” it clearly meant (a). It was an umbrella used for organizing, and it was useful in getting all the gender outlaws under one banner. But when the media started reporting specifically on transsexuals in the late 00’s, it assumed “transgender” was a polite substitution for “transsexual” because… uh… I guess they thought it’s better to not say “sex” or something.

(Tangent: At times, “transgender” it was used to refer specifically to no-ho/non-op people who have a binary gender identity that conflicts with their assignment at birth, thus shedding the medical diagnostic ties of “transsexual.” This should be no surprise, as the term “transgender” was reappropriated from the word “transgenderist” as was popularized by Virginia Prince in the 1970s who organized around this very identity, and who was instrumental in the part-time MTF-spectrum umbrella that included both trans women and AFAB crossdressers.)

As a consequence of this binary-focused mainstream media coverage, many non-binary people and cissexed gender non-conforming people felt it does not include them, so they stopped identifying with it.

If however, we use Transgender as an umbrella term, many gender-variant people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth might want to use the term “cis*sexed* and transgender” while non binary people can use “non binary transgender”

Failing that, to my knowledge, we lack any short umbrella term that has ever satisfied a large number of people. And that causes a problem whenever someone is trying to concisely convey the spectrum of people who might have a stake or at least a deep-seated personal interest in combatting transphobia, binary sexism, imperialist gender systems, transmisogyny, body-freedom and so on.

Hi, so, first and foremost, this article is a wonderful critique of the trans-asterisk, and I have always wondered what the point of it was, considering that most people consider “trans” an umbrella term. However, I do disagree with that term being used to encompass any and all gender that is not cis. Because single-gender, binary trans people receive a much different experience from the Western culture than do nonbinary, agender, and multigender folks, I personally feel that to use the word “trans” to include everyone who isn’t cisgender is marginalizing at best. For example, single-gender, binary trans people are much more likely to have their pronouns validated because very many (if not most) of them use the pronouns that are largely accepted as “correct” by standard English (ie she, hers, he, his etc). However, people who identify with neutral and other uncommon pronouns (they, ze, xe, zey), from my experience, get a lot more crap from ignorant cisgender folks. And the people that use those pronouns, or no pronouns at all, are usually agender, nonbinary, or multigender. Furthermore, we are increasingly becoming aware of transgender people in the media, and they are always single-gender, binary, “passing”, and overall gender-conforming, so the general public associates the word “transgender” with people who are, again, binary and single-gender (Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Jenna Talackova, Chaz Bono, et cetera). To include words meant specifically for people who do not identify as one, binary trans gender is to say, “We hear you, we acknowledge your experiences, and yes, we give a damn.”

Hey there Alchemy. I don’t think anyone’s disagreeing with you here! I believe I may have cleared this up earlier, but there are a lot of comments so I understand if you didn’t have a chance to read through them all. I defined transgender as “to identify as any gender other than–or in addition to–the one you were assigned at birth (this includes identifying as multiple genders or no gender at all).” That said, I agree with you that not everybody who identifies as a gender other than their gender assigned at birth identifies as transgender. I was not trying to say that all people who do not identify as the gender they were assigned are automatically trans, and I’m sorry it came across that way. However, I would say that the label transgender can be accurately claimed by anybody who identifies as any gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. It is important to distinguish between binary trans people, non-binary trans people, and people who don’t identify with their assigned gender but also don’t identify as trans. The experiences of these people are very different, and that is valid and needs to be brought up. But when talking about everyone who identifies as transgender, adding an asterisk on to the end of the word “trans” doesn’t do this. Instead it serves to invalidate some trans identities as being “less trans” than others, among other things (you’ve read the article already, and I feel like I outlined it pretty thoroughly there). I’m not arguing that we should get rid of words that distinguish between different trans identities or eschew other concepts of non-conforming gender for the single label of “trans”! I just think we need to change the way we address everyone who identifies as trans (and thus falls underneath the umbrella term “transgender” by their own free will and identity). Does that make sense? I hope this wasn’t too rambly/unclear!

I just read this post because you linked to it in your everyday feminism post about dysphoria. It really disappoints me that at a post about inclusion, a post noting how it’s wrong to tell someone they aren’t “trans enough” continues to exclude. Crossdressing and drag is often the first way a trans person investigates gender because there is *some* social exceptability in performing a different gender. For other’s crossdressinf and drag is not a gateway to trans but the needed gender expression itself.

Gender is complicated. I’m non-binary but present much closer to the gender associated with my sex, leaving me being read as cis gendered by…everyone.

Maybe stop putting up fences for those imagined evil cis people who try to infiltrate your space and just be a decent human to other people

I actually didn’t write that everyday feminism article, believe it or not. It’s a very cool article though, and I’m happy the author linked his to mine! 🙂

In any case, as far as your comment goes. There are lots of forms of gender expression and presentation, and of course crossdressing and drag are two of them. I’m not trying to say that those aren’t valid forms of expression, or that people who present outside of the norm for their gender aren’t marginalized, or that drag performers don’t face stigma. I’m also not trying to assert that crossdressers or drag performers are not trans, since many are. What I’m saying is just that if someone explicitly identifies as cis, then they are cis, regardless of what they are wearing or performing in. And since they are cis, people should not refer to them as trans when they are not.

(Also I’m sorry you’ve experienced misgendering, that’s never fun.)

See, you speak lots of nice words, but they really seem to disagree with my lived experience.

The fact is, that for many binary transfolk (#notallbinarytrans) genderqueer and other non-binary folk AREN’T considered trans. That’s just a fact. It’s awful, it’s cruel, and it’s wrong – but it’s there.

I was DMAB, and have identified off the binary for much of the past two decades. Let me tell you, it hasn’t been great, trying to fight to be included in the “trans umbrella”. I’ve been asked to leave stores during their Women-and-Trans hours, I’ve been excluded from trans safe spaces (but never from trans* safe spaces) and I’ve had to fight to be allowed to do things like derby, even when leagues have trans policies.

There’s a reason a lot of social spaces specify ‘Trans and non-binary’. It’s because, to a large amount of binary trans folk (#notallbinarytrans), WE’RE NOT “REALLY” TRANS.

You can argue that we should be considered trans, and you can argue that trans should include us under the ‘umbrella’. But sadly, we often aren’t, and thus is doesn’t. At this point in history, the term ‘trans’ has too much hurtful baggage – it’s a term that has been used to exclude us for decades; it is not a term of safety to non-binary folk.

That’s why I’ll continue to use trans*, and continue to encourage people who care about non-binary folk to use it as well.

Hmmm… This is a point that I’ve seen brought up by a number of other commenters (whose comments I’ll be posting shortly) as well, and I think you’re all very correct. Though trans should be an umbrella term, it isn’t used as one by many binary trans folk as well as binary cis people. I can understand why one would find the trans * helpful. However, I still find it off-putting because I feel it continues to reinforce the idea that non-binary or genderqueer people aren’t trans (as long as they identify as trans). In my mind the ideal situation would be for people and organizations to use the term trans, while making it clear through their actions and words that they include non-binary trans people under the transgender umbrella. That will be one of the only ways the word trans will start to include non-binary people more regularly, and the only way for non-binary people to take back the word “trans” as a term of safety.

That said, I don’t disagree with you. I guess I am not quite sure what a good alternative is, since I know many people who’ve had similar experiences to yours, and many people who’ve had similar experiences to mine. Saying “non-cis” instead of trans might be one way to make it explicit that you are referring to, well, non-cis people, not just binary trans folks. I tend not to like terms that start with a negative, but I currently can’t come up with a better way to put it.

I am convinced that the majority of crossdressers are trans but due to socio-economic or personal reasons limit their trans experience to simply dressing up.. I went 45 years convinced that I was just a crossdresser. I knew I was not anything else. I have personally known two gender fluid teens who have since come out as trans. My umbrella is large and there is enough room for many. Gender Queer, Gender Fluid, crossdressers, drag. To exclude them from the trans umbrella is to turn our back on our brothers and sisters. All are welcome.

Whining over a *

Thats just as pathetic as using the word “cis”.

This is partly the reason people see us as a joke or dont take us seriously…

Gabriel,

I wondered if you’d consider sharing your voice on our site? If you’d like to become a contributor, there’s a link at the bottom of each page!

Thanks!!!

QV

I want to understand this but am having a difficult time. There are a few points that don’t make sense to me:

1. Cis cross dressers don’t deal with what (your definition of trans) people deal with on a daily basis.

Isn’t this completely contrary to your main point that all trans people are not the same and don’t struggle the same? The word trans has become so widely used that we now have “nonbinary dfab femme presenting with no dysphoria who only dates cis men” under the queer and trans umbrella. And I would definitely argue that out crossdressers and queens definitely face more transmisogyny, transphobia, and homophobia than a “nonbinary dfab femme presenting with no dysphoria who only dates cis men” who considers themself trans.

2. The asterix was created by dfab people to silence trans women.

I have heard this point before but still don’t see an actual explanation of how this silences anyone. I read your piece again looking for it and could not find it. Even if it was created by dfab people, dfab trans people are allowed to have trans things and it’s oppression olympics to suggest that everything dfab people create is wrong because privilege- especially because so many dfab people still move throughout the world being read as nonnormative women- even if they don’t experience trans misogyny, it’s not a cake walk.

3. The asterix is used to say some people aren’t trans enough… including trans women.

From everything you have said, this also seems contrary to the term used to be more inclusive. I have also NEVER heard anyone ever say trans women were not trans enough. They are considered the most trans and are the most visible example of trans gender people (and that visibility comes at a huge cost, don’t get me wrong.) Anytime I talk to a nonradical queer about trans issues they only know about trans women. So this makes no sense to me.

4. You’re either trans or you’re not.

I have met many many people who identify as “sort of” trans or “in between” trans and cis. And they are allowed to identify that way. So while you are making the point that trans means so many things and we should not narrow it down to being one way, you then reinforce that very idea.

Hey! Just real fast though–I’m a person who uses the ‘*’ at the end of the LGBTQIA acronym to cover all the extra identities that exist beyond even the longest acronym. Does that create a problem because of the history of the ‘*’ being used to exclude trans identities?

I also want to clear up the whole drag/crossdressing issue on another front. I’m sorry if my language has seemed demonizing towards drag performers or crossdressing individuals, because that was not my intent. I recognize that cis drag performers and cis crossdressers are marginalized for not conforming to gender norms, and I also recognize that there are many drag performers and crossdressers who are trans! They are not mutually exclusive identities 🙂

I would also like to clarify that a lot of the associations made between transness and crossdressing/drag comes from cis people who are not crossdressers or drag performers, not crossdressers & drag performers themselves. When some cis people see someone crossdressing they automatically associate that person as trans, and when they see someone who is trans they may automatically label them a drag performer/crossdresser. The reason this is harmful is both because it associates presentation with gender (i.e. that person is wearing a dress so they must be a girl) and because it enforces the idea that a trans person is really just “a man in a dress” or “a tomboy” or someone “playing dress-up” when this is not the case. But again, these assumptions are not coming from people involved in drag or crossdressing.

My original intent in bringing that up in the article was not to call out all crossdressers or drag performers as cis, or to exclude them if they are trans, or to say that they are not marginalized. My point was to bring up the fact that it’s an issue when anyone (though this often comes from cis non drag performers) says “oh, even if he identifies as cis he’s trans because he wears a skirt” or “oh, she’s really just a man in a dress,” which is what happens when one tries to label specifically cis-identifying drag performers and crossdressing individuals as transgender just because they present differently.

Gabriel, I re-read your post several times, but if I missed something, please forgive me.
I did not see you address those of us who identify as transSEXUAL (not transgender). The fact that in this piece you argue so strongly against a trans-umbrella, then go onto say that “trans” only includes transGENDER identified folks is precisely the reason I use “trans*”.
As a transsexual person who is not transgender, it is simply exclusionary to say that “trans” wouldn’t apply because I am not the right “type” of trans to use it.

Can you address? Thanks.
J

It is important to acknowledge ALL gender non-conforming people as trans, not just the ones this author personally feels are trans enough. This author’s view that they get to say who is trans and who is not is the prime example of why the asterisk is still in use.

I was reading your post and I have a couple questions – and I apologize if you answered this already, I didn’t see it covered in the comments above but may have missed it. And sorry if it is long winded!

You stated that “We need to do away with the asterisk, whose creation was a backlash against trans women, and whose existence tells so many people that they aren’t “trans enough.” ” – do you have more details to back up the story of “trans*” being created to backlash against trans women? I read it in blogs…and now in your post…stated as a fact but I can’t see to dig up any info that isn’t just anecdotal or by word of mouth. Not to say it isn’t right…but I would love to know a source for this info.

I also bring this up because the history of the transgender community can get lost in translation from generation to generation, so I feel like a lot of historical context gets forgotten. For example, I have read that the term “t*” was very prevalent for many decades and even predates “transgender” as an “umbrella” term for the community we now call “transgender”. “t*” was created to make what was the then “transsexual” community more inclusive. Then transgender became the umbrella term and the community then split and had very heated debates about whether folks should use transsexual or transgender.

Not unlike what we are seeing today with the term “trans*”.

Is, perhaps, “trans*” really a more modern incantation of “t*”? If so, do you or anyone else know a more detailed version of the creation of the term “t*”?

Also, while looking up the history of “trans*” and the argument why we shouldn’t use it, I stumbled on this interesting and arguably convincing summary on the issue. What I really took away from the analysis, besides in debunking who and who didn’t create the term “trans*”, was something I have seen a lot of in the arguments for doing away with the term:

“While it’s white queer and trans FAAB people who started the asterisk, it’s also white queer and trans FAAB people who are at the front lines of critiquing the use of the asterisk, including the use among trans people of color, trans women, and nonbinary people who use it to describe themselves. The call-out culture prevalent online is something that does solidly contribute to the oppression of some of the most marginalized members of our community by privileging access to the most up-to-date theoretical work around what it means to be trans over actual trans experiences.” http://www.transstudent.org/asterisk

Thanks for talking about and engaging in an important and interesting topic! Look forward to your thoughts.

When I first saw trans* written somewhere I assumed it meant trans as in transgender and/or transsexual, not as a “trans umbrella”.

Trans* was created to fuse together genderqueer movements and transgender movements and to absorb non binary into transgender and out of the queer movement, so it could be LGBT and not LGBTQ. There was a danger the T and Q would come up with different opinions on gender, as Q originated from social gender originally. A while back people used to identify as trans women and also genderqueer and the genderqueer was meant to be about rejecting the roles. A lot of the politics of the Q are from butler.

I can tell you that as a gender role non conforming cis person i dont want including under the trans umbrella and since the * i find i am.

I disagree with the argument that we should stop using the *asterisk. After having attended the Asterisk Trans* Conference 2014, it seems clear that a trans* community has been built around the inclusivity of the term! The culmination of all these lived experiences in Southern California is evidence to the fact that the term is gaining steam. http://asteriskconference.blogspot.com/p/faq.html

Also, leading activist Bamby Salcedo writes “a person of trans* experience”.

This was written quickly!

Honestly I hate the us of the term “trans” altogether b/c it is turning what was a general prefix, basically meaning “across or beyond”, into a very specific term about gender distinctions. There are a lot of words that start with “trans”, like “transportation”, “translate” and “transfer” that having nothing to do with this. I hate to think that a couple decades down the road, those words will become outmoded because their meanings have become imbued with intractable connotations of gender issues. Aren’t there any better alternatives?

I get around this by using the term “gender-variant”, which does not have loaded assumptions about identity in it.

Also, trans means “across” gender, which was intended to mean anyone who does not identify with the gender assigned at birth. It is an umbrella term to refer to gender diversity as well. There is other language out there, it is just not used.

Regardless, great article, thanks for sharing!

And thanks to the folks who contributed to the conversation as well! 🙂

Hi, thank you for this article. I appreciate your ideas and the helpful (and thoughtful) replies you have made to the comments. I think, personally, I still believe in using the asterisk, and I explain a bit as to why here. But that aside, I want to ask if you can clarify something? You mention that drag performers who identify as cisgender do not fall under the umbrella because their experiences are not exactly the same. But the same to whose? There is such diversity under this umbrella. And, I understand that in the Western world, many drag performers do not face a great deal of discrimination – though some do, of course. However, in South Africa, where I began doing drag, we faced tremendous discrimination. I myself did not identify as cis, but my drag brothers and sisters did, and so finding camaraderie and shared fear of crossing gender boundaries with others in the trans community proved very helpful. So this may in part a cultural privilege to do drag and not deal with discrimination or backlash. Also, I think whether a drag performer identifies as cis may in a way be moot because it is how others view them. And must one be identified by others as gender bending all the time (not just Saturday nights) in order to qualify as trans? Because, if it requires that one always be facing potential discrimination, then post-op, fully ‘passing’ people may in a way be exempt from being trans. However, I realise there is a difference between one is afraid that their Saturday night adventure will be found out and one is afraid that their birth sex will be found out. Of course the latter is usually more frightening. But they are both afraid of being ‘outed’ for transgressing gender lines. I suppose what I am saying is that it may not really be possible to fully delineate drag performers who otherwise live as cispeople from the trans umbrella, though they would probably be at the periphery. Anyone who purposefully challenges gender norms and faces discrimination for it should, I believe, be allowed to identify with the trans community. In a way it comes down to semantics, but I think that drag performers shouldn’t all be clumped together – their experiences and circumstances (and reasoning) are quite diverse, even amongst those who live ‘cis’ lives most of the time. Thanks for reading, I really look forward to your thoughts on this!

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