Disclaimer/Warning: This article requires an open mind and level headed maturity. If you are sensitive to this topic, I must ask you to not proceed. Strong language is shown. All names of my friends have been changed to keep confidentiality.
I really believe this needs to be said.
At the time of writing this, I was recently involved in a huge debacle of friends fighting over what having and not having dysphoria means for a trans person. I lost friends and I got baseless allegations thrown at me.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Learning about dysphoria.
Before any of this started, I didn’t really pay much attention to the whole dysphoria topic, nor did I care much about it. If anything, I thought having dysphoria was just something that was common for anyone who is transgender.
Even so, it never really occurred to me that whether you need dysphoria or not to be considered transgender was something that was heavily debated in the trans community.
I would say it all started when one of my closest friends, Dan, started sharing memes that stated: “You need dysphoria to be trans”. I didn’t really pay much attention to it, especially since he is known for being quite unapologetic. And honestly, that’s one of the things I love about him. He’s not overly serious and he knows how to make depressing topics fun to laugh about.
From what I saw, he didn’t have any opposition against him when he posted those memes (no hateful comments and such), so I didn’t think it was anything to really care about. So when I saw the Damien and Skye comic, I shared it on my profile remembering how “passionate” Dan was about the whole topic.
It was quite humorous at first as I told him “Hey, it’s that topic you’re so passionate about XD”. However, things started to get a bit serious when my facebook friends disagreed with the comic. This was the first instance of me witnessing the dysphoria debate. I didn’t think much of it either, because when it comes down to it, why does it really matter if a trans person has dysphoria or not?
One of my friends started to explain why persons who don’t have dysphoria were valid as trans persons. Considering how well they made their argument, I couldn’t help but agree as it was a much more inclusive mindset with regards to trans people, and me being me, I am all for inclusiveness. So at this point, I was more on the side of “You don’t need dysphoria to be trans”.
Plus, Skye is really adorable and I would totally go out with a fem trans-guy like him, despite being gay.
Now I can’t remember when it was exactly that I learned about the term “truscum”, but it definitely wasn’t that long ago. I would say late last year. I believe it was when I shared pictures of a pretty popular trans person, Scarlett, that my trans friends were labelling as “truscum”. They told me that Scarlett invalidated other trans people and would say all kinds of awful things to them.
This was coming from multiple persons, so I took it at face value that there may really be some truth to what they were saying. And this was despite me seeing nothing but good intentions coming from Scarlett, so it was a bit weird that these persons would say these things about her.
Nonetheless, I continued to share her pics because I really found her attractive. That’s when things started to go a bit south.
“Liking someone labelled as truscum = You are truscum”.
On one of the pics I shared of Scarlett, one of my friends commented on the pic that they will always hate her for being truscum. My response was:
“Yeah, but still, you have to admit she’s really pretty”.
Their response was something along the lines of:
“If that’s what you really care about, then your priorities are misguided”.
I found that comment pretty rude, so I deleted it and just didn’t bother to continue the conversation further. I would later find out that they unfriended me on facebook (cries).
There was clearly some controversy going on with Scarlett so I asked my friends on a poll if they wanted me to stop sharing her pics since it always led to some kind of flame war in the comments about her.
It doesn’t really make much sense to keep sharing her pics if it makes others upset, and I wanted my profile to be a place where everyone felt safe and welcomed.
Granted, it was only a select few that didn’t really like to see me sharing her photos. I intentionally set the poll to public because I was hoping Scarlett would see it and shed some light on what was going on, and eventually she did.
However, the poll comment section devolved into a flame war, which was against my intentions. Even her fiancé got involved and I can only imagine her frustration to see those persons saying those things against Scarlett.
I’ve actually had something like that happen before. One time I was criticizing the owner of an anime convention for switching to cheap paper for their event tickets. It blew up on social media, and one person, in particular, was heavily criticising me for what I said. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would later find out that was the convention owner’s wife.
Scarlett sent me a friend request and I chatted with her personally, first apologising that my poll just made things a bit hostile against them. They were very nice about the whole thing and I started to get answers to what was a very confusing situation.
I learned that Scarlett is of the belief that you need dysphoria to be trans, however, that doesn’t always mean someone isn’t trans just because they don’t experience dysphoria. She believed that they were valid arguments for both sides of the dysphoria argument. Her biggest concern was persons who may take serious steps into transitioning without knowing what they are really getting into.
That seemed very fair. It’s not my first time hearing of persons who may just transition for less important reasons. There are persons who have regretted sexual reassignment surgery and others who de-transitioned back to their original gender. When cis people see that, they use it as ammunition against trans persons.
“You’re just going through a phase”.
“You’re just doing it because your friends are doing it”.
“You’re just doing it to feel special”.
As Scarlett and I continued to chat, she showed some screenshots of conversations she had with persons that were very toxic in their behaviour. That’s when I realised something:
Everyone who was accusing her of being “truscum” has yet to post any kind of evidence to prove their statements.
They just want you to take their word on it, yet the very person they were accusing clearly has evidence to dispute what they were saying. Every time I asked someone to show evidence that Scarlett was “truscum”, they always made an excuse.
I’m sorry but I can’t just take someone else’s word for it when there is evidence indicating otherwise. No one should be that gullible.
Also, the thing about Scarlett is that she has a feminine and highly attractive body. It’s hard to argue that once you see her photos, so I can understand another person’s jealousy of her, especially since she’s popular and gets plenty of attention. I’ve seen persons try saying she has masculine features, which I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mention it at all if Scarlett didn’t have the “truscum” label attach to her.
Again, I’m sorry to say, but it really feels like half of the controversy comes from Scarlett’s appearance making other trans girls feel insecure about themselves.
The whole interaction with Scarlett only further solidified my initial theory. She is a genuinely kind person and is very supportive of others. I can even remember there was a time she said she may stop posting photos since she didn’t want others to feel insecure about their own body.
I felt satisfied with what I learned with Scarlett’s input on the whole thing, so I set the poll to private since I didn’t want the hateful comments around her to continue. I continued to share photos of Scarlett feeling more confident that I can like her photos now. I still had facebook friends saying nasty things in the comment section, so I set the photos to private if it just turned into a flame war. I wish I could say that it ended there, but of course, it didn’t.
The experience was pretty enlightening to me as I learned more about what truscum were and why they were hated. My close friend Dan is apparently truscum, but still, that didn’t bother me at all. After all, what Dan believes in is really not that important to me. Dan lives all the way in Australia, but ever since my transition began, he has been one of the most positive and funniest persons I have ever met online. He has even known me since the time I identified as a “trap”. There was no way any of that was going to muddy our friendship since Dan is like a brother to me and always will be.
Sometimes I’m worried he’s going to get himself in trouble (haha), but he’s no stranger to mischief and drama. The way he doesn’t let any of it get to him is actually pretty inspiring.
Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but he actually gives me the confidence to be my goofy self. Sometimes I feel like I act too boyish for a (trans) girl, but Dan makes me feel comfortable that I can be who I want regardless of gender (the irony, I know haha).
Not too long ago I became an admin for a Trans and genderqueer meme’s facebook page. It was going pretty good until that one incident in the admin group chat. One of the admins were deleting someone’s comments and blocking persons because they saw them as truscum. The head admin, Zoe, said they knew the person they were talking about personally and it could just be a misunderstanding. However, the other admin wasn’t listening at all. They started to accuse Zoe of being accepting of truscum and was pretty much yelling at her in the group chat to remove them as admin.
The ex-admin now goes to spreading allegations that the page supports truscum persons.
I’m not going to censor it this time since the ex-admin has changed their facebook name.
At this time I’m just dumbfounded how drastically it escalated.
There was a time I accidentally “Haha reacted” on a girl’s selfie image. I didn’t know it at the time because I always heart reacted her pics. Sometimes my finger goes to wrong reaction emoji due to having to precisely choose it. Out of nowhere, I got a message from the girl asking me why I “haha” reacted and she started calling me a b***h. At this time I had no idea what she was talking about, but she didn’t give me any time to reply, as she just blocked me after sending that message. However, she didn’t know I had two facebook accounts at the time and that I followed her on both. I messaged her on the other one and she actually listened this time. I even offered to remove it, but she declined. I unfollowed her after that though, because if she was willing to do what she did, god knows what else she would do.
So yes, it is very possible to accidentally use the wrong reaction emoji. The ex-admin clearly overreacted just like that girl did.
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to stop being admin of the page, not because of what happened, but because my type of humour seems to offend persons who like the page. Even my least offensive self-created memes that were meant to be humorous and inspiring always got someone riled up. I never had any problems sharing stuff on my public Facebook profile, so seeing others get offended by my lighthearted memes was pretty discouraging. And I like to be very considerate of how others feel since I myself can be a bit sensitive to things people may not find an issue.
What the heck is a “Tucute”?
The same way I learned about truscum ideology is pretty much the same way I learned what “tucutes” are: My friend, Dan.
I posted something on Dan’s profile about a poll saying you don’t need dysphoria to be trans. My intention was to get a laugh out of Dan but he said to “remove this tucute s**t” from his profile. At this time I had no idea what he meant by “tucute”, and Dan isn’t someone you can easily offend, so I removed it without further question.
It was only until I shared the Damian/Skye comic validating Skye as a trans guy from earlier that my facebook friends started to fight each other in the comment section (again).
I definitely knew Dan was going to get in on this as I wrote: “I’m going to rustle a few feathers with this one lol”. Dan was there, of course, to disagree and voice his disagreements with “tucute ideology”.
The comment section on that meme devolved into a complete flame war (again).
I will admit though, it was quite hilarious to see everyone at each other’s throats like that over a simple inclusive comic. Anyone looking from the outside would just see a bunch of trans people fighting each other. I didn’t really give it much attention either, I just read the comments to what was clearly a dumpster fire.
I did a little research, looking to urban dictionary to enlighten me on what are truscum and tucute. Things get “better” later on when I decide to actually tackle the topic and stop watching from the sidelines, as I have been doing all along.
If you don’t want truscum dead, then you are labelled as truscum.
With my new information in hand, I believe I was ready to make a decision. I don’t believe in needing dysphoria to be trans, however, I don’t think just anyone could be trans either. I understand where the truscum debate is coming from where they believe the persons who just use gender to be “different/cool” could cause the trans community to look like a joke, however how someone discovers their gender identity is completely up to them. There is no “one size fits all”.
So my question I was asking myself is: Isn’t there a middle ground to all of this?
I posted that query to my profile to get insight from Facebook friends, explaining how I see the gender dysphoria debate with the information I had.
However, I also made light of a silly urban dictionary post that I found really funny since it was clearly someone’s childish attempt to criticise persons who are anti-truscum. I thought others would fine it funny as well, so of course, I shared it since I’m into that kind of humour and I hate overly serious debates.
Oh dear. Now that was a mistake.
It’s funny how this debate bought out the worse in my “friends”. Note, at this point the only real truscum person I know of is Dan, and he’s pretty chill on me believing you don’t need dysphoria to be trans.
Yes, I do find it funny that trans people are attacking each other instead of standing together when we are still being significantly oppressed.
I also find it hilarious the second commenter accused me of being against non-binary people whereas anyone who knows me would know I advocate for non-binary rights whenever the transgender debate is brought up. This is literally the first thing you would see on my facebook profile:
The next round of screenshots was one from the comic that supported Skye as a trans guy:
At first, I was going to say why Emma who replied to that comment was in the wrong, but then I realised that I was in the wrong as well, so I’m going to call myself out a bit here.
The person who made the initial comment was clearly being quite, for lack of better word, “truscummy”. I asked Emma, who aggressively replied to the person, to be more respectful because I felt like they weren’t taking the higher ground in this debate.
I should have instead called out the other person making that “truscum” comment even more since it was clearly meant to offend. Emma was just responding in a “fight fire with fire” stance, and I could hardly criticise her for that because it can definitely get frustrating dealing with those type of comments.
So to that, if you’re reading this, Emma: I’m sorry. I should have been a better ally.
With that said, I get it. The person was being an annoying turd and you have the right to give them a taste of their medicine, but I still feel you win zero points when you’re being just as horrible as the person you’re accusing.
But yeah, I get this is a sensitive topic for some persons now.
This comment is quite important before I go to the next reactionary comment:
And for my favourite comment of them all:
You only like people if they have the same opinion as you? You didn’t even bother to further question anything I said. As soon as you saw something that wasn’t in your mindset, you made up in your mind you didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. Wow.
This is going to sound really mean, but if being your friend means I have to agree with everything you say, you have very low standards for friendship and I can only imagine you don’t have much true friends by your side because your friendships are based on something so fickle.
The first comment nails it right on the head:
The person I’m surprised I’ve lost the most is my enby friend, Jade. I can’t believe how fast they were to unfriend me, despite being good friends. Jade was the first person I asked with regards to if they wanted me to block someone from my profile because the person was clearly against non-binary persons. Jade is pretty sensitive and that’s what I liked the most about them because I too could relate to them.
But Jade, you didn’t even hesitate to unfriend me, not even a message or anything, even though you knew I supported you without a doubt in my mind? Ouch.
You didn’t even say goodbye.
“You’re either with me or against me”.
That’s a line Superman says to Kara in Injustice 2. A tad bit of a spoiler, but in the Injustice series Superman goes on a tyranny to permanently wipe out evil/villainy. The way he wants to do this is by taking as many lives as possible to preserve peace and order. Kara is with her cousin again but she is hesitant in her cousin’s decision to take any lives necessary to obtain his goal.
The reason why I brought that quote up is because it fits perfectly into what is going on here. You are being pressured to either choose a side, or you’re against tucutes.
This whole debate has brought out the worse in us. Persons who are anti-truscum will not hesitate to brand you as truscum if you don’t fully agree with their stance.
And look what it has done.
It has to be reiterated that I am not defending the actions of persons who are truscum, but the tucutes has become just as bad, if not worse. They are quick to call others every name in the book and are attacking their own people without any evidence to back their allegations. It is very worrying and I can’t believe it has gotten to this stage.
I just want to say right here and now:
I detest gatekeeping of any kind.
As a lesbian, my identity has been called into question just because I identified as pansexual in the past. Trust me that was frustrating as hell so I know how it can affect someone. My intention was never to side with any gatekeepers, as I looked at the whole debate at an objective point of view to understand how deep this debate ran.
Clearly, plenty of my friends have fall victim to gatekeeping by truscum persons. Me who is quite protective of my friends, you can imagine it annoys me quite a bit that these persons exist.
Comments by friends that I believe are worth highlighting.
I love the first comment because it was just so hilariously worded XD (Although I disagree that truscum are the only ones hurting persons at this point.)
Stop being a troll, Dan (lol).
Finally I saved the best comment for last. Another friend and I were really impressed. Completely respectful and very informative:
Validity of Non-binary persons.
I was pretty surprised to learn that “truscum” excluded non-binary people. I can totally see how a person can identify as non-binary too. Some persons don’t want to be stuck having to represent either binary gender.
I was planning on going on a whole rant here stating the validity of non-binary people, but I think I have stated more than enough already. In one of my comments regarding the debate on my profile, I stated that everyone experiences their gender identity different. Just in the same way that everyone person isn’t the same, gender varies from person to person, especially with regards to how one explores their gender identity. I’m also reiterating my stance that gender is not a “one size fit all” kind of deal.
And is it me, or are these extremist tucutes persons transphobic themselves? By saying you’re not allowed to choose a middle ground, they themselves are invalidating non-binary persons because non-binary persons themselves are a middle ground, are they not?
Non-binary persons don’t want to be male or female. They prefer to be neither, and that in itself is a valid gender identity. If you’re really of the ideology that you’re anti-truscum, take a good look at yourself and ask if your mindset isn’t as flawed as the rest.
The Irony of it all.
The best part of all of is that if truscum are really telling people they are not valid, that means they are really telling other trans people they are not valid.
Do you see my point here?
ALL OF YOU ARE ATTACKING YOUR OWN PEOPLE!
This is the same mentality that cis-people use to invalidate trans people! They use it to discriminate us in all kinds of inhumane ways. Many of us are still being killed and sexually assaulted, yet you really insist on fighting your own? Pathetic.
I’m not just talking to truscum people either, the people who are anti-truscum are just as much to blame. You attack other people that don’t fit your ideology the same way truscum and cis people attack you. By doing that, you are no better than them and it really makes me feel ashamed to proudly be trans when all of you are acting so immature and trigger happy.
Instead of pushing for your existence as trans individuals as a whole when we’re still being discriminated, you all are at each other’s throats. At this point, each party deserves the kind of treatment they get. You want persons to acknowledge your existence when you yourself can barely act like a respectable human? Why should anyone respect us if we’re so uncivilised that we attack our own? And I’m not just talking about trans issues or LGBT issues either, I’m talking about this as a whole for anything we as human beings do and enjoy.
This is also the exact same thing that happens in the black community too. We went through slavery, from hell and back, yet black people have the audacity to discriminate against their own for being “different”. Ask any black LGBT person and you’ll know what the struggle is like.
Do you know how many times my ethnicity was called into question just because I like something as simple as rock music or anything else that wasn’t considered a part of black culture? At first I thought it just happened in the Caribbean, but it happens everywhere.
Conclusion: Where do I stand?
At first I was going to take the anti-truscum stance, but now I cannot anymore.
At first glance truscum are the bad guys of the trans community, whereas anti-truscum are supposed to be in the right.
However, anti-truscum persons wasted no time to attack me and made allegations against my friends to push their own agenda without any care for anyone besides themselves. Either you are on their side or they condemn you to hell (haha irony). They have become just as bad as the persons they are against.
Truscum won’t get any sympathy from me either. This stupid gatekeeping is harmful to anyone who identifies as trans and from the sounds of it, they have just made the lives of other trans persons absolutely miserable.
I’m coming out of this debate the same way I came in:
Being on neither side.
Both truscum and tucutes have become a toxic part of the trans community. This dumb squabble only gives further ammunition to cis people to use against the entire trans community.
Stop thinking of yourselves and realise just how much your actions affect others as a whole for a change.
“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth”. – African Proverb
Stop trying to provoke others who are just like you and want to live their life as they see fit. You have no right or say in the gender identity of another person, and the fact that you would treat your own this way is disgusting.
As trans people, you should know more than anyone what it feels like to be treated as if you’re not a person.
“Beware that when fighting monsters that you yourself do not become a monster, for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you”. – Fridrich Nietzche.
You went from doing something positive to being just as bad as your oppressors. You have become so extreme in your actions to fight against truscum that you will attack anyone who even slightly entertains a thought that isn’t wholly anti-truscum ideology. You don’t even care if they are your own friends. You will throw anyone under the bus once they don’t suit your stance.
I sympathised with what you have experienced, of course, but you’re just making things even worse for others who are entirely innocent in your battle to be more inclusive.
To all trans persons, binary and non-binary:
This stupid dysphoria war has done nothing but made us fight and hate each other. We as trans persons have been around for far longer than anyone gives us credit for, but it is only now we are beginning to shift the tides to being socially accepted.
Do you all seriously think cisgender transphobes care if you’re truscum or anti-truscum? Of course not. We are all trans and they see us all as the same. Stop fighting each other for five seconds and realise we all live other the same damn tree. Because when it’s time to fight against transphobes, we sure as hell are going to need each other to win.
“We do have a lot in common. The same air, the same Earth, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what’s the same instead of always looking at what’s different,…well, who knows?”― Meowth
Yes, I’m quoting Pokemon. Don’t judge me.
Lastly, I’m going to say it since no one will:
You do not have to choose either side, just as the same way our non-binary friends don’t have to be male or female and the same way bisexual persons can love both or more gender identities.
No one should ever pressure you into feeling like you should have to be for either extreme.
It is okay if you understand why truscum people do what to do.
It is okay if you understand why tucutes do what they do.
Make your own decisions and don’t let either of them bully you into an ideology you’re not comfortable.Loading Likes...