my misogynistic, transphobic family

this is probably going to be a rant; i’m angry, i feel alienated, and i’m totally offended.  so, yeah.  no rainbows and dinosaurs today, my lovelies.

*   *   *

so i’ve been having some fascinating experiences.  not “fascinating” as in “zounds!  aroid morphogenesis sure is fascinating,” but fascinating as in “fuck!  willful ignorance sure is fascinating!”

to start with, my partner’s side of the family is fairly misogynistic.

for instance, a few of the men in the family regularly insult each other with “woman”.  you know, like, “you fucking woman!  don’t be a fucking woman!” or, “what’s wrong with you, you fucking woman?”  they pull this shit in front of their partners (women) and they pull this shit in front of their young daughter/niece.

with few exceptions (i want to emphasize that there ARE exceptions), even those family members who don’t actually exude misogyny still laugh at the jokes and act like it’s all cool.  i don’t want to go deeper into detail cuz, well, i don’t want to go trashing them all over the internet, but you get the idea, right?

i’ve also had it with the transphobia.  with my partner’s support, i came out as trans* to his side of the family (i left pansexuality out of it) a few weeks ago.  some of them have been behaving coldly towards us ever since.  not that anyone’s been RUDE to us– some of them just haven’t really been, you know, interacting with us.

and that licks, peoples.  it makes me feel rejected.  it makes me feel like an asshat for causing strife between my partner and his side of the family.  it makes me feel like i might not even be on the right planet!

the only upside to all this is that my partner’s mom and step dad have been supportive, though rather confused.  supportive though confused is pretty splendid, if you ask me.  and my fabulous partner has been supportive and NOT-confused.  so, yeah.  it’s not all atrocious.

in conclusion, i have no fucking clue if i will ever attend a family dinner again.  being around people who won’t really talk to you but who keep looking at you sideways is pretty awkward– and it becomes tortuous when seated at a table with them.

i’m starting to seriously consider whether i even want a place in my partner’s side of the family.  cuz generally, after trying and failing to educate ignorant bigots (is that a tautology?), i tell them to fucking play in microwaves.  i just don’t have time for that shit.  should family be any different?

that said, my partner had a strong connection with his family before i came out as trans*; i don’t want to ruin that.  i also don’t want to give up just yet; these people welcomed me into their family, are generally kind people, and have recently been confronted with a totally new concept (non-binary gender).

and in their defense, they don’t really know me at all.  i don’t know how to make small talk and i run away when people ask me personal questions– so all they know is that my partner and their kids think i’m cool.  so it’s not like they’re turning on someone they know and love– it’s more like they just realized that i’m even weirder than they suspected me to be.

i also care deeply for the kids; they’re my friends!  they’re family to me in ways that the grownups just aren’t.  plus, they might mature into open-minded grownups, right?

but i can’t cope with the fucking misogyny, never mind the transphobia.  i just can’t.  …or am i giving up too easily?  fuck.

*   *   *

yeah.  so what do you peoples think of all this?  i know you don’t really have enough details to give specific advice, but i could sure use some friendly support and some “i’ve been there” stories.  yeah.

7 responses to “my misogynistic, transphobic family

  1. It’s no joke being a woman, trust me on that. Woman should never be used as an insult… Being a Mx. and non-binary isn’t something to be made into an insult either, any more than any other person’s sense of self. Perhaps, them realized that you are trans they are uneasy because they realize you are probably a lot, or think you may be a lot more “politically correct”, and aren’t sure how to take that. However, the underlying problem is that misogynists don’t like it when people point out that the shit they say is misogynistic.

    I can understand your feelings about that… Even if it is shameful for a man to be like a woman, but not for a woman it’s still insulting because it by it’s nature insinuates that being a woman is a bad thing. It’s part of the Scapegoating of Femininity that Julia Serrano talks about at length in her likewise titled Book. I am sure you have had your fair share of insults not conforming to the social role of your birth, even without it being about that. Likewise, I did as well. You are justified to feel that the misogynistic tone, which is easily as uncomfortable and easily converted to transmisogyny, transmisandrogyny, transmisandry and may others.

    I know I totally just amalgamated those words, but you get the meaning. As a trans person hate directed at other trans people even if I am an exception to it is an unacceptable to me and makes the environment I am in seem hostile. You have a right to feel that way. Even if the hate or insult is outside of your sphere of being it still makes the air very oppressive. You know what I mean? It would be the same if I was with a group of white people making racist commentary about other races. Hate is hate regardless of what people color it as. I would though, consider the possibility that you being trans and non-binary has made them feel guilty for being very misogynistic, and making them take a moment to reflect on why they insist on making insult out of being a woman.

    I wish you the best with them, and if you ever need to chat “off the record” I offer my “trans/queer/non-binary” ear to you. Take care. **Disappears into a poof of smoke and leaves a flower sticking out of your pocket with a smiley face on it and rainbows”. Misogyny/Transmisogyny… They all can suck a big one.

  2. Telling bigots to play in microwaves – that is an excellent thing to tell them.

  3. You don’t have to put up with anything you find toxic and oppressive. You don’t have to sit there and grit your teeth through the misogynistic bullshit and jabs, and stay silent. And you don’t have to listen to anyone mock who you are.
    But you also don’t have to completely give up on them quite yet. It sounds like it is all fairly recent news, and so an adjustment or learning curve is to be expected.
    I think it’s important that you realize you can do both. That you can keep the lines of communication open with the family, not completely writing them off, and still know that you don’t have to accept their bullshit. Don’t feel guilty about speaking up about the things that offend you. Just use all the “I” language, and phrase it as that it hurts you to hear that, instead of that it proves that they are bigoted and ridiculous (which it does, but the first argument will likely be more effective). Ask your partner if ze would be willing to join in that sentiment.
    If they are a big part of your partner’s life, then you don’t want to turn your back on them quite yet. But if you don’t take a stand against the hurtful stuff that is being lobbed around, you’ll feel worse. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries, and be firm about the way you will be treated, and what you won’t tolerate.
    I know this has got to be enormously frustrating, especially because your partner is so lovely and supporting of everything. Sorry that it blows so much right now. I wish you lots of love, rainbows, brownies and kittens!

  4. @ reneta: “Even if it is shameful for a man to be like a woman, but not for a woman…”

    but it IS “shameful” for women to be womanly! that’s a big part of the world’s fucked-up factor, isn’t it? “girly” girls/women are considered weak, irrational, hysterical, bitchy, and obsessed with “pointless” pursuits like shopping and trapping men (are “girly” girls weak or not? bigots just can’t get their own bigotry straight!). “manly” girls/women are assumed lesbian (nothing wrong with lesbians) and “just fucking ridiculous” to quote a family member of mine. yeah.

    sorry for the rant; i’m sure you think about this shit all the time. like, i bet you get your share of misogyny directed at YOU, whereas i’m not the real target. i’m just venting, really.

    “As a trans person, hate directed at other trans people even if I am an exception to it is an unacceptable to me and makes the environment I am in seem hostile.”

    this is exactly how i feel! i may not be a woman, but the misogyny just turns everything toxic! as you point out, “hate is hate.”

    “…made them feel guilty for being very misogynistic, and making them take a moment to reflect on why they insist on making insult out of being a woman.”

    i don’t think so, cat. i mean, i fucking wish– but i doubt it. i think the family misogynists and the hardcore transphobes are just fucked. i doubt they feel guilty; i’m sure they just think i’m a fucking psycho who shouldn’t be allowed near their kids. and that scares me.

    well, a few of them are being cool about my transness– these are also the people who don’t make misogynistic jokes. i think they might end up rethinking their previously-held opinions of trans* people. yay, right?

    and your whole last paragraph makes me smile and kinda tear up at the same time. thanks for your support! i appreciate it (and the smiley-flower!) more than i can express with simple letters. but i’ll try… rainbows-tea-dinosaurs-secretforests-love-sunshine-crayons! yay!

  5. @ southcarolinaboy: mwa. and i think they should do it, too. i feel like telling 2 specific family members to play in fucking microwaves right now. they had their chance– and all they did was hate. i’m gonna wait on the other peoples; they might just need time, ya know?

    you make me smile! so, thanks!

    @ sonicrhubarb: “I think it’s important that you realize you can do both. That you can keep the lines of communication open with the family, not completely writing them off, and still know that you don’t have to accept their bullshit. Don’t feel guilty about speaking up about the things that offend you.”

    word. this just makes sense to me; yay!

    i mean, i’ve called people out a few times; i don’t stand for words like “tr*nny”, “p**fter” and that shit. but i’ve been keeping quiet cuz i feel so very outta my own territory when i’m at these family gatherings. the most misogynistic/transphobic/homophobic/monosexist/cissexist person of the bunch also hosts most of the family gatherings. granted, his partner has been pretty cool (though confused) about it, so their house isn’t literally enemy territory, but it still FEELS like enemy territory.

    boundaries. i have a right to set boundaries. (this is me reassuring myself.) i think i’m going to attend a few more family dinners– and call people on their shit. i’m gonna try this again. k.

    “…love, rainbows, brownies and kittens!”

    thanks for the sweetness! i LOVE love, rainbows, brownies, and kittens! huzzah! seriously, thanks for the advice and the support; all you lovely peoples have made me supported and strong(er). so, thank you! yay!

  6. Anon Jaster

    I’m back from school for spring break and I’m dealing with misogyny, trans misogyny, biological essentialism, cissexism, and I can’t go two days without feeling triggered and that i’m not a real (insert gender). “But (insert assigned name), you’re trying to be a girl right? Since you’re feminine and all. When are you going to become one (go on “hrt”)?
    jadfjoiajgaogjagoiejgaiojpgapogjaegpiaoghaohgaiogha
    As far as addressing them, sometimes I need my space and just try to avoid speaking. Other times I try to educate them, but there’s a point where I need to survive. We don’t always have to educate people. We’re not walking bins of information for people to spit on. We are people, and sometimes, we need to give ourselves space just to breathe.
    I hope that helps a little bit, and not to reiterate, but there are ways to keep communication open, but one should never feel guilty for leaving a space that makes them feel uncomfortable/ objectified/ triggered.

  7. sounds brutal, cat. as though anyone has to try to “be a girl”– they’re either a girl or they aren’t a girl. blerg.

    i do the silence thing, too. sometimes i feel like i’m in enemy territory and my partner and i are the only people in the crowd who aren’t down with the misogynist/transphobic jokes– so i keep quiet.

    but it doesn’t feel like i’m preserving my space when i do this; it just feels like i’m, i dunno, admitting that they’re RIGHT, or something. it makes me feel like i’m not always standing up for my beliefs. like i’m not fighting evil whenever i face it– i need to be a better super hero. …maybe if i wear a rainbow cape i’ll stand up for my beliefs more often! yay!

    as for not educating people all the time, i think need to educate people more often before i can take time off from educating people. i just don’t see any way around it. i need to try harder before writing people off as bigots, ya know? that’s just me, though. and we’re definitely not for spitting on (unless that’s our fetish).

    “…one should never feel guilty for leaving a space that makes them feel uncomfortable/ objectified/ triggered.”

    word. i find this super valuable. just, word.

    thanks for all the support! i totally appreciate it and i feel less helpless and more hopeful about the future. yay!

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