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Thousands of people shared their Peak Trans stories on r/GenderCritical before trans activists managed to pressure Reddit into censoring us. If you shared before, please share again.


Many of us accepted the claims of trans activists, wanting to be tolerant and kind, until we really listened to what they were saying and compared it to our own knowledge and experience.

  • Can "woman" be just an identity, divorced from biology? Can penises be female? Can men give birth? Do trans women really have periods?

  • Is it fair for males to compete with girls and women in women's sports?

  • Should people be forced to "accept" that trans women are women, and be compelled to say so? Should people really be censored for disagreeing, or saying anything contrary about it?

  • Should women be called "cis women" even when they don't identify with sexist gender roles, just because they aren't trans? Doesn't the claim that gender is some kind of natural, inborn psychological phenomenon contradict decades of feminists saying gender is a limiting social construct that is forced on us by society?

  • Should girls who don't like dolls or dresses be treated with double mastectomies and lifelong hormones? Should we be cavalier about prescribing puberty blockers to children when they can cause life-long health problems?

  • Should women be shamed as trans-exclusionary for talking about our reproductive health and anatomy? Are "pussy hats" transphobic?

  • Is it acceptable for lesbians to be bullied for not wanting to have relationships with trans women? Doesn't the struggle against the "cotton ceiling" contradict everything we've been saying about enthusiastic consent and rape culture?

  • Should women be denied the option of not seeing a penis in a women's shower room? Is it really transphobia that makes women alarmed at seeing males in women-only spaces? Is it actually transphobic for women to not want trans women in women-only rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, or prisons?

  • Should women never be allowed to exclude males from any women's spaces, groups, or events? Are people who disagree with what trans activists say really all "trans exclusionary radical feminists" or "TERFs," even when they aren't feminists or trans-exclusionary?

What is peak trans?

Many of us called this “peak trans”—that moment when you realize “trans rights” are not really about supporting a marginalized population, but about undermining the rights of girls and women and bullying people into accepting transgender ideology. –Thistle Peterson: How I Became the Most Hated Folk Singer in Madison

Are you ready to reach peak trans? Or you just want to know what those "TERFs" you've heard about are saying so you can debunk them? Read on... and get ready to add your own story!


NOTE: Please reserve this space for peak trans stories only! Brief messages of welcome are fine, but if something here inspires you to more discussion, please make a new post.

Thousands of people shared their Peak Trans stories on r/GenderCritical before trans activists managed to pressure Reddit into censoring us. If you shared before, please share again. ----- **Many of us accepted the claims of trans activists, wanting to be tolerant and kind, until we really listened to what they were saying and compared it to our own knowledge and experience.** - Can "woman" be just an identity, divorced from biology? Can penises be female? Can men give birth? Do trans women really have periods? - Is it fair for males to compete with girls and women in women's sports? - Should people be forced to "accept" that trans women are women, and be compelled to say so? Should people really be censored for disagreeing, or saying anything contrary about it? - Should women be called "cis women" even when they don't identify with sexist gender roles, just because they aren't trans? Doesn't the claim that gender is some kind of natural, inborn psychological phenomenon contradict decades of feminists saying gender is a limiting social construct that is forced on us by society? - Should girls who don't like dolls or dresses be treated with double mastectomies and lifelong hormones? Should we be cavalier about prescribing puberty blockers to children when they can cause life-long health problems? - Should women be shamed as trans-exclusionary for talking about our reproductive health and anatomy? Are "pussy hats" transphobic? - Is it acceptable for lesbians to be bullied for not wanting to have relationships with trans women? Doesn't the struggle against the "cotton ceiling" contradict everything we've been saying about enthusiastic consent and rape culture? - Should women be denied the option of not seeing a penis in a women's shower room? Is it really transphobia that makes women alarmed at seeing males in women-only spaces? Is it actually transphobic for women to not want trans women in women-only rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, or prisons? - Should women never be allowed to exclude males from any women's spaces, groups, or events? Are people who disagree with what trans activists say really all "trans exclusionary radical feminists" or "TERFs," even when they aren't feminists or trans-exclusionary? ##What is peak trans? > Many of us called this “peak trans”—that moment when you realize “trans rights” are not really about supporting a marginalized population, but about undermining the rights of girls and women and bullying people into accepting transgender ideology. [–Thistle Peterson: How I Became the Most Hated Folk Singer in Madison](https://archive.is/o/XVLl1/https://uncommongroundmedia.com/thistle-pettersen-how-i-became-the-most-hated-folk-singer-in-madison/) Are you ready to reach peak trans? Or you just want to know what those "TERFs" you've heard about are saying so you can debunk them? Read on... and get ready to add your own story! ----- NOTE: Please reserve this space for peak trans stories only! Brief messages of welcome are fine, but if something here inspires you to more discussion, please make a new post.

184 comments

[+] [Deleted] 155 points
[–] Les 103 points

The moment I noticed women being silenced for talking about female experiences I started feeling uncomfortable.

Why did we have to stop using words that refer to our anatomy? Why did women's discomfort with being told to choose more vague terminology for already sparsely used vocabulary not seem to matter? Why did it feel like only women were ever told to shut up or that only women's posts on the internet were literally violent or directly lead to killing trans people?

It all snowballed from there. I began noticing how trans activists were no longer simply asking for inclusion or acceptance. They were now demanding we completely reframe describing reality in a way that was more vague, difficult to understand, and self-contradictory than the language we had before. They started bullying LGB people and female rape victims. They started going after legislation for women's rights. They started teaching children curriculums that enforced gender stereotypes. They became more brazen in publicly inciting harassment and threats against anyone who questioned trans activism or its tenets. They started outright lying, deplatforming, intimidating, and scrubbing anything that exposed the harmful behavior of trans activists and allies. I realized that something was very wrong here.

Eventually I could no longer support what the trans community stood for. It's not about inclusion or acceptance. It's about dominance and obedience. Well I'm done being obedient.

That was my peak trans, too. I never posted it on the old forum as I lurked there so long it didn't seem necessary when I finally started posting, but it was about a decade ago, now, when I started noticing the midwifery community willingly, and without the aggressive TRA tactics we're seeing now, removing references to women and our bodies in the birthing experience. That was bonkers to me. At the same time, I understood transgenderism to be feeling like a man or a woman. I couldn't fathom that. I've never felt like a woman - I've only been reminded I am a woman by society. Luckily that was also pre-NB hitting my awareness, so I didn't get it in my head that could be me; I just disregarded the philosophy because the idea of a sexed soul seemed obviously incorrect and wrote it off as people having an identity crisis. Not long after, I heard about the cotton ceiling (I don't think it was even called that yet), and that's when I truly peaked. Once it crossed the line into violating women's boundaries (even though I'd been willing to not argue about the terminology being lost despite it being a boundary violation - it seemed negligible then), I started snowballing into a radfem.

I've never felt like a woman - I've only been reminded I am a woman by society

This describes my experience perfectly.

[–] stern-as-steel 92 points Edited

In a class once, one of our topics for discussion was Rachel Dolezal. We were all somewhat uncomfortable, and the discussion was much more stilted than usual. Later, after class, we were still talking about it, and I said something to the effect of 'I think it's hard to criticize because then criticism of transgender people seems implicit'. I didn't really think further at the time, but later that came back to me and it seemed so obvious. I had been right; it was just that the solution was not to criticize neither, but to criticize both.

About a year later I stumbled across a mention of 'peak trans' and googled it, which led me to r/gc. I read obsessively for a weekend, and now here I am. I had always had reservations about choice feminism and 'sex positivity' and a lot of gender identity stuff was incomprehensible to me, even if I didn't let myself think about that too much. So coming to r/gc let me question things that I had always wondered about but been afraid to actively question. It felt like coming home.

Rachel Dolezal kept me up at night. I knew her transracialism was bad for black liberation...so I was trying really hard to work out how transgender theory wouldn't also be bad for women's liberation. The arguments I read were completely unconvincing. It was definitely another stepping stone to ending up here.

The parallel is just SO direct. It was definitely a stepping stone for a lot of us.

I recommend reading up on the Hypatia transracialism controversy. A trans activist author wrote a paper supporting transracialism - it wasn't a gender critical person or a conservative or anything. If you read the summary of the paper it's completely devastating; the parallels are extremely clear and extremely damning. So they had to shame and shun the author to shut down the discussion.

When I was still trying to be a libfem and trying to convince myself that I believed TWAW, someone asked me how transgender is different than transracial. That was the start of my beginning to peak.

[+] [Deleted] 47 points

Ohhhhhhhhboy. I remember when the Dolezal train hit and the internet was lighting up with the challenge, "Watch transgender activists try to justify why one is not like the other."

I remember freezing because... I couldn't figure out how they were different. Especially as I heard the angry responses of black people:

"I can't identity my way out my oppression." "I can't just suddenly choose not to be black when a cop pulls me over." Etc.

I remember sitting there thinking, "Yeah, I can't choose my way out of the oppression I experience because of my body either."

So naturally, like a good cult member, I logged into my online trans spaces and sheepishly asked, "Hey, can you help me with how to respond to people when they try to make this B.S. argument that transracial and transgender are the same? I mean of course they aren't lol I'm just not good with words if someone can help me out."

That was basically my phrasing. I was so nervous because... I couldn't see it. I felt like it should've been obvious somehow.

The response I got?

Lots of anger for even asking. "It just IS" was the most common response, followed closely by, "All races experience gender." ...What?

I asked as many clarifying questions as I could, but the conversation started derailing into, "Are you a TERF?" so I shut up and pretended to understand. Figured it was just... too far above me. That I wasn't enlightened enough yet. That I needed to take more college courses, read more gender theory books before the lightbulb would go on for me. Until then, I figured I was just obligated to keep lifting up the voices of people more... awakened than me.

What a mess.

"I think it's hard to criticize (Dolezal's trans racialism) because then criticism of transgender people seems implicit": perfect response.

[–] Icebox 83 points Edited

I never really bought in but I didn’t see the harm when it was teenagers trying to pee at school. The realization that it was so much worse came in a wave.

  1. The woman in the UK who specifically requested a female for her Pap smear and was deemed a bigot because the she was uncomfortable when presented with what was clearly a man. They knew what she fucking meant when she made the request but sent him in anyway to make a point. Everyone, male and female, get to decide who touches them. This was coercive.

  2. The Vancouver shelter. Women and children with no where to go are sacrificed to make men feel valid

  3. Rape victims being shamed because they didn’t want a male SANE nurse to do their rape exams. If there is ever a situation where 1 person’s feelings should come first, it’s a rape victim when she’s getting a rape exam. I simply can’t fathom forcing my presence on another woman in that situation if she was uncomfortable.

Once I started thinking about it I realized that it’s bullshit. Men already have rights. They already have sports. They already have bathrooms. Why should we be uncomfortable and unsafe because he decided to live his fetish in the real world?

And now they’re abusing and experimenting on children who don’t conform and I just...every time I think I’m peaked, something else happens.

[–] [Deleted] 5 points Edited

I always ask for a woman to do my pap test and it's my fear that a dysphoric man will walk in one day.

I saw a woman tell recently of taking her daughter to Victoria's Secret for her first bra fitting and that's exactly what happened. Such a strange world!

I only hit peak trans recently. I’ve been a feminist for 40 years, and if asked a year or so ago I’d have said trans people shouldn’t be discriminated against and given “their rights”. Then my son, who basically dropped out of school during his A levels and had some mental health difficulties, found an online community with trans people and sex workers and really started swallowing the Koolaid. He began discussing it with me and at first I had real trouble arguing with all his talking points, you know TWAW, sex isn’t binary, blah blah. And if you say anything different you’re a transphobic TERF.

But I knew it made me uneasy: my genuine first reaction to hearing TWAW was “well, not like I’m a woman”. But that was related to my bodily experiences, two C-sections, breastfeeding two babies, agonising periods some of the time and a later hysterectomy. I’ve never “felt like a woman”, I just am one. So I started looking into the subject and was horrified by the implications of the trans activists’ dogma.

The next time my son and I discussed it, I was ready. Sex is a spectrum? Nah mate - two sorts of gametes, end of. TWAW? Nope, you cannot change sex, it is physically impossible. Trans women are the most vulnerable section of society, look at how many are murdered...I’m sorry, did you miss the many many more women who are victims of male violence? But trans women feel like women...how does that work and what’s a female brain anyway? And don’t get me started on “cis”.

Needless to say, I haven’t changed his mind (yet) but he has created a monster! Of all the many articles I read in looking into this, the ones that stood out to me were one in which a TIM described how he couldn’t enjoy becoming a father because he was so jealous of his wife for being able to get pregnant and give birth and breastfeed. And as a consequence he was remote and unloving to her at the time. And another in which a TIM said he couldn’t go to school because his dysphoria was “triggered” constantly by a girl’s hairband or lipgloss. It may be a lack of empathy on my part, but I can’t comprehend either of those feelings. Between the ages of 8 and 11 or so, I wanted badly to be a boy - I liked football, climbing trees, wearing trousers, and I hated dresses, dolls and pink. Plus boys just had more options in everything. Fortunately for me, this was the 70s, I could have short hair, be constantly mistaken for a boy and play football with the boys at break time without being whisked off to the Tavistock. And then I got a bit older, and translated that wish into a fierce and unyielding belief that women were just as good as men and could do anything they could do. I remember being ridiculed for that view by the woman who taught sex education to my class of convent school girls. Then of course, I later learned about feminism, read all the books at uni etc.

So now we have two diametrically opposed opinions in the house. It’s tricky. Plus my son was a massive Harry Potter fan - he fell asleep to the audiobooks for years. He told me the other day that Stephen Fry wrote the Potter books. I could cry. Anyway, JKR is a fucking hero and so are all of you.

Anyway, JKR is a fucking hero and so are all of you.

And so are you! I was also one of those short-haired no-dresses running in the mud grrrls. I hope your son has a good epiphany about all this.

[+] [Deleted] 12 points

I am another woman who peaked during one of the waves following JKR's tweets. I think my peak was when she tweeted the second thread on trans issues.

I hadn't felt brave enough to admit I wasn't trans-inclusive until then. I also found r/GC and its sister subs which gave me more courage.

I wanted to remain sympathetic of trans women's issues (because trans men go mostly unheard) even when 3 trans women in my circle of acquaintances had done creepy things, messaged me inappropriately and some other trans women were just plain violent. Finally, a trans woman I know of was exposed as a pedophile with recurring fantasies about approaching little girls in bathrooms and asking them about periods.

I peaked hard.

oh shit, was that last one Yaniv? Probably not, given your timeline. fuck. How many of him are there?

It was the pussyhats...

I had already gone from libfem to radfem on most topics, thanks to a number of amazing women on tumblr. But I hadn't really been exposed to the trans discourse until the 2017 Women's March.

I was similar, radical on a lot of things but I had just a weird deep seated discomfort with TRA rhetoric that I tried to dismiss as latent transphobia. But then, the pussy hats.

I don't remember it entirely but that cartoon of the purportedly heartbroken trans girl everyone shared on libfem bookface in January 2018 - I couldn't wrap my head around it. My trying-to-be accepting brain just kept puzzling: no one ever said all women have vulvas, the hats are also a reference to Trump's gross statement that should've been the end of him, they also look like cat ears hence 'pussy' as in pussycat... how can cats be exclusionary...

I ended up on r/gc and what do you know, reading the greats in college wasn't for nothing, those second wavers knew what was up.

I forgot all about the pussy hats! They were one of my first steps, though I didn’t recognize it at the time.

Also, I love your username.

The one aspect of the pussyhat thing that really bothered me was trans people using Black women (unsurprisingly) to say pussyhats were racist b/c not all “pussy’s are pink.” I don’t think anyone’s vulva is hot pink.

This criticism was always hilarious to me because pink is clearly associated with women/femininity. It's just a bunch of bored assholes looking for holes to poke and things to complain because it's not about them for once and they're trying to discredit it by calling it "racist." And unsurprisingly, they used black women to haphazardly "prove" their argument for the umpteenth time.

Oh, good lord yes. Firstly, calling them "vagina hats" was preposterous - anyone who thinks a woman's vagina (or vulva, for that matter) is bubblegum pink with cat ears probably needs to read up on basic anatomy. I hadn't quite peaked by then, but the over the top objections to what seemed to me to be a cute, funny way of mocking a well;known misogynist's rapey boasting (I didn't make or wear one, but had no issue with anyone else who did) certainly helped me along the way.

Oh exactly. And what gets me was that Trump's quote was in direct reference to grabbing "pussies," yet making a statement about that specifically is fucking transphobic. When that's literally what he was talking about, and what people got upset about, but you can't make a rebuttal because it's fucking offensive for women to stand up for themselves.

For me it was a transwoman in a women's only group. "Yuki" was predictably bigger, louder, and would derail conversation to make us explain basic things like what an IUD was. [content warning] it was a hitch and bitch group (modelled after knit n' bitch groups) which are 'female-identified' rigging (aka rope) groups. Anyway in one 'scene' Yuki acted like a jerk when i said i did not want rope in my mouth. Anyway, this was more than 5 years ago and i have more or less left the 'lifestyle'.

Before this though, I had been in the Facebook group "discussing gender & gender identity" and since it was public made the move to reddit in 2014 for r/gendercritical.

I've been living with my mother since quarantine and expressing my views to her. Now at least twice I have walked in on her watching PBS late at night when they feature transgender content and she starts telling me about it and asking questions. So, thank you PBS you have invertedly peaked my 76-year old mother, and I bet many more with your so-called transgender-friendly content.

My mom and I haven’t always got along. Once when I stayed with her at her house, my mother made a comment about the “Gross ladyman” (her words) that was narrating a documentary. She had never seemed big on feminism or anything like that before, but when I talked with her about radical feminism, I was surprised at just how much she actually was feminist. Since then, I have connected with my mother more and been able to connect with her about feminist issues and actually get along. So I also agree with your “thanks PBS” statement, hahaha.

I'm glad you are getting along better! Labels are overrated, imho. I spent a good part of my 20s trying to obscure my feminist leanings in job interviews.

[–] moody_ape 39 points Edited

I'm re-posting my peak trans story from saidit because I really want it to be part of my new feminist home <3 I hope it's ok.

i was part of an intersectional feminist collective at college and one day someone posted a polemic thread about a trans woman causing disagreements in a feminist event that took place at another university. the issue was that said TW was placed in the same dormitory (the event lasted 2-3 days) as many of the women and some of them were not comfortable with that. the beef was between radical feminists and intersec/lib feminists who took sides with the TW.

a lot of insults were thrown around, apparently, but what grabbed my attention was the real reason why the radical feminists were wary of the TW's presence in the dormitory: earlier that day, the TW had participated in a group discussion during the event and introduced himself as "a black lesbian tranwoman". however, if you looked at his facebook profile, you would see a white bearded male, dressed as a "cis" man. so basically, this person wasn't a black lesbian transwoman outside that feminist event.

inside the facebook group of the feminist collective i was a part of, some women accused the TIM of flat out lying to gain access to that female space. he wasn't a transitioned individual, he was f*cking WHITE and calling himself black. other women in the group defended him saying he was probably just a TW who hadn't fully transitioned yet, maybe she was in the closet - after all it's not easy to come out as trans. they said she could be herself in that feminist event but not in her facebook, etc. and the evil radfems were being terrile etc.

after that i was really confused. it seemd like the guy was a troll trying to be (or show that he could identify as) someone who is oppressed in every way possible. but maybe it was a real closeted TW, i didn't really know what to think. so i researched about radical feminism and their beef with the trans community, talked to some friends of mine from the collective (who concealed the fact that they wre aligned with radfem ideas but at that point felt safe to share it with me) and they explained that "you can't say you are a radical feminist because people will call you transphobic" and i asked why and they explained things to me. and here i am hahahaha

other women in the group defended him saying he was probably just a TW who hadn't fully transitioned yet, maybe she was in the closet

How did they explain him claiming to be Black? He sounds like such an absolute troll!

[–] moody_ape 7 points Edited

I don't remember what they said about that. I just remember the discussion focused on him being trans or not. It happened a long time ago, I think it was 2015. In my country, fair skinned black people are very common and sometimes it's really difficult to identify someone's race when looking at a picture on social media. I was pretty sure he was white, but I really can't remember what thewomen in the group said, sorry.

[–] [Deleted] 38 points Edited

It hasn't been a single moment. It's been a gradual process. I started out supportive of trans people - I'm not a religious person, and yet I've never questioned the "born in the wrong body" narrative. The first moments of peak trans happened on tumblr where I was introduced to concepts like "non-binary" and "genderfluid", which were treated like the new normal even though the underlying principles are sexist as hell.

I recall reading a post by a teenger who identified as "genderfluid" and complained that their mother was incapable of recognizing when they were Alex and when they Stella. That was definitely a peak trans moment because I became aware of how utterly ridiculous and entitled some of these teenagers are. I'm a single mother of three. I imagine making dinner while my teenage sons chills in the living room. And as I ask him to get some potatoes from the basement (you know, contributing the bare minimum to household chores) he fails to respond because I referred to him by the wrong name - he's currently Stella, how could I fail to pay attention? It was one of many times where I got the impression that being trans was more of a new teenage rebellion trend among spoilt US teens.

I was always skeptical of cancel culture and I don't support censorship. When the tide first turned against JKR, however, I didn't take a lot of notice. Politically, I was more of a liberal feminist than a radical one for a long time and in some parts, I still am. My liberal feminism started to crumble around me when my husband left me and I started to see where my personal, individual choices - my "freedom" had led me to make decisions that weren't good for me, in an economical sense. And I realized that modern feminism has no answers to these kinds of problems, nor any interest in solving them - it's just a defense of the status quo, putting responsibility on individuals when structural and systemic oppression of women is still prevalent everywhere and needs to be addressed.

My actual peak trans period came after JKR's second string of tweets and then her essay. I started reading on the GC subreddit and I read and watched what people like Meghan Murphy, Magdalen Berns, and others had to say. I heard of autogynephilia and trans widows for the first time. I heard of "gener affirmative therapy" and I realized that the participation of trans women in female sports had already cost some female athletes their titles - had stripped them of opportunities.

I think what actually bothers me most is the brainfuck that is the re-interpretation of the term "woman" to describe a sense of gender identity, which - it took me shamefully long to realize - is a religious concept much like "soul" and, in fact, utter nonsense. And I've started to panic, and become very, very afraid. There's so much going on in the transgender community that nobody is actually aware of because people can't talk about it. We can't spread awareness because we're banned and blocked and silenced and cancelled. We can't tell the truth because the truth is seen as hateful. And because everyone is so liberal, so tolerant, so extremely kind these days, they all think that acceptance is what is needed here, instead of a very close and very skeptical look at what therapists and surgeons are doing, and what self-ID can lead to and has already led to.

To me, peak trans has been a constant state of mind since JKR's return to twitter. I support her fully, and what's more, I'm in a position in my life where I start to realize that middle-aged women are facing a wealth of scorn, a wealth of misogynist hatred, a wealth of derision and criticism which males are spared - because middle-aged men are seen as attractive, mature, and confident, whereas middle-aged women are seen as hags.Our "fading" attractiveness in a conventional sense, which, to men, means we're less "fuckable", our live experience that allows us to be more assertive and less dependent on male approval, make us a danger to male supremacy. And to liberal and libertarian men who are absolutely fine with the status quo and who celebrate porn and prostitution as female empowerment.

I'm not actually against accepting trans women who have been suffering of dysphoria and for whom a transition is the only way to cope, in female spaces like bathrooms or changing rooms - what's the point in excluding them if they had surgery, if they're actually trying to pass, and not causing any trouble? But there has to be gatekeeping, and it has to fall to medical professionals to decide whether any given trans person should be able to change their sex in a legal sense. And we have to stop supporting the idea that TWAW and TMAM because it's used to re-define the terms of "man" and "woman". I think we can reach some sort of consensus that we treat trans men and trans women as the sex they identify as, but it has to be clear that it's not a reality: they do not actually chance their sex. And we have to make sure that female-only spaces where it's clearly necessary to have sex segregation, like refuge shelters and sports, remain exclusive.

middle-aged men are seen as attractive, mature, and confident, whereas middle-aged women are seen as hags

Isn't it fascinating -- just so interesting -- that midlife AGPs get to reinvent themselves into mAgiCaL LaDy uNiCoRnS so we past-our-sell-by-date Hagz can continue to support them in new and ever more fabulous ways? 🤔

I made "Hagz" fierce there because fuck it, we are fierce. 😁

Thanks for such a thorough summary of what's happened in your "We peaked. Now we're over it." post, Womanopausal! Useful (and very sad) to see what went down behind the scenes. I think a feminist-owned website is the ideal home for us--thanks for all the work you all have put into this!

Going back to my roots--picked up my original GC username here and dug up my original peak trans post from "Peak Trans V." It still holds up for me!

"I grew up in a very conservative Christian subculture. I was homeschooled and fortunately my parents were on the more liberal side of a very conservative community, but for context: of the girls involved in our community's activities, I was the only one who went to college. The rest remained home to develop their homemaking skills for a future husband.

I used to read the literature of these Christian patriarchy movements in high school and pray so hard it wasn't true. On the other hand I would also read feminist blogs and find hope. I also deeply loved math and computers and wanted to study them in college, so I was also haunted by the various corners of the web that talked about women's "innate inferiorities," (whether they were talking about Murray's Bell Curve style IQ arguments, or the testosterone junk, or even the SAT making claims along the lines of "some men rob banks at the same age that other men make their most brilliant contributions to mathematics; women aren't robbing banks at that age so they probably can't do math either right?").

Anyway, I studied math and "hard science" in college with these ideas still haunting me, but feminist discourse helped me so much during that time. To see the representation problem of women as being due to social conditioning arguments rather than hard-wiring arguments (which were espoused by both religious fundamentalists and MRAs), was so freeing. Maybe I wasn't a member of an inferior class of being after all, and I was going to fight and prove it. I also came to see how LGB orientations fought against patriarchal norms as well. I mean, your relationship/marriage just has to subvert the oppressive gender roles of a traditional marriage since the two people are both women or both men. (I'm het but I have a lot of admittedly selfish appreciation for what gay marriage has done for straight marriage.)

There wasn't as much written online about trans identities at the time, but what was written seemed to imply that trans was about being trans-sexual rather than trans-gender. It made total sense to me that a person could have a dysphoria when it came to their physical bodies, and altering their physical body has nothing to do with imposing specific gender performances on themselves. (I myself had a lot of dysphoria in puberty, and I later unpacked it as hatred for women's bodies at the time because turning into a women meant I had to be a stay-at-home mother with no career prospects of my own. Puberty for me meant I was turning into an object...one that could be raped into pregnancy.) Anyway, my dysphoria existed for terrible reasons related to societally-imposed gender roles, but I could easily imagine that some people could have bodily dysphoria for other "that's just the way it is" reasons, and I supported them getting treatment for it.

At some point though, we moved from a trans discourse that focused on a sex change to instead one that involved a gender identity affirmation. But wait...I don't have a gender identity? I thought those were societally imposed roles and I'm allowed to take them or leave them? Now I'm told if I don't have a gender identity I'm nonbinary and no longer a woman...I have to claim a gender identity to be a woman. Now there's this claim that I have to have an innately "female brain" to be a woman, and as a woman in STEM that's a serious "NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! NOPE!" That's the way of religious fundamentalism and red pill nonsense and evo-psych and all of my childhood bullies.

So suffice it to I was pretty hostile to the concept of gender identity from the start, but I figure I'll just go and spit out all the things that drive me crazy about it since this is a rant and like five years of pent-up frustration.

  • There is a lot of discrimination that is solely sex-based, not gender identity-based. I grew up in a culture that subjugated women and girls because of their sex, and it's like that still in much of the world.
  • By removing sex as a meaningful category, we can no longer name and speak about this oppression. You see even in the context of phrases like "pregnant people and people-with-vaginas" that there still a tacit admission that there exists a meaningful category of people oppressed for their specific anatomies, but the word "woman" has been taken away as a term to describe this category, leaving us with no word for it.
  • Despite the fact that I had to deal with being socialized as a woman my whole life (and still do), and viewed as subversive for doing STEM (and other minor things like failing to shave my legs), I can't be a woman anymore apparently because I have no concept of a "gender identity." Therefore apparently I wasn't oppressed by patriarchy at all! Apparently I have no idea what it means to be a woman.
  • Saying girls around the world who experience FGM and are denied educations are oppressed due to "gender identity" is offensive. Changing their sense of internal "maleness" or "femaleness" would do nothing to change how they were treated. Sex is the relevant category here.
  • Seeing historical badass women (like women soldiers in the 18-19th century) being called transmen because they defied gender roles makes me feel hopeless. Apparently "woman" now means pink-and-floofy-only when the whole point of feminism was to allow freedom from that gender role.
  • I guess the new paradigm is to invent infinity genders in hopes that you find one that encompasses all your behaviors and presentations? Genders come with performances and roles, as we see in practice, so I say no to any of that. I don't need a gender identity with prescribed expressions and roles, and the only way I can identify myself as a woman that makes me comfortable is by my body (NOT by any innate brain structure), and by the socialization I received growing up. Unfortunately these are exactly the things trans theory now pegs as "oppressive" ways to define a woman.

In short, feminism has been great, life-changing, and has done so much for me, but it's been letting me down more and more and that's been a major disappointment."

Thank you for sharing - your bullet list is a great summary.

I can relate a lot as a fellow woman in STEM - I have really bristled about this "Female Brain" stuff - or having to "Identify As". I don't Identify as a woman - I AM one, whether I like it or not.

Out of the hundreds of sexist moments I have experienced in my life there has never been a single one where somebody stopped to clarify my "identity" or my "brain sex" beforehand. I wish it was so easy as just being able to Identify my way out of sexism but it ain't. That's a bunch of magical thinking. It's so disrespectful, and insulting. Yet if you give voice to those thoughts, you're labeled a Transphobe.

I'm also in STEM and my peak story comes directly from the work I do and getting new jobs. I'm gender non-conforming but it is NOT my identity, it's just a part of who I am.

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