Making Safe Spaces Safe Again

However, as a transmasculine community, we’re reminded everyday that there’s still more work to be done – especially with how we treat each other.

The world, as we know it, is changing. Every year, it’s getting a little bit easier for transgender/gender-nonconforming individuals to come out to their loved ones and start their journey of self-discovery and finally spread their wings. Changing your name on legal documents is becoming more accessible, more insurance plans are starting to cover trans healthcare and transgender representation has started to appear in various television shows/movies (“The Fosters”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Transparent”).

However, as a transmasculine community, we’re reminded everyday that there’s still more work to be done – especially with how we treat each other. Many of our trans siblings are murdered as a result of transphobia. Society points fingers at those who aren’t conventionally attractive or masculine and label them as “not trans enough”. With these negative messages being thrown at us left and right, it becomes all too easy to absorb them and incorporate these messages into what makes someone transgender. Or what doesn’t.

Many times, I have ventured into what are supposed to be safe spaces for transmasculine folks and find countless threads calling out others for transtrenders/”not trans enough”, erasing and debating the existence of nonbinary identities and spreading the rhetoric that we, as trans men, can’t and should not be feminine or express ourselves as such. Which isn’t right and should be stopped. While some of us aspire to pass and fly under the radar in everyday society, which is completely valid, that is not necessarily what everyone else wants. We come from different walks of life and have unique circumstances that affect our transition and that’s okay: there is no right or wrong way to be trans.

These safe spaces that we create and maintain should be a place where we can be our most authentic selves, away from cisnormativity – a place to ask for advice, support each other despite our differences and feel comfortable to share experiences no matter how vulnerable it makes us. That is what safe spaces for trans/gender nonconforming folks should be like. And we can make it safe by doing the little things. Who knows, it can save a life.

So don’t be a part of the oppression we are trying to escape from. Love your transgender siblings. Tell them they are beautiful no matter what. Tell them they are loved. Tell them that they are perfect just the way they are.