When We Accuse Each Other of “Transtrending”

Bailey C.

Gatekeeping. It’s a term we’ve likely all heard whispered throughout the trans community. It pertains to the medical field, and how a lot of medical professionals will demand strict requirements for transgender people looking to access treatment, such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It can be a frustrating and painful hurdle to jump for a lot of us looking to transition medically. The trans community is often outspoken against those who try to decide what makes someone transgender. This is why it makes no sense for us to place strict specifications for each other in the community.

The term used is “transtrending,” and it refers to someone who isn’t cisgender, but doesn’t appear to “follow the rules” of being trans. Often targeting non-binary people, “transtrending” is an idea that suggests some young people see being transgender as a trend and decide to hop on the bandwagon but they aren’t really transgender. Some behaviors that are often labeled as “trending” are a lack of interest in medically transitioning (hormones or surgeries), lack of effort to “pass” as cis, or the way they talk about being transgender or non-binary.


In the past, I found myself using this label against others; why would a trans person not want to pass as cis? Why would they refuse HRT? Why would they not even change their everyday presentation? But as time went on, different questions came to my mind: Why should they have to transition like I did, just because it worked for me? Why couldn’t there be gender non-conforming trans people, like there are cis people? Who am I to decide how people identify? Am I inside their minds, seeing their true thoughts and feelings?

When we accuse someone of “trending,” no matter the circumstances, we send out a message that it’s okay to impose rigid rules of gender identity and decide other people’s true identities, like the gatekeepers in the medical field do. I know there are going to be some trans people reading this who think it’s necessary to call out “trenders.” If you are one of these people, then as someone who prefers to “pass” in my everyday life, let me ask you something: Do you like it when cisgender people try to pick apart your identity and try to tell you how you think, feel, and see yourself? I’m guessing the answer is no. If that’s the case, then why would you do that to others?


One thing I often see as a reason for “calling out trenders” is the fear that we as a community will not be taken seriously. I can understand that fear, especially when jokes like, “DID YOU JUST ASSUME MY GENDER??????” are thrown around tirelessly. However, by trying to identify “trenders,” we can’t be taken seriously either. It weakens the trans community by tearing off chunks of it. We all want basically the same thing at the end of the day; to live as however we identify and not have anyone persecute us for it. If we are to achieve anything resembling that, we can’t attack each other.

The world still has a lot to learn about gender identity and expression, but if we can’t listen to and learn from each other, how do you expect the rest of the world, including the gatekeepers, to do so?

Comments (2)
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I'm a transfeminine intersex AMAB, monogamous and heterosexual person who was carved on as a toddler and forced into a male gender role for most of my life. My preferred pronouns are she/her. The surgery damaged my neuro-endocrine system , leaving me with an overactive penis connected to a brain that couldn't see it properly, resulting in severe allergies and behavioral health issues associated with defective adrenalin metabolism.

I'm not transsexual. Nobody on earth has procedures i trust to carve on me again. I'm also not a kinky pansexual polyamorous hedonist, but a pretty sexually conservative two spirit, with an extremely unpleasant male aspect i like to keep in the closet after having to wear the boy suit for the first 60 years of my life.

Since coming out publicly on the internet about 10 years ago, i still stand accused of being a transtrender by the trans medicalist transsexuals, a really contemptible crowd, known as trannier than thou truscum (true-scum) thought police, mired in strict adherence to the binary. That's how I found this story, searching for some material to use in my own blog about why transtrending is nonsense and very harmful to the whole community.

I work with a lot of older baby trans people at facebook and many of them report acceptance everywhere, but with this crowd of nasty narcissists and their sociopathic sycophantic suck ups, largely consisting of older post op trans women and militant youngsters who transitioned as kids, gatekeeping everybody , imposing their rules on all the different classes of transgender people, constantly stirring drama with their call out culture's Oppression Olympics Shame and Blame games.

The guidelines i was given by my rainbow elders when i came out are:

  • Demanding equal rights is everybody's prerogative. Demanding special treatment is being an asshole.
  • Love All Hate None in Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. Live Life Loving Living
  • Everybody is uniquely crafted and make their own decisions about their sexuality and gender expressions.
  • Everybody's gender expression is valid and nobody's transition or lack of one invalidates anybody else's.
  • The only thing binary about human sexuality is what kind of gamete your gonads produce. Beyond that, there is far too much variation , both physically and psychologically , to label everybody male or female. There are 39 intersex body variations described, before you touch on the plethora of orientations and identities that have emerged in recent years. Sexual orientation and gender expression integrate into a multi-dimensional spectrum in the human population. .
  • Cisphobia is a thing. We can't expect cishet people to respect our identities and lifestyles if we don't respect theirs.
  • Introduce yourself with how you identify, your address preferences and your orientation, when appropriate Cis people are picking up on this . I love it when they do.
  • Never out a tran persons. It could endanger them.
  • Trans people's dead name and genital status are none of your business. Some talk about it some don't. Leave it to them.
  • Don't pry with questions like when did you know and such. Some of us are expansive and some don't want to talk about being trans at all.
  • If you aren't sure of somebody's preferences, don't assume. ask politely, "how do you identify" or "what pronouns do you prefer?"

Caroline Cossey's motto is "Chin up!" and I like to add, "shoulders back, chest out and a big grin on your face." Though the struggle for queer equality began with the Compton's Cafeteria in the Tenderloin and Stonewall riots in the Village, started by trans women of color, all of the gains we have achieved has been on the coherent, gracious , witty delivery of the scientific and social facts of the transgender experience and community building efforts by our pioneering advocates, starting with Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, in the years following Stonewall.

Among us late transitioning people being accused of transtrending , more and more are successfully transitioning inside of marriages with children and career level jobs, finding a contentment they never knew. The day i stopped pretending , a weight lifted from my spirit, like none ever had before. Avery Jackson nailed it for all of us when she told NG that the best part of being a girl was not having to pretend to be a boy any more.

I'm not a man who wants to become a woman. I'm a woman who got stuck with male junk. Being intersex, I'm under no obligation to conform to anybody's standards of masculinity or femininity in behavior , grooming or attire. That's all highly variable cultural constructs

It's about hearts, not parts. If you can't feel my female heart, you can't see past my skin. I'm very grateful to be living in Tucson where transgender people are part of the landscape. If I get misgendered, a second look is sufficient for most when i say i'm not. Nobody debates the validity my transgender identity if they see that I have a penis, though why this would even concern anybody is baffling to me.

What is most ridiculous about the concept of transtrending in adults. , is why on earth would a person want to pretend to be something that is going to face institutionalized discrimination and oppression from their neighbors every time they go somewhere? Why would they do something that would cost them their families, homes and jobs? Why would they want to become a member of a demographic with some of the highest rates of unemployment, homelessness, assault, rape and murder, even to the point of one of the highest rates of corpse mutilation? Because it's trendy with the kids? That's preposterous.

I consider the thought policing that results in so much lateral hostility across the spectrum and relational bullying within the sub communities to be a far more serious threat, being internal , than any the community faces from armed and inbred religious fanatics of the Evangelical Taliban. The acronym i avoid using, has become weaponized, becoming a huge detriment from within as factions squabble about positioning and erasure and without as the haters ridicule the Alphabet People and laugh at how we eat our own.

I long for the old days in Lakeview, Chicago's gayborhood, when there weren't a lot of labels, just people being themselves and even straight people could be gay, because a bunch of white homosexuals appropriated the term for the sausage party they've hijacked the spirit of Stonewall with. Oh yeah, Happy Gay Pride Month folks. Are we great again yet?


I understand your point. Another view though. The Transgender Umbrella was given to us by author Leslie Feinberg, I believe it moves too many groups under the umbrella. The gender nonconforming have always been part of queer society. Drag was part of the Gay community. Butch or masculine females were part of the Lesbian community and CD's (transvestites as we knew them back then) were part of the cis community. Transsexuals (TS) were a loose thread. Not really accepted in the CD community (don't want to upset the wife's with talk of hormones. Not really accepted in the drag community as Rue Paul pointed out "we (TS) were on performance enhancing drugs (hormones) and thus unfair to compete. Gay's called me straight and the straight's called me gay. The gay community dumped the "T" right after Compton's Café and Stone Wall. Silvia Rivera (self described drag queen/transvestite) pointed this out in a 1973 NYC Pride event. She fought her way to the stage and accused the L&G of dumping the transvestites and colored gays to present a pretty white image for the media. With gay marriage passed the different gay organizations need someone else to defend. To keep the donation dollars and their jobs. Since transsexual is too small of a population you need a larger population. Virginia Prince who published Transvestia magazine and founded the "Society for the Second Self for male heterosexual cross-dressers." Pushed the concept of Transgender aka TG for individual like her that progressed to living fulltime on hormones but had no desire for bottom surgery. Politics moved the TS population to the TG banner saying it was about gender and not sex. Then came the umbrella to bring us up to 2% of the population (4% total if you include the 2% of Intersex individuals) which groups like HRC could raise funds for. HRC in the past had a poor track record for trans issues, but now they claim to be all about the "T". Check you history on other groups and you will find a similar story. When you say Transgender to the public, most think TG/TS. The majority of this umbrella is not understood to be included by the public and as the point you are trying to make are not seen as part of the umbrella by the TG/TS community for the reasons above. If TS's sometime have difficulty understanding the nonsurgical views of TG's there is a significant disconnect with the non-binary or the individuals who claims to be female but presents male (or vis versa.)

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