Shon: On Trans Issues

On trans representation: “A lot of it is ‘What trans is’ or ‘What transitioning is like’ and you’re almost trying to humanise yourself for non-trans people. The next step, which is difficult, is for us to be integrated fully and for people to realise there is more to us than being trans.”

On transmisogyny: “This is a specific cultural prejudice against transgender women. If we present too feminine, we are a parody of women; we are upholding gender stereotypes; we are Barbie Dolls. But, if we are gender nonconforming in any way, or if we express masculinity, we’re not doing well enough as a woman.”

On trans women’s supposed male entitlement: “Trans women have to moderate our anger all the time. We are not given the same access to anger as other women. It is so easy to stereotype us as angry and it is used as an example of the fact that we have a male entitlement.”

On gender performance: “We all perform womanhood in a sense, that’s the nature of misogyny and patriarchy: that women and femininity, in particular, is an artifice and isn’t authentic. All women have to battle with this.”

On experiencing transphobia in the street: “In the early days of my transition, when I stood out a bit more, you know, dressed womanly but was more visually genderqueer, I would be assaulted and spat at in the street.”

On online abuse: “Some of the worst abuse I’ve got online is from women who consider themselves feminists. They say I am a castrated male with breast implants, I’m mentally ill and I abused my mother and sister. My mother and sister had to publicly say online that this was a lie.”  

On her own privilege: “I am very conscious that I am a young, medically transitioned trans woman who is short, narrow framed, has a feminine face, and I know that when I do certain things, that I am taken sometimes more seriously than other trans women. I’m white and able bodied, I fit more of the narrative of what people want from a trans woman than other people do. And that is a huge problem. It’s a privilege that I possess in the trans community and one I try to be very conscious of.”

On trans visibility: “Trans people do not have the same level of visibility in the LGBT sphere. This Pride saw London run an ad campaign that showed straight people and their gay friends. Naturally, this caused uproar in the LGBT community, where it was basically hinted that gay people add a value to straight people for Pride, but there was only one mention of a trans person in that ad and, even then, it wasn’t really a mention.”

On the T in LGBT: “I don’t think the understanding is there about how we fit in. There are still questions on whether or not it is appropriate that we are in that collective. And, actually a lot of trans people might be LGB themselves and a lot of us, like me, have passed through one of those identities and existed in the LGBT community.”

On the lack of representation: “We are so diverse in the trans community; we still don’t talk about, particularly in Britain, trans people of colour, or disabled trans people, or working class trans people.”

On the importance of sharing trans stories: “24% of youth homelessness in the UK are LGBT people, and trans people are over represented in that. For some trans people, they’ve had their family reject them, they may be at risk of going to prison, or they are in sex work. We don’t see a lot of that, there is just the superficial, ‘here’s a trans person, here’s their journey.’ and it’s more important to try build up the diversity of stories.”