Here’s something I wrote when I was asked to speak alongside Sheila Jeffreys, who was speaking about her book “Gender Hurts”, about how transgenderism harms women. In the end, I didn’t say all this, but for those of you who are interested, here it is..
“For the longest of time I told no-one. It is only in the past few years that I have found the words to describe my experience. Thank you, Sheila Jeffreys, and the Radical Feminist community of bloggers for the gift of words.
I used to have an online friend (also a partner of a man who thought he was a woman) who likened the experience of being partnered to a transgender to the frog who is put into the pot of water and the heat gradually turned up till cooked – a deliberate programme of de-sensitisation as each limit is compromised or ignored, and each line in the sand crossed by these men in their “journey”. Another woman once told me that “You give a tranny an inch, he will take a mile”…how true that turned out to be.
When I first met him, he spoke to me about what he called his “strong feminine side”. He confided in me that he was an occasional transvestite and that it had ruined a few relationships where girlfriends had inadvertently “found out”, or had rejected him when he told them. He told me he had a very low sex drive and instead preferred to just cuddle and kiss. That he felt more comfortable around women. He told me that he DIDN’T WANT TO BECOME A WOMAN, that he didn’t know where the urge to “dress” came from, other than a need to express what he felt were his “feminine feelings” and an attraction to pretty things. He told me he had been doing this since he was about 11 or 12….remember that detail.
I felt special that he would confide this in me.
It was only later that I realised that he considered those conversations as “GIRL TALK”. He likes “girl talk”.
I couldn’t really grasp those “feminine feelings” he spoke of, since I had never really experienced my sense of self in that way. I thought women who bought into it were un-informed – certainly none of my friends were like that. I hadn’t worn heels since I was a teenager. I never wore make up. I was a conscientious objector to the femininity game.
But I believed at the time that these guys are living proof that GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT. Men and women should be able to wear whatever they want, without the silly distinction of ”male clothes” or “female” clothes. To hell with gender norms….I thought it could be “edgy” and “alternative”.
Within a few weeks of him moving in, I realised that this was much, much more than just an occasional bout of self-expression for him. It was obsessive, and it had an ENORMOUS sexual component. Dressing episodes (which were at least three or four times a week) were invariably followed by “sex” (which consisted of me masturbating him by rubbing his tucked penis as he lay on his back squeezing his fake tits). On top of that, I often walked in on him masturbating. The mirror in my bedroom was moved to his side of the bed…
There wasn’t a time when he “dressed” and didn’t get an erection. Even after he started taking internet bought hormones. If anything, the thought that he was chemically transforming himself into “a woman”, held immense erotic charge for him.
He was a textbook autogynophile.
It transpired that he was also a “submissive” – a very common component of this particular paraphilia – and that nothing got him off more than being “forced” to be “a woman”. Of course “woman” meant submissive, passive, always “willing to please”…..He would work this into our “sex life” either overtly or covertly.
After a time, it was impossible to ignore that I was no more than a prop in this game. I could have been anyone really. I didn’t even have to exist. As significant as a gravy stain on the table. Many of the women I spoke to in what limited support groups I could find complained of the same thing. Not just the sex part, but the entire being invisible part, and a deafness to *OUR* needs, views, or opinions.
I discovered that he was an obsessive user of porn, particularly “shemale” porn, and BDSM fare. I had been very clear with him about my opinions on porn, and was sickened when he tried to get me to participate in looking at these men.
Time and again he would promise to stop, only to be discovered again. He would swing between crying and begging forgiveness and bold-facedly challenging me, saying it was ME that had a problem, that no-body else thought like me, ridiculing my objections and my politics, or telling me that I was paranoid, – even though the evidence was staring me right in the face.
He had no intention of stopping. A lot of his behaviours seemed compulsive, obsessive.
I discovered that he was using dating and sexual hook-up sites, saying that he was a full-time transsexual, going through the Real Life Test, willing to relocate anywhere for the right lady (of any gender – wink, wink). There was no end to his inventiveness when it came to lying about who he really is.
Using his smartphone, he created an online world for himself by inventing a fictitious life. I discovered that he had a secret Facebook profile, and scores of photographs of himself in varying degrees of undress– I am convinced that trannies invented that selfie – and that he had a coterie of dozens and dozens of young women between the ages of 17 and 24 who believed that he was a full-time transsexual, single, and struggling with finding a job in this cruel discriminatory society. He had a fictitious home life, fictitious job or non-job, a fictitious social life and fictitious friends. He even fabricated a “trans bashing” – this, I found particularly repulsive.
He loved sympathy and attention, and “validation” – even if it meant lying and manipulating to get it. The young women were so “Go girl!” and “Awww poor you”, toward him. Some of them called him “big sis” and took their problems to him. Otherwise it was giggly conversations about clothes and what colour to die their hair that week, musings about becoming a stripper or a fetish model, and complaining about getting “slut shamed”.
Oh yes, he liked his women faux feminist to match his faux existence.
I was outraged that he would be so bold-facedly lie to these young women and demanded that he STOP. He cried, saying , “But these are my frieeeends…”. Ignoring the fact who THEY thought was their friend is A WORK OF FICTION.
Then again, it’s not as if women are actually *real* to these men.
Of course he didn’t stop. It carried on as if I hadn’t said anything. Even the several times I asked him to leave were ignored.
He would just get up the next day as if nothing had been said.
I felt I was being driven insane.
My sense of self, and my belief that I was entitled to set limits or boundaries was gradually eroded as the TRANS STUFF came to dominate and shape every corner of my life. I never knew where or when the next assault to my psyche was going to come, and so I existed for a long time in a state of hyper vigilance. That is, until such time as my ability to dissociate kicked in.
I know from observing trans support groups that many of these men say, “My wife is fine with it – she just doesn’t want to talk about it or see it”.
Many women are surviving through disassociation.
Let’s not forget that a well-orchestrated and financed propaganda machine surrounds these men. It has the effect of silencing not just those of us who oppose on ideological principles, but all women who are within these relationships who question the idea that these men are ” women trapped inside men’s bodies “, or who’s lives have been ripped apart by these men.
I know from bitter experience of reaching out, that the primary concern is for the welfare of the trans partner, who must never be questioned as the most oppressed creature to walk this planet.
This is a double whammy to those women experiencing abuse, intensive gaslighting, and erasure of their right to name their reality and to set boundaries. Thee is no such thing as a line in the sand when it comes to trans desire. He gota have what he gotta have.
Even within mainstream services, support for female partners is tempered by the need to be sensitive to the needs of the transgender partner, and to avoid being seen as discriminatory. My doctor was happy to give me anti-depressants, but less happy to countenance the idea that what I was being put through was abuse.
Increasingly, statistics on DV within same sex partnerships count the trans partner as “female”. There is an invisiblising of male violence within these relationships, and women are suffering as a consequence. We are silenced. We are shamed. We are ereased.
A Scottish Government funded survey carried out by the Scottish Transgender Alliance (funded by the Scottish Government since 2007), is often cited as evidence of how very bad it is for trans women, who would appear to experience rates of abuse higher than actual women. Apparently a small, self-selecting sample is no barrier to credibility, nor is the fact that one of the crireria for abuse included “misgendering”. It is of no surprise to me that some women (partnered to a man for some years) might slip up occasionally and forget to call their Steven “Stephanie”, yet this is a heineous act of abuse – apparently. Yet there are no surveys I am aware of, of abuse perpetrated *by* trans “women in relationships. I find this a telling omission.
It often feels like no one want’s to hear the woman’s story.
For example, at one point (as a means to at least get him to LISTEN to my distress) I begged him to seek relationship counselling with me. Apart from the fact that he used the trips to the counsellor as an exciting opportunity to dress in public, and spent more time stressing about what to wear (sometimes even buying entire new outfits), than any time in self-reflection, the counsellor spent an inordinate amount of time focusing on MY inability to “accept” rather than on HIS behaviour .
In one session she grasped on to an incident of “misgendering” that had happened in her presence (I had said something like “Why can’t he understand?”). He had fled from the room in a dramatic tizzy of tears. She stated to me in a firm voice that she is prohibited from working with couples where there is domestic abuse. In other words, I was being accused of being an abuser. This almost drove me mad with pain and self-doubt …what if it really is me? Am *I* an abuser?
I can’t begin to describe the pain this caused me. I carried that comment with me for months.
I refused to go back. He was disappointed that his daylight trips outdoors with his repulsive “cleavage” showing were curtailed. However it did give him an excuse to now appropriate the identity of “abused woman”. Sickening.
I was started to drop or loose female friends. I would be hesitant about going out with them or inviting them over: particularly with him around. He would laugh and giggle with them and I knew that in his head he was imagining he was having “GIRL TALK” with them, and the fact that *they didn’t know* that they were unwittingly playing a part in his fantasy life made me feel nauseous, and guilty, so I stopped meeting female friends with him around.
Then I pretty much stopped seeing female friends at all, since when I tried to go anywhere without him, (telling him that it was “women friends only ”), he would pout and huff and often cry, “It’s because I have a penis, isn’t it?”. When I was away from him he would text and phone me constantly. When I got in he was nasty to me.
I was growing afraid of him.
It was easier just to forget about having friends.
So my world became smaller and smaller as his “exploration of his feminine side” took up more and more space until there was little room left for anything else. It dominated every conversation and extended to physical space too. By the time he left, my clothes storage was down to half a drawer and a box under the window.
Even everyday purchases were fraught with meaning and reminders of my erasure. I remember having an argument in Superdrug over toothbrushes. There was only one pink toothbrush left, and I don’t know what came over me but I decided that fuck him, I am having the pink toothbrush. He “helpfully” pointed out the purple ones, and the blue ones that matched the bathroom. But no. I was having the pink one and I was going to win this tiny victory even if all the shop assistants were looking at me like I had lost my marbles.
We needed a phone. He said he would take care of it. That he had seen just what we needed. He came home with this….
I couldn’t bear to bring it up to my ear. My flesh crawled very time it rang.
I thought that perhaps if he had an outlet, the lies and stuff would stop. Lots of partners go through a similar “bargaining” phase. The gas under my pot was turned up to full.
So I agreed to escort him to a tranny club.
I secretly wanted to see if there would be other women there. I needed to find out if this behaviour is *normal* for trannies, and if there is anything that women had found that made their lives with these men more bearable.
He would be beside himself with excitement at going out “en-femme”. I could see his hard on starting from the moment he got out of his leisurely bubble bath (my bath’s were always rushed and fitted in around his dressing schedule). Getting ready was a ritual that took at least two hours. Of course, I was expected to “help”. I’m pretty sure now that he was working that into one of his fantasies he had running on loop in his head.
Often trips were abandoned due to some smudged nail polish, or similar “feminine disaster” that would have him stomping around in an agitated state sweating through his make-up, crying and shouting at me. Ordering me around like some demented potentate. Six foot trannies with chipped nail polish can be pretty scary, believe me.
The tranny club comprised of men, in very short, very tight “little black dresses” (had they co-ordinated this? I thought), high heels, a variety of wigs (probably two third of them, long and blonde) and a weird atmosphere I couldn’t quite put my finger on. There were other men there too (not in dresses). They sort of lurked, and leered, most of them not actually talking to the men in dresses, but often sending a drink over for one of them, followed by a raised glass and a wink from their corner – the men in dresses responding with a coquettish smile and a simpered “Thank you”. I found out later that most of the men in dresses were doing each other and calling themselves “lesbians”. I know this, because I found the photographs.
And they had a certain gleam I their eye…
Amy Bloom, in her article from 2002, Conservative Men in Conservative Dresses, wrote :
“The greatest difficulty people have with cross-dressers, I think, is that cross-dressers wear their fetish, and the gleam in their eyes, however muted by time or habit, the unmistakable presence of a lust being satisfied or a desire being fulfilled in that moment, in your presence, even by your presence, is unnerving.”
The penny finally dropped for me about what I was witnessing…
Another boundary being violated – the boundary that says “Don’t make me a part of you sexual kick, buddy”.
The experience of getting out in public seemed to turbo charge the tranny-ing at home.
Give an inch, take a mile.
When the kids weren’t around, his idea of relaxing at home was to potter about in a micro-mini and high heels, affecting a “sexy wiggle” and doing this weird thing with his hands and wrists when he spoke. I told him that women don’t go about dressed like they were about to nip down to a disco *all the time*.
He told me that he had seen “loads” of women that do, and that anyway, he liked the “council house tart” look.
I was always arguing with him about what women *actually* wore, and how sexist his stereotypes of women were, but he would insist that he was dressing like any other “girl” (despite the fact that he is a 47 year old man).
Other looks he liked were –
The “rock chic” look – think Cher in that video on the aircraft carrier. No jeans and band T shirt for this gal!
The “hooker” look – I’ll leave that to your imagination.
The “beauty counter girl” – Extra heavy make-up and an old lab coat worn over a bra, pants, suspender-belt and stockings ensemble. I caught him once, sneaking back into the house like that at 5 in the morning after a “constitutional”. Apparently he had been taking “constitutionals” for months , sneaking out while I was asleep. Trannies are expert ninjas as well as exhibitionists.
For all his faux “girly-ness”, the feminine side never extended to practical, everyday stuff that most adults have to do to get by – like helping with housework. He literally told me “I can’t do housework because I might break a nail – my long nails are important to me”.
Turned out he couldn’t carry heavy bags or lift heavy stuff either, cos he wanted his upper body muscles to wither away so he would be “more like a girl”. I told him lots of women have muscles. He told me that wasn’t “the kind of woman” he wanted to be. Of course not – how nice it must be to get to pick and choose.
He spent thousands and thousands of pounds on clothes, make-up, “beauty products”, laser hair removal and internet hormones. I still can’t see a television ad for make-up without an involuntary shiver down my spine.
He would go months without giving me any contribution to the home. Apparently he had “expenses”, and anyway, I wouldn’t have sex with him, so why should he?
The day came when he told me that he had “done an online test” and that he was “definitely a transsexual”. Self-diagnosis by internet is the tranny stock in trade. I was alarmed because I knew to the core of myself that these men are categorically not women. That I could never accept him as a woman. Like Sheila Jeffreys says, “woman is an honourific term”.
His story began to change in subtle ways – aided by his community of internet advisors. Now he said he had been dressing since three years old. He now had distinct memories of wishing he was a girl from around the age of five.
Many hundreds of pounds in laser hair removal and black market internet hormones later, and I was left struggling with a six foot, 14 stone hulking man with “breasts” , liable to incandescent rages one minute and tears the next. I was terrified. I began to hate him. No way was I going to wipe his arse if he had a stroke.
I was repulsed by him, his insulting attempts to emulate “femininity” and his freakish body. Being touched by him, even by accident, made my skin crawl.
I was disgusted at myself for allowing this to happen to me. I was drowning in shame. I was sinking fast.
I tried finding help online, but nobody wanted to acknowledge that these delusions are harmful. Rather, I was told * I* had to be educated, that *I* was “phobic”, that I should learn to embrace this. Women were telling me this as well as the trans borg.
Had feminism changed so much? What had happened to the idea of women being central to feminism? Why can’t women see that these are men???
I was told that I was “homophobic” AS WELL AS “transphobic” because I refused to call myself a lesbian. WHAT?? He is a man!! What madness was this???
I went to the doctor and was given anti-depressants. Nobody wanted to hear about my problem with the trans. I was told that “she” must be suffering too.
I went to the LGBT centre and asked if they had a group for partners of transitioning males. The young man looked at me, puzzled, “Um, well we have a group for trans women and their friends and families…isn’t that enough?” he asked. I tried to explain why maybe it wasn’t a good idea for women who were struggling in their relationship with a male partner who was insisting he was now a woman for those women to be discussing their problems with their male partner in* the* same* fuckin* room*…..crickets. Eventually he said he would ask the tranny group what they thought. If they were OK with it, then they would “think about it”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out their response…. More men telling women what they can and cannot do.
Women are often reluctant to talk about this. Whether from a sense of shame or embarrassment, or because we have seen the harassment and invasion that takes place against women who have spoken out publicly. Most commonly though, because we are GROOMED AND OBLIGATED TO CARE.
One of the saddest things for me, was that when I contacted the few women who I had met along the way (and who I knew to have been put through a variety of torments) to ask them if they would consent to an interview for Gender Hurts, they declined, stating that they didn’t want to be “disloyal”, or for [him] to find out that they had been talking to anyone outside of a tightly proscribed circle. Some didn’t want to risk being ejected from some of the only spaces they have to talk about this – compromised by male oversight though they may be.
It gets to be exhausting, pointless and depressing.
I know that for many, the greatest state of emergency will be what seems to be the almost unstoppable trend of lesbian women who are “transitioning”, and destroying their beautiful, healthy female bodies in the process – as well as erasing their lesbian herstory and identity.
I feel a deep sorrow for this state of affairs, and when I have read descriptions of what women put their bodies through, and the details of the surgeries that some go on to seek, my heart sinks at how self-hating, how female hating this is. It is misogyny written upon the bodies of women, and it is truly terrible.
The trend for “transgender children” is particularly horrifying and is evidence of how damaging the essentialist idea of “gender” that is promulgated by the Transgender cult is.
In speaking about my own experience, I hope that you understand that I don’t wish to minimise those states of emergency, and hope that what I have said will be taken in the context of how male privilege and entitlement in the guise of transgenderism, is driving a movement that has, and will continue to hurt all women as long as our voices are silent, and women remain unsupported to escape from these men, and to make sense of their oppression.
I believe that what women go through in these relationships is a form of emotional violence, and that work needs to be done to raise awareness among not just the wider public about what really goes on within many of these relationships, but also services that support survivors of male violence.
This is not “woman on woman” relationship abuse, and should not be treated or recorded as such. We should not be afraid to see this for what it is – male entitlement. Male violence.
No woman who is being abused needs to be told to have compassion for her abuser.
Women’s enforced compliance with male delusions, needs to recognised for what it is.
I’m standing up and saying ENOUGH. “