Born a Man? No, Born a Baby

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/06/18/op-ed-born-man-no-born-baby

When people say transgender women were ‘born as men,’ it creates an inaccurate image.

BY Fallon Fox and Parker Marie Molloy
June 18 2014

Why is it that when transgender women are interviewed, the media so frequently says we were “born a man?” No other people are ever treated as though they were born fully grown adults.

Can someone point to a single example in the media when a cisgender person is referred to as being “born a man” or “born a woman?” If someone discusses their birth, does anyone say, “When I was born a man?” Or, do they simply say, “I was born?”

Go ahead and Google the phrase “born a man.” You’ll notice article upon article, page upon page of typically unflattering stories about trans women. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find any articles about cisgender individuals in the mix, as typically, it’s given that cisgender women and cisgender men are not born men or women, but rather, they’re born babies.

Trans women are not born babies — according to the media, at least. We’re born “men.”

This framing only sensationalizes the identities and experiences of trans individuals as nothing more than a hook to reel the audience into a world closely resembling that of a carnival freak show. This framing in itself highlights the physical changes undergone by trans people and ignores the fact that the people they’re referring to are genuine, lovable, normal individuals.

Referring to trans women as “men” from birth plays into themes of disgust and discomfort our culture foists upon trans bodies. We’re denied the innocence of youth so that we are more easily categorized as deviants. The mental image created is of a hairy, sweaty, hulking man — it makes us easier to hate, and it serves as a quick pivot point to the idea of our existence as cartoonishly masculine “men in dresses.” We need to push back on this blatant lie about our existence, this obvious smear on our humanity.

The “adult from birth” framing muddies genuine, well-meaning attempts to explain who and what transgender people really are. It makes some forget their own development and ignores the fact that as human beings we’re constantly evolving and changing, coming into our own physically, emotionally, and socially. People are not static, though this framing portrays trans people as just that.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/06/18/op-ed-born-man-no-born-baby

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