Trans Theory

This is a compilation of useful trans theory resources. Before shooting your mouth off in comments and screw up trans 101, look at these, odds are it’s answered in one of these. If it’s not, you’ve got a much narrower focus for your question, which makes it easier to answer and also less likely to be something I’ve had to answer before. This list has more of a trans theoretical and somewhat political slant to it, but until I have the gender questioning resource list up, will have to pull double duty as that, too. A lot of these links are women-centric because I’m a woman, but many of them aren’t.

Edited 2/6: I wrote this and put it up late at night, and, after sleeping, have come to the realization that it needs to be re-organized. I have a mix of generally-important trans theory, and parts of trans theory that are only important to those coming at it from a from a feminist perspective, which I should split off into more clear sections.

First, if you’re completely new to understanding what it means to be trans, read This first. It covers all the basics very nicely, and, if you’re trans yourself, is a real breath of fresh air.

Little Light has a few things on her own blog and on Questioning Transphobia. It’s hard to pick out the best stuff, but The Seam of Skin and Scales is an amazing piece on trans bodies, Fair, covers the abuse that constitutes the “male socialization” that trans women live with, On Cartography and Dissection, about being “discovered” and named by other people are all good, and Clamavi ad Te is an amazingly strong piece about community-building.

Jane Laplain’s explanation of the “cis” terms is also a nice dose of life-saving radicalism.

Dreki on Binary Subverter also lays out a lot of what it means to be trans, and a fair bit of general activist theory, Here. They’re speaking to trans people primarily, but cis people shouldn’t refuse to read it just because it de-centers them.

The Nuclear Unicorn has a good many amazing pieces of trans theory, mostly about the placement of trans theory in a larger feminist context and the immense hatred that certain influential factions of the feminist movement have had for trans women. Some of the more introductory pieces that don’t require as much of a grounding in a trans movement or in feminism are A Cliché Trapped in a Metaphor’s Body and Raiders of the Lost Etiology.

Questioning Transphobia has a good listing of articles to help build an understanding of (primarily) trans women’s issues, many of which are hosted on the same site. The most important are probably Five Axioms about Gender and Bodies, Transphobic Words and Deeds, and the Transphobic Tropes series, which focuses mainly on transphobic feminism and is useful to anyone who intends to spend time with feminists, since the movement has a history of being violent and at times eliminationist to trans people (especially trans women). If you’re a cis feminist and want to be anything other than harmful to trans people, this means you. If you’re a transgender feminist without a solid grounding in trans theory, this also means you: “Really” a $AssignedGender, Patriarchal Privilege, “Reifying Gender”, False Consciousness, The pathetic/deceptive double bind Transition is mutilation and Socialization as a child.

In more recent stuff on QT, they have a post on raising potentially trans children, which points out that this is all of them. Dreki has a longer page on the same theme that’s probably the stronger, and certainly the more comprehensive, of the two, although the two are complementary. QT also has a post on the way members of the trans community are treated after we are murdered: It Makes Sense, and another on how the media and the “justice” system can abuse trans people: Your Identity is not Your Own.

Asher, the same guy as who wrote the first link on this page, also wrote the Trans Power Manifesto. Also, in general activist theory, he tackles the Tone Argument in This post.

Kinsey Hope has an analysis of how “male” and “female” are broken language.

Cedar, at Taking up Too Much Space, has a two-part series on reclaiming the word “tr***y” [TW: the word is displayed uncensored in her posts] Part One and Part Two.

More posts will be added to this as I find them.

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