There was a Facebook event about a girls/women only event at Inferno Online in Stockholm, hosted by DJ Melika (creds to you for doing this!). It’s a reoccurring event and very popular (and obviously needed), but of course there were some people (men) who just couldn’t keep themselves from making fun of it. Now, there’s a lot of things to say about masculinity and femininity here, but I’m going to take on the transgender aspect of it. Here goes.
Almost as many women play video games as men, and most men are nice people, we can all agree on that. But empty barrels (read: sexists) make the most noise, right, and oo-de-lally, are they loud. Thus, female only events, guilds, teams etc. is a thing, because obviously they are both appreciated and needed.
Not much of a surprise then that some men step in and question gendered events, claiming it’s making the inequality problem even bigger (without seeing their own part in keeping the problem unsolved), discriminating towards men (without seeing how gaming industry mainly is focused on male gamers) or – and here’s comes the trans aspect – joke about being women on the inside because they want access (without seeing how this is harmful to trans women).
Some of the comments on this particular event were from male-named users who wrote stuff like “I’m identified as a man but in my head I’m a woman, can I come?”, “I consider myself a woman but society sees me as a man, can I come too?”, “I feel extra female today can I join?” and “I’m a [t-word]* can I come?”.
Obvoius jokes, yes. Which is both a symptom of the problem and part of the cause.
Trans jokes feed the transphobics
Trans women aren’t always counted as Real Women™. You’d think a woman is a woman, no matter what genitalia she was born with, but oh no. Trans women are often questioned when they, quite reasonably, want to enter arenas that are for women/girls only. Usually it’s about fear of accidentally letting in a man in disguise.
Take these brainfarting transphobic politicians and principals making rules about public restrooms. They’re afraid that if you let trans women into the ladies’ room, you’ll risk having a man enter, pretending to be a (trans) woman to get access to a place where he can indulge in his desires a.k.a. female bodies without being noticed.
When you, a heterosexual man, mockingly play the trans-card in a situation like this, it suggests exactly what these brainfarters think. It adds you to the numbers of “men pretending to be (trans) women for a chance to paw on women and children”.
I mean, it’s all there. You’re probably joking, but there’s really no proof you aren’t.
Trans jokes makes life even harder for trans women
A cis man can be mocked for pretending to be a woman and/or transgender, since he can go back to his safe, male self. A trans woman isn’t pretending to be a woman. She is a woman. However, if she lets the trans part be known and gets mocked for it, she doesn’t really have a safe, male self to go back to. Because you know. She never had a male self.
No wonder that it’s more likely that a cis man would joke about being trans, than that a trans woman would let people know she’s trans. I mean, I can promise you that not one single person, me included, for one single moment believed that these commenters were actual trans women.
Now, there could have been one actual transperson asking there. In that case, all she would meet would be disbelief. Or, which is even worse, she might have been harassed for it.
And let’s say she didn’t even ask, but went to the event because she is indeed a woman, and then was accused of being a male pervert? Pretty sure she wouldn’t be very keen on attending to a woman-only event again.
So when you, male gamer, jokingly say “I feel like a woman inside, can I join your women-only event?” you’re making it even more difficult for trans women to speak up and be taken seriously.
By the way, did you know that the suicide rates for young trans people are way higher than for cis people? Well now you do.
Trans jokes stab men in the foot, too
When those brainfarters I mentioned earlier say they are afraid of letting transwomen into women’s spaces, they’re really saying that they’re afraid of heterosexual cis men sneaking in. And I’m pretty sure that you, heterosexual cis man, would be the first to claim that NOT ALL MEN are rapists (which you are totally correct about).
Buuut… When you pull trans jokes like this, or let them pass because it’s your friend telling them or you think it’s an obvious joke, or whatever, then you are adding to the common understanding that the gaming community consists mostly of immature, sexist, transphobic, heterosexual males.
All in all, by cracking trans jokes as a comment to a women-only gaming event while being a man yourself, you’re making both trans women and yourself a big disfavor.
Oh did I mention that suicide rates for young trans people are much higher than for young cis people? Right, I did. Then I’ll just add this:
Cut the trans jokes. Please.
*If you don’t know what the t-word is and why you shouldn’t use it, check some of this out.