We cannot divorce transmisogyny from its roots in both transmisia and misogyny, nor can we ignore the ways in which the patriarchy significantly and tangibly impacts trans women. Time and time again cis folks, including cis women, will invalidate trans women’s womanhood by claiming we do not experience oppression under cisheteropatriarchy. Cis women, for example, will dismiss trans women’s concerns and lived experiences as “crying wolf” and re-center their experiences in all spaces as though they aren’t already saturated with cis experiences. To define womanhood as dependent on experiencing patriarchal oppression has many pitfalls, but in addition, this argument is simply false. Trans women do experience misogyny. In particular, trans women and femmes are hypervisible, fetishized, objectified, invalidated, and abused, facing a confluence of oppressions like transmisia and misogyny. In this, trans women face a specific intersection of these known as transmisogyny. And to disconnect transmisogyny and define other manifestations of misogyny as more “real” is in itself a form of gender-based violence. To assert that transmisogyny or any experience of trans womanhood is less than or isn’t as “real” is cissexist violence and is often weaponized to enact more violence. Although often erased or invalidated, all trans women experience misogyny. Trans women of all ages, all types of presentation/expression, and through all different stages of transitioning (or not transitioning) do in fact experience misogyny in addition to transmisia, often in the form of transmisogyny specifically. It’s in the way autonomy is stolen systemically such as by the medical-industrial complex in gatekeeping life-saving medical procedures or by the state in withholding access to social institutions through so-called “bathroom bills” or “bathroom laws”. It’s present interpersonally in cis people asking invasive and inappropriate questions or touching our bodies without consent to see if they are “real”. Even simply navigating life and existing often means trans women, including those who present more conventionally masculine, experience transmisogyny such as by being constantly misgendered.
We have to work twice as hard in order for us to exist in a space of our own. Yes, we may have a triple threat but if anyone can handle it, it’s us. You may have already heard of her, but Gizelle Messina is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist for M·A·C Cosmetics who is making waves within the trans community. Messina recently was featured in the SHOWTIME documentary More than T and like many trans women, she has overcome challenges and built a powerful platform. (This interview has been edited for clarity.) Wear Your Voice: How did this documentary first come about for you and what were your thoughts going into it? Gizelle Messina: The documentary was a project created by M·A·C to continue its passion for people who don’t have a voice. M·A·C already had a campaign that started in 1994 to help support men, women and children with HIV. $1.8 million out of that fund was used for the documentary. I saw a flyer posted in the break room and I had to meditate on it because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with it. I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a lot of heavy editing because I wanted to make sure it was my voice. WYV: Being a visible trans woman can be hard for many. How did you find the courage to step into your own truth and live authentically? GM: It’s something that I still battle every day. For me it was almost like boot camp being that I had to transition while managing a store in Century City. It was tough but it definitely helped me thicken my skin more than it already was just from growing up and not being able to identify [as] who I was. Having to go to work every day and claiming my authentic self and demanding that people respect me for who I was, helped [me] curate strength. Even today, when I leave my home I get anxiety. We never know what’s going to happen when we’re out there. But I would rather go out in the street and take that chance; just going out and demanding your respect. You may not agree with it but I’m walking. Being a black trans woman, it’s imbedded in us because of the type of community we are in.
You don't have permission to register LOGIN