Lately I have been wondering why there are so few to almost no national level trans women and non-cis CAMAB presenters on topics which are very dear and close to my heart – sexuality, spirituality, kink and BDSM, energy work, sacred sexuality and sacred whoredom, relationships, queer activism, blogging… the list goes on. I know or can find of plenty of cis women, trans and cis men, non-gender conforming CAFAB people who are involved in these topics (and oh so many CAFAB people of so many stripes).
And even the trans women I see who are engaged in these topics seem to be relegated to trans woman specific segments. It seems most of the trans women in any area of the I national circuit see are sort of relegated to the realm of transfeminism and trans women’s issues to some degree. And when I see them invited to blog in various community blog topics, it seems it almost exclusive to talk about some sort of issue of transmisogyny or about another assault or murder of a trans woman. Sure, we get invited to analyze and talk about so many of the BS-y things related to our experience, but are we ever invited to talk to people about how to fuck or tie people up or speak to the disembodied or how to negotiate queerness or non-monogamy?
This realization just really hit me last night I think. I realized that a great number of my idols and inspiration and sources of knowledge in areas I am really looking to go further in are trans men. And it is not like I fault them for their presence. They are wonderful and delightful people. And I adore certain types of men and/or masculinity just as I adore certain types of women and/or femininity. But have I really spent so much of my life trying to get away from one type of maleness being imposed in my life only to have to turn to another and become dependent on it elsewhere?
Let me give you two examples of trans men I admire: Raven Kaldera and Lee Harrington. Raven does a lot of work around energy work, shamanism, and spirituality. A lot of it is general discussions, put out to a wide audience. Yes talks about trans specific topics from time to time, but those are not the only things he is asked to talk about. Lee as well does have times in which he talks about something specific, but over all his work is on focused on ropes and tying people up and all sort of wonderfully related things like that.
On the other hand, whenever I see Tobi Hill-Meyer discussing porn or butch experience or something like that, it is not a general topic of porn or butch. It is focused on queer porn involving and focused on trans women or on a panel exclusively about the experiences of butch trans women.
And then I realize I think I am the only trans women I know of who has been asked to present on BDSM. Not trans and BDSM or some specific variant, but simply what BDSM, the dynamics, etc. (and it went pretty damn well, I feel). I am also the trans women I know of who has been asked to talk about my brand of spirituality without having to have my trans identity lumped into it as well.
Is it really that we (trans women) have so little to add to these conversations? Are we all simply… mediocre in these fields at best? Is it really all our own knowledge, experience and points of discussion are wrapped up Or is it that – and I dislike being in any way conspiratorial in all this – we are simply not asked? Or included? Or sought out? Or thought about for inclusion? I realize that in many cases, even organizers rely heavily on the presenters to submit their ideas themselves. And it might be a case that trans women are simply not submitting adequate or appropriate panel ideas. And trying to research and actively invite an invisible or near invisible segment of a community might just be a lot of work.
I don’t know. Perhaps I am making a big deal about nothing. Or perhaps my perception of this is not truly accurate. So please, if anyone knows of any trans women who present on these topics in the same ways we see vender variant CAFAB persons, cis women, and trans and cis men present on these topics – that is mainline, wide audience presenters and not relegated to a special interest topics – please point me to who they are.
And if there are not any, how do we correct this? How do we encourage and groom trans women to be national level presenters of the caliber I am referring to? And how do we get them recognized as such?