A recent feature in TIME explores a fascinating perspective rarely heard: the difference in how men and women are treated, according to trans men. Many of the men interviewed by TIME “gained professional respect, but lost intimacy” after transitioning; they “exuded authority, but caused fear.” And though the incidents described certainly do not encompass the experiences of all trans men, it’s revealing to hear perceptions of womanhood from people who, as one source put it, have “lived on both sides of the coin.” Below, some interesting insights from the article.
On workplace sexism:
James Ward, a San Franciscan lawyer, recalls his opposing counsel slagging a female judge after she challenged one of his submissions in court. “We weren’t out the courtroom door when he said [the c-word] to me under his breath. He never would have said that when I was female.” Mitch Davis, a Planned Parenthood employee added that he heard his boss calling female colleagues “old cows,” saying, “Evidently, men say things like that to each other all the time.”
On the assumption of competency:
Ward says, “If I’m going off the cuff, no one really questions it… It’s taken as, ‘He’s saying it, so it must be true.’ Whereas while I was practicing as female, it was ‘Show me your authority, you don’t know any better yet.'”
On the certainty of testosterone:
James Gardner, a newscaster from Victoria, B.C., claimed that, after transitioning, he was “more decisive,” and less likely to “second-guess” himself. He says, “As a female, there was black and white and everything in between. When I started taking the hormones, it was more black and white… I’m not a worrier as much as I was in the female body.”
On becoming a threat:
Tiq Milan learned to change his behaviour when walking home at night. “If I start to get too close, I can feel [a woman’s] fear, I can feel that she’s getting upset. And it’s really an indication of how dangerous this world is for women.”
On the pressure to be perfect:
“As I female, I felt I had to smile all the time just to be accepted,” says Gardner. “As a male, I don’t feel a sense of having to be pleasant to be looked at.”
On toxic masculinity:
Milan says he has overheard “men [saying] things about slapping a woman or cheating on women in the most brutal ways and think it’s okay.” He adds, “Sometimes it can be really scary.”
You can read the full piece here.
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