“ADDENDUM: A reader very familiar with what happened in Toronto wrote to us following Monica Maldonado’s commentary, pointing out a key omission on how the Xtra! boycott came about: this boycott was largely the collaborative work led by Morgan M. Page. It was our mistake to neglect mentioning the sacrifice many people made during the boycott and the group effort involved. We also wanted to make sure we linked to Lexi Tronic’s own account of what happened for sake of thoroughness. We regret our error.”—
Thing is, “trans women’s penises are (potentially) triggering!” is a trope that has long been used to exclude trans women from women’s spaces. This is not merely a harmless act — this means that trans women have been (and continue to be) turned away from from homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers as well. There is real violence occurring to trans women because of this. This “debate” has been going on for decades within feminist and LGBTQ communities.
Look, I get that people have triggers. I have many triggers myself. Nobody should be forced to be in a situation that triggers them. But why is the burden always on trans women to stay away for the sake of cis people’s potential triggers? As if trans women are never survivors of abuse or sexual assault? That they don’t have any triggers of their own? As if absolute exclusion from community is not, in itself, triggering to trans women?
Has it occurred to any cis people that maybe sometimes trans people’s own bodies are triggering to ourselves? And that part of the process of healing from the experience of dysphoria can involve learning to become comfortable in one’s own nude body? And that maybe that process can be greatly aided by acceptance into a community of other people with the same gender? And that flat-out telling trans people that they are not welcome in a space because their bodies are not “real”, not “genetic”, telling them that the mere existence of their bodies is causing harm to cis people… can no one see how harmful that is to trans women? Can no one see how that matters, especially in a public setting such as a major convention?