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As the country roused with Trump’s anger, I had questions about the world I now lived in such as “Why is nobody touching me?” And “Am I sexist?” As a newcomer to this tense landscape, I have one very public experiment with my own masculinity: I learned boxing, spent months dealing with other men in a boxing hall in Manhattan, got to know the rituals of the men’s locker room and interviewed sociologists and biologists and psychologists every “beginner question” I have on my way to the topic Had manhood. I was the first trans man to fight in Madison Square Garden. I wrote the story of my struggle in 2016 and later wrote a book, “Amateur,” which expanded my exploration of American masculinity.
By the time this book was published in 2018, the #MeToo movement had overthrown previously untouchable men, “toxic masculinity” was part of our national lexicon, and trans- and non-binary artists, lawyers, and activists had powerful conversations about gender diversity, intersectionality, and the limits of the Gender binary
The intertwined potential of the anti-racist, feminist, queer and trans-right movements led to strong changes and an equally strong backlash: Dangerous gender disclosure parties tried to affirm genitals as the de facto definition of gender, no matter how many people got injured or injured in the process killed; Violence against transsexuals continues to hit record highs, with 2020 being deadliest on record; and women of all genders opposing systemic injustices were horribly harassed.
Even when the TV show “Pose” elegantly involved viewers with stories about black and Latin American trans women, the (now Legion) trans people were struggling in my life. At a funeral for one of several trans friends who died by suicide, it became clear that the marginalized among us were marginalized. As a white trans man, I never forget that the medical transition is – and shouldn’t be – a privilege. Trans people who either do not want or are unable to take medical interventions remain vulnerable to both the existential threat of extermination and the often physical violence of the gender police.
Of course, visibility is not the same as belonging. Language creates nuances, but not necessarily legislation. Stories save lives and, paradoxically, also endanger them. Seeing ourselves reflected in the broader culture may have given us more models of how to deal with the overwhelming weight of transphobia, but growing awareness of our existence also sparked gender fundamentalists who sparked moral panic about trans children who were fooled into gender variance by predatory trans adults. Their rhetoric reminded me of the same kind of fear that straight people had of gay children like me in the late 90s.
But as with any civil rights movement in this country, what you see cannot be made invisible, and in that sense the tide has really turned. Even when bigots with draconian “bathroom bills”, straw man attacks on the supposed “competitive advantage” of transporters and medically unsound efforts to discourage trans children from seeking life-saving, gender-specific endorsements, make an almost constant legislative assault on our civil liberties. Care, our insistence The fact that we are the architects of our own stories has only grown.
As a journalist, writer and screenwriter, I’ve seen this firsthand. For the past decade, I’ve found myself in what has turned out to be the epicenter of the trans-visibility movement – first in the media and then as a writer for film and television. As I filed stories and wrote books and worked in writers’ rooms, I saw a profound change in our culture in the stories we tell about gender. At some point, I was embodied in the trans future that I needed.