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FTMs can call themselves female if they like

FTMs can call themselves female if they like

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GrimInker

While I agree that trans men are allowed to refer to their own body as female if they choose to, forcing that word on every trans men who might or might not be able to conceive a child and calling us delusional if we choose not to is absolutely out of line. You don't get to choose for us how we define our own body, that's up to the individual. I've been on testosterone for over a year, my body doesn't look or work like a typical female anymore, so referring to myself as such not only feels inaccurate, it's incredibly dysphoria inducing. I'm not a female, I'm a trans male. Trans men can call themselves male if they like.


PandaBearJambalaya

I feel like the distinction "male/female = sex, man/woman = gender" was mostly used as a way to get cis people to accept us in a way that still gives them some wiggle room to think "yeah, you're a man/woman, but not quite". I hear progressive allies push it much more enthusiastically than us, and I think even people who use it don't use it in a way that's consistent with their claimed belief. If someone asked for a "male perspective" would anyone honestly say they meant the set {XY women, cis men, trans women}. Beyond some age/human-specific connotations I don't think the distinction existed historically, so saying we can use one to refer to gender but not the other feels pretty specious.


GrimInker

The biggest issue with the whole "male/female = sex, man/woman = gender" thing is that it's only ever used when talking about trans people. On a day to day basis, male and female are still heavily associated with gender. When we talk about female singers, we aren't talking about trans men & cis women, we're talking about women who are singers. And honestly? I do feel like that distinction gives people an excuse to misgender us. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with cis people where they feel the need to go "well, you're a man but you're still KINDA female".


PandaBearJambalaya

Yeah, I think we're in agreement on that point.


Marina_07

The distinction doesn't even exists in some languages. Both words are used as synonymous in my language or at least in my country.


Middle-Radish

Yes. We don’t need more words. The phrase “sex change” has become passé, but it had some utility. It made clear that we were making real, physical changes to our bodies (yes I count hormones as a form of sex change). We’re going to continue to mix sex and gender and male and man and female and woman as we’ve done forever. The whole gender thing is an Englishism anyway, and it wasn’t a popular until fairly recently. As you said yourself below, what we need is better understanding of context. This is true medically as much as it is true in language.


Biochem-anon3

If we are going by how it is used historically, then you are both a male and a man.


PandaBearJambalaya

My point is that definitions of words change over time, so "sex = male/female" isn't an actual rule. The rule before was "sex/gender = male/female", so if someone is going to use trans inclusive language they should not half ass it.


Biochem-anon3

How should we refer to sex then?


PandaBearJambalaya

Is using context especially hard? It's like they said, if someone is talking about "female singer's" or the "male perspective" they're *already* not referring to sex, because those make sense better as social category anyway. They shouldn't suddenly pretend they're using a different rule when they're reminded trans people exists. If someone needs to medical context they can mention they are referring to "sex at birth", or "natal sex", or "sexual phenotype". Or hell, "BiOlgIcAl SeX" if they really feel the need, though since that conflates phenotype/genotype it really isn't the best term. My point isn't that it *can't* refer to those things, it's that in social settings "sex as it's understood socially" is a better default, because what's in someone's pants usually isn't relevant for most social experiences, even moreso for what's in their chromosomes. People don't need to be so interested in each others medical information. Since people are *already* using "gender = male/female" in social contexts, I think they should continue doing that.


Ouroborosian_

I agree, but it’s actually more complicated than either extreme admits, because biological sex contains so many aspects to it. You’re totally correct that in many aspects your biology is now male (hormones, secondary sex characteristics, etc.), but, for example, you’ll obviously always lack a Y chromosome (that’s a fact, assuming you don’t have a DSD/intersex condition, and not intended as a dig at your manhood) and I’ll always have one. That doesn’t make you not a man, it just means that one aspect of your biology will always be female, and that one aspect of my biology will always be male, even if I transition to be female (currently questioning).


GrimInker

The fact that it is complicated is why I refuse to be called female. Like you said, many aspects of my biology are no longer female while others will never fit into the cis male definition. Which is why I said I'm not a female, I'm biologically a trans male.


Ouroborosian_

Exactly! I totally agree with you.


DanMarinosDolphins

I don't feel "female" typically tells my story. I like "FtM" as my sex. Female transitioned to male. I feel that's the story of my body. I will still say things like "my female reproductive system" in medical context (I'm chronically ill and it's urogynecological in nature, so female body parts are mentioned frequently in a medical setting). But I also don't feel "male" tells the story of my sex either. Male or female seems both like an omission of my reality at this point.


Zoemaestra

Basing it on the ability to conceive has a lottttt of problems with it lol. Considering what HRT does to the body, I'd agree that saying trans women are of the female sex and trans men are of the male sex is incorrect, but doing it the other way round would also be incorrect because of how much physical change HRT does.


Biochem-anon3

Are prostate cancer patients on GnRH receptor modulators or antiandrogens not of the male sex due to the physical changes of the treatment?


NaiveFuckingFantasy

Delusional is such a nice word - thanks. What do you say about the distinction between chromosomale, phenotypical, reproductive, etc. sex?


Middle-Radish

Sure, they can call themselves what they want. Most won’t. It is not a matter of delusions. Transgender women are female in real, material ways. Transgender men are male in real, material ways. We are often not able to make our bodies as binary as we’d like. You are making a judgement about what factors arbitrate femaleness. It is not a good one. Is a cis woman who cannot have children female? Is a trans woman who cannot have children female? Why did you (or someone anyway) give different answers? Does the status of the trans woman depend on her surgical status? What are you using the sex for? If you’re trying to help a trans man conceive, you may use information generally relevant for female people. If you’re trying to figure out a trans man’s metabolism, you’ll need information generally relevant for male people. Sex is a composite variable. Simplistic “sex and gender are different” stop working as soon as we actually start changing our body.


[deleted]

I wish that people who speak English had a better distinction for talking about sex and gender. As a trans man, the term female is sometimes useful to me when talking about medical experiences and needs. Unfortunately, we have conflated female with woman and male with man. And there is not a good way to make that transition of definition either, you can't just go around calling trans men female and trans women male unless they self ID that way.


Marina_07

You could easily tell the same information in a health setting by using amab/afab or just trans man/woman. You really don't have to call yourself male/female for your doctor to properly treat you.


stclairvoyante

I think you're right that these options work, but at what point does "AFAB/AMAB" just become a shibboleth for "what trans people prefer to call female/male"? Like I've seen plenty of people talk about "AFABs" or "AMABs" as a group and it kind of just feels like reinventing the wheel of "biological sex". I don't know that that's a good or bad thing, just an observation.


Marina_07

That's a good point, I guess Ibwoukd consider the need for a new word wherever it became so prevalent that all cis people new it and used it regurlaly. I prefer to just call myself a trans woman for the few instances where being trans is relevant to my health.


PandaBearJambalaya

I think most of the time words have a more social context than medical one, and people just need to accept that sometimes they might need to clarify. I think it's when people resist that they get really attached to the idea that "male/female = sex", as if every word means exactly the same thing in every context. I think even their own usage reflects people don't use words so rigidly that they claim to. Absent prompting that we're talking about trans people, if someone asks for the female perspective on an issue do we take it for granted they're using female in a medicalized sense? Frequently not.


[deleted]

People are definitely allowed to use whatever labels they feel fit them best. IMO, I think it's more accurate to say that pre-op and non-op trans people have the *reproductive* sex of their AGAB. Depending on whether you think sex should be entirely dependent on reproductive capability, or if other things should be taken into consideration, I don't think it's entirely obvious that trans people have the sex of their AGAB.


[deleted]

Trans women can actually become permanently infertile from estrogen without any surgery. It’s not a guarantee but it’s fairly common, the longer you’re on it the more likely it is. It happens because estrogen can destroy the cells that produce sperm to the point of no return. Extreme cases are permanent infertility within 3 months. IMO reproductive ability is a bad metric for sex in general. Plenty of cis people can’t reproduce or will have health problems that require surgical intervention that makes them infertile. Hysterectomy is the most common with a bit under 1/3 women currently having the procedure done sometime in their life. Being unable to reproduce doesn’t make them any less of a woman.


[deleted]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that is a general rule. There are definitely trans women who become infertile, but the testes should still be able to produce sperm with estrogen in the body, even if the quantity is orders of magnitude less than someone with testosterone. I think this is why trans women are encouraged to use condoms if doing PiV with someone that has a female reproductive system. Edit: Posted this before you edited, you already address that it's not a guarantee so I guess this comment is moot now.


[deleted]

Anyone doing PiV should use condoms or other forms of protection regardless of their biology or gender unless you know for sure all participants are clean. Being infertile doesn’t make you immune from diseases.


SouthernYoghurt9

Its important to point out that infertile =/= sterile. Most trans woman have extremely low sperm count, but still have the ability to impregnate someone if the odds turn out that way


DanMarinosDolphins

This was not a controversial idea when I was coming up. It was routine for trans men to say their sex was female and their gender was male. Like. That's exactly what being transsexual is. If you didn't have a sex the opposite of your gender, then you'd just be cis and we'd all go home. Tbh my brain breaks when people say they have a "female penis" or a "male period". Because I've medically transitioned, I no longer feel "female" tells the whole story. I feel my gender is male, and my sex is female transitioned to male. It's not female. It's not male. It's female medically transitioned to male. My sex is FtM. That's literally what it is. Trans men who say their sex is male confuse me. Tbh I didn't change my sex marker to male but to "X" because FtM wasn't an option. I don't *identify* as ftm, i identify as male. But I'm in a female body. That's just reality. I'm experiencing a female body as a male, but that doesn't make my body male. I feel these are pretty objective facts. And I agree with you, people sound kind of delusional when they don't agree. I mean, I can understand calling your genitals by names that don't trigger your dysphoria. But to actually think your clitoris enlarged by testosterone is a penis doesn't make sense to me. It's not. It's a clitoris enlarged by testosterone. Like. I'm not trying to trigger people, but I'm honestly kind of astounded this is controversial. Like we fought so hard to tell the world your gender doesn't have to match your sex for you to identify that way. I think it makes trans people seem nuts to cis people when they deny their basic biology. And it's a fallacy to compare this to transphobes who say our biology invalidates our gender. We've been saying all along that gender doesn't have to match sex. It's a step backwards to start arguing with the Ben Shapiros of the world that your body does match your sex, you just have male breasts and a male vagina, but they still give you dysphoria.