[FYI, this is a website that I (Julia Serano) started in 2005 with the intention of creating more feminist dialogue about trans woman-specific issues. Shortly after putting this website together, I was offered the opportunity to write a book on this very topic, so I kind of abandoned working on this website as a result...

On the bright side, the book that I wrote was eventually published by Seal Press (Emeryville, CA) in June, 2007. It is called Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, and it’s a collection of personal essays that debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that people have about trans women, as well as the subject of gender in general (excerpts from, and reviews of, the book can be found by clicking that link).

I continue to write about trans women’s issues, as well as the subjects of transgenderism, gender, sexuality and feminism more generally. To find out about some of my more recent work, check out my writing page at JuliaSerano.com.

One final thought: Many trans people today reject the word “tranny” outright and might feel that the name of this project/website is offensive. I can understand that and (for that reason) I generally do not use the term these days. However, it must be said that, at the time that I created this website, many trans people routinely used the word in a reclaimed way, with the intention of challenging (or reversing) its use as a derogatory slur. I discuss shifting feelings regarding this word within trans communities in my essay A Personal History of the “T-word” (and some more general reflections on language and activism)...]

"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive."
-Audre Lorde

Over the past fifteen years, trans activists have made a concerted effort to unite all of us who transgress gender norms in one way or another under the umbrella term “transgender”. This was done so that we could work together, gaining strength in numbers, in order to fight against all discrimination based on gender identity and expression. This strategy has been extraordinarily effective in accomplishing this goal, as the acceptance of transgendered people in our society has reached levels that many of us never would have dreamed possible.

Having said that, there is always an inevitable problem with the umbrella strategy, in that issues that affect only a subgroup of that population will tend to fall by the wayside in favor of more common pursuits. One can see this phenomenon in the queer community at large, where many LGBT organizations and media outlets focus almost exclusively on gay and lesbian issues, with bisexual and transgender issues receiving only minimal attention. And while lesbians and gay men share some common goals, such as fighting homophobia or working to legalize same-sex marriage, these two communities often face very different sets of problems. For example, the lesbian community struggles more with issues of sexism and economic class as a result of having to live as women in a male-centric world.

In a similar manner, trans women (that is, those of us who were assigned a male sex at birth, but identify and live as women) face certain issues that are not shared by the rest of transgender community. Being transsexuals, we live in the gender we identify as 24/7, which puts us at greater risk for discrimination and violence, as we cannot conveniently closet our gender difference in the way that crossdressers and drag performers generally can. Furthermore, we are put at even greater risk due to the limitations of the male-to-female (MTF) transition process in masking some of the more irreversible effects of prolong exposure to testosterone.

However, our gender difference alone is insufficient to explain why so many different facets of our society regularly set out to dismiss and dehumanize trans women. In the writings available in this website, I argue that we trans women are routinely ridiculed and targeted for violence by society at large not merely because we “transgress binary gender norms” as many transgender activists and gender theorists have proposed, but rather because we “choose” to be women rather than men. The fact that we identify and live as women, despite being born male and having inherited male privilege, challenges both those in our society wish to glorify maleness and masculinity, as well as those who frame the struggles faced by other women and queers solely in terms of male and heterosexual privilege.

As trans women, having experienced what it is like to be treated as both women and men in this world, we understand that it is at best naive, and at worst irresponsible, to discuss trans identities and experiences without taking into account the differing values that our culture places on femininity and masculinity. While we continue to work with other folks on the female-to-male spectrum, as well as genderqueers, cross dressers, drag artists, and other transgender folks, to make the world safe for all forms of gender identity and expression, we realize that we must also join forces with other women and feminists in order to make this world safe for femaleness andall forms of feminine expression.

The following collection of poems and essays are my attempt to reframe ongoing debates about gender, transsexuality, and womanhood from a trans woman’s perspective, and to educate other women, feminists, and queers about the unique insights, observations, and experiences that trans women can bring to conversations about gender and sexuality...

-julia serano
June, 2005

Hot Tranny Action Manifesto
this is the mission statement for HotTrannyAction.org - a must read for newcomers!

Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depict the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels
examines the sexist agenda behind why the media depicts trans women as either “sexual deceivers” or “men in dresses”

Deconstructive Surgery
a short piece examining sex reassignment surgery in the context of the differing values we place on women and men

Open Letter to Lisa Vogel
Lisa Vogel is the sole proprietor of the world’s largest annual women-only event, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, who’s so-called “womyn-born-womyn-only” policy excludes trans women from attending

To Be A Woman
a poem re-defining what it means to be a woman

On the Outside Looking In
a four essay chapbook on the subjects of feminism and the exclusion of trans women from lesbian and women-only spaces - another must read!

Camp Trans
working for trans woman-inclusion in women-only spaces

GID reform
because our identities are not disordered

Emi Koyama has been putting the "emi" back in feminism since 1975!

more links to come...

julia serano ©2005