Listeny CakeFaeries' report on General Dysphoria feedback
I. Preliminary Briefing: General Dysphoria
This term, the main topic for Awareness articles on the CakeFaerie News is "General Dysphoria". Of course, people can contribute other stuff too, but there is a line-up forming which will make it likely that General Dysphoria will outnumber other new content.
Trans people will open the account, for far more of us will for now know Gender Dysphoria in such as the Trans* context than know anything about General Dysphoria. (Indeed, this lack of awareness is why we provide some here... We stand for all those consensual and legal peoples who have nobody else to stand, convey or host material.)
This will be followed by True Diversity of Trans*, including accounts of how "mainstream Trans used to bully Non-Binary people, GenderFluid people, Transvestites, Trans Conscientious Objectors to Surgery etc etc. (No doubt in some parts of the world this continues, much as in a lesser number of parts of the world no Trans people* of any kind are accepted. The contest of our "used to" is that this used to happen even in places like here, i.e. elsewise supposedly liberal western University Campuses.) This kind of phenomenon moreover has implications that are invariant of "what is currently accepted", namely that all those who aren't currently accepted are often bullied, ostracized or ignored even by communities that treat some other formerly left-out groups with respect and welcome. The point being that, while some individuals do as they please in harming whoever they can get away with harming, further groups will continue to be marginalized and mistreated, in an infinity of approximate copies of how Gay people were mistreated in the 1950's and previously, Trans People before around 2008... (these are UK specific dates, may vary from country to country).
II. Interlude, in which one of our Peoples Speak
Where is the line today? Currently in Cambridge, Polys have an undisguised group and Aces have a Rep. Three years ago, not even this was possible here, in the face of hostilities (and not just by "the obvious bullies"). Currently also Activists support Non-Binary people but little to no training in this regard is provided for "official welfare services", the police, the law, or institutions' ruling bureaucracies (so tutors, disciplinary staff, college staff, departments...) So at present, the "de facto line" in the Official sector and its somewht larger penumbra of Activst concerns covers these things. There are however a lot of further people and personal situations not covered by this.
On another front, people "discovered" large numbers of Survivors at Western univeristies several years ago. (Of course, plenty of people knew about this previously, but daren't speak out or even label themselves as Survivor groups, or groups accommodating Survivors. We here have been accommodating Survivors since the 1990's. A further matter with Survivors is that 85% of them don't go to the police. This is well-known by now as well. What is 'not yet known' by official groups (or at least not acknowledged) is that this 85% almost entirely also don't tell their doctor or any counsellor-type person, or any rep-type person, or any activist-type person, or any 'official group for survivors' (or essentially nobody else). So the situation is approximately this. 15% of Survivors are Confrontational, and tell the police and/or become an activist and/or... you've probably heard some of these peoples' opinions and that is a great thing. None the less, this population of Survivors is essentially disjoint from the 85% of Avoidant Survivors. Which means, chances are, unless you yourself are an Avoidant Survivor or already an Ally to a such, you've probably never heard anything at all about what Avoidant Survivors are like, what our wishes and needs are. These are not at all covered by any kind of existing "official group" labelled "for Survivors".
Many Avoidant Survivors view the threats and bullying aspect of their abuser as more significant than what others call without question "the primary abuse" (such as sexual assaults). This is why people like us have never said anything... Except, well, the past month or so has had "powerful abusers" going to great lengths to threaten and silence Survivors of their actions. So in that way the world has changed. Yet it still remains unaknowledged that essentially everything the world offers "for Survivors" is not thought out to be accessible by or useful to Avoidant Survivors. Nobody running such things would appear to have asked for feedback in a safe enough way to get any (or, if they did get some, they ignored it for being politically and/or activistically inconvenient). So, what do Avoidant Survivors think? In a nutshell, we are *not* interested in listeners. What we want is better personal safety and security for ourselves. So we never 'accidentally bump into' that abuser again. We daren't Confront that abuser, but we will do every damned thing possible to to see that abuser again, or be taken in by others of their ilk.
We think in red flag logic.
We avoid all professions with uncommonly large concentrations of people who abuse or make threats. We consider this to include many professions which "gatekeep", such as bureaucrat-type or medical-type professions, as well as all who "seek power" such as not only politicians but also disciplinarians, activists and journalists. These professions controlling almost all channels of widespread communication, we can't use those to talk about what we want to talk about (which is most definitely not ourselves). For describing one's experiences in public is not anonymous, even if it has no name attached. Most of all, the abusers have inside information about what they did to us. Any distinctive descriptions of unusual but horrible things we were subjected to could well be recognized by abusers, as could be our own writing styles. So we have others write *our ideas and concepts* in their own words; we then check it's faithful enough to our message and not endangering of our security and then release that info somewhere such as here. Listeners don't help one jot with dealing with such a need.
Some of us also value listeners none the less. In fact most of us only use listeners who have security in excess of the manipulating and hacking abilities of our abusers. And also only listeners who don't have de facto non-confidentiality clauses in their mode of practise. Ergo some of us feel compelled to *go abroad* to have our PTSD treated by some other country's counsellors that are not so-bound. This illustrates that there is hope to find what one needs, though one may have to go very far to find it.
The emblem of our Allies is therefore the Little Prince. We send our Allies afar to look for things we can use, much as he needs a very specific sheep to help look after his Rose by eating the Baobabs that might elsewise destroy his little planet, while not in any way risking to eat the Rose herself. So we need very specific welfare-with-security-and/or-stronger-than-here-available-confidentiality. % And very specific outlets for our news, and very specific message carriers that are unhindered by obstacles and unremarked upon by onlookers as being there for that. These are our very specific sheep that our dear Princelings (gender neutral form of "Little Prince" seek. Who won't harm the Rose, whether deliberately or accidentally, while helping to keep out the Baobabs. (Be that secondary abusers looking for Survivors to hurt further :| Or bureaucracies that make no exception for those refusing to say why they have strong reasons to be an exception.) As it happens, such Princelings are also good at helping Closeted people with similar. (Most bureaucracies are not seen as helpful by Trans people, let alone by Closet-Trans People.)
We also require our Allies to not be personally aggressive. Many of us require Allies to not be personally aggressive not just with us, but with anyone at all, no matter the context. This is because those with capacity for personal aggressiveness unfortunately trigger us by reminding us of our abusers and/or are people we don't trust, or whom we don't Consent to represent our interests, our views, our persons.
Finally, red flag logic is like this. If a group contains a single personally aggressive individual, we can't trust the group. This is very different from false suppositions such as that "we'd then just approach a different member of that group". This is in part because we've observed that too many groups containing one or more personally aggressive people do as the personally aggressive people wish in any matter that tangibly concerns the personally aggressive individual(s). So, say complaining to a different committee member about one committee memeber being personally aggressive toward us is quite simply not deemed to work. The other committee member will just be their friend, or possibly afraid of the personally aggressive committee member, so bad things would far more likely come of us raising such an issue. The only societies we can be part of are those containing no personally aggressive people. These aren't impossible to find: we might send our Princelings out to see which societies currently have none. That a few societies have, say, rules saying no bullying is not by itself enough for us to feel safe being part of that activity. It is only if we observe the rule being credibly implemented that we'd think the society to be safe enough for us.
So, for some of us, the societies we're ok in attending may be as few as just 1 to 3 of the 1000+ in such a university (many through not having sent Allies there to see if bullying or hazing go on there). In some cases, we go to no societies at all; our Princelings then need to find "not in person" ways for us to interact. When one has nothing else, what many others would view as minor interactions can be the entirety of the social life of one such as us). Finally understand that it is common among us to *not* solely interact with our Princelings, nor to have these search solely for ourself. We overwhelmingly want Princelings and activities they find to be available to other Avoidant Survivors, Closet Trans people etc. This is why we do this in part societally through such as the CakeFaeries. This is why we support the CakeFaeries in not-in-person ways, and are so pleased by what CakeFaeries do :) This is also why we here support those with General Dysphoria (this term's main topic) and General Fluidity (next term).
III. Another interlude, in fact about interludes
Obviously we favour diversity of opinion over being particularly "organized". We are not a Consensus forming people. Summaries are No Good here therefore. If this page were brief, most of us wouldn't get a word in. So it isn't. That's what you get if you genuinely involve many diffeent kinds of people at once in a non-consensus forming place. This is an Anactivist Tenet. Most of our Princelings and other allies are Anactivists. Because Anactivists are not consensus forming, this is not a precisely defined notion; it is spectral, like gender is.
It helps to think of Conscientious Objectors to War at this point. War is violence. But, as some eg Feminists have argued, rhetoric is also violence. And politics is violence. It follows naturally that some people can Conscientiously Object to politics and/or rhetoric. The first of these might view themselves as Apolitical in some sense. An Anactivist then is a person who quite often is one or both of Conscientious Objector to politics or to rhetoric, who additionally Conscientiously Objects to between some or all of what Activists do. For instance, some Activist groups shout in public whereas others make demands of groups other than themselves to change their own ways of doing things, and on occasion such demands might take the form of threats. So some people Conscientiously Object to such as threats and/or some or all kinds of public shouting. They far from necessarily object to other people doing these things, but a) won't do it themselves and b) quite often don't Consent to be "represented" by anybody who does. Some Anactivists are also not ok with some Activist groups not offering tangible alternatives to "shouting with placards" or "writing menacing letters", from the point of view of this leaving them with nothing they're OK with doing there.
It also helps to know about Aces (Asexuals). AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network) is a rather good example of "things other than shouting or threatening people" that a group might do, effectively, so as to be known about to them as choose to care. AVEN is very successful in this regard, to the extent that Aces now largely feel safe in this city and in other swathes of the world. But some of these Aces have *very* likeable spirits. Some groups, when they got their own officials and openly labelled socials and so on, left us CakeFaeries to run their own thing. Some took some of our customs with us, and we aren't mean about them leaving once things were better foer these people in a wider range of activities than just our own. Our Aces, though, very largely stayed in order to help others not yet so fortunate have similar.
And so, some of us Cambridge minds give you GIVEN (General-Purpose (In)Visibility and Education Network). This is another name for "The CakeFaeries" alias "Alternative Welcome" alias (in part) Sheila and her Dog alias (in part, another part) Cambridge Safer Space Waterfighting.
Now AVEN is quite far out on the Anactivistic spectrum; it has perhaps 70% of our basic rules similar. An AVEN educates those who wish to know, rather than imposing itself on others, as regards Ace matters. A GIVEN does so for *any* matters that are consensual and legal. Please note that legal is vastly larger that "legally protected". Every people on this webpage is legal, yet virtually none are "legally protected". There are currently no laws preventing Aces or Polys or Non-Binary people from being discriminated against or bullied in ways specifically harmful to them that those unaware of these people wouldn't even spot as bullying. Likewise for General Dysphoria that is not Gender Dysphoria, and for General Fluidity. Or Kink. Or Avoidant Survivors. Or Non-Normative Survivors.
So Aces showed the world that Anactivism works, and then various further groups of Anactivists, some representing traditions who had been in hiding for 20 or 30 years at least, ventured forward to join them. And so things such as this set of websites came to be written :)
IV. Hang on, what about the rest of the prelude?
OK, then. Our account of General Dysphoria starts with the premise of establishing that one kind of Dysphoria - Gender Dysphoria - is accepted and to some extent catered for by welfare services and so on.
Being a GIVEN and a General-Purpose Safer Space standing for those who currently have nowhere else standing for/by them, we don't stop there, we start there. In particular, we explain:
A) Age Dysphoria.
B) Species Dysphoria.
We show in this way that a lot of Trans* issues have wider counterparts. Doing so even in summary requires explaining Age and Species Dysphorias. (Nor are these in any way all of the rest of the Dysphorias that we know about, let alone that may exist.) So we postpone it to items VII and VIII.
Finally, on the longer run this large concentration of safer space people will turn to General Fluidity next term. A more sketchy outline of this is starting with Genderfluid and how such were oppressed in LGBT communities in the 80's, 90's and 00's. Followed by Switches giving a similar account of their oppression in BDSM communities, and Ace Spectrum people talking about Demi and Grey, and Survivors talking about PTSD-induced long-term temporary Aceness (and/or Aroness). We've also had some people start to mention SAx-Fluidity (Social Anxiety Fluidity), and some are talking of their Million-Labelness to Acategorical transition as a type of Fluidity.
V. A POINTER TO REFERENCES ABOUT TRANS* PEOPLE, INCLUDING CLOSET TRANS* PEOPLE
Diversity of Trans* People
Some people consider the body they were born with to not reflect the gender that they feel. Most commonly, this concerns someone assigned male at birth considering themself to be female or vice versa. Though gender is spectral, can have further "poles" than male and female, and a person can feel they are more than one gender, whether at once or time-dependently. These are some of the Trans* people, and in this stage, many (but not all) feel Gender Dysphoria. Our body just isn't us, has or doesn't have something it ought. Aside from that, they may not be OK with "some toys, sports, subjects, attitudes" being seen as "for boys" and others "for girls". Some will participate in a mixture of both sets, thank you very much, or in further activities, whether supposedly "neutral" or alternative. Some Trans people who *are* OK with the bodies we were born with may rather be (what is perceived as) socially female or intellectually male or vice versa or other-such. So in many cases Trans people will want to undergo hormonal and surgical treatment.
MTF means male to female transitioning
FTM means female to male transitioning.
But not all will, and even most of those who will are unlikely to be Out at present in a population of students. Further people are Out and/or Transitioning at a later age. Some daren't. And some have Trans* issues which are not resolvable by surgery. Some even conscientiously object to surgery. If one is, say, socially female, it does not necessarily follow that one wishes to Transition to deal with this. Genderfluid might oscillate between genders on the scale of a year, a week, even a few hours. So surgery at least as currently conceived, is not a great solution in these cases.
Now, we've had Genderfluid people here for 20 years before even the very word 'Genderfluid' was adopted by the rest of the world. If one's gender varies over time, or is one is neither male nor female, one might not view surgery as viable. So some Cross-Dress instead. Another reason for Cross-Dressing is having to spend holidays in a country which criminalizes LGBT people. Here one might cross dress where it is safe to do so and one wants to, while reverting to disguising oneself in the assigned-at-birth gender's clothes when at home. One might instead live in a country or city where being LGBT is not criminalized, but LGBT people are none the less regularly attacked by thugs or criminals. As such, one might be female asigned at birth, be Out as a man at Uni, dress accordingly at Uni but not be Out about this in one's home town, wearing female clothes whenever in public there.
In some cases, a Trans* person's parents would render them Homeless if they knew about it. Such might not even wear ladies' clothing in public in the safest uni, lest their parents catch word of it (say through prying on the person's friends' open social media). Such might still cross-dress in private places with their close friends however. So better not judge Cross-Dressing/Transvestite Trans* people differently from Transitioning or Transitioned Transsexuals. All kinds of circumstances could mean the former is every bit as Trans* inside as the latter.
There is now some evidence, moreover, that for each Out Trans person of uni age, 3 others are Closet-Trans. One consequence of this is that it is never acceptable to be Transphobic "because no Trans Person is there to hear". Maybe some of those present are Closet Trans, and such could badly hurt them. There is also a lot of eveidence that 40% of Out Trans* people go through periods of suicidal ideation. What isn't clear yet in the official world, but we know it well here (sample bias as that might have) that Closet Trans* people have the same proportion of suicidal ideation to Out Trans* people. And yet, a lot of resources re available to support Out Trans* people, without there being a single one that's thought out how to accommodate Closet-Trans* people. This is partly because institutions will "wash their hands" out of having no 'legal obligation' to cater for Closet Trans* people. Partly, because Closeted people consider almost no existing welfare or support to be safe for them to use, including its feedback component. By which even well-meaning providers don't actually know what Closet Trans* people's needs are. Closet-Trans* peoples' needs, unlike the proportion with suicidal ideation, is *wildly* different between Out and Closeted people...
Also, how Closet-Trans* people are badly affected by bullying is *wildly different* from how Out-Trans people are. And yet, there is no training available to free companies or universities of the kinds of bullying and needless low-level pestering that badly hurts Closet-Trans* people, about which we as Closet-Trans* people virtually never dare to speak up. So, for instance, contrast regarding a man as nasty or crazy because they are caught crying in public with offering assistance and sympathy to a woman found crying in public. Next consider that the 'man' found crying in public is actually a Closet Trans* woman. She's the only woman in the company that receives no sympathy, is excluded from women's lunch, is shut out from the "promotion specifically for a female candidate"... and the list goes on and on. Consider the effect of telling a Closet Trans woman to "man up, take it like a man, or stop mansplaining"... Clearly there are a few things that company training, counsellor training, rep training... could say that avoid badly upsetting an already heavily oppressed group, which at uni age, is about thrice the size of the Out-Trans* group. And has no means of helping each other as a group: Closet Trans* people seldom know who else is Closet-Trans*, and we obviously daren't march under placards for "Closet-Trans* rights, so perchance most of you will have never heard about us. How we're bullied because most our friends are supposedly not of 'our own gender'. Whereas in truth they are, bullied by nasty men jealous of all our female friends, who don't take into account that these are our our friends possibly because we too are female inside, rather than because we are some kind of "womanizer". Bullied by nasty people who insinuate others of us are sluts because almost all our friends are male, but, guess what, those are our friends because we are male too.
Accommodating Closet-Trans* People in Societies
Aside from some such not having committees which make sexist remarks when they think 'nobody of the other gender is listening'. And 'being believed when we say we're upset without having to say why'. These are ways you can help accommodate Closet-Trans* people in your own societies if anyone is interested. We as Closet-Trans* people don't want to have to be in what for us is the wrong sports team, the wrong drinking society, the wrong boat... While there's been some attention to Out Trans* people being eligible to play for college teams in gendered sport, rather less has been done for non-binary or genderfluid people in this context, and nothing at all for Closet-Trans* people. If you're in sport for the fun of it, our partial solution for now is that might consider Ultimate Frisbee, Quidditch, Live Action Roleplaying or Safer Space Waterfighting as better options than traditional sports as regards inclusiveness regardless of Gender, whether Out or not about it and whether Non-binary as well as or instead of Trans*. You might also look to set up ungendered non-contact football, at the level of having enough people for two teams, possibly of just 3, 4 or 5 on a smaller pitch. Among these, all but one are easy to explain: there is no "splitting by gender" in any of them.
Quidditch is special in requiring captains to confirm above a certain multiplicity of genders are represented in their team. This works for some Closet-Trans people: if they're OK with their captain knowing and stating that gender multiplicity is attained. Hint: If say a Closet Trans Man wants to play Quidditch. And would not be ok with the captain knowing or with the other team having a 1 in 7 chance of guessing in the event of there being no people expressing that gender present, then one way for (privately him, bublicly her) do so is to turn up with a Cis-Female Ally.
It would help further if it could be arranged that some people only play as a pair, along the lines of no-questions-asked.
Some other activities (not sports) specifically permit some people to participate in pairs, no questions asked. So, say both of them start or neither do, or the two of them are brought on in a double substitution. And if one twists an ankle, why, it's the other one who accompanies them to ER.
VI. Some points about Trans* people having been bullied by other Trans* people
At least until quite recently here (and no doubt this is still the case in some other parts of the west), one of the main adversities faced by Transvestite and Genderfluid people was bullying by Transitioning and/or Transitioned Trans* people.
Transitioning and/or Transitioned Trans* people have unfortunately on past occasions personally attacked or ostracized people whose gender and/or gender expression varies in a more complex pattern than the MTF or FTM sigmoid. This has affected some e.g. GenderFluid people, Cross-Dressers and Non-binary people.
But the previous article points out that there is a substantially wider variety of Trans* people. And whether they are Out or not and how they express themselves is a matter partly of personal choice and partly due to immense prejudices in other parts of their life that some so-judging them had no inkling of. So, for now, thankfully, some Trans* people excluding other Trans* people for being different in further ways from them has come to an end around this city, and were any of that to happen again in isolated incidents, it would be inexcusable.
Some context to this is that some Non-Binary, Cross-Dressers and Genderfluid people were called 'fakers' or 'not proper Trans People'- a common occurrence some years ago even in elsewise 'liberal' uni campuses. The big picture is to spot in this case is that this was just another iteration of erasure. Similar has happened many times before. (Gay communities not tolerating Lesbian people especially before the 90's. LG communities not accepting Trans* people to be present in some places prior to 2008, and calling Bi people similar erasive expletives up to a somewhat later date... And further parallels outside of LGBT, e.g. Leather BDSM people ostracizing Switches in the 80's. Grey-Ace erasure. Erasure of the possibility Survivors existed in large numbers at uni or in life in general...) So the big picture is that any kind of erasure is wrong.
So is any kind of monopolistic demand ('we are the only group of this kind allowed, *and* we don't permit *list of subsets of said people, more broadly interpreted*').
Perhaps the main points here should be that "erasure is bad". And that "an existing group might consider leaving itself open to further would-be members being allowed to contribute to the ongoingly defined scope of the group". For, indeed, while many of the above erasures have stopped :) and are widely acknowledged to be wrong, there is little evidence that erasure of hitherto less known groups of people has stopped :|
Our final point is that some of the above erasures (and others) were quite often conducted by activist groups which 'though this was right at the time'. This means that, at least traditionally, there are such things as 'bullied by activist groups on campus' and 'bullied out of activist groups on campus'. Some Anactivists, then, used to be Activists who were bullied out of Activist groups. And are consequently Conscientious Objectors to such as erasue - of any group, regardless of whether it is known yet, let alone 'legally protected'. Some of these, and further of those affected hitherto, have had a long time here, preparing for some future decade, even. In which it would actually be safe to write an internet article about GenderFluid people. Some of those who showed us how to do what we do here were themselves badly affected by erasive bullying for some, or even a significant portion of, of our lives. And today we thank them, for helping us compile these resources here. It ought to now go without saying that erasing people with *any* kind of Dysphoria is a terrible thing, and we here won't condone any such thing within our own safer space turf of CakeFaerie-ville. None the less, we end with a :) , and, for sure, at least those of us dealing with this document forgive they as who harmed us back when they somehow thought 'that was right'.
VII. Age Dysphoria
So a person with Age Dysphoria may for instance have an emotional age and/or an intellectual age that do not align with their biological age. For instance, a child prodigy might arrive at university with an intellectual age of 30. Or might arrive aged 16 in an environment not thought out for people under the age of 18 (E.g. alcohol based socials, and we also hear that 15-year old students, while very rare, were not allowed to even live in college.) They might arrive here emotionally and biologically 18 but with an intellectual age of 30.
As another example, some Survivors Freeze in emotional age as part of the trauma of their attack. So, say, if attacked when aged 18, they might still be emotionally 18 when they finish their PhD. Many of the insecurities of Freshers will be with them year after year. They'll lose friends as these grow up and cease to find this person fair company :| They may be laid into for "not adapting to departmental life" by individuals that have no idea they're actually badly hurting a Survivor with Traumatic Age Dysphoria. They *may well try to take their own lives* once they can no longer Pass as their emotional age, or when a society they used to love gets taken over by grad-bashing bullies who say "no grads here and/or no Ex-Cam people". This is particularly acute when only one society had ever accepted them in the first place; they can't just find another one to go to instead.
So. Like Trans*, Age Dysphoria has a notion of Passing. It also has a counterpart of a person having multiple genders: multiple ages. It also has an associated high rate of suicidal ideation, especially in the face of things one has no control over. Much as puberty can be devastating to Trans people, aging can be devastating to a person with Age Dysphoria. While one can have surgery to look younger, this is not freely available unlike gender reassignment surgery. It also moreover would have to be topped up: geneder reassignement is permanently maintainable, while surgery to look 25 and thus pass as being 20 patently is not. Unlike Trans*, essentially no people with Age Dysphoria are Out. Age Dysphoria implies that ageist bullying can be as devastating to an already suicidal group of people as gender-based bullying is unto Trans* people (whether Out or not). A person with Age Dysphoria can moreover both be rejected by their biological age peers for being "emotionally immature" or "intellectually advanced" while at the same time being rejected socially by peers of the same emotional age, and/or by peers of the same intellectual age.
As such, discrimination based on age or occupation (including whether one is at a uni and with what "rank") can be profoundly damaging.
There being at least one place this does not occur is a major part of the mission statement of the Sheila and her Dog Society. Subsequently, the rest of these Safer Spaces here (CakeFaeries, Waterfighting) adopted this measure as one of their own important rules and tenets in 2004. Aside from being another ugly kind of unncessary bullying, and in this case supported by monopolistic normativities. (Does "the committee must all be current students bar the senior treasurer who must be a fellow" ring any bells?). The existence of safer spaces not discriminating on grounds of age or occupation (including membership of whatever university with whatever rank) is crucial for the wellbeing of those with Age Dysphoria. % >ho both have many other difficulites on their plate and are disproportionately affected by ageist bullying, much as Trans* people are by sexist bullying.
Thanks for reading.
VIII. Species Dysphoria
Some people identify as Cats, Dogs, Horses, Birds, Mice...
Some go into physical shock well known to Trans* people from prior to Transitioning. For Trans* people, such corresponds to 'being in the wrong body' at that point or having/not having such as breasts or the non-corresponding genitalia, or out of, say, seeing their unshaven face or their hairless chest, or out of some feelings being expressed in totally the wrong voice. Such can be the root cause of social anxiety, depression, an unwillingness to appear in person or be seen in person by people one has met online. Well, guess what. Some people have similar and likewise greatly debilitating shocks and anxieties out of not having a tail. Or whiskers. These people additionally have to contend with medical disbelief, and public ridicule if anyone unsavoury were to find out.
Indeed, much as LGBT people can be badly hurt by being Outed, some, say, Mouse People have had their lives ruined by being Outed as a Mouse :| If a bully knows they can hurt someone by using derogatory words for cat or dog of them say, then they can often do so in public with nobody being the wiser. Some people who have experienced both this and sexist bullying while Closet Trans have the following to say. "There wasn't much difference between the amount of hurt each caused. We were humiliated in public, made to run from rooms with tears in our eyes and weren't even able to say why to whatever sympathetic onlookers there may have sometimes been. My whole college became a no-go zone for me, and they started [redacted animal noises] at me in lectures."
A few such people do have surgery or body modification accordingly, but many don't or daren't. While anti-aging surgery isn't available on the NHS even if a person has Age Dysphoria, some body modification has the added feature of highly unregulated in a bad way (as in rogue tattoo artists or body piercing parlours as opposed to surgeons).
Many people with Species Dysphoria are content to use dress and accessories in place of surgery, or aren't content but make do in such a manner. Some use species-pronouns among sufficiently tolerant company. Cessation of Transexual people bullying Transvestite people therefore has some significance as regards the potential acceptance of such as Mouse, Cat or Bird persons :)
Moreover, not all who sometimes or even often bear the dress or accessories of an animal have Species Dysphoria. In Japan, for many decades, wearing animal ears regularly has been done as a manner of expressing one or both of Social Anxiety or Approachability by those with Social Anxiety. Some might, say, prefer to squeak or neigh or bleat to opening a conversation conventionally, or might default to mewling or quacking when they don't know what to answer, perhaps out of panicking or out of needing to buy time. The Dr Slump Cartoon character Pisuke, from the 1980's, always wears cat ears and this is attributed to Social Anxiety issues. While he's never been known to mewl (at least in TV versions), he is seen as a symbol of not complete invisibility to those who either have Species Dysphoria or use animal clothing or accessories as a means of helping to cope with Social Anxiety.
The End. Thanks for reading.
P.S. Some people who cross-dress in the context of conscientious objectors to surgery, wish to express support here to those who dress as a cat, say, acknowledging that this has comparable value to some people. "Identify as what you please" they say. "Don't let anyone tell you some characteristics have to be more important than others. How one rates one's own characteristics as regards important is personal, and you're welcome to apply it to yourself as you please."
P.P.S. The management says: identify as whatever you please, including what you in your own case regard as being subsets of other things or not. Just don't impose such considerations on others, who may have a different understanding of what is a subset of what.
Point of order: Aces who consider their own Aceness to be part of LGBT+(extended) live harmoniously here with those who consider their own Aceness to have nothing to do with any extended LGBT+ spectrum.
And how dressing up as a cat, say, has similar value to some people.
P.P.P.S. Another of us comments that some of how Transitioned and Transitioning people bullied Transvestites in the 2000's applies similiarly to people who present as a Cat by dressing up. To me, how one presents is a fundamental freedom, and any "class system" based on the permanence or stage of advancement of how one presents is just another variant on normative oppression. It may be that places which accepts Transvestities as equals rather than as 'second-class citizens, if at all' - a situation much more like 2016 than 2008, say - is one where Cat persons and people with Age Dysphoria will feel, and be, safer.
IX. Some useful general points in understanding this webpage
Our people learned long ago that the problems one hears about depend on the following.
A) Approachability: of which the persons with the big issues, and not groups or institutions claiming to be helpful to all people under whatever circumstances, are the sole judges.
B) On the actual and perceived safety and security standards of those institutions, most very specifically in relation to the following.
a) The insidious hacking, lying, infiltrating, threatening, and other harmfulness and underhanded 'resourcefulness' of these people's abusers (and of those abusers' facilitators). Which, when said abusers and/or facilitators have Cambridge or ex-Cambridge levels of 'intelligence and/or ambition and/or connections' are usually taken to be astronomically high :|
b) People whose lives would de facto be ruined by an accidental Outing.
Of course, A) and B) aren't independent. Many people in great difficulty don't find elsewise helpful services approachable because of their combination of mandatorily making records and not knowing anything like the full extent of how intelligent/ambitious/connected/ruthless abusers operate, by which those records aren't kept securely enough. And/or because their difficulties are the kinds of things which trigger certain organizations' non-confidentiality clauses.
A common model brought up at this point is that if a person is silent because their abuser is powerful, well, many such abusers also heavily outpower the company in question's HR. By which the HR is either left unable to do anything effective, or is recruited by the high-level bully CEO, say, tacitly to find out who's complaining about their bullying so as to know who to fire, 'legally' threaten etc. We leave it to your own devices to imagine how and where this might apply other than in the context of a toxic company's work environment ...
X. Another group's recommended basics
Think in bands:
I) what's widely known, respected, legally protected, reps are trained in and welfare services provide for.
II) what the uni's activists campaign for, such as Non-Binary.
III) The badges on the CakeFaeries' webpage not covered by I or II, e.g. Closeted versions, Avoidant Survivors, Non-Normative Survivors, the Bullied, discrimination on grounds of Age or Occupation.
(Also, some such as Kink, Poly, Genderfluid may get occasional mention in II's activities, just probably not as much as our 'General (In)Visibility and Education Network' (GIVEN) covers, since we deal with all those that don't have their own explicit stuff elsewhere.) And these methods, common to many Aces (but not just), have been known to us here for many years by a word that we only dared put on the internet after you were elected.
The CakeFaeries are a GIVEN: a General-purpose (In)Visibility and Education Network. Covering all consensual and legal peoples (a concept that is much broader than the 'legally protected' peoples).
IV) Our own feedback and surveys to date indicate that there are *three great directions* beyond what we currently provide badges and specific awareness pages for. i) The first is a stratification of Mental Health issues by practical stigmas of the life-crippling variety. So for instance, if one is Out about having Schizophrenia, Bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder, then virtually no employer in the current world will ever hire you. In fact, it would appear that from Borderline upwards, virtually no medical profession individual in this country is even willing to pronounce a diagnostic of the condition. They may be viewing pronouncing that as a career risk and/or as the effective destruction of the patient's life.
On another axis of oppression, people who are Out about e.g. having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive) are known to be subjected to vigilante attacks by thugs falsely claiming that the person is a paedophile. (Nor is it solely Mental Health people who are targetted in such a manner by thugs and ostracizers and 'social cleansers'. Some decades ago, such thugs felt they could get away with targetting LBGT people in the same manner. Those now being legally protected, some such thugs' attention has turned instead to people with OCD and to Pan people :|)
So some examples of people and/or adversities faced that you may not have seen or considered at all are Students Closeted about having, or thinking they have, such as Bipolar or Schizophrenia. Who aren't willing for this info to ever find its way into the hands of their college or (any prospective) employer.
ii) The second Great Axis of the Currently Unrecognized is General Dysphoria.
Gender Dysphoria is by now well-acknowledged, while essentially no understanding for, compassion for, or welfare resources for, other types of Dysphoria exist.
To the above discussion of Age Dysphoria, we add
- The Ratio Problem: it is very hard in some ways to be intellectually 40 and emotionally sixteen (whatever figure between these numbers one's biological age is).
- Other cases involve a different trauma or development. Some 'had to grow up' at the moment of being orphaned or of a dear parent becoming terminally ill, and this may have accelerated their age or split their age. These people have a lot of issues that, with all due respect, you're probably not aware of.
- As regards how ageist bullying is around as dangerous to people with Age Dysphoria as transphobic bullying is to Trans* people (for whom dangerous here quite explicitly includes that 40% are at some point suicidal). Let's consider what a person feels like in third year when all their third year friends have abandoned them for still 'acting like a Fresher'. Moreover some people with Age Dysphoria don't consent to being aged by such as featuring on Class Lists, or employment forms having date of birth as a compulsory box to fill in, under "certification that all info provided is correct".
- To the discussion that, say being a Mouse Person is a matter of coping with Social Anxiety for some, we add that "pressure to keep on saying 'funny', 'cool', 'smart'... things each time they wish to approve of something (or not)" is thus removed. So some people squeak, mewl, bark... instead.
- To Species Dysphoria, we add that The parallels with presenting gender cause further issues, such as who one is Out to as a Mouse. Some might eg only feel OK wearing a tail but only be Out to a small group of people. And so can only wear a tail when with just members of that group in a private place behind a locked door.
Species Dysphoria people have, amongst other big issues, the following.
- Many people erase them, or treat them as a joke, or presume it's 'a sexual perversion' when in fact it isn't. (Compare how a lot of people used to presume that being Trans was a 'public display of sexual perversion' :|).
They can be as badly affected by being Outed as a Trans person, say. And have no recourse to any rep or law or campaign to get people tormenting them with public revelations about their being, say, a Pony or a Tiger, to stop it. Though, obviously, if you recall our safer space rules, within our own groups "people are upset if they say they are and without having to say why, with apologies and non-repeats expected". So at ours, such individuals are safe from these things. But elsewhere, they are very largely not.
Our final point is that plenty of people don't Consent to their Dysphoria being classed as 'a Mental Health condition'. C.f. how homosexuality used to be 'classified' as a such, with some people even subjected to 'corrective therapy' for it against their will.
As to Dysphoria not being morally such a thing either in the opinion of plenty of people experiencing it, this quite clearly isn't just the feeling of some empowered Trans groups in the regard of Gender Dysphoria. It applies as well to those who experience other kinds of Dysphoria as well, such as the Age and Species Dysphorias mentioned above.
While Gender Dysphoria appears to be more common than other Dysphorias, there are many other Dysphorias (whether or not recognized by the gatekeeper medical profession). It remains plausible that some such's frequency is masked by the combination of being even more stigmatized and having no 'legally protected status'.