Hidden assumptions

Content warnings:


“I can always tell when someone is trans” is a statement I hear a lot from people.

And, I’m not even gonna challenge that statement here, because I wanna focus on something else. I don’t think anyone can clock everyone who is trans, but that’s not what that statement really is about. That statement has an hidden assumption, and I keep seeing that assumption going unchallenged, while the surface falsehood of the statement gets debunked. And every time someone debunks “I can always tell when someone is trans”, by pointing at people who “pass” incredibly well, and well… HA person got dunked on, claiming to be able to clock these incredibly conventionally attractive trans people, everyone can see that’s bullshit.

But even in that debunking, that underlying assumption is perpetuated and unchallenged. So today, dear transphobe. You win. I’m going to take you at your word, you can clock me, and every single trans person. You don’t make a single mistake, be it clocking a cis person as trans accidentally, or failing to clock a single trans person. Good job on your superhuman transdar, I’m impressed!

So, my next question is, “so what?”. You can tell who’s trans and who’s not. Why is that important in the first place? Why is the fact that trans people aren’t indistinguishable from cis people a problem in the first place? Are only people who are completely “unclockable” as trans, valid trans people? Is your argument that, since there are no unclockable trans people, there can’t be any valid trans people, because in order to be a valid trans person, you have to be unclockable?`

I wholeheartedly disagree. We’ve tried segregation before different marginalized group, same concept, what happens is that marginalized people get hurt, and the bigots in the majority look bad in the history books. I don’t wanna get hurt, and you probably don’t wanna get remembered as a bigoted asshat.

See, the problem here is the same one it always is, with marginalized people. Hate and fear. You, dear transphobe, hate us, and scream about how dangerous we are. Us. Who just wanna live our bloody lives, and feel comfortable when we pee. Have access to legal protection from violence and hate in the workplace that can make it hard for trans people to keep their jobs. We’re not the ones going out killing people. You are. Trans panic defense is a thing. Violence when you clock us is a thing. Oh right, back to clocking. See, we know we’re not always invisible. Many of us wish we were. But here’s the thing:

Us not being invisible isn’t a threat to you, it’s a threat to us.

We’re the ones at danger, not you. That person, who would’ve debunked your argument about being able to always tell when someone is trans, that “passing” person? That person is as unlikely to hurt or harm you as the non-passing persons you’re claiming all of us are. Just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean they’re dangerous.


Just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean they’re dangerous. Me, just now

What have I heard that applied to before? Oh right

Black lives fucking matter.
Trans lives fucking matter.
And, especially
Black trans lives fucking matter.

You fear those who look like the “out group”, you deny the existence of those you can’t detect, and while most of us are busy debunking the claim that those you can’t detect doesn’t exist, I wanna focus on the “bigger picture” issue. Those of us you can detect, are no more dangerous than those you can’t. So stop screwing us over.

– Linn