Teela's innermost thoughts and outermost appearance.

CW: lots of swears, lots of terfs

(A quick aside on the word terf because I’m going to use it about a thousand times. It’s not a slur. Here’s a doctor telling us why it’s not)

Ok, so there have been some really shitty things going on at the Pride Center of the Capital Region in Albany, NY. Full disclosure, I volunteer there and facilitate our Trans Pride events that meet twice monthly. Now, the Exec Director of the Center is one Martha Harvey and she took it upon herself to post an article on the Center’s public FB page. Here is the article that was posted with the caption: Interesting article. What do you think?

Lesbianism is Under Attack!!!

Of course the post was taken down rather quickly after a massive outcry from the local trans community. Now, mind you, this is on a public page for the organization of which she is the director. An organization that is supposed to support ALL the letters (LGBTQI) of our queer little corner of the world. And the ED posts an article that denigrates trans women for existing and basically poses our existence as a debate to be had. Terfs take the stance that trans people existing is just one side of the coin because if some think we don’t exist than obviously we can post bs like this under the banner of  ‘healthy debate’

Let’s take the article for a second. I must say that having read a bunch of articles like this in the past it pretty much follows the terf template for writing. First talk about how lesbians have been and are being discriminated against. Ok, that’s bad. I agree that’s a really shitty thing and am completely against it. Then wade into deeper waters describing some awful patriarchal practice. This time ‘corrective rape’. Ok, that’s really fucking bad. Heinous. I am so against that. Then get to the ‘fun’ part where all of a fucking sudden. Right after describing the horrors of corrective rape they bring up trans women. Here is the exact segue from the article:

Article 1

I see what you did there lol. (hint: trans women are the bullies) It continues:

Article 2Video

Seriously this is such a bait and switch and a great example of terfiness while writing: Base your entire argument on what a couple of trans women post on the internet and a Cosmo think piece. Pretty scientific, right? Also did you see that little jab in there? Riley’s in a relationship with a cis woman “which you’d be forgiven for assuming is simply a hetero sexual relationship”. This is the terf party line, misgender us, mis-interpret us, and cast doubt on our very existence. Now, let’s look at the entire quote from Riley J. Dennis and see if she actually is advocating that “lesbians must have sex with trans women!”

RJD Vlog Quote 1

First off let’s point out that Riley says ‘if the fact that some lesbians might be attracted to these women offends you’ Ok, that’s kind of an important point. It’s as if she isn’t telling anyone to have sex with anyone and that she’s saying ‘Hey, let some lesbians like trans girls if they want’. It seems as if Riley is alluding that trans women exist, we are women, and maybe we should just examine how and why overarching sentiments like ‘all trans women are making lesbians have sex with them’ are completely untrue and really, really harmful to the trans community.

Let’s take a quick look at how Riley finishes her vlog post. I don’t think this made the article lol.

RJD Vlog Quote 2

It’s like she’s just sticking up for trans girls and not trying to make anyone do anything. I’m going to sum this up in a very glib fashion but I think the entire point of her post is: Hey, maybe y’all shouldn’t go out of your way to be such assholes to us. Pretty simple, right?

Literally the only point of all of the gender critical writing I’ve seen is to deny the existence of trans people. Trans women aren’t women because we’re ‘men in dresses with a fetish’. Trans men aren’t men because ‘they’re just lesbians tricked by the patriarchy’ and non-binary people don’t exist because sweet mother of everything that’s holy ‘WTF is a non-binary?’ That’s it. That’s all it’s about.

Let’s get back to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. A day after the article was taken down we got this fauxpology:



terf 1a

Ok, sounds conciliatory, right? I mean it’s a ‘growth opportunity’ right? I guess my first thought though is that if you’re ED of the Pride Center you should probably understand more about the trans community than ‘what terfs think’. And as the ED how did you think that was a good idea to post that article in the name of debate? And Martha, my existence as a trans woman is not up for debate.

A couple of other quick things about the fauxpology: She did not make herself available and pretty much locked herself in her office after the incident. And I have on good authority that when she was pressed by members of the trans community she WOULD NOT even say ‘trans women are women’ Like she flat out refused to go that far. And this is the woman who is supposed to be looking out for my best interests? WTF?

And that’s when the terfs came at us.


Well not after me personally but terfs from far and wide heard about this incident and decided to show their support for Martha in their usual polite and even handed fashion but we’re not going to get into that.

Let’s just say that comment spamming is done by all groups when they get worked up enough. Be ye terf or trans, Yankees or Red Sox, at some point there is a pile up of insults and insinuations in the comments section of any purposely provocative article and subsequent facebook posts linking to said article. This one is no different and terfs came en masse to chastise the evil trans folks who are well within our rights to demand that Martha Harvey resign. This is not unusual and I’m not going to dwell on what some (all?) terfs think about us. Their vitriol is palpable but it’s also very boring so there’s really nothing new to talk about here. However, when certain commenters are part of the story, say a member of the Board of Directors of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, I think we can dig a little deeper and see if there is an underlying current of ‘not giving a fuck about trans people’ that permeates the Center. Well let me tell you, Cynthia Bott is one such member.


PC Board.PNG


terrf 6

Actually her comments are seemingly not that incendiary and it truly seems as if she is trying to add an air of intellectualism and mediate calm but let’s dig a bit deeper. Knowing that the article in question, ‘Trans Women Are Evil for No Other Reason Than I Hate Them Because I Said So’ (I think that’s the title lol, but really it’s Lesbianism is Under Attack etc. etc.), is pretty much entirely based on one quote taken completely out of context from a trans woman’s vlog and one single tweet from another trans woman and Cosmo. This article has been completely debunked (see above). I think we can safely say that no trans woman said ‘I’m going to make all lesbians have sex with huge wangs’. Ever.

Cynthia has decided to frame this whole mess into a debate where everyone ‘has a voice’ and that ‘we (must) make a space for everyone in the community’? Actually it sounds ok, right? Like why wouldn’t I want all voices heard? I’m an open minded Midwestern girl. I like hearing what others experience. However, what if the starting point for these debates is whether or not I exist? Kind of puts the onus on me, doesn’t it? Like I’m pretty sure I’m trans, I’m a woman, and I exist. And I’m pretty sure the rest of the LGBTQI community exists so why do I have to listen to others that don’t think I exist in the name of ‘community’?  Shall we just start debating about a flat Earth? Fake Moon landings (ooooh that’s a good one)? Should we start giving Nazis a platform at an ACLU convention?

This may seem like hyperbole but seriously I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PROVE MY EXISTENCE TO ALL Y’ALL! All the latest science (science-y stuff) (more science-y stuff) and countless personal anecdotes prove that trans people exist and we are the gender we say we are. All this truth is out there and some just choose not to believe it. Which, honestly, I couldn’t give a shit about. I don’t care if you, noble reader, think I exist or not. What I do care about is that at the Pride Center of the Capital Region, a center that is supposed to welcome me with open and accepting arms. A Pride Center I’ve dedicated precious time to and have met many wonderful people of all genders and orientations. This Pride Center just made me an other. Martha Harvey made me an other because she posted that article. Terfs have made me an other because, frankly, that’s what terfs do. I sit here not knowing what to do next because the official line of the Pride Center is: We don’t believe you.

I do understand how some on the outside may think ‘It’s just one little article. Martha made a mistake and apologized. What’s the big deal’? Well the only thing I can say to that it is a big deal. As the executive director of an organization whose mission statement includes …to promote the well being of all lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, and queer identified people and those affected by discrimination based on gender identity and expression… and then is flabbergasted by the outcry after she posts some shitty terfy article? Like how did she get the job in the first place? If I was the Surgeon General and I posted an article entitled ‘Smoking: Is it Really Bad? on the official surgeon general website I should probably get fired, right? It’s the incompetence of just posting that article that should make us think that Martha is probably not right for the job. Like even if she totally believes all this terfy nonsense shouldn’t she have the sense not to post that article on the Center’s FB page. This wasn’t posted on some personal blog or on her own facebook it was The Pride Center’s facebook. Is the whole idea of terfs denying trans people’s existence completely new to you, Martha? Was that the first terfy article you’ve ever read? Because let me tell you, there’s A LOT more where that came from.

So no matter what I’m going to keep fighting for my community. I’m going to keep fighting for my right to exist. I’m going to keep fighting for everyone’s right to self identify. And I really hope this fight includes the Pride Center as one of our allies because if not we have a lot farther to go than I thought.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe out there.

-Teela Jewel Wild

Hey All. Hope everyone out there is having a great spring. It is a time of rebirth and growth but mostly it’s an end to winter which, if you live in northern climes, means ‘holy shit we can go outside once again and it doesn’t hurt’!

Anyway I’ve had an interesting past couple of weeks to say the least. The job I currently have includes travel. And by travel I mean throughout the United States even though thus far I’ve only been sent to the south. In January I was sent to bumfuck Louisiana and these past two weeks I was sent to bumfuck Kentucky and bumfuck Alabama (I think there’s a theme starting here). Still waiting for my trips to Colorado and California. I guess this brings me to personal feelings that I can’t say that I’m proud of but feel somewhat justified in believing. Basically I dislike, am afraid of, and am fairly prejudiced against the southeastern U.S. Now I can’t pretend that this feeling is completely unfounded, at least for this non-passing trans girl from the north. But the south is less educated and much more red (republican) than most of the country. And I’m not talking your run of the mill fiscal conservative republicans. I’m talking the crazy right wing nutjobs that want to turn ‘Merica into a theocracy. Although I don’t think they see it that way because ‘CONSTITUTION’! Mind you the proto theocracy they already have going is only building momentum and does not like people like me. In fact, my people are now number one on the enemies list. Mostly because they have almost completely lost the culture war and gay marriage is legal in Mississippi for christ’s sake. Gay marriage didn’t go their way so the next goal of the wacko right is to basically erase the existence of trans people. Although they seem much more interested in trans girls as opposed to trans guys. They seem to have a huge disconnect in realizing that trans guys even exist but that’s a topic for another post. (Note: I am not writing that particular post because it’s so out of my wheelhouse) I think most all of the trans community has heard of the latest round of ‘bathroom bills’ being approved around the south. The bills that are touting what a HUGE problem trans girls are in bathrooms. I mean I know when I go I always try to flush loads and loads of tp down each toilet. Take that janitorial staff! But seriously the right (and here I’m talking about official republican party line) does not want the ‘trans menace’ to spread any further. Never mind the opinions of the AMA, APA, England’s NHS, and honestly several more professionally recognized organizations that all state that gender dysphoria is real, cannot be changed, and can be treated by allowing the person access to hormones, surgeries, and legal rights to live as the gender they know they truly are. I know, crazy right? It’s like they want to us to be treated like actual people. Getting back to my main point here is that my prejudices are somewhat founded but still I really try not to judge people until I have interacted with them personally.

So that being said how did my latest southern odyssey play out? Meh, about how I expected. Now keep in mind that I didn’t really present very femme much of the time. Mostly because when I work in the field it’s full Personal Protective Equipment which includes hard hat and steel toed boots and I also wear old work jeans (which are women’s but it’s not that obvious apparently) and long sleeves at all times. The sleeves are not required but I need to protect my arms from the sun, mostly because I like to wear tank tops in the summer and I don’t need tanned arms to go with ghostly white shoulders. Not a good look. The field is one thing. I expect that. I know how I look. I have a pretty good feeling how an un-femmed me appears to others (hint: like a boy). So I try to prepare myself for this. And honestly I really don’t interact much with the locals when I’m on site. I’m not the field lead and have no interest in socializing at all so I have very little need to talk to them which I think works out for all of us. The field is one thing. My main concern with these trips is my time spent away from the field.

This trip was no different and, as I thought, I ended up spending most of my free time in the hotel. But I did have to venture out at least a little bit. I couldn’t get delivery every night especially since the delivery ‘options’ were crappy pizza chain, crappy pizza chain, and crappy pizza chain. So getting out and about is where my fragile psyche really took a beating. I mean I wasn’t wearing makeup but I still had on larger purple glasses (girlish), skinny jeans (girlish), long hair down (girlish), and girly colored trainers or flip flops clearly showing off painted toe nails (girlish). I really tried to steel myself against all the he’s and sirs that I would receive and that was pretty much all I heard. I was hoping at least a couple (or even one) people would address me as female but that did not happen. I think the worst one was the hotel clerk who had just seen my ID. My ID with ‘Teela Wild’ on it along with a big ‘F’ for female. So she hands my ID back to me and without missing a beat says ‘thank you, sir’. BLARGHHHHHHHH! Seriously?

Generally the misgendering occurred along with some really nasty looks. Now, I’m fairly used to the stares. Or if not stares than the eyes of people lingering a bit too long trying to figure me out but I got those and then some when I was out in the south. I mean really nasty hateful glances. Maybe it’s in my own head. Maybe it’s not. And in a nutshell that was pretty much it. No one (and I mean no one) addressed me as female. It’s hard not to be a bit down after that. It’s hard not to feel that I just went back to square one with this whole transition thing. I mean I know what I look like. I know what I sound like. But I also know what I am and not being addressed correctly by any stranger takes a toll that I thought I could handle but really had a lot of difficulty dealing with. But I made it through. I even got to have dinner with a twitter friend on the way back home so getting out and being myself for that one evening made a world of difference. And then I got back home late the next night and I realized just how comfortable home can be. And how my life in Upstate New York is about a million times better than anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line that I’ve been. And how I still try to give all people that I encounter the benefit of the doubt but also knowing that there are many out there that hate me for just existing. And, honestly, really happy that I wasn’t born in one of these bumfuck towns because who the hell knows where I would be right now? Probably not living as openly trans that’s for sure. Alright, that’s enough of my The South bashing. I know a lot of great folks that live down there and there are good and bad people everywhere so I probably shouldn’t be so narrow minded about their perceived narrow mindedness. I guess.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe out there.

Teela Jewel Wild

Me vs. The Mirror

There is a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time now. It seems to be a subject that is very important to a lot of us girls that were assigned male at birth and went through a masculinizing puberty. If I’m being perfectly honest it’s a subject that’s very important to me. As I say this I must concede that although it is a subject that concerns many a trans girl the very mention of it can cause us discomfort and strife. This topic deals with the acceptance of our own appearance (by ourselves and by others) in a cis normative expecting society. The concept commonly known as ‘passing’. I’m sure we all have our own definitions for it but I always consider it as looking as cis as possible in a trans body. Anyone who frequents almost any of the myriad of trans themed Facebook groups has inevitably come across the posts of a photo with the words ‘Do I pass’ written above it. Reactions to these posts are mixed. Of course there are a lot of supportive folks out there with many responses of ‘Of course!!! You’re so cute!!!’ On the other hand there is a segment of people that find the very concept of passing or trying to pass as being untrue to ourselves as trans people and they state that these posts are ridiculous and help no one. I must admit that I personally get quite annoyed by these posts but the reason is more of envy as I often think the person pictured looks better than I do. They look more ‘passable’. And this usually sends me into a bit of a downward spiral that rotates around ‘AHHHH other girls are so good looking why can’t that be me’ and ‘AHHHHH I freaking hate you with every envious cell in my body because you’re so much better looking’. And believe me, I have A LOT of envious cells. I wish this wasn’t the case and I know it’s my own problem but it’s a problem I’ve been dealing with a long time and never seem to get anywhere with changing it.

I have often asked myself why this is? Why should I care? I can’t do anything about it in my current situation and I have some positive qualities that I see when I look in the mirror. But it is always there. This doubt. This profound discomfort with how I perceive myself and how I am perceived by others. I always see my past self staring back at me and sometimes, not all the time but enough, it puts me on course to depression. I usually successfully stave this off temporarily but the doubt is always there and it’s always a struggle. Now, there is something that can be done about this. It’s a medical procedure that is commonly called Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) and it is a drastic step. And it’s very expensive. And not covered by insurance (as the amount of ‘GO FUND MY FFS’ pages can attest). And sometimes it is more successful than others. But still I would jump at the chance of getting this procedure myself. I think to myself that I don’t need very much done but I do have some specifics that I would want to get taken care of. My nose should be thinner. My jawline softer. A few other smaller tweaks as well but let’s not go crazy. That’s mainly what I’m thinking when I stare at myself and that boy is looking back at me. But people tell me I’m fine. I’m sure some of the girls reading this are like ‘Shut up. You look fine. Quit bitching’. While other girls will be like ‘Phew. I’m glad I’m not her’. And a myriad of thoughts and feelings in between. I used to think that I wanted to look more feminine just for how others would see me and treat me but I have realized it goes much deeper than that. It has become a very personal desire. Something that I want to do for myself. I want to see that girl in the mirror. But then the reality hits. It costs thousands of dollars that I don’t have. It is major surgery and takes weeks of recovery and I can’t take that time off. My partner is just fine with how I look and dissuades me whenever I start talking about it.

But always that nagging desire. So what am I to do? Keep wallowing in my own pity? I mean I get out and live my life. Most people in public don’t pay me any more or less attention because I’m trans. Some may even not even know that I’m trans, although that’s probably just from a quick glance. I have never thought of myself as ‘passable’ but I really try to blend in as best I can and why shouldn’t that be enough for myself? Why can’t I start to look in the mirror and see the positives? Maybe a blast of positivity is all I need. Maybe I should start believing people when they tell me I look good. Maybe I shouldn’t give it a second thought when I’m called ma’am or miss and think this person is just humoring me. This could be a new me. A new way of life. A whole new attitude. Give me that mirror. I look great! Everything is perfect. Why did I ever think differently? Except my nose could be thinner. And my jawline a bit softer. And……Ok, so who wants to pay for my FFS?

Thanks for reading. Stay safe out there.

Teela Jewel Wild

I’ve been wanting to write something about a subject for a while but it can be quite contentious. In fact I don’t want to specifically talk about this subject (being gender critical vs gender non‐critical) at all but I want to talk about people’s reactions and counter reactions to it, especially in the Twitterverse. First I should state that my personal feeling about having any kind of argument on Twitter is that it’s dumb. It seems too easy to respond to any statement with which one disagrees with a string of insults. It is too easy to hide behind an anonymous account. It doesn’t do anybody any good when people go back and forth in a forum where nobody is changing anybody else’s mind and absolutely nothing positive comes of it. Nobody wins in a Twitter war, people. But they happen. And sometimes I watch. And usually I really agree with one side but when the dust clears nobody is the wiser. It seems in the trans community that this type of discourse can be common. Now believe me, as a trans woman myself there are many sites and subjects that I avoid like the plague. Mostly because the vitriol surrounding topics concerning one of the most discriminated against minorities, trans folks and ESPECIALLY trans folks of color, is ramped up to hyperbolic proportions on both sides. Very few conversations that I’ve seen among trans people and those who disagree/don’t believe in our very existence end in any way but a negative. I guess what I’m trying to get at with all this is that all of us should take a step back and if possible not participate in discussions where we know nothing positive is going to come out of it.

There are several articles that have been circulating lately really bringing to the forefront the view of the gender critical and the subsequent backlash to these writings. I’m not going to link to anything specific but you can find a lot of examples by searching terms like: ‘Gender Critical’ and ‘TERF’ which will generally reveal one side of the argument and searching these terms in combination with Transadvocate (or any other gender non‐critical trans author or publication) will reveal the other. It seems clear the divisiveness pretty much comes down to the legitimacy of trans women. This difference is basically what I want to focus on. We aren’t getting into the ‘politics of transgenderism’ here so let me state right now that I consider myself very gender non‐critical. I consider myself a woman. A trans woman but a woman all the same. That’s why the term ‘trans’ is an adjective. It describes the kind of woman I am. It is not one word: transwoman. It is two words: trans woman, with the noun and my existence being woman. I consider trans to be an umbrella term and I believe a person when they tell me how they experience gender and how they would like to be thought of and addressed. However, I have tried to understand the other side. I have tried to not over react to people who try to deny my right to identify. There is the term out there, TERF (which stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist), which is bandied about, mostly by the gender non‐critical trans folks to the point where many so called TERFs find the term a slur. Now, I’ve used this term before. I have also seen instances where it is used in such a way that it could maybe be construed as a slur. And in a spirit of letting people define their own lives, if some consider it a slur I will not refer to people by that term. The term that you have seen me use is gender critical (trans women =\= women) and gender non‐critical (trans women = women) these are very simplistic definitions but for the purposes of this piece it will work. Honestly I find these terms equal and descriptive about a person’s basic beliefs so even shortened to gender crit (non‐crit) I hope we can agree these are not offensive or a slur.

I guess this brings me along to the thing I want to talk about, People’s Personal Beliefs and the Ability to Define Our Own Existence. I am a true proponent of everybody thinking the way they want to think. Others can’t control the way others think anyway but suffice it to say we all have our own minds and use them the way we wish. For example, you can think that I’m not truly a woman. You can think that I’m mentally disturbed or some kind of predator (a predator tho? Really people? You don’t know me. 😉 ) and I can vehemently disagree with your thoughts but I can’t control you. My only recourse is to try to convey my thoughts on the subject and if I’m faced with your inability to believe in my existence or even worse, a string of vitriol and name calling, I end that conversation. But this brings me to the crux of my entire thought process here. Obviously there are many folks out there that don’t agree with each other, specifically in conversations about transness. But let’s just say, for simplicity’s sake, that we each believe the other thinks that way and we each believe we are not about to change the way the other thinks. At this point I think society takes over and politeness and even agreeing the other exists on a basic human level should come to the forefront. Let’s take me. As I have stated previously I consider myself a woman. In fact I know I’m a woman because my brain has been screaming that at me for as long as I can remember. But I know there are some, those that are gender critical, that do not think that about me. They don’t believe what I tell them and have their own belief system which is fine. But how can we both exist in a civil society without basically resorting to name calling? The one rule that I feel that everyone should follow is that when addressing a person of differing beliefs, in this case a trans person, one should use the pronouns and gender that they choose. One would address me as she and agree that I believe that I’m a woman and should call me as such. When not addressing me, or talking amongst their peers they can call me whatever the hell they want. But to my face and in any kind of public forum we should address each other how the addressee chooses. At the utmost not doing this, referring to me as male and he, could be construed as an act of aggression. At the very least, not doing this is rude. It’s very, very rude. And since we all live in a society we should at the very least respect all others to the point where one is not rude. I know this is probably very simplistic and even naïve of me to think that this will change anything but I think a basic level of etiquette that is agreed upon would be a good start. And really it’s only just the basic surface level of understanding and respect. But it’s definitely a start. And hopefully if I don’t use the term TERF and one addresses me with my correct gender and pronouns I’d probably listen to what the gender critical have to say. I mean you’re not going to change my mind or anything but civil discourse in itself is a noble goal.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe out there everyone.

Teela Jewel Wild (@TeelaWild)