Cis is the counterpart of trans.
When you’re called a boy at your birth, society sees you and your body as a man, and it feels right to you, then you’re a cis man.
If you were called a girl at your birth, society sees you and your body as a girl, but you know inside that you’re a man, then you’re a trans man.
When you’re called a boy at your birth, but you know inside that you’re a woman, then you’re a trans woman.
Some trans people don’t feel like a man and don’t feel like a woman. That’s called e.g. non-binary.
Some people don’t call themselves trans, instead, they say e.g. that they have a transition in their past.
A transition is the path that many trans people take to live in their inner gender – including e.g. hormone therapies, various surgeries, as well as the legal change of their first name and gender marker in their ID and other documents.
Some trans people don’t do all these transition steps. Some change nothing or only a few things about their bodies. It’s an individual choice. But every trans man is a man. Every trans woman is a woman – even without surgeries.
When your physical sex is by nature distinctly male or distinctly female. Endo is the counterpart of inter.
Physical sex is not distinctly male or female in some people. Sometimes, this is clear from birth, but sometimes, people don’t find out until puberty or later that their body has female and male sexual characteristics.
Some inter people live as men, some as women, some as both or neither.
Trans and inter is about gender and identity:
What is my gender? What do I want to be called by others?
This is not our sexual orientation! Everyone has a gender identity AND a sexual orientation:
A trans woman can be e.g. lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. A trans man can be e.g. gay, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. An inter person can be e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual.
That’s why e.g. gay / bisexual trans men want to go to gay events at Quälgeist – because they are men and are into men.
|Both of us authors are trans and endo, which is why we mostly talk about the life realities of trans people. If you want to know more about the situation of inter people in Europe, you can read on here: |
Organisation Intersex International Europe: https://www.oiieurope.org/standing-up-for-the-human-rights-of-intersex-people-how-can-you-help/
Experiences of trans people
You have probably experienced yourself that other people have judged or excluded you because you’re gay or because you love BDSM. Or that someone has made negative comments about your body: e.g. using “fat” as an insult instead of seeing that fat bodies are attractive!* That’s discrimination, because others don’t accept you the way you are.
|*For more info about fat shaming and fat positivity: https://loveisarainbow.com/blog/gay-men-fatphobia/ Podcast in German and English: https://www.largerliving.de/|
Discrimination is tied to violence: physical violence (e.g. getting beaten up or spat at), psychological violence (e.g. insults, exclusion from social groups), and structural violence (e.g. being disadvantaged in getting housing or a job, or being fired).
It’s also discrimination to be made invisible (e.g. when media only shows hetero couples and it’s claimed that lesbian / gay / trans / inter people shouldn’t be shown to children).
Discrimination harms us.
That’s also why Quälgeist exists: because we need a space where we’re safe from discrimination. Where we get to be the way we are.
Trans people often face discrimination in their everyday lives for being trans.
What often happens:
- Wrong names / pronouns (e.g. “he” instead of “she” for a trans woman) are being used. Often by mistake, sometimes on purpose.
- The inner gender is not accepted, instead someone e.g. says to a trans man “No, you are a woman, because you have a vulva / no penis”. Then, this man might not be allowed at a gay party because of physical features.
- Trans people are talked about as if they’re not “normal” – or e.g. as if trans men wouldn’t be “real” men.
- Intimate and uncomfortable questions get asked, e.g. about genitalia (“Have you had the surgery yet?”). Imagine a stranger asking you about your hemorrhoids. This is what this question feels like to trans people!
Many trans people feel uncomfortable in their body, they don’t like some of their body parts because they don’t fit in with their inner gender.
Because of that, e.g. trans men who haven’t had top surgery often wear a binder (a type of compression vest that makes the chest appear more flat). Without binder, they wouldn’t even show themselves in public.
Many trans people wouldn’t want to undress at all at a public play party, or only do so in a sheltered corner with their play partner.
Not all trans men feel uncomfortable in their body. Some feel good about how they are. But that only works if they aren’t being excluded or treated differently for how they look.
Even if most trans people don’t even want to get undressed publicly: knowing you don’t have the same rights as all other guests creates a feeling of not being welcome.
How can our discussion and parties be successful?
These things should be avoided in the discussions and at the parties, so trans people can feel welcome and safe.
Discrimination especially hurts when we’re in a place that’s supposed to feel like a safer space. At Quälgeist, everyone should feel good just the way they are: with their fetishes, their sexual orientation, their looks and their gender.
To make that happen, us trans people wish for:
- our gender being believed: when I say “I’m a gay man” then I am a man and I want to be welcome at a gay event.
- our gender not being reduced to our genitalia or physical features.
- listening to our voices and believing us when we tell you that something is discriminating against trans people. Mistakes can happen, but we can improve together for the future!
- all trans (and also inter) people are different. When another trans or inter person tells you something different about their life reality than we did, then they are right just as we are about our experiences!
By the way: It’s NOT trans discrimination that you’re not into genitalia that look like a vulva to you. What turns you on and what doesn’t is not something you can influence. Who you want to play with or have sex with is entirely your choice.
What matters is how you handle it!
At a public play party, there will always be people present who you’re not into, and you’ll see fetishes you don’t like. That’s ok, we’re sharing the space. You can look away and find play partners you’ll have fun with!
On the other hand, Quälgeist house rules include mutual consideration – nobody should behave in a way that disturbs other guests.
That means e.g. not waving your genitalia in someone’s face who doesn’t want you to. No matter what shape these genitalia have!
In 2017, the women lesbian trans community had an extensive discussion whether penises* were allowed to be visible at (so called “lesbian”) parties. This discussion was long and emotional, but it was important. On both sides, we got the feeling that people wished for a safer space, or else they couldn’t go to play parties any longer.
Following that, Honey & Spice had a rule for about a year: penises* couldn’t be visible everywhere, while vulvas* could be.
|*The words penis and vulva in this paragraph have an asterisk to signify that these words only describe what other people see from the outside. Trans people may describe their genitalia with other terms. Self definition is what counts!|
When we reflected on the impact of the new rule after some time, we found out:
- We lost a lot of trans women and their play partners, who were harmed by this rule. By treating them differently than other guests, the event became a place where many trans people didn’t feel welcome anymore.
- People who had argued against penises* being visible were still going to events which did not have a restrictive rule.
Because of these findings, Honey & Spice canceled the restrictive rule. We got a lot of positive feedback for that.
→ Unequal treatment leads to many trans people not feeling safe at Quälgeist and no longer coming to events. Economically, that means less paying guests!
→ Equal rights for everyone (in the target group of the respective party) gives everyone the chance to feel welcome. This way, we’re fulfilling the decision of the MoM that trans people are invited to Quälgeist events just like cis people!
This is our request to all: Let’s take the chance!
Changes can feel insecure and take time, but in the end, it usually shows that our worries did not come true. Instead, we create a better atmosphere for everybody.