Wait there cafabs who willing took testosterone who are talking about having had “testosterone poisoning”…
[Preface: I hear you and appreciate your experience is 100% valid. Also preface: I am AFAB genderqueer with no interest in medical interventions. I’m trying to explore this to better understand bad behavior so I can call it out.]
This is interesting to me because my historical associations with “testosterone poisoning” all relate to disparaging stereotypical cis men behaviors, such as violent jealousy, competitive pissing matches, and refusing to ask for directions. I think I first heard it when I was 10.
I’d assumed trans women were reclaiming the term to mean something useful and important. Google isn’t helping me out on this one either way; I’d love to have some background on whether it was reclamation or parallel evolution.
The problems I’ve seen with it in the cis context were people using it to justify or abdicate responsibility for destructive behaviors (the Men Can’t Help Themselves fallacy). Given only the OP quote, I’d have assumed trans men were buying into (and joking-not-joking about) that fallacy from cis culture and using T effects to justify bad behavior. Which is, in itself, some crap that needs to end.
Does that match the pattern you’ve been seeing or are they doing some more specific in context that makes it some totally totally gross attempt at camaraderie with trans women? (Because, wow, gross.)
Does ”But we are trans women” seem like flat-out back pedaling, or a continued insistence on T-based camaraderie?
I am asking for clarification so I can spot the patterns which I’m not in a position to otherwise see, and correct them when I spot them.
So, here’s the situation around that terms as I know it.
I don’t think I ever heard the phrase “testosterone poisoning” from anyone cis, growing up. Maybe someone used it around me, but it sure didn’t feature prominently or have any meaning that I was aware of.
I first encountered it among trans women. It was a way of expressing our deep discomfort with the way having an endocrine system full of T *feels* to us — which is kind of hard to describe, because it’s probably not analogous to any other group’s experience of the same thing (some people love it, after all, and most folks who have it more or less don’t even think about it). “I can’t wait to cure this case of testosterone poisoning,” says someone about to go on HRT. “I think right now my biggest problem is T-poisoning,” says someone at the beginning of her transition who’s not sure what all she needs to do to feel at home in her body, but has come to the conclusion that maybe hormones would be a good idea.
It’s also a way of describing the lasting and visible effects of T, especially during puberty, on our bodies. Which we very often perceive as *damage*, even years after making a chemical transition, and which are often used to degender us, invalidate our identities, or even flat out justify violence against us. Many of us never pass for cis, after all, and doing so is all but a precondition for *anyone* other than your fellow trans women making more than a token effort to see you as your actual gender. (And you can’t even trust them to do it, because like any community defined by demographics we are neither a monolith nor “innate” allies of one another, we absorb the dominant culture’s BS and don’t always clean it out of our systems thoroughly when we start to recognize that it’s failing us, and we are as prone to screwing each other over for a sense of security as any other group.) “These are the scars of T-poisoning when I was 14.”
The OP isn’t talking about trans men — we’re actually discussing a recent, visible and growing segment of the CAFAB population who have decided, for whatever reason, to start labelling themselves as “trans women.” Some of whom may have tried experimenting with T and decided that it really wasn’t for them, or who may have thought they were trans men at some point until it turned out no, not so much. Who are just helping themselves to our identities and ways of discussing that, very often while actively shutting us down in other areas. CAFAB women, in other words, who’re harming trans women in much the same ways they always have but are now also bald-facedly appropriating our identities, labels and lingo.
And some people are wondering what the big deal is here, and why we (trans women) are being so possessive, or insisting we just lack perspective or are somehow universalizing.
Wow. Thank you.
(Also, I appreciate how emotionally expensive it is to describe something like T-poisoning in detail. Thank you for taking the effort.)