Hunter Schafer's actions on social media are leaving many trans and queer fans feeling hurt and left behind this week.
Schafer, who plays troubled trans teen Jules in HBO's hit series Euphoria, has been widely beloved by fans, and especially by queer and trans fans. But with her recent social media activity, she's alienated and hurt many of those same people.
The trouble started when Schafer liked and commented a series of exclamation points on an Instagram post about the difference between binary trans people who medically transition, and nonbinary trans people who don't.
The post argues that non-medically-transitioning trans people are to blame for recent attacks from the right saying that trans healthcare isn't a necessity and shouldn't be covered by insurance. However, what it fails to do is realize that the problem isn't coming from within the trans community, it's coming entirely from those attacking us.
"I hope all of the people (enbies) who fought to have trans identities no longer considered a medical condition that requires dysphoria are happy because you've won," the post Schafer commented on and liked begins. "The red states are beginning to agree with you. HRT and gender affirming surgery are no longer deemed medically necessary for adults in Florida and it's not going to stop there."
"Y'all just couldn't stand to let binary trans people be the voice of this community," it continues. "You had to dismantle all of the guidelines around being trans to fit your narrative so you could feel valid and then you demonized trans people who challenged your ideals and called them truscum/transmedicalists."
"What you don't understand is that binary trans women and men don't have the luxury of playing around with what it means to be trans the same way that you do," it says. "You challenge gender ideologies from the safety of a cis body that requires no medical treatment. We have to play the game and live by the guidelines that cis people have created for us because that is how we survive."
"You're not helping. You're not dismantling the gender binary. You're not expanding the minds of cis people," it concludes. "You are making them hate us."
Fans and trans people across the internet quickly expressed their disappointment at the post and Schafer's seeming endorsement of it. Many people accused Schafer of being transmedicalist.
What is transmedicalism? It's the belief held by very few trans people that in order to be transgender, you have to experience gender dysphoria and be diagnosed with gender dysphoric disorder. It says that trans people who do not have dysphoria - and especially those who don't undergo medical transition like hormones or surgery - are not real trans people.
Unfortunately, Schafer fell into the trap of dividing the community and blaming other trans people for transphobia. Even if every trans person were a "perfect" example of transness, checking all the boxes that cis people want, transphobia would still exist.
We've already got too many divisions within the LGBTQ+ community, especially ones that try to separate and kick out trans people. We don't need those divisions coming from inside the trans community.
Right now there are TERFS claiming that trans people don't exist, there are "Drop the T" campaigners complaining that trans people give the queer community a bad name, and we don't need trans people trying to kick other trans people out.
Republicans aren't taking their cues from nonbinary trans people. They're not listening to gender abolitionists. They're listening to themselves. Trans people are not to blame for transphobia.
The post also ignores the huge numbers of nonbinary people who do medically transition, and the huge number of nonbinary people for whom "the safety of a cis body" means always living with being misgendered.
Others are pointing out how the post ends by telling nonbinary people to "take a seat and let binary trans people, and more specifically Black trans women, be the voices of this community because they are the ones at risk."
This is part of a tactic sometimes used by non-Black trans people to use the deaths of and violence against Black trans people as a bargaining chip to prove their point. It also completely erases the nonbinary Black trans people who also face violence.
Schafer is only 23, so she has lots of time to listen, learn, and grow. Hopefully, that's exactly what she does. What Schafer should do now is take a seat and listen to what nonbinary and non-transitioning trans people are saying. Hopefully, the more people do that, we can all come together as one trans community.
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