You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned “misogyny.” I’ll preface this by saying I’m a feminist, but not a crazy one; I’m not what some would label a “feminazi.” I’m a woman with white privilege, hard-wired to be cisgender and heterosexual. Born with all the stars aligned, so to speak. Privileged at several junctures. Still not so blind as to fail seeing misogyny and sexism woven into the fabric of our country, almost as much as systemic racism.
I grew up in the theater world with lots of gay male friends, even from a very young age. I saw the hell that they went through, being bullied, tortured — at school and at home — for being perceived as “too feminine.”
“Girly.” “Sissy.” “Pansy.” “Fairy.” “Pussy.”
I grew up and got married to a cishet man, and a year later, gave birth to a strong, male, cishet boy (now 19). 22 months later I birthed a strong, female, cishet girl (now 17). We thought we were done, but a pleasant surprise came 4 years later with the birth of our 3rd child — assigned male at birth, but, only in external anatomy.
Now 13, this brave young teen has blazed new territory as being the first child in their school to socially transition throughout a school year — 5th grade. Their gender expression is “feminine,” and they use both non-binary pronouns (they/them), and feminine (she/her.)
The cis male role they tried to play for ten years has been shed — thank God, because the anxiety it caused them was unbearable.
With my husband & I now being entrenched in the trans community as we learn how best to support this beautiful teen, we’ve learned a lot. Namely, how much harder it is to be trans female then trans male. We know many trans male youth. They are celebrated, just like “tomboys” were in my youth. Seen as bad-ass, strong, bucking the system. (Of course, I have older trans male friends who do not share this experience whatsoever. They deal with transphobia, micro-aggressions, and being misgendered almost hourly every day.)
But trans male youth aren’t called misogynistic names and treated with misogyny like trans females are. And black trans women are statistically the most likely demographic of people to be violently, brutally murdered, just for existing in the world.
All those years when our child was assumed male, they still couldn’t hide the extremely feminine expression they’ve always had. As a somewhat shy kid in the south, there were no other assumed cis boys who acted/looked/talked/walked/dressed/played feminine. Our child played exclusively with girls and tended to not get along with boys. Still to this day.
As such, our child (before socially transitioning), was subjected to all the same slurs and homophobia/transphobia as my gay male friends from my youth were. Only, worse, on some levels.
Because we chose to never shame our child for being “feminine,” because it was so clearly an integral part of them, who they are at their core — they never felt a reason to hide it, or live in the closet. Yes, they (and we) knew that made them “bully bait.” But my husband and I decided it would be better for our kiddo to endure some harassment and teasing in the short term, if that meant they could live freely, authentically, and happily, for the rest of their life.
It’s still not an easy road. It’s not as if our child is 100% stealth; we had a story go viral. There are people at their middle school who were also at their elementary school… word gets out. People talk. They still treat our child with misogyny. (But I will say, it’s pretty hard to transition genders without anyone noticing. Especially in the south.) But our child is still happier living openly free than they were masking as cis male.
Also, we decided that we’d rather work to change the world around us, rather than force our child to “fit” a mold that would never exactly fit, and would most definitely be extremely uncomfortable.
Anyway, my point is, this is all due to misogyny. Not that people “hate” women, just that they subconsciously still think of women as “inferior.” I think most people don’t even realize they do it. But every time they call a gay man or a trans woman some kind of misogynistic slur, they are participating in and perpetuating misogyny.
When I first started volunteering at my local LGBT center I was stunned to find out that there was so much homophobia, and even more so, transphobia, within the gay community. There are TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) on the lesbian women’s side, and homophobic, “sissy-bashing” cis males on the gay male side. Fortunately, in my area, TERFs and such are more in the outer fringe, but they exist.
As for Pete Buttigieg, I love him. I see a compassionate, intelligent man who is very in-touch, willing to take criticism, and rather than lash out, he learns and grows from it. Unlike the piece of garbage occupying the White House right now.
I really don’t like the picking apart of the Democratic candidates. I wish everyone could just stop and remember that literally anyone would be better than trump. Anyone. And Mitch McConnell. We’ve got to get him out. And the recent replacement of Dan Coates… but I digress.
There certainly is a time for debate over who’s the best candidate, but now is not that time. Now is the time that all eligible voters should be saying in solidarity, #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.