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Commentary: Lauren Boebert Is Really Confused About What ‘Trans Man’ Means

Lauren Boebert is really confused about what it means to be a ‘trans man,’ and this is a really big problem, since she’s trying to make laws controlling their lives.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Lauren Boebert’s late-morning attention-seeking tweets on Sunday centered around transgender athletes. More specifically, she wanted to talk about their right, or lack thereof, to participate in sports, and Caitlyn Jenner’s opinion of the same.

Now, we could talk about Caitlyn Jenner and the timing of her decision to transition publicly (only after she had already participated and succeeded in Olympic sports) and whether the discrimination transgender people face in public affected that, or about the amount of privilege she has that a lot of trans athletes don’t, or, that she’s one trans athlete who is taking a position that most trans athletes who have spoken out say hurts them, but at the moment, Jenner is not an elected official and isn’t making legislation, so, for now, I’d like to focus on Boebert.

Notice that both her tweets claim that ‘the left’ is trying to get “trans men” into women’s sports. This particular error, mixing up ‘trans men’ and ‘trans women’ is such a microcosm of and-trans discrimination that I absolutely have to highlight it.

When we say ‘transgender woman’ or ‘transgender man,’ the gender we’re naming is the one the person recognizes as their own, not the one they were originally labeled with by someone else. So a transgender man is someone who was typically assigned female at birth, his birth certificate likely said or says “female,” but he is a man who (if he can do so safely) typically lives as a man, uses pronouns associated with males (he/him) and probably prefers to be able to access bathrooms, clothing, and sports teams that are for men.

“Trans man” does not mean, as Boebert would suggest, that this is a person assigned male at birth who wishes, pretends, or wants to be a woman. Trans people do not wish, pretend, or want to be a different gender. Trangender people are the gender they are — it’s just that some cis people are determined to deny it.

And that’s what this comes down to — Boebert assumes that the people she’s talking about — athletes who were assigned male at birth but want to play on a girls’ or women’s team because they are, in fact, girls or women — are really men who are faking it.

She takes this individual and decides for herself that while this person says, “I am a woman,” that she, Boebert, knows better and can relabel this person, and that her label supercedes their own.

In other words, she believes the right term for a trans woman is “trans man” because she believes this woman is a man.

It helps to remember that “trans” or “transgender” is an adjective. When we say “trans man” we mean a man who happens to be trans, just as when we say “blonde man,” or “tall man” we mean a man who is blonde or tall. It’s just a modifier.

So no, ‘the left’ isn’t trying to force trans men into women’s bathrooms, women’s locker rooms, or women’s sports. It’s Boebert and her ilk who do that, by passing laws insisting that people are identified by the label attached to them at birth.



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