Marsha P. Johnson and the failures of queer respectability

There has been a huge amount of discourse recently around respectability within the queer community, and the presence of police officers there. Many people, especially young queer people, do not know our history around this issue. I hope this will help to educate some of us as to how long and brutal this fight has been.

Police brutality has always been, and continues to be, a queer issue. Prison abolition has always been, and continues to be, a queer issue. #NoCopsAtPride

Warning: this article contains references to riots, assault, bigotry, hate crimes, slurs, and sexual assault that may traumatize some…

Being Trans is a Fundamentally Unrelatable Experience to Cis People — That’s What Makes Them Cis

I just had to spend my therapy session today explaining the horror and misery of the trans experience to my cis gay therapist. It isn’t his fault. It’s a cultural misconception. Cis people, ESPECIALLY cisqueer people — read this.


Cis people need to kill the idea that you can relate to being trans. In any way. It is a fundamentally unrelatable experience to cis people. No metaphor, no approximation can do it justice. Accept that now. Every cis person, including cis queer people, is an ALLY at most.

Cis people cannot speak for trans people. Cis queer people cannot…

A cartoon image of the Philadelphia Pride Flag and the Transgender Pride Flag crossed over one another. The text reads, “Love. No matter what.”
A cartoon image of the Philadelphia Pride Flag and the Transgender Pride Flag crossed over one another. The text reads, “Love. No matter what.”
Image Courtesy of Planned Parenthood.

So many cis people have not taken the time to grapple with and truly sympathize with what the trans experience really means. The concept that it is a choice shields cis people from the reality that it could have been them. I know this because you can watch, in real time, the horror on their faces when they truly, really realize that there was nothing you could do to stop it. When they realize that you are literally living, and have never known anything besides, the content of their nightmares. …

Queer struggles are not rooted firmly in the past

Image Courtesy of MarketWatch

Those with even a tangential knowledge of the queer community are likely aware of the current discourse surrounding the future of Pride as an event.

It seems to me that the fundamental miscommunication between these two clashing groups — those who support kink, queerness, and general unseemliness at Pride versus those campaigning to make Pride inclusive of children, police officers, and families — is that they fundamentally disagree on what the function of Pride is, as an event.

This becomes more apparent when you see the demographic lines that split these two groups; old versus young, people of color versus white, impoverished versus affluent.

I have seen many people on the side of queer disrespectability express frustration as to why so many young queer people…

Image courtesy of University of California Davis.

If you only support passing trans people, you don’t support trans people. The ONLY way to genuinely support trans people is by supporting our self-determination and autonomy. Only supporting trans people you “believe are trans” isn’t good enough, and excludes our most vulnerable.

There can be no arbitrator of who is “trans enough” that will not cause incredible harm.

This is also why the subject of what defines transness or what “causes” it must be approached with incredible caution. I personally truly believe there is a biological basis behind the trans experience. …

Florida has considered FOUR anti-trans bills. I’ll go through each of them here.

Image courtesy of Out In Jersey.

**This article is accurate as of 5/30/2021**

To find your Florida State House Representative, look here:

To find your Florida State Senate Representative, look here:

Of greatest urgency currently is FL S1028, which has currently PASSED both the state house and senate, and only awaits a signature from the Governor.

This bill has a great number of parts, but of interest to us specifically is section 12 of this bill, which reads:

Section 12. Section 1006.205, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

1006.205 Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. —

(1) SHORT TITLE. — This section may be cited as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”



Nonbinary identity isn’t a fad, isn’t new, isn’t anti-Christian

A painting of the Public Universal Friend, shown wearing traditional male minister’s robes and with a male haircut. Image courtesy of the Yates County History Center.

The Public Universal Friend, as was the Friend’s chosen name, was born a Quaker in the colony of Rhode Island in 1752. For the first 23 years of the Friend’s life, the Friend lived as a traditional woman, although without getting married. The Friend attended the Quaker meetings of the area, but when the Friend was in the Friend’s early 20s, a group known as the New-Light Baptists caught the Friend’s attention.

At age 23, the Friend fell ill with a terrible sickness. The Friend nearly died, yet suddenly recovered, and claimed that the Friend had been spared by God…

There is a difference between total understanding and empathy. As with any marginalized experience, being trans will never be understood by those who have not lived it. However, it is still entirely possible to attempt to empathize and to care, while still acknowledging that cis people are not an expert in the trans experience.

Being cisqueer, frankly, gives near-to-no insight into the trans experience except by proximity of our communities. It is long past time that cisqueer people acknowledge that while they can and should ally themselves with us, they cannot speak for us, nor can they understand our lived experience fully.

How Queer + Trans Liberation and Feminism have always been Intertwined

An image of an Act Up! poster, showing the famous pink triangle over a black background. Above it, the text reads, “SILENCE = DEATH”.
An image of an Act Up! poster, showing the famous pink triangle over a black background. Above it, the text reads, “SILENCE = DEATH”.

So apparently today was the first time a lot of people on my timeline learned what a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) is, so I’m going to educate y’all on some more queer history since it’s shockingly unknown. For today, let’s talk about the color pink.

Before World War II, pink was considered the masculine color. No, really, it was. It was associated with blood, particularly warfare (think bloody rags), and was associated in the west with masculinity, strength, and courage.

In the late 1800s/early 1900s, a marketing strategy was implemented that encouraged parents to dress their boys in pink and…

Texas currently has TWELVE anti-trans bills — it’s up to us to stop them and protect trans kids.

An image of the transgender flag with a superimposed outline of Texas on top of it.
An image of the transgender flag with a superimposed outline of Texas on top of it.
Image from American Civil Liberties Union:

I’ll organize each bill into its own subsection here.


TX HB1458, “Relating to the separation based on biological sex of athletics teams sponsored by a public school or institution of higher education,” has been referred to the Committee for State Affairs.

This bill was sponsored by 77 representatives. If you live in Texas, PLEASE use THIS to determine WHO your representative is, and DO NOT RE-ELECT these representatives who are more preoccupied with harassing trans children than making meaningful change.

The sponsors of this bill, listed in alphabetical order, are: Steve Allison, Doc Anderson, Trent Ashby, Ernest Bailes, Trey Bell, Keith Bell, Kyle Biedermann, Greg Bonnen, Brad Buckley, DeWayne Burns, Dustin Burrows, Briscoe Cain, Giovanni Capriglione, Jeff Cason, Travis Clardy, David Cook, Tom Craddick…

Alexander Petrovnia

I am a disabled binary trans man who primarily writes about feminism, queer history, trans issues, science communication, healthy masculinity and public health.

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