In my mind this is one of the most transphobic things you can say. Right up there with “so you were born male?”
I found this great quote in an article talking about hormonal cycles that really resonates (though it is from a binary perspective).
Trans women are not men who decided to become women, we are women who were forced to live as men until we could find a way to express the truth of who we are.
I don’t understand men, or know what it’s like to really be one.
Because I always knew I wasn’t.
Not everyone has always known that they were trans; I certainly didn’t. But neither was I “socialized as a man” in the same sense that a cisgender boy is. Yes, I have some insight on what kinds of things are said to boys to enforce masculinity. But my experience of them is uniquely shaped by my nonbinary gender.
When I was taught about what I was supposed to be, I didn’t hear them as things that I could actually achieve. Masculinity was this unachievable standard that I never felt like I could reach, even in the times when I thought I wanted to. But more importantly, masculinity wasn’t something I really wanted. Even the “sensitive men” in my life who didn’t display toxic masculinity had some indescribable maleness that I admired but more like in the way that I hear cis women describe attraction to men.
I’ve tried many times to write down what I think masculinity is outside of the hegemonic hypermasculinity. But for each quality that I name, I can think of a woman who displays it just as well or better without compromising her femininity. So I don’t have an easy way to tell you what I felt like I was missing that made me not fit as a boy/man. But I always knew I didn’t fit, couldn’t fit, and deep down didn’t want to fit.