I made a post before regarding how uncomfortable I was with both the way the scene in the latest episode of RWBY where Juane wearing a dress is considered a joke and the reactions of the majority of the FNDM. Because the idea that somebody who is read as male wearing a dress is deserving of ridicule is deeply transmisogynistic and should be acknowledged as such. The argument that followed (with theeldritchdreamer, who did not reply to my last reblog of it) can be found here. This is an excerpt from it that I feel deserves its own post.
Now, let’s just get something straight, there is no way to “reasonably” assume somebody’s gender. Not by looking at them, not by what pronouns they use, not by their actions (unless they explicitly state that and even then if they say that they’re the gender they were assigned at birth they could still be closeted or not know that you can be trans/nonbinary) and not by their clothing. Allow me to demonstrate with the following visual aids:
This is me in all my DMAB (Designated Male At Birth) nonbinary trans person glory. Cis people almost always assume that I am male just by looking at me and never even bother to ask my gender or pronouns because society trains you that you can judge a person’s gender by looking at them and that everybody of a certain gender has certain features. That is cissexist and something that we, as a society, need to work on because those assumptions lead to people treating trans people poorly in general and me poorly specifically, such as misgendering me (which can and has triggered my gender dysphoria) or ostracising me when I come out to them.
And furthermore, I don’t actually come out to people unless I feel comfortable around them and trust them. Which means that the majority of people I interact with in my day-to-day live think I’m male.
And here is an additional visual aid:
(adorable, aren’t I?)
If people I’m not out to but know see that I am almost certainly going to get laughed at at the very least, if not exposed to possibly being outed against my will to other people I’m not ready to be out to and facing more consequences.
None of the other people at the prom could tell that he wore that dress because of a bet and to cheer up Pyrrha, they just straight-up laughed at him without knowing the context and that is treated as being acceptable and normal to do. He actually did seem comfortable in it if you ask me but that’s also being treated as a joke by the fandom and the show itself. And the younger viewers seeing this and not having a proper understanding of trans people will just accept the idea that somebody they perceive as a man wearing a dress or any similarly feminine-coded clothing or accessory is a joke and worthy of ridicule, which is just another way that transphobia is ingrained in our society.
And frankly, up until this episode I had actually seen the potential for Juane to be revealed as trans and had just been going through the “desperately trying to be the gender you were assigned at birth because you don’t know how to deal with these feelings you’re having” phase that some of us go through (his actions have certainly reminded me of my own time in that phase when I was younger). And that storyline could have also pointed out the toxicity of compulsory masculinity, and made some really important social commentary. But now I can see that was just wishful thinking on my part.
Finally, if you wish to support a given community of oppressed people you need to learn not to talk over them and listen to what they have to say. Your experiences as a privileged person mean that you do not have the ability to accurately judge the issues that affect those people specifically and you do not get to explain how they are wrong about their own experiences.