Natalie Reed Answers Common Confusions About Trans Women

Natalie Reed is a trans woman and blogger who is going to be joining Freethought Blogs sometime in the next few weeks. You can check out her prior work at Skepchick and at Queereka.

Of particular note is her extremely illuminating 2 part essay in which she addresses 13 common confusions and philosophical challenges that often come up among cis gendered people when they discuss trans women. In part one she dispels in detail these first 7 confusions and challenges:

1. Trans women are just really, really, REALLY gay.

2. So you’re going to get your penis cut off?

3. So you’ve chosen to get a sex change operation?

4. “It’s a trap” / Trans women are just gay guys trying to attract straight dudes.

5.  Aren’t you sort of reinforcing stereotypical gender roles? Aren’t you just going along with the idea that having a feminine personality means you must be female? Doesn’t that perpetuate the idea that there are certain ways women and men are “supposed” to be like?

6. If our culture didn’t have such strict gender roles, there would be no need for transition.

7. You’re so brave!

And in part 2, she deals with 6 more points of contention:

8. You’re appropriating the female body.

9. Why can’t you just accept yourself? Why not just learn to be comfortable with who you are?

10. You don’t really become female. The process is only cosmetic. You’re still technically a man.

11. Drag queens, transsexuals, transgenders, cross-dressers, what’s the difference?

12. Transsexuality is just an invention of the modern medical establishment, a symptom of Western culture.

13. You’re infiltrating women’s spaces and making them unsafe.

Get to know Natalie, she’s going to fill a crucial niche of freethinking for Freethought Blogs very soon.

Your Thoughts?


About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Physicalist

    I like Natalie’s writing. And while I appreciate that she didn’t want to “squick [us] all out too much,” her account of GRS does leave me feeling a little . . . vulnerable . . .

  • Pteryxx

    OH SWEET! Gender roles AND surgery on delicate bits… my favorites! *rolls in the aisles*

    *cough* Also, I hear Natalie’s an amazing writer. /dignity

  • MichaelD


  • danielrudolph

    I accept all her points, but the thing that bugs me is people are uncomfortable with their bodies for all kinds of reasons. Sexual identity is just an extreme example. I think it’s just as illegitimate to criticize people for vanity because they want more hair or a thinner midsection or what-not.

  • danielrudolph

    She does address this in #9, but I just disagree with her here. I don’t think we should teach people to accept things in general. I’m looking forward to her blog.

  • Caru

    I’m so happy! I thought she was gone forever after she left Skepchick! Natalie’s the coolest! /fangirl

  • Nick

    I’ve only heard of Natalie tangentially, but I’m very pleased to hear that there will be an outspoken trans advocate joining the cadre at FTB. That’s certainly one subject that would benefit greatly from a lot of demystifying.

  • Jadzia626

    This is very good news.

    Grats Natalie!

  • gwen

    Oh man…I just wish she would pop into CFI and jump into the argument I am having with a couple of guys spouting some of the above. They just can’t wrap their heads around the concept.

  • Nomen Nescio

    transgender issues are just plain hard for us cisfolk to wrap our heads around, period. i have close family members who are trans*, and though i’ve mightily tried to understand gender dysphoria, i doubt i’ve even come close to it or ever will. even just working out how T issues interact with GLB issues politically is hard enough, i’ve found; having an informed, intelligent voice to speak on it will be a boon to FtB.

  • Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg

    Natalie is coming here.
    Almost best news today.
    I found her series on transwomen a real education

  • Stacy

    # 5 and 6 have been sticking points for me. I really appreciate the education!

    Excited to hear Natalie’s joining FtB. She’s a terrific writer.

  • Renee

    Hell ya, we like Natalie!
    More Natalie. Please.

    Finally, a trans woman who has the patience to explain who we are to all of you.

    To all of you non-trans folks, don’t worry if you don’t understand it all at first. It took me till age 37 to get that that was me, age 40 to get started and till age 45 to fix it.
    I’m 49 now and still learning things. I guess you’re never really done in life are ya? I guess that could apply to all of us, trans or not.

  • julian

    4. “It’s a trap” / Trans women are just gay guys trying to attract straight dudes.

    You’d think the number of gay transmen and lesbian transwomen would be enough to dispel that myth but no.

    Off to read.

  • Natalie

    Thanks so much, Daniel, and everyone!

    I’m extremely happy to be coming here, and to have a platform to continue with my writing and work.

    I’m going to try to get set up as quickly as I can. Mostly I just need to wait for a friend of mine to finish making me up a header banner. So with a bit of luck, I should start here next Monday.

    You can follow me at twitter @nataliereed84 for updates and stuff. I’ll definitely let everyone know when I’m ready to start. :)

  • danielrudolph

    4. “It’s a trap” / Trans women are just gay guys trying to attract straight dudes.

    Maybe those transwomen are straight guys trying to trap lesbians. As a straight guy whose ideal woman looks like Rachel Maddow (and perhaps generally is Rachel Maddow), I can relate. Or, maybe we should blame lesbian porn for making being a lesbian look so appealing.