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On Being Trans and Topless in America

Oh the complications of post-modern life. Apparently, some trans-identified people on a Delaware beach were questioned by authorities after some fellow beach-goers complained about their toplessness.

Unfortunately, the only thing more problematic than various archaic laws regarding public nudity is the media coverage this story has received.

Mostly disappointing is that these trans people are being consistently identified in the media as 'transmen' with breast implants. Now, I'm all for folks breaking with gender norms, but generally, folks who transition genders have surgery or take hormones to achieve an appearance consistent with the gender they identify with - in this case, these folks would most likely be transwomen.

I know that many of you would already know this, but the error in the original article and all subsequent articles suggests that at least in the media nobody understands trans people and even fewer know how trans folks identify.

From reading internet commentary on this matter, I know that some would see my pleading for accuracy as a request for 'sensitivity' from the general populace - some kind of demand for political correctness - but truly, if the mainstream media is going to comment on trans-identified people at all, they ought to be correct in their terminology at the very least.

If you're not trans yourself, or don't know anyone who is, it is understandable that this stuff might be confusing, but in not trying to understand, the coverage of this thing has just become a mess of misinformation.

Next time, we'll tackle archaic nudity laws :) Fortunately, someone in Toronto must have foreseen the practical difficulties in enforcing topless laws by gender, so I hereby invite all transmen and transwomen with or without breast implants to sun themselves on our beautiful beaches.

[AP]

 

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