As a trans woman who doesn’t quite “pass” my interactions with toxic men can involve sexual harassment, but also direct or implicit threats of violence. That or being told that I am sick, mentally ill, etc. What occurs to me often, is that to these men I am seen as a “failed man” – effeminate. Either that or a hyper-sexualized woman – fair game for their attacks and low enough on the social hierarchy to not matter. Aside from being wrong about my identity what bothers me as much if not more is that to them, my perceived “condition” makes me an acceptable target for harassment, abuse or even outright violence. I worry equally about being assaulted by someone who sees me as a man in a dress or sexually attacked by a man who sees me as vulnerable prey and I worry just as much that if something bad were to happen even in a public place, how many people would stop and intervene on my behalf?
I’ve also been told by various people that I need to try harder to be pretty in order to be accepted and gain respect – something I know literally every woman has been told in their lives, so I’m certainly not special in that regard – but I can tell you that from my former (miserable) pre-transition life, men do not receive that “advice” except maybe rarely being suggested to look more “respectable”. Funny how men are taught about appearing respectable while women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Dress modestly and you’re a prude, frigid, stern, or even a “bitch”. Dress down, and you’re treated like an object and sexualized regardless of the situation.