Erased by Younger Trans Guys: Drowned Out in Forums Edition

The median age in this online trans masculine forum is circa 18. Most people are not yet on T, among those that are, most have been on it under a year.

Someone writes in to ask when the acne on his chest and back would clear up, he includes pictures in his post. Dozens of people have answered, suggesting he goes to see a doctor for antibiotics. The guy replies that he’s already taken antibiotics but it’s not working.

I propose that it may be folliculitis, aka in-grown hairs, and that these might be a precursor to incoming fur. That as the fur comes out, his skin will clear up.

No one interacts with my comment, not via reactions or replies. Instead, it is immediately drowned out by further comments that the start and end of an explanation is acne, and the solution is probably antibiotics.

It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last. The easy solution is to not bother engaging in the first place but then I’m as isolated as if there were no forums. I don’t engage with most of the posts, I don’t bother sharing my experience specific to policies or health care practices no longer in effect. After this latest effort for naught, I switch off notifications of new comments on the thread as part of accepting the lack of acknowledgement.

This leads to the absence of community institutional memory; why there’s so much redundancy in posts. This limits the value of popular trans forums, and leads to disengagement from trans older folks.

austin-neill-man standing facing microphone-unsplash
[Picture by Austin Neill on Unsplash. Description: amusician facing a microphone.]

The virtual world is rarely a zero sum game. Now and again, someone starts a forum for trans older folks, which takes nothing away from other existing spaces. Usually what follows is that a reasonable number of people join, and at first discuss how nice it is not to be drowned out, only to subsequently fall into silence. Best case scenario, there’s the odd request for provider referrals by those who move, and in person meet up for Americans geographically close to each other. Neither results in meaningful conversations among a significant proportion of group members, especially for those of us outside the US.

I’ve not had better experiences in geographically specific regions outside the US or in forums conducted in other languages than English. I’ve started a few forums myself, with similarly limited success. My ongoing experiences of being ignored in larger forums reminds me that there’s seemingly no solution though I continue to brainstorm and search for some.

5 thoughts on “Erased by Younger Trans Guys: Drowned Out in Forums Edition

  1. “Usually what follows is that a reasonable number of people join, and at first discuss how nice it is not to be drowned out, only to subsequently fall into silence.”

    I’m curious if you have any ideas why that might happen? If the forum is specifically for older people, and they’re not drowned out by younger voices like on a general forum, why do they stop talking? Do you think general forums focus more on the transition process and then people who are far along or stable in their transition aren’t sure what topics to broach? Or the general stereotype that older people don’t use forums, social media, etc. to the extent that younger people do?

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    • I think it’s a number of things. In no particular order:
      – conditioning to not discuss things about life further along transition
      -shame and/or dysphoria among those who experience dysphoria from self-awareness who experience self-awareness at a similar frequency as I do, especially among those who claim they never think about being trans
      – shame and depression among those struggling with cumulative grief and a (ongoing) history of suicide ideation, lost of family of origin, romantic relationships, etc
      – internalised transphobia that they still want/need/benefit from involvement with fellow trans people
      – ongoing struggle among those unable to access or dissatisfied with current genital reconstruction
      – priorities in their lives centring around their career and / or families rather than unpacking trauma and gaslighting
      – fear of renewed horizontal hostility as most of us have only become more entrenched in our beliefs
      – ongoing struggle with not wanting to risk/compromise their, often hard earned, control over their low or selective disclosure

      I don’t think it’s lack of a relationship to social media as they’re on them to find and join the forums. Many of us lost touch as people left MySpace, LJ, yahoogroups, etc but many of us have 20 years engagement with social media, and found each other on FB and other platforms.

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  2. Hey! I’ve been reading a few of your posts and came across this one. I’ve got a small discord channel for trans guys that I’m trying really hard to populate with trans guys at all points in their transition so that those who’ve been transitioned longer can help the newer guys. However, I’ve had a harder time finding other grown men. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you with us.

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    • You’ve peaked my curiosity, but I would like to know more. I took a quick look at the Discord website. Is the channel meetings/calls done at particular times? What sort of time commitment would this involve? Is there an email I could write to to get more information, please?

      Like

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