Why Leftbook Doesn’t (and Shouldn’t) Have Room for Aphobes

“Leftbook” is a colloquialism for the (in terms of American political spectrum) Leftist side of Facebook, typically Facebook groups that aren’t necessarily inherently political but are intended to bring a like-minded community together. Leftbook ranges from craft and DIY groups, to parenting groups, to tagging groups, to legitimate political debate groups, to meme groups and more.

A uniting characteristic of these groups, aside from the general political leaning of the members, are the rules. These rules generally consist of respecting others and being anodyne, which is a hardly shocking requirement. But as of late, there has been a lot of controversy  gratuitous rage over one such rule, that is: Asexual people are to be respected, and are a part of the LGBT+ community.

And while I’ve specified Leftbook in this case, I’m referring to all left-leaning and queer spaces in general, but aphobes do not, in fact, belong here.

Why?

Well, let’s get to the basis of the outrage to begin with. The idea that aces are an intrinsic part of the queer community offends people mainly because of the following:

  • Other members of the community fearing it as an easy way for cishets to infiltrate safe spaces
  • Aces allegedly face no oppression and have never been targeted the way others in the community have been and have more privilege, they don’t know our experiences
  • Because aces aren’t real

 

However, in regards to the first point, the fear is simply unfounded. If malicious cishets are intending to infiltrate any sort of space, all they have to do is lie and lie well. Why use their supposedly legitimate orientation to get in? They wouldn’t even have to. Especially because so many people are pushing back against the inclusion of aces, they’ll just latch onto another identity to infiltrate with. Besides the fact that this whole mindset of online social groups needing strategic defenses and trolls getting through as “infiltrations” is excessively dramatic and over-thought, forbidding the entrance of aces is not a logical approach to keeping members safe at all. You’ve got to be lying to yourself if you genuinely believe that’ll reduce the numbers of trolls getting into your spaces.

 

The second point is purely asinine, and yet I see it everywhere. “Aces don’t experience the same things!” they cry, not knowing that there’s literally no uniform queer experience. We all have different experiences and obstacles based on different things.

I’m sure pansexual trans people definitely have different experiences than, say, a cis lesbian. Are lesbians now no longer in the community? Would they get the right to gatekeep like that? No.

A white gay guy has different experiences that most gay MOC, but that doesn’t mean white gay guys aren’t a part of the community anymore.

A disabled trans person has more difficulties to overcome than able-bodied trans people. But that doesn’t negate the “t” in “lgbt+” either.

Though we all may have different experiences, there are some things that are nearly true of all us: We all are part of a minority, we all have been judged and discriminated against as whole, we all have been seen as abnormal because of our sexuality or gender identity.

It is that somehow aces cannot relate at all? Hmmm…no.

There are aces that have had to endure conversion therapy, just for being ace. 

There are aces that have undergone forced medication, just for being ace. 

There are aces that have been considered broken, just for being ace. 

There are aces that are victims of corrective rape, just because they’re ace. 

Even just one ace experiencing one of these in the name of aphobia is enough for their inclusion. Apply any of the above to any other sexuality or to trans people, and you have what’s called oppression. Why does this not count for aces, if not because of aphobia?

Our community isn’t composed of carbon-copies, and this isn’t solely a matter of privilege or relatability. Is Caitlyn Jenner all that relatable? No. She’s still trans though. Is Blair White well-liked? No. But she’s still here. Is Milo Yiannopolous not far more privileged than many of those he outright hates? And yet, he’s still gay. And I know trans women who would’ve loved to live in a nice Florida home with an incredibly supportive family and had puberty blockers like Jazz Jennings. It’s unfortunately unrelatable and a privilege she gets, but much of the community adores her!

Plenty of people within our spaces have more privilege than others, but it isn’t about that.

We might not all face the same troubles or have the same experiences, but what we do have in common is enough of a reason for the community to exist. And I know aces who certainly share more hardships in common with myself and others than white cisgays. If they belong here, aces damn well do too.

 

And finally, your disbelief in something doesn’t negate its existence. If I could simply wish away anti-vaxxers, I would. There are still people who don’t “believe” in gender dysphoria, nonbinary genders, or bisexuality. But again, “beliefs” don’t always align with reality. A lack of comprehension for something won’t make it go away either. Aces are as real as any other allegedly fake member of the community, who are in turn just as real as your run-of-the-mill gay guy.

Thankfully, Leftbook is tired of seeing hypocritical rhetoric and the irony of aphobia. So yeah, aphobes don’t belong there.

Shopping Online List for Trans and Gender-nonconforming

If you’re transgender/nb/gnc, shopping at a local store can be incredibly difficult. Depending on where you live and whether or not you’re “out,” you’d likely have to deal with hostile glances from strangers, staring, the issue of gendered dressing rooms (and possibly not being allowed in either), more difficulty finding the right fit and sizes, and you might fun into locals you’d rather not see you shopping “in the wrong section.” On top of that, you might deal with harassment, invasion of privacy, strangers snapping pics without your consent, or worse.

For this reason, many people prefer online shopping at least occasionally. However, it can be difficult to find quality and reliable retailers, or anything other than a collection of t-shirts with rainbows and pride related slogans on them. For this reason, I compiled a list of stores that may suit a variety of trans/nb/gnc people for a variety of reasons. Some of which have physical locations, and some of which is just general shopping advice.

  1. The Discriminant

The Disciminant is an online shop based in New York with an intent to provide trendy clothes without restriction of gender at an affordable price. They also provide some transitional apparel such as binders, padding, etc. The website also features trans and pride related slogans and collections, though the clothing itself is typically does not.

I have personal experience with purchasing here, and I’d rate it a 6.5/10. This is because clothing is not always the exact color shown in the photographs offered, the sizing is inconsistent, and the availability of certain products seems to be very unpredictable. The website also has rather vague descriptions, and should probably have more “how to” in regards to the transitional apparel to insure safety and proper functioning. Despite not being the highest rating though, I’d definitely purchase here relatively frequently.

Pricing: Generally $20-50

2. Tomboy Toes 

 Tomboy Toes is a god-send that I actually only encountered after receiving a follow on my Instagram account. I checked them out, and definitely didn’t regret it.

The goal of this shop is to provide what are traditionally deemed “men’s shoes” to those who feet too small to fit “men’s sizes.” The average afab looking for formal masculine (and vegan) footwear would find a great selection here! Furthermore, the site actually addresses (and supports) its trans and nonbinary customers, though it was created for anyone small-footed.

Pricing: $60-100

3. Gender Free World 

GFW features London-made shirts designed to fit a range of people despite their gender. Though they mainly, as far as I am aware, offer shirts, and masculine ones at that, I wouldn’t consider this a go-to shop, but it holds some appeal nonetheless.

It should also be noted that they actually have trans men in mind, and have addressed their potentially problematic name stating “We are aware that the term ‘gender’ can be interpreted in different ways and can be controversial.  Keeping it simple – we are not saying we want a world without gender, only that it is unfair that gender can limit and restrict your choices.”

Pricing: $45-65

4. ASOS 

Personally not very appealing, as in order to shop you have to choose a particular gendered section. The layout seems a bit disorganized. However, I have heard good things from trans men and trans women looking for fashionable clothing more their size.

5. CharlieBoy 

CharlieBoy is an Australian-based shop that ships internationally with the goal of breaking the limitations of gender codes. Their products are inspired by traditional menswear, but they encourage diversity and are against discrimination. They also provide their “gender neutral” clothing in versions for dogs…so you and your dog can break gender norms together or something, I guess. (?)

Pricing: $20-130, tends to be on the more expensive side.

6. Androswag

Their mission is “To make swag clothes for girls who like boys clothing but can’t find their fit. To change societal views on gender divisions. To unleash and showcase the tomboy, the androgynous, the LGBTQI’s, and anyone living on the fringes, here, there or somewhere delightfully in-between. We strive to source the best, most badass threads for tomboys in particular – Because we like the ‘men’s’ section, so why don’t the ‘men’s’ labels fit? And why are clothes still gendered at all?”

Pricing: $45-100

7. Modcloth

Modcloth has headquarters in San Francisco and an office in LA, but wasn’t necessarily intended for anyone other than cis women. It is merely a vintage-inspired women’s online clothing store. So what puts it on this list? I’ve heard it recommended by and for transfemme people due to their availability of sizes and their allegedly excellent customer service and return policy.

8. HauteButch 

HauteButch specializes in providing masculine clothing for afab bodies, whether you’re a stud, butch, tomboy, or trans man…they have you in mind. Their offered aesthetic is inspired by military jackets, tuxedos, and dress shirts. Generally more formal.

Pricing: $30-150, tends to be more expensive

9. PlayOut Underwear 

A brand created by two women that is “lesbian inspired, gender inclusive.” They aim to provide colorful, energetic clothing to people regardless or gender identity, gender expression, or pronoun choice. Great for transmasc people looking for better fitting undergarments. The website is a little odd though, in my opinion.

Pricing: $20-30

10. Hiking/outdoor clothing

This isn’t a specific brand or website, but a piece of advice recommended by a handful of afab transmasc people.

Because masculine clothing tends to come in larger sizes, not all afab people are able to buy masculine clothing that fits, especially locally. Some are only able to fit the “boy’s” section, which often contains cartoon characters or printings like “my sister ate my homework.” Needless to say, this doesn’t appeal to many older trans men. So one option is to search for smaller sized clothing, or even “boy’s fit” clothing at outdoor gear stores. You can get small sizes in the right shape without any unnecessary pop-culture references or gendered/stereotypical imagery.

11. XODOHTRONU

This brand desires to promote social progress and encourage androgyny. It was also created to fund the American Cancer Society and other charities, but I am unsure as to if this is still one of their practices. Their products vary by season, and are mostly streetwear/urban/casual in style.

Pricing: $30-85, on the more affordable side

12. Sharpe Suiting 

Founded by Leon Wu, they intend to provide formal clothing that fits a more diverse variety of people. The clothing tends to be traditionally masculine, but is intended for anyone regardless of gender identity.

Pricing: $120-840, definitely on the more expensive side of this range

13. American Eagle 

American Eagle Outfitters is something most of you will already be familiar with. While it’s a general American clothing store, I’ve heard it as being more preferred of easy-access shops for transmasc people due to sizing and fitting. While I haven’t seen or heard of it being outright accepting or catering to a gender-diverse crowd, it does seem to have this “be unique, fuck rules, everyone’s cool” attitude associated with it. I wouldn’t know, but maybe these transmasc people know something I don’t.

14. Target 

And who doesn’t know about Target? Target is renowned for its support of the queer community, by allowing bathroom access to all and anyone in need and selling pride-related merchandise. Though some accuse Target of “rainbow capitalism,” and they may be right, any support is better than none. It has been recommended as an easy place to shop for affordable, fitting clothes. They even sell pronoun buttons and other gender-related merch.

*This post will be continually updated*