the founder of ‘oestrogeneration’ explains what drove her to launch the platform
On the 13th of October 2021, the Guardian published a review of Shon Faye’s book, The Transgender Issue, where the book is (rightfully!) praised and appreciated, with a focus on the need for more compassion and unity in our fight for liberation. On the same day, The Guardian also a published an article by Susanna Rustin where she claims to see a connection between the environmental crisis and transness, stating that “While I want people to be free to live as they choose, I also believe that human bodies have limits”, ignoring the fact medical development has been testing (cis and trans) people’s bodily limits for centuries: from the use of eyeglasses, to any form of surgery. So why is the medicalising of transness where the line is drawn?
In August 2021, BBC Three released Transitioning Teens, a documentary hosted by Charlie Craggs providing an insight into how dire the situation is for teenagers looking to transition in the UK, and the impact this has on trans people’s mental health. Just over two months later, the BBC published an article titled We’re being pressured into sex by some trans women by Caroline Lowbridge – an incredibly dangerous long read piece portraying trans lesbians as universally predatory: a conclusion reached through a survey to 80 people done by known anti-trans group. One of the cis women cited in the article, had previously called for trans women to be lynched and executed.
These are recent examples of a prolonged media smear strategy targeting trans people where cisgender “writers” and “thinkers” are being regularly paid and offered a platform whilst making careers out of debating our very existence.
Trans writers are having to rely on those same publications, which capitalise on our humiliation, to share our voices in an attempt to challenge dangerous mainstream narratives.
When commissioned, it is often in an attempt to defend our personhood, and almost exclusively to write about transness.
The platforms that do commission us are able to build a reputation as trans-friendly whilst also doing very little for our liberation.
Hiding behind a mirage of improved representation and visibility, trans people’s living conditions tend to still be pretty bleak – with systemic oppression constantly destabilising our financial, medical and social stability, and transphobic harassment being an accustomed occurrence both in the street and on our screens.
Trans women and transfeminine people are facing the harshest brunt of this violence both in our everyday lives – being 96% of the trans people killed in 2021 – and in the media – being at the centre of most derogatory cis-written content.
Whilst no amount of representation will ever liberate us, it’s essential to have a space where our voices are heightened and where we are able to own our narrative, without having to appease cisgender people, or give them a chance to monetise and capitalise on our struggles and talent.
I am constantly amazed by how ambitious, funny, caring, talented, powerful, resourceful, resilient, sisterly and glamorous we still manage to be despite the world trying to actively crush us – which is what inspired the creation of oestrogeneration.
‘oestrogeneration’ is born out of a desire to own our narrative – to not have to write for publications which don’t have our best interest at heart, to not be tokenised or fetishised, and instead create a platform for our voices to be as loud and abundant as they deserve to be.
‘oestrogeneration’ aims to showcase the depths and multitudes of our identities by encouraging trans women and transfeminine people to write about topics that can range from romance, to pop culture, to food, to science, to international politics – shifting us away from attempts to pigeonhole us into discussing solely trans politics.
‘oestrogeneration’ doesn’t want a seat the table – we’re too busy building a boudoir.