Why Do Some Trans Women Weaponize the F-Slur?

Editor’s note: content warning for discussion of sexual content and slurs

I don’t really understand the following, and it is sorta a regular thing here. Trans women who hook up with cis males then call them a three letter f-word if he shows any sexual/romantic interest in another cis male. It’s kind of a hateful thing to say to a person one allegedly loves and cares for, right?

Of course, I’ve never really understood why people use hateful epitaphs on each other which apply to themselves. I’m not talking about women who call each other “bitch” in a friendly joking way, or people of color who use the n-word to mean something similar to “dude” or “bro”. I’m talking about using these words in intentionally hurtful ways. Saying it’s just internalized oppression seems like an easy copout. Yes, water is wet and air is for breathing, but why?

Thinking about it on my own, I came up with the following: Trans women who call their cis male partners that f-word do so because when he shows interest in another cis male it brings up questions for her as to how he sees her. If he sees another man as a viable potential mate it calls into question her own womanhood. A spiral of doubt occurs where the person she’s chosen to be intimate with may not see her as she sees herself which calls her identity as a woman into question. Essentially, a crisis of “What does he think of me as when he sticks it in my poot-er?”

While this is a fine and wonderful hypothesis, it was in need of testing. So I went out and interviewed some of my fellow trans women.
The first trans woman I asked had a radically different opinion. She said she used that f-word on her boy-toys because “it’s hurtful and it keeps them in line.” As in, she is leveraging the specific psychological impact of that f-word on a cis male who is intimate with a pre-op trans woman to control his behavior with (often public) shame.

The second trans woman gave me a answer more like the one I expected. That is, I was told to piss off and that she’ll call her boyfriend whatever she likes and that is none of my business.

The third trans woman I asked told me she couldn’t stand the idea of being with a man who had been topped by another man. She’s creeped out by the thought of being with a man who does the topping, but disgusted by the thought of being with a bottom. She has no problem being friends with a gay, bi, pan, or queer cis man, but she specifically only wants to be intimate with cis men. This fits more with my initial theory. However, she went on to say that she used that f-word in a regulatory manner. If her boyfriend was acting too feminine or was being too friendly with another masculine person, she would use it to “make him act right.” Effectively, forcing him to act within the bounds of toxic masculinity even though he has already stepped outside its bounds by entering into a committed, long term, monogamous, intimate relationship with a pre-op trans woman.

Four other trans women I asked all gave similar answers to the previous three. Two trans women I asked denied using that f-word even though I have heard each of them say it to the face of their significant other on a couple occasions.

I’m yet to sort out a conclusion from these conversations and am certainly not even close to forming a new hypothesis. I simply find it interesting.

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