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Non-Binary, Trans*

What the Trans and Non-Binary Community Can Learn from the ContraPoints “Cancelled” Controversy

Natalie Wynn looking at the camera with a half-smile, taken from the ContraPoints video "Beauty."

A still from the ContraPoints video "Beauty."

Who doesn’t love internet outrage? 

When justified, the outrage provides momentum for rapid positive change. When unjustified, though, the outrage proves detrimental for those who it was supposed to benefit. At least, that’s how I see it in the case of ContraPoints

I’m going to only express my opinion for this article. I am not a spokesperson for anyone other than myself.  

But from running this educational website, I hope to provide some educational outcomes for this whole ordeal. This is my take on the cancellation that happened.

Before we begin, let’s recap the telenovela. 

What Happened to ContraPoints? 

It’s a long story, but I’ll make it as short as possible. 

  • The creator of ContraPoints, Natalie Wynn, publicly transitioned from a gender-queer male-presenting person to a feminine transwoman. 
  • She got facial feminization surgery to mitigate her dysphoria while, she admits, trying to conform to society’s beauty standards. She describes her experience in her video Beauty. 
  • Admittedly, Wynn passes as a cisgender female. 
  • Despite all the time, money, and effort put into her transition, Wynn was still being called “they/them” in trans and non-binary spaces. 
  • Wynn expressed that “they/them” does not honor her and that she likes how her transition makes her pass invisibly as a cisgender woman in society. Passing reduces her gender dysphoria, and so she expressed how she finds comfort in the gender binary as a binary transwoman. 
  • Wynn also made some glib comments about non-binary folks who don’t transition. 
  • The trans and non-binary community got heated and “cancelled” Natalie Wynn to the point she deactivated her Twitter account. 
  • Now the ContraPoints account is back up, but Wynn’s assistant Gwen Kruger runs it. 

Again, I kept the story short. That’s the meat of what happened. Lots of people have made reactionary posts on YouTube, Twitter, in journalistic articles and more, but Wynn has not responded other than a written, formal apology

Was Wynn “Enbyphobic?”

Enbyphobic is a shorthand for NB, meaning non-binary, phobic. Essentially, it’s like being transphobic but for non-binary people. 

Personally, I don’t think so.

I think she expressed valid reasons for how being misgendered made her feel bad. Plain and simple. If people used “he/him” pronouns to refer to Wynn, they would have been (intentionally) misgendering her. So using “they/them” pronouns with her would have also been an act of misgendering as well.

Wynn, therefore, was justified to feel upset at having people in the trans community use the wrong pronoun with her. 

However, I think an issue arises when non-binary and binary trans people talk use their life experiences to try to understand the opposite party’s life experience. 

What do I mean by that? A non-binary person couldn’t empathize why Wynn had to stay within the gender binary and Wynn, to my knowledge, couldn’t empathize why people wouldn’t want to physically change their bodies to match their identity

(Note: she has made videos about non-binary issues in Transtrenders, so she can certainly understand enby-ness but not relate to it herself). 

Wynn, a binary transwoman, feels the most comfortable when she passes as a cis woman. To a non-binary person, the gender binary itself feels less tangible; a non-binary person could pass as their assigned sex or as something else, but the gender binary isn’t something one finds comfort from. 

It’s apples and oranges! 

Though both binary and non-binary trans people experience identifying as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth, both parties view comfort with the gender binary in different ways. 

Therefore, the groups can’t speak for one another, but should instead listen to the experiences of the other. It’s hard for all of us who experience gender dysphoria and discontent with our bodies. 

Let’s try to be a little nicer to one another, shall we? 

Summary of the Lessons From the ContraPoints “Cancelled” Controversy

Binary trans folks feel comfortable passing as a single gender while non-binary people typically feel ambivalence for gender, its expression, and its language. Some non-binary people feel gender dysphoria (such as transmasculine and transfeminine folks), but these people still don’t feel like they fit anywhere on the gender binary. 

  • So, binary trans folks try to live in the binary, non-binary folks live outside of it, and may even try to deconstruct it. The two are different, even though they both fall under the trans umbrella. Each informs distinct ways in which both groups perceive themselves and the world. 
  • Just be nice to people who experience the world differently from you! I think the ContraPoints “cancelled” controversy is an example of the trans and non-binary community being toxic to itself. We should strive to critique each other in constructive ways (but it was Twitter, so what can you really hope for?)

Videos advocating for and defending the LGBTQ, trans, and non-binary community populate the ContraPoints YouTube channel. While Natalie Wynn might have made some nonchalant comments that might have offended non-binary people, this trans activist should not have received the response she did. 

We’re all free to disagree with someone, but don’t see someone in a fragile binary. If ContraPoints stepped on your toes, take stock of the general good she did for the community and the Left as a whole in her videos. She makes a lot of good Points, even if she strokes Controversy. 

(I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. It was low-hanging fruit). 

I hope this article could shed light on what happened with ContraPoints, the non-binary community, and the trans community as a whole. Just know that this is my opinion and my positive spin on the matter. If you have any thoughts, please leave constructive ones in the comments! 

Thanks for reading! 

Much love, 

MK 

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