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Truscum are people who think dysphoria is an essential component of being trans and anyone who doesn't experience it is fake, “appropriating transness”, a “transtrender”, etc. They very often exclude non-binary and agender people as well.

—Social Justice Wario[1]

Truscum have reclaimed the term "truscum".[2]

Truscum[3] (pronounced "true scum"), also known as transmedicalist and transfundamentalist,[4] are trans people who delegitimize the gender of other trans people.[5] They claim[6] one can't truly be transgender unless one experiences gender dysphoria, in this context it can sometimes be called physical dysphoria[7], as defined by cisnormative psychiatry[8] and medicine.[9]

Due to the fact that truscum are overwhelmingly a social media phenomenon, with a less than rigorously defined ideology, there are as of yet no academic or scholarly references to support claims about their demographics and beliefs. Notwithstanding, some attempts have been made to quantify their identities with respect to gender, age, and race.[10][11] These results, along with their behaviour and views, lend support to the view that the typical member of their community is an adolescent USAmerican White trans man with little to no experience with the medical establishment, and has been out for a relatively short amount of time. Placing emphasis on dysphoria (often one's own dysphoria) in order to invalidate non-binary identities is often framed as an attempt to validate binary trans identities at their expense.

Tactics and beliefs

Truscum reject the use of trans as an umbrella.[12]

A large part of truscum tactics boil down to respectability politics, the definist fallacy, and trolling. They attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to discredit and marginalise other members of the transgender community in order to appear acceptable to people with cishet privilege, thus conforming to cisnormative standards as much as possible.

Gender dysphoria

A large part of their argument is based on the psychiatric/medical definition of transgender people, known as gender identity disorder and/or gender dysphoria. Pathologising trans people, while extremely oppressive, grants truscum a form of legitimacy. Using the medical community's definition, truscum have found a certain level of "acceptance" within institutions. In so much as the DSM (and other diagnostic manuals) allow them to request to have the operations, hormones, and other help they require.[8][9]

However, the diagnostic criteria exclude many trans people, since it is by definition a requirement to experience gender dysphoria in order to be trans. So those who experience social dysphoria, who are non-binary, who are gender variant, and so on, but do not need or want medical or clinical help (e.g., surgery, hormones, etc) are by definition not trans.[13] Obviously, this logic is circular as well as ableist[14] and divisive. Trans includes many people under its umbrella, and defining it in such a way that excludes non-cis people is damaging to trans feminism and trans activism in general.

Transgender is (part of) the gender identity of those who reject the binary gender they were assigned at birth (by the medical profession and society) and those who attempt to transcend the normative standards for gender presentation, gender role, and gender performance. Using any other definition is biologically, psychologically, and neuroscientifically untenable.

Non-binary erasure

Based on their understanding of what it means to be trans (i.e., a purely medical condition), truscum accuse trans people who do not experience gender dysphoria of appropriating trans labels and culture as a fashion statement or as a misguided attention-seeking technique.[15] They refer to other members of the trans community, especially genderqueer and non-binary people, as "transtrenders",[16] further erasing their identities.[17][18][19]

Such views are not only extremely harmful to other trans people living in the West (which is where almost all truscum live), but also to all non-Western trans people (some of whom live in the West). This is because the medical pathological definition of trans is a Western invention. So truscum's form of the definist fallacy leads to the complete erasure of trans and non-binary identities (i.e., binarism) that have existed for millennia in other cultures. Truscum, in short, uphold colonialist and white supremacist norms when they act as gatekeepers of what "trans" is.[20]


See the main article on this topic: Misgendering

Again based on their belief that other trans people are not really trans, truscum knowingly misgender and trigger them if they engage them in a debate. They especially reject non-binary genders and neopronouns.[4] Truscum may refuse to use singular they when speaking with or about non-binary individuals as a form of misgendering.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminism

See the main article on this topic: Trans-exclusionary radical feminism

Many truscum side with trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) in their attempts to harm and oppress other trans people who disagree with their views. Predictably, their opinions are racist and transphobic, and their activism is largely composed of acts of extreme transmisogyny. For example, both truscum and radical feminists have been known to claim that trans women are rapists who want to enter women's (i.e., cis women's) spaces by force and not because they are women too.[21]

Notwithstanding, some truscum and TERFs are likely to disagree on certain issues. For example, radical feminists, and therefore TERFs, almost never engage in pseudo-scientific misogyny that affects cis women, since TERFs' target is almost exclusively trans women. Because of this they will contort their ideology to include under the label "woman" whoever they deem is cis. On the other hand, truscum almost invariably believe in neurological dimorphism: a highly problematic pseudoscientific belief that harms all people, especially women, regardless of what gender they were assigned at birth.


"Truscum" was coined by a trans woman on Tumblr as a pejorative to describe the kind of trans people who engage in gatekeeping, respectability politics, and the definist fallacy.[4]

See also

External links