By Win, AYLI Staff Writer
This blog includes Community Submissions, which are in Italics.
( tē fɔː, unstressed fə tē)
slang, signifier, lifestyle
Trans For Trans (t4t) is a term that is used to refer to trans individuals who are either exclusively attracted to other trans people or non-cis individuals, or who prioritise their attraction to other trans individuals over others.
what does t4t mean to me?
you believe me for me,
that trust in you seeing me like I see myself like I see you like you see yourself is t4t. and
knowing you see me emboldens me to dare to believe that everyone else does too. that makes the world so much fuller, so much less lonely.
t4t is like a ladder, two sides holding each other up as we make sure we both keep climbing through life. t4t is like
two-lane one-way streets, next to each other, supporting each other in their detours, always coming back together, one taking more when the other can’t. t4t is
the old butches smiling at us in the thrift store and us making excited eye contact (they see us! and talked to us!),
t4t is the queer 14-year-old staring at us: we are proof that they can make it to 23 and have what we do, too.
do I live by t4t because I'm still insecure to be with a cis person, my doubt in their perception of me probing my own fears doubts insecurities? or
is this euphoria trust bliss only possible because of t4t? I'm not willing to find out. the risk is too high. my self-esteem so fragile. and
i want the privilege to be sensitive. I don't want to harden up, thanks to more lessons and more hurt and more harm. I want to stay a little soft, and not so guarded.
I can be a little soft, not so guarded, in t4t.
— kc, 23, they/them, transmasc poc
When I first considered writing this blog, I worried about being able to encapsulate the entirety of a concept made of a billion heartstrings that spanned every civilization through time into 750-3000 words. A concept that was also about real people (including me) and could cause harm if written without care.
But the more I sat with it the more it simplified, like pulling petals from a daisy (they love me, they love me not, they love me). Because the heart of t4t, once you pluck away all the context and caveats, is about being understood. About being seen and seeing in turn, and liking what you see. Unfortunately, it’s also about safety, and the mutual understanding of living under the shadow of violence. After all, when your existence is seen as a threat to the dominant power structures that must be exterminated it can be tricky to date. But most of all it's about love as community.
What Does t4t mean to me?
t4t means i only fuck with other trans people, it means i don’t have to deal with cissues on my body and in my intimate life. it means get on my level, it’s an invitation to transition. you have to know, you have to understand and have seen the truth about our bodies and our lives that only being trans can show you. it means being entangled accomplices bound and unbound. t4t is drama and projection and unreasonable expectation and hearts broken in new ways, the old ways, as we have always done. t4t is an incestuous rat king of exes and future exes. you could be me, i could be you, always the same and never the same, day by day, life after life. t4t means having each other, keeping us safe. t4t might just save us, it might just create a better world.
— Eleanor Soleil, 24, they / she
I’m so lucky to live a life surrounded and supported by other trans people. I live with trans people, work with trans people to bring joy to other trans people, have trans family members, am friends with trans people, and date only trans people. The cobweb of my life is spun around t4t. We keep each other safe, make each other happy. And even when we break each other's hearts, let each other down, even when that cobweb is a messy sticky complicated tangle it’s still ours, still cherished.
It’s not to say that all trans people are the same, or that we all like each other because gods know we don't, but we are in community with each other. Sometimes people turn against their community, and that betrayal is its own kind of pain, but this isn't written for the betrayers. They’re not part of t4t. Being t4t is about more than who you date; it’s about how you orient your life, how you move through the world, what you’re willing to fight for, how you centre solidarity. It’s about holding each other scared in a world that makes you feel blasphemous for being you.
what does t4t mean to me?
The problem with intersectional identities is that you never know which direction the truck that hit you came from or bipoc t4t
The waiter misgenders my date
and I want to set him on fire
The man in the store
calls my mother a brown dog and
I want to tear his throat out with my
The once father of my beloved
drops her dead name like
his tongue is a coffin and
I want to put him
This is the beaten coin tossed into
My tempest wishing well
look and see it’s two screaming
And half fury
Made of the same
single seamless piece
I have never known peace
I think about how the only difference
between riots and vigils
I think of Fear and
How it has followed me
how I know it’s face better than my fathers
Consistent companion I wonder
What life would taste like without it.
More like blood.
Less like bloodlust
More like love.
— teeth, 26, it/it’s
My transness is deeply entwined with my Indigeneity to the point that they can’t be separated. My Indigenous transness makes me an enemy of the state just by existing. So when I find others who are like me, who know joy is the ultimate usurpation of oppression, I hold them close. In many ways, the beauty that comes from a community based on a shared identity is bladed because it’s borne from opposition. But that blade is ours, never forget that. We chose how to wield it. It can be easy to see only what needs defending, but t4t reminds us that we defend only when necessary to protect joy. A knife can draw blood, but it can also cut potatoes for planting, for making soup. It’s rough out there but in here we have each other, and that’s what matters.
We come from so many different places, but we hold this same magic inside of us and it sings. I hear the song all around me, threading through everything like gilding in a tapestry. Hope doesn't flicker, it burns. That fire is kindled by our joy, fed by our laughter, stoked by our love.
We glow even at our most dim because this stardust in our atoms is inextinguishable. We exist so brightly so we can find each other in the darkest places. t4t is everywhere, because we are everywhere. If you’re out there alone, come find us.
We’re making soup to share while we wait.
what does t4t mean to me?
t4t to me means having the best and silliest sex on the planet.
— rabbit, 25, any pronouns.
A self-described Queer Freak, Win (it/its) has never been interested in normal. An Agender/ 2Spirit person of mixed Lakota and Romani descent with a broad Kink background, Win brings a different perspective to AYLI. It splits its time between AYLI and its community, and can usually be found in the kitchen, the forest, or wherever there's mischief to be made!