The third (and probably last) trans post of my life

16 Jan

I’m going to restate my position on all of this as simply as I can:

  • Radical feminist theory is founded in part on a separation of sex and gender, with “sex” referring to that which identifies the the material body as female or male and “gender” referring to the social roles enforced on the sexed body. A male supremacist society constructs gender roles out of thin air and horseshit in order to enforce social behavior on women and men that turns women into negative foils for sets of purported male attributes that amount chiefly to the valorization of that which allows men to dominate women (physical strength, violence, “bravery,” lack of discernible emotion, etc.).
  • Gender roles feel constrictive to almost everyone to some degree, and especially to the women who sense that the expectation of “femininity” is actually an expectation that they sublimate all of their own desires and interests so that men may more freely express their desires and interests (most of which are detrimental to women’s existence). Feminism, in general, aims to eliminate gender roles as the social foundation upon which male supremacy is constructed. The ultimate goal is thus to overthrow male supremacy and create a social environment in which behaviors and feelings don’t come in pre-packaged sets and are completely divorced from body parts that they are only nonsensically attached to now.
  • That there are people who feel so uncomfortable with the difference between their sexed bodies and their socialized conception of themselves that they would choose to risk deformity, death, and disability is to be deplored. Women have been conditioned to harm their own bodies in service of a social gender role grounded in misogyny and male supremacy. Radical feminism seeks an end to this practice. Women seeking surgery in order that their bodies will appear like male bodies, or men who undergo surgery in order that their bodies will present as female bodies, face huge psychological and physical risks and social ostracization. Adamantine gender roles are the source of the demand for these medical procedures and the dangers that attend them. Radical feminism also seeks an end to this practice.
  • The existence of transgenderism appears to strengthen the already sturdy bond between gender roles and sexed bodies when an individual comes to believe that their body must — but does not — match their thoughts and feelings and seeks to alter their body to resolve that conflict. However, the existence of sexual reassignment surgery and hormone therapy alerts the public to the disturbing and destructive power of gender role expectations, which might result in a gradual reassessment of the way we think about gender. On balance, it is difficult to determine whether transgenderism does more to strengthen or to undermine gender roles, but to expect an individual human being to suffer for the entirety of their life in order to fight for a political goal they may not even share is not appropriate.
  • Banning reassignment surgery is also not an option. Engaging the state in enforcing what should be a cultural prerogative will only lead to harm when people seek incompetent help outside of a medical establishment that can barely be considered competent itself. The male-dominated and capitalistic medical industry seeks constantly to arrogate to itself greater and greater authority to dictate our understanding of our bodies to us, and to decide for us what constitutes an appropriate application of medical technology (hence the plastic surgery and pharmaceutical industries). An outside entity must limit the power of the scientific and medical establishment and urge the reassessment of how to approach the phenomenon of human health. That outside entity should not be the state, but rather a movement of people who have reached a political and social consensus on how to approach the human body and mind more effectively, humanely, and holistically. This movement should obviously operate in tandem with a general shift in thinking about sex and gender informed by radical feminist politics.
  • Gender roles have served as justification for the rape, murder, and silencing of women since men figured out how to enforce them. They have also been used as justification for extreme physical and psychological violence toward men who do not conform to male gender roles (homosexual men; men who dress, present, or live as women; etc.). Both cases are expressions of misogyny. Men absolutely loathe and fear trans people. Transmen are seen as intruders, but transwomen are seen as traitors. Men cannot understand why someone born male would choose to take on what they see as a subordinate position in society. It threatens their sense of order in a fundamental way.
  • There is a difference between men who were born male, live as men, and reap the benefits of male privilege every time they come into contact with another human being and people born male who, while they may have absorbed enough social conditioning to exhibit a male sense of entitlement, have also experienced oppression at the hands of men who are recognizable as men (i.e., as no threat to gender hierarchy). It is not the same  kind of oppression women face, but it is nonetheless oppression and can include forms of violence just as severe as those women face. And it comes from the exact same feature of the average male psyche: virulent misogyny. That means transwomen need to be approached differently than men, and that transmen need to be approached differently than men or transwomen (though it does not mean that radical feminists ought to not analyze and critique trans theory) if the discussion of transgenderism and trans politics is to have clarity.
  • Radical feminists, while they do at times seek to make use of state power to reach limited goals, generally do not see the state as a vehicle for the good of women. The state’s existence is inextricably bound up with its ability to use violence and coercion. The state can thus be used as a tool, but it usually lags quite far behind the public and requires strenuous prodding by social movements to do anything right. That means that radical feminist ideas need to be impressed into the minds of the largest number of people possible in order to create a social movement. In the event that enough people absorb what radical feminism has to say, we will either find ourselves in a future in which the state will no longer exist, or in which the state can be used as a tool to bring us closer to wholesale liberation (the former obviously being preferable). In either case, there is work to do, and a shitload of it. No one wants to spend time explaining to men why they should behave like human beings, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel because separatism is only a viable option for a very small number of women, of which I am not one. That means I have to spend my life repeating myself in the hopes that a few small improvements will be made in the lives of some women before I die and that men will stop killing, raping, and dehumanizing us a few centuries after I die. I’m cool with that because it’s right. The only thing left is to determine how best to convince other people that it’s right.
  • In the face of a constant barrage of misogyny, and in an environment in which women who speak out in defense of women are besieged from all sides, anger and the desire for some form of camaraderie with the few women who have seen through the bullshit is to be expected. I am nearly constantly furious and quite often have an extreme sense of isolation in my political views. Still, when that camaraderie takes place on public blogs and contains words that men use to subjugate transgendered people, it presents a problem for radical feminism if the aim is to inject radical feminist ideas into public consciousness. Anger is one thing, slurs are another. Slurs shut the reader’s mind off. What cannot be allowed is for the public face of radical feminist theory to appear reactionary, and right now it does. When trans activists bully radical feminists and attempt to force their way into women-only spaces, women should be angry and should speak up — and should express anger when they do speak up — but should do so responsibly and intelligently, so that the radical feminist perspective won’t be written off.  Analyzing competing gender theories is not as simple as telling people how stupid and offensive a Burger King ad is. It’s complex, touchy, and very difficult to sort out and should be approached carefully.

156 Responses to “The third (and probably last) trans post of my life”

  1. No Sugarcoating January 16, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

    This could basically serve as a manifesto for trans/feminism discourse. “Gender theory is not as simple as telling people how stupid and offensive a Burger King ad is. It’s complex, touchy, and very difficult to sort out.” This part stuck out the most to me. Is there some sort of place for people who don’t think it’s as cut and dry as “transwomen are men” or “genitals are a social construct”?

    I can’t believe that anyone would call your feminist cred into question. I mean, you’re not pontificating on the potential empowerment of taking pole-dancing classes…You’re Nine Deuce! If there’s such a thing as earning the benefit of the doubt, you did it and then some. I probably wouldn’t be a feminist if I hadn’t found this blog. To this day, every time I get an email about a new post, my heart skips a beat.
    Anyways, I thought this was perfect.

    • Nine Deuce January 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

      No Sugarcoating – I deleted that sentence because I didn’t think it would sit well. Pretty funny. I guess I’ll put it back. I am kind of hoping that at least one space between “transwomen are men” and “genitals are a social construct” will be the comment section of this post.

      Also, thank you very much for reading and commenting.

    • Cindi Gold (@topazthecat1000) March 18, 2014 at 6:20 AM #

      As comedian Elaine Boosler said back in the 1980′s,I’m only a human being trapped in a woiman’s body.
      And as cultural anthropologist Roger Lancaster wrote in his introduction, in his good 2003 book,The Trouble With Nature sex In Science when he’s talking about how scientists constantly search for a ”gay brain”,a ”gay gene” or ”gay neurohormonal” patterns. He came out as a gay man when he was in college.
      He then says (One can hardly understate the niave literalism of present-day science on these matters: Scientists still look for the supposed anatomical attributes of the opposite sex embedded somewhere in the inverts brain or nervous system.) He then says and this notion now enjoys a second,third,and even fourth life in political discourses.He then says it is by appeal to such conceits that Aaron Hans,a Washington,D.C- based transgender activist,reflects on his uncomfortable life as a girl:”I didn’t *think* I was a boy,I *knew* I was a boy.” He says,Hans elaborates: ”You look at pictures of me- I actually have great pictures of me in drag-and I literally look like a little boy in a dress.
      Roger then says,Far,far be it from me to cast doubt on anyone’s sense of discomfort with the ascribed gender roles.Nor would I question anyone’s sense that sexual idenity is a deeply seated aspect of who they are .But testimonies of this sort and appeals to the self-evidence of perception beg the obvious question:Just what is a little boy or girl * supposed* to look like? The photograph that accompanies Han’s interview shows a somewhat robust girl.Is this to say that (real) girls are neccessarily delicate and (real) boys athletic?He then says (If so,virtually all of my nieces are ”really” boys,since not a one of them is delicate or unpresupposing)
      Roger then says,There is indeed something compelling about such intensely felt and oft- involved experiences-”I knew I was gay all along”; ”I felt like a girl” – but that compulsion belongs to the realm of outer culture,not nature.That is, if ”inappropiate” acts,feelings,body types,or desires seem to throw us into the bodies or minds other genders,it is because acts,feelings,and so on are associated with gender by dint of the same all-enveloping cultural logic that gives us pink blankets ( or caps,or crib cards,I.D. bracelets) for girls and blue for boys in maternity ward cribs.He then says,when we diverge one way or another from those totalizing associations,we feel-we really feel;in the depths of our being-”different”.Therein lies the basis for an existential opposition to the established order of gendered associations.
      Roger then says But therein also lies the perpetual trap: Every essentialist claim about the ”nature” of same sex desire in turn refers to and reinforces suppositions about the ”nature” of ”real” men and women (from whom the invert differs), about the ”naturalness” of their mutal attraction(demonstrated nowhere so much as in the inverts inversion),about the scope of their acts,feelings,body types,and so on( again, marked off by the deviation of the deviant). Aping the worst elements of gender/sexual conservatism,every such proposition takes culturally constituted meanings -the correlative associations of masculinity and feminity,active and passive,blue and pink- as ”natural facts”.
      Roger then says,In a twist as ironic as the winding of a double helix that goes first this way,then that,the search for gay idenity gradually finds it’s closure in the normalcy of the norm as a natural law.In the end,I am not convinced of the basic suppositions here.I doubt that most men are unfamiliar with the sentiment given poetic form by Pablo Neruda:”It happens that I became tired of being a man.”Even psychiatrists who treat ”gender dysphoria”- a slick term for rebellion against conventional gender roles -admit that at least 50% of children at some point exhibit signs of mixed or crossed gender idenity or express a desire to be the ”opposite” sex.Roger has a note number to the reference in his notes section to a March 22,1994 New York Times article by Daniel Goleman called,The ‘Wrong’ Sex:A New Definition of Childhood Pain.

      • Cindi Gold (@topazthecat1000) March 18, 2014 at 6:29 AM #

        Except “feminine” and “masculine” are really *HUMAN* traits,thoughts,feelings and behaviors! Unfortunately transexuals both reflect and re-inforce these artificial socially constructed categories in the very sexist,gender divided,gender stereotyped,woman-hating male dominated society we all live in!
        And there is plenty of decades worth of great psychological research studies by many different psychologists that shows that the sexes are much more alike than different in most traits,abilities and behaviors with a very large overlap between them,and that most of the differences between them are really small average differences,many of which have shrunk even smaller,and they find much greater individual *people* differences! Biologically the sexes are more alike than different too! Transexuals don’t help people learn and understand this! As comedian Elain Boosler said in the 1980′s,I’m only a person trapped in a woman’s body.
        Feminists(such as Robin Morgan,Janice Raymond,Gloria Steinem,Germain’e Greer etc) who have rightfully pointed this fact out,are not afraid of transexuals or prejudiced against them as you aren’t either,the issue is what I said it is. The only transexual woman who actually debunks these common sexist gender myths,and gender stereotypes is Kate Bornstein author of Gender Outlaw:On Men,Women And The Rest Of Us,Gender Outlaws,My Gender Workbook etc. She was a heterosexual man who was married and had a daughter,then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman and then decided not to idenitify as a man or a woman.

  2. Deena January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM #

    ND I admire your eloquence and fortitude. Please allow me to provide my perspective drawn from many personal experiences. Transsexuals of either variety seldom if ever loose their birth and early year attributes. It is therefore mostly correct to perceive F2Ms as female and M2Fs as male but perhaps it is not 100% correct. Can you then construct a perspective for radfems that accommodates rare exceptions? I actually think it already exists in the form of what is known as deep stealth. There are women born anatomically male who are part of the radfem community but nobody is aware of their birth condition. The problem you seek an answer to was solved long ago.

    • Nine Deuce January 16, 2012 at 10:55 PM #

      Deena – That’s pretty cryptic.

  3. Immir January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM #

    Yeah, I get all excited when I see a new post from 9D.
    Meanwhile: SWEET post. Seeing the online scuffles between feminists & transactivists has been a pain for me & as usual 9D comes in and blasts away with her logic powers

  4. sneeky bunny January 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM #

    I don’t think you could be any clearer 92. Bravo! I am sorry that you are getting so much flack over this. It is, as you say, such a complicated issue.
    Thank you so much.

  5. FCM January 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM #

    nope. sorry. what i see here is radfems need to work on our delivery. as if its *not* the message thats 100% the problem, and the message thats going to be rejected every single time by men and male-identified women.

    in the meantime, we are supposed to be wasting our time censoring and editing our work, instead of just saying it? when we *are* being both responsible and intelligent already? (that was such a lame cut-down too, 9/2. irresponsible and un-intelligent radfems. that will be the day.).

    no. no way.

    • Nine Deuce January 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM #

      Fine, we disagree. Keep doing what you do and I’ll keep doing what I do.

  6. Sugarpuss January 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM #

    92, it seems that a lot of your concerns are based on image. Many RadFems (especially the old-school variety) simply don’t care about the public’s opinion…hence the term Radical. I also sense that you’re very focused on being validated by men; I personally don’t care what men think. In previous posts, you have stated that the women who disagree with you don’t own Radical Feminism (or something like that), and that’s true…but neither do you. Many of the women you have issues with have been at this long before you or me. Some respect for your elders is warranted. Older women are constantly devalued; their wisdom is largely ignored by the general populace.

    Anyhow, I like your post, but I don’t agree that Radical Feminism should be sanitized & sugar-coated for mainstream acceptance. And I think you should just avoid the blogs that upset you, as opposed to prodding other women into, what you deem to be, appropriate behavior.

    That is all.

  7. No Sugarcoating January 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM #

    So, is there anything special you’re going to write about next? *desperate for more*

    • Nine Deuce January 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM #

      I have been writing bits of Porn Part 10, which I should really get back to since this is tiring me out.

  8. Feminist at Sea January 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM #

    I have a question 9-2. Do you use “gender” and “gender roles” interchangably or do you see them as two separate entities? If the former I would go one step further and claim that the goal of radical feminism is to erradicate “gender”, because it is the primary tool the patriarchy uses to keep women down.

    If the latter, what do you use as the definitions of “gender and “gender roles”? (I realize the answer to this question is subjective, as no dictionary can even tell “sex” and “gender” apart)

  9. deepika January 17, 2012 at 3:20 AM #

    “as if its *not* the message thats 100% the problem, and the message thats going to be rejected every single time by men and male-identified women.”

    this is it in a nutshell. nobody called outsidelookingover a “twanz”, a “she-male” or any such slur. nobody questioned whether outsidelookingover exists, or is even human. yet according to sneekybunny, “they now feel that their participation here, despite 92 indicating they are welcome, to be inappropriate”

    why inappropriate? because we’re questioning and critiquing trans theory?

    or how about marilynpierce’s passive-aggressive (paraphrasing) “we’re other/lesser therefore we should clearly just STFU”.

    throwing my hands up here. i don’t get it. nobody has said anything about trans women being “lesser”, or not having rights, or not being human, or not existing. simply critiquing trans theory, however, will get you those abominable accusations every time.

  10. FCM January 17, 2012 at 9:42 AM #

    9/2 did you actually have a point in writing this series? if your point was “hey look, i can say ‘transwomen arent women’ 12 times across 3 posts without getting blasted for it, you can too!” its an interesting point. but i dont think you could get away with that more than once. try making another post about trans sometime in the future, without 3-posts worth of obfuscating bullshit muddying up the waters and see how far you get. try actually making an actual point with actual analysis (and not just a simple observation or a conclusion) without all these wasted words confusing everyone and making trans supporters feel good by capitulating for a WEEK and see how nice they treat you, and how much they appreciate you then.

    this series, IMO was such a waste of time. if you are trying to tell us that we should do it like you are doing it, to avoid negative outcomes, my response would be 1) that i dont have this much time to waste and i refuse to waste it and 2) this is a once-off and not a long-term strategy anyway and 3) you havent made any actual points here. if this was an experiment, you have your results. but you havent done anything to advance radical feminist analysis of trans, and youve spent a lot of energy getting there.

  11. Rebecca January 17, 2012 at 10:17 AM #

    Great post, 92. I would just add that I think avoiding reductive and dehumanizing stereotypes of a vulnerable minority is important not just as P.R. for radical feminism, but also because it is wrong to traffic in reductive and dehumanizing stereotypes of vulnerable minorities. (I think you agree with this too.)

    As a final note, I find the equation of “radical” with not caring about the public’s opinion (in a comment above) to be quite extraordinary. I guess if one is satisfied with radical feminism remaining a vanishingly tiny minority view, that makes sense, but to me it seems like an abdication of the idea that we could actually make a substantial difference in the world by (among other things) gaining more adherents. To each their own, I guess, but to me it is important to articulate radical feminist ideas in ways that can get through to people who don’t already accept those ideas. This is not (or certainly not necessarily) the same as “sanitizing and sugar-coating.”

  12. Marconi January 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM #

    “Women seeking surgery in order that their bodies will appear like male bodies, or men who undergo surgery in order that their bodies will present as female bodies, face huge psychological and physical risks and social ostracization. Adamantine gender roles are the source of the demand for these medical procedures and the dangers that attend them.”

    The second sentence is not correct (although the first certainly is!). I require medical intervention in order to be able to be comfortable in my skin not because I wish to perform any particular gender role (it would actually be easier/more socially ‘correct’ for me to engage in my preferred activities if I did not transition), but because my mental ‘map’ of my body does not fit what is there. I doubt anyone here would condemn an amputee for wanted a prothesis because it helps to reduce the distress from a phantom limb, please do not condemn me and other trans people for seeking help to minimise the distress that arises when certain body parts are there when they shouldn’t be or not there when they should.

  13. amber anne powell January 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM #

    I enjoyed your post. We are fascinating. Strange because we are not really all that common. Perhaps that is the reason. Its hard listening to someone else define me when I often struggle with defining myself. I live as a woman, I work as a woman, I shop, I eat and I do most everything that matters as a woman. Am I exactly the same as someone born female? Obviously not. Am I close enough that it doesnt matter? Does anyone have the right to define me or limit me? Our whole system is built on power and privilege – it is those things that give one person the ability to limit, define and ultimately use another. My gender is an issue with men AND women so where do I fit in? Ultimately, it would be nice to simply live as one wishes and not have it matter. Anything less, is simply swapping one master for another.

  14. hall-of-rage January 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM #

    ND, this makes a lot of sense. I have objections but I think they mainly come from the fact that you are simplifying a lot (as you said), and I am usually wary of simplification on “trans issues” because others like to simplify in order to justify harm or hatred against trans people. That’s obviously not what this trio of posts is for, but I hope that you are aware of this when discussing trans people in gender theory. I suppose oversimplification always carries such risks when it is about marginalized groups of people.

  15. Justin January 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM #

    The value in recognizing anything as social construct is to see that it can be ignored, accepted, or changed. To claim that all gender roles are social construct, or that there are no behaviors or beliefs that are intrinsically a function of physical sex, is extreme. That does not mean it is wrong, only that most people have a hard time going that far at the present time. Trans people seem to cross up the logic of this, but not really. They are coming at it from the other end, they are matching a social construct they identify with to its assumed gender of origin. That could imply that some social constructs are directly related to physical sex, which is to say that our identities are related to and a function of our physical sex.

    No matter where you come down on this, its all somewhat tautological. Where you come down largely comes down to what you take as assumptions of the truth.

    I would agree that trying to package your message so it is friendly is not as productive as we often think it is. I am a male and when reading radical feminist writing I know not to take personal offense at categorical judgments of men. The subtext of that type of writing is making a larger point about gender roles, to get caught up in my ego and constructs of being male is to miss it. To worry about offending those reader sensibilities by making the message reader friendly is to implicitly accept the validity of their existence.

    • Nine Deuce January 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM #

      Justin – I didn’t ask for friendly, I asked people to knock off the slurs and obfuscations. I don’t think anyone finds my style all that friendly.

  16. hall-of-rage January 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM #

    Oh right, you said something at the end about how gender theories are complex and touchy. I think you might be interested in the UN video I linked here.

    I am also on the side of eradicating gender, in a way: not that people can’t express behaviors and communication styles as they are inclined to, in a consistent pattern we call gender, but that others should not /expect/ gendered traits from them and should not be so quickly inclined to generalize. In other words, in an ideal world gendered expression would probably be there, might be correlated with birth sex, but would be much less rigid for everyone.

  17. Heart January 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM #

    Bravo, Nine Deuce. Really, really good. Some thoughts I had reading through the responses. “Radical” as a modifier for feminist has not historically meant “extreme” or “doesn’t care what the public thinks.” It’s meant radical in the mathematical or scientific sort of way, an analysis that goes “to the root” in its analysis of issues. What ND has done is precisely that, she has written a radical, to-the-root analysis of gender. Beyond that, I am not sure that a politics that doesn’t care what the public thinks could be very radical or even really politics. I mean, are we after change as in revolution, do we want to amass a movement to build a new and better world for women? Or do we just want to yell at people on the internets in the most offensive ways possible because the most important thing is to prove that we are not nice, girly and middle class, eww.

    One thing that has not been mentioned that I think is important is this. Radical feminists have historically held that for individuals to reject gender and gender stereotypes is — radically — subversive and political. The thinking has been, nobody, whether male, female, intersex, should be required or forced or coerced to present in any particular way based on their sex. by anyone. Women should be free to wear buzz cuts and flat tops, flannel shirts, clothes traditionally regarded as men’s clothes, whatever, the sky’s the limit, and still be women. *And the same for men*. Men should be free to present *any way they want* — including in skirts, dresses, makeup, whatever — and still be men. In that way, over time, gender stereotypes become meaningless. Rejecting gender in a public way *does* make real change in the world; it confronts gender norms. There are lots of young people these days, especially, teenagers and young adults and kids, who present in the nonconforming ways I’ve described but are not “transgender,” do not “identify” as anything at all and are just boys and girls, men and women, and wouldn’t even know what you were talking about if you accused them of being “trans”, in person or on the internet. They aren’t “trans.” They’re just a boy who likes to dress androgynously or in traditionally feminine ways or they get manicures or wear makeup or whatever. The message — whether communicated intentionally or unintentionally — that men dressing like women are “trans” or “wrong” or “misogynist’ or MTFs or “trannies” or “twanz” or MRA-like is not a gender-subverting message. The message — communicated intentionally or unintentionally — that women dressing ‘like men” are trans or wrong or self-loathing or plagued with internalized misogyny is not a gender subverting message. When women and men present without respect to gender stereotypes, they do, in fact, subvert gender. Where the problem is is where the focus is on “identities” in terms of something that goes on in one’s own mind, as opposed to something that is forced on human beings on the basis of our sex. It doesn’t make sense I don’t think to treat gender nonconformists with contempt or disrespect, but that can be the result (on the internet and most seriously, in real life) where there is so much focus on the few trans women (mostly on the internet, mostly non-op, and often intending to jerk feminist women around for shits and giggles) who behave like assholes or who — by essentially masquerading as women because they can on the internet — are often broken individuals with significant mental health issues.

  18. lizor January 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM #

    @ deepika

    “i don’t get it. nobody has said anything about trans women being “lesser”, or not having rights, or not being human, or not existing. ”

    They have said that trans=sexism and they have said that trans is mental illness. Do you think these pronouncements are fair and accurate?

    Absolutely wonderful post, ND. Thank you.

    So far, I have not seen any aggressive condemnations of feminists in these threads by any of the posters who identify as trans. I know we’ve got a couple of links to stories of trans persons inappropriately demanding access to woman-only spaces, however, if this is a trait or behaviour inherent to trans identity as some posters have insinuated, there is no evidence of it that I know of on this blog.

  19. amber anne powell January 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM #

    Gender in all ways matters a lot in this world. Are their no traits that are more commonly feminine or masculine? Is gender just some sort of social construct that we learn? My sense is that it goes deeper than that. You cant just divide sex and gender into two nice little boxes and deal with them separately. At least, that is not my personal experience. Its more complicated. In a different world would I not want any surgeries? Would simply presenting as female be enough? I really dont know. My feeling is that their are those – both men and women who are born in such a way that their body is just not right. I dont know why that is, but I do believe it happens. The physical body does matter, more to some than others, but it matters to pretty much everyone. Men take steroids to build more muscles, women have man surgeries to look or feel better. Trans people do the same things, essentially their is no difference. It seems to me that their is somethng inherent in our brains that drive this. I find it hard to believe that it is all just some learned behaviour.

  20. Rebecca January 17, 2012 at 1:22 PM #

    Marconi wrote: “I require medical intervention in order to be able to be comfortable in my skin not because I wish to perform any particular gender role (it would actually be easier/more socially ‘correct’ for me to engage in my preferred activities if I did not transition), but because my mental ‘map’ of my body does not fit what is there.”

    This, to me, is an example of how matters are more complex than often presumed in the standard radical feminist analysis. That analysis says (among other things) that it is ENTIRELY due to patriarchal gender norms/rules that some people feel compelled to change their bodies — so the model is, “I have to change my body so that I can do/wear/feel/think/etc. what gender norms say is permissible for the ‘other’ gender.” For instance, a male feels he needs to “become a woman” (or girl) so that he can permissibly wear dresses, play with dolls, put on lipstick, or what-the-hell-ever. But if I am understanding Marconi correctly, it is not always like that, at least it isn’t in his/her case. One might want to transition “male to female,” for instance, even though the things one wants to do in life are more typically defined as male or masculine: e.g. “I want to front a death-metal band, study mechanical engineering, and sport a crewcut — but I want/need to do these things in a female-presenting body.”

    Why do some people feel desperately compelled to change their body from a male to a female presentation, or vice versa, if not in order to better conform to gender norms? I don’t know, for sure . . . and neither does anyone else on these threads. Part of what bothers me about the radfem “party line” on trans is that it is so intellectually arrogant . . . it assumes that we know all that we need or could possibly want to know about the genesis and meaning of trans feelings/identities/needs, which seems to me hubristic in the extreme.

  21. bugbrennan January 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM #

    So, basically, you are saying, “Meanies, be nicer!”

    What an utter waste this series was. And, I would have given you much more credit if you had bothered to say “trans meanies, be nicer.”

    But you didn’t.

    Well done. Niceness as a cause.

  22. Deena January 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM #

    Sorry I wasn’t clear ND. In thinking through your posts this morning I felt the need for a refresher on the last 60 years so I clicked around the web and thought about the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and so on. At one point I stumbled onto the wikipedia article on RadFem. It would be easy to spend several weeks reading through all the links and references on that page. For the record –>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism.

    Then I had one of those “aha” moments. It was a connection between the last 60 years of feminism and the current OWS 99/1% movement. We seem to have arrived at a point in history when women can say to men “welcome to our world”. I know it is a poorly constructed analogy fraught with simplicity but here was my thinking. The patriarchy has eaten its own. The ancient and long standing dominion of men over women has been turned on its head into a worldwide society of oppression by a tiny elite of the privileged few. The masses regardless of sex now are owned and dictated to. Their pay scales are diminished and their economic prowess reduced to ruble. It might even be possible to finally pass the ERA within the context of all this malaise. But men have to wake up and reject such things as limits on abortions and unceasing wars. They need to wake up and vote women into office who, in turn, are dedicated to rebuilding our universal education system, health care and every aspect of the social/political/economic life in this country.

    So how does this relate to your 3 trans posts? Perhaps feminists should be viewing transitioners as allies who have experience on “both sides of the issues”. I am not saying a feminist should look to a trans for leadership in any way but rather as allies and advocates to rebuild society.

    I hope that’s not too obscure or off topic.

  23. Justin January 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM #

    92,
    Pick your preferred semantic description then. Maybe accessibility is more apt. I don’t think it changes the meaning of what I am saying one bit.

    “What cannot be allowed is for the public face of radical feminist theory to appear reactionary, and right now it does.”

    Whatever you are talking about here is what I am referring to. Arguing from the merits of public relations contain concessions. The most accessible statement about the status quo is a reiteration of the status quo’s judgments. The statement becomes more inaccessible the farther from the status quo it moves. If you want to dismiss that point because I characterize concern over how a statement looks to others as making it friendlier rather than the less accommodating sounding making it accessible, then go ahead. I have no great interest in that praxis fight.

  24. sneeky bunny January 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM #

    @depeeka: I can see how my use of pronouns confused you. I used the plural to refer to OutsideLookingOver. It was OutsideLookingOver who decided that as a trans person they shouldn’t participate here. I didn’t use the singular “he” or “she” or the alternative “zie” because I wasn’t going to open up that can of worms, when all I wanted to say that I don’t think OLO should leave.

  25. Marconi January 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM #

    @Rebecca Yes, that’s pretty much what I meant.

    I think there’s a fair bit of misreporting whenever trans stories crop up in the news; the journalist always seems to emphasise that the person engaged in activities considered typical of the ‘opposite’ gener role to the sex they were assigned at birth, thus making it seem like we transition because of our hobbies, rather than because our bodies constantly feel wrong. Butch trans women and femme/andro trans men are rarely shown ‘as is’, but tend to be edited down to fit rigid expectations of the gender role they are expected to perform.

    We are also expected to perform this role when visiting health professionals for treatment/diagnosis- it is more difficult for a trans person to obtain treatment if they are not straight and if they do not stick to clothing conventions from the 1950s. This is reinforced by the Real Life Experience requirement in order to access medical care; basically we have to life as a caricature of the gender to which we are transitioning for several months in order to qualify for hormone treatment or surgery. Ultimately, sticking to a very narrow gender role may even be necessary long term, as pushing against those boundaries is liable to result in extra scrutiny and being outed, along with harassment, possible job/home loss (I’ve been looking up places with anti-discrimination laws in place for housing and employment with regard to gender identity, and let’s just say the list is a short one) and increased risk of rape or murder.

    So I guess in summary: the need to transition has nothing to do with patriarchal gender norms, but the way we display gender does because there’s (just like for everybody else) a hell of a backlash if we don’t.

  26. Francois Tremblay January 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM #

    ND, I tried talking about this to my friends but they argued that trans identity is biological and pointed me to Wikipedia entries listing (mostly tentative and partial) hypotheses as to how trans identity might be biological. I am really not convinced. Furthermore, even if that was true, it wouldn’t mean that the reasons why the trans people want to change sex are not sexist. Anyway, I was wondering if you had any opinion about this whole “trans identity is biological” nonsense.

  27. Sugarpuss January 17, 2012 at 5:08 PM #

    Oy…

    Okay, I feel like I need to say something else.

    I’m pretty much an Atheist. I cannot stand Christianity or any other male-dominated religion. It is precisely because of that disgust & disapproval that I do not involve myself with their activities (eg. going to church, reading the bible, identifying as a member of their group, etc.). But, most importantly, I’m not demanding that the bible be rewritten to accommodate my viewpoint. How ridiculous would that be? I don’t agree with them, so I try my best to find groups that do share my ideals. I’m not going to storm into a church and say “Okay, this is how we’re going to do things differently, because I think you are all doing it wrong”.

    Same thing applies to Radical Feminism. Those who don’t agree with it need to either get back on the LibFem bandwagon, or start their own movement. It’s not cool to invade other people’s territory (especially if you’re a noob) and demand that they accommodate your ideals which, oftentimes, are in complete opposition to said group’s basic fundamentals. It is my opinion that only a very selfish, manipulative type of person would even attempt such a thing. It’s like stepping into a lion’s den, and getting mad because they are acting like lions…instead of penguins.

    Yeah…pretty damn nonsensical.

  28. rainsinger January 17, 2012 at 5:39 PM #

    “..I would have given you much more credit if you had bothered to say “trans meanies, be nicer.”..

    Yes, thanks – I had also noticed that absence. Apparently only the mean radfems are worthy of having their behaviour admonished and criticised, but the public and real-life attacks from trans on women-in-general, and radfems in particular, are not worthy of mention.

  29. m Andrea January 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM #

    I’m extremely sorry I can’t remember who said it (and if anybody does remember then please say) but if gender was biological then then intersex folks would indeed be a third gender AND they would display a consistent set of traits which were quite distinct from both male and female. They don’t, so logically there goes anybody’s wacky idea of brain sex.

    On balance, it is difficult to determine whether transgenderism does more to strengthen or to undermine gender roles, but to expect an individual human being to suffer for the entirety of their life in order to fight for a political goal they may not even share is not appropriate.

    When we have an extremely vocal group of people advocating the position that “ONLY squirrels like nuts and anybody who likes nuts must be a squirrel” then yes, they are indeed essentializing biological sex and reifying every harmful patriarchal norm ever invented. If you want to make the argument that transgenderism somehow “undermines gender roles” then please actually construct that argument.

    Anyway, come to find out, there’s three different types of trans and perhaps these discussions might be more productive if we actually noticed:

    The first feels that his body is not “whole” given the arrangement of body parts he was born with. Since this particular type of transsexual is EXACTLY like those who suffer from amputation disorder (Apotemnophilia), it’s not hard to prove the claim they are mentally ill. Definitely very high functioning, excellent employee, usually a pleasure to socialize with, and no threat to women’s liberation whatsoever if he would simply acknowledge that he’s a bio male with a completely benign mental illness who needs certain body parts. Or, that part of his mental illness requires other people treat him as his preferred gender. His rights are already protected by law if he resides in the US, under the American With Disabilities Act.

    The second is just confused about basic logic. He (wrongly) assumes that only squirrels eat nuts and so his reasoning goes that if he desires to eat nuts then he must be a squirrel. It never occurs to him that lots of other animals also desire to eat nuts. He’s the one who keeps barging into women-only space seeking validation and comprises probably the largest group of “transgendered”. They’re not transsexual, merely huddling under whatever label de jour which will offer protection for their confused po-mo queer theory views.

    The third one is sexually aroused at the thought of himself as a woman. Ed Gains, the transsexual who inspired the move Silence of the Lambs, displayed all the symptoms of someone who suffered from Autogynephilia. The nutjob trans who cooked and ate his own testicles was also. Thank god there doesn’t seem to be very many of this type. Yes, they are fucking insane, is there any doubt?

    The second group is not mentally ill, however they’re also not “transgendered” — they’re merely sick of toxic masculinity and confused as to the most effective way to deal with that feeling. The first and second groups are vastly different from each other, have different needs but because the second group is much larger than the first, they have colonized the legitimacy of the first and drive the narrative.

    It seems like most trans supporters notice the first group and then assume the second group doesn’t exist. Personally, I have very little conflict with the first group and only concern myself with the second, as do most radfems.

  30. FCM January 17, 2012 at 7:11 PM #

    heres a graphic about intersex ms.a. not sure this is what you were referring to but it seems relevant.

    http://scumorama.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/the-gendered-intersex-brain/

    also, your mad logic skillz are required over on the other thread! please! i googled, and it didnt help. its an issue of expressing “only” versus “all”.

    http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2012/01/12/in-which-nine-deuce-uses-the-word-trans-a-second-time/#comment-20913

  31. m Andrea January 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

    I said all that in my previous comment because, if the discussion is “how to take a painful message which most people don’t want to hear and turn that into a more palatable subject for a wider audience” then separating the first group of transsexuals from the second group of poseurs might make more sense to people. An awareness of vastly different groups explains why I’m so “rude” to the idiots in the second group while retaining much empathy for those in the first group who are suffering from a completely benign mental illness. Because come to find out, I’m totally on board with and empathetic to completely benign mental disorders while at the same time, hate any attempt to normalize the essentialization of gender roles.

    Oh. in the other post you said:

    The thing is, none of the radical feminists I know are trans, nor am I. I have no way of knowing whether my battle with what society wants out of me as someone born with a vagina resembles in any way the conflicts that occur in the mind of someone with male genitalia who feels a desperate need to undergo reassignment surgery. I’m guessing, however, that it doesn’t, and I’m thus not going to tell trans people how their minds work, nor am I going to make the outrageous and dehumanizing claim that they must be mentally ill.

    By that “logic”, only murderers can tell other murderers that killing people is wrong.

    • Nine Deuce January 17, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

      Come on, now. That is a bit much.

  32. Sugarpuss January 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

    LOL This entire discussion is making me hungry. I think I’m gonna order a pizza.

  33. Heart January 17, 2012 at 8:41 PM #

    Rainsinger: Apparently only the mean radfems are worthy of having their behaviour admonished and criticised, but the public and real-life attacks from trans on women-in-general, and radfems in particular, are not worthy of mention.

    Oh for god’s sake, Rain. As you know, I have certainly lived through, let alone “mentioned” those public and real life attacks many, many times, over many years now in all sorts of venues including in off our backs. And, as an apparently nonmean radfem (by the lights of some radfems, certainly not by the lights of many transgender activists and their allies!), I’ve been plenty admonished and criticized, as well, for my nonmeanness and called all sort of nasty names and accused of all sorts of nauseating crap– *by radfems* (the mean kind, your words). So ya know, some of us can’t win for losin. But, there is nothing to keep any woman from living her life on behalf of and centered around women, identifying or being understood to be a “radfem” isn’t necessary.

  34. Deena January 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

    @ M Andrea. I love how your mind spills out into text. There are only 3 types of women. The first suffers from a benign mental illness where they view the world as dominated by men and their role is as the incubation units. The second and much larger group is aggravated by the circumstances they find themselves in due to a patriarchal socioeconomic structure and rant against inequities yet being confused by basic logic never gain traction. The third type, and thank god there aren’t many of them, are fucking insane. They believe women should make love to other women and eschew all forms of sexual excitement and arousal with the opposite sex.

    Personally, I have very little conflict with the first group and only concern myself with the second, as do most women. The third group? I’ll leave that to Cathy.

  35. m Andrea January 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM #

    well, what precisely is your criteria for deciding who is allowed to notice that someone’s behavior matches a set of behaviors which has already been designated as mentally ill?

    There are tons of disorders which are completely benign, where the people who experience those disorders are extremely high functioning etc etc, so given that — what is the cause of your hesitation which makes you unwilling to acknowledge that most genuine transsexuals are included in that category?

    I can possess an awareness that I do not feel the same way that someone else does. However, that isn’t the thing which could prevent me from (1) identifying their behavior (2) noticing that their behavior matches other behavior which is designated as mental illness and (3) having an opinion regarding the worth or value of that disorder.

    Trans supporters assume that a negative value ascribed to a disorder means that no one is allowed to notice that a disorder exists.

    And really, when considering their po-mo queer theories, they make the exact same deliberate “mistake” regarding gender and sexism. Females have a negative value so they pretend anybody can be a female; sexism is caused by the existence of class Male so they pretend anybody can opt out of the oppressor class. Their entire shtick is merely avoidance.

  36. Sugarpuss January 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM #

    Changed my mind; made spaghetti instead. :)

    @Deena: That was such a massive fail.

  37. Rusty January 18, 2012 at 12:17 AM #

    Ok I see now that this series was about the radical feminist approach to transgenderism and the reasons why we should all be discussing gender theory with sympathy and civility towards those who disagree. You got your points across well. I’ll admit that I thought it was going to be a more critical examination of transgender theory, but I won’t chastise you for not writing what I hoped you were going to write.

    Your points, though, rely on some universal acknowledgement among the liberal feminist and transgender community that transwomen don’t understand what it’s like to have been born female and don’t claim to. Here’s where you stated this explicitly:

    “Transwomen, it is argued, cannot ever understand what it means to be female in a male supremacist world in the exact same sense that women who were born female do. That is almost certainly the case, but who cares? Is anyone even claiming that they can? It would appear to be the opposite, in the cases in which transwomen enter into discussions with female-at-birth women and urge that their unique concerns as transwomen be taken into consideration.”

    But here’s where it gets tricky. In those few sentences you used two terms (born female and female-at-birth) that would get you kicked off another feminst blog, or at least sternly advised to “knock that shit off”. That’s because any indication that you think transwoman are not female, were EVER not female, have any kind of ingrained male privilege, and do not have female bodies, even despite having male organs, is transphobic and not allowed. It’s not simply a matter of respecting the oppression unique to transwomen, it’s also a matter of believing that there is no difference between women and transwomen at all.

    Basically we are being demanded to acknowledge the difference (oppression level) and deny the difference (transwomen are women) all at the same time. Anything else is silenced as transphobia. Holy dissonance!

    If you pay attention to when claims of transphobia arise on feminist blogs, you’ll notice that it almost always has to do with a (typically inadvertant) challenge to the notion that transwomen are and always have been biologically female, regardless of how long they were treated as male, their surgical history, or their modification/enhancement intentions.

    I’ve witnessed all of the following: Calling a “cis” woman a biological or natal woman is transphobic because it implies that transwomen were not born female. A lesbian not wanting to have sex with a transwoman with a penis is transphobic because despite the penis, she is and always has been female. Referring to a penis on a transwoman as a ‘male part’ is transphobic because nothing about a transwoman’s body is male – she simply has a female penis.

    Whether radfems refer to them as men or men in dresses or trannies or twanz or transwomen or trans women, it doesn’t matter. We could go around cautiously commenting on every feminist blog, very politely raising questions about the appropriateness of the 60- year old airport lingerie cross-dressing dude being considered a woman, and we would still be reprimanded to educate ourselves. People who consider themselves the staunchest of allies find themselves being yelled at and disinvited from the allies club because they didn’t put a space between trans and woman. Politeness and civility has nothing to do with it – it’s the perceived non-acceptance of transwomen as lifelong biological females that gets you into trouble.

    Obviously, the radical feminists that you refer to in your posts refuse to accept any of that, and for good reason. The conflation of transwomanhood with femaleness means that the shared experience of being raised female in a patriarchy now must include the experience of being raised male, which means there is no shared experience, or a shared oppression, among women at all. We all know that’s just not true, don’t we? You don’t have to be a feminist to realize that women have the female experience in common, you just have to be a woman.

    Maybe that’s why so many transwomen aren’t getting it?

    Transactivist and their libfem allies are dictating the terms of the discussion and silencing the words of feminists who dare to question an unproven and very anti-feminist set of theories. Radical feminism provides an alternative that makes a whole lot more sense and doesn’t take a degree in gender studies to understand. It’s about women and girls, period. No nomenclature, no acronyms, no identities, no preferred pronouns.

    The notion that transwomen and ciswomen are exactly the same, except that transwomen were more oppressed as a result of being raised male, is a delusion maintained in the interest of inclusivity and individualism that is exceptionally dangerous for women. It’s not only that transwomen with many years of maleness behind them are demanding that they be treated as any other woman with a female history (which completely erases the very real shared experience that women have as women), it’s also that men who have no trans experience whatsoever, who simply want access to women’s spaces for whatever twisted reason, will be granted that access because the law says that you are the sex you say you are and nothing else matters.

    The terms of the gender identity discussion require complete and unchallenged acceptance of a theory that is antithetical to feminism and woman-centered activism, not to mention the lived female experience. Radical feminists are refusing to adhere to those terms.

    This has nothing to do with slurs and being civil. Radfems are ostracized because we don’t accept that transwomen are exactly the same as women only more oppressed. It’s not because we use the word tranny when talking about that.

  38. Sugarpuss January 18, 2012 at 12:53 AM #

    Solid post, Rusty. *thumbs up*

  39. rainsinger January 18, 2012 at 4:15 AM #

    Heart – I’m sorry that you took my comment personally, I responding to bugbrennan’s comment. I respect you and your feminism a great deal, over many years now that I have been familiar with you – and don’t believe you have ever deserved any of the shit you have been dealt, online or offline – (many others, including me, have had similar experiences too) but I just cannot support Deuce and her supporters on this one single topic – OK? I just can’t compromise on this issue for the sake of respect or friendship.

    For me and my feminism, this issue is an important and very serious feminist political issue, (not a trivial ‘side-issue’ ) and I’ll admit I’m deeply disappointed with Deuce’s approach and framing of the issue in these posts — as Rusty pointed out “This has nothing to do with slurs and being civil”.

    But I’m done anyway — Take care :)

  40. rozkaveney January 18, 2012 at 4:57 AM #

    Actually, Rusty, one of the main reasons why trans women will argue back against your particular flavour of feminism has comparatively little to do with what you say about your views and everything to do with how you act on the basis of them. When ‘radical feminists’ have had the power to do so, they have got trans women fired from jobs, have broken up our relationships by ostracizing our lovers and friends and have put us in danger by outing us publicly. Janice Raymond talked about ‘morally’ mandating transexuality out of existence and that meant making our lives considerably more difficult than they were already.

    I won’t defend every response trans people – and I do note that trans men are oddly absent from your discourse most of the time – make to anti-trans analysis. However, if you feel threatened or harmed by our existence, imagine how we feel about the way you treat us and the abuse levelled here at Nine Deuce for even wondering about the issue.

    Oh, and mAndrea, you might want to consider the levels of ableist privilege embedded in the way you talk about mental illness.

  41. deepika January 18, 2012 at 5:26 AM #

    “They have said that trans=sexism and they have said that trans is mental illness. Do you think these pronouncements are fair and accurate?”

    @lizor: people are saying that trans THEORY is sexist, and yes that is fair and accurate.
    re trans is a mental illness – in light of the part of my comment you quoted regarding being “lesser”, that’s a pretty ableist implication for you to make.
    secondly – in many cases, yes, i do think that trans-ness is symptomatic of mental illness. but i’m not the one drawing conclusions that that automatically makes trans people “lesser”.

    “@depeeka: I can see how my use of pronouns confused you. I used the plural to refer to OutsideLookingOver. It was OutsideLookingOver who decided that as a trans person they shouldn’t participate here. I didn’t use the singular “he” or “she” or the alternative “zie” because I wasn’t going to open up that can of worms, when all I wanted to say that I don’t think OLO should leave.”

    @sneekybunny: re-read my comment. i was referring to outsidelookingover specifically too. i understand how language works, despite being from south asia. but thanks for the pro-tip! and it’s deepika with two ‘e’s and one ‘i’.

  42. isme January 18, 2012 at 5:36 AM #

    Not wanting to derail the thread, but:

    “Then I had one of those “aha” moments. It was a connection between the last 60 years of feminism and the current OWS 99/1% movement. We seem to have arrived at a point in history when women can say to men “welcome to our world”. I know it is a poorly constructed analogy fraught with simplicity but here was my thinking. The patriarchy has eaten its own. The ancient and long standing dominion of men over women has been turned on its head into a worldwide society of oppression by a tiny elite of the privileged few. The masses regardless of sex now are owned and dictated to. Their pay scales are diminished and their economic prowess reduced to ruble.”

    Hey? Men have always found varied and exciting ways to oppress each other, whilst oppressing women in the same situation on top of that.

    People (women and other oppressed groups) have been saying “this is how we’ve had it for years, with your tacit or active approval”, but the message is being ignored, same as it always has been.

  43. deepika January 18, 2012 at 5:46 AM #

    also, i’ll ask on this thread as well:

    if trans women are not truly men or women (as nine deuce states), then why should the onus be on women and feminists to find a solution to this problem once and for all anyway?

    and for those people saying that trans-ness is biological, that your mental “map” of your body doesn’t match with your body – there is absolutely no reason for the internal map to be “female”. and even if there is, and you are hell-bent on claiming that, then that still doesn’t make you a woman. sorry. because women do not have male bodies with female mind-maps. women are “adult human females” with female bodies and a shared experience around those bodies.

    again: if trans women are not truly men or women (as nine deuce states), trans is trans’ own business. not women’s, not intersex’s, not men’s.

    so even if science and research DOES find some internal “female” kernel in an adult male human’s brain – then that is something unique and different from both men and women and unique and different solutions must be found by the trans people themselves that do not impinge on the rights and boundaries of women.

  44. Barbara Di Bari Visconti January 18, 2012 at 7:50 AM #

    Yea, Rusty! Excellent post.
    In other words, the radical feminist position on trans constitutes a thoughtcrime against trans ideology, and the transactivists and their allies are trying to prevent even the possibility of this thoughtcrime’s occurring by dicktating the terms of discussion and even the words which it is acceptable to use, exactly like in the real 1984.

  45. cabochon January 18, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

    “[T]here is nothing to keep any woman from living her life on behalf of and centered around women, identifying or being understood to be a “radfem” isn’t necessary”–Heart

    Yes; less labels, more doing for women. That’s the thing, and you, as always, understand that, Heart. Looking forward to your return to blogging.

  46. Rebecca January 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM #

    I agree with virtually everything Rusty says above, and appreciate the clearheaded and lucid post. But I don’t think it follows that it doesn’t matter how radical feminists express our critiques. Granted, to people who hold the rigidly-held-although-totally-absurd views Rusty mentions, it probably doesn’t matter. But I think that (here as in, e.g., the porn “debates”) there are a good number of people who are fence-sitters, or who are quietly thinking “really?! this doesn’t make sense, does it?” who might respond well to a radical feminist critique of trans theory that’s not expressed through mockery and vitriol. (I realize some commenters on this thread will see this as impossibly naive, but so be it.)

    • Nine Deuce January 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM #

      Deena – calling lesbians (political or otherwise) “fucking insane” is unacceptable on this blog. Don’t do it again.

      • Deena January 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

        @ND It was poor tongue in cheek sarcasm meant only to highlight the abuse heaped on transsexuals by reversing the positions. I apologize. M Andrea had used the term so I mistakenly copied her language but simply reversed the group it applied to. I hope you accept that it was a very poor attempt at humor and certainly not what I believe. Sorry.

  47. Lysandra January 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM #

    Nine Deuce, when you made your first post about this, I felt like it was a breath of fresh air. I had been bothered by use of words like “twanz” in talking about trans issues, because to me it sounded infantilizing and unnecessary to our point. But as I continued to read your other posts, it began to sound more and more like that’s not your real issue, but only a side issue. Your real issue is that you don’t agree with the trans-critical RadFem analysis. What I find disappointing is that I can’t figure out exactly what you do think instead. I read through these posts and find them confusing. I know what you don’t agree with, but I don’t know what you do actually think.

    What I’m grateful for is that through these posts and the ensuing comments and spin-off posts I’ve been able to examine more thoroughly my reaction to words like “twanz” and “tranny.” When I carefully examined that, I began to see that these slurs are most often used by Rad Fems in talking about trans theory as a whole, trans activists as a group, or in the rare case that they are talking about an individual, it is one who has done something abusive or oppressive to women, including stalking, harassing, assaulting, stealing precious resources, etc. No one is running up to those trans individuals that largely keep to themselves and calling them names. No one is doing any violence to trans individuals who aren’t doing anything to harm women. Hell, no one is even trying to ban SRS! Yet RadFems are getting accused of these things all over these comment threads and elsewhere. All Rad Fems are trying to do is defend their women only spaces and their limited and precious resources to be directed toward WOMEN’S liberation.

    So, thanks for these posts, as you’ve helped me to clarify what was bugging me about this language, and better contextualize it. You’re unlikely to hear me using words like “twanz” or “tranny” but I no longer have such a negative gut reaction to those who do.

  48. womononajourney January 18, 2012 at 1:26 PM #

    “But I don’t think it follows that it doesn’t matter how radical feminists express our critiques. Granted, to people who hold the rigidly-held-although-totally-absurd views Rusty mentions, it probably doesn’t matter. But I think that (here as in, e.g., the porn “debates”) there are a good number of people who are fence-sitters, or who are quietly thinking “really?! this doesn’t make sense, does it?” who might respond well to a radical feminist critique of trans theory that’s not expressed through mockery and vitriol. (I realize some commenters on this thread will see this as impossibly naive, but so be it.) ”

    I agree. And I appreciate your effort in expressing your thoughts on this issue, Nine Deuce. I know the work of feminists’ tends to be under appreciated, so I’d like to put my support out there.

    I could be wrong, but I think some of the reason for the language you describe comes from frustration and anger at the constant attacks on anyone who criticizes trans politics in any way. For example, I know many women in real-life who hate the porn industry. But they are also ardent supporters of trans politics. Perhaps we should focus on critiquing “queer” as a political movement, and trans as a branch of it (I am more talking about myself here, as I am not going to tell other women what to do). I disagree that trans is a side issue. I’m not going to get into specifics, but you literally cannot talk about a women’s issue without how it will affect M2Ts being dragged in. It’s not just frustrating…the utter colonization apparent in females is heartbreaking.

    I don’t know how to get through to any younger women, and frankly, I don’t think any of us do.

  49. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 2:38 PM #

    Nine Deuce, you are very out of touch. If it were someone else writing, I would assume they were being intentionally obtuse, but, having read your blog, I don’t believe that’s what you’re doing. I believe you’re simply extremely out of touch with the reality of modern mainstream feminism, transactivism and radical feminism, and the interactions between all of these.

    There are wonderful, insightful radfem blogs out there exposing the chilling (to a radfem, at least) dynamic between mainstream feminism and transactivism, the ever-more-absurd and ever-more-demanding (demanding of women, of course) positions of transactivists, and the very real physical dangers M2Fs pose to women (in female public bathrooms, female prisons, etc.) I would recommend, for example, the “gendertrender” blog, or “twanzphobic”, but you’ve already said you see blogs critical of trans as “nothing more than repetitive snark” (sorry if that’s not the exact quote), so I guess that recommending them to you would be useless.

    However, there is just one thing I don’t understand. if, as you say, you have actually read such blogs, how is it possible that you are STILL so out of touch? How could you have read these blogs and not see the data? The analysis? The cold, hard facts? How could you have read them, and honestly say there was nothing there but “repetitive snark”? How could you come away from the experience proclaiming that the dangers of transactivism should be a side-issue for radfems? Did you just form your opinion of these blogs on the basis of a couple of posts? I’m honestly not trying to be snarky here, it’s just that I don’t see any other possible explanation.

  50. Heart January 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM #

    Thanks, Rain, I appreciate what you’ve said. You are right, I am taking things personally. The thing is– and I’m not really responding to you now, Rain, just thinking out loud — I agree that issues around transgender are critically important. I don’t disagree with you or with anybody else here who believes this. I have defended and participated in women-only spaces for a long time now. I value them deeply and I don’t want a world where they don’t exist or are even threatened. It pisses me off when, as recently happened, I go to what I think is going to be a lesbian feminist discussion group and the largest-and-in-chargest person there is a trans woman, totally dominating the discussion and insisting they have the most important perspective because they’ve “seen it from both sides”, no thanks. But I’m with Rebecca — I don’t think mockery and vitriole and at times, hate speech in public venues will help us or will help anyone. I know because I’m getting old and am a veteran of a lot of movements that when the discussion takes the kind of turn it has taken, it’s not a good thing. It’s become not only about commitment to women or feminism or truth or activism or whatever people engaging in it insist (or sincerey believe) it’s about. It’s usually about deep resentment that has taken a destructive and hateful turn, and so the discourse generates lots of heat and precious little light. Once this happens, in my experience, nobody wins. You know– we don’t have to have discussions around issues that aren’t ours as women. Why should we? I have long refused to participate in any discussion once it starts to be about what a woman is, for example, once it gets to be about hormones and chromosomes and DNA and surgeries and all of that. When that happens, I’m out, not my issue, not any woman’s issue. For me, speaking only for myself, the issues I think belong to me are those around subversion of gender and the importance of and need I, and I believe all, women have for woman only space. The rest? I don’t think so. I think the fence-sitters Rebecca refers to tend to be not very impressed with the “what is a woman” discussions and all the stuff about surgery and hormones, etc., and so, in the end, they are not much of a threat to women’s lives.

  51. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM #

    One extremely big issue covered on such radfem blogs that I somehow forgot to mention are the thousands of girls and women who are “transitioning”, scores of them, more and more every day. Here I have to mention Dirt’s blog (dirtywhiteboi67). I don’t agree with a lot of what Dirt says, but I absolutely have to mention her here, because her blog is eye-opening, mostly for the “trans trending” posts, which are basically screenshots of and links to public youtube videos of young FTMs. Dirt’s modus operandi is controversial. For a while I was not sure what to think of it myself, but in the end I’ve decided that anything that might snap those girls out of it and help save them from chopping off healthy body parts and pumping themselves full of unnecessary hormones is necessary, even if it is awkward and painful. Anyway, I don’t see how anybody could go through Dirt’s blog and still see transgenderism as a “side-issue” for women.

    It is anything but. It is mutilating and hurting scores upon scores of us, disproportionately young girls. Every day there are more and more. An entire generation of gender non-conforming women mutilated out of existence. And the trans recommendation is to start the mutilation process (aka transition) while prepubescent, if at all possible. Reading this, do you still see it as “at most, a side-issue”?

    • Nine Deuce January 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM #

      Isn’t that kind of the point, Rahelle? It’s hard to read past slurs. Though I have read quite a bit. I have already said I don’t disagree with much of the radfem position, but no one seems to care about that part.

  52. Sneeky Bunny January 18, 2012 at 3:13 PM #

    Deepika,
    1) My apologies for misspelling your name. That happens to me all the time and it certainly is annoying isn’t it?
    2) Wasn’t trying to school you or anybody else on the English language and its vagaries. Just trying to be clear was all. So you can save that chip on your shoulder for something more worthy of your ire.

  53. lizor January 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM #

    @Deepika,

    “people are saying that trans THEORY is sexist, and yes that is fair and accurate.
    re trans is a mental illness – in light of the part of my comment you quoted regarding being “lesser”, that’s a pretty ableist implication for you to make.
    secondly – in many cases, yes, i do think that trans-ness is symptomatic of mental illness. but i’m not the one drawing conclusions that that automatically makes trans people “lesser”.”

    A commenter in the other thread (second posting, I think) said that trans is sexist, not trans theory. I quoted her in one of my comments.

    “Ableist”?? Seriously???

    Calling my reference to Mandrea’s (and now your) blanket condemnation of trans as mental illness or symptomatic of mental illness, “ableist” is hypocritical.

    YOU are the one categorizing a broad group of people as having poor mental health. One would assume you see yourself as mentally “healthy” – enough to pronounce upon/diagnose others’ relative mental health, anyway.

    Do you really think trans people are ill? If they are, as you insist, unwell, do you have any sympathy or empathy for them in their compromised health? What treatment and care do you suggest for these “sick” people?

    Or are you just using the stigma of mental illness to make a cheap shot?

    This sounds just like those who dismiss women who don’t conform to patriarchal dictates for feminine behaviour as being “mentally unstable”.

  54. Sugarpuss January 18, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

    rozkaveney said:

    Oh, and mAndrea, you might want to consider the levels of ableist privilege embedded in the way you talk about mental illness.

    Hi there. I’m “mentally ill” (are you?), and I’m getting pretty fucking tired of do-gooder agent types who think they can speak on behalf of a group they are not a part of or have limited experience with. I was not the least bit offended by mAndrea’s post. How could some transgender folk not be mentally ill, considering our current gender-conformist environment? It’s not “ableist” to point out the devastating effects of patriarchy.

    As far as I’m concerned, transgenderism is just another cheap band-aid for a gaping wound that has yet to be stitched up.

    Oh, and I’m proud to be crazy…that’s what gives me my edge. ;)

  55. spinsterrella January 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM #

    @Lysandra, this was my experience as well. I mentioned in my other comment that when I first started exploring the trans-critical radfem blogs, I also thought they were a little harsh. But as I dug deeper (did my research!), I began to realize that the harshness seemed (to me) warranted in the cases it was used – just like you described. In fact, much of the writing, is not that harsh, and is very logical (trans politics/activism is so illogical… part of why it never made sense to me). A good one to read, if you don’t care for harshness, is Noanodyne’s blog, whose brilliant posts are some the most eloquent and clearly-stated ones I’ve ever read on the subject.

  56. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM #

    I was not debating the finer points of your argument there, ND. I was referring specifically to you saying transgenderism should be a side-issue. That is something I deeply disagree with, and I am interested in whether you still feel that way, even after all these comments pointing out the threats transgenderism poses to women? There are no slurs or insults in these comments, so, no matter what one’s sensibilities are on that matter, these posts should’ve been easily readable. So, what I’m asking is, do you still think it should be “at most, a side-issue”?

    As for the point, well, it is one of your points, but it is obvious it is not the only point of these posts, and that there are other (IMO, deeper) bones of contention here. This isn’t just about the manner in which us anti-trans radfems express ourselves, you clearly also disagree with the very essence of our argument (you don’t agree that “transwomen are men), and with the amount of focus that we dedicate to the subject (saying that it should be a side-issue). I would think that learning more about our arguments would be worth suffering through some not-so-nice words. I mean, yes, I get the argument that some newcomers to feminism could find it alienating and off-putting, but I’d have thought a radfem would find the info gathered at those sights valuable enough to suffer through some words she disagrees with. At least for the sake of investigating before she blogs about the issue. I mean, okay, fair enough, you found yourself driven away by the language. But then you don’t really the necessary experience with those blogs to proclaim them “nothing but repetitive snark” “obsessing over a side-issue”, do you?

    About the “slurs” themselves… I don’t think “slur” is a correct definition here. They’re not used as slurs in radfem circles. They’re used to emphasise the absurdity of transgenderism. “twanz” is not an expression of hatred for a person or a group, it’s an expression of bewilderment at the absurdity of the whole idea. “Mangina” is just stating a fact. I mean, what else is it? Yes, someone who believes in transgenderism may find it of-putting, but it makes perfect sense from the radfem POV. Trans theory is nothing but harmful fanciful poppycock to us. We make fun of it just like we make fun of compulsory femininity and dudebros and other nasty parts of the patriarchy. So purely in that the expressions might be off-putting to newcomers, there is an issue worth discussing here, but it definitely isn’t about ethics. There is no moral issue here.

  57. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM #

    *”on those sites”, not “sights”. Sorry.

  58. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 5:44 PM #

    spinsterrella, I second your recommendation! I love Noanodyne’s blog.

    P.S. Sorry for the multiple posts (and the crappy spelling), ND. Won’t happen again.

  59. maggie January 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM #

    @ND I personally highly rate this blog. I have read through the brilliant series on Pornography and have thought it among the best I’ve seen on the internet. You have a brilliant, analytical radfem mind. I just don’t agree with you on this series. However it has been an interesting read.

  60. rozkaveney January 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM #

    Sugarpuss asked whether I am mentally ill, a fair question. Yes, I am; I live with chronic depression, which, like being trans, is the source of much that is best in my life.

    Various posters here have said that being trans is trans people’s issue, but base so much of your analysis on the assumption that you know, better then us, or anyone else, what is going on. You think trans is about gender roles and, for a lot of us, it really is not; it’s about embodiment and who we’ve always been.

    A lot of what you say about trans people is projection – I can’t speak for anyone except myself, but I have never tried to bully women into accepting me. When I’ve contributed to reference works on women’s writing, when I became one of the readers for a major feminist press, it was because women invited me to and were prepared to take criticism for so doing.

    Radical Feminism is a vanguard politics and intrinsically elitist.

    A lot of what’s been said in these comments is, frankly, a good example of the sort of bullying which has gradually diminished the influence of your politics on feminism since the 80s, only now you are doing it inside an ever diminishing pool of the like-minded, because most feminists have stopped listening to you.

    You might care to consider why that would be, and not think it is because they are weak, or because teh evil trans have brain-washed them. It’s not even because you are wrong about a lot of things, though some of the stuff I read on your blogs about the elimination of male children or the coming eco-apocalypse which you will survive better than others is more whistling in the dark than practical politics.

    The religious right are taking back so much of what has been gained over the last few decades – there is a war on all of us. And you are more interested in ideological purity and heresy-hunting than in just getting along.

    Fair enough – I can see how you would not want advice from the likes of me.

    If on the other hand you want to join the real struggle agains the real enemies of all women, all LGBT people, the working class and people of all ethnicities and cultures – well, you know where it can be found. See you there.

  61. rozkaveney January 18, 2012 at 6:08 PM #

    Oh, and one more thing. When did logic, for its own sake, without any reality check or any basis in empathy, come to be seen as a specifically feminist value? It is an odd thing to praise each other for constantly – you’re not mediaeval monks constructing a theology.

  62. Boner Killer January 18, 2012 at 6:16 PM #

    ” I didn’t ask for friendly, I asked people to knock off the slurs and obfuscations. I don’t think anyone finds my style all that friendly.”

    @ND, i have been told i am just “being too nice” as well…but really, like you said, this is about the slurs and the language being used against trans people, as if they aren’t humans. I really enjoyed this post, it is thorough and truthful — also, thank you for giving me courage to speak out on the same issue, i wouldn’t have felt i could handle the backlash i have been facing, but it hasn’t been THAT bad.

    Can’t wait for porn part 10!

  63. rahelle January 18, 2012 at 7:41 PM #

    @rozkaveny

    Bullying implies deriving pleasure from mistreating and harassing someone. We don’t harass individual trans people, nor do we derive pleasure from any of this business. We wish transgenderism would disappear, the struggle against it is not fun or enjoyable in the least.

    Also, that’s nice that you say you never forced your way into any woman-only space. But are you denying that transactivists and the majority of transpeople nowadays consider it YOUR RIGHT to go into those spaces? That they consider women hateful bigots for refusing to accept your presence in those spaces? (Btw, these are not rhetorical questions? ARE you denying it??) What you are doing now is the equivalent of pulling the old “but not all men are sexist, I’m a nice guy!” schtick. We are not talking about you as an individual, but about the wider trends among trans people and especially the trans movement. I haven’t seen anybody here claim every single trans person is an asshole.

    And the whole “radfems only care about ideological purity” angle… Another libfem/trans classic. It’s always the same, no matter the discussion – porn, BDSM, prostitution, transgenderism… Always the same. Not that it hasn’t already been said in the hundreds of comments you chose not to read/are wilfully ignoring, but radfems care about women. For example, the thousands of young women cutting off their healthy breasts, mutilating their healthy genitalia and screwing up their healthy endocrine systems as we speak.

  64. Deena January 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

    ND I am disappointed. You tried but I don’t see anything gained. I don’t see twanz saying ok we are not women and I don’t see women saying well twanz may not be women but they are more acceptable than the patriarchy. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying you had any goal in mind when you started this series other than civility.

  65. delphyne January 19, 2012 at 2:40 AM #

    I still think you’d have been better off talking about Hugo Schwyzer Nine Deuce. It would have been more productive.

    Feministe still won’t ban him, and I’ll point out again they *did* me on the thread which he appeared on because I didn’t hide my anti-trans stance. So we have lib fems who can’t bring themselves to finally condemn an attempted woman killing (it would be pre-emptive!), but a mere *opinion* (not even a “rude” one) about trans deserves a banning. That’s how things really stand, whatever you’re claiming about how awful it is that radical feminists aren’t being uniformly and unfailingly polite about the topic – and since when was politeness ever a requirement in politics?

    Rather than looking at people’s manners, why not examine actual power relations in the blogosphere, and how they reflect the world outside. Because, whatever you believe trans actually have the whole of the patriarchy on their side, validating their existence and supporting their rights over and above those of women, and no men don’t have a problem with trans. Trans is an aspect of masculinity, not an aberration from it.

    • rozkaveney January 19, 2012 at 5:24 AM #

      Delphyne

      ‘trans actually have the whole of the patriarchy on their side, validating their existence and supporting their rights over and above those of women, and no men don’t have a problem with trans’

      That would be why Latin American and Turkish police death squads are killing trans women even more regularly than other women; why the Pope and Saudi clerics send memoranda to the UN decrying the idea of giving us rights; and why Tennessee legislators think it advantageous to announce their intention of kicking us to death. It would be why the Swedes apply eugenic policies to us, the Murdoch media empire sneer at us even more than you do and why straight-identified trans women only tell male lovers their backgrounds in public places.

      A feminist discussion of trans issues might usefully consider the question of male violence against all trans people and linking it to male violence generally, rather than denying that trans-exterminationist violence exists.

  66. rozkaveney January 19, 2012 at 4:03 AM #

    Rahelle You claim that radfems don’t bully individual trans people. That is self-evidently untrue. Sites like Gendertrender, Twanzphobic and The Dirt from Dirt regularly copy individual’s photographs and vlogs in order to mock them and moralize about them and Gallus at Gendertrender has on at least one occasion traced someone’s ISP and tried to out them. Back when radical feminism had more power, it was standard to demand that women’s organizations or allied groups sack trans members of staff and threaten consumer boycotts if they did not; friends of mine were outed and in some cases sacked. I have direct experience of trans-related bullying by radical feminists; Sheila Jeffreys threatened to organize ostracism of the late Sandy Horne if she did not cease to be in contact with me.

    You seem to be missing my point about my work as a contributor to feminist works of reference – I did not intrude bcause I did not need to, People judged my contributions on their merits, which is all I ask, and invited me in. There are not enough trans activists for even the most vocal of us to win the argument by bullying – the increasing acceptability of trans women in women’s and lesbian spaces has not happened because of us, or because women have ignored your analysis, it is because they have listened and found it did not tally with thier experience of the trans people they knew.

    And please don’t accuse me of representing myself as one of the nice ones; I really am not, just someone who thinks civility is important.

    You care about women, as do I, as do we all. If you think that a politics which places its analysis above solidarity is going to be useful in the face of the worst attack on women, the working class and minorities since Fascism at best and the early Nineteenth century at worst. lots of luck with that. I do note though that your example of how much you care involves disrespecting of the self-actualisation of young trans men.

    You don’t have to listen, but if you don’t, you will end up not contributing to the important struggles

  67. Sugarpuss January 19, 2012 at 4:23 AM #

    @rozkaveney: So, RadFems are baby-killers & elitists, huh? Funny…I’ve never killed any children…and I’m WELL below the poverty line.

    Try again, asshat.

  68. Sugarpuss January 19, 2012 at 4:33 AM #

    I will no longer be reading or posting to this blog. So long as clowns like Rozkaveney are allowed to post blatant lies & character assassinations of RadFems.

    Enjoy the borg, folks.

    • rozkaveney January 19, 2012 at 6:37 AM #

      If people think I’ve told any lies, they are welcome to their delusions. I don’t want to be accused of silencing women by my presence, so I am out of here.

  69. rahelle January 19, 2012 at 6:57 AM #

    @rozkaveney,

    I’ve already mentioned Dirt upthread, and, as I said, I used to have doubts about her approach, but then I decided that anything that might snap those girls out of it is a good thing, no matter how rude it might seem. Tough love, if you want. Also, keep in mind that Dirt is not stealing anything, those are public youtube videos, the girls in question can always make them private.

    GallusMag, as far as I know, only attempted to ID a person who was pestering or even threatening her. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the exact details anymore. Or is it the case of the FTM who was abusing the privileges of her hospital job and stealing testosterone or something like that? Again, can’t remember the exact details exactly, it’s been a while. Confronting bullies, thieves and illegal T dealers is not “bullying”. If you were referring to some other case, feel free to correct me.

    Twanzphobic exposes misogynistic statements, acts and campaigns by transwomen. Please answer me this: do you also feel that exposing misogynistic statements, acts and campaigns by (what you trans would call) individual cis men is “bullying”? Are feminists bullying Hugo Schwyzer, going by your definition?

    The increased acceptance of transwomen in women-only spaces has indeed happened in part because women let it happen, you’re right about that one. Unfortunately. Women have, after all, been conditioned to swallow men’s bullshit and seek men’s approval for millenia.

    As for solidarity, don’t make me laugh. There’s no place for solidarity with men in radical feminism. Men. Y’know…the oppresor? Men are not what feminism is about. I don’t give a shit about them no matter what they choose to do with their genitalia, including lopping them off (or inverting them or whatever. And, what does being working class or a minority have to do with the topic at hand? The topic is transgenderism. If there’s some sort of connection here, maybe you could actually point it out to me. Instead of using empty quasi-political slogans.

    Also, I don’t give a fuck about the self-identification of young transmen, I care about those young women’s LIVES. Lives > self-identification. Truth > self-identification. Feminism > self-identification. A person can self-identify as a desk, doesn’t mean much when the self-ID has jackshit to do with reality, does it? Why you even bothered to tell me off for that is beyond me. One would think it’s quite obvious that, if I placed any worth on trans “self-identification”, you and I wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place.

  70. rahelle January 19, 2012 at 7:17 AM #

    Forgot to add to my first paragraph that, as far as I’m aware, Dirt never insults the girls whose links she posts, she only expresses sorrow for what’s happening with them.

    Oh, btw, roz, since you value self-identification so much… If you don’t mind, could you share with me why you absolutely couldn’t continue living your life without trying to pass yourself off as a woman? What exactly was it that made you conclude you were feeling like a woman? (Yes, this is a tired, old question, but I still would like to know. Mainly because I want to discuss some interesting trends in the trans community with roz…or any transperson here who is willing to talk). If you don’t want to answer, you obviously don’t have to, of course.

    P.S. I notice that at least once per comment you mention how little and insignificant feminism is in the grand scheme of things, and scold feminists for not redirecting even more of our energy on other things. Are you sure you’re not lost? This is a radfem blog. So, if you disagree with us so much, AND you also consider us so small and insignificant, why even pay attention?

  71. Heart January 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM #

    Trans persons don’t have the patriarchy “on their side,” any more than, say, women who schedule c-sections in hospitals or get cosmetic surgeries have patriarchy “on their side.” Having someone at the ready to shoot you full of botulin toxin or cut you open on their schedule for an unconscionable fee is not having that someone “on your side.” I don’t think it’s about manners or civility, it’s about strategy and priorities, i.e., as I said up there somewhere, is the goal to scream and yell on the internets so as to be approximately as persuasive and credible as the National Enquirer or the Daily Mail? Or is the goal intelligent analysis and discussion of issues, strategy and goals? Then this:

    rahelle: “you clearly also disagree with the very essence of our argument (you don’t agree that “transwomen are men)”

    That’s the “essence” of your “argument”? That doesn’t even rise to the level of an argument!

    Re bullying: My experience is, there are not just a few who identify as radical feminists who enjoy the hell out of being assholes and jerks on the internet. I have certainly seen and experienced that up close and personal and in living color. There are sadistic people in every movement, even if they claim to oppose SM (maybe especially then). Also, I think to come onto someone’s blog (that she’s been moderating the hell out of, a horrifically time-consuming, exhausting and abjectly THANKLESS job when we are talking certain subjects), tell her what she should have posted (over and over and over, ad nauseum), tell everyone else where they SHOULD be reading instead of reading here, all while hammering, hammering, hammering because (apparently) all you see is nails is *bullying* pure and simple. ND, you’ve done an incredible job and showed amazing restraint and I know how difficult that is.

  72. lizor January 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM #

    rahelle wrote: ” We wish transgenderism would disappear… I haven’t seen anybody here claim every single trans person is an asshole.”

    So hate the sin, but not the sinner?

    I am very grateful for this discussion and ND’s courage in opening it up. I learned a lot more about RF concerns regarding trans theory from Rusty’s post and others and I am grateful for that.

    I come from a small city and grew up a community of gay (both male and female), trans, artists and other non-conformists. This was in ancient times when there were 2 TV channels and no inter web. There was a cohesion in that community in that we were united against the threat of gender binary and patriarchal violence. When one regular at the bar we hung out at was murdered outside by a queer bashing fuck, we all felt the threat and the loss. It was soon after this that media culture really took off and soon after that that the communities started to fragment. In my youthful naiveté, I was shocked the first time I went to a bigger city and was made unwelcome in a gay men’s bar.

    All of this to say, my early experience was one of comradeship between groups of people who were marginalized by the dictates of patriarchy and gender conformity, so this obviously colours my view. That said, I can see very legitimate and pressing feminist concerns around transgenderism, the numbers of young females transitioning and the safety of women-only spaces. (thanks again ND for the series and others for your thoughtful contributions).

    However, I am not comfortable with the insinuation in some of the posts here, that if I do not condemn all trans persons and agree that all things trans must be annihilated, then I may as well be running my own gonzo porn site. I am not a fun feminist yet I do acknowledge the oppression of trans people. It would seem that the two are seen as inextricably linked by some posters.

    I am also interested to hear the response to rahelle’s question regarding the desire to pass as a woman. When I was growing up I felt an almost crippling ambivalence about living in a female body and being recognized as specifically female – a body that the world seemed to feel it had more rights to than I did. Young girls cutting and transitioning does not seem so foreign an impulse to me, given the ingrained loathing of the female body in our culture.

  73. m Andrea January 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

    If a religiously conservative rethuglican came in here and demanded that you treated him and his ideology with all the respect which he assumes he deserves, you’d probably tell him why he was mistaken. If he kept doing it, eventually you’d get annoyed and tell him to fuck off. And when he still persisted years later, you’d probably ridicule him.

    In order for you to assume that yes, you should refrain from referring to him as a wacked-out rethuglican, then you’d already have to ALSO assume there was some amount of validity to his ideology and that he did in fact deserve your respect. Or, you’d have to assume that reasoning with someone who clearly can’t reason is an effective strategy. You’re trying to make the implicit argument that these turds deserve MY respect, and that reasoning with them produces a discernible improvement in their behavior which benefits ME, and yet you never bother to give a reason for either assumption. (Btw, it’s also classist of you to assume that I need to find a way of speaking which is completely foreign to me just so you can feel better about yourself.)

    The only reason you would assume trasngenderism has some amount of validity and therefore deserves some measure of respect and accommodation after all these years of their trollish behavior, is because you possess an additional layer of unexamined male supremacy –which I do not have. Or, because you’re completely new to the debate. Like Delphyne, I too noticed that many libfems were perfectly willing to defend a man who planned to murder his girlfriend and then slink off to teach his women’s history class, while these same libfems will literally ban anyone who even POLITELY objects to the idea that transwomen were ever men.

    They are literally out of their fucking minds. We do not humor the dood who thinks he’s Nepolean Bonapart. In order to help him find reality, mental health professionals will under no circumstance continue to reinforce his delusion. Instead, they will remind him over and over again that he is out of touch with reality.

    The other thing, is some of you seem to laboring under the misconception that because I am willing to state the bald-faced truth, that I have no empathy for the mentally disordered — as if those two assertions have any connection to each other.

    I feel sorry for the mentally ill. I do not feel sorry for the mentally ill who attempts to rape my humanity from me and then demands my sympathy while he does so. Apparently some of you are such fucking doormats that you would argue that a rapist who rapes women over and over not only deserves the respect of his victims but he also deserves compassion from bystanders.

  74. doublevez January 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM #

    Nine you should know all the feminist blogs are being stalked/hacked by MRAs and tranz (oops apologies for the tautology. )

    Heart I still need money. When you acted as though you were going to lose land and home I (and many othes) sent you money. I personally did without things I NEEDED not just WANTED. Food, necessary health aids etc. because of your desperate pleas which turned out to be false. I think you’re a con and scam artist who takes advantage of the good will of other women. This is a public service announcement.

  75. Sneeky Bunny January 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM #

    I dunno 92, to grasp the nuance of your statement is going to take some deep analysis of context and political theory. I warn you, there may have to be foot notes involved! :P
    Hang tough.

  76. Heart January 19, 2012 at 5:59 PM #

    Fuck off, doublevez.

  77. Heart January 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM #

    Here’s a public service announcement for you: God help anyone who *ever* expects online “radical feminists” to (1) have her back; (2) support her work, (3) be decent human beings, once she has departed the party line. With “friends” and allies like this, you damn sure never need an enemy. It’s a good thing the work some of us have done and continue to do speaks for itself. And funny how the loudest mouths of the loudest critics belong to people who can point to ZERO work of their own. Fuck.

  78. rahelle January 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM #

    @lizor

    I started writing a short reply to you about the sin and sinners thing, but somehow it ended up being a long thinking-out-loud kind of thing on possible motivations MtF individuals might have in transitioning. I don’t have a blog, so I’ll post the whole comment here, someone might want to discuss it. But the most important things I wanted to post specifically in reply to your comment are contained in the next paragraph and the last 2 paragraphs. So you can basically skip all my rambling in between =) Sorry for complicating things!

    I don’t think transgenderism is a sin, it’s a delusion. I don’t consider transwomen “sinners”… And I certainly don’t think all transwomen are deliberately out to destroy feminism, or that that is what motivates them to “transition”. (The overwhelming majority of them, being male-born and raised-as-males, certainly don’t care if, along the way, they do ruin feminism, and many might consider it a bonus, starting with the transactivist leaders; but I don’t claim that all trans individuals are in it due to some anti-feminist masterplan).

    I believe there are all sorts of male individuals who transition – drag queens who take their offensive appropriation several steps further; a wide array of dickwads who fetishise gender roles; confused “effeminate” kids not wanting to stick out as a target in a male crowd anymore, gay men who intensely dislike the often brutal gay community (saw several such stories at trans forums); “effeminate” men pushed down that road by their unethical or brainwashed shrink, fetishist autogynephiliac pervs; sick pieces of shit wanting to prey on women in prison, in public bathrooms, women’s groups etc. (yes, these are not a product of a paranoid readfem mind, just take a look at the data gathered by Gallus on Gendertreder); men starved for attention; sensitive wannabe-edgy kids who read too much BS po-mo philosophy, etc. etc. (Not that these are all mutually exclusive, btw.) “Effeminate” male children pushed down that road by their brainwashed but well-intentioned liberal parents are a whole different category, since they have no actual informed choice in the matter. I am terrified for them, and disgusted by transactivists’ lack of regard for the bodies of young children who cannot make informed decisions about their body yet.

    Then there are men who suffer from genuine body dysmorphia and cannot stand their male body in the same way others with body dysmorphia cannot stand their healthy limbs. I’m not a mental health professional, so I’m not gonna give out opinions about what the treatment should be – medication, therapy, maybe even surgery? I don’t know, but it’s very important here to note that their issues are completely different from those of trans people who don’t have mental issues such as dysmorphia (and that it’s a misconception that all or even most trans people suffer from true body dysmorphia. Of course, society and transactivist brainwashing can lead to discomfort with one’s body that feels like dysmorphia. This is, form what I’ve observed, much more apparent in “transmen”, that is, women who believe themselves to be trans.

    Basically, my point is that I believe there are different motivations for men “transitioning”. Many of them vile, but some understandable (I vehemently disagree with the solution but empathise with the circumstances that drive them to it). I empathise with many “transwomen”. I just don’t think that it’s the best solution for their problems for all of us to indulge the whole “female penis” “brain gender” charade. And I’m not ashamed to say that, even if it were the best solution for them, I would still not let them do it on the back of MY liberation movement, on the back of my genderless personhood, and on the back of my dream for a genderless future.

    To summarise, I most certainly don’t hate MtFs as individuals, and I feel compassion for many of them. Still doesn’t mean that i have to respect and indulge their batshit philosophy, allow their politics to endanger women’s safety, and sacrifice what little hope I have for the future, all to spare their feelings from reality.

  79. rahelle January 19, 2012 at 6:51 PM #

    ND, I’m writing this comment just as a note to you. While it’s in the moderation queue could you please de-italicise the text in the comment I just posted? It’s a typing fail, and I’m sure it could be irritating to those who read the comment. Not even sure you CAN de-italicise it (I’m pretty clueless about blogs and comment moderating), but asking just in case. Thanks either way!

  80. Marconi January 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

    @rahelle

    “Also, I don’t give a fuck about the self-identification of young transmen, I care about those young women’s LIVES. Lives > self-identification. Truth > self-identification. Feminism > self-identification. ”

    If you give a fuck about my life, then please don’t disregard my competence to make decisions that support my own mental and physical well being. It is patronising for you to tell me that you know what is best for me better than I do myself.

    Yes, injecting myself with hormones once a fortnight carries a heightened risk of liver damage, heart disease etc. Yes, masectomies can go wrong, sometimes terminally – I have watched the videos, I have read the statistics, I know the risks and despite all of that I still think that I will be happier than if I continue in this body which feels fundamentally wrong.

    If you care about my life and the life of other trans men, then work to reduce the stigma, because otherwise all I see is yet another person dressing up ‘trannies are icky’ as concern for our wellbeing.

  81. rahelle January 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM #

    Marconi, you’re missing the point.

    Radfems simply don’t believe trans is a real thing. It’s not that we’re simply against people transitioning, it’s that we don’t believe transgender exists.

    This whole discussion is not about acceptance, it’s about the validity of the whole concept. So, there’s no real point expecting any agreement to happen when radfems and trans persons/libfems discuss anything trans.* Because, since we disagree on the very validity of the concept, it’s obvious we’ll disagree on everything that follows from the concept.

    * (apart from things that are down to basic human decency, like that trans people should not be beaten, harassed or discriminated against in the workplace etc. etc. This should be so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to mention it, but it seemsthat, frustratingly, lots of people really seem to think radfems are baying for trans people’s blood.)

  82. Deena January 20, 2012 at 6:56 PM #

    @ rahalle. You listed about a dozen different conditions that cause or underlie men seeking to transition. Then you stated it doesn’t exist. I am confused by that seeming contradiction. It seems like you are saying you see red and green and blue and yellow but none of it is real and there is only light without color.

  83. mechantechatonne January 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM #

    She listed reasons that can cause a person to wish to undergo the physical changes involved in a transition. That says to me she knows why some people would want to do it, but while they can make these physical changes, none of these changes make them the same as people born with the parts they want to make replicas of. The idea that a person actually can change their sex or that they are a different sex than their bodies indicate is the quibble, not the idea that a person can want to do so.

  84. lizor January 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

    @rahelle,

    I did not think you were talking about “sin” literally. I just found the rationale similar to the church’s stance on homosexuality. I do, however, hear what you are saying. Thanks for the reply.

  85. Marconi January 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM #

    @rahelle

    You stated that you do believe body dysmorphia exists, then stated that you don’t believe trans exists. That’s like saying you believe in viruses but not in flu. I am trans because I have body dysmorphia and given the options are either having my brain messed about with or the rest of my body, I’ll go with the latter.

    • ms. hell (@misshellbedlam) August 2, 2013 at 7:55 PM #

      “I am trans because I have body dysmorphia and given the options are either having my brain messed about with or the rest of my body, I’ll go with the latter.” Thank you, so much, sincerely. This makes perfect sense to me. I am rather desperately looking for sense in the trans* experience b/c I am a bleeding heart feminist–not “fun feminist” at all, but can’t help being overly empathetic/nurturing etc., to the point I would not be in the least offended if someone labeled it a disorder. Anyway I do deal with severe anxiety/depression so anyone thinking [my understanding of trans* experience as being about body dysmorphia] is ableist is barking up the wrong tree. If there’s any group of people I *don’t* empathize with, it’s the blissfully sane. (Nothing against them, I just can’t identify with them.)

  86. rahelle January 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

    @Marconi,

    You obviously don’t know how trans is defined. Hint: body dysmorphia =/= trans. Look at a trans site or something and read up on it. So, let’s talk about the body dysmorphia I was talking of upthread. Firstly, “gender” has no importance to it. Second, I think it’s a mental illness analogous to the one where patients cannot stand their healthy limbs and want to get rid of them (this extremely obvious comparison, and even the term “mental illness” is a biiig no-no in the trans community). And finally, I’m not sure SRS is actually a good solution. I would (though I’m not a medical professional) first try with medication and therapy.

    So, this is not “trans”. It cannot be “transgender”, since it has nothing to do with gender (and also because “gender” doesn’t exist except as a restrictive and harmful social construct). It also cannot be “transexual”, since this means crossing from being one sex to another. Which, is, of course, impossible. But, IMO, it doesn’t need a name other than “body dysmorphia” (well, “sexual characteristics body dysmorphia” or “sexual body dysmorphia”) That is its name, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Just like body dysmorphia concerning limbs doesn’t need a new name, as it already has one (“body integrity dysphoria”, if I’m remembering correctly). So, “trans” is superfluous. Not that I have any right to tell anyone what to call themselves, as long as they’re not abusing terms harmful to me (transgender, transexual) or using terms that appropriate my existence (“women” with penises etc.)

  87. liz January 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM #

    A well sorted recapitulation of all the issues surrounding this highly touchy subject.

  88. Blamer Bushfire January 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM #

    “Radfems simply don’t believe trans is a real thing. It’s not that we’re simply against people transitioning, it’s that we don’t believe transgender exists.

    “So, this is not “trans”. It cannot be “transgender”, since it has nothing to do with gender (and also because “gender” doesn’t exist except as a restrictive and harmful social construct).”

    Rahelle, you’re stating things that aren’t true. People do have gender identities that are fixed in the brain and not dictated by society. They also have gender roles that are socially constructed. As well, not all radfems deny the existence of transgenderism.

    I’m amazed at how many women who purport to be against oppression think it’s fine to oppress transgender people. You can’t end oppression while oppressing.

  89. deepika January 25, 2012 at 5:21 AM #

    from the OP – ” “gender” referring to the social roles enforced on the sexed body”

    so “gender” is socially constructed but “gender identities” are real AND fixed in the brain? where in the brain? how? most of the research done so far on this subject has been pretty inconclusive (swaab and zhou et al).

    blamer bushfire, you’ve lost me. i just don’t see how one (gender identity is real) follows from the other (gender is a social construct). but it sure sounds a heck of a lot like gender essentialism, not oppression of trans people.

  90. Heart January 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM #

    A good way to look at it is, gender is “real” but it isn’t “true.”

  91. Heart January 25, 2012 at 3:36 PM #

    A good way to look at it is, gender is real, but it is not true.

  92. Blamer Bushfire January 25, 2012 at 8:15 PM #

    Deepika, it seems like you are deliberately trying not to understand me. I didn’t say “gender” is socially constructed, I said “gender roles” are socially constructed.

    I’ll try again. this website says:

    Gender identity is an internal sense of self and what one fundamentally is. It’s the sense of being a man or a woman (or both, or neither, or in-between, or something else). It is divorced from concepts of what a man or woman is or isn’t supposed to be like, and appears to be very much innate and unchanging. It also appears to be related to the neurological “body map” and relationship to one’s body- feelings of either comfort or alienation.

    Gender expression is the degree to which one’s personality, interests and manner of self-expression is culturally regarded as “masculine” or “feminine” (or “androgynous”). This is heavily culturally and socially mediated. What is regarded as feminine in one culture may be regarded as masculine in another. There seem to be some gendered traits that are in varying degrees innate to an individual but gender expression is an aggregation of many, many, many such traits which can occur in an immense variety of combinations.

    Does that help? Also, I don’t know where gender is in the brain, but I don’t really need to know. Research is inconclusive about why people are gay too, so should we debate whether or not homosexuality really exists and call ourselves “homo critical”?

  93. deepika January 26, 2012 at 2:46 AM #

    re homosexuality – you said gender identities are “fixed in the brain” so i basically questioned what that meant.

    if you had said “homosexuality is fixed in the brain” i’d have questioned that too.

    also – you are misunderstanding me. i quoted the OP saying gender is a social construct, where gender=gender roles.

    if the word “gender” (which usually refers to the social construct concept, and also how it is used in the OP) is now being redefined to mean something that is actually “fixed in the brain” then it might be an idea to start using a different word for it, because these are two different things.

    also bushfire, could you clarify how you define “transgenderism” and “transsexualism”? i want to be completely on the same page as you regarding this, but i know that many people use these words interchangeably.

    finally, my definitions of man and woman are “adult male human” and “adult female human” – would you agree with these definitions?

  94. Blamer Bushfire January 26, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

    Do you not think that homosexuality is fixed in the brain?

    I don’t know what an OP is, nor why it has authority here.

    I don’t define transgenderism or transsexualism in a unique way– I just use them to mean what they mean. Here’s the Wikipedia page.

  95. maggie January 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM #

    I agree that intersex is different and the surgical intervention at an early age is currently being questioned. It’s now believed that it should be left to intersex born to decide for themselves what they want to be and that they should consent to what sex they are comfortable with. After all we live in an age where we are conscious that young children need privacy to change clothing so ‘bullying’ shouldn’t be an issue. SEAL programmes (I’m from the UK) should be international in my opinion – put into search engine and feel the love.

    However it seems to me that transgenderism is promoting changing gender at an early age, with life long chemical treatment and debilitating surgery. This is contrary to intersex belief.

    I’d like views on this. I think it’s important.

  96. rahelle January 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM #

    Blamer Bushfire, radical feminism is not some fancy but ultimately meaningless club I’m trying to kick people out of for shits and giggles, it’s a political philosophy and movement, and if you don’t agree with its basic tenets, then – surprise, surprise – you’re not actually a radical feminist. Why try to bend something to your own tastes just so you can apply its label to yourself? Wouldn’t it be much easier (not to mention more fair to people who actually do believe in those basic tenets) to just leave it well alone and find a label that already does fit you?

    Btw, OP just means “original poster”.

  97. rahelle January 28, 2012 at 12:23 AM #

    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/what-do-you-like-or-desire-most-about-being-a-trans-womanman

    BlamerBushfire, I really recommend you read this. Extremely illuminating stuff, straight from the mouths of transpeople themselves. (Btw, just google the quotes if you’re doubting their authenticity).

    Nine Deuce, I’d like to recommend it to you too, if you find the time. I don’t know how many of Gallus’s posts you have read, but, IMO, this one really shouldn’t be missed.

  98. Blamer Bushfire January 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM #

    Way to avoid actually addressing anything I said to you, Rahelle. Radical feminism doesn’t mean refusing to engage in discussion.

    So you think that radical feminism must, by definition, include transphobia, and if I don’t like that, I’m not a radfem?

  99. rahelle January 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM #

    No, Blamer Bushfire. I believe radical feminism considers “gender” a straitjacket. If you don’t agree with that and think gender is an extra-special shiny pretty thing in our souls, then yes, you’re not a radfem. Words do have meanings, after all, including the words “radical feminism”.

  100. rahelle January 29, 2012 at 2:44 PM #

    And it’s not true that I avoided addressing what you said, Bushfire. It’s just that you don’t like what you’re hearing. Not the same thing.

  101. Blamer Bushfire January 29, 2012 at 10:26 PM #

    It’s true, I don’t like what I’m hearing. I’m hearing a bunch of people calling themselves feminists and deciding to promote dislike for a group of oppressed people and denying widely known information about them. This is contrary to fighting oppression.

    You haven’t addressed what I said. You don’t like the idea that something can be fixed in someone’s brain if it hasn’t been located precisely in the brain. That’s why I asked you if you believe that homosexuality is not fixed in the brain either. Your only answer so far has been nonsense projection about what you imagine my beliefs to be.

  102. womononajourney January 30, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    Blamer Bushfire,

    As a lesbian, I absolutely do not believe lesbianism (or gayness, for that matter) is biological. How do you explain all the women who came out of marriages in the ’70s, upon discovering lesbian feminism? How do you explain current day practices where women date men and then erase their entire history of being heterosexual, counting it as a sham and not who they “really” are? IMHO, it’s because that’s the narrative we’re taught by the mainstream (and malestream) gay rights community. Even if it doesn’t feel right at first, we learn to make it fit.

    For more on biological arguments and lesbian/gay narratives, I recommend:

    http://www.queerbychoice.com

    and

    http://womononajourney.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/guest-post-on-lesbian-feminism/

    Similarly, many transpeople change their narrative throughout their lifetimes. For example, I know a female who was adamant she was really a guy, said she knew this since the age of four. Now she says she is not a transdude, but is “genderqueer.” Likewise, there are men who go through periods of cross-dressing, and/or dating other men, only to “come to terms” with being transsexual. As someone who has spent a lot of time listening to what different transgender folks have to say, I can tell you that
    they have to go back and forth in their minds, saying “am I *really* trans?”

    At the same time, I do not pretend to know the experience of every person who IDs as trans. I just know there has been a huge upsurge in this identification, and it seems to me it must be culture (I would argue any upsurge in lesbian/gay identification is cultural as well).

    The reason trans genderism and the “queer” movement is open to critique is that, in my opinion, it not only actively hurts women, but throws the entire Women’s Liberation Movement out the door.

    I have not found a way to get through to peers my age who are so thoroughly caught up in it. When the Second Wave feminist movement emerged, I do not believe there was any “genderqueer” movement. I agree with Nine Deuce that we can always do more with
    theory. Since many, if not most progressive and radical women in their teens and twenties have trans/genderqueer friends, how we word the critique is important. At the same time,there is no reason why we shouldn’t still have spaces to express our righteous rage to what queer/trans has done to Women’s Liberation, and especially, lesbian culture.

  103. spinsterrella January 30, 2012 at 4:26 PM #

    Bushfire and anyone else who is skeptical of transgender politics criticism : would you have a problem with white heterosexual males (the most privileged group on the planet) changing their skin color and trying to claim they were Black, and equally or more oppressed than people born Black? What if it appeared that it was “fixed” in their brains that they really felt Black, and they had to get diagnosed with Race Disphoria before they could access melanin-changing drugs? What if they had their noses sculpted to appear more typically “Black” and could take drugs to grow kinky,curly hair like most Black people? What if they took speech lessons to talk more Black, or shopped for clothes that they saw Black people wearing? What if they were taking leadership positions in Black organizations, accessing resources from Black communities, getting entry to or awarded scholorships in colleges given under Affirmative Action? Do you really think these individuals would have any clue what being raised Black is actually like just because they “felt” Black up until the point when they changed their skin color?

    This is a serious question. The analogy to race dysphoria is important, because it exposes the hypocrisy/double standard of transgender politics. People would likely be outraged at Race Dysphoria, and not believe it either, because racism includes MEN. Misogyny does not.

    I think that women are used to believing anything that men say, so if men say they think they are women, women believe it, because under patriarchy, men define what “woman” is anyway. That he now says he IS one, is just another way of OWNING us.

    I don’t care, and it doesnt matter WHY someone is trans (or homosexual). They can change their gender presentation all they want. They can be the nicest people in the world. I will call them by their preferred pronoun if they want. But, they will NEVER be able to change their sex. And no, I don’t think they are women – they are “trans”, not lesser than women, but not the same – this is NOT transphobia – this is the cold, hard truth. In my opinion, they should NOT have access to OUR scarce resources, to leadership positions in our movement, to our women-only spaces. They need to get their own movement, and I will advocate for their movement just as I advocate for civil rights & class movements, in addition to the women’s lib movement.

  104. rahelle January 30, 2012 at 11:29 PM #

    Bushfire,

    Nonsense projection? What an utterly baseless accusation. Do you or do you not disagree with the assertion that gender is merely a straitjacket that hurts women and perpetuates our oppression? Yes, you DO, since you keep talking about “real gender”, or some such notion, in your posts). I am merely paraphrasing your posts, how is that projection? If I have misinterpreted you, or you feel you haven’t expressed yourself properly in your posts, and you actually DON’T disagree with that assertion…well, then do feel free to make any corrections. Otherwise…i don’t think “nonsense” or “projection” mean what you think they mean.

    “You don’t like the idea that something can be fixed in someone’s brain if it hasn’t been located precisely in the brain. That’s why I asked you if you believe that homosexuality is not fixed in the brain either.”

    You’re coming at this the wrong way, Bushfire. Whether homosexuality is inborn or not is simply not relevant to this particular discussion, since the important thing here is that it exists. If one desires and/or is intimate with the same sex, that desire or relation(ship) IS homosexual. In contrast to this very real concept, “trans” is a sham, because liking stereotypically feminine things DOES NOT make you a woman. “Feeling like like a woman” doesn’t make you a woman either. Wtf is “feeling like a woman” anyway? The only things I can think of are the ways we women feel crushed under men’s misogyny, or the way our biologically female bodies feel. SInce neither of that is something a “transwoman” can feel, my question is – what is that “womanly feeling” that supposedly makes a man know he’s a woman? So, the question is not “what causes it”. The question is “is it a load of baloney”? (the answer for homosexuality is “very much no”; the answer for transgenderism is “yup, very much so”).

    Please, take the time to actually read through and contemplate my position and argument here, Bushfire, before you again baselessly accuse me of “nonsense projection”.

  105. rahelle January 30, 2012 at 11:46 PM #

    Btw, Bushfire, I’m not saying people are not born with some inborn personality traits and preferences. I object to the way society groups some of those traits into this malicious concept called gender, of which, according to the conservatives’ narrative, there apparently are 2, and according to the hip transactivist narrative there are 2 plus various genderqueerwhatevers.

    And no transactivist seems prepared to point out some delineations between these “genders”. I mean, I’m not asking for strict, rigid differences, but surely there must be some definition of these “gender identities”, some actual constant differences between them. If not, why the hell perpetuate their existence??

    Why then not just listen to radfems and discard the whole gender ideology, start seeing humans as individuals, and simply treat personality traits stereotypically tied to “gender” as any other human personality traits, without tying them to body parts or the human sexual (as opposed to “gender”) binary?

  106. Blamer Bushfire January 31, 2012 at 1:16 PM #

    @Womononajourney: If homosexuality is not biological, as you say, then can anybody just choose to be attracted to anyone? Transgenderism isn’t hurting anyone. Transphobia is hurting people, though. “Throws the entire Women’s Liberation Movement out the door” is a MAJOR hyperbole.

    @Spinsterella: Is there anyone on Earth who truly feels “race dysphoria”? I doubt it, but if you have an article about it, I will read it and get back to you. My first instinct is that it sounds like a load of shit. Also, people can change their sex, they can and do all the time. If you listen to transwomen talk, you’ll probably find out what “feeling like a woman” is. Although it can mean different things to everyone, and it can be really hard to explain, it is a real phenomenon. For example, do you believe yourself to be a woman or a man (or neither one)? Why? I believe myself to be a woman, and if I had a penis, I can tell you I wouldn’t be at all happy about it.

    As for having access to our movement and resources, why not? I welcome anyone at all who wants to help with the feminst movement, regardless of their sex or gender. If someone tried to take over and make it about them, that would also bother me regardless of their sex or gender. It’s not about what’s between your legs, it’s about your character. For someone who says you “would advocate for their movement” you sure aren’t helping.

    @rahelle:

    Once again, your view of gender is really limited- you are assuming that gender identity and gender presentation are all lumped into one category “gender”. The fact that I know myself to be female is not at all the same thing as how “feminine” I present. The behaviours and roles our society attributes to our gender is bullshit. That doesn’t mean that people can’t believe themselves to be male or female.

    Transwomen aren’t women because they like to play with dolls. They’re women because they know they are women. If our society attributed other gender roles to women, transwomen would still know themselves to be women. I know myself to be a woman, and if suddenly society told me that all women had to wear green all the time and only take jobs as construction workers, I would reject that idea as bullshit but I would still feel like a woman.

    There’s no reason to think that transgenderism is bullshit. Male and female people exist just as much as homosexual people exist. There is a comarison to be made here, because both phenomena relate to human sexuality and both are inconclusive in their causes and treated the same way by society. Conservatives believe that everyone is naturally heterosexual, and that homosexual people have simply chosen to sin. But they haven’t, they have a fairly consistent personality trait that makes them attracted to the same sex. We don’t know if its a gene, or if it’s hormones during pregnancy, or what it is. But we know its a trait that’s stable over time (for many peole) and that it’s not chosen. Similarly, some peole report having a trait that they cannot reverse, that is stable over time, that they feel they are the opposite sex from the one indicated by their genitals. We don’t know why, but we know it happens. What you “trans critics” are saying, is that you don’t believe trans people when they talk about their lives, and even though they literally cannot live in the bodies they were born with, you equate transgenderism as boys who want to play with dolls. This ignores what we know about transgendered people.

    As for “gender is a malicious concept” you’re ignoring gender identity again. Gender roles are a malicious concept. Gender identity is a value-neutral phenomenon.

  107. Blamer Bushfire January 31, 2012 at 1:19 PM #

    The “nonsense projection” is that I “think gender is an extra-special shiny pretty thing in our souls.” I do not think that gender is an “extra-special shiny pretty thing in our souls” and I don’t think anyone else does either. I said “nonsense projection” because you invented this cartoon image of what you imagine me to believe. I stand by what I said.

  108. rahelle February 1, 2012 at 2:03 AM #

    First, about the “nonsense projection” thing. Bushfire, you believe gender is real, and is an important and definingpart of a person. In my opinion, you and those who share your opinion, are putting a harmful and bullshit concept on a pedestal. That’s what I was getting at with my comment. You may dislike the style I wrote it in, but I stand by what I said.

    As for the existence of transgenderism, now you keep talking about transpeople not being able to live in their bodies. That is gender dysphoria and I’ve already written what I think about it. Scroll up and you’ll see my comment about it. In short: I believe it exists, but is mental illness, just like not being able to live with your own healthy limbs; operation should not be the first step of treatment, and maybe shouldn’t even be used at all, I’d have to read up on dysphorias in general to form an opinion on that.

    Other than the abovementioned illness, it’s a hilarious bit of bullshit that a man could “feel like woman”. As for this:

    “If you listen to transwomen talk, you’ll probably find out what “feeling like a woman” is.

    Ah, the menz will put us womenfolk straight. They know what being a woman is. Well, here they are talking about it, and all I can say is… LMFAO!!

    http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=41112

    Transgenderism isn’t hurting anyone.

    Lol. The blogs gendertrender and twanzphobic demolish this argument more efficiently than I ever could, so I’ll just direct you over there:

    gendertrender.wordpress.com

    twanzphobic.wordpress.com

    Also, just reading that thread at the trans forum is hurting me, let alone the harmful effects the entire trans movement is having on society. How anyone can read that crap and then say transgenderism doesn’t harm anyone or anything, is beyond me. Go on, read it, and comment, if you dare.

    http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=41112

    Seriously, go on and read it, because the words of “transwomen” themselves are probably one of the best arguments we “trans critics” have. Not that we need more arguments, there’s plenty.

    For example, do you believe yourself to be a woman or a man (or neither one)? Why? I believe myself to be a woman, and if I had a penis, I can tell you I wouldn’t be at all happy about it.”

    I don’t have to “believe” myself a woman or “wish upon a star” I was a woman, since I have the sexual organs (not just an inverted-penis fuckhole) and a lifetime of living as one (with the pain and hardship that brings in our society) to prove it. And, if I woke up with a penis… Well, this is a very different situation you describe than being born with a penis. Pushing aside identity as a woman. I would not be very happy, since I’ve lived my entire life with a vagina – just like I wouldn’t be happy if I woke up with, say, a short nose, or a differently shaped body, or a wildly different height – I am used to my body the way it is. But I would get used to it, and

  109. rahelle February 1, 2012 at 2:23 AM #

    Sorry, bushfire, that last paragraph wasn’t meant to be posted with my last comment, I pressed “post comment” by accident, and I hadn’t proofread it first. So, “pushing aside identity as a woman” should have been “pushing aside my whole life as a woman, and the importance of my political identity (for lack of better expression) as a woman, and just focusing on how I would feel with the bodily change”.

    Oh, and I see now that you weren’t the one who suggested the “woke up with a penis” situation (you just said “if I had a penis”), and that it was the result of my thought process upon reading your comment. So, sorry for any confusion I may have caused implying that it was you who brought that up. Anyway, what I was getting at, is that you’re talking from the perspective of someone who’s lived your entire life in your body the way it is, so you can’t possibly comment on how you would feel if you had been born with a penis. You can’t know.

    Anyway, since (speaking strictly of the physical changes), I am confident that, after waking up with a penis, I would get used to it quickly…do you think I’m trans? Lol. Or maybe I just don’t define my personhood and my inner self based on what my body looks like (you know, the way patriarchy does, and “transpeople”* do, too).

    * people with dysphoria excluded from this accusation, of course. As I said, they have a valid mental illness, in my opinion.

  110. rahelle February 1, 2012 at 2:33 AM #

    BTW, Bushfire, I’m curious how you’d define “woman”, based on the links you posted. What we know from what you’ve posted is that the the definition is not:

    1. a person with female sexual organs

    2. a person assigned female at birth

    3. a person with “feminine” personality traits and/or interests and/or mannerisms

    So, the big question is…what the hell is a “woman” then? I’m really curious now.

    Just remember, you can’t say “a person who feels like a woman”, cos that’s what’s called a circular definition, ie. crap.

  111. Blamer Bushfire February 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM #

    Nine Deuce, are your comments directed at me or the others? Just wondering, because I can continue this conversation, but it’s your blog, so I’m just checking to see if this is welcome here or not.

    • Nine Deuce February 1, 2012 at 1:47 PM #

      Blamer – No, I was not talking about you. I appreciate your comments.

  112. rahelle February 1, 2012 at 11:46 AM #

    When I complain about trans enthusiasts using postmodernism, I’m mainly referring to the way they invoke postmodernism when proclaiming ridiculous things, like “there is no such thing as a woman”, “sex is not real” etc. They invoke it often, but, AFAIK, it’s certainly possible that they’re not applying it properly or interpreting it the wrong way. I’ve never studied postmodernism, or philosophy in general more than was absolutely necessary at school. I personally found it boring, and I loathed having to do it. So, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the furthest thing from an expert on it.

    But unlike philosophy, logic is my strong suit, and I absolutely know what I’m talking about when it comes to the highly illogical concept of transgenderism, thanks for asking.
    By the way, I’m honestly sorry for multiple posting and for making the 1st of my posts today so ramblingly long (it does make sense, though, when one takes the time to absorb it).

  113. Bore February 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM #

    Damn.

    This is a very tightly written post. Probably the best radical take I’ve read on the topic, and definitely elucidated a few half-formed thoughts I’ve had every time I’ve mulled over it.

    Cheers.

  114. Blamer Bushfire February 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM #

    Bushfire, you believe gender is real, and is an important and defining part of a person. In my opinion, you and those who share your opinion, are putting a harmful and bullshit concept on a pedestal.

    The idea that gender identity is real is not harmful or bullshit, it’s a morally neutral part of human beings that is well documented. Maybe you should read something other than transphobic blogs?

    That is gender dysphoria and I’ve already written what I think about it. Scroll up and you’ll see my comment about it. In short: I believe it exists, but is mental illness, just like not being able to live with your own healthy limbs; operation should not be the first step of treatment, and maybe shouldn’t even be used at all,

    People don’t just wake up one morning, realize they have gender dysphoria, and schedule surgery for that afternoon.

    Other than the abovementioned illness, it’s a hilarious bit of bullshit that a man could “feel like woman”. As for this:
    “If you listen to transwomen talk, you’ll probably find out what “feeling like a woman” is.
    Ah, the menz will put us womenfolk straight. They know what being a woman is. Well, here they are talking about it, and all I can say is… LMFAO!!

    I don’t think men feel like women. Men feel like men; women feel like women; humans feel like humans. Similarly, “the menz” cannot know what transwomen feel like.

    The blogs gendertrender and twanzphobic demolish this argument more efficiently than I ever could, so I’ll just direct you over there:

    I’m not going to read your transphobic blogs. I have glanced in horror at “twanzphobic since forever” and felt compelled to write a blog post just to point out that actually, hating people is wrong, and that hating a group of people is not at all compatible with a movement that is supposed to be anti-oppression.

    Also, just reading that thread at the trans forum is hurting me, let alone the harmful effects the entire trans movement is having on society. How anyone can read that crap and then say transgenderism doesn’t harm anyone or anything, is beyond me. Go on, read it, and comment, if you dare.

    You’re hurt by a thread on a blog? Really? I did click over there, and someone has compiled a list of quotes and from them generalized that all transwomen are invested in patriarchal thinking about women. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there were transwomen invested in patriarchy, because people in general are invested in patriarchy, so why wouldn’t transwomen be? I could also take some quotes from conservative women and generalize that all women are stupid, but I’m not gonna do that, because I’m not into useless nonsense.

    I don’t have to “believe” myself a woman or “wish upon a star” I was a woman, since I have the sexual organs (not just an inverted-penis fuckhole) and a lifetime of living as one (with the pain and hardship that brings in our society) to prove it.

    It is obvious from your words that you self-identify as a woman. That is your gender identity. I quote from True Selves by Mildred L. Brown and Chloe Ann Rounsley:

    “Our own sense of being male or female is something that most of us take for granted. We don’t wonder about it; we don’t even consider it. If we have a female body, we feel female and think of ourselves as female. But this is not the case for transsexuals. Transsexuals don’t take anything about their minds or bodies for granted. Something that the rest of us pay no attention to at all dominates their lives. They have a mind/body conflict; they self-identify as one sex but have the body of the opposite sex. Because this incongruity causes considerable confusion, frustration and anguish, at some point most transsexuals feel compelled to do something to resolve their conflict so as to be able to live full and satisfying lives.”

    You can pretend gender identity doesn’t exist, but you have one, and so does everyone else.

  115. Blamer Bushfire February 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM #

    BTW, Bushfire, I’m curious how you’d define “woman”, based on the links you posted. What we know from what you’ve posted is that the the definition is not:
    1. a person with female sexual organs
    2. a person assigned female at birth
    3. a person with “feminine” personality traits and/or interests and/or mannerisms
    So, the big question is…what the hell is a “woman” then? I’m really curious now.
    Just remember, you can’t say “a person who feels like a woman”, cos that’s what’s called a circular definition, ie. crap.

    I’ve been wondering how to define “woman” for a while now. I tried to do it once before when another transphobic radfem demanded I define it. I read some books about gender at that time but never came to a satisfactory conclusion. The best I can do right now is to define the terms “man” and “woman” as social categories that contain some truth and some fiction. I say social categories because our culture has a collective idea of what a “woman” is and of what a “man” is and people are constantly trying to fit into these categories, and make sure that other people fit into these categories, often violently. In this way, “woman” is a social category, hence De Beauvoir’s quote that we must become women. There is some truth to our social categories; for instance, that women usually have certain body parts. However, not all women have breasts; some remain flat-chested*, and some have their breasts removed due to cancer, and they are still women. Women usually have a uterus and a vagina, but a woman might have a hysterectomy and therefore no longer have the usual reproductive organs; this wouldn’t mean she can’t call herself a woman. Women usually have XX chromosomes, but not always; for example, women with Turner’s syndrome may have only one, and women with trisomy X have three. Woman actually have different biological traits. All we can say for sure is there is a high correlation between people in the category “woman” and certain biological traits. If the presense of, for example, a uterus, was a deliminating factor marking who is and isn’t a woman, then a woman could have hers removed and no longer be considered a woman. Why do we still consider her one? Because she has a female gender identity, and this doesn’t change based on one’s body parts.

    The sex you are assigned at birth is not always accurate. There are reports of doctors assigning the wrong sex to an infant with ambiguous genitals and the person having to later declare themselves as a different sex that the one their parents raised them as.

    There’s no such thing as a feminine personality trait or mannerism; these are cultural constructions. Transwomen do have to learn and perform these cultural markers because without them they might not “pass” and would then be subject to violence. We’re all oppressed by culturally constructed gender roles.

    *this is not to imply that small breasts cannot produce milk.

  116. Deena February 4, 2012 at 5:49 PM #

    OK Blamer I think I’ve got the picture here. Tell me if I’m wrong. You can’t define it and you weren’t born female.

  117. Blamer Bushfire February 4, 2012 at 9:50 PM #

    Well, yes, Deena, I stated I couldn’t define it, so that didn’t take much deductive skill on your part.

    You think I wasn’t born female? Interesting.

  118. tick tack February 4, 2012 at 10:59 PM #

    “Is there anyone on Earth who truly feels “race dysphoria”? I doubt it, but if you have an article about it, I will read it and get back to you. My first instinct is that it sounds like a load of shit. Also, people can change their sex, they can and do all the time. If you listen to transwomen talk, you’ll probably find out what “feeling like a woman” is. Although it can mean different things to everyone, and it can be really hard to explain, it is a real phenomenon. For example, do you believe yourself to be a woman or a man (or neither one)? Why? I believe myself to be a woman, and if I had a penis, I can tell you I wouldn’t be at all happy about it.”

    How the hell is a white person who claims he is black because he knows or believes he is black different from a male who knows or believes he is a women.

  119. lizor February 5, 2012 at 7:26 AM #

    @ Blamer Bushfire
    February 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Nicely put. Thanks.

  120. womononajourney February 5, 2012 at 3:42 PM #

    @BlamerBushfire

    I wish you would actually read the links I posted. Not everything written about transpeople is done so in a hateful manner, believe it or not.

    Yes, for many women being a lesbian is a choice. But, just because something isn’t inborn doesn’t mean it’s not a choice. Something can *feel* not like a choice for many reasons, including hegemonic social framing.

    I am not a trans person, so I am not comfortable speaking for their experiences; I can however, try to make sense of trans genderism in a historical framework, as well as one that takes into account the ingenious forces of male supremacy and capitalism. I can also listen to what they themselves report.

    Do you believe that someone can critique transgenderism without being hateful? What, if anything, do you find wrong with Nine Deuce’s OP on this thread? I applaud her for laying out her thoughts as such.

    Finally, it’s wrong to say that transgenderism is not hurting anyone. M2Ts who say they are lesbians and do not tell the women they date is wrong and hurtful to women. The obsession with breaking into every last female-only space is wrong and hurtful to women. It also diverts female energy into the trans genderism cause, dividing women from one another in the process.

  121. Bore February 6, 2012 at 4:39 AM #

    “The obsession with breaking into every last female-only space is wrong and hurtful to women.”

    I have seen no evidence suggesting that the majority of even trans activists have done that. Never mind trans people.

    Your comment would be like a man during the Suffrage Movement saying that women have an “obsession” with breaking windows (whereas in reality there were more suffragists than suffragettes, and they refrained from property damage…and of course most women weren’t actively involved in the movement, at all). What you’re conducting here is a slur against a heavily oppressed minority group.

    Those with that obsession (I’m sure a handful exist) are being jerks: it’s a big world, why not stick where you’re welcome, rather than doing something exclusively to vex radical feminists? But I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that that’s a huge proportion of trans-people. I’d be amazed if it was.

  122. rahelle February 7, 2012 at 5:46 AM #

    Maybe you should read something other than transphobic blogs?

    I read plenty, don’t you worry. Know your enemy is one of my mottos. Which, incidentally, is also one of the reasons I am speaking to you.

    People don’t just wake up one morning, realize they have gender dysphoria, and schedule surgery for that afternoon.

    Nice strawman, but I was very obviously referring to the fact that so-called SRS is an available, and in many countries subsidised, certainty for those suffering from the mental illness of gender dysphoria (and not just them, unfortunately; but let’s stick to the subject of dysphoria for the moment). I, as I said, disagree with that sort of guaranteed and easy availability of this sort of serious surgery to all who express and interest. Whether it should be performed at all, ever, is something that I, as someone who is not an expert in medicine (including psychiatry) am not sure of at the moment, without doing some more reasearch on dysphoric mental illnesses in general and the treatment of such. There. I spelled it out for you. But I’m sure more strawmen are forthcoming.

    I don’t think men feel like women. Men feel like men; women feel like women; humans feel like humans. Similarly, “the menz” cannot know what transwomen feel like.

    Why are you derailing the discussion by playing dumb? Serious question. You and I, and everybody who’s read either of our posts knows perfectly well who I am referring toin this particular case by the word “menz”.

    I’m not going to read your transphobic blogs. I have glanced in horror at “twanzphobic since forever” and felt compelled to write a blog post just to point out that actually, hating people is wrong, and that hating a group of people is not at all compatible with a movement that is supposed to be anti-oppression.

    You are a perfect case study in why feminism is never ever going to succeed. It pains me, but it’s true, and you and your ilk are to blame.

    But putting that aside for a second… I say, read GenderTrender for the welath of news items, statistics and information provided. When you’re ony prepared to read info from one side (even if the reason for that is your kind, gentle libfem heart of gold), you’re not very well-equipped to hold well-grounded, objective positions. How bout you tough it out and give it a gander, so we can actually talk data, and not just philosophy.

    You’re hurt by a thread on a blog? Really?

    I’m not talking about a thread on a blog. I’m talking about the thread over at the trans forum I linked you to directly. And, since you ask, yes, that thread hurts me very much. It would just be funny if today’s feminists viewed those men as deluded, but since they (you) don’t, it’s very much sad to me. You see, the decline of feminism, and its bleak future with women like you calling themselves radical, are no laughing matter to me. Yes, I’m very sad.

    I did click over there, and someone has compiled a list of quotes and from them generalized that all transwomen are invested in patriarchal thinking about women.

    Wrong link, Bushfire, wrong link. You really oughta work on that reading comprehension, if we’re to continue having this discussion. I keep having to spell things out to you over and over again, and, let me tell you, it’s kinda tiresome. Here is the right link right here: http://www.lauras-playground.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=41112

    Riiiight at the source. No compiling, no cherrypicking (so stop throwing baseless accusation around as you are so wont to do). Just the rotten, putrid essence of “transwomanhood”.

    It is obvious from your words that you self-identify as a woman. That is your gender identity.

    Oh, dear. Someone seems to have missed feminism happening (and just to make sure you get it, Bushfire – I’m referring to you). You see, that is my political identity and lived reality, both as as a female-bodied person and as part of the sex class in the patriarchy (two facts about me which are inextricably linked).

    Unsurprisingly, Mildred L. Brown and Chloe Ann Rounsley seem kind of dim, and your quoting them in relation to my proclaiming my female identity shows you really have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Gender Studies, or whatever’s replaced Women’s Studies nowadays really does ruin minds apparently.

    “You can pretend gender identity doesn’t exist, but you have one, and so does everyone else.”

    Lol. But I thought it was ruuuude to question what people say about their “gender identity”. I mean, the transactivists said so! In other words, if I say I don’t have one, you better shut up! Sure, this approach might be a bit rude and shut down discussion rather quickly, but hey, it’s straight from the transactivist book of conduct.

  123. rahelle February 7, 2012 at 6:32 AM #

    As to your reply regarding the definition of “woman”…

    I’ve been wondering how to define “woman” for a while now.

    The sate of today’s feminism. Oy.

    We’re all oppressed by culturally constructed gender roles.

    Who exactly do you mean by “we all”? Do you just mean women and transwomen here, or are you including gender-conforming “cis men” here too? Because if so, again, I’ve got nothing but…oy.

    Why do we still consider her one? Because she has a female gender identity, and this doesn’t change based on one’s body parts.

    C’mon now, Bushfire. I know you trans enthusiasts consider yourselves free spirits who like to flaunt convention, but were you even listening when I told you circular definitions are against the rules here? That is, you can’t use “feeling like a woman ” (=female gender identity) to define what a woman is in the first place. (Just so no one gets me wrong, of course a woman who’s had her uterus removed is still a woman, but it’s most definitely not for this incoherent reason).

    Now, to sum up what you’ve written… basically, what you’re saying is that “women” and “men” don’t exist as discrete categories. Which means it’s logically impossible to feel like a woman. You can’t feel like something that doesn’t actually exist. Do you disagree? (If so…arguments, please.) Name one, just one, characteristic which is solely women’s in the transactivist worldview? I’m waiting with bated breath here. And I don’t mean any “women usually” or “most women”, I want a flat-out “women are/have/do” or “women are not/have not/don’t”. Otherwise, it just doesn’t cut mustard, as a discrete category.

    And now to my next question: What is the purpose of, or justification for, keeping the terms “man” and woman” alive, in your philosophy and worldview – if, according to you, they are not actual, existent categories with any discrete characteristics? What on earth are they for, then? If they’re just social categories really, certainly then, with all this in mind, those categories are very much obsolete now?

    Very much looking forward to your reply (or the reply of any of your trans supportive comrades).

  124. womononajourney February 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM #

    @Bore, try asking a trans activist whether they think the michfest policy is transphobic. Then try asking another one…and another one. Just for your own knowledge base, see what you find. I already know what I’ve found.

  125. Blamer Bushfire February 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    Well, Rahelle, if I am “a perfect case study in why feminism is never ever going to succeed” then why are you continuing to engage me in discussion?

    I’m just about done here, but I may still answer questions if they are directed at me and if they are useful.

    Rahelle you are blatantly transphobic and you’re being abusive to me now. This is not the kind of discourse I expect from feminists. Have fun hatin’. I’m out.

  126. skeptifem February 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM #

    “Adamantine gender roles are the source of the demand for these medical procedures and the dangers that attend them. ”

    How do you know, exactly? Have you ever been diagnosed as being trans? Have you looked for cross cultural information regarding transgenderism? Why isn’t there wild variation in the number of people with this issue from region to region, if it truly is a social phenomenon instead of a biological one? From what I can gather the population of trans people is roughly the same all over, with roughtly the same ratio of FTM and MTF all over the place, including cultures where gender isn’t considered binary at all.

    I am certain that the way that trans people go about transitioning is culturally influenced, but I very much doubt the origin of their feelings is strictly social. It is difficult to think of any other social phenomenon related to gender that begins at such a young age and nearly always persists throughout a lifetime.

    There is medical research on this phenomenon because it is a medical problem. Without gender roles in society the problem would be treated like any other, where symptoms are used to make a diagnosis and then treatment is prescribed accordingly. Trans people have the misfortune of having a problem that has political significance to other people, through no fault of their own.

    This is one of the more sensitive things I have seen written about trans issues and it is good to have some diversity of opinion. I am also glad you came out and said what you thought, despite the certain backlash from all sides.

  127. skeptifem February 7, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

    “C’mon now, Bushfire. I know you trans enthusiasts consider yourselves free spirits who like to flaunt convention, but were you even listening when I told you circular definitions are against the rules here? That is, you can’t use “feeling like a woman ” (=female gender identity) to define what a woman is in the first place.”

    Do you think transwomen aren’t treated like women by the patriarchy? They seem to be victims of violence (sexual or not) more often than women who are not trans. Doesn’t that count for something to you?

  128. rahelle February 9, 2012 at 6:06 PM #

    Blamer Bushfire, you are asking questions that I have already answered in my posts. You ask:

    Well, Rahelle, if I am “a perfect case study in why feminism is never ever going to succeed” then why are you continuing to engage me in discussion?

    When I have clearly already said, in the post before my last:

    “Know your enemy is one of my mottos. Which, incidentally, is also one of the reasons I am speaking to you.”

    The way I see it, you are so brainwashed, and so far gone, I most certainly don’t expect to be able to influence your opinion in any way, or for you to even give my arguments serious consideration. You even refuse to check out any sources that I link, that use words you don’t like, even if the data contained there would greatly help further and enrich our discussion. That’s not very constructive. So to sum up, I’m just, as always, interested in what self-proclaimed radicals like you have to say and how you try to make sense of, in my opinion highly illogical, concept such as “transgender”.

    I want to be clear here, that I don’t mean terms like “brainwashed” or “self-proclaimed radical” as an insult or as a way to hurt you or whatever, it’s just my honest opinion on you. The only way to avoid using such terms would be to be dishonest about what I think of you. And I don’t want to do that because, one, it’s not constructive, and, two, I certainly hope you’re stronger than that. Just like you label me “transphobic”. I know that that’s your honest opinion of you and I’m not gonna ask you to bite your tongue just because. I wish you could understand that I’m simply doing the same – ie. not biting my tongue. If I remember correctly, you comment on IBTP? And, if I remember correctly, Twisty doesn’t exactly bite her tongue when it comes to funfems a la Feministe or Feministing. Are you bothered by that too? Just wondering.

    I’m just about done here, but I may still answer questions if they are directed at me and if they are useful.

    In that case, I’ll repeat my question:

    What is the purpose of, or justification for, keeping the terms “man” and woman” alive, in your philosophy and worldview – if, according to you, they are not actual, existent categories with any discrete characteristics? What on earth are they for, then? If they’re just social categories really, certainly then, with all this in mind, those categories are very much obsolete now?

    I’d be interested in your answer. But I completely understand if you don’t want to continue the discussion (not that you need my blessing, so again don’t take that the wrong way). I certainly don’t think I’ve done anything wrong in this discussion, but some of us are simply more sensitive than others.

    Rahelle you are blatantly transphobic and you’re being abusive to me now. This is not the kind of discourse I expect from feminists. Have fun hatin’. I’m out.

    I certainly fall under what trans supportive people label “transphobic”, yes. (I, of course, say, since there is no such thing as “transgender” there can be no such thing as “transphobic” either. But you knew I’d say that, of course.) I am not, however, abusive whatsoever, and you’re really stretching the word rather blatantly here. At most, I’m being somewhat acerbic. And now that you have pointed out to me how sensitive you are, I’ll even stop with that (if you do choose to continue the discussion, of course). Not very abusive, is it now? (Again, one wonders how you could stomach reading the very acerbic Twisty, unless I have mistaken your username for someone else’s, of course?)

  129. rahelle February 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM #

    @Bushfire

    sorry for the italics fail in my post. Hope it isn’t too hard to read.

    @skptifem

    Do you think transwomen aren’t treated like women by the patriarchy? They seem to be victims of violence (sexual or not) more often than women who are not trans. Doesn’t that count for something to you?

    That’s been discussed upthread already. To answer it again: “transwomen” either don’t pass, and are then treated as efeminate gay men by the patriarchy and victimised as such, or do pass, and are then treated as women by the patriarchy, and victimised as such. Passing (and getting treated and brutalised as women) does not however make them women. I, for example, have a Jewish-sounding surname. If an anti-semite mistook me for a Jewish person and attacked me operating under that belief, would that make me Jewish? Would the Jewish community be obligated to accept me as one of their own? The answer, of course, is no.

  130. rahelle February 9, 2012 at 6:38 PM #

    From what I can gather the population of trans people is roughly the same all over, with roughtly the same ratio of FTM and MTF all over the place, including cultures where gender isn’t considered binary at all.

    There are NO cultures that don’t employ gender as a straitjacket (the concept of gender is actually very much useless without that purpose), including those where gender isn’t binary (and, instead, mainly also includes a third category for so-called effeminate men), so I’m not sure what’s supposed to be special about them.

    Nobody’s saying that, for example, some men aren’t born with some traits that our society views as “feminine”. That fact is not crap. The fact that in our society they are encouraged to alter their bodies to imitate women’s, because of those “feminine” traits, IS crap. So, the number of those men, or the fact that men with “feminine” traits exist, is not the issue, the problem is “transition” and the association in society (worldwide) of one type of body with just one set of (stereotyped) behaviours.

  131. Bushfire February 10, 2012 at 12:13 PM #

    “What is the purpose of, or justification for, keeping the terms “man” and woman” alive, in your philosophy and worldview – if, according to you, they are not actual, existent categories with any discrete characteristics? What on earth are they for, then? If they’re just social categories really, certainly then, with all this in mind, those categories are very much obsolete now?”

    The cultural categories of “man” and “woman” are very much obsolete. I do not believe the terms need to be thrown out completely because there are people who do meet the criteria for them (i.e. they identify as a man or as a woman). Rather, what we need to do is reduce the importance of these concepts and analyze the social constructs within them, with the ultimate goal of treating all humans as people, unique and self-determining.

    I’ve never seen Twisty use abusive language toward women (unless, of course, said women are over-the-top misogynistic). However, you have been using abusive language toward me. This is not about me being “sensitive” (which incidentally is language that anti-feminists use) it’s about YOUR behaviour, not mine.

  132. Bore February 10, 2012 at 7:10 PM #

    Hi womanonajourney – I don’t live in America. Neither do most transactivists, as it happens. Tbh, I think a small political festival that happens in Michigan is far lower on collective priorities that you might imagine.

    “I, for example, have a Jewish-sounding surname. If an anti-semite mistook me for a Jewish person and attacked me operating under that belief, would that make me Jewish? Would the Jewish community be obligated to accept me as one of their own? The answer, of course, is no.”

    It would make you someone who’s the victim of anti-semitic abuse. Your actual identity is by-the-by, if your head is getting kicked in that’s that.

  133. rahelle February 11, 2012 at 7:27 AM #

    The cultural categories of “man” and “woman” are very much obsolete. I do not believe the terms need to be thrown out completely because there are people who do meet the criteria for them (i.e. they identify as a man or as a woman). Rather, what we need to do is reduce the importance of these concepts and analyze the social constructs within them, with the ultimate goal of treating all humans as people, unique and self-determining.

    So, man/woman are obsolete cultural categories that don’t actually reflect any discrete phenomena in reality… yet when people “feel like a man/woman” it’s…still not baloney?? I’m at a loss as to what to say here. Isn’t it blindingly obvious that what you’ve said here makes no sense whatsoever? I mean, why is that self-identification not baloney then? Is it just because in today’s world and today’s activism self-identification is so sacred, that even noticing, in a case like this, that the emperor is naked is considered sacrilege?

    I’ve never seen Twisty use abusive language toward women (unless, of course, said women are over-the-top misogynistic). However, you have been using abusive language toward me. This is not about me being “sensitive” (which incidentally is language that anti-feminists use) it’s about YOUR behaviour, not mine.

    A-ha, so abusive language is a-okay when the woman in question is self-hating and misogynistic? Well, I know you don’t see yourself that way, but for me, there is no bigger cancer in today’s feminism, than the erasure of womanhood and woman-specific politics (which we need to deal with the dangers and burdens that a female body brings in our world). This erasure, brought about by trans activism is, to me, so harmful that it is the pinnacle of covert (and sometimes even overt) misogyny. Would I necessarily say you are misogynist? No. But your politics most definitely are. So, going back to what you said…I suppose that’s sorted, then (not that I agree that the way I talked to you was in any way abusive, of course). Unless you consider only Twisty (and yourself?) the ultimate judges of what is and what is not misogyny whose objective judgment on the matter should be accepted by us all?

    Oh, and as for Twisty, she is actually one the worse offenders in the feminist blogosphere when it comes to abusive language against women, since hers was also misogynistic in nature and was accompanied by a woe-is-me non-apology to boot. “Cuntalinagate” ring any bells, Bushfire? Also, Twisty’s whole tone is extremely acerbic (certainly more than my comments here), and she’s not bothered much as to her targets are. She tears people down all the time, and she does’t even do it only to those who are unfeminist or clueless, she also does it to those who don’t obey her grammar and style preferences or those she simply doesn’t like. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to be a tirade against Twisty, I just find it…well, kinda hypocritical, for a fan of Twisty’s to go around complaining that people being acerbic is “abusive” to them.

    As for “sensitive”, I am well aware of how the word can and often is used in an anti-feminist way. So, are you suggesting scraping it from the dictionary altogether? If so, I vote nay. The word has a legitimate meaning, and can be legitimately applied, such as in this case (ie. people complaining that mildly acerbic tone equals abuse). However, if you still insist, I can play this game too. You see, I could say that, by accusing me of abusive language, you are employing the tone argument. And, the tone argument is – yup, you’ve guessed it, anti-feminist.

  134. rahelle February 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM #

    @Bushfire

    Just to clarify (since I like to avoid confusion): pointing out abusive tone does not, of course, by itself equal employing the tone argument. In this case (ie. when the tone in question is merely acerbic), it would definitely qualify.

    @Bore

    I never said “transwomen” can’t be victims of misogyny. In fact, I’ve said exactly the opposite about cases where they pass. Still does not, however, make them women. Just like being a victim of anti-semitism would not make me a Jew. Just like a straight guy getting beaten up by mistaken homophobes doesn’t make him gay. Etc. etc.
    Not only women feel the effects of misogyny (though we certainly do get it the worst), but only women are women. Homophobia is also misogyny under another guise, doesn’t mean gay men should, for example, be let into woman-only spaces.

  135. unchainedaura May 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM #

    ok mystery quote time, here is a quote often overlooked but relevant

    “Transsexuality is currently considered a gender disorder, that is, a person learns a gender role which contradicts his/her visible sex. It is a “disease” with a cure: a sex-change operation will change the person’s visible sex and make it consonant with the person’s felt identity.

    Since we know very little about sex identity, and since psychiatrists are committed to the propagation of the cultural structure as it is, it would be premature and not very intelligent to accept the psychiatric judgement that transsexuality is caused by a faulty socialization. More probably, transsexuality is caused by a faulty society. Transsexuality can be defined as one particular formation of our general multisexuality which is unable to achieve its natural development because of extremely adverse social conditions.

    There is no doubt that in the culture of male-female discreteness, transsexuality is a disaster for the individual transsexual. Every transsexual, white, black, man, woman, rich, poor, is in a state of primary emergency as a transsexual. There are 3 crucial points here.

    One, every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions. This is an emergency measure for an emergency condition.

    Two, by changing our premises about men and women, role-playing and polarity, the social situation of transsexuals will be transformed, and transsexuals will be integrated into community, no longer persecuted and despised. ”

    Know who that quote was from? may suprise you that was Andrea Dworkin

    Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disppear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.
    , Dworkin had plenty more to say about sex too that is often swept under the rug.

    Next up a quote from heart, and one I must say I agree completely with her on
    “To gender a person is to force him or her to conform to a patriarchally designed and coerced stereotype. To gender is to coerce. If we abolish gender and all gender coercion, people grow up free to be whomever they want to be, to express themselves in any conceivable way, wear whatever, do whatever they want to themselves and not be told it is “unfeminine” or “unmasculine” or whatever, not be ostracized, marginalized and so on.”

    Bt that logic forcing somebody into a label against their wil, for example treating a person like the enemy based on xx xy xyx or any other variant and pronouning them in a way that is hurtful, excluding them based on that ignoring their intenal sense of self seems somewhat hypocritical, and against the very tenets we all seek to uphold..
    Note the words
    ” to express themselves in any conceivable way, wear whatever, do whatever they want to themselves and not be told it is “unfeminine” or “unmasculine” or whatever, not be ostracized, marginalized and so on.” That should by the logic of the arguement include correcting our bodies to a form we feel comfortable in, and still having our identities respected. Anything less and it’s just lip service.

    The whole debate is an exercise in the ridiculous anyway, socialisation and biology both play a part in human biology just like any other species on the plaqnet. Biological determinism alone creating a humans identity is an impossibility, it would lock all actions to those coded into us by our biology. By that logic humanity would stagnate, it leaves no room for adjustment or evolution of conciousness or any other thing that makes us unique. By the same token humans do not grow from enviroment alone, if they did how would you explain instinct, some things we naturally know how to do, Like eat, swallow without choking. Ergo biology and socialisation both play vital roles in our lives. How much is innate how much is life experience varies from person to person. We are not all the same and need to relish that , not stifle it.

  136. Leah Sweeney December 8, 2012 at 6:17 AM #

    Holy sweet baby jesus, Nine Deuce, sometimes it’s like you’ve totally been rooting around in my head and have found a way to more eloquently vocalize shit I’ve been contemplating for years. “I feel like I should have been born with a vagina” makes about as much sense to me (coming from someone who has no idea what it “feels like” to have a vagina) as saying “I feel like I should have been born a bird” and then seeking out medical intervention to have wings sewn on. Two x chromasomes is what makes me a female. No surgery is going to bestow that upon someone. If you enjoy the trappings of femininity, you are as welcome to them, be you male or female, as I am. They are arbitrarily assigned and I defy anyone to map where the “skirt wearing” section of the x chromasome is located. I am utterly flabbergasted at how the biological imperative and biological determinism continues to be viewed as valid “science”.

    • zoebrain February 25, 2013 at 6:23 AM #

      There’s this:

      A growing body of literature suggests that body awareness disorders such as BIID occur as a result of abnormal activity in the right parietal lobe, which is known to be essential for constructing a mental representation of the body. Specifically, this body image is constructed in the superior parietal lobule (SPL), which performs a function referred to as multisensory integration, whereby different types of sensory information entering the brain are brought together. Thus, information from the visual parts of the brain and the primary somatosensory cortex, which processes tactile sensations and proprioceptive information relating to the position of the body within space, is sent to the superior parietal lobule. There, it is combined with information from the motor cortex, which controls movement, and all is processed further to generate an internal model of the body. If these processes are perturbed, the body image is compromised.

      In BIID, the situation is apparently reversed: the body image is missing a representation of the affected limb. But the body image distortion seen in BIID is almost certainly congenital. Children born with missing arms or legs sometimes experience phantom limb syndrome, suggesting that there is a representation of the limb in the brain, even though it has never existed. The body image is, therefore, probably “hard wired” during development. The experience of BIID sufferers is consistent with this, as they typically report that they have had the desire to have a limb amputated since early on in their lives. It seems the brains of apotemnophiles fail to generate a representation of the affected limb, because of some aberrant developmental mechanism. The limb has never been a component of the body image, so the afflicted person grows up believing that it feels “wrong”, but cannot explain why.

      Research on the sexual dimorphism of the SPL might find palliative treatments for men who have been castrated, and women who have had vulvectomies, both of whom suffer the same kind of severe distress found in transsexuals. Distress that goes well beyond the problems caused by sexual incompetence.

      Summary: even without considering Gender Roles, some injured Cis, as well as Trans and Intersex people need surgery to align body with a strongly sexed SPL,. Others, with a less strongly sexed SPL don’t.

      Similar to the phantom limb syndrome, the sensation of a ‘phantom penis’ in post-operative heterosexual and transsexual men is providing insights into the how gender-specific body images are hard-wired at birth.

      Experts at the University of California in San Diego, USA, found that 60 per cent of interviewed heterosexual men who had their genitals surgically removed following cancer claimed to continue to experience the sensation of having a penis.

      Intriguingly, the same study showed that only 30 per cent of originally male transsexuals, whose genitals had been removed as part of gender reassignment, reported the same phenomenon.

      “We explain the absence or presence of phantoms in these subjects by postulating a hardwired gender-specific body image in the brain that does not match the external [birth] gender” said lead author and phantom limb expert Vilayanur Ramachandran. He argues that before birth the brain may develop an image of the body that may not necessarily match the physiological outcome.

      The problems are:

      1) How do you test this idea? An hypothesis that’s not falsifiable may be true, but isn’t science.

      2) While 60% of men illustrate the issue, 40% don’t. This suggests that at least a third of the general population could function with either set of genitalia. (And incidentally, the lack of research on women with vulvectomies illustrates the phallocentric nature of medical science).

      3) 30% of Trans women who have had surgery don’t have strongly sexed SPLs.. This suggests that surgery for them was un-neccessary, a product of social pressure and patriarchal ideas about “Gender Identity”. So yes, the RadFems like dirt and Jefferies are partly right, they just over-generalise from 30% of cases to 100% of them. Any “Trans theory” that doesn’t recognise this is guilty of over-generalisation too, only the degree differs, generalising 70% to 100%. Still wrong.

      • Leah Sweeney February 26, 2013 at 4:40 AM #

        Ok, so now I’m fascinated. Are transsexuals anorgasmic before surgery? Because it would seem that having functional genitalia suggests that your anatomy is properly mapped in the brain. Is the prevalence of phantom limb pain in sexual organs the same as it is in individuals missing an arm or leg? Has there been study on the effects of Neurontin or Lyrica in individuals who report phantom sensation in a “penis” or “vagina” they weren’t born with? Is the determination of a strongly vs weakly sexed SPL based on self-reporting or is it empiricle? Any reading recommendations?

        • zoebrain February 26, 2013 at 7:30 PM #

          About 30% of Trans people are anorgasmic before surgery, most have difficulties, though less severe.

          Of MtoFs who are anorgasmic before, 60% remain so. Of MtoFs who are not anorgasmic before, 10% become so.

          Basically, the numbers in MtoFs after surgery match the rate in the general population of women.

          I don’t have figures for FtoMs, and those figures for MtoFs are for the best surgeons. There are still some “surgeons” who make no attempt to preserve (for Intersex) or fashion (for Trans) a sensate clitoris for example. Their rates are thought to be lower, but they don’t bother collecting the data, deeming it unimportant whether women are orgasmic or not.

          Initial work using vaginal plethysmography on Trans and Cis women at CAMH showed a marked difference in blood flow during sexual stimulation between the two groups. This was initially interpreted as showing that there could be no neurological similarity. Further work on Cis women who had undergone vulval reconstruction showed the same difference from the Cis control group though. It’s an artifact of the surgery, the peripherals not the device drivers if you like.

          For the rest – not enough data. Some areas we’re pretty sure about, numerous MRI and PET scans, autopsy results etc. In this area, not so much. There’s far more work done on “Phantom Limb Syndrome” as that’s easier to test, and even there there are too many gaps for comfort.

          I suggest for reading, start with Phantoms in the Brain. New York: William Morror, 1998, then contact the UCSD centre for Brain and Cognition. They’re the world leaders in this area.

          While these hypotheses fit neatly into what we know, and we have no plausible alternate explanations, far too much is based on self-reporting and deduction rather than objective measurement. Just because the same pattern has been found in every other area where we used to rely in self-reporting and deduction, but now have objective tests, doesn’t mean to say that the same is true here. Likely? Yes. Certain? Definitely not.

  137. Galvatron April 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

    To say genitals equal gender completely ingnores and belittles the real life experiences of many. Every human being has unique genitals. If you apply logic, identity is key. An intersex person may identify as such or may, with utter validity, identify as male or female, or neither of the above. Society does not ordinarily see a person’s genitals and as such does not consider them when assessing a person’s gender. Therefore, the gender roles one is percieved to play and the shit that goes with it (formative stuff) are based largely on other signifyers, such as dress, hair etc. If one’s experience of the world is as a woman and one identifies as a woman one IS a woman. Regardless. This is not to say that that person could not also have an earlier life as a boy or man. It’s not either/or. If a trans person cannot or choses not to always “pass” as their aquired gender it does not make them any less of that gender. I have shared the experience of growing up female, yet I am now a man. I may not have taken a knife to my genitals but that is none of your business. I am no less male. To say otherwise would be as if to say the bigger a guy’s dick, the more of a man he is, which is stupid.

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