Archive for the ‘transgender’ tag
I hesitate to jump into these shark-infested waters, but here goes.
I certainly have my own opinion on the “transsexual” vs. “transgender” debate that has ignited many a flame war on the internet over the last few months between those who want to separate our community based on those who have had or, at least, want to have, SRS, from everyone else, but I’m not going to express that here. Instead, I’m going to take a position that I’ve never seen expressed by anyone else, although some have come close. My position comes from my background as an attorney and my understanding of how anti-discrimination laws are written and are intended to operate.
Here’s what I know to be true: the dispute about who is transsexual and who isn’t is irrelevant to the fight for protections for transsexual, transgender, genderqueer and every other gender variant or gender nonconforming person in this country. Why? Because of how anti-discrimination laws are written for both practical and constitutional reasons.
“it seems to basically say “oppressed/marginalised people can be treated as property” (to be “borrowed”, something must be “owned”), and simultaneously that an explanation of difference is something that the “normal” have a right to demand at will from the “different” (a term commonly used in the autistic liberation movement is “self-narrating zoo exhibit”)”
Right from that start, this demand is built into the transition process. Just to get your hands on hormones, you need to assemble an autobiography convincing enough to get a psychiatrist to diagnose you and pass a referral on. There’s the endless barrage of questions from family, friends, partners. Why are you doing this? Have you always felt this way? etc etc. For no-op/no-hormone people, I imagine that why aren’t you going the medical route gets pretty old too (you are, of course, damned either way, such is the way of normative power).
Occasionally, this is actually helpful. When you repeat a narrative, you can solidify it (although, also raise the possibility of its failure), and that can be good in clarifying the bodily feelings of gender dysphoria into language. And as Helen points out, inevitably some kind of narrative is necessary to negotiate Planet Cis.
But see, it’s the demand that sucks, the necessity of it. Some people I want to understand (eg my girlfriend, it helps for her to understand what it’s like to live in my skin), but most people? Shit, do they actually really listen, anyway? I’m sick of conversations that go:
Them: So you’re gay?
Me: Not the way you mean. I’m a trans woman, which is about gender not sexuality. I have a girlfriend, which makes me a lesbian I suppose.
Them: Ohhhhhhh now I get it.
Them: So you’re a gay man?
Or the assumption that because I’m a trans academic, I write queer theory. Actually, for the record, I write about religion in culture, my blogging sometimes feels like this bizarro alternate universe. I’m trans, sure, and a feminist, but trans stuff I’m rarely interested in for its own sake. It’s only the utter shiteness of cis-authored theory about trans people that makes me want to pick up a pen on that score.
So the notion that all trans people can talk about with any authority is being trans really pisses me, and that conversations about transness become axiomatically centred on cis concerns about our bodies pisses me off even further. Trans 101 seems to turn into… trans 101.. and then… trans 101. There’s always another person, ignorant of their own privilege, demanding I explain myself. Wanting this zoo exhibit to narrate their own lives, only using cis language to make the story fit cis assumptions, and it never bloody fits.
I’m honestly really not sure how to get out of this roundabout, though. Like Helen says, it’s necessary for us to be understood, because–and this is as depressingly cynical thought as I’ve had–if you are different, you have to prove your humanity to those in power. It cannot be taken for granted, and given the virulence of transphobia when combined with racism, hatred of sex workers, ableism etc this work is probably necessary to some degree.
For me, it’s impossible to stop talking about it, because unless I suddenly get whacked by the 24/7 Stealth Fairy the demand is unlikely to go away any time soon. And even then, there’s always shrinks, endocrinologists and surgeons for awhile. But I’m burnt out on it, and I honestly cannot fathom why someone would actually want to participate in something that makes that conversation occur even more..
Africa, my Africa! Where are the people of the LGBTIQ of African origin be that Africans in Africa or those in the Diaspora? Wherever you are, this clarion call is what has led me to create the trans-group known as, “Transafro,” which can be found on Facebook. Although the continent of Africa seems caught up in a “conditioned consumerist mindset” there is more to the continent than this narrow extrapolation of the rich and diverse continent. One of the daily attacks on African transpeople is the regular attempts by our own kin to erase our experience out of hand. Instead of trying to understand us as part of the diversity of African life, they wantonly exclude us.
Why? If some comments I received off the back of Trans-homosexuality are anything to go by, then I’d say because lots of Africans do not know much about human sexuality beyond their own experience which is often hetero-normative in form. What about us? I remember telling an acquaintance that I am a translesbian once and she mouthed the insult, man! I still find this laughable even today. If you think that a transperson that has transitioned from being male to female is a man any more than one that transitions from being female to male is still a woman? You will be appallingly wrong. The correct specifications are: Mtf=woman and Ftm=man; it is time to rethink the delusion of conditioned usages of language. Although this is not an academic thesis it is helpful to contemplate the impact of this kind of language from the simple standpoint of existential expression/narrative and how we are all affected by its use.
With apologies to Cedar for forgetting to link these,
Cedar writes about forming coalitions around combating oppressive tactics as opposed to focusing on specific identities:
But why do we need to found anti-oppression groups on the basis of identity at all? If we were to look at oppressive tactics rather than oppressive targets, we’d see a very different, connected picture. If, for example, we took control of the body as our example of an oppressive tactic, we’d immediately see the connections between fat phobic harassment and medical incitement to anorexia, prison medical experiments, the incarceration epidemic/prison-industrial complex, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, abortion/reproductive rights, the Standards of Care for trans medical treatment and medically-based criteria for identification, gender coercion, rape & rape culture, forced institutionalization & sterilization, male circumcision, intersex genital mutilation & coercive gender assignment, denial of legal/economic/sexual agency to children, kinkphobia, sex-negativism in general, the marketing of control of women’s bodies through BDSM products like The Toy, etc etc. It leads us right into coalition building, because if we really are to attack all forms of public control of the body, we *cannot* be a single-identity group, and all those involved have very good incentive to deal with their racism/transphobia/misogyny/etc.
Cedar also has a criticism up about the format of privilege checklists, as well as the draft of an open letter to LGBT organizations:
I am quite moved to see the recent upswell of support among LGBT orgs for trans inclusion in ENDA and Hate Crimes bills….As important as all these are, there are huge gaps in the legal documents/resources/information available to trans people, which make your websites of considerably less use to trans people than we should be able to expect from community organizations. Here are some of the most pressing.…1)A by-state listing of procedures for name change, Drivers’ License gender change, and birth certificate gender change, as well as links to any relevant forms. A discussion of complications…4)A document describing trans people’s rights under sexual harassment law and law banning the creation of a hostile work environment. Do trans people have the right to contest intentional and/or repeated misuse of pronouns? …What statements/questions about a trans person’s body count as sexual harassment–and what are “curiosity”? …Documents to provide to employers explaining said rights
5)Police, criminal law, & arrests
5.1)State prison policies re: gender. What are your rights for prison placement, what are your rights if those get violated, and what level of accountability to guards/police have for the consequences of placement? What are your rights vs sexual harassment/humiliation by guards/police?
5.2)What to do if you get arrested. Trans specific info, or just at all. Please.
5.3)Police brutality law, by state. State organizations against police brutality.
5.4)List of potential legal contacts to ensure safe treatment in prison.
5.5)Prostitution/sex work law, by state. …What are trans people’s rights against gender profiling by police? Link to law code.
5.6)What to do if you’ve been attacked by police for being trans/24-hr hotline.
5.7)Work to reform/abolish prison system
I want to make this a real open letter, with real signatures, and really send it to the organizations we know and love feel ambivalent about. Do you have things to add or change, or other edits?
(Note, most of this was actually written almost a year ago, so it was actually before (and I think was partial inspiration for) this post (similar and also worth reading) but I never got a big circulation for it or edits/signatures.)
My name is Mia Nikasimo. As a volunteer for Changing Attitudes at the Lambeth Conference I found myself in an opportune position to reflect from a translesbian (i.e. a transsexual woman who identifies as a lesbian not to be confused with above or beyond “lesbians,” or a transgender man) standpoint on the Anglican Communion and attempts to exclude the LGBTI.
I have purposely mentioned my trans status here because “transgender” as an umbrella term (for transsexual female, male, sister, brother, mothers, fathers any of the following might choose to cross dress, are intersexed, queer, kings, drag queens and more) can easily loose ones identity in the mix and because I can only share this reflection as a translesbian in the full awareness that some, like my LGBTI African brothers, sisters cannot. As the founder of an online support group call Transafro I aim to give voice to our various narratives Anglicans or otherwise, to promote, empower and raise consciousness in Africa, the Diaspora and allies.
Transgender, contrary to what is often believed to be the case, is not about sexual orientation. Rather it is about gender identity which, for instance, in the case of transsexuals (i.e. female or male), sexual orientation is something that gradually happens as birth sexuality goes through a sort of transformation and so on and so forth. Even some transsexual people do not fully understand this so I am not surprised that most members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community do not understand the “T” or transgender enough to change their attitudes towards us never mind the wider Anglican Communion of Bishops which is why education, dialogue and reflection is important.
The consensus will always be that: WE DO EXIST, WE ARE TRANSGENDER AND WE ARE PROUD!!!
Read the entire post,
She has other posts up as well. Make Amends Now or Fail:
When the acronym LGBTI hit the headlines the first thing a friend’s sister said was, “I don’t give a toss about all that Lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual stuff if you ask me. We are all human, all that is about identity”. I wasn’t asking her but she said it, anyway. When I told the friend’s aunt that with a traumatised life like hers that it did not befit her to talk about other people’s identities in such adverse terms, she admitted. “I do not know anything about it!” Talking about something you do not understand to those that shared your transphobia is overt participation in a hate crime. But what happens when members of the LGBTI themselves engage in internalised homophobia or transphobia?
Events are often used to propagate some of these subtle criminal acts as I have found of late but when an online magazine known as Topix asked the question, “are gay men and lesbians transphobic?” finding that the answer is a simple, “YES!” was a gut wrenching turn of circumstance. Is this what mainstreaming the LGBTI does to gay men in particular and lesbians in general at the expense of everyone else? When the gay community bind together in homosexist indulgence in the very abuses we are still exposed to?
Transpeople and the question of procreation or reproduction depending on what side of the fence one finds oneself was a mute point but when it finally found voice in Thomas Beatie’s experience I felt for the much unsung persons in Africa or even in the Diaspora. Although I felt like cheering, HURRAH but the words got stuck deep down in my throat. It is anyone’s guess why transwomen cannot rejoice in the same way the Beaties of the world can.
As I thought about reproduction, I felt a sudden lurch. I discovered how difficult things could get with floating questions such as: Do you have children? or Are you going to have kids? as someone asked me at the transgender evening at the Lambeth Conference; in this life, nothing gets easier or so it seems at the moment.
Apart from the paranoid reaction of the hetero-normative system that seems maddened at every opportunity there is no reason why transpeople cannot have children or for now be efficient wet nurses. Or is there? If there is then the paranoia claim has not been settled yet. On the other hand try again in one hundred and fifty years in the future, Africa might have joined the club of progress and proudly so.
The funniest things happen when you out yourself as a translesbian (i.e. a transsexual woman identified woman; a lesbian.) I, for one, am an African translesbian and I have a beautiful girlfriend who is virtually more African (if I may use this as an honorific) than I am and she’s a lesbian as far as being a lesbianism goes. Although all this is happening in Europe as I speak; African LGBTI is condemned to the underground while the “religiously righteous” seems to prefer repression to sex, sexuality and gender identity truths. Yes the strangest things still happen in the twenty first century. In Africa, for instance, as a translesbian, I will be so far underground the light of day will only emerge as a virtual spectre and how sad is that? All these stem from the deluded assumption that transphobia or homophobia is of African origin. Nothing can be further from the truth, according to Dr. Sylvia Tamale, the moral order (as applied in Ugandan Law) in its ascribed hatred and fear of transgender and gay people exposes its own selfishness. 
Monica Roberts has a post about Isis here, which Racialicious has also hosted here. Da Kitteh Korner has also written a post about Isis, and talks about the ways that Isis’ autonomy and identity as a woman are not respected:
But that’s just one slice of the divine ANTM pie, I love how right off the bat Tyra marks Isis as different and asks a bunch of questions to her that she would never in a million years think to ask a Cis woman. Somehow the status of her genitals, and how long she has “known” she was a girl is up for conversation. The rest of the house seems to think this way too, as they all gather around her later that night to bombarde her with questions about her body. I realize that a lot of Cis people don’t know that much about transness, wahwahwah, but guess what, I DON’T GIVE A SHIT, plz, somebody, educate yourself, I can definitely do without the awkward conversations with people I do and don’t know very well about my body, genitals and guessed personal dna/hormone makeup.
Something really painful to watch for me was the constant refusal of most of the cast members to recognize her gender identity. So much love and respect to Isis for being able to pose amazing photos while the other women are telling her she forgot to shave, and that she’s sweating too much.
Read the whole post. I cherrypicked the two parts that happen to coincide with one of my favorite drums to beat, but the rest of it is worth checking out.
The primary problem I have with showing it like this on national TV is that it naturalizes the idea that it’s okay for cis people to ignore trans people’s boundaries, to ask us these questions and expect answers, or to treat us like we’re not really who we say we are.
I don’t hold Isis responsible for any of that – in her position, it probably helps her standing on the show to not object even though no one should be talking to or about her like this. It’s still frustrating to hear about it.
Also: I’ve never been a big fan of reality shows, but I am hoping Isis wins.
by: Autumn Sandeen
Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 14:47:34 PM EDT
For those who don’t remember, Diane Schroer was told she was going to be hired by the U.S. Library Of Congress, and saw the decision to employ her rescinded after she told her hiring agent she was going to transition from male-to-female in the workplace.From the ruling of United States District Judge James Robertson:
After hearing the evidence presented at trial, I conclude that Schroer was discriminated against because of sex in violation of Title VII. The reasons for that conclusion are set forth below, in two parts. First, I explain why, as a factual matter, several of the Library’s stated reasons for refusing to hire Schroer were not its “true reasons, but were pretext[s] for discrimination,” Tex. Dep’t of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253 (1981). Second, I explain why the Library’s conduct, whether viewed as sex stereotyping or as discrimination literally “because of . . . sex,” violated Title VII….None of the five assertedly legitimate reasons that the Library has given for refusing to hire Schroer withstands scrutiny.
ConclusionIn refusing to hire Diane Schroer because her appearance and background did not comport with the decisionmaker’s sex stereotypes about how men and women should act and appear, and in response to Schroer’s decision to transition, legally, culturally, and physically, from male to female, the Library of Congress violated Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination.
The Clerk is directed to set a conference to discuss and schedule the remedial phase of this case.
What a wonderful decision.
Great work by the ACLU on this case so far — I hope this civil rights ruling holds if there should be an appeal of the decision.
Bil’s second post of questions about trans and feminism went up yesterday, and I am superlate in posting this (sorry, Bil).
It seems like a good time to do another installment of Stuff Bil Doesn’t Know Enough About™. This week’s question is in direct reference to two other blog posts inspired by my post admitting I have questions about feminist and transgender issues and encouraging others to add their own questions so we could have a community dialogue.
Over at Questioning Transphobia, Lisa brought up the inherent privilege in my request for answers. The comments section on her post are very interesting even though some of them really take me to task. On Father Tony’s discussion a commenter took a different tone that I want to highlight. Question below and comment additions after the jump.
Why must trans people primarily bear the burden for educating cis people? Why do some cis people not do some of their own education to learn about the issues before the questions begin?
Why is the education itself necessary to justify equal civil rights protections?
Keep in mind that everyone participating in the discussion is writing from their own experiences. Please be patient and civil in your comments. Let’s learn from each other!
I think everyone made the point about the privilege of asking for education, and at this point, it’s a matter of whether you want to participate or not, more than anything else.
Anyway, in many ways, Bil’s post is a continuation of the discussion from this post.
One of my responses to the post:
After listening to our explanations and our experiences, even if what we’d said leaves you completely befuddled and scratching your head, please, please acknowledge that we are still fully human, fully equal. That we DO deserve basic rights and protections from harassment and discrimination (ie: policies that exclude us, and ONLY us), even if you don’t understand us.
Is understanding really required to recognize someone elses humanity?
This. When these discussions happen, trans people are held to much higher standards than cis people, to the point that it is usually impossible to meet those standards.
The fact is that it should not be necessary to educate people on every aspect of our lives to justify our existence and access to civil rights. Our existence should be sufficient to justify our existence and access to civil rights.
The fact is, no matter what people understand or believe about trans people, we exist, and thousands – tens or hundreds of thousands – of us come with a rather similar (but not identical) set of stories about our lives and how they relate to sex and gender. We have these stories before the first time we hear the words “transsexual” or “gender identity disorder” or “genderqueer” or “transgender” or about hormones or surgery.
And the question should never be “Can we mind meld with people and implant intimate knowledge of our lives into their brains?” because that’s simply not a fair demand, and yet it is the demand made of us whenever talk of education begins.
Being trans isn’t a moral condition, it’s not a delusion, it’s not confusion about gender or identity. The problems and barriers trans people face are social – the fact that people do not believe we are who and what we say we are. There are reams of books and articles written by psychiatrists and medical doctors who have worked with trans people, who verify that this is the best treatment for who we are, that nothing else has worked. Why is this ignored?
Number one is a post about allies by Gauge at Radical Masculinity. Ze makes some very good points I want to add to soon.
Number two is about how the standards of care basically abuse trans people, by Cedar at Taking Up Too Much Space.
Number three is about how stealth hasn’t helped the trans community – and more specifically, the African-American trans communityt – by Monica Roberts at TransGriot. I may write my own post on this soon.
It is time for us to acknowledge that our love is an act of war.
It seems distasteful to say. It feels wrong. Our love, our lives, our nurtured gardens and families, we say, these are not weapons. These are not acts of violence. To us, they are not.
Nonetheless, there are those who insist breathlessly, endlessly, that they are. That our families are destroying their way of life. That our existing in public shocks and harms them. That attending school, sitting in a restaurant, having to hear at all that we exist is an affront that threatens to annihilate them. And they gather their stormclouds over and over, they teach their children, they shout from the pedestals and rooftops and radio waves that we are, by virtue of drawing breath, destroying them. That we are at war, and that our heartbeats are a sword at their throats.
I think it is time to admit that they are right. Whoever started this, however much those of us who abhor war and all it means cannot go near the word, there it is: there are people, many, many people, who believe that by existing alone we wage war on them. And in response, they gather arms and preach daily that our threat must be removed by any means necessary. By their believing it, it is made so; bloodless though it may be for them, we are at war. And each of our acts of war, each exposed inch of brown skin, each held hand, each public footstep of an unacceptable body and each child raised in a home they abominate, each of our acts is met with a salvo of invective and violence, and our people die and die and die.
Go read the whole thing. Angels shed bloody tears for every one of you who doesn’t click that link.
This essay starts from the assertion that trans and cis women are equal in their determination of feminism, yet trans women’s agency is systemically marginalized within it. It critiques cissexual feminist entrenched positions about the relations between trans women, male privilege, and women’s space, showing how taking trans women’s perspectives and herstories seriously dramatically alter the terms of debate, providing new insights and making room for a new generation of feminists.
One excerpt (follow the link above for the rest):
When I listen to people ‘debating’ ‘letting’ trans women, trans men, and/or trans people as a whole into women-only [sic] spaces such as the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (Michfest) and domestic violence shelters, the experience is profoundly frustrating, even when it’s my allies I’m listening to. It’s the wrong structure, the wrong conversation, and the wrong participants. When a cissexual1 woman or a trans male spectrum person says “all woman-identified women/all trans people should be allowed into women’s space [sic],” I feel almost as disempowered and silenced as when they say that we shouldn’t. Though well intentioned, they represent independent moral/political judgments and statements of principle—not the voices of trans women.2 Do their statements correspond to the wishes, needs, and priorities of trans women? Do they empower trans women’s voices, or contribute to their erasure? More to the point, do cis women (let alone trans male spectrum people) legitimately have that power, to decide whether or not trans women should be allowed into “their” spaces?
Inclusion is important, and I’m happy for every voice that demands it. But the fundamental problem is not the exclusion itself. Trans women are regularly the targets of [cis] feminist misogyny (Serano 2007, 16-7; Califia 2003, 86-119) and misogyny against us is frequently tolerated in “women’s,” “women & trans,” and “queer/trans” space (Serano 2007, 352); even in so-called transfeminist work, anti- trans woman sentiment may be seen as a legitimate expression of diversity within the transfeminist movement, and not inherently anti-feminist (ex. Scott-Dixon, ed. 2006, 154-160; 170-181.) Even the term “transfeminism” itself frequently marginalizes and erases trans woman feminists.3 The problem is that even when trans women’s participation is allowed or encouraged, our concerns, comfort, and safety are almost universally secondary.
Let’s make the record clear: there is virtually no women’s space extant today. Michfest is not women’s space, nor would it be even if trans women were allowed—it’s cis, white, middle class, able women’s space. When one group controls a space or institution, when only its members’ voices, concerns, and perspectives are relevant to the determination and organization of that space—that is to say, when that group ‘owns’ the space—it is their space, regardless of who else may enter. So when allies to trans women demand our inclusion without simultaneously demanding that that space be accountable to us—including that trans & cis women be equally in charge of what constitutes women’s space and feminism—they are not demanding fundamental change, only a softer supremacy.
To get a copy of the essay, Cedar asks for a donation of $5 plus postage:
So, now that you’ve read pieces of the essay, I hope you’ll feel moved to donate, and I’ll send you the whole shebang in the mail. Yes, the USPS, I’d much prefer to keep it offline. I’m asking for $5 plus postage, roughly, but it’s also pay-what-you-can.
Remember to read the other excerpts in the original post. The section on male privilege, especially.
[ETA: Re-arranged a bit and changed some language per discussion in comments with Zoe Brain.]
Heya everybody, GallingGalla here, she of the recently-nuked blog. Yeah, I was just getting so weary of constantly battling cis feminists defining their theories all over my body. But, there’s one subject that I felt like I need to speak out on, and I am honored that Lisa invited me to write a guest post about this subject here.
Anyway, from Wikipedia, kapo:
The German word also means “foreman” and “non-commissioned officer“, and is derived from French for “Corporal” (fr:Caporal) or the Italian word capo‘. Kapos received more privileges than normal prisoners, towards whom they were often brutal. They were often convicts who were offered this work in exchange for a reduced sentence or parole, however they were usually murdered and replaced with a new batch of prisoners at regular intervals.
Evangelina Carters is a therapist and an HBS woman who offers this handy classification guide to help us distinguish between the rare flawless gem that is the “true transsexual” and the rest of us, shall I say, “damaged goods”. Please go read it. I’m not going to fisk this in detail, because, really, my stomach has limits.
I think that this piece is rather well representative of the attitudes of HBS women. It is clear that she writes it from the perspective of a white, middle-class, heteronormative woman who views the world through a cis lens. In and of itself, writing from that perspective certainly won’t make you any friends outside of that narrow little world, but I don’t think you’ll be sent to the lake of fire, either. However, saying that yours is the only valid perspective, and using that perspective and your privileges to split yourself off from the community that you are part of while actively enabling those who are oppressing that same community is, in my mind, a moral outrage. And that is exactly what Ms. Carters, and many HBS women, are doing.
HBS women define an extremely narrow life trajectory that they think is the only legitimate one for trans* women to follow (I say “woman” because, like many other transmisogynist women, HBS women all but erase the existence of trans men): that of the woman who senses her target gender at an early age; who transitions fully, with the proper hormones and proper surgery, as soon as possible; who is heterosexual upon transition; who is completely and totally stealth; who absolutely will not associate, in any way, with any element of the LGBTQ community. (You’ll note that she calls trans women who do not fit that exact trajectory “transgender men”.) Those who follow that narrow trajectory account for only a very small part of the trans* / genderqueer / gender-variant population.
HBS women then proceed to argue that cis society (including, notably, anti-trans radical feminists and white, middle-class feminists in general) grant them special privileges to them and only them while at the same time they pull rank with that same cis society in oppressing those trans* / gq / gv people that are not part of their special club.
Carters uses gender-essentialist language that is ludicrous on its face:
True transsexuals have a greater number of sex markers congruent with the sex of their brain: hands tend to be smaller, feet smaller, noses smaller, physical frame smaller, and generally slightly wider hips than normal for a male. Often the effect of puberty was not as dramatic as in normal males, though not in all cases. This physicality also explained the marked difference in ages that the affected people became aware that they had something different about them.
This has to be one of the finest examples of just-so “science” that I’ve seen in a long time. Talk about warping inventing reality to fit your pet theory. Carters could teach anti-trans radical feminists a thing or two.
HBS women are:
(1) trying to carve out a chunk of special cis/heteronormative-society-granted privilege for themselves while actively and knowingly participating in the continued oppression of the vast majority of trans* / gq / gv people;
(2) making hateful statements that are very similar to those made by anti-trans radical feminists, and therefore directly participating with them in the oppression of trans* / gq / gv people, including enabling their murders. Both anti-trans radical feminists and HBS women are using cis men as their proxies to commit acts of violence that they are too embarrassed or too ‘pure-wymynly-non-violent’ or too properly ladylike to commit. This may not be their (anti-trans radical feminists and HBS women) conscious intent, but that is the *effect*;
(3) engaging in blatant classism (including statements to the effect that trans women who are so poor that they are living on the street “just aren’t committed enough, they can scrape up the money somehow”);
(4) engaging in blatant racism; they know or *should know* how race and class are tied together. Here’s a very ugly example of simultaneous racism and transmisogyny – HBS-er Cathryn Platine write regarding Autumn Sandeen, a blogger at Pam’s House Blend:
When trans identified people approach women’s space as trans, they are confirming the accusations of the radical separatists, they are essentially trying to colonize or invade women’s space. This would seem to be a no brainer to me, but is a rather simple concept that immediately raises the back hairs of the transgendered crowd. It apparently is so threatening a concept that Pam Spaulding’s of Pam’s House Blend Blog house tranny, Autumn Sandeen, branded it hate speech! Sandeen is someone who is actually trying to raise money to go to the Democratic Convention for the specific purpose of causing a bathroom incident! Holy crap Batman. If this isn’t a perfect example of someone who claims womanhood on the one hand and denies it on the other trying to invade women’s space, I have no idea what would. It would seem self evident to me that if you are not woman identified you do not belong in women’s space.
(“House tranny” references the term “House Negro“.)
(5) engaging in blatant ableism, by stating that every trans* / gq / gv person except themselves, is mentally ill / “paraphilic” / “fetishistic”;
(6) are in general creating yet another structure of privilege and therefore actively reinforcing kyriarchy;
(6a) as part of that, are silencing trans men and those on the f-to-* spectrum.
HBS women are doing this for privileges that are illusory. Calling yourself an “HBS woman” will not protect you from losing your job when you are outed. Spitting in the faces of other trans* / gq / gv people will not protect you from being beaten up in the women’s bathroom by Alix Dobkin’s friends who just clocked you, or from being arrested, abused, and possibly raped by those transphobic cops. And splitting yourself from the rest of your community will not stop the ever-present, low-level, subconscious fear of being clocked, outed, scanned, questioned, doubted, delegitimized, silenced, erased. HBS women are part of the trans* / gq / gv community whether they like it or not.
Zoe Brain has a more nuanced and complex take on HBS and the question of transsexual / intersex. Please read the entire article. I will say, however, that I am uncomfortable with these two paragraphs, as there seem to be some mixed messages and I will admit that I was triggered by the third sentence in the first paragraph below, and I’m having trouble fitting it into the context of the rest of the article:
I place zero weight on my own self-perceptions, that I’m just a woman with an interesting medical history . Likewise my own desires as to what “should be”. For if I had my druthers, there would be a nice neat binary, with HBS men and women easily and clearly distinguished from a variety of self-advertising publicity-seeking “TG Pride” paraphiliacs and fetishists.
For that matter, I would like to be either regarded as Intersexed or Transsexual(ie only neurally Intersexed), and not something in-between, with characteristics of both. Still, if I’m going to dream, let’s go back to conception and give me 46xx chromosomes and a standard factory model female body, one that matches my brain.
It is time to call out HBS women who actively participate in the oppression of trans* / genderqueer / gender variant people for what they are: Kyriarchists. Kapos.
And it is time for the trans* / gq / gv community to stop tolerating their behavior.
[ETA: I neglected to link to Zoe Brain's post, and also, as requested in her comment, I extended the quotation from her article.]