unpacking the trangenderism baggage #2:

August 8, 2008

The main page to this post is here, and holds six more extraneous bits of baggage which must be cleared away before we can proceed.  Number two of this series starts further down at the red, and directly below I’d like to partially address recent kerfluffles. 

Whenever oppressed groups seek validation, opposing factions will typically cry foul and say public acceptance will cause some type of social upheaval with negative repercussions.  The opposing faction will be eventually unmasked as bigots with their prejudices clearly enunciated for all to see.  That has been the pattern for every single oppressed group seeking justice for all of recorded history.

We are primed to expect that pattern, conditioned to condemn the opposition, accustomed to anticipate final vindication of the oppressed group. As feminists, our scripted response is pre-written and pre-memorized, nothing remains but to slip into our pre-assigned roles as redeemers of inequity.  We are so habituated to certain cues which normally represent social injustice that we don’t even recognize when the oppressed group is starting out from a disingenuous position.

Unfortunately, as was shown in part one, of all the groups ever seeking full equality only transgenderism has demanded “special” rights — as opposed to equal rights — and because of this unparalleled departure the transgenderism ideology has already placed itself outside normal perimeters from the conventional boundaries usually granted to those claiming minority status.

Radical feminists have been aware of this major discrepancy for quite some time, though perhaps never so plainly stated, and yet regular feminists have been behaving as if the status quo remains unchanged.  Perhaps this unacknowledged transgression is at least partly the reason why regular feminists are having so much trouble comprehending the scope of the problem as presented by radical feminists. 

And here just for clarity I’d like to mention that the phrase vanilla girl is not applied with equal jurisdiction to all feminists, for many if not most regular feminists lack the certain idiocy necessary to earn that designation.  A vanilla girl is sickly sweet, melts under heat, and gives me brain freeze.  Vanilla girls shout “hater!!!!” and “my fweelings are hwert!!!!”  in response to any criticism and demands obeisance as a sacrament to magical thinking.  Apologies for not defining that sooner. 

Anyway.  We have a situation where we are tempted to respond in the same old way that we always do when presented with somewhat similar stimuli.  Yet, no one is entitled to special status and so from the very beginning not only has transgenderism been operating under false pretences, but our responses have been reacting as if those false pretences didn’t exist.  A reasonable person cannot expect typical procedure to apply to atypical circumstances, nor can anything other than increased scrutiny be expected to befall such an ideology.  Yet vanilla girls, in a hissy fit of gross stupidity, have decided that any objection is “transphobic”.

For all their claims that if only radical feminists would “listen” then mutual understanding could occur; it never dawns on them that “listening” is a two way street.  No “mutual” understanding is possible when all negative observations are shouted down as “hate”.  This is my final plea for mutual respect and consideration, no reasonable person would expect such continued immaturity to pass unchallenged. 

Vanilla girl, it is time you rethink your position.  This time, from the ground up.  The regular feminists, who have been left quite befuddled between a rock and a hard place, most likely have their own thoughts and perspectives but can’t express anything less than 100% agreement with you without being covered in vanilla girl sputtering splooge.  Vanilla child, when are you going to grow up and let other people draw their own conclusions?

Forget the gender identity business; personally, I just think it’s really freaking odd that someone attributes mystical qualities to body parts.  The genitalia must be sacred or something, why else does my left foot represent nothing and yet a cunt or a cock embodies their entire being?  Anyway…

2) No oppressed group has ever, as a requirement of their own liberation, demanded that a ‘controversial harm to others’ be codified into law, even before that harm is proven to be non-existent. This of course refers to the argument that transgenderism increases sexism by consolidating traditional “feminine” attributes exclusively with females. Since most people tend to proscribe legalized activities from within a framework of positive moral or ethical values and to internalize the theory behind that law as certified and sanctified approval, the likely outcome is easily predictable –if the radical feminists argument is correct.

In other words:  once a special-interest lobby convinces enough lawmakers that gender identity should be a protected class, then the general public — which is already pre-conditioned to accept sexist double standards — will be even more amendable to the idea that of course people need a vagina in order to express “feminine” traits and of course people need a penis to express “masculine” traits. Feminists are supposedly fighting sexism now, and the battle for equality which can only be accurately described as epic has raged over practically every society on the planet for the last 10,000 years. It would be foolish to attempt to claim as some do that such an entrenched bigotry can be anything but encouraged with the addition of “but naturally my internal character requires a vagina”.

A cautious approach is warranted given the amount of harm possible to half the population.  While it is always important to balance the needs of various groups in a society striving for equality, the insistence on forcing acceptance of the transsexual agenda on the general public without careful analysis or opportunity for nuanced discussion should be a red flag.  Given that their “refutations” to the various criticisms always seem to revolve around pleas for sympathy and nothing else, another red flag should appear.

Distraction technique — briefly noted.

Have you noticed how carefully the feminist activists will explain to men that a law they would like to be passed is not unfair to men or harmful to men in any way?  Feminists gladly provide whatever evidence is needed to reinforce their claim, regardless how much time or effort is required. Feminists do that as a matter of course, because apparently for some peculiar reason they like men and are concerned about their well-being.  Most of all, feminists strive to be fair to men and prefer to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, especially when the subject is men.

If the transgendered truly cared about even the rudiments of fairness as they claim, then they would make similar effort to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no, transgenderism does not increase sexism. They would enumerate and explicate the real point of contention, not strawman arguments of their own invention. They haven’t bothered, not the activists in the field nor the official trans organizations themselves.  Brushing off criticisms and questions from the very people likely to be harmed by the trans agenda with the accusation that our questions are a “phobia” bordering on “hate crime” qualifies as genuine CONTEMPT; and yes, those massive minimization and silencing techniques over such an important topic has been…

 — duly noted.

There is a huge difference between a law which simply establishes and protects a right for a newly recognized group of incredibly tiny purportions, and a law which creates additional harm to another group which is already a target of proven systematic injustice and half the population.  This is not a minor point and to pretend otherwise is speciously condescending — not exactly the mark of one who claims the high ground. 

Selfish unconcern for anyone but themselves — duly noted.

If a proposed law was contended to increase or maintain racism, we would not even consider passing it until all the criticisms were addressed and shown to be false.  

Imagine just that scenario.  Imagine a group of African-Americans who are promised protection and help from a civil rights worker from any laws which increase racism, and then when some African-Americans indicate that such a law is pending, that civil rights worker tells them to stop hating white people.  The legislators who would be so foolish as to suggest that the minorities are only hating white people would be vilified in the press.

Imagine the outrage while People of Color plead that we wait for more information until cooler heads prevail, and yet anti-racist activists still insisting that the minorities they claim to protect are just “white phobic”.  Imagine that, if you will.  Reflect upon the reaction from minorities expecting protection and instead receiving hate propaganda from the very people who claim to oppose racism.

Dear god this post was way too fucking long.  snip snip snip

[EDIT: ]  The ENDA bill has been passed around like a football between House and Senate for the last 30 years. It has never included transgenderism in all that time. Only five months before this latest attempt was the trans issue added. The american public has never had the opportunity to hear any negatives about transgenderism at all and thanks to Loz for reminding me about that.

40 Responses to “unpacking the trangenderism baggage #2:”

  1. Polly Styrene Says:

    Is a kerfluffle a fluffier version of a kerfuffle? Sorry just being anal. What really amuses me about the current kerf(l)uffle, is that not only am I being told my views are not valid on the subject of transwomen and gender, not only it seems is most every other rad fem and non rad fem who just happens to disagree slightly being told that their views are not valid, but EVEN TRANSWOMEN are being told their views are not valid on the subject of transwomen and gender, if they don’t agree with a certain F word blogger.

    To quote a wise woman I know.

    It’s all taking the shape of a shit filled nappy

    And to quote someone else – Danny on the F word (and I really, really have no idea who Danny is, she’s not a friend of mine cross my heart hope to die etc etc….)

    Oh, and possibly a “liberal concern troll feminist”, as no doubt is everyone who might not meekly swallow the dictates and lecturing, hectoring tone of Her Majesty Queen Emily or Helen G.
    Defensive, moi?!


  2. Oh and by commenting on your blog M Andrea I am of course hereby endorsing and agreeing with every single thing that you say on it, and indeed that every other commenter says on it. Because that’s what the F word tells me. Or someone said that on the F word and I wasn’t allowed to reply or rebut this in any way.

    Now who are those people who are always being accused of ‘excluding’ and ‘silencing’ anyone who comments on ‘forbidden blogs’? I forget – can anyone remind me?

    And there was a word as well – it begins with H, no that’s slipped my mind as well…..

  3. Polly Styrene Says:

    But actually we had an entirely similar situation to this at work, where someone in human resources wanted to adopt a policy that said lots of crap things like “Men are naturally aggressive” that was produced by a leading activist group. However the legal department quickly stamped on it when I pointed it out to them, because it would have left them open to HUGE lawsuits. Every single woman AND man in the organisation could probably have sued for sex discriminaion.

  4. thebewilderness Says:

    This may seem a bit off topic, but…
    I have been thinking for a while about the argument made by a Trans activist on Pams house blend about the Trans umbrella and the words that are acceptable to be used to describe those who fit under that umbrella.
    The answer seems to be the majority of peeps in the western world.
    I wonder if part of the frustration that Trans activists feel toward Radical Feminists is that Trans activists see Radical Feminism made up of the very peeps they insist are covered by the Trans umbrella.
    Those who conform in every way to the rigid gender roles assigned by the patriarchy, and approved of by Trans activists, is a relatively small number of peeps. So by reassigning everyone who deviates in any way from the hyperfeminine or the hypermasculine, suddenly Transpersons are the majority of the population.
    This seems to be taking a page from the white male supremacists. White men are not now nor ever have been in the majority of the population, but they have been acting as though they are for so long that it is an underlying assumption of western thought.
    In a society where myth trumps reality all you have to do is persuade enough peeps to accept the mythology you are selling and shazam, you are the majority, and the conventional wisdom too.
    Dump this comment if you think it nonsense, mAndrea. It was just a stray thought regarding the strategy of dictating language terms and usage.

  5. m Andrea Says:

    No TB, I really think we’re all headed in the same direction, and that sounds about right. Personally, the images of Hitler youth/Jesus Camp/Clockwork Orange is appearing in my head whenever I read anything by the Obamabots, trans supporters, or young liberals. If they think something is right, then by god it must be and no reason to prove their assertions yet everyone must follow them blindly.

    “I wonder if part of the frustration that Trans activists feel toward Radical Feminists is that Trans activists see Radical Feminism made up of the very peeps they insist are covered by the Trans umbrella.”

    They have to pretend to care about ethics, otherwise they’ll lose their credibility.

  6. allecto Says:

    You are awesome m Andrea. I have nothing to add, I just have to tell you how much I love these trans analysis posts you’ve been making. They are fantastic and really insightful. Thanks.

  7. m Andrea Says:

    High praise coming from you!! Thank you very much Allecto! I had to cut the most incriminating bit out from this one because I couldn’t find the supporting link.

    From Loz:

    “of all the groups ever seeking full equality only transgenderism has demanded “special” rights — as opposed to equal rights”

    Um, no, but the last time I tried to point this out my comment mysteriously disappeared.

    Can’t give you the grande olde feminazi welcome, sincere apologies Loz. Thanks for coming back though, really. Once someone gets approved then they can run all over the board at any time and my attention span regarding this humble bloggy is sporadic. The admittance fee is free to all but it does require a brain. I’m a zombie Loz, show me your braaaaaaaains I know you have one! 😛

    Saying “no you’re wrong” is not a reason. Give me a reason. The moderation box is full of people who think the ability to refute an idea is satisfied by that one little word.

    ” In other words: once a special-interest lobby convinces enough lawmakers that gender identity should be a protected class, then the general public will be even more amendable to the idea that of course people need a vagina in order to express “feminine” traits and of course people need a penis to express “masculine” traits. ”

    Could you perhaps give some examples of that, being in the UK it’s all too easy for this sort of thing to pass me by. You keep suggesting that the progressing of trans-rights is damaging women’s rights, do you have examples of where that has happened?

    It hasn’t happened yet but it’s easily predictable.

    Surely your assertion isn’t that sexism is gone, right? So, we know that sexism exists. We also know that some significant but unknown percentage of men exist who love to jump on any excuse that women are only good for certain things. We also know that some women exist who “go along to get along”. So give a dog a bone and what do we expect that dog to do… ?

    No personal insult intended. 😛

    ” While it is always important to balance the needs of various groups in a society striving for equality, the insistence on forcing acceptance of the transsexual agenda on the general public without careful analysis or opportunity for nuanced discussion should be a red flag. ”

    Well, you’ve had a couple of decades to talk about it so far, how much longer did you think you’ll need?

    Urm, the ENDA bill has been passed around like a football between House and Senate for the last 30 years. It has never included transgenderism in all that time. Only five months before this latest attempt was the trans issue added. The american public has never had the opportunity to hear any negatives about transgenderism at all and thanks for reminding me about that.

    “Selfish unconcern for anyone but themselves — duly noted.”

    A claim that can be thrown against any minority group you wish to take umbrage at.

    Actually I don’t think so. Have you freaking looked at the nasty crap I’ve said about men??? lol But go find me any minority who rips into white people this bad — they just don’t do it, not consistently anyway. They are too fucking nice or perhaps they just don’t feel like they’d get away with it due to more oh I don’t know oppression.

    Anyway, I do read the mod box and it does help me and I appreciate it. Just give me a reason, ok?

  8. Polly Styrene Says:

    I don’t have time to write everything on my blog here Loz, but if you go to it – particularly this post –

    http://newcowblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/the-opposite-of-sex/

    you’ll find things like this from an official Home Office document. That’s the Home Office in the UK. Probably THE most important government department. Oh and UK law recognises the concept of ‘gender dysphoria’ I think you’ll find.

    http://www.grp.gov.uk/formsguidancelistofspecialists.htm

    Changing gender role is not an overnight occurrence, but a process, despite the overwhelming conviction of having truly belonged to the acquired gender since birth. Further, though transsexual people know themselves to have the brain, understanding and thought processes of their acquired gender, they will have been brought up and conditioned according to birth sex. It follows that even some time after transition, this long standing conditioning may affect reactions, particularly at time of stress, and behaviour more traditionally associated with the former gender role surfaces; perhaps a more aggressive response than expected from someone accepted as a transsexual woman. In time this likelihood lessens, but it is as well to be aware of the possibility.

    Oh and warning – I expect logical argument as well. And I’m not afraid to use it myself.


  9. This is sort of unrelated, but have you read the lies spewing from that Julia Serrano article at alternet (feministing linked to it)? Here is the link, I feel you should devote a separate post to the idiocy.

    xttp://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/93826/rethinking_sexism%3A_how_trans_women_challenge_feminism/?page=entire

  10. Polly Styrene Says:

    From the Julia Serano article (thanks AF)

    For these reasons, trans activists favor definitions based on self-identity, that is, whether one identifies and lives as a woman or man. “Transgender” is an umbrella term for all people who defy other people’s expectations and assumptions regarding gender, and can be used to refer to transsexuals as well as people who are gender nonconforming in other ways — for example, cross-dressers, drag performers, feminine men, masculine women, and genderqueers (who do not identify exclusively as either women or men), to name a few. Transgender people who defy gender norms in the male-to-female/feminine direction are said to be on the trans feminine spectrum; those who transgress gender norms in the female-to-male/masculine direction make up the trans masculine spectrum.

    (my bold)

    So I used to work with a guy who dressed as one of the Andrews sisters at the weekend. It was his hobby. Does that mean he’s a woman and can go to michfest?

    Oh and I’m a non gender conforming biological female. I think I’ll just pop up to my local British Legion and ask to be let into the men only area. What do you think they’ll say?

  11. Polly Styrene Says:

    And why oh why oh why…..

    Do you have to define yourself as a ‘gender’ at all?

    Why can’t you just be a human being?


  12. Well that’s because gender is REAAALLLLZ!!ANDBIOLOGICAL. Dur. Any baby girl with pink on her ass (literally on the nappy) knows that! Tisk.

  13. pisaquari Says:

    “Do you have to define yourself as a ‘gender’ at all?

    Why can’t you just be a human being?”

    Stop trying to treat people like humans Polly!

  14. thebewilderness Says:

    How exactly do you suppose that system of definitions would work?

    “whether one identifies and lives as a woman or man.”

    How much would you be permitted to deviate from “living as a woman” before you were presumed to need to reidentify yourself as something else?
    How exactly does a woman live? Do all women live the same way? Or is that just another way of saying peeps who serve and are abused by self identified men.
    On a personal note, would I be allowed to keep my woodworking tools, or would that require my changing how I self identify.
    These rules sound to me an awful lot like creating an incredibly rigid set of behaviors. Reminds me of feudalism, or maybe religion. What would be the punishment for those who fail to live as they self identify?
    Given the structure of society it would make more sense for us all to self identify as men instead of as the peeps the men abuse.


  15. Of course all women live exactly the same way! Don’t be silly the Bewilderness. I mean if all women didn’t behave in an exactly identical way, how would it be possible to ‘identify as a woman at all’?

    Oh – wait a minute…..

  16. m Andrea Says:

    LOVE IT !! oh wait a minute, you need to write an actual book. You can do this, I know you can. Blogs are not even in the same ballpark as an actual book, especially for someone who hasn’t been published yet. Think about writing an article for an online general interest magazine, like Mother Jones or something, to get your name out there. I know you can do this Polly. Do I sound like your mom yet?

    otoh, you did need to reserve the name, so having that page was a wise move.

    The transgendered are toast. They are completely dependent upon medical procedures and as time goes on will become even more unaffordable to most. Why should the insurance companies pay for a special interest procedure which only increases the overall premiums for everyone? Especially when it appears to be a fetish?

  17. m Andrea Says:

    I had an offline discussion about the insurance with a trans, and he said “oh but the crying eyes!” Well gee, if we’re going to use crying eyes as the guiding principle, then how about insurance paying for every damn thing under the sun? How come women still have to pay for birth control? Wommyns, start those waterworks!!


  18. Well just to reitertate M Andrea, I am actually not part of the radfem hivemind, and I don’t object to people changing their bodies in whatever way they feel is appropriate. (and the NHS funds it over here). I just object to somebody telling me they really, really are a ‘woman’.

    Because it means nothing. And the only sense in which I personally am a ‘woman’ is in the adult female human being sense.

    FACT: one meaning of woman is “the reverse side of a coin” – and check the Oxford English dictionary if you don’t believe me.

  19. m Andrea Says:

    Ha, I’m a feminazi — that’s a third gender right there.

    “I don’t object to people changing their bodies in whatever way they feel is appropriate. (and the NHS funds it over here). I just object to somebody telling me they really, really are a ‘woman’.”

    eggzactly But they aren’t going to stop until transgenderism is beaten into the ground and buried with a bulldozer, so…


  20. Well they could just get some sense M Andrea. Part of the problem is that the psychiatric services that people have to access to get surgery tell you you have to be the gender ‘woman’ (as Steph has related on my blog). You can’t just think Ok I’ve got a penis EEEUUUUWWWW – cos that’s what I’d think if i had a a penis, I’ll have some surgery. You have to prove that it’s because you believe you’ve got this mysterious inner essence that just MAKES you a woman. I blame Harry Benjamin. (I will be writing extensively about him in the gender delusion).

    Now this is where we must part company M Andrea. I have met plenty of perfectly charming people who are what’s referred to as ‘trans’ in real life. And I count myself lucky to have done so, firstly because I’ve met some very nice people, and secondly because I know not everyone who is ‘trans’ behaves like the characters you get on the internetz.

    And NOT ONE of them has ever come out with this ‘gender’ crap. NOT ONE. They all say, I didn’t like my body, I wanted to change it. Though a trans man I know did say he hated hanging around with other trans men because all they wanted to do was talk about beer, football and women to prove how ‘male’ they were. So maybe I’ve just been lucky and met some special people. I think I am lucky that way actually.

    Now people on the internetz, who have not been round the block the remarkable number of times I have (and it’s a slightly off beat block) and are maybe fairly naive, see the rantings of some mouthy ‘trans activist’ and think – yes that person represents ALL trans people. And then – because they want to prove how terribly hip and kewl they are – start to repeat the things the unsane person says.

    And that’s when the trouble starts. But I’ve never met a real life transperson who was anything other than lovely, I want to emphasise that. Just a bunch of fashion victims who are no more ‘trans’ than I am president of the USA, but like it because it’s a trendy label.

  21. m Andrea Says:

    Polly, I’m quite familar with the transgendered. I’m sure your experiences with the transgendered have been positive, as has mine as long as I agree with them, however I don’t let that stop me from noticing certain things.

    I used to think that that the reason they were so something or other was because of all the shit their family and society dumps on them, but after many years of believing that to be the singular cause, I came to some other conclusions.

    Have you ever point blank asked them if they think they are female? Because if this were merely “not feeling comfortable in their own skin” there are many ways to go about rectifying that feeling without obtaining a vagina. It’s kinda a big clue that the answer to “feeling more comfortable in my skin” requires one thing, and one thing only.

  22. Steph Says:

    Hope you don’t mind me offering some thoughts here?….

    If you want me to give you some academic-based discourse of why I felt the way that I did, and sought sex re-assignment, then I don’t think I’d be able to give it. Sorry, that’s just the way it is really. But, likewise, we all have feelings, senses and thoughts about many things throughout life that may not always be stuff we can rationalise, seem very tangible, or even provable by a medical examination.

    What options are there for rectifying the feeling you are in the wrong body/sex? I tried plenty of psychotherapy over many years… that ended with two seperate psychiatrists realising I was a rational person, with no issues in my upbringing that would lend to me thinking in this manner, and ultimately that there wasn’t much in the way of alternatives that could make me feel any better, than permanently altering my sex. Psychotherapy, counselling – none of them stopped my depression, as well occasional attempts and thoughts of self-harm and suicide… Cosmetic surgery? Well, some people will always consider sex reassignment as that. I’ve never had breast augmentation, I doubt I’ll have facial surgery, I’ve never been very keen on surgery as it is. I have taken hormones and that had both an emotional levelling effect (in that it started to take away my depressive feelings, and my previous somewhat erratic highs and lows), and physically it had a positive effect too – it reduced much of my male body hair distribution that I gained through puberty and yet utterly detested, I grew my own breasts, and my skin and face softened. That, along with more electrolysis than I care to think about, plus sex reassignment surgery which is planned for next year…then that has been the only way left to change how I have felt. It was certainly never about just one thing for me… it was about a set of facets that I could not reconcile.

    When psychiatrists run out of reasons to cross-examine and pathologise you (and I’ve had all the questions throw at me – “were you abused as a child? no”, “absent father? no”, “forced to conform to strict gender expectations as a boy? no”, then they either start to think that there may be only physical means to alleviate your feelings; either that or Electro-convulsive Therapy but I’m hoping such harmful methods of ‘correction’ are now consigned to history…

    Do I think I am female? Well, clearly I was born male – I will never be able to dispute that. No amount of surgery changes that either. I’m not sure whether thinking/feeling you are male or female are even decontructable because we are just ‘as is’ – I only know who I am, not whether I feel I am female/male/woman/man/whatever. And, just as I have never believed ‘gender’ to be real, I am not convinced either that the brain has a sex – it just contains within it, you – an individual person. I cannot hope to understand the politicisation of ‘transgender’ myself… because the seeming motives and underlying concepts that are talked about I don’t really share myself… you know, I almost fell of my chair the other day when I read someone on a forum say “match my female mindset”!! I have no idea what a ‘female mindset’ is!

    So, I am unsure what else I am to ‘prove’ really :\. What I do know, is that I now live my life, contented, with no more feelings of self-hatred towards my body.

  23. m Andrea Says:

    That was absolute perfection, imo, thank you very much Steph.

    When people talk about the words we use to describe ourselves and others, as well as the larger ideas about each world in which we believe ourselves to be, I tend to get impatient and annoyed; and yet I can see how small changes in the words we use create at least a facimile of our world for others to see.

    Because we don’t all live in the exact same world with the exact same set of privileges and discriminations, and we have different perceptions of how our reality works for us as indivuals. Anyway, I can see how some transgendered folks really feel like a woman, but from the language many if not most seem to use, it appears as if they believe they “are” women.

    I think there’s a huge existential difference in “feeling like” and “being” — really no disrespect intended, and it’s only that “being” part which gets me. Somebody who honestly “feels like” a woman but would never attempt to impose what “being” should mean for born women can do whatever the hell she wants and more power to her as far as I’m concerned; because in order to maintain that distinction in her own mind, she would never suppose her own background holds particular relevance in cases concerning systematic sexism.

    That’s probably offensive to you, and I apologise for my general lack of sensitivity and tactfulness — I have rhino hide, and it all comes as a package deal. It’s just I’ve never confessed certain prescripts about myself to the blogopshere, and that non-disclosure shall remain until the end, but I have known a great many transgendered people and the one thing which has remained constant throughout a stream of years is that no transgendered person I have known has been able to do other than take a snapshot of the ocean that is sexism and say, “what a lovely beach”.*

    No matter how young a transgirl starts her journey, she will alway have as her primary conflict that of being accepted as her gender and exploring the ocean floor; whereas a born girl will not have that problem and under good circumstance will fight to be free from her gender, continually searching for the shore. The two internal conflicts are not the same, intersecting only in shallow water; and yet many transgendered profess their very ignorance when they insist the two possess identical rapport.

    It is an insult: the exact same insult given by every man when he insists women live in the same world as he. You’re not like that, I think, so lucky you gets to hear all the venum directed at the idiots. I do a lousy job of identifying who I’m usually addressing.

  24. m Andrea Says:

    oh dear god. lol

  25. Steph Says:

    Thanks for posting my comment, and for your reply too. I’m not in the slightest bit offended either by any of you say. I like your ‘ocean as sexism’ analogy, and there’s nothing I would disagree in that too. Which is I guess why I have become so frustrated at the whole trans-space, and the continual defining and re-defining of words, ‘obias, and ideologies that all trans people are expected to abide by. Transpeople don’t seem to often honestly talk about their own personal experiences, their feelings of being trans and why they feel so, etc. any more, because of fear they will either be shot down for saying supposedly ‘the wrong thing’ (i.e. that which does not agree with the wider politics as created by trans-activism), or because there is no need to – all read from the same script and you’ll get a diagnosis for ‘gender identity disorder’, and you’ll be getting treatment in no time. As someone who went into a Gender Identity Clinic being honest that it was my sex/body that was the problem, not my concept of ‘gender’, I almost did not get any treatment or support at all because of that, completely open stance to my once-issues. If I’d gone to a psychiatrist, asserting that “I felt like a woman” and rolled off every gender stereotype in the book, I’d have probably been made a cup of tea and asked when I wanted to start hormones.

    I guess that’s where I am coming from anyway in all of this… and, as per recent events, I no longer feel I can even discuss my own opinions and valid experiences of such things, despite being (transsexual), on certain platforms, without being regarded as ‘transphobic’ by other trans-people (although moreover a small minority of vocal trans-activists). I was aggressively confronted by someone on a trans-forum a while ago because I considered myself (if I am to use labels at all – I usually only refer to being such on forums when I need to apply context) as a transsexual female, and they said that I should not use that term as it includes/implies ‘sexual’ and thus we should all start using ‘transgender’ instead. When I replied that I did not recognise myself as ‘transgender’, and that I will use whatever label to describe myself, I was hounded (I think I might have alluded to this over on Polly’s blog).

    Such is the hypocrisy of some trans-activists that have the audacity to shout ‘transphobia’ at Feminists, yet then turn around and shout down other transpeople for offering different views, or silencing them because you are not buying into their agenda(tm).

  26. Loz Says:

    “of all the groups ever seeking full equality only transgenderism has demanded “special” rights — as opposed to equal rights”

    Um, no, but the last time I tried to point this out my comment mysteriously disappeared.

    m Andrea: Saying “no you’re wrong” is not a reason. Give me a reason. The moderation box is full of people who think the ability to refute an idea is satisfied by that one little word.

    I only left this at that because I thought at the time you’d deleted my first post. The queer community long had to put up with conservatives insisting that their desire to be married to someone they actually loved was a ‘special right’ because they already had the same rights as straights to marry the opposite sex. I see your formulation here as much the same.

    ” In other words: once a special-interest lobby convinces enough lawmakers that gender identity should be a protected class, then the general public will be even more amendable to the idea that of course people need a vagina in order to express “feminine” traits and of course people need a penis to express “masculine” traits. ”

    Could you perhaps give some examples of that, being in the UK it’s all too easy for this sort of thing to pass me by. You keep suggesting that the progressing of trans-rights is damaging women’s rights, do you have examples of where that has happened?

    It hasn’t happened yet but it’s easily predictable.

    So, we do nothing now because it may have bad consequences in the future? Everything has bad effects, everything has good effects, not necessarily in equal proportion. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and in the future if something fails we change it. As things stand, it does seem that all the terrible things being done to women and women’s rights movements in the US don’t appear to have any connection to trans-women but to the writings of a bunch of several millenia dead men.

    Surely your assertion isn’t that sexism is gone, right? So, we know that sexism exists. We also know that some significant but unknown percentage of men exist who love to jump on any excuse that women are only good for certain things. We also know that some women exist who “go along to get along”. So give a dog a bone and what do we expect that dog to do… ?

    Shock news just in, MEN ≠ FAIL. I don’t deny sexism, I don’t deny sexism is far from gone, I tend to despair at it’s current state of undeserved rude health but I’m not sure how it works in your argument here.

    “While it is always important to balance the needs of various groups in a society striving for equality, the insistence on forcing acceptance of the transsexual agenda on the general public without careful analysis or opportunity for nuanced discussion should be a red flag. ”

    Well, you’ve had a couple of decades to talk about it so far, how much longer did you think you’ll need?

    Urm, the ENDA bill has been passed around like a football between House and Senate for the last 30 years. It has never included transgenderism in all that time. Only five months before this latest attempt was the trans issue added. The american public has never had the opportunity to hear any negatives about transgenderism at all and thanks for reminding me about that.

    Blimey, I’m surprised Bill O’Reilly didn’t jump on that one. In that case it sounds like your beef is with the sorry state of the American media. My understanding is that trans-groups have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get protection for the community into ENDA, that thanks to senators such as Ted Kennedy they’ve been blocked.

  27. Luckynkl Says:

    You’re getting close to hitting the nail on the head, Bewilderness, so I’ll help you along with this.

    Gay and Lesbian Liberation activists changed the landscape and the map of the views on homosexuality when they asserted that their homosexuality was not related to any problem with gender, nor was their homosexuality the result of being a failed men and women, as was the conservative belief. Gay and Lesbian activists no sooner successfully removed homosexuality as a mental disorder from the US Diagnostic and Statistic Manual in 1973, when it was replaced by the addition of something else in 1980. GID. Gender Identity Disorder. It applied to children who displayed what conservatives believed to be the inappropriate behavior of children, based on their sex class — such as boys playing with dolls and girls playing with trucks. IOWs, effeminate boys and butch girls. Despite the aversion therapy administered to them at social control clinics, many of these children still grew up to be homosexual or bi. So the American psychiatry profession began the long, subtle process of reconceptionalizing the idea of homosexuality being a mental illness and gave it a bright new shiny label. GID. Gender Identity Disorder. It is clear from the writings of these psychologists that it is homosexuality they are concerned with and seek to prevent.

    Voila. It’s now called transgenderism. I prefer to call it what it is tho. Homophobia.

  28. stormy Says:

    No matter how young a transgirl starts her journey, she will alway have as her primary conflict that of being accepted as her gender and exploring the ocean floor; whereas a born girl will not have that problem and under good circumstance will fight to be free from her gender, continually searching for the shore. The two internal conflicts are not the same, intersecting only in shallow water; and yet many transgendered profess their very ignorance when they insist the two possess identical rapport.

    That is an excellent and most important point mAndrea. That of FABs (usually!) heading in opposite direction to TWs. Unfortunately the shallow end has become a battle ground (yet again), but most of the liberal feminists cannot see this fundamental conflict in objectives. I think it quite straightforward myself.

  29. thebewilderness Says:

    Thanks Lucky.

  30. Sis Says:

    Hello mAndrea

  31. m Andrea Says:

    Hello welcome back! 🙂

    [edit] oh I was so excited to see Sis that I forgot to thank Stormy, but what Lucky wrote was fascinating and interrupted my reply to Steph. So after doing pure unmitigated evil deeds all day I have started searching for smelly things, but am missing a bit of crucial information. I shall poke mz. smartypants with sticks until she confesses what I need to know. Found this though:

    Transsexuals are only 1 out of 11,900 men which is 0.008% of the population.

    From the: The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association’s Standards Of Care For Gender Identity Disorders, Sixth Version

    http://wpath.org/Documents2/socv6.pdf

  32. Polly Styrene Says:

    Harry Benjamin is of course responsible for the whole sorry mess that Steph describes. Which is why I take anything associated with him with a pinch of salt. More on that in the gender delusion which will contain the chapter “The Harry Benjamin phenomenon” But that’s some way off.

    “Real life” unfortunately intervenes.

  33. Steph Says:

    And, on the subjects of whole sorry mess, and ‘Real Life’ – Gender Identity Clinics all require transpeople to go through a ‘Real Life Test’ (as invented by Benjamin), which is built upon appalling ‘gender’ conformities or what women/men are expected to look and act like, so they can be considered for surgery. And the gatekeepers are psychiatrists. Wonderful.

  34. Steph Says:

    (I almost got discharged once from the Gender Identity Systemz for daring to question their definitions of ‘Real Life Test’, armed with a copy of the Fausto-Sterling book).


  35. Yup you are basically expected to act like Emily Howard aren’t you Steph – the ‘laydee’ from Little Britain. And trip round in pretty frocks acting like you’re going to die of embroidery. Wearing trousers is most definitely not allowed, because all laydees must wear frocks at all times.

    Of course what happens in real real life is that peeps ‘drag up’ when they’re going to the clinic and don’t bother the rest of the time.

    Benjamin was an appalling sexist twat. Apparently he selected his patients on the basis of whether he thought they were feminine enough to make successful women. But his theories still dominate modern practice in ‘gender identity’ clinics.


  36. I’m somewhat loathe to comment here but I see this discussion going in some very problematic directions, from a feminist perspective.

    STEPH: What options are there for rectifying the feeling you are in the wrong body/sex?…That, along with more electrolysis than I care to think about, plus sex reassignment surgery which is planned for next year…then that has been the only way left to change how I have felt.

    Steph, first I thank you for your overall respectful tone and for your willingness to share your thoughts and feelings. I know that can’t be easy in this climate (any more than it is for me) and I will apologize in advance for any pain that my comments may cause you. Please understand that I’m not attacking you personally but questioning the ideas and concepts you’ve raised.

    Feminism is not primarily a movement to make women happy. It is a movement to free us from sexist oppression. Come the revolution, some women will still be unhappy, because the things that are making them so are not a result of sexism (or racism, or ageism, or whatever). There are three relevant comments that I think of here — one is from Celia Kitzinger and Rachel Perkins’ book “Changing Our Minds” on radical feminism and therapy, in which they say, in effect, that there are plenty of things that exist to patch women up, put us back together and keep us functioning in the status quo, but they’re not FEMINIST things–therefore, ought feminists to be advocating them? The second is the Andrea Dworkin quote in this post of mine, where she says:

    It is important to understand that we will live with a fair amount of pain for most of our lives. If your first priority is to live a painless life, you will not be able to help yourself or other women. What matters is to be a warrior.

    The third is this quote from Audre Lorde:

    It is easier to demand happiness than it is to clean up the environment. The acceptance of illusion and appearance as reality is another symptom of this same refusal to examine the realities of our lives. Let us seek ‘joy’ rather than real food and clean air and a saner future on a liveable earth! As if happiness alone can protect us from the results of profit-madness…In this disastrous time, when little girls are still being stitched shut between their legs, when victims of cancer are urged to court more cancer in order to be attractive to men, when 12 year old Black boys are shot down in the street at random by uniformed men who are cleared of any wrongdoing…what depraved monster could possibly be always happy?

    Those ideas summarize my motivation for rejecting all the emphasis on “how we feel” that goes on in so much discourse about transgender. I mean to say — I am a very fat lesbian with quite a significant beard. Not a day has gone by since my childhood that I have not felt, been made to feel, that my body is wrong. I’ve been ridiculed and shamed on a daily basis for the last 39 years. I have days, many of them, when I hate my body. I suffer with intermittent depression. I have significant trouble making friends or extending myself professionally because of the fear of rejection and the beliefs about my lack of value that I’ve internalized living in patriarchy — to the degree that I am fairly hermit-like. And I still think that resistance is worthwhile. Resistance is a viable choice. It is possible to understand that the reason I hate my body is because patriarchy hates my body, and that even though I feel like crap a lot of the time, I’m not going to let them cut me, because THEN THEY WIN. It’s important to connect transgenderism with other types of body modification that are relentlessly promoted these days — mAndrea has tried to do a bit of that with introducing the topic of those who wish to amputate limbs. What do we, as feminists, think of that? (Beyond the claptrap about “I can’t tell anyone what to do with their body!” — of course we can’t, we know that. But what do we THINK about it?) What is a feminist analysis of breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, labiaplasty, eyelid surgery for North Asian women, skin whitening creams for Southeast Asian women, lye hair straighteners for African women? Attempts to suggest that these are DIFFERENT things from transgenderism reflect, I believe, the way that we have been TAUGHT to think about them. Some characteristics of our bodies are adjectives — I might be fat, small-breasted, have large labia, but those are descriptions of me, not ME. Some characteristics of our bodies are WHO WE ARE — I AM a man, I AM a woman. And what makes us men and women are our bits, according to the powers that be. So therefore removal of said bits is conceptualized very differently from, let’s say, stomach stapling — which is conceived of as changing an aspect of the self but not changing THE SELF. I do not become a different person if I lose 100 pounds the way I (supposedly) do if I have my penis amputated. But there are issues of privilege at work here. Because thinness is privileged, it seems normal and understandable to thin women that fat women would want to get our stomachs stapled so we could be like them. Because of the enormous pressure to fit in and look like the privileged classes, all kinds of cosmetic products and procedures have become normalized. But I don’t think that’s to women’s benefit. And I don’t think transsexing is to women’s benefit either, for all the reasons that have been enumerated here and at polly’s and 1000 other places around the internet for the last 20 years. I don’t think the various forms of for-profit body modification are fundamentally separate phenomena, though we are taught to think that they are. I think it was here, in another thread, where maybe Elly said that transsexing is only a problem if you think changing the body is a big deal. And I do. I think changing the body is a hugely great big deal, such that I refuse to give in to the pressure to do so. I think the only way women will be allowed to exist as we are in our own skins is if we start collectively resisting the pressure to do otherwise, so that surgeons can make their yacht payments and so that no one has to be made uncomfortable by those of us who don’t look like Jennifer Aniston.

    Straight women who are relatively comfortable with femininity think it’s natural that transwomen want to be like them. It’s not that simple for those of us who defy gender conditioning WHILE claiming the bodies we were born with, who are, in fact, oppressed by femininity. We (mannish lesbians, or non-gender-conforming females) refuse, as feminists, to see our bodies as wrong, we recognize that the pressure to change the self in order to conform, to get social approval or economic privilege or to be seen as acceptable or to be “happy”, comes from patriarchy. The pressure is easier to identify when you see ads for lipstick on TV or breast augmentation in the yellow pages of the phone book and when everyone in movies looks like no one you’ve ever met in real life. The social pressures that cause people to have “gender identity disorder” are simply, I believe, more subtle and harder to identify. But I still believe resistance — the absolute refusal to accept that functioning bodies are “wrong” and the refusal to accept chemical and surgical “treatments” for the pain of not fitting in — is a valuable feminist choice which is erased by both mainstream transgender rhetoric and what Steph says above.

    ZOE BRAIN: It is just as oppressive to say “thou shalt NOT affirm the binary model” as to say “thou SHALT affirm the binary model.”

    (This is from the comment thread to the “Girl Interrupted” post but I’m addressing it here because it ties in, and I can’t be bothered to write two comments.)

    Again, no. Because oppression is not the same thing as feeling uncomfortable or disliking something about yourself or your life. Marilyn Frye has an excellent essay on this. Being born with a penis is not evidence of sexist oppression. Being ridiculed or beaten for wearing makeup when you have a penis IS evidence of sexist oppression — but men, as the sex class in power, are the ones who created and police those boundaries, and as such, are the only ones who have the power to change them. To say, “We, as women, as feminists, should collectively resist the binary model because that is the BASIS for sexist oppression” does not support patriarchy. To say, “Oh, well, do whatever the hell makes you feel comfortable” is privileged apolitical middle-class white liberal spooge and leads us down the garden path to pomo meaninglessness. Some things resist oppression, some things don’t. That’s just the way it is, however much we may be attached to our particular collusions, and whatever our individual decisions about our individual lives may be.

    POLLY: Benjamin was an appalling sexist twat.

    And the best way to smack him down, surely, is to call him by an epithet for female genitalia.

    Come ON people. I thought we were radical feminists here.

  37. m Andrea Says:

    Shoulda been a post Amy.

    and I liked the way you said you were trying to be respectful, hard for me to find the words sometimes but that is what I mean as well. It is difficult to remain constantly respectful in the face of gross something or other though (regardless from which group it comes), my patience only extends so far and I’m still trying to find a moderation policy which fits the purpose of this blog.

    Thanks very much for your comment, that was very helpful.


  38. […] (mAndrea said this comment ought to be a post so I have edited and expanded it, hoping for clarity.) […]


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