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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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152 Responses

  1. Daomadan
    Daomadan November 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm |

    Thank you for bringing light to this. I lurk there to see what’s going on and when I read what she posted on the Transgender Day of Remembrance I was livid. Then she has this post about how transgendered people just “take up all the attention.” Right. Why they hell does she think we HAVE a Transgender Day of Remembrance? Or do I need to spell it out for her and others who agree with her?

  2. Tom
    Tom November 26, 2007 at 3:57 pm |

    When upper-class, young, attractive white women are kidnapped or killed, it’s the #1 story on Fox news

    I think it’s a mistake to see the endless coverage of such events as concern. It always strikes me as being thinly-disguised rape fantasies. Similarly, the “sympathy” for transgendered seems to be little more than a prurient freakshow mentality.

    While Heart is being harsh, keep in mind the scope and history of violence against women and consider how are half the population while transgendered are a small fraction. Very often society’s concern is a zero sum game; we don’t help everyone. Heart’s error is that she’s bought into that, but I can sympathize with her frustration.

  3. Daomadan
    Daomadan November 26, 2007 at 4:17 pm |

    While Heart is being harsh, keep in mind the scope and history of violence against women and consider how are half the population while transgendered are a small fraction.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a small fraction or a large fraction. Heart hasn’t bought into anything but her own prejudice and ignorance of transgender issues. I’m a woman and I still believe that transgendered people, though a “small fraction”, deserve the same right from fear or threat of violence that I do.

  4. meggygurl
    meggygurl November 26, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    I… can’t… even… respond… too… livid…

    Must… kill… people… eat…. brains…

  5. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 4:47 pm |

    While Heart is being harsh, keep in mind the scope and history of violence against women and consider how are half the population while transgendered are a small fraction. Very often society’s concern is a zero sum game; we don’t help everyone. Heart’s error is that she’s bought into that, but I can sympathize with her frustration.

    Well, Tom, as the author of that post has just noted, we’ve just entered into the first of sixteen days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

    http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/international-day-against-violence-against-women/

    more to the point, though: transwomen are ALSO women. it’s not being a woman OR a transperson, see. it’s being trans and it’s intersecting with and on TOP of plain ol’ being a woman. just like y’know, being a black woman or a lesbian or a woman with disabilities is this AND that, and sometimes it’s even more than the sum of its parts.

    But Heart doesn’t see it that way, never has. Transwomen are “plagiarizing” “real” women, are “colonizing” them, taking over…you may not be familiar with all this. Suffice it to say that as a cisgendered woman, it’s not -Heart’s- frustration that I’m sympathetic with.

    it’s Heart and people who are like her that have been treating it as a zero sum game, see. That’s the point.

  6. Fermata
    Fermata November 26, 2007 at 4:47 pm |

    Thank you for this.

  7. Holly
    Holly November 26, 2007 at 6:04 pm |

    Ooh here’s the best comment:

    “What do we make of prostituted boys insisting that they are happy and that they are glad for what has happened to them?”

    I don’t understand this either, but this just points out that there is a huge difference between females and males or MTFs in prostitution–or at least in the way that they interpret their experience.

    BTW, statistics show that at least 90% of women in prostitution want out. Do you know what the percentage is for males of MTFs? That would be interesting.

    You know, because if a non-trans woman says she likes a deplorable situation, she must have bought into her abuse and a false-consciousness mentality. But if a trans woman says it, well trans women must like doing sex work! I mean, why else would they do it? They could just go into the nearest government building, hike up their skirts and show their Official Phallus Pass to Patriarchal Power, and get a free ride, right?

    I’ll just tell that to my friend M. the next time she gets sent to the hospital by the NYPD because she was turning tricks trying to make some money for food and rent.

  8. Mandolin
    Mandolin November 26, 2007 at 6:18 pm |

    “Heart’s error is that she’s bought into that, but I can sympathize with her frustration.”

    Really? And do you sympathize with advocates of other causes who sell women’s rights short?

  9. Thomas, TSID
    Thomas, TSID November 26, 2007 at 6:33 pm |

    Tom, you may not have followed the history, but there is a strain of radical feminism that is and always has been bitterly opposed to transpeople; Heart is part of that tradition. As Belledame alluded to, there are some folks that seriously argue(d) that transwomen were a plot by the patriarchy to infiltrate their movement. Recognizing the magnitude of the war on women does not, in my view, involve minimizing or excusing this sort of thing.

  10. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 6:45 pm |

    I really wasn’t even sure whether to post about this at all. Despite my blog being about transphobia, I just don’t want to deal with Heart and her faithful. It’s just that statement on that day (the day after TDOR, actually) was so over the top, and slipped in all subtle.

    The start of the 16 days decided it for me.

    While Heart is being harsh, keep in mind the scope and history of violence against women and consider how are half the population while transgendered are a small fraction.

    This is meaningless. Trans women are 14 times more likely to be murdered than the general population. Heart has a long history of attacking trans women for every reason she can imagine. The timing on this is not coincidental, and her words are, as always, carefully chosen. She’s not a dupe.

  11. KH
    KH November 26, 2007 at 7:11 pm |

    Would Tom have the same charitable response to someone who begrudged efforts to recognize the victims of racism, or is sympathy for transgendered people uniquely costly?

    It is not true that every increment of recognition of transgendered people’s just claims must come at the expense of some other woman. It might as easily come at the expense of rank malice, indifference & craven unwillingness to call bigotry by its rightful name.

  12. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 7:17 pm |

    I forgot to say: Jill, thank you for posting this.

  13. Dianne
    Dianne November 26, 2007 at 7:27 pm |

    non-immigrant people

    Er. Shouldn’t this be “immigrant people” or just “immigrants”?

  14. Natasha Yar-Routh
    Natasha Yar-Routh November 26, 2007 at 7:29 pm |

    ARRGGGGHHHH!!!!

    I really don’t even where to begin with this tripe. The reason for TDOR was that NO ONE ELSE was paying attention to the trans-folk being beaten, raped and murdered. As usual Heart and her ilk don’t even mention the trans-men who are victims of trans-phobic violence. Hell she doesn’t even acknowledge that trans-men exist as far as I can see.

    This has been a bad month for trans-folk, kicked under the bus by the Democratic ‘leadership’ and the HRC on ENDA, insulted by a DI shill and now this.

    At Times I do despair of this world. Then I rember the solution is not to fight over who is more oppressed but to fight to end the opersion of all.

  15. asdf
    asdf November 26, 2007 at 7:29 pm |

    I have to, before I start this comment, admit that my knowledge of the scope of the transgender movement is very limited, and thus I am posting this at the risk of putting my foot in my mouth. Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not attacking anyone with this post, and my intent is to discuss and learn about this movement, which I do respect.

    But as a feminist I have wondered how the act of a man identifying as a woman (and vice versa) does not simply reinforce the entire gender role dichotomy? If a man claims to be a woman at heart, if he feels himself too “feminine” to identify as a male; what are those traits that make him “feminine”, other than far-too-long-upheld gender role stereotypes? I guess I am curious as to how and why someone would feel that they should have been born into another body, and not being one myself, am obviously at a loss to know whether or not I have horribly offended someone with my previous statement, and hope I haven’t.

    I guess I’m just looking forward to the day that we identify as human beings and are not so driven by these gender constructs as to need to modify our bodies with surgery, or any other patriarchy/discrimination/oppression-induced self-destruction in order to fit them. The shape of our genitals should not be any sort of indication of our personality…

  16. asdf
    asdf November 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm |

    Oh, I forgot to add that I think Heart’s article is pretty damn heartless.

  17. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 7:42 pm |

    But as a feminist I have wondered how the act of a man identifying as a woman (and vice versa) does not simply reinforce the entire gender role dichotomy? If a man claims to be a woman at heart, if he feels himself too “feminine” to identify as a male; what are those traits that make him “feminine”, other than far-too-long-upheld gender role stereotypes? I guess I am curious as to how and why someone would feel that they should have been born into another body, and not being one myself, am obviously at a loss to know whether or not I have horribly offended someone with my previous statement, and hope I haven’t.

    About a billion answers swam through my head, but one hit the surface: “Does it really matter?” Trans people do what we do for survival. We have to live with ourselves and our bodies. Transition is not a political statement, it’s not by itself an attempt to reinforce or break the gender binary. When I take estrogen, it’s no different than a diabetic taking insulin. It is a medical condition, not a political revolution.

    So, does it really matter?

  18. ekf
    ekf November 26, 2007 at 7:43 pm |

    But as a feminist I have wondered how the act of a man identifying as a woman (and vice versa) does not simply reinforce the entire gender role dichotomy?

    asdf, without trying to flame you, I hope that you do some independent reading about the transgender experience, as you have it very wrong. Many trans-folk identify, not with a “male” or “female” dichotomous identity, but in hybridized or non-specified ways (such as “gender queer,” for example). Some people retain their born genitalia and live in a manner that defies stereotypes or norms for the gender for which their genitalia might have assigned to them. Some people transition and change their genitalia and other secondary sex characteristics. Some people live in still other ways that defy easy categorization. It’s not nearly as simple as people making a transition from one set of sex and gender characteristics to the other.

    As for Heart, I think she is misnamed when she posts about transpeople, for whom she demonstrates so little humanity that I cannot give her credit for having a heart, or a brain, for that matter. Why anyone who appreciates feminism would denigrate transpeople is a complete mystery to me. Transpeople are the proverbial sex and gender canaries in the coal mine of our fallen world, and it is in becoming more aware of the challenges and the threats that face transpeople that all people dealing with sex and gender issues, be they, male, female, cis-, trans-, GLBTQ, whatever, can become more aware of the threats of patriarchal domination and the ways in which we might fight against them.

  19. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago November 26, 2007 at 7:50 pm |

    asdf, are you asking trans people to justify their existence to you? Because that’s what I’m hearing.
    Almost all *people* I’ve ever met have “simply reinforce[d] the entire gender role dichotomy.” Then again, I have no particular problem with gender existing, but with it’s brutal enforcement and compulsory expectations. People should be free to determine that by themselves.

  20. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm |

    Yeah, my post is specifically about transsexual people, which I assumed is who asdf is talking about.

    Also, asdf, if you can pick up a copy, I suggest reading Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl. It’s one of the few published works about and by a trans person that is not autobiographical.

  21. Natasha Yar-Routh
    Natasha Yar-Routh November 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm |

    asdf, I’ll go with that last statement, but then again I also identify as gender queer. The problem is that we live in a VERY gendered society. Even if you’re not transgendered you can get yourself killed for not presenting what some would consider your ‘proper gender’ as some poor man in Boston found out when he was beaten to death for wearing pink pants.

    The transgender movement is very diverse and often at odds with it’s self. Hell there is even debate on rather there even is a tensgender movement. I like to think it includes tans-men, trans-women, gender queers, cross dressers, intersexed people and all others who do not fit into gender norms. Others would say that is far to broad.

    I am not sure I can answer your question as I have a fairly mild case of body disphoria. For many though it is a matter of change or die, they see themselves as male or female and the only way to avoid a suicidal depersion is to transition as far as possible. As for me I just feel far more comfortable and more ‘me’ as Natasha then I do under my birth name.

    Ok that’s not really that well put is it? May I suggest reading Kate Bronstien’s books? You can find them on Amazon and she is a far better writer than I am. If you are interested in the gender queer aspect of it all try http://www.genderqueerrevolution.org/.

    Love,

    Natasha

  22. kathygnome
    kathygnome November 26, 2007 at 7:57 pm |

    asdf — You’re talking about gender expression, not gender identity. There are transpeople just as far over the spectrum of gender expression as there are cisgendered people. It’s not about being denied the ability to do something or act in some way. It’s an inherent feeling about one’s core identity. This can be hard for cisgendered people to understand simply because gender congruence is such a normal part of their (and one assumes your) lives. It’s so inherent that you can’t even imagine what it’s like for it not to all fit.

    But no, I didn’t transition because I couldn’t wear dresses and heels–I don’t own either. I didn’t do it because I felt my sensitivity repressed. I didn’t do it so I could have sex with men without being gay–I’m a lesbian. I did it because at the core of my being, I knew I was a woman.

    Of course the existance of transpeople (and the notion that there is a core identity as a particular gender or sex) is contrary to some ideologies of gender and society. Well, as Galileo said “e pur si muove.” If a theory can’t meet the test of reality, it needs to be revised. Transpeople appear throughout the world and throughout history. Heart can’t handle that. So she attempts to deny our legitimacy through lies, hatemongering, and working to deny us our rights. But like a Creationist staring at a fossil, that effort is doomed.

    For Heart like most bigots, the real argument is not against the other, it’s with herself. Her inability to cope with the reality of transpeople’s experience and her unwillingness to engage in reevaluation of her ideas when they are proven false.

  23. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 26, 2007 at 8:02 pm |

    Asdf – I’m cisgendered, so maybe I’m not the best person to answer your question, but from my understanding of it from a biological anthropology point of view, *all* behavioral traits are a complex mixture of nature and nurture. Something like the performance of gender might be more nurture than nature, might be *mostly* a social construct, but it’s not *all* a social construct. Otherwise we’d all be exactly the type of women or men our cultures wanted us to be.

    And Jill, thank you for posting this. I always have a similar reaction whenever Heart posts about transgendered women.

  24. drakyn
    drakyn November 26, 2007 at 8:06 pm |

    Hey, Asdf, I think your post may have got me a bingo on my tranny bingo card!
    No seriously, you just did the equivalent of someone saying to a feminist: “but I love men!”, “hairy legs are yucky, eewww”, “I need a bra (I can’t burn it!!!)”, and “women and men are totally equal, we can both vote and we’ve got laws to protect us against sexism!”.
    Your “concerns” are old, Janice Raymond wrote very similar things in her book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of a Shemale back in ’79.
    The main reasons they get repeated is because: Like many minorities, trans*folks are rarely listened to (people would rather learn about trans*people from cissexual “experts” than from us ourselves). The transphobia, cissexism, and sexism of the media (journalism and publishing houses in this case) keep these institutions from showing trans*folk that don’t fit into stereotypical patterns out of the public’s eye; furthermore, they also show trans*people as being artificial (ever notice how any show with a trans*woman in it simply must show her putting on make-up and getting all dressed up?). As well as general transphobia, cissexism, and sexism in society.
    I’m currently reading Whipping Girl, so all of this is fresh in my mind and she explains things awesomely.

    A few other things…
    First of all, it is the respectful thing to do (at the very least), even of hypothetical people, to use the pronouns a person prefers. A male-to-female person generally prefers female pronouns and should be referred to as a woman. I female-to-male person generally wants male pronouns used and is a man.
    Second of all, femininity is gender expression/role; gender identity, or subconscious sex, is usually very different.
    Butch trans*women exist; lesbian trans*women exist; fem trans*men exist (hi!); tranny fags exist (hi again!).

    In Whipping Girl, Julia Serano defines the pain of our body’s assigned sex not matching with our subconscious sex as gender dissonance.
    “This gender dissonance can manifest itself itself in a number of ways. Sometimes it felt like stress or anxiousness, which led to marathon battles with insomnia. Other times, it surfaced as jealousy or anger at other people who seemed to enjoy taking their gender for granted. But mostly of all, it felt like sadness to me—a sort of gender sadness—a chronic and persistent grief over the fact that I felt so wrong in my body.” (85)
    Medical transition generally heals this, at least somewhat depending on individual needs and experiences. Social transition can help us deal with it.

    Most trans*people do in fact realize, by the way, that masculinity =/= man and that femininity =/= woman. Like most cissexual people, trans*people have internalized gender roles and sexism. So they may say something like, “I’ve known I was a boy since I was little, I hated wearing dresses.” But, if you get him to examine his statement, that trans*man will probably clarify that his gender expression made him question his gender and that his gender identity is based off of his subconscious sex and not his masculinity.

    And I’m not genderqueer/third gender/bigender/etc. nor do I know enough to speak about anyone who is, so I’m not even going to try beyond saying that not all trans*people identify within the two binary sexes. Hell, even those of us that don’t identify within the two binary sexes don’t necessarily support the idea that sex and gender are binary.

  25. asdf
    asdf November 26, 2007 at 8:09 pm |

    thanks Lisa and ekf and Natasha, I will check out all of that reading material!! :)

    asdf, are you asking trans people to justify their existence to you?

    no, definitely not. my post was written out of honest curiousity more than anything else. which is why i plan on reading heaps before continuing this discussion

    cheerio feministes :)

  26. drakyn
    drakyn November 26, 2007 at 8:10 pm |

    And I also posted on Heart being a asshole about TDoR; except mine has way more swearing and name-calling.

  27. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 8:13 pm |

    The link at the end of Jill’s post is to your LJ post, Drakyn. :)

  28. Lorelei
    Lorelei November 26, 2007 at 8:14 pm |

    FUCK I HAVE HATED THIS WOMAN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

    but remember, kids! she ISN’T a privileged white middle-class woman! SHE CARES ABOUT THE JERSEY FOUR, OKAY? THAT MAKES HER NOT A FUCKING ASSHOLE. EVEN IF SHE MAKES RACIST STATEMENTS ABOUT BLACK MEN.

    OH, OKAY. THANK YOU HEART FOR YOUR INSIGHT.

    oh my god. i can never contain my rage when her name comes up.

  29. Em
    Em November 26, 2007 at 8:16 pm |

    Is Heart really a Big Deal in the feminist world? It’s gotten to the point where I only hear from her when she pulls attention-seeking stunts like this. Is it kosher to ignore her yet or must she be challenged?

  30. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 8:28 pm |

    Yeah, I got the stuff second-hand myself and prefer not to directly address Heart or her blog on my blog, but that statement on that day was just way over the line.

  31. Veronica
    Veronica November 26, 2007 at 8:35 pm |

    There’s not really a way to directly address her. If you comment at the Margin’s she’ll butcher or delete your post. And, if you post on your own site, she’ll whine indirectly about it without actually commenting (“Someone, is attacking me, a woman, because they’ve been brainwashed by the Patriarchy… *dabs at eyes with delicate hankie*”)

  32. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 8:39 pm |

    Em: I think in general she can be safely ignored, although i have to admit i can get sucked in by the sheer trainwreckishness of it all (partheogenesis! lesbians have a special clear-eyed serious gaze! women have no power, but HEART FOR PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. no SRSLY for reals, on the Free Soil ticket, you know, “man tax,” treaty with Bin Laden, something or other about fluoride…good times, dude).

    unfortunately when it comes to transphobia and other expressions of “pass the buck” to the more marginalized, even fringey ‘loops can have an impact, yes. For one thing she bases a lot of her “theory” (if you want to call it that) on the writings of Janice Raymond, who is not a household name in the way that say Steinem is, but has most definitely had an impact on policy in various ways. Currently she’s actually quite influential in the anti-trafficking movement; and before you go “huzzah” about that, because hey no one’s -for- trafficking, you might want to check out Coalition Against Trafficking In Women’s basic philosophy on what means “trafficking” and what means “prostitution” and, well, a number of other things.

    also consider that this woman wrote, more relevant to here, “The Transsexual Empire,” which -is- kind of a malevolent household term around transwomen who were around and had anything at all to do with feminists and probably a number who didn’t. which is a lot. google “Sandy Stone” and “Olivia records” for a start. more recently google “Vancouver Rape Relief Shelter” + “transgender” or “transphobia.” see what you come up with.

    as for any connection between Raymond’s (and most of her ilk’s) current focus and the transphobia, well–take a gander at that comment above that Holly’s quoting:

    “What do we make of prostituted boys insisting that they are happy and that they are glad for what has happened to them?”

    I don’t understand this either, but this just points out that there is a huge difference between females and males or MTFs in prostitution–or at least in the way that they interpret their experience.

    BTW, statistics show that at least 90% of women in prostitution want out. Do you know what the percentage is for males of MTFs? That would be interesting.

    You know, because if a non-trans woman says she likes a deplorable situation, she must have bought into her abuse and a false-consciousness mentality. But if a trans woman says it, well trans women must like doing sex work! I mean, why else would they do it? They could just go into the nearest government building, hike up their skirts and show their Official Phallus Pass to Patriarchal Power, and get a free ride, right?

    I’ll just tell that to my friend M. the next time she gets sent to the hospital by the NYPD because she was turning tricks trying to make some money for food and rent.

  33. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead November 26, 2007 at 8:44 pm |

    A righteous, moral, beautiful, feminist post, Jill. Thank you for being on the side of the angels. :)

  34. Em
    Em November 26, 2007 at 8:44 pm |

    I understand rage posting–really I do! I just wasn’t sure how much influence she really has at this point. If asdf got some education out of this, even better, b/c that’s the exact opposite of Heart’s agenda. ;)

  35. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 8:44 pm |

    There’s not really a way to directly address her. If you comment at the Margin’s she’ll butcher or delete your post. And, if you post on your own site, she’ll whine indirectly about it without actually commenting (”Someone, is attacking me, a woman, because they’ve been brainwashed by the Patriarchy… *dabs at eyes with delicate hankie*”)

    o, I fully expect mega whining about this. bonus points if she tries to tie it in with her previous whining about the blogger awards and how there ought to be a feminist category even though presumably none of us are proper feminists -anyway- and LGBT is taking the place of feminism (you know, Demeter-Isis GoldenShower invented the Lesbian in 1971, before which time there was no such thing as same-sex lovin’, let alone identity or activism. then the mens appropriated it! curse them!) and Fark won Best Community and -they- talk all kinds of transphobic and homophobic and sexist and racist shit so how come none of the feminist nominees ever call THEM out, huh, huh, how come???

    no, seriously.

  36. pocochina
    pocochina November 26, 2007 at 8:48 pm |

    “Gender-motivated violence is WRONG! Except when it’s not against me.”

    I mean, maybe there’s a valid discussion somewhere in tangential relation to that. (NOT in the statement itself.) Something, y’know, true, like: “The media sensationalizes violence, especially sexual violence, and because women are socially cast as victims, the media handles violence against cisgender men and transgender people differently than violence against cisgender women. This acts to the detriment of all of us, and it is wrong.” That would be a discussion.

    But minimizing violence against non-privileged people because the super-privileged media is unfair? Christ. That is, IMO, the opposite of “radical,” which in its purest definition describes a movement which advocates attacking a problem at its source.

  37. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    also, you know, she manages to hurt people on an individual level in small ways, even now. i don’t know how many times nexyjo (another transwoman) tried to hold out the olive branch to that group, taking all sorts of abuse from her regulars (including, yep, at least one dude) before finally giving up. It’s not on the same scale as her actually writing the de-trans=protection’d ENDA, no–although her endorsement of it was enthusiastically quoted by one of Aravosis’ supporters, at my blog. amazingly he actually changed his mind by the end of that post, which, i ought to frame that or something really–

    but anyway, yeah, she does some damage. She doesn’t -help-, let’s put it that way. I mean, I suppose I can ignore it when MRA’s or whoever point to that sort of shit and go, you see! you SEE?? THIS -is- what feminism is!, even though, strawfeminist schmaw feminist, the Margins is a whole -field- full of animate scarecrows–everything from withholding breastmilk from male “neonates” to insisting that men are mutants who are slowly being made extinct by Mother Gaia;

    the problem is when people i might actually -want- on my side look at that shit, or worse still are blindsided by it whenever they decide to go on a tranny-bashing or slut-bashing or jawdroppingly racist spree and go, “if this is feminism, count me the FUCK out, thanks.”

    i mean, there’s enough of that, i’m sorry to say, wrt mainstream feminism; this shit, well, yeah; they are kind of an embarrassment. Just saying. although the latest from a couple of them seems to be that they are NOT “feminists,” (or lesbians either thank fuck) they are man-hating separatists and damn proud of it; which, well, yay?

  38. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead November 26, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    But as a feminist I have wondered how the act of a man identifying as a woman (and vice versa) does not simply reinforce the entire gender role dichotomy?

    When you are taken as a woman, use an identifiably female name and gender-markers, aren’t YOU reinforcing it too?

    They are reinforcing the gender role dichotomy no more or less than all the rest of us

    If a man claims to be a woman at heart, if he feels himself too “feminine” to identify as a male; what are those traits that make him “feminine”, other than far-too-long-upheld gender role stereotypes?

    What traits mark you as too “feminine” to be a man?

    I finally stopped holding transpeople to another standard than I hold myself. We are all judged, on sight, to be one gender or another, and they are no different in that regard than the rest of us. The only difference is that their genitalia at birth did not “line up” with this behavior.

    Heart and her band of feminists would INSIST that people act according to their genitalia and birth-assigned sex, then equally INSIST that they are all about rebelling against gender. An intrinsic contradiction.

  39. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 8:55 pm |

    Jill: well, you know, i’m evil enough to at this point suggest “go for it.”

    especially since i suspect this latest round of trans-baiting is her way of trying to re-rally the troops after a rather demoralizing couple of past weeks. oh thank Goddess, -something- we can all agree on and makes us feel good again…

  40. belledame222
    belledame222 November 26, 2007 at 9:03 pm |

    There’s not really a way to directly address her. If you comment at the Margin’s she’ll butcher or delete your post. And, if you post on your own site, she’ll whine indirectly about it without actually commenting (”Someone, is attacking me, a woman, because they’ve been brainwashed by the Patriarchy… *dabs at eyes with delicate hankie*”)

    and if she deigns to comment on a third party’s blog, she tends to wilt and retreat to her own digs pretty quickly when challenged, even politely. any hint of -impoliteness- toward Herself makes her very, VERY ANGRY, mind.

  41. Em
    Em November 26, 2007 at 9:20 pm |

    I nominate belledame for the winner of the thread. ;) Thanks for the further info.

  42. Trin
    Trin November 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm |

    What traits mark you as too “feminine” to be a man?

    Yes, that. When people ask why trans people don’t accept their gender assignment, they don’t tend to ask themselves why they do. If all that “gendering” were truly meaningless, were not something most people identify with and do, why would we call feminism a movement for women, rather than simply a movement for Those Oppressed By The Deluded Class In Power Calling Itself “Men” Which Doesn’t Actually Mean Anything Except They Made It Mean Something Because They Want Power?

  43. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne November 26, 2007 at 9:44 pm |

    But as a feminist I have wondered how the act of a man identifying as a woman (and vice versa) does not simply reinforce the entire gender role dichotomy?

    Allow me to air my pet peeve for a moment: sex and gender are related, but are NOT the same thing. You can be a biological woman but choose to live your life as a male, or vice versa, or a hundred other versions thereof. Sex is (mostly) biological; gender is (mostly) social.

    Sex =/= gender, and I curse the namby-pambys of the world who were too embarrassed to say “s-e-x” out loud and started incorrectly substituting the word “gender” when they really meant “sex.”

  44. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm |

    Yay, Mnemosyne.

    I wish we could overhaul the language surrounding sex and gender entirely. I mean, I don’t think “gender identity” adequately conveys the sense of being male or female, of what shape your body is, and people hang their own baggage on what gender means, complicating discussions further when everyone in a discussion is using the word to mean something different.

  45. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution November 26, 2007 at 11:17 pm |

    Jill and Belle- tag team of win…

    Lisa just rocks.

  46. RachelPhilPa
    RachelPhilPa November 26, 2007 at 11:20 pm |

    While Heart is being harsh, keep in mind the scope and history of violence against women and consider how are half the population while transgendered are a small fraction.

    Memo to Tom: I am a woman. I am a part of that half the population that is oppressed. I am also trans. I am oppressed both for being a woman and being trans.

    Attitudes like Heart’s, and apologism like yours contribute to the environment that treats me as Ballastexistenz (ballast-life, worthless life). I’m fucking sick of it.

    Oh, and asdf: If I’m transitioning just because I want to wear skirts and heels, tell me something – do you think those nice kids in middle / high school were all like “gee, Rachel, go right ahead and transition, thank you for doing your part to reinforce patriarchy”? Hardly. Those nice kids did the patriarchy-reinforcing for me, by beating and spitting on me for seven years, see, cuz patriarchy doesn’t approve of women having male-assigned bodies. They tried to beat my identity out of me, but could not. My identity is very real.

    Also, see Susan Stryker. Surely, she transitioned to reinforce the patriarchy … oh, wait, she’s butch…never mind…

    BTW, sorry to disappoint you, but I do wear skirts and heels, sometimes. So revoke my feminist card.

    Heh, Heart is a presidential candidate? I guess she’ll get votes from every commenter involved in her circle of love-and-bow-down-to-Heart. What’s that, maybe 50 votes? Tancredo will do better than that.

    (BTW, Jill, I second Lisa’s thanks for your posting this. And, yeah, I had to pace around for a while to calm down, a couple of times, especially after reading Heart-apologist-Tom’s comment.)

  47. evil fizz
    evil fizz November 27, 2007 at 12:23 am |

    Part of me thinks that Heart might have a chance at saying something if not insightful then at least interesting if she hadn’t felt compelled to discuss labels for the boys in question. Yes, I’m quite sure that it does say something about the patriarchy that there’s a subculture in which boys are dressed as and trafficked as girls. But to drag that into her warped transphobia is bizarre in the most charitable reading.

    Also, I’m sort of surprised that she hasn’t turned up here whining about how much it hurts her feelings to be called transphobic or sent her commenters over en mass to explain that women are the tribe that bleeds and transwomen are here to appropriate our suffering.

  48. Mandolin
    Mandolin November 27, 2007 at 12:49 am |

    Heart sometimes has posted, in the past, interesting things about gender-related violence.

    Her raving, small-minded bigotry on this issue seems to have consumed her blog, although I lately find her journal too toxic to read, so that information might be out of date.

  49. Ailurophile
    Ailurophile November 27, 2007 at 1:53 am |

    Thank you for a great post, Jill.

    Heart drives me crazy. She’s one of those “I can’t be racist because I have biracial children” people. Not to mention her “all men are EBIL and have oppressed women SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME ZOMG” rants. Luckily, I have enough anthropological knowledge to shoot that down. Still, it’s her various bigotries that rankle the most.

    BTW, I doubt trans prostitutes “enjoy” their jobs. Discrimination forces transpeople into prostitution. If turning tricks is the only way you can pay your rent because even with a B.A. it’s tough to get work in fast food, let alone a nice desk job – well then that’s what you will do to eat and pay rent.

  50. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 1:57 am |

    Yes, I’m quite sure that it does say something about the patriarchy that there’s a subculture in which boys are dressed as and trafficked as girls. But to drag that into her warped transphobia is bizarre in the most charitable reading.

    sure.

    i mean, between hello other culture which i don’t think you have a clue about really and about twelve gazillion other factors + in general you knew it was gonna end up like this…i just think, darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble, you know. i mean, i think there are plenty of other people who could discuss such matters and actually know what the hell they were talking about….

    Also, I’m sort of surprised that she hasn’t turned up here whining about how much it hurts her feelings to be called transphobic or sent her commenters over en mass to explain that women are the tribe that bleeds and transwomen are here to appropriate our suffering.

    dude, give ‘em a chance, it’s not even been twelve hours yet…

    Her raving, small-minded bigotry on this issue seems to have consumed her blog, although I lately find her journal too toxic to read, so that information might be out of date.

    what? you don’t like endless screeds about lesbian separatist capitalism and clear eyed gazes?

  51. INotI
    INotI November 27, 2007 at 2:11 am |

    I was just thinking the other day what a nice few months it’s been since all the feminist blogs I read stopped paying attention to Heart and her radder-fem-than-thou clique. The news that the adherents of the One True Feminism and the Only Defenders of All Women Anywhere continue to be deeply moronic, hateful and bigoted doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Jill and Belle- in terms of her response to criticism, you forgot that old favourite: righteous indignation. “How can you sit there and criticize what I have to say when women are being murdered by men, sold into slavery, beaten by their partners, etc. How Dare You?”

  52. Mireille
    Mireille November 27, 2007 at 2:25 am |

    I got into a huge row over at I Blame the Patriarchy last spring before I had heard of heart before and gave her (and some of her friends) way too much benefit of the doubt. I usually do not post hastily or angrily, but I probably posted 20 times in the thread and at the end, I just couldn’t go back to IBTP, though I really liked Twisty’s writing style. I couldn’t take the abuse any more and every time I saw Heart post, I wanted to reply with something rash and not very well thought out. I’ve been really encouraged to see such a large response calling Heart out for the racist, cissexist bigot she is.

    And I love how the arguments against trans people are nearly ALWAYS based on trans women, as though trans men don’t exist or there’s something inherently right with wanting to be identified as male and something inherently wrong with wanting to identify as female. Look out for the dreaded men in dresses that only want to use women’s bathrooms so they can sexually molest the REAL women. I mean, you can’t open a newspaper without hearing about THAT!

    What I don’t understand, on feminist blogs, is the question of if trans women are trying to be more feminine or are enforcing gender dichotomy. We’re feminists! I have met some trans women that are very… umm… feminine. I never felt that. I just knew I wasn’t right the way I was. And now I am. I don’t know why… I don’t wear makeup often. When I’m not at work, I wear jeans… I can’t explain how or why I knew what I am, I just knew. And I always knew I was a feminist.

    And Jill, and everyone that’s posted here, I am so happy to read all the… well, I wanted to put this in a positive way, but I’ll just say it… all the trashing of Heart and her white cissexual privileged bullshit.

  53. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 2:30 am |

    BTW, I doubt trans prostitutes “enjoy” their jobs. Discrimination forces transpeople into prostitution. If turning tricks is the only way you can pay your rent because even with a B.A. it’s tough to get work in fast food, let alone a nice desk job – well then that’s what you will do to eat and pay rent.

    Oh, yeah. I mean check this story out. Poor or nonexistent employment prospects put trans women out turning tricks, and that puts them in a more vulnerable position to be assaulted, raped, and murdered.

  54. drakyn
    drakyn November 27, 2007 at 2:36 am |

    Mireille, generally, if we’re mentioned at all it’s either pitying and condescending (ohh, you poor dear…submitting to the patriarchy in such a horrible way! If only you could learn to love yourself!) or dismissive (they obviously don’t care about other women, so why should I care about them).
    And transphobic and cissexist feminists always assume we’re former butch lesbians.
    But yeah, usually we are ignored completely.

  55. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 2:42 am |

    Trans men are seen as fleeing from womanhood, selling out to the patriarchy rather than fighting it as women. There’s also the whole “butch flight” thing, with the idea that, well, butch lesbians are selling out to the patriarchy, etc. Here’s some information.

    Most of the time, addressing trans men at all is a token effort.

  56. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea November 27, 2007 at 5:41 am |

    Heart’s blog makes me sick, and her attitude that women (which of course means cisgendered women, but you can’t say cisgendered to Heart because that implies there’s any such thing as a transwoman) can’t possibly be transphobic because they are at the bottom of the oppression ladder is ridiculous. I used to read her blog just to make myself angry but I don’t have the stomach for it anymore.

    And yes, she loves to dismiss white privelege as totally irrelevant when it comes to her and anyone she agrees with.

  57. alicepaul
    alicepaul November 27, 2007 at 5:44 am |

    Can anyone help explain to me what it means to feel like a “woman” or a “man” inside? I personally don’t feel like any particular sex or gender(s). I have imagined living with genitalia different from what I was born with, but I think I would feel pretty much the same way internally. Gender has very little to do with my inner sense of “self,” I suppose, more with how others treat me. Obviously, I know many people have different experiences of this.

    I guess, philosophically speaking, I am wondering how one knows, unequivically, that they ‘ARE’ something inside. I don’t feel like any part of my identity registers that way – race, spirituality, etc. I wouldn’t inherently ‘know” I was a living organism or an American or a Jew if these categories hadn’t been created, named, and shared with me. Aren’t we all just human beings, on the inside? (Who should be treated equally regardless of biological sex?)

    This is hard for me to grasp, but I’m willing to listen.

  58. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 7:18 am |

    alicepaul,

    Does it really matter? Some people have a strong sense of their own gender (whatever it may be, and not restricted to man or woman) and some people don’t. QED.

    I do want to point out that being a male or a female is distinct in a way that being black or white or latin@ or American or Catholic is not, in that human beings – like most vertebrates – are sexually dimorphic. The sense of being male or female is not the same as the sense of being part of a particular culture or religion.

    I’d also rather move past the idea of asking people to justify who they are and why they are who they are and mostly take them at their word.

    Your question also doesn’t sound like curiosity to me. Instead, it sounds like a challenge. I assume you don’t accost cisgender or cissexual people and ask them what it means for them to feel like a “woman” or a “man” inside, so I wonder why transgender or transsexual people get this special treatment? If it helps to think of it in those terms – when you see a cis woman on the street, do you wonder why she thinks of herself as a woman? Do you assume she experiences gender as you do? Do you acknowledge that there are many many ways to experience gender and accept that she knows herself well enough to experience her gender honestly?

    So, does it really matter?

  59. Maayan
    Maayan November 27, 2007 at 8:43 am |

    I can’t speak for alicepaul, but personally, I’m just as flummoxed by cisgendered people who loudly proclaim their feelings of “man” or “woman”-hood. Actually, since the (admittedly few) transgendered people I know have not vocally declared that they feel like (in their cases) “men inside”, I have to say that I’m more puzzled by the cisgendered people who I have heard.

    A stupid example but, the Shania Twain song, “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”, has always irritated me. “Ok, that’s interesting,” I want to say, “but I just feel like a person.” But, then, I’ve had to accept that, as you said, I seem to experience gender differently than what seems to be the dominant paradigm.

    Anyways, this seems to be a tangent. Sorry.

  60. kathygnome
    kathygnome November 27, 2007 at 8:52 am |

    I have imagined living with genitalia different from what I was born with, but I think I would feel pretty much the same way internally.

    That would be pretty much the definition of cisgendered privilege. Privilege is about those things you don’t really notice or understand because they are so inherent to your experience that you can’t imagine life without them. You really can’t imagine that it would be any different because your entire life is based on congruence.

    Also, it’s really not about genitalia. Everyone gets obsessed about whats in their pants. And it makes the entire issue seem frivilous.

  61. kathygnome
    kathygnome November 27, 2007 at 9:02 am |

    A stupid example but, the Shania Twain song, “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”, has always irritated me. “Ok, that’s interesting,” I want to say, “but I just feel like a person.” But, then, I’ve had to accept that, as you said, I seem to experience gender differently than what seems to be the dominant paradigm.

    I rather hate to doublepost, but that’s exactly how I feel as a transitioned transwoman. I no longer really think about gender. I’m just me and the concept of “feeling like a woman” really doesn’t enter into my life very much. All I can say is trust me, living the other way, it enters into your life constantly. It’s not an obsession nor is it a subject for academic thought, it’s just this little splinter in your mind, constantly reminding you that something is wrong.

  62. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago November 27, 2007 at 11:21 am |

    I must say that I’m a bit disappointed that even this thread here has a bit of the ol’ cissexualist apprehension about/skepticism of trans people.

  63. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 12:45 pm |

    seems like a Trans 101 blog to put up alongside feminism 101 might come in handy…

  64. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 12:45 pm |

    that Shania Twain song has always irritated me because it’s fuckin’ unlistenable. /petty snark

  65. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 27, 2007 at 12:46 pm |

    I’d also rather move past the idea of asking people to justify who they are and why they are who they are and mostly take them at their word.

    Amen. To me, it’s an interesting phenomenon from an anthropological point of view, but I’m in the midst of getting a degree in anthropology. In real life, who cares?

    Why does any thread about trans anything have to turn in to “But I just don’t get it?’ from cisgendered feminists, well-intentioned or otherwise? As gay marriage is no threat to hetero marriage, neither is transgender a threat to cisgender. What you do with your body, for whatever reason, is no business of mine.

  66. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 12:48 pm |

    but i mean: yeah, I think it’s pretty easy to take gender for granted if one is feeling congruent. What would happen if people suddenly started calling me by the wrong pronouns, insisted I can’t use the womens’ bathroom, looked at me with incredulity or even hostility when I identified as a woman or gave my name…?

    i imagine it’d feel like landing on Mars.

  67. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 12:52 pm |

    but and yeah, what Vanessa said. If we were talking about gay marriage, would it not be irritating to constantly have to deal with, “but I just don’t understand how anyone can be attracted to someone of the same sex. And what exactly do you do in bed? Explain it to me, can’t you? I’m just curious.” I know I’d be irritated.

    again: it’s 101. There’s maybe a time and a place for that sort of thing, if people genuinely are coming from a place of ignorance and not hostility; but you can’t just stop every single discussion to deal with that without wanting to tear your hair out. and then you lose sight of what you -were- trying to talk about.

  68. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 27, 2007 at 1:02 pm |

    But what of cisgendered people who feel incongruent? I don’t even pretend to understand how transgendered people feel, but there are very few days that American culture fails to communicate to me that I’m queer. And the assumption that all cisgendered people take gender for granted because they are congurent with social constructions of gender really bothers me.

  69. Karen
    Karen November 27, 2007 at 1:35 pm |

    Em at #36, if asdf got some education out of this, she wasn’t the only one. Thanks, all.

  70. Holly
    Holly November 27, 2007 at 1:44 pm |

    I don’t think everyone fits into the cisgendered/transgender binary. Like most other binaries, it’s basically false and limiting when you get down to it. But there definitely are plenty of people who basically do feel congruent with their assigned gender, don’t experience body or role dysphoria to anywhere near the degree that trans people do, etc. I believe very strongly that gender coercion affects all people, not just trans people. But those of us who are significantly further “outside” the confines of what’s expected are targeted much more directly for “breaking the rules,” so to speak; that’s why the distinction is useful. It’s just like saying look, sexism creates problems for men as well as women, but the direct target of sexism and misogyny is women and those direct effects need to be addressed and dealt with. That’s why we call it feminism, not “humanism.”

    As for the rest of this thread, god knows I need a 101 break. Maybe Feministe needs a “there will be no 101 on this thread, please see the trans (or whatever) 101 thread if you have questions.”

  71. Holly
    Holly November 27, 2007 at 1:45 pm |

    I want to add however, that I’m really glad when 101 does happen, because it’s necessary and good to ask questions about things you don’t have personal experience with, and it’s good work to take the time and patience to explain things too. It’s just that we seem to have to do it over and over, and it often limits the possibility for “201” etc.

  72. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 27, 2007 at 2:09 pm |

    Holly: Well, there is one of the reasons why I think there is a real tension between radical feminism and transgender theory because in one paragraph, you’ve just reduced all forms of gender violence and discrimination to a theoretical shadow of violence against transgender and genderqueer people.

    I don’t object to cisgender as a useful construction around which we can talk about degrees and kinds of gender dissonance. I don’t think it’s the only or primary axis around which gender oppression is experienced or understood.

  73. Tom
    Tom November 27, 2007 at 2:13 pm |

    Maybe Feministe needs a “there will be no 101 on this thread, please see the trans (or whatever) 101 thread if you have questions.”

    I want to add however, that I’m really glad when 101 does happen, because it’s necessary and good to ask questions about things you don’t have personal experience with, and it’s good work to take the time and patience to explain things too. It’s just that we seem to have to do it over and over, and it often limits the possibility for “201″ etc

    That’s an excellent idea. It sure would’ve helped me out.

  74. B. Dagger Lee
    B. Dagger Lee November 27, 2007 at 2:30 pm |

    I’ve been through a few of the transkirmishes myself, and have a couple of points to make.

    Whipping Girl is a terrific book.

    The Transsexual Empire is a fucked up, hateful book. In my library of books, it’s shelved alongside some other hate books (Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc.) that I’ve found on the street, or acquired in second-hand stores, and which I keep both to remind myself of why and how hate is manifested in writing, and in order to analyze them for purposes of explication and refutation.

    There were transkirmishes on Twisty’s blog and also on the IBTP message boards (where I’m a moderator). As a result of what happened on the blog, Twisty wrote a policy for her blog as follows: “Abusive language will not be tolerated. And by ‘abusive language’ I mean racist, sexist, anti-straight, anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-mother, anti-kid, antifeminist language.” (Twisty Faster) This policy is also in place at the IBTP message board.

    And now I’ll buckle down to what I really wanted to say, after the literary picks and pans, and the attempt to keep the record clear:

    Jill:

    Heart is a radical feminist. I understand the “self-identified” qualifier is supposed to cast doubt on either her radicalism, or her feminism, or both, but the dealio is that her stance on the status of transgender folks is a strain of radical feminism—though it’s one I am opposed to and abhor as you do, and am committed to refuting. In most cases, the “You’re Not A Real Feminist, and I’m yanking your card,” tactic is a cheap and facile way of avoiding and diverting the discussion, and erasing or negating your opponent; I doubt its utility or efficacy in making an argument or enlightening anyone. I’m old enough to remember when the New York Times referred to “self-identified” lesbians, as if doubtful as to whether any such thing existed, and to also make it clear it wasn’t the Times affixing the shameful label to anyone. I understand your impulse: a combination of impatience, the pain of anger, and a “How many fucking times do I have to say this?” kind of feeling.

    But, as an ally to transfolk, you have to have the conversation, and fight the fight, until everyone is enlightened as to your kind of radical feminism and its better justice and merits. It’s precisely the radical feminist allies who have to fight this fight, and with the most ethical and intelligent feminist arguments, and the “self-identified” card-pulling trick isn’t one of them—you’re better than that, because quite frankly, my dear, you do shine.

  75. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago November 27, 2007 at 2:55 pm |

    I think there is a real tension between radical feminism and transgender theory

    what is transgender theory?

  76. kathygnome
    kathygnome November 27, 2007 at 3:01 pm |

    I feel more comfortable with 101 when I believe it is honest. There are some great honest questions here. However, there are several comments here that have too finely crafted classic anti-trans feminist arguments and codewords against transpeople for me to believe they are sincere. They aren’t questions or points of discussion, they’re talking points for people with an agenda.

  77. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 3:02 pm |

    CBrachyrhynchos,

    Holly: Well, there is one of the reasons why I think there is a real tension between radical feminism and transgender theory because in one paragraph, you’ve just reduced all forms of gender violence and discrimination to a theoretical shadow of violence against transgender and genderqueer people.

    Holly did quite the opposite, I think. She pointed out that the cisgender/transgender binary is a false binary, and she pointed out that people who don’t conform to cisgender standards are punished for it. That’s in no way saying that all forms of gender violence and discrimination are a theoretical shadow of violence against transgender or genderqueer people, rather, she’s pointing out one axis of gender-based violence that is specifically aimed at transgender and genderqueer people. She even uses an example of oversimplification to describe the argument she’s not making.

    Isn’t it possible to discuss the kind of gender oppression those with gender oppression suffer without also having to center the discussion on violence against women? I mean, yes, absolutely, trans people experience a lot of the violence that’s directed against women, but we also experience violence that’s directed against us because we don’t conform to the comfortable notions of a strict gender binary. These are all concerns and all need to be addressed, but pointing out the specific concerns that trans people have to deal with is not a claim that those are the only concerns that matter.

    Also, when I say “without also having to center the discussion on violence against women” I don’t mean “exclude any discussion of violence against women.” Is there something wrong with centering a discussion about violence against trans people on violence against trans people? Is that enough to cause tension between radical feminism and trans people?

    I’m also bothered that you refer to “transgender theory,” because transgender isn’t about theory. Transgender people are people who have to live their lives, same as anyone else. The theory about transgender comes from people who are not transgender imposing their own expectations and prejudices on transgender people. A good example of “transgender theory” is the idea that transsexual people have some kind of responsibility to martyr themselves on the spears and walls of gender expression, instead of trying to live our lives.

    I won’t say that no transgender people, no genderqueer people, come up with theory, but I think it’s unfair to label our lived realities and experiences as theory.

    Also,

    But what of cisgendered people who feel incongruent? I don’t even pretend to understand how transgendered people feel, but there are very few days that American culture fails to communicate to me that I’m queer. And the assumption that all cisgendered people take gender for granted because they are congurent with social constructions of gender really bothers me.

    When it comes right down to it, people who feel as you do tend to be in short supply compared to those who are bothered by trans people, and those people feel absolutely no hesitation to challenge trans people to justify and explain ourselves mainly so they can object to what we have to say. “Oh, so you feel like a woman? What does that that feel like? I don’t feel like a woman, so how can you?” and so on. Whatever people may feel about gender or its validity, 99% of the time, it gets taking out on trans people, not cis people.

    As for trans 101 – I don’t like dealing with it directly in a thread like this because it’s like Belle says, or you’re discussing how stars go supernova, and someone keeps asking, “Okay, so I don’t get how hydrogen atoms fuse into helium.” I mean, it’s okay to not get it and want to understand it better, but acceptance should not be contingent upon understanding, and it’s really frustrating to be talking about anything trans-related and get dragged back to “Okay, so justify your existence to me again?” I’ve tried to answer this sort of thing in the past, but it ends up sucking away all my energy just to explain myself when I would rather discuss something a bit past that point.

  78. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 3:20 pm |

    I don’t believe there is a singular population of people who go through reassignment. If you look at life histories there are distinct populations. This was even recognized in Janice Raymond’s book, to which Raymond responded, “But I chose to ignore that”. There is a homogenization that makes kids invisible. They are children who develop an identity consistent with the unanticipated class. Then there are middle aged men who go through reassignment and are given the same label. These people have gone through life as normal men and these are the people who when they come into women’s spaces are colonizing. This is a philosophical feminist community. It has a section on epistemology. No one looks at epistemological differences between kids and late transitioners. I believe they are as distinctly different as the learned epistemological differences between men and women. Late transitioners seem to be oblivious to these paradigmatic differences. I do not believe they can be considered women. Someone used the word “identify as”. Kids are not identifying as. That is their native identity. Late transitioners have a history of manifesting a male identity and history that is not discernible from any man. Often they are quite stereotypically male. At any rate, they are learning and have learned how to be men and never show any cognizance that there is a reason to learn anything else. Therefore they remain stuck and are functionally not women at all. The blindnesses are curious as they are they same blindness that come from male privilege.

    I would also like to respond to something that someone else said. Heart is not a radical feminist. If you go back and read the original writing in radical feminism, there is no objectifying essentialism. Heart begins from a set of objectifying essentialistic assumptions seen in both cultural feminism and liberal feminism. Actual radical feminism sees essentialism, objectivism and ascribing as being the basic justifications for patriarchy.

    “Can anyone help explain to me what it means to feel like a “woman” or a “man” inside?”

    It has no associated feelings until one’s identity is contradicted and then it’s quite painful. It is a sense of consonance with how people respond to you and interpret one’s needs, wants and motivations. The consonance remains transparent in all people until it’s contradicted. I have a lesbian friend who was “sirred” at work. She found it quite painful for days because the way she was responded to was not consonant with her identity. Since her identity as a woman is usually not contradicted, her identity remains transparent to her. It becomes very apparent when it is contradicted. The trans movement has been incredibly clumsy in annunciating these feelings, again typical of men across societies.

    “A stupid example but, the Shania Twain song, “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”, has always irritated me.”

    One of the writers was a man. I suspect he inspired the sentitment.

    “seems like a Trans 101 blog to put up alongside feminism 101 might come in handy…”

    If this is a serious blog in feminist philosophy in many ways, it’s better equipped than trans 101 is really delve meaningfully into the issues and processes. The problem with trans 101 is that it is pre-translated into patriarchal terms and not over insightful.

    “Holly: Well, there is one of the reasons why I think there is a real tension between radical feminism and transgender theory because in one paragraph,”

    The next time you hear a critique from a “radical feminist” based on objectification (Luckynickel) or essentialism (heart – luckynickel), explain to them that’s cultural feminism and often liberal feminism but not radical feminism. Radical feminism does not presuppose biology. It’s look at social constructions in society and of individuals who are members of two gendered classes. On the other hand, I’d would say there is no such thing as transgender theory.

  79. Holly
    Holly November 27, 2007 at 3:24 pm |

    I don’t object to cisgender as a useful construction around which we can talk about degrees and kinds of gender dissonance. I don’t think it’s the only or primary axis around which gender oppression is experienced or understood.

    I would never intentionally suggest that transgender is the only or primary axis around which gender-based oppression is experienced or understood. That would be patently absurd in my opinion, contrary to all of my experience and thinking on the subject… and I’m not sure where you read that into my post.

    I also wouldn’t suggest that femaleness is the only or primary axis we should be looking along, i.e. only traditional sexism & misogyny, or homosexuality, i.e. only looking at homophobia. Any of those perspectives would be terribly limited. I also don’t think we should be looking solely at gender-based oppression as the only or primary axis of oppression, which is where I definitely part ways with some forms of radical feminism, which revolve purely around gendered oppression of women as the singular and most important cause. I’m far more in favor of intersectional analysis and interrogating interlocking systems of oppression–oppressive forces rarely act alone, and neither should we.

    Although I don’t think it was your intention, sometimes it feels like attempts to bring up the subject of oppression that’s based on being trans or gender non-conforming are met with accusations that the speaker is trying to focus ONLY on that or sideline everything else. I don’t see how that could possibly be desirable, especially for those of us who also suffer due to transphobia, sexism, AND homphobia all at once, in both distinct and multiplying ways.

  80. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 3:32 pm |

    “Although I don’t think it was your intention, sometimes it feels like attempts to bring up the subject of oppression that’s based on being trans or gender ”

    Here is another error of trans. Trans is a community, an ideology, an identity and a politic.

    “trans” is not an ontological condition any more than the two socially constructed classes are.

  81. Nomie
    Nomie November 27, 2007 at 3:32 pm |

    Didn’t we have a Trans 101 thread a while ago? Or was that just a discussion of how everyone was so tired of the threadjacking phenomenon?

    Heart makes me sick to my stomach, so I’m going to combat her with a little good news: I got my LGBT alumni newsletter over the weekend, and my college now has a floor of gender-neutral housing and is changing all of its forms to have “Gender:___” instead of “Sex: M/F”. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start!

  82. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 27, 2007 at 4:04 pm |

    jayinchicago, bliss, and Lisa Harney: Well, if you propose a binary view of the world in which there are a group of people who are called “transgender” and a group of people who are called “cisgender,” and then speculate at how well and how closely those ideas map to human experience, and propose that we can talk about how members of those groups experience gender oppression that’s a theory.

    When someone makes a claim that cisgendered people can take gender for granted because they feel “congruent” or “consonant” that’s a theory.

    And that’s all I’m criticizing here. I’m not questioning community, identity, lived realties or experiences. I’m saying that a particular claim made about cisgendered people directly contradicts my lived reality and experiences as a cisgendered queer man.

  83. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 4:07 pm |

    Ontology was universalized at it’s birth to look at the dilemma’s of finiteness and self-reflection or self-awareness. It was not assumed the Dasein even had sex much less constructed gendered classes. Therefore, sex-gender were not seen to be existentials and therefore are not ontological. It least that’s what i meant by not ontological.

    Gendered identity is a byproduct of the binary gendered class system. That’s the only way it can be and they are not ontological either. If they were there would be no point in feminism.

    The interesting and non-reflective thing about Heart’s brand of cultural feminism is that there are pre-social biological essences. Her beliefs also obviate the need for feminism. In her framing, liberation becomes an impossibility do why worry about other than it gives someone who has always liked center stage – more stage.

  84. Spektrioe
    Spektrioe November 27, 2007 at 4:08 pm |

    “but i mean: yeah, I think it’s pretty easy to take gender for granted if one is feeling congruent. What would happen if people suddenly started calling me by the wrong pronouns, insisted I can’t use the womens’ bathroom, looked at me with incredulity or even hostility when I identified as a woman or gave my name…?”

    I’m cisgendered and most of that happens to me quite often, especially the bathroom thing. And I think Trans 101 blog could be good. It doesn’t matter if one *gets* transgender or not in political or ideological discussion so it’s off-topic, but there aren’t many discussions where questions like asdf’s would be on-topic and it seems like people rather come and ask questions when there’s already discussion going on instead of starting their own. So if/when there are many people who are curious, maybe place where that kind of questions would be on-topic would help keeping it away from discussions where it’s off-topic.

    (hope that makes sense, I’m not very good at English.)

  85. alicepaul
    alicepaul November 27, 2007 at 4:09 pm |

    I apologize if I didn’t make myself clear; I was NOT directing my questions exclusively to trans people, I meant to ask everyone (cis, trans, etc) why/how they feel like a man or a woman, because I just feel like a person. It is not a challenge, but yes, it DOES matter.

    Not in the sense that anyone’s given answer should effect policy or the way they are treated, but in the sense that it is an important question for anyone interested in gender studies, feminism, anthropology, identity, pyschology, sociology, etc. I mean, it is fascinating on an intellectual/philosophical level. I don’t think it is “asking people to prove/justify themselves,” but rather asking complicated questions about the world and who we are. I am always on the side of MORE education and investigation, rather than leaving complex key issues unexamined.

    As a queer person, yeah, I know it shouldn’t matter, policy or legality wise, if my sexuality is based on nature or nurture or some combo of the two. But it is still an interesting topic to me, one that I grapple with and am curious about and open to discussing with heterosexuals.

    Frankly, whatever one’s answer is has no bearing on how I feel about their right to freedom and respect. I will always defend those who are vulnerable targets of violence, discrimination, etc. But I wish that we could have an honest exploration of the whys and hows instead of shutting off discussion.

    This is an intricate human mystery, and it would be a shame to ignore it for the sake of political correctness.

  86. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 27, 2007 at 4:15 pm |

    Or to put it another way, what I’m proposing is that the experience of dissonance between our gender identity and gender in the worlds we inhabit may be a common one that unites a broad group of transgender and cisgendered people.

  87. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago November 27, 2007 at 4:26 pm |

    Well, I definitely feel like a man. I believe it will be eventually understood that transsexuality is a disorder of sex development. When I was assigned female at birth due to a glance at genitalia, the sex my brain understood itself to be was not questioned or determined. Most people seem to generally fall into (or submit without too much problem) a genitals=sex identity path, but I do not. I don’t think it’s any use trying to convince my brain to think otherwise because, hell, I’ve tried.

    I’m trying to be very careful not to bring gender into it because, honestly, I’m not sure how much “gender” has to do with it. I’m neither attempting to destroy the gender binary nor am I purposefully reinforcing it.

  88. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 4:28 pm |

    Conversation is shut down anytime anyone criticizes trans ideology it becomes shutdown. A moment ago someone posted about trans being ontological. That post was quickly deleted. Liberals blindly supporting current trans ideologies will not support questioning those ideologies that hurt all people, not only trans.

    Trans is a very complex question going down to our core beliefs which oppress women. In order to extablish a kind of egalianism within the populations of people who go through ressignment no differentiation is permitted. They must be the same to protect those who are really implausible, again under the blanket of egalitarianism. The silencing totally impedes real examination of basic premises. What is prevented is the systematic examination of oppresssive core beliefs. The egalitarian blanket is as oppressive as anything else. Certainly if trans ideology is valid it can withstand examination. It’s not treated in that manner. Protection of the ideology is so harsh as if there is a fear that it cannot withstand scrutiny. At that point it becomes just another form of dominance.

  89. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 4:37 pm |

    Dear persons: This thread started out wrt someone’s assholery wrt the Transgender Day of Remembrance. As in, a lot of transgender people who are DEAD. MURDERED. There’s no -theory- about it. ‘K? It’s really not that fucking complicated, REALLY.

  90. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 4:43 pm |

    and I mean: yeah, it’s interesting, I’m sure, possibly less so for people who’ve been grappling with it, like EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY OF THEIR LIVES, or possibly not.

    but in the context of HELLO THERE’S THIS ASSHOLE BEGRUDGING A SINGLE DAMN DAY OF COMMEMORATION FOR THE BRUTALIZED AND DEAD

    well, personally, it kind of makes me -cranky.-

  91. Mireille
    Mireille November 27, 2007 at 4:48 pm |

    Thank you Bliss for explaining to me that I am an ideology (that I have not yet to been able to explain or seen explained in a way I fully recognize in my life), a community (that I don’t belong to in any meaningful way), an identity (which I am assigned by a society based on cissexual privilege, not myself), and a politic (though people who fall into the transgender spectrum tend to range all over the place), and not a person. It’s nice to have someone who knows not whereof she speaks tell me what I am.

  92. VicSin
    VicSin November 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm |

    I think that some of the questions here that are getting jumped on are legit questions, and I thank them for being asked and answered honestly without hostility. I don’t know much about the transgender world and issues, but I do believing in learning and listening. I’ve learned alot in this thread, so thanks to all!

    And in that line, I’m still confused as to what the cis in cisgender stands for…please explain that to me as I can’t figure it out and can’t look online right now. Thanks!

  93. little light
    little light November 27, 2007 at 6:00 pm |

    Belle @89: Thank you. Here we are debating “ontology,” and fiddling around with justification in a conversation that was, nominally, about a bigot choosing to denigrate a memorial for the brutally murdered.

    Real people. Broken and dead. Real actual people–at the vigil I went to, seventeen pages of small type’s worth of names of the murdered. And we were dealing with, you know, that reality, those facts, those awful numbers, and then the added fact that someone who never stops hounding the community those murdered human beings came from–that someone wants to tear down the one day of the year that we (and that’s a very small “we”) ask that those lives, and those violent deaths, be remembered and honored.
    And yet, once again, while Jill is actually stepping up to bat and making a motion toward solidarity, toward calling out this abhorrent behavior, we have people interrupting and asking that we make this comfortably abstract and justify what we mean. The resources to listen to us are there. The resources to pick up the basics are there. Asking us to move attention from the lives of the murdered and the desecration of their memories by someone with a nasty little axe to grind, when there are times and places for that–why? So we can screech to a halt, back up, and explain in philosophical terms what, in the abstract, those people were and meant to themselves, and never quite get to the conversation about how no matter how those people understood themselves, bigots chose to beat them to death, to rape them to death, to pump bullets into them until they were pulp, to back a car over them four times only to be barely held accountable only for a hit-and-run by bigoted police?
    Can we get past the quibbling about whether or not these people were justified in identifying–or being identified as–trans? Because all I see, when we delegitimize and challenge their identities in a conversation about how bigots chose to murder them, and other bigots chose to violate their memories for their own ideological agendas, is, “well, what was she doing in that neighborhood at that hour, anyway, in that short skirt? Wasn’t she asking for it?” All I hear is, “I don’t get why they saw their lives and lived their lives that way–so do we really need to be concerned that they’re 14 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than any other population on the continent, with a fifty-percent-or-higher rate of sexual assault? I mean, weren’t they sort of asking for it–unless, that is, you can justify their existence to me?” Maybe you don’t “get” it. Okay. Fair enough. Have the grace not to rub salt in a sucking chest wound by wondering aloud, “did they really have to live that way? Couldn’t they go about it better, and more in accordance with my understanding? Wouldn’t that have saved them from murder?”

    And speaking of gracelessness? Rainsong-I mean, Bliss, sorry–or was it Renee?–is this really the place for you to be coming in and denigrating late-transitioners and pushing your little wedge issue about how some people who transition as kids might be ideologically acceptable, but older transitioners are dangerous, suspect colonizers? Is this really the time? Because you swanning in here to throw out your classic lines about the bad, bad middle-aged MTFs in a conversation about desecration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance is really stepping across a line, and that line isn’t “sensitivity.” I don’t care that you have an old grudge with Heart–using this to go off about her lack of ideological purity rather than her bigotry, and from there to go off on your own prejudices about the “wrong” kind of trans people is, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly inappropriate.

    There’s your “transgender idelogy” of the day, folks. I know I’m usually Good Cop, but on this subject, at this time, remembering my own dead and battered loved ones, I only have this to say: step off.

  94. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle November 27, 2007 at 6:17 pm |

    In re Heart etc and their non-acknowledgement of trans men, there was that piece in the “male feminists are unicorns” comm about how male feminists love ftms because they think we’re like women only better, and have pregnant ftms blogging on their sites so they don’t have to have women (two years later, I’m still wtfing at that one). So I suppose trans people cannot be women in their framework or something.

  95. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 27, 2007 at 6:35 pm |

    Thinking abour this more while wasting tie between classes today, I think a lot of the rejection of transpersons by that faction of feminisim comes from a horror of body modification. It seems to me that a lot of these same people speak of boob jobs in terms of “hacking” breasts and “shoving” implants in, as though Dr. Sweeney Todd did the surgery bare-handed with a hatchet.

    I know that surgery and trans don’t necessarilly go together in real life, but it seems they do in popular conception. And I know I’ve seen a few people comment at how they’re saddened by people who feel the need to “mutilate” their bodies to fit a “patriarchal ideal of gender.”

    That kind of talk is annoyingly close to pro-forced pregnancy people going on about Drs cutting up fetuses in horrifying detail.

  96. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 27, 2007 at 6:55 pm |

    Trans = across to the other side
    cis = on the same side

    If I remember my latin correctly.

  97. asdf
    asdf November 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm |

    I completely agree that it’s disgusting that our society is so violent towards those that embody anything different; that transpeople have been brutalized, murdered, etc, and I am saddened to hear it. It really was heartless, tactless, vicious of Heart to make those comments.

    but I wanted to add:

    I don’t think it is “asking people to prove/justify themselves,” but rather asking complicated questions about the world and who we are. I am always on the side of MORE education and investigation, rather than leaving complex key issues unexamined.

    that I agree with this statement, which is why I’ve decided to post again. If a topic becomes taboo to discuss, reactionary thinking settles in..even if my opinions on the matter do end up being wrong, please do not kill me for expressing them. I hope I can post what is swirling around in my brain coherently and not offend anyone too much.

    Going back to:

    “What traits mark you as too “feminine” to be a man?”
    Yes, that. When people ask why trans people don’t accept their gender assignment, they don’t tend to ask themselves why they do. If all that “gendering” were truly meaningless, were not something most people identify with and do, why would we call feminism a movement for women, rather than simply a movement for Those Oppressed By The Deluded Class In Power Calling Itself “Men” Which Doesn’t Actually Mean Anything Except They Made It Mean Something Because They Want Power?

    This strikes me as problematic; I guess through this thread I’ve realized how divisive the feminist movement has been even regarding the concept of gender itself.

    Here is what bothers me: if we wish to abolish oppression that has been justified over centuries by the defense of socially instilled gender differences/roles/rules, why is there so little criticism of the conceptualization of gender as a personality trait rather than an arbitrary, biological definition?

    Why is it considered legitimate, by feminists, to accept that gender is something other than biological? I’ve been under the impression that gender is not something that can be separated from a person’s body, as it is simply the definition of what chromosomes a person possesses, and what their reproductive system is capable of (or in our patriarchal society, a marker of the class that one belongs to…); that we are all human underneath, whether hetero/homo/bi/a/pan/hyper-sexual etc. And I was under the impression that gender doesn’t influence a person’s thinking in any way other than an artificial and socially instilled manner; and that we as feminists are attempting to eradicate institutionalized gender, and sexual, violence. How do you reconcile the two concepts?

    Changing the definition of gender into something other than a biological descriptor, into something innate in a person’s personality, does that not require buying into the concept of innate differences between the sexes?

    Obviously I cannot deny the emotions of individuals and their desires to undergo gender reassignment surgery, can’t judge people for what they choose to do with their body; that would be immensely hypocritical of me and I do understand that. And maybe it seems ironic of me to be posting this little disclaimer-sort-of-paragraph but I really want to stress that this isn’t an attack, I have nothing against trans people; it is the ideology that goes with the movement that I am trying to understand, and its almost universal adoption into feminist theory. I am struggling to understand how one can fight against gender roles while seemingly reinforcing them. It seems to me like gender reassignment surgery may be the most self-destructive embodiment of the patriarchy; that a man cannot have a personality that has traditionally “female” labeled traits without feeling that he must be a woman inside, that the gods have made some mistake. (I realize that must sound really offensive to someone who does identify as a woman trapped in a man’s body and vice versa…but please bear with me…) That a woman who identifies with men feels she must change herself, even physically modify her body to more resemble that of a male… embody “maleness”. What is feminine/masculine other than the social constructs that are native to this patriarchal society that we live in? And I believe that you cannot argue that the conceptualization of gender is not tainted by patriarchal values.

    I am intrigued by this topic and would love to hear more from you. I can only hope that my comment won’t be torn apart by its limbs. And I apologize in advance if my posting this in this thread seems tactless or if I have not made sense in any section of the above.

  98. drakyn
    drakyn November 27, 2007 at 7:03 pm |

    Bliss, there are lots of reasons why late-transitioning trans*women wait so long. A homophobic, cissexist, transphobic, sexist society. Thinking that they can “deal with it” and waiting and waiting until it is transition or die. Trying to “cure” themselves with a wife and kids (and then having dependents). Not knowing why or even having a name for their pain. Etc.
    Also, look at the requirements for transitioning from when those women were young. Out of thousands who applied to gender clinics, a couple dozen would get in for evaluation. Then they would have to prove to the doctors that they were feminine, interested in men (though celibate currently), hated their bodies, etc.
    Moreover, many doctors wouldn’t allow trans*women to transition unless they thought they’d pass as cissexual after hormones. And, of course, trans*women were more likely given hormones if the doctor thought they were hott.
    After medically transitioning, trans*women were told to move far away, get a completely new job (so as not to embarrass their employer), cut off all contact with friends and family, and continue with therapy. It’s no wonder that very few trans*people transitioned.
    There are theories about trans*ism (most of them are from cissexual, cisgendered people; not trans*people). Some trans*people have theories of their own. There are trans*communities (though no one community). Trans*people have political views. Trans* Politics are about getting gender identity and gender expression into anti-discrimination laws and the like; other than that, there is no Trans* Politics. Trans*ism is most definitely not an ideology.
    Transgender Day of Remembrance is about remembering, respecting, and mourning for our dead. If politics enter into it then it telling cis*folks how we are dying; how we won’t stand for it; how we are people too and deserve your respect. How WE are the only ones that can tell you our truths; we are the experts on trans*ism.

  99. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 7:14 pm |

    little light said it way better than i was going to, i had a third consecutive post in the works and feministe froze up on me again. i see Renee has re-entered the building. it kind of says something that on the subject of R alone, I actually found myself more sympathetic toward Heart for once, at one point, based on what I saw and experienced of R’s behavior. it’s just too bad Heart, as always, took precisely the wrong lesson from that little encounter.

    anyway, the post:

    Or, here, here, you want to know my theory? Here is my theory, by me:

    In a patriarchy, or whatever the fuck you want to call it, “Agnes” will do as far as I’m concerned at this point, men hold hegemony over women. Heterosexuality, at least in -this- patriarchy, is the norm and has been rigidly enforced, as have rigid gender roles.

    What this means in practice is: women with nothing else striking against them have been oppressed, sure. Kept in their place. But at least we, or some of us HAVE a place. We can be killed or raped or brutalizing for getting -out- of it. But as a “class,” if you -insist- (i hate that bullshit but never mind), we still -have- a place.

    Queer folk do not. Sexual and gender “deviants” do not. And particularly, in -this- culture, at least pitting the heavy weight of tradition against a few glimmers of enlightenment, people who “cross” from one sex to the other OR reside somewhere in between or -both,- really, hardcore violent bigots don’t -make- these fine distinctions, trust me– people who put the lie in -any- way to the firm belief that men are men and women are women and that’s the way it is world without end, are -not supposed to exist at all.-

    Understand? THAT’S why the murders of people like Brandon Teena or any -number- of transwomen are so fucking over the top. It’s NOT just about “oh men hate women,” as Heart would like to insist. It’s that men AND WOMEN, yes! even some supposed radical feminists! would like for these people to -simply not exist.- For different reasons, perhaps, and they enforce it in different ways. No, Heart’s not a murderer. She just, what, supports Vancouver Rape Relief refusing to let a transwoman volunteer for them, dragging it all the way to court, all because it’s SO fucking important that -a transwoman is not a woman, not really,- that time and money and energy are totally worth spending to make sure that it’s -that- much harder for transfolk to find -anywhere- for help.

    After the “patriarchs” have beaten them and raped them and effectively forced them into prostitution, the MEN, yes, it’s all their fault.

    and then come some dainty little women excuse me i mean radical feminists who -only- say, so sorry, no room at the inn for you.

    and then people finally complain about it, and then, the polite puzzlement and “well yes that’s not nice but here’s what -I’m- interested in…”

    well, I’m sorry, and if I’m out of line Lisa or whomever can tell me and I’ll shut up, I can see a lot of actual transfolk are being really polite and considerate and kind and patient and maybe that’s for the best and I hope I’m not fucking that up if that’s what needs to happen, but personally I am thinking: GRAAAAAAHGGGHHHHHH.

  100. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 27, 2007 at 7:15 pm |

    And to add to what drakyn said about transitioning late in life, imagine how difficult to gain access to such a medical procedure is now, and then imagine how difficult it must have been 30 years ago. Why punish people for the sins of the medical establishment of past generations?

  101. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 7:24 pm |

    Alicepaul,

    My apologies – usually when I see that question, it’s a preface to denying my reality.

    Vicsin,

    I think that some of the questions here that are getting jumped on are legit questions, and I thank them for being asked and answered honestly without hostility.

    My answers are honest without hostility. I disagree with answering trans 101 questions on a thread like this, so I don’t. My refusal to answer isn’t hostile. I’m setting a boundary for myself. I’ve seen trans 101 overtake and end interesting conversations elsewhere, as the topic shifts from stuff that I would much prefer to discuss to going back to the basics, and the basics are always a request for trans people to justify or simpyl explain our existence.

    There should be a time and a place to ask questions, and I’m not against education as long as the person who asks the questions isn’t just looking for ways to refute my sense of self.

    But a refusal to answer these questions isn’t hostility, and it’s not dishonesty.

    CBrachyrhynchos,

    It’s not so much a matter of kind as a matter of degree. I mean, anyone who doesn’t present as a heteronormative man or woman is subject to some social scrutiny, but as you get further and further from that “norm,” the scrutiny becomes harsher and more hostile. Yes, I do know cis women who have been challenged for being in the women’s restroom way more often than I have, but I doubt they’ve had nearly as many people demanding to know what my genitalia look like or that I divulge elements of my private medical history.

    Seriously, what little light said.

  102. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 7:36 pm |

    Vanessa: google Rainsong + Michfest and you might get an answer to that question. Then again, you might not. Not one in Earth logic anyway. It…yeah. I’m -this- close to being what I think would be inappropriate despite all the inappropriateness R/etc herself have taken, and yeah, with me as well, I don’t appreciate being manipulated, it’s got feckall to do with what flavor of feminist i am–but, i suppose. There’s not much point really. Just: well. The transfolk in the house can speak to this better I’m sure, but I’ve never heard anyone -else- make that particular distinction.

    I do have some analogies for that sort of thing, but that also would be…yeah. save it, I guess.

    and let me just add that while R is responsible for her own behavior, the strange mental contortions she goes through and tries to put other people through in order to make reality fit ideology and a rejecting community…yeah, I think Heart and people like her have at least contributed to that.

  103. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 27, 2007 at 7:39 pm |

    Oh, asdf. Where to begin.

    I seriously suggest you do as Jill said and google “trans 101.”

  104. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 7:40 pm |

    that’s great, Nomie.

  105. Trin
    Trin November 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm |

    belle ftw. think about *how* these people are killed. it’s mutilation. it’s erasure: your body is so horrible I will make it a mass of blood and pulp, as if it had never been shaped as I wish it had not.

    That erasure has nothing to do with how gender is made, where gender “really” comes from, how social it is. Are these murderers killing because gender and bodies are connected? Are they writing up academic papers in their fucking heads? Will there be bloodstains on the printouts?

    I don’t think I “feel like a woman” either, but guess what: whether I do or don’t is NOT THE TOPIC TODAY MY FRIENDS. i can think about that whenever I goddamn well please. why here? why *now*?

  106. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 7:52 pm |

    women excuse me i mean radical feminists who -only- say, so sorry, no room at the inn for you.

    i should add: women, and often with the gallant assistance of a few good men. oh, i don’t mean the obvious ones here: the rapists and torturers and murderers and rightwing preachers and politicians. i mean the supposed allies, the ‘male radical feminists’, not to mention, elsewhere, some nice cleancut gay boys who just can’t understand what -those- people have to do with -their- rights, which are so totally overdue in coming.

    yeah. everywhere you go, mongoville. i dunno. i hate people right now.

  107. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 8:46 pm |

    but personally I am thinking: GRAAAAAAHGGGHHHHHH.

    Me too, actually.

  108. drakyn
    drakyn November 27, 2007 at 8:59 pm |

    I am not an ideology, a political view, a theory, a mutilation, a “most self-destructive embodiment of the patriarchy”, etc.
    That sort of thinking is the same sort of bigoted thinking that causes people to see me and my brothers, sisters, and siblings in trans* experiences as less-than human. People are dead because most people cannot see us as more than objects of ridicule and curiosity. Because society-at-large sees no problem in making us justify our mere existence. Society, even feminists, see no problem with assuming that the stereotypes given by sexist, cissexist, transphobic, patriarchal journalist and publishing industries are true.

    You want to know why so many of us medically, legally, and socially transition?
    Fine, I’ll tell you.
    Because we don’t want to commit suicide. Because our bodies (not, btw, our supposed femininity or masculinity) do not fit with what our brains expect. Because living a lie, pretending even for those you love and cherish the most, is a most poignant torture. Because disassociating from your emotions and the whole gorram world when your body becomes even less androgynous during puberty is fucking hell on your soul and mind.
    Theory, ideology, politics…fuck no.

  109. Mandolin
    Mandolin November 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm |

    Holly, reading what you write is *always* a pleasure. I always feel like I learn so much from your comments — whatever subject you’re writing on — but your comments here are absolutely fantastic, and completely appreciated.

  110. Em
    Em November 27, 2007 at 9:10 pm |

    [women] still -have- a place. Queer folk do not.

    And let me tell you how not fun it is to spend significant amounts of brain energy trying to figure out if I exist.

  111. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 9:15 pm |

    “is this really the place for you to be coming in and denigrating late-transitioners and pushing your little wedge issue about how some people who transition as kids might be ideologically acceptable, but older transitioners are dangerous, suspect colonizers? Is this really the time? Because you swanning in here to throw out your classic lines about the bad, bad middle-aged MTFs in a conversation about desecration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance is really stepping across a line, and that line isn’t “sensitivity.”

    I’ve never said that late transistioners “are dangerous”, it’s my position that late transistioners are epsitemologically men. I need to heal from the absuse of men and there’s no way to do it with midle aged men.

    I do not know why so much attention is given to violence towards trans when there is so much MORE violence to women that we say “that must be OK.”.

    I do think I bring up valid issues and they are silenced and the reason that they are silenced is that there is no susbstance to the majority of trans ideology. When criticized, the only reponses trans advocates can make is, Silencing, labeling one a bigot, prejudiced and transphobic or personal attacks. Anything but actual discourse.

    I think that “wedge issue” is needed because the trans movement feels fully justified in filling women’s spaces with middle aged husbands. Now then, if I am so twisted and crazy let’s have a discussion and it will or show. I don’t think that will ever happen because, of the fear of exposure that trans ideology really doesn’t have any susbstance.

    But… I fully believe that there could a radical feminist account of young people…not old but younf and I can state why. I do not expect to have the opprotunity. I will say this, I don’t think it’s a little issue to fill women’s spaces with middle aged men. But I am glad to see you acknowledge it as an issue because it very real.

  112. Em
    Em November 27, 2007 at 9:20 pm |

    asdf, against my better judgement, I am willing to engage you further–off thread. If you are sincere, you can contact me here.

  113. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 9:26 pm |

    “Heart is a radical feminist”

    Heart is NOT a radical feminist. The radical feminist position is, “Essentialism and feminism cannot occupy the same space.”

    And

    Differences is the velvet glove hiding the iron fist of domination.”

    Heart doesn’t believe these things. Heart is an essentialist pure and simple and that is not radical feminism.

    Many times heart has proclaimed, “you can stand in a garage and call yourself a car, but that doesn’t make you one.”

    What heart is preaching is seen as the very basic justification of the oppression of women in radical feminist analyses. Has anyone every noticed that MacKinnon does not even mention Mary Daly? She doesn’t mention Mary Daly anywhere. Why? Because Mary Daly is an esentialist. If i am not believed, I have the original papers and writing of the 1968 feminists who first used and formulated Radical feminism. MacKinnon is consistent with the first writers. Daly and heart are not and they are at variance at the place where radical feminism fundamentally departs from all other forms of feminism.

  114. RachelPhilPa
    RachelPhilPa November 27, 2007 at 9:41 pm |

    belledamme @93, little light @ 98, and Jill @ 103: Bless your hearts.

    Every time we have a thread about trans people getting MURDERED, a bunch of people have to come onto the thread with their “justify yourself to me”-barely-disguised-as-questions, or throwing out random “theories” with big words like “ontological”, erasing us all. The thread gets hijacked, and another trans person gets murdered, raped, beaten, fired from hir job, or forced to prostitute just to survive. And most especially, poor trans women of color, who bear the brunt of the violence. My white middle-class trans ass has been chased down the street a few times, but I haven’t been run over four times with a car.

    I live in Philadelphia, and I knew Erica Keel personally. She came to the same social safe-space that I did. She did not deserve the hardships that she had – when she broke her ankle, she just limped, because she could not get medical care, b/c society just doesn’t care about poor black trans women. And it really, really hurts when people like bliss come on and turn our lives into so-called theory, and asdf wants me to justify my transition to her cuz after all I wear nail polish so I’m Teh Evil, and CBrachyrhynchos tells us that we have to justify discussing trans oppression b/c why are we ignoring cis-but-gender-variant people like him even though this blog and other feminist blogs discuss ALL gender-based and gender-norm-based oppression … it really hurts because Erica Keel and Gwen Araujo and Brandon Teena, and hundreds, thousands like them are FUCKING DEAD and you want to deny their, and our, humanity.

  115. little light
    little light November 27, 2007 at 9:47 pm |

    Well, at least we have a reminder of why having a Day of Remembrance is so important: because one day out of the year, a day most people on the planet don’t even acknowledge, is too much attention given to the violence inflicted on human beings–including women–who are trans. And any attention given to those real, bigotry-inspired murders, rapes, and assaults is undeserved attention taken away from real people–and only about trying to jockey for attention and “win” oppression. Any attempt to discuss the cultural and ideological underpinnings of that violent bigotry is “substanceless” and comes with a sinister, biased agenda.

    For those of you I was a little hard on who’re new to all this and asking honest questions: please note this dynamic. Please remember it. And, if you’re feeling charitable, please keep it in mind when many of us get angry and frustrated in these sorts of conversations. This is something most of us deal with daily. Add to that that most of us, I venture, know someone victimized by transphobic or homophobic violence or have been victims of it ourselves, and you can see why we get, in all honesty, exhausted.

    Please, then, join us in looking after the memories of those we’ve lost, and the futures of those we haven’t. I swear to you, we welcome anyone we can get, brittle nerves notwithstanding.

  116. little light
    little light November 27, 2007 at 10:09 pm |

    asdf (emphasis mine):

    .even if my opinions on the matter do end up being wrong, please do not kill me for expressing them.

    I am intrigued by this topic and would love to hear more from you. I can only hope that my comment won’t be torn apart by its limbs.

    asdf, please remember the topic of this conversation. We are talking about actual brutal murders and assaults on people who were literally killed and torn apart. The fact that you are characterizing criticism or argument, however harsh, with this language–in effect, equating your feeling of having your opinions beset verbally with actual killing and maiming–is extraordinarily trivializing in regard to the dead people in question here, extraordinarily insensitive, and disrespectful in the extreme.

    We are talking about the victims of violent crime. There are people in this conversation who have personally lost real people they knew to anti-trans violence. Lost, as in dead. Deceased. Gone. As in actual people not criticized, not shouted at, not argued with, but murdered, often in the most painful ways you can imagine. You’re not being “attacked”–“attacked” was when I was thrown down by a group of young men and beaten with hockey sticks. You’re not being “beaten down”–but the teenage girl on the Day of Remembrance rolls beaten to death over the course of two to four hours by a gang with a shovel, a brick, soup cans and their bare hands before being dumped in a shallow grave was.
    You may find this an “intriguing topic” or a fascinating intellectual exercise to casually bat around. For us, these are our real flesh-and-blood lives and these are real threats and real losses. I will thank you to watch your wording from here on in.

  117. B. Dagger Lee
    B. Dagger Lee November 27, 2007 at 10:14 pm |

    Jill: Well if your response wasn’t grace in action, I don’t know what is! I’m an admirer of you and the other posters here, and I’ve learned a lot following the discussions over the past year or so.–BDL

    (I can’t tell if my PC is messed up, or I’m double-triple-posting, but I’ll try again and please delete double posts.)

  118. asdf
    asdf November 27, 2007 at 10:18 pm |

    OK…

    I apologize for my wording. It was completely innocuous and stupid of me to use such phrasing. I do realize it’s a sensitive topic and hate-crimes of any kind are HIDEOUS and it sickens me that transgendered people are so often at the receiving end of hatred and violence. :| Right after I submitted my post I realized… this is likely not a good time or place to be discussing gender theory; this thread should stick to mourning the loss of lives to barbaric stupidity. I’ll take my questions elsewhere.

    ~asdf

  119. asdf
    asdf November 27, 2007 at 10:20 pm |

    er.. not innocuous: unintended. did not have brain screwed in right at the time. *head. desk.*

  120. little light
    little light November 27, 2007 at 10:22 pm |

    I appreciate your apology, asdf. There are places for those sorts of questions; I know I’ve hosted 101-style conversations at my own blog, and piny’s done many of them here at Feministe. I’d be happy to direct you to them some time.

  121. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos November 27, 2007 at 10:26 pm |

    My apologies to everyone for contributing to the noise.

  122. Holly
    Holly November 27, 2007 at 10:42 pm |

    I am putting up another topic now (it might take a few hours) which is intended for trans 101 type discussions. I’d appreciate anyone chiming in who still has questions (asdf) or wants to discuss “foundational” stuff about how trans stuff is conceived of, and definitely anyone who wants to help answer such questions, bring their own experiences to bear, etc. Stay tuned.

  123. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 10:46 pm |

    “Every time we have a thread about trans people getting MURDERED, a bunch of people have to come onto the thread with their “justify yourself to me”-barely-disguised-as-questions, or throwing out random “theories” with big words like “ontological”, erasing us all. ”

    This is not what I’ve been saying. I think people with an identity of “trans” have bought into myths of contructed gender. In other words, they have bought into a set myths that hurts them by othering them from women as well as adding to the oppression of women. When I say Trans is not Ontological, I am saying that “trans” is a construct, far over blowing the significance of sex. They define themselve along those lines making themselves appaer to be different. It’s destructive to them.

    Patriarchy makes sex signficant because it delineates who has power and doesn’t. That’s what makes it so important. People routinely have their tonsils out and people do not label themselves tonsil people and affiliate with other people because they have had their tonsils out. BUT, because sex is made so signficant in patriarchy, trans has bought into the fundamental sigficances that patriarchy grants to sex.

    The fundamental underpinnings of trans ideology is backwards and patriarchal. It’s like a chinese finger cuff, instead of making things better they have made things worse for themselves, thinking they are making things better for themselves. What I am saying is that the original trans thinking, not having the benefits of feminist consciousness rasing has bought right into patriarchy.

    Basically the trans understanding of itself is not feminist informed, it’s male informed. I haven’t asked anyone to justify their transistion (unless you happen to be a middle aged husband). It doesn’t need to be justified. What is silly, is the trans identity. It is fully based in patriarchy.

    It was asked earlier what mackinnon has said about trans. I think if anyone really read MacKinnon, they would be absolutly amazed. MacKinnons only reservation has been with “social consistution”. People who live adult lives as men become constituted as men.

    Jill, there is one way to shut me up which is to not shut me up. I would be happy to teach real radical feminism right from the original writings and I think you would be pleasantly shocked. It’s very clear that social constructivist radical feminism is not at all the villan that people think it is and I can demonstrate conclusively at the same time that what heart is saying is not radical feminism. She is driving her truck without a steering wheel.

    Why not start a thread on social constructivism and people who were assigned to the wrong class?

  124. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 10:50 pm |

    Jill: don’t take the bait. Seriously. Bad bad bad news.

  125. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 10:54 pm |

    Okay, preface to the preface: While I wrote this, little light posted her response to asdf and both asdf and CBrachyrhynchos apologized. However, I still want to say this because I’m still angry, and because this happens way too often.

    I just want everyone to know I did see the apologies.

    I’ve tried to start this post several times, since I only just saw asdf’s more recent post – it was approved after the thread had moved past that point.

    I’m tired, honestly tired, of this dynamic, and I’m new to the blogosphere. Before I started posting and started my own blog, I read multiple feminist blogs. I read the multiple explosions about trans people, the multiple occasions in which the topics of transsexuality, transgenderism come up, and when people begin to question the validity of our gender, the validity of our personhood, constantly try to reduce us to political tokens to represent or stand against some pet cause. I’ve
    seen cis people crash into relatively benign threads discussing some really interesting stuff about gender, and drag the thread down to “but but but why would you transition in the first place?” Over and over and over again, this pattern plays itself out. Apparently, just about everyone has an opinion on trans people that is somehow not informed by what trans people say about ourselves, which includes “That question isn’t appropriate here.”

    For those of us who are transsexual men and women, our transsexual history is our medical history. It’s not a political statement, it’s not up for debate. Yes, I’m sure we are endlessly fascinating because we have a sense that our bodies should be male or female which is somehow completely unlike most other people in the world, who apparently lack a sense of themselves being male or female.

    And that this discussion has to be dragged through this topic. Trans people are subjected to horrifying amounts of bigotry and hatred in society. It is perfectly fine for Jimmy Kimmel to joke about murdering a trans woman with an axe on nationwide television because we’re seen as disposable. In jurisdictions without hate crime legislation, a man can murder a trans person and appeal that “I just did what any reasonable person would do when confronted with a woman who used to be a man.”

    I don’t care what anyone thinks SRS does to reinforce the goddamned patriarchy, I care that SRS is so expensive that many trans women can’t even afford to get it, that it’s not covered by medicade or insurance, even though it’s incredibly cheap compared to some other covered conditions. I care that without surgery, we can be outed by our ID in some states – and that will be every state when the real ID act goes into effect. I care that without surgery, even with ID that has the proper sex on it, social security will out us with a no match notice because their records have a different sex.

    It is impossible for me to care less about some rarefied feminist theory about gender that says my very existence is oppressive to women when my reality is that trans people are brutally murdered just for existing. I would burn every copy of The Transsexual Empire and Pantomime Dames if it meant that the employment rate for trans people were equal to the employment rate for the general population, that we wouldn’t get murdered just for being trans.

    Jill started this thread because she saw my post about Heart complaining that trans people – with our day of remembrance – spend too much attention on our own who are murdered. She does this less than a week before the “16 days of activism against violence against women.” She started this thread because I was angry, because she saw a post I had made because I was angry, because I saw a post that Drakyn had made because he was angry.

    And what do we get? People asking how it’s possible to feel like a man or a woman? People who want to know why it’s okay for us to seek SRS? People who feel that getting interrogated about being in a restroom is on equal terms to getting stabbed 60 times and then having the press plaster a name you haven’t gone by in over a decade across multiple newspapers?

    Do you walk into funerals and ask the bereaved what brand of underwear the deceased wore? Because that’s what I’m feeling like here.

    There’s a time and a place, this is neither. There’s all kinds of resources on the web describing transition and the motivations of same, how many trans people experience gender. It’s all out there, go look it up.

    Holly, thank you.

  126. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 11:04 pm |

    No. I don’t think so Bell. I have been fighting an ideology and an epistemology. I think I could go a long way to untangle some things. The trouble is that trans has attempted to make things that are not simple into something simple and patriarchal.

    Why cast what I say as bait? Either I can support what I say or I can’t. That should be really clear.

    I think you are very afraid to hear what I would say. I think you think I hate trans people. What I hate is the male definitions that they have incorporated that actually keep them bound up.

    heart doesn’t like what I have to say. But I never, ever deviate from social constructivist Radical feminism. I know that very few people understand it.

    Is this not a feminist forum? What is the fear of actual radical femininism? I would not quote Daly, Jeffreys or Raymond because they are essentialists. You’ve already seen what I’ve said about Raymond and I can say more that questions her content, not her. In todays feminism there is way too much in the way of personal attacks when there is no substantive objection. So hear me out. I promise I will be able to support what I say.

    One other thing. Anytime heart has engaged me in honest debate and I hate debate because it is about dominance, heart has always come out embarassed. While heart has always laid down the law and told women what our experiences are, when I really talk and am not silenced is that women chime in and say, “yeah, I’ve experienced that.”

  127. Bliss
    Bliss November 27, 2007 at 11:10 pm |

    “when people begin to question the validity of our gender, the validity of our personhood, constantly try to reduce us to political tokens to represent or stand against some pet cause. ”

    I haven’t question the validity of your gender. I have questioned the validity of gender [period]. Gender needs to be understood as a structure which oppresses women not as a life preserver for trans. That is the trouble with trans ideology… it is seen as being about gender, but gender is a social construct. Gender is not a noun, it’s a verb. It’s a process that people do to other people.

    What would I say about your gender (as you use the word).

    People behave……….

    no more needs to be said about it.

  128. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney November 27, 2007 at 11:22 pm |

    “She started this thread because I was angry, ”

    “She started this thread because she was angry”

  129. belledame222
    belledame222 November 27, 2007 at 11:35 pm |

    YAY, Jill!

  130. little light
    little light November 28, 2007 at 12:11 am |

    Jill, thank you. This kind of solidarity is all too rare. I’m going to go take some deep breaths and go make dinner, I think.

    As to others: if you cannot respect a place of mourning and a moment set aside for the victimized dead, if you find yourself utterly unable to refrain from denigrating the fallen even when a gracious host has given you room to set things down and step back with dignity…consider that it is not fear and awe and ignorance that others are responding with, and that it may not even be your arguments those people are responding to.
    You have made your choices and declared your allegiances long since. You have said your piece. In the spirit of not marring the memory of the dead on this occasion, please, for once, please just in this place and this moment let it go and consider your work done here.

  131. Bliss
    Bliss November 28, 2007 at 1:05 am |

    “and that it may not even be your arguments those people are responding to.”

    Of course they are not responding to my arguments. I do not believe the trans movement can, therefore, since I am questioning a dominant paradigm and it has no actual defenses for the questions I ask I must be silenced. There is no dignity in being silenced and certainly it’s not something I particularly desire. I’d almost prefer that Jill see me as incredibly stupid. It doesn’t make any difference whether I am stupid or not. I am silenced. The sad thing is that actual radical feminism is not your enemy in fact I believe it could add a lot in many dimension. Because people like heart have appropriated the label and used that, they have inflicted extensive damage on radical feminism while being not the least bit radical.

    It’s true, Jill has been gracious and I recognize that. However, “my piece” is not simple. In the 1400’s the dominant paradign was that the world was flat and it was also heresy to say that the universe did not revolve around the Earth. Among liberals, it has become heresy to question trans, not the people, but a very male based ideology. I do not want to pretend that I have been allowed to say much at all. My work isn’t done here. Although I recognize this is a moment for the loss of people to which you feel a connection.

    I am sorry you hurt and I will leave this thread, knowing my questions have not been asked.

  132. Feministe » What trans means to me
    Feministe » What trans means to me November 28, 2007 at 1:11 am |

    […] has had them before but still, every time a contentious post is made about trans issues (like Jill’s recent post) the same basic issues are brought up: why are people trans? How do we approach trans stuff as […]

  133. Lorelei
    Lorelei November 28, 2007 at 4:47 am |

    oh, bliss, poor fucking you, with people telling you to shut the fuck up on a post about DEAD PEOPLE.

    CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE DEAD NOW?

    go make your own freaking blog telling them trannies just what you think about them as if it matters to them, and let us mourn the dead.

    christ almighty. i think i need a tissue for your great distress.

    @@

  134. Doug Hudson
    Doug Hudson November 28, 2007 at 2:11 pm |

    Is it my imagination, or are Bliss’ comments a subtle form of blaming the victim? Transfolk are contributing to their fate by conforming with society’s definition of gender? What a bizarre argument–the whole problem trans face is that they can’t (by definition) conform.

    While there is an interesting discussion to be had about gender as a social construct vs gender having biological underpinnings, said discussion is largely irrelevant to trans, who are far too busy simply trying to survive. Only once a certain level of protection and acceptance has been established will they have the luxury of philosophy. Perhaps there is a whiff of privilege in certain posts?

  135. INotI
    INotI November 28, 2007 at 5:42 pm |

    Behind all the big words, Bliss’ argument comes down to the exact same thing asdf’s first comment was about; that trans reinforces the gender binary. Beyond all the ontological blather, Bliss’ entire argument can be simply stated as “The idea of gender is destructive and patriarchical; trans accepts the idea of gender; therefore trans is destructive and patriarchical”

    What you’re just not getting is that the people in here, talking about others who were murdered for being themselves, aren’t interested in whether they are right or wrong. THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE. Even if they agreed with you about trans ideology in the abstract, THEY STILL ARE WHAT THEY ARE and would continue to be so, and would continue to be in danger from assholes and bigots every day. Whether your so-called “trans ideology” is right or wrong, destructive or beneficial, patriarchical or feminist, does not and will change the fact that trans people exist.

  136. Shayne Carmichael
    Shayne Carmichael November 29, 2007 at 1:19 am |

    I’m still trying to get over the “the only reason I’m a woman is because of all the ‘bad experiences’ women share. Obviously, as a trans, you couldn’t have suffered them cuz like you were a man and obviously of the privileged class.

    Uh…jeez, please do NOT identify me only by my genitals and experiences. That’s a really narrow view of gender. It really is. I may not be transgendered, but damn, even I know one’s own sense of self is dictated by far more than genitalia and life experience.

    I think it more saddens me that there are people out there who believe only they can be women because they’ve been oppressed by the male privilege. I don’t, and never ever will, define myself by that shit. I want these people off my side already.

  137. drakyn
    drakyn November 29, 2007 at 2:42 am |

    Listen, I realize this is something most people are rather ignorant on, but can we leave trans-as-a-noun at the door?
    We’re trans*people, trans*women, trans*men, etc; not trans, a transgender, etc.
    And Bliss is a well-known troll going by yet another name–just ignore her stupidity and she’ll rot under her bridge.

  138. Nomie
    Nomie November 29, 2007 at 3:37 pm |

    What is silly, is the trans identity.

    That is incredibly rude.

  139. praenomenal
    praenomenal November 29, 2007 at 7:28 pm |

    I actually went to my first TDOR last week. I saw LittleLight read her piece and at the time did not know about any of this. I have run into similar entanglements on a community over in LJ so much so that I started a new online identity and it is only recently that I have started looking at the blogosphere more completely.

    For what it is worth, thank you for posting this, and thank you everyone involved.

  140. Harassment Log, Part 1 of a Gazillion « Galling Galla

    […] not linking to that hateful article by that transphobic woman). Jill at Feministe was furious, and took Heart severely to task. Lots of people commented. It didn’t take too long for the radfem transphobes to start in on […]

  141. little light
    little light December 1, 2007 at 2:53 pm |

    Yo, praenomenal, drop me a line? I’d love to connect and talk some about that night and this mess, and I have no idea who you are.
    Address on my profile, yeah?

  142. anon
    anon August 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm |

    forced justification blows.

  143. Transphobic Words and Deeds « Questioning Transphobia

    […] is what happens when conversations about issues surrounding disability, race, trans people, and other oppressed classes of people start: Privileged people walk in and demand to make the […]

  144. Feministe Transgender Privilege | Cast Iron Cookware

    […] Feministe Transgender Privilege Posted by root 12 hours ago (http://www.feministe.us) And to add insult to injury heart posted her comment on transgender day of remembrance especially sexual violence and because women are socially cast as victims not one in earth logic anyway it yeah i 39 m this close to being what i think would be powered Discuss  |  Bury |  News | feministe transgender privilege […]

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