Ad hominems, etc.

I wrote this in a thread on Questioning Transphobia, to Voz, whom you all may have seen in comments:

Well, yes, but…look, you’re an asshole. I agreed with a lot of the things you were saying about transmisogyny and exclusion, and still do, but you’re an asshole.

You have one interactive setting, and it’s “ballistic.” There are reasonable arguments in favor of the ball-peen approach. Unfortunately, you also have this utter disinterest in context, collateral damage, or applying the same high standards to yourself. You say ignorant and hurtful things pretty routinely, and you don’t care.

You’ve driven a bunch of people away from the “larger NOWHC discussion” by spearheading it. You aren’t a good organizer or activist, online or offline. You make enemies, not friends. And it’s not because of your politics.

During this last discussion, I kept my feelings to myself because I didn’t want to get your back up and because I feel like a fucking heather right now. But you brought a lot of dysfunction, and it didn’t help anyone, and I don’t want to see it continue in anyone’s name.

And Voz wrote this response on her livejournal:

I have to say that this is one of the more interesting tone arguments flying around the Internet lately. And somehow, a White, non trans female woman telling a twoc that she is “too angry” is not without it’s own “dysfunction,” and certainly is not paying attention to “context” in a positive way.

As far as not helping anyone, for the first time trans women are putting together a project that centers our voices. Is publicly calling me an “asshole,” telling me what my intentions and feeling are, insinuating that I am dysfucntional, declaring what you would like to see and not see in trans female activism, and totally ignoring the larger body of what I write, and the friends I have made really an improvement?

I do not agree, and we are busy doing something. Sorry if our trans female speakout does not meet with your non trans female approval.

Which, whatever, I’ve said my bit.

But then! Someone in comments asked about my history, and Voz said this:

Piny was a wannabe FtM

Piny had an aborted transition from female to male, but was disappointed in the results, specifically her “hazelnut” sized micropenis, big breasts, and poor development which she openly described on the blog Feministe. The post is all gone now, and likely has been deleted to protect the, um, hilariously petulant.

Basically, Piny was just a trendsexual, as opposed to trans, and couldn’t cut the mustard as a man. While detransition and the freedom to experiment with one’s own body are important topics, and people deserve the freedom to explore transness without censure, Piny crosses the line continually by using her dabbling with T as an excuse to insinuate herself in all things trans as a self appointed ambassador.

The arrogance and presumptuousness you see here is the end result.

This isn’t true.

The part about how I’m not really a transsexual is absolutely true, as is the part about how detransition and bodily autonomy are important topics (which is why we should refer to those people as wannabes and trendsexuals), but these things she’s saying about me? She’s lying.

I thought at first that she’d made it up out of whole cloth, but I did find the post she apparently got all this from. It has “hazelnut” and “large breasts.” It’s still up on Feministe. Here’s the relevant passage:

You know my gynecologist felt compelled to console me over the fact that my clit is always gonna be as, ahem, easy to find as it is now? Somehow, being a little better-hung than the other ladies isn’t quite as uncomplicated a physical asset as, say, having large breasts. In fact, having a hazelnut instead of a pine nut is potentially repulsive. I’ll need to very carefully prepare my partners for the sight of my gargantuan hot button. (”It’s not a toomah!”) But no. No traditional conflict over the vag in this society, no sir!

I wrote this five months after I stopped transition. The post is me roasting some assertions about female sexuality in patriarchy. The example I use is my clit. When I transitioned back, my gynecologist made sure I understood that clitoromegaly was irreversible, as though it were sad news. A massive clit is not as pleasing as a hefty rack. When I had the latter, nobody ever offered condolences. I’ve never seen anyone recoil from its shiny pink alien head, but it’s still a noticeable change. It wasn’t a post complaining about being a man with a small penis and large breasts. It was a post complaining about being a woman with a large clit and small breasts. And it was a joke.

Voz is a smart woman. She can read. It’s also not true that the post has been taken down. I found it by tapping “hazelnut” into our search tab. (It’s the second result.) I have never deleted any re-transition post. So I think that was another lie, told to keep people from looking at my writing for themselves.

Here is a recent post detailing my appearance, about two and a half years after stopping testosterone:

These are the residual physical effects of transition, more than two years post-testosterone and nearly three years post-op. I grew extra extra hair, some of which read masculine rather than hairy. I removed that hair, and left the rest alone. The hair on my head did not thin, but my hairline adjusted a little bit. This is not noticeable to anybody but me. My voice deepened, and now sounds remarkably deep and husky for a woman’s voice. While I am frequently mistaken for a man on the phone, and told often that my voice is very low, I am not self-conscious about speaking. I am still muscular, but not in any striking way. I don’t seem unusually built for a woman. I have clitoromegaly. My breasts went from large to medium to small. I have small light liposuction scars under my armpits and at the base of my cleavage. I also have a little bit of convex liposuction scarring. When my nipples are erect, there’s a slight shaving of the curve around the nipple. Most of the time, it’s shallow enough to be completely invisible.

Here is the first re-transition post I ever wrote, about three months after stopping testosterone:

I took testosterone for a little more than two and a half years. It masculinized the hell outta me. I got muscles and hair all over the place, my face squared off, my body fat drew itself onto my belly, and my voice dropped into a male range. I stopped being allowed in the women’s room–in a city that might have the highest butch-saturation levels on the planet–more than two years ago. I passed completely and continue to pass. I’ve been ma’amed a few times since stopping–especially on a vacation I’ll have to write about–but otherwise it’s been all boy all the time.

I also had chest surgery, that is, liposuction which my surgeon described as “aggressive” to masculinize my chest. I had a male chest for several months. Now I have really small breasts and softening pecs. It’s anyone’s guess as to what my chest will look like down the road.

Right now I am feminizing, at a pace that is as reassuring as it is unsettling. My face has softened. My skin has softened. My muscles are shrinking and going soft, and my body fat is being redistributed. I’m “smaller”–I don’t have the same visual mass in my back or shoulders. My hair is growing out (this makes no difference; it looks like the coif-child of Patrick Bateman and Phil Spector, and will for some time). My face is temporarily hairless, although that’s the result of laser hair removal (extremely painful, extremely patriarchal) rather than estrogen. All of that will continue. Passing as male is already becoming more a matter of presentation and preconception and less a matter of my body.

I did not transition back because I was disappointed with my “poor development.” (Like “fully-transitioned” and “real woman,” “poor development” is understood. It means that the hormones did not make me a man but a nothing. Failure to thrive under cis standards. Nasty little piece of wordplay.) I didn’t stop because I made a poor man. I stopped because I wasn’t one. That’s not entirely beside the point. My ability to pass as a man became more important to everyone, including my doctors, than my sense of self or my sanity. I don’t know if it would have changed anything, let alone for the better. I’m confident that I would have received more scrutiny if I hadn’t been so talented at turning into a dude.

It was important when I was changing back, too. The actual posts lay this out in some detail. I didn’t dabble. I arrived. I was convinced that I would never look like a woman again. A lot of people around me, including a therapist who had overseen transitions for three decades, thought I would have a difficult journey back. They couldn’t imagine me as anything else. I was told that I would need implants, along with a hundred other large and small exogenous changes to ease my body back into girlhood.

I hate saying all of this. It’s like when you complain about fat-bashing, and they come back with, Well, you’re just an obese slob, and you wonder whether revealing your weight destroys their credibility or yours. If I had been fixated on passing, if I had those pillowy breasts or that micropenis, if I had changed back because I could not pass, and if my feelings about the whole affair could be summed up with “petulant,” I would deserve more respect than this.

But again, none of this is true.

I think Voz is lying about what I said in order to give a cruelly inaccurate impression of me. Not just to ridicule me to her audience, but also to needle me with a nasty description of my body. The emasculate cock, the gropeable tits, the histrionic climax to the farce of a sex change, the hasty retreat from failure. This is tranny-baiting. Not man enough, not woman really, you stupid cunt. If someone did this to Voz–ridiculed her body for failing to meet cis standards, projected all of that disgust into her, and then ridiculed her for shame and self-hatred–she would be furious, and she would be right.

When I called Voz an asshole, I was not making a tone argument. I was talking about this, because I am not the first person to become fair game. These are not angry things to say. They’re vile. She’s not angry. She’s dishonest, manipulative, petty, and ugly-minded. She’s an asshole.

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200 Responses

  1. Medea
    Medea July 11, 2009 at 10:21 am |

    Reading a personal attack is painful, but this is warranted. I think the recent NOWHC episode demonstrates the failure of the out-for-blood approach.

  2. RMJ
    RMJ July 11, 2009 at 10:23 am |

    I’m glad to see this post – I saw Voz’s comment, and I thought it was disturbing, but mainly for the use of the word “trendsexual”. This seemed really hateful, and de-legitimizing of others’ experiences to me – but I’m cis, so what do I know? You don’t seem to take issue with it, though. Why or why not?

  3. gudbuytjane
    gudbuytjane July 11, 2009 at 10:57 am |

    I’m really uncomfortable with a personal disagreement stemming from interactions at other sites being a front-page story at Feministe. Really, I disagree with tactics a lot of people use, and I will sometimes call that out, but this doesn’t at all seem the appropriate forum for this kind of post.

    I’m not saying this as anyone’s friend or invested in either person’s position, but rather as someone who is invested in Feministe as a feminist discussion forum, not a place for people to work out issues between individuals. Take that to personal blogs or email. I don’t mean that as any “let’s all get along the community comes first” blah, but because when you start posting from Feministe, despite any disclaimers this becomes Feministe’s apparent position on an individual. It sets up a hierarchical power imbalance and makes one voice dominant regardless of the issue.

    I honestly don’t know if I want to stick around here much if this is the sort of posts I’ll be seeing. I just dealt with that shit at Pam’s House Blend, and I expect more from Feministe.

  4. Holly
    Holly July 11, 2009 at 11:18 am |

    I don’t see this as anything like a personal conflict, I’m afraid. It’s very much tied into discussions that have been going on publicly lately about anger, and tactics, and how we should expect to be treating each other online. It has to do with who is a legitimate target of transphobia and transphobic attacks. So for the record, I am really unhappy with voz’s personal attack on Piny, which I find transphobic in one of the ways that transphobia upsets me the most: attacks coming FROM other trans people. An apology is called for, and I’m not even sure that’s going to be enough. As another voice on Feministe — and one for whom trans issues and the public community around trans issues is quite personal and vital, as a trans woman of color — there is no question in my mind that this kind of thing needs to be aired publicly, not in private.

  5. Lauren
    Lauren July 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm |

    I second Holly — this is part of a longer discussion about the growth of the ‘sphere and how we treat each other, and I agree that some of the tactics in particular are baiting for transphobia, masked as calling out unchecked privilege.

    Secondarily, I also think that people have the right to defend themselves against personal attacks made online, and considering the kinds of attacks made against piny she is perfectly within her right to put this argument in context. I think she’s done so rather fairly, considering.

  6. Jill
    Jill July 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm | *

    Thirding Holly. This isn’t a personal spat; this is an ongoing pattern on Voz’s part to bully anyone she decides she doesn’t like, for whatever reason. It’s had very negative consequences in a lot of spaces, not just Feministe, but a lot of people are afraid to call her out because she responds with such venom. This isn’t a “tone” argument, it’s one of tactics. Voz’s are really problematic.

  7. piny
    piny July 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm |

    I’m really uncomfortable with a personal disagreement stemming from interactions at other sites being a front-page story at Feministe. Really, I disagree with tactics a lot of people use, and I will sometimes call that out, but this doesn’t at all seem the appropriate forum for this kind of post.

    GBTJane, I do understand what you’re saying about Feministe. I don’t know if I agree that these interactions are solely at other sites. She’s distorting and lying about things I’ve said here. This is a forum, yes, but it’s also the location of my presence online. It seems most appropriate to respond from my archive, as it were.

  8. piny
    piny July 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm |

    Plus, I get to decide whether stuff said here gets deleted. I want this in the archive.

  9. Renee
    Renee July 11, 2009 at 1:08 pm |

    @Piny
    When one is attacked, it is a form of silencing to expect that one simply accept the assault without retort. If you had remained silent, only one side of the story would have been told. In the absence of a rebuttal, people would have had no choice but to accept Voz’s version of events as true. Being an ally does not mean that you have to allow yourself to be treated like a punching bag. I have witnessed her treatment of Cara on another thread and I most heatedly agree that it is not transphobic to state that someone is an asshole. You see, the wonderful thing about the word asshole, is that it is an equal opportunity label; anyone can wear it.

  10. octogalore
    octogalore July 11, 2009 at 1:33 pm |

    I have not been following and therefore cannot render an opinion on the substantive dispute, but agree with piny, Holly, Jill and Lauren that the procedural issue is an appropriate one to discuss.

    The issue of ad hominems is one I talked about recently in the political/feminist context, and I think there’s an important distinction between substantively honest and extraneously hurtful.

    Placing someone in “privilege” categories (as here, piny is discussed as “non-trans”) so as to reduce her comments to being per se unthinking and biased (eg, claiming certain kinds of critique critique amount to a “tone” argument) is a cheap way to avoid a substantive exchange. In some cases, the person coming from the comparatively privileged position will in fact be biased; in others, she may simply be making the same critique she’d make whether a privilege gap existed or not. Assuming that all critique is coming from the former, or claiming that it does to make counterarguments easier (which the OP suggests may be happening here), will have the effect of censoring reasonable critique and thereby reducing honest interactions.

    If one does believe people who are trans, or not vanilla mainstream in other ways, are people, then one needs to acknowledge they are just as brilliant, deserving, loving, and also assholish as the next guy or gal. If it’s the former, it needs to be noted; if it’s the latter, one should also be able to note it without fear that one will be labeled a bigot and have ones personal details skewered and distorted for public consumption, as it appears piny’s were here.

  11. timberwraith
    timberwraith July 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm |

    Issues such as those which surround being transgender have a tendency to inspire passions, high and deep. There is a lot of anger coming from all sides. It’s not necessarily bad to express that anger, but when one does so, it needs to be done with a degree of precision rather than taking the scattershot approach of a hand grenade. Address the issue at hand. Address issues of privilege if need be. Stick to the facts and keep the conversation within context.

    Making personal attacks on someone’s gender presentation, bodily history, sexual orientation, race, sex, or any other demographic descriptor are never appropriate. NEVER. It reduces an exchange over important issues to a contest of sound and fury. Little is accomplished except for annoying people and warding off calmer voices from the discussion.

    Last but not least, if a person has a tendency toward volatile conduct and they regularly sour various conversations, eventually people will stop being quiet and start to say something. In the long run, the person with the volatile approach to discourse winds up marginalizing themselves.

    Voz’s online presence is nearly legendary at this point. Thanks for being willing to address this, piny.

  12. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses July 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm |

    I don’t have anything smart or insightful to say, but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you’re going through all of this BS.

  13. timberwraith
    timberwraith July 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm |

    I have to say one more thing. Voz’s comments as to whether you are cis or trans are really upsetting to me. You had the rare experience of crossing the gender divide… not once, but twice. Regardless of the duration of your experience, you’ve had a series of experiences which only a tiny minority of human beings have had. Anyone who denies that your experiences intersect in some way with trans people’s experiences is being willfully clueless. Regardless of the sex/gender you feel most comfortable with, you’ve put up with much of the same shit that trans people have. There’s no way to go through transition and not experience these things.

    To borrow a phrase, you’ve talked the talk and you’ve walked the walk. This isn’t just theory to you. You’ve had the life experience.

    You were one of the first voices speaking out for trans people on a major feminist blog. You addressed these issues as one of us. Reading your words was a powerful experience for me. You helped me feel more comfortable and welcome on this blog. Your words helped me to be more open in addressing my experiences in feminist venues.

    So, it doesn’t matter to me what label you chose to apply to yourself. It doesn’t matter what sex or gender you feel comfortable with. Your words made a difference in my life. Thank you for sticking your neck out and being willing to speak up for us.

  14. A.W.
    A.W. July 11, 2009 at 3:06 pm |

    Timberwraith,

    Yes, that.

  15. timberwraith
    timberwraith July 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

    Put another way, Voz is essentially trying to erase your experiences by slinging around labels. That’s incredibly wrong.

  16. gudbuytjane
    gudbuytjane July 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm |

    Hi piny, I apologize. I had an emotional response to stuff that had nothing to do with you or your post, and I disconnected from it after the first sentence. I have been under a lot of personal attack these past few weeks, and was just heading out the door to a protest about fucked up trans stuff. My response, emotionally, was to that, not this post. I am so very sorry if I added to your hurt over this. In any case, I wasn’t in an emotional state to post something and I should have caught that.

    When I got home and came down and read it I saw your post wasn’t the kind of thing I was hurt by, it was about that shit and the harm it does. That shit was not cool at all, it is never okay to go there. I will be a tenacious pain in the ass about things, but I hope I’d be called out for going to someone’s experience like that. I am very upset to see those words. It makes me sad and angry, and again I am so sorry if my personal shit added to that.

    Please always call me on it if I fuck up. We have to be willing to apologize when we do, or we’ll get nowhere.

  17. little light
    little light July 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm |

    How is this different from the “Ann Coulter Is A Tranny” thing that we in the trans community have so objected to, except that it’s in deadly earnest, and focused explicitly on pushing someone’s buttons to harm them, without the excuse that it’s “just a joke”? This isn’t just anger, or tone. This is using the oppressor’s toolbox as a weapon supposedly in self-defense, but it still reinforces the legitimacy of using these transphobic tools in the first place and does us all harm. It says that arsenal is okay to deploy so long as we’re the ones using it, and that that won’t somehow come back to bite us.

    I mean, this is also someone who’s crowed about violently attacking trans men who get impertinent and calling them “dickless” as a way to push their buttons, who’s suggested that trans women she disagrees with aren’t really women but men in dresses, who said Brownfemipower was white feminism “in a plain brown wrapper,” and who manufactured stories from whole cloth about how a cis partner of a trans woman who was agreeing with her at the time, but not vehemently enough, was a predatory abuser who she Had Reason To Believe was hurting her trans partner, which were then stated as fact across three blogs and Twitter.

    I get angry plenty, I’ve torn into people many times, and I’ve definitely been called out on “tone.” This ain’t tone and it ain’t just anger. And I don’t care how angry you are at someone, reproducing and reinforcing oppression in order to “get them back” isn’t helping protect any of us. And I’m sorry I haven’t said anything before now, but frankly, I’ve been laying low from the internet lately while dealing with a bunch of trauma issues and post-traumatic stress, and going anywhere near this kind of thing triggers the everloving hell out of me. I have plenty of buttons to push, too, after all, and I already have to deal with nearly-indistinguishable shit from cis transmisogynists and racists at my blog all the time. Am I next? What gets aimed at me? And just saying? When your attempts to defend “trans women of color” are causing the actual trans women of color present to turn off the computer and stay silent out of fear…you’re missing something.

  18. Dauphine
    Dauphine July 11, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

    “Placing someone in “privilege” categories (as here, piny is discussed as “non-trans”) so as to reduce her comments to being per se unthinking and biased (eg, claiming certain kinds of critique critique amount to a “tone” argument) is a cheap way to avoid a substantive exchange.”

    This is what’s so tiring about reading the Feminist @ LiveJournal community.

  19. slyc
    slyc July 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm |

    Ayup. There is a difference between getting called out and being bullied. I don’t always trust myself to know that, but I sure as hell trust you on this one.

    It’s sad that this is what the discussion has come to, but I’m glad that you’ve stood up for yourself.

  20. anon
    anon July 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm |

    Yet more genderqueer bashing from more of the popular trans drama baiters on livejournal.

    voz was out of line. period. it isn’t about ‘tone’, she was out of line.

  21. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 6:59 pm |

    Yeah, honestly, I’m just sorry I didn’t say anything sooner about this shit. There was similar invective against other trans women, trans men, cis women of color, using similarly hateful and frankly bashing language from voz. It’s not just a personal attack. Calling another trans woman an “ugly trans fan in a dress,” trans men “runts with cunts” and referring to a woman of color (or possibly her politics, granted) as being “white feminism in a plain brown wrapper”: call it my privilege speaking, but not seeing how that shit suddenly becomes okay just because it’s voz saying it.

    As for voz’ point earlier in that thread about how piny as a cis white woman shouldn’t be trying to get in between a fight between cis women of color and trans women of color: you know, that -would- be a good point, except for voz is the one who encouraged this shit in the first place? As in, there were those of us who were cis white women who jumped in at the thread at bfp’s, some rather harshly, none of us really knowing entirely what the hell was going on; and as long as people were agreeing with voz it was totally fine. This has been a pattern, actually. Agree with voz personally 100%=”true ally;” anything else=you’re Satan, and it’s open season. Over it.

  22. piny
    piny July 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm |

    Placing someone in “privilege” categories (as here, piny is discussed as “non-trans”) so as to reduce her comments to being per se unthinking and biased (eg, claiming certain kinds of critique critique amount to a “tone” argument) is a cheap way to avoid a substantive exchange. In some cases, the person coming from the comparatively privileged position will in fact be biased; in others, she may simply be making the same critique she’d make whether a privilege gap existed or not. Assuming that all critique is coming from the former, or claiming that it does to make counterarguments easier (which the OP suggests may be happening here), will have the effect of censoring reasonable critique and thereby reducing honest interactions.

    I’m not sure I agree. That is, I think that, “You’re not really trans, so you need to shut the fuck up and let trans people take the lead in this,” is valid. I did gain some knowledge of the nuts and bolts of transition. During the years I was in transition, I paid a lot of attention to trans stuff because it was pretty central to my life. And when I transitioned back, I did get a taste of actual gender dysphoria. And now I exist in a category that shares some things with trans. Still, that’s not quite the same thing–and right now, as someone who got to transition from trans manhood to cis womanhood, I am in a position of privilege relative to people who went there but not back again.

    But that’s not what’s being said here, and it’s not what I’m objecting to. She’s bringing up my transitioned status in order to insult me. I am an unmasculine man, a implicitly damaged woman, a coward who couldn’t handle a changed sex, and–somehow simultaneously–a poser who should never have considered herself trans in the first place. Besides being so much horseshit, it’s mean-minded and unjust. And maybe I’m appropriating here, but these double binds seem very familiar.

  23. piny
    piny July 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm |

    And GBTJane– I appreciate the apology. I know there’ve been a bunch of discussions around this over the past few days, and I know that there’ve been some tone arguments that have been used to shut down discussion. I didn’t want Feministe to seem to be telling people that they couldn’t get angry, and I didn’t want to imply that angry people would be banned or shut down. I want to get called out when I fuck up, too. And I’d rather you express reservations about big blog dynamics than keep quiet for fear you’ll be treated badly.

  24. considerit
    considerit July 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm |

    What do you do with someone who is not self-aware enough to recognize that their defenses are their own damnation? Right up there with “This space intentionally left blank” and “I AM NOT BEING DEFENSIVE!” voz’s response to piny is one of those amazing tricks of language that in exactly the same words both asserts something and disproves it.

    Without reading anything else voz has ever written or checking her references, her first comment alone is solid support for piny’s assertion that voz is, in fact, an asshole. Come on guys, this is a category of behavior you have to be able to recognize at fifty pace on the internet: she doesn’t demonstrate strong command of the language for accuracy (e.g. using “flying around the internet” when she means a particular comment, not a meme or discussion) or style (e.g. adding unnecessary the modifiers “I have to say” and “lately” to her first sentence); she uses the race and gender of her critic to discount the criticism’s content; she misconstrues a charge that she is abusive as one that she is too angry (a telling conflation, as it is a distinction she seems generally unable to grasp); she doesn’t give specific examples of her successful leadership or relationships to support her position, or even clearly take a position, but uses generalizations as evidence and an awkward rhetorical question for her conclusion; she seethes with angsty-teen style sarcasm and closes with another oh-so-devastating discrediting of her critic by bringing up, sigh, race and gender. Are we sure she wasn’t trying to write the Platonic form of how not to be taken seriously on the internet?

    Can we file this one under “Asshole: People who are unclear on the concept”?

  25. considerit
    considerit July 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm |

    By the way, if I may be allowed a little snarkiness?

    How often do you think voz plays her twoc card? Is it like a get out of jail free card in Monopoly, you need a new one every time you land in “shit, they’ve figured out I’m an asshole” jail, or is it like Visa/Mastercard, accepted everywhere American Express isn’t? Can she buy groceries with it?

  26. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm |

    yeah. Look, on the other thread about NOWHC and more specifically about some of the stuff that was going down at bfp’s, I’d said, referring to some of the defensive language being used by some people & what seemed like a disappearance of the original problem: look, just because someone’s an asshole doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have a legitimate point.

    Now I’m saying: the reverse is also true. Just because someone has a legitimate point–in the case of what was going down in NOWHC there was no “twoc card”, that -was- the issue on the table–doesn’t mean they can’t also be an asshole. That’s all.

    Honestly, the techniques voz uses aren’t so much about “playing a card”–exactly how much currency does that card/those cards have, anyway?– as:

    “wear people down until they do what she wants just to get some peace; act erratic and aggressive enough that people walk on eggshells to avoid setting her off; and most of all, play -you’re- one of the good ones, not like those -other- terrible people who’ve let me down. You’re not going to be like all the rest of them, -are you-?”

    those “games” are used by people from pretty much every demographic. they also have a tendency to work, unfortunately.

  27. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm |

    also:

    for the first time trans women are putting together a project that centers our voices.

    I mean, good luck to voz with the project, seriously, but: the -first- time? Really?

  28. Mireille
    Mireille July 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm |

    I don’t think I can count the times I’ve said or read someone defending our trans reality by asking people to trust our lived experience rather than trying to fit us into a particular theory of gender. I would guess voz has made this argument too. But what she did in regards to piny is disregard piny’s own lived experiences to place her own meaning on piny’s body. I didn’t really see comments from voz until relatively recently, but she sure has made herself heard in the past few months. And often times she makes great points. But I disagree that we have to bludgeon allies when they make a mistake or when we might take something they read in a way it wasn’t intended. It’s not a “get more flies with honey” argument so much as… realize we’re all human and make mistakes and the best thing we can all do is own up for our mistakes and forgive when forgiveness is asked for (in a non-fauxpology way). Sure, if someone has a history of repeatedly being offensive, at some point you just don’t listen to them anymore, but I guess I just prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt until any doubt is removed. Lord knows I’ve put my foot in it before…

  29. octogalore
    octogalore July 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm |

    “I’m not sure I agree. That is, I think that, “You’re not really trans, so you need to shut the fuck up and let trans people take the lead in this,” is valid.”

    Definitely. People with comparative privilege in a certain area often should stand down when that area is the subject of discussion. But the critique you made that was deemed a “tone” argument wasn’t about the substantive trans issues, it was about general tactics, as Jill stated above. So on that topic, your status as retransitioned shouldn’t be relevant to your ability to speak frankly about something you feel is a pattern of dialogue.

  30. RD
    RD July 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm |

    This is so ugly. Even as she is my friend, I won’t deny that Voz has said some over the top and sometimes ugly things. Sometimes I take into account knowing how she is as I think everyone does with most other people around them sometimes, but I think talking about your body like that crossed a line so I want to be clear I’m not condoning it. I have not followed the NOWHC thing as I have not been around/locked up so to speak the last couple weeks so I don’t know about that. And I do not follow LJ much. But anyway I hope you all realize how horrible it is to sit around in a super-public forum and all discuss this one person and what you all think of her, inviting all this criticism from other random people etc. I don’t know how Piny should have addressed this better (given that yes what Voz said was uncalled for, I think what you said was uncalled for too, but Voz crossed a line in talking about your body) but how this public shaming is, it is so gross. If this needed to be aired publicly I don’t think this was the way to do it where people like considerit can accuse Voz of “playing the twoc card”

    And belledame, I don’t think you should blame voz for things you yourself did. Especially if motivated by your own white cis guilt. I own every time I’ve commented on her behalf, even when I thought she was being inflammatory, and most of those times she was right on the money in retrospect anyway.

  31. redredrose
    redredrose July 11, 2009 at 10:49 pm |

    “Being an ally does not mean that you have to allow yourself to be treated like a punching bag.”

    But this is exactly how everyone has set it up. You throw around language like “Shut the fuck up and listen” and then are surprised when people are assholes.

  32. RD
    RD July 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm |

    I did not say backchannel communication btw. I said I didn’t know.

  33. RD
    RD July 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm |

    But I am not familiar with other incidents mentioned, except I think maybe “runts with cunts,” which I thought was proposed as alternative to “chicks with dicks” or something, but also going through and trying to argue incidents….maybe she did say other things, I don’t know, I am just saying that all this is really ugly and horrible of all you….

  34. RD
    RD July 11, 2009 at 11:19 pm |

    *But also

  35. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm |

    RD, I own those comments, yeah, she certainly didn’t make me do anything. And yeah, I’d commented on her behalf a number of times “even when she was being inflammatory” because I thought she was in the right–the Bilerico business; and I did with at least some of the shitstorm at bfp’s too, actually. I am expressing regret that I didn’t say anything about my discomfort with the way she’s been talking, and that my silence there made it look like I was condoning it.

    And yeah, feministe is a bigger forum, but the post where voz ran this stuff about piny in the first place is no less public. She has the option of f-locking posts. She wanted that post to be seen. So, it’s been seen. Where else was piny supposed to respond?

  36. little light
    little light July 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm |

    How often do you think voz plays her twoc card?

    No. Sorry.
    Look, haven’t we just been fucking over this? Expressing disagreement or frustration with Voz by degendering her or using racist bullshit tropes like “playing the X card” isn’t okay. Period. I may be critical of her behavior, but I will defend her into the ground when it comes to just pulling racism and transmisogyny back out and re-aiming them at her.

    That said, maybe another approach is germane–one more grounded in better ideals. There has to be a more compassionate, caring way to deal with this kind of trouble, you know? Especially in oppressed communities. Voz has expressed many times that her behavior–though she describes it as “anger” or “a gruff exterior,” when I’m more likely to call this kind of thing “abusive”–comes from a history of oppression and trauma. And you know what? That’s not “playing the TWOC card.” It’s a reality. And while it isn’t an excuse for harming others, it has to be taken into account. Similarly, bullshit tone arguments are real and constant. I know I’ve been called scary and intimidating and So So Angry just for being gently assertive, over and over, and it’s frustrating as hell.

    So you know what? Voz? I know you’re reading this. I really, really have wanted to like, respect, and even look up to you. There are not a lot of us trans women of color out here being outspoken and when you first showed up, I was so, so excited to see another, especially someone who was bold and capable and ready, someone who spoke of centering trans women’s concerns, someone with twenty years more experience than I have whose insight I was looking forward to seeing. I am far from the only person who really welcomed your arrival in blog-land. And you know what? I get that hurt, okay? I’ve lost friends and loved ones, too. I, too, have been oppressed as a queer brown trans woman, beaten, raped, starved, and abused. I have days where I can barely leave the house from the shaking and anxiety attacks and flashbacks even, sometimes. And I don’t think, I have never thought, that the answer here is for me or anyone to fight you. I have wanted more than anything to be in community with you, but I haven’t felt safe to do so lately, as you get more and more vicious and ready to lash out seemingly without provocation. But you’re hurting people, including women of color, trans people, trans women of color. You’ve got people frightened and hurt, and I don’t think more fear in the equation is going to stop your oppression or mine. There has to be a better way to be accountable to each other. Hurting people–real people–and going for the scorched-earth nuclear approach in response to everything, it’s not going to make the oppression go away. It’s not going to protect us or our families.

    Everyone, there has to be a way to keep someone from hurting others without increasing hurt on her. There has to be a way to keep love and community centered, here, while refusing to tolerate abusive behavior. And we sure as hell need to pursue that accountability without reproducing the oppressive tactics of the structures and people that hurt us already. We have to be better than that.

  37. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm |

    Well, we can agree to disagree, but I see a pretty big difference between harsh language and language designed to play on prejudice. “Fuck” is offensive, but it’s offensive for different reasons than, “tranny.

    This.

    Also ime, nine times out of ten (at least), by the time it’s gotten to the point of someone saying baldly “shut the fuck up and listen,” it’s because the person in question has already been an unbelievable asshole long suffered by many, many people trying to be patient and civil and yadda yadda.

  38. belledame222
    belledame222 July 11, 2009 at 11:54 pm |

    Little Light–thank you.

  39. A.W.
    A.W. July 12, 2009 at 12:07 am |

    “But I am not familiar with other incidents mentioned, except I think maybe “runts with cunts,” which I thought was proposed as alternative to “chicks with dicks” or something, but also going through and trying to argue incidents….maybe she did say other things, I don’t know, I am just saying that all this is really ugly and horrible of all you….”

    RD,

    If you don’t know if she’s said other things (you mentioned that several times) you could always go look. There’s multiple comments in multiple spaces, several mentioned right here. Google will find them easily enough if you’re not familiar with the venues. It isn’t so much arguing incidences as pointing to what she wrote and why such -ism comments are problematic, vindictive and incredibly hurtful. Those posts and comments deny – people -, not people’s actions. There’s no discussion there, the comments aren’t couched in hidden, saccharine language, it’s rather clear. So I’m afraid you’ve lost me on exactly who is being ugly and horrible to post such things.

  40. A.W.
    A.W. July 12, 2009 at 12:17 am |

    “Everyone, there has to be a way to keep someone from hurting others without increasing hurt on her.”

    Any ideas? I’ve been pondering that for decades and I’ve yet to come up with anything.

  41. A.W.
    A.W. July 12, 2009 at 12:30 am |

    Wait, that’s not entirely true. Mitigating someone else’s hurting others is possible, but it isn’t healthy for the person doing it. Which isn’t what you mean, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever thought of. I’m not sure it’s possible to mitigate someone’s pain when they’re using abusive behavior as they’re transferring things onto someone else. Every denial of accountability or agreement of accountability brings pain. Unless I misread what you mean?

  42. little light
    little light July 12, 2009 at 12:45 am |

    I think you might misread me, A.W. I think there’s a difference between pain and harm. Growth hurts. Healing hurts. Change hurts. Justice hurts. But none of those, of itself, harms. And I think if we’re going to get anywhere here, it’s not going to be, figuratively, with fists. Fists can only do one thing, really. The way we get anywhere, including in healing past and current hurts in our communities, is by opening our hands and joining them. And someone doesn’t just stop being part of one’s community because they’ve done something wrong or hurt someone, any more than someone stops being part of your family just because they fucked up.
    Maybe that’s naive, I don’t know. I mean, we’re talking here about someone who’s needlessly harmed people that I consider family, and it’s very hard for me to calm down and step back and recognize that we can all do better, including in the ways we hold accountable those who consistently act harmfully. And that includes me, and the reminder that even when it’s my loved ones being hurt, rushing to the parapets weapon in hand isn’t always the way to fix things even if it addresses issues in the short term.

  43. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 12:48 am |

    I’m so glad that Little Light made her comments, because I’ve been really struggling with how to express some of those very same feelings. I LIKE Voz. We’ve interacted and talked about intensely personal shit and I have appreciated her willingness to discuss certain topics that would cause most people to excuse themselves and slowly back away towards the door.

    Is she an asshole? Maybe. I’m sure there are people who would say the same about me. My view is that, sometimes, the world needs assholes because assholery is the only thing that some people respond to. When you can’t get around having to deal with those people, it helps to be able to be an asshole. Also, there have been times in my life when being an asshole was about the only thing I could do to cope with what was being done to me. It was the only sort of protest that I knew how to carry out. I may not have been able to stop someone from fucking over me, but I could at least make life a little less comfortable for them while they’re doing it. Occasionally, if I could be a big enough asshole, I could dissuade those folks from choosing me as the person they’re going to fuck over at that time.

    That doesn’t mean that I think people should just be happy about someone being an asshole towards them nor do I think that people shouldn’t speak out when it happens. I just think that if you want someone to stop doing something, understanding why they may be doing it can be helpful.

    Justifying why you think someone is an asshole seems a bit pointless to me, because we’re all entitled to our opinions about others. I’d rather address someone’s specific actions. I absolutely disagree with the references to Piny’s body. I don’t think it is ever appropriate to speculate about the reasons behind other people’s body modifications nor is it okay to make light of those decisions. It’s hard enough to make them without having to justify them to perfect strangers. I mean, even if you want to be an asshole towards someone, you don’t have to go THERE. Ya’ know?

  44. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 1:00 am |

    Oh, I didn’t say it in my prior comment, but I should have added that what I said is from my position as a cisgendered woman, so I’m not saying that what I would do is what anyone else should do.I hope that this conversation won’t be used as an opportunity to repeat over and over again what an asshole people think someone is. If it’s not about Voz as much as it is about how inappropriate her comments were, then maybe now that it’s been established that there are folks who do think she’s an asshole there can be more discussion about why this kind of stuff so often occurs *within* groups of marginalized women.

  45. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 1:06 am |

    FWIW, I stated that Pint was “non trans female,” not “non trans.” Much of your arguments hangs on this, and should be reconsidered.

    That said, are you certain that holding an open moratorium on a person like this is an appropriate way of handling this? What do you hope to achieve?

    Believe it or not, I may be able to help you get there.

  46. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 1:07 am |

    That should be Piny, not “Pint.” Apologies for the typo.

  47. A.W.
    A.W. July 12, 2009 at 1:15 am |

    Talking at a bit of cross purposes, I think I was speaking of something a bit lower. I don’t consider a community family, it hasn’t been my experience. There’s no broad common ground that holds some of my relations together is time, not proximity, and that fades quickly. Individual members are considered family by others, perhaps, but not even half of a half of the whole. You can’t kick someone out in mine, as they’re only there by individual approval to begin with. But community isn’t made by group approval, you can’t just kick someone out, no, and using the same tactics to hurt them back does no good.

  48. A.W.
    A.W. July 12, 2009 at 1:21 am |

    *There’s no broad common ground, what holds some of my relations together is time

    -damned typos.

  49. Rosasharn
    Rosasharn July 12, 2009 at 1:33 am |

    I am so glad someone finally posted this.

  50. little light
    little light July 12, 2009 at 2:19 am |

    Apologies…for the…typo.
    The typo.

    Voz, with all due respect, what do you hope to achieve, and do you think this is an appropriate way to handle this? These incidents people have been bringing up. Do you stand by all of those as an appropriate way to handle the situations at hand? What do you hope to achieve by apparently-remorselessly behaving this way?

  51. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 2:38 am |

    I gotta say, this feels more like a grudge post than a legitimate topic.

    Voz may have crossed the line — or may not have. But the way this was presented seems too much like using the bully pulpit of a large, cis-dominant blog to squash a trans woman.

    The sexism, racism, and hints of transmisogyny in the comments are dismaying.

    I don’t begrudge anyone for feeling upset with voz — she’s controversial, to put it mildly — but I think this was absolutely the wrong way to handle it, and I wonder what you’re trying to accomplish from this, beyond grudgewank.

  52. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 2:47 am |

    Apologies…for the…typo.
    The typo.

    Would you mind explaining this in detail?

  53. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 2:50 am |

    Little Light,

    See, this is one of the reasons why this thread is so problematic. At this point, people aren’t just treating this as an incident that needs to be addressed. It’s now become an indictment of someone’s entire personality. Once it transform into a “Why is Voz such an asshole?” thread, then it may become less likely that the original issue will get the attention that it could have.

  54. NiceFeminist
    NiceFeminist July 12, 2009 at 2:54 am |

    Thanks for posting this, Piny. I don’t really think that Voz will take any of the post to heart, but I am extremely happy to see someone not too scared to publicly call her out. She’s not an asset to any progressive community, and only seems to perpetuate hatred, and do it intentionally. Hopefully some day she will listen and realize that she’s not the only one on this planet who is disadvantaged, in one way or another.

  55. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 2:56 am |

    By the way, I have a comment in moderation and that is the one I was referring to in #50.

  56. little light
    little light July 12, 2009 at 3:17 am |

    The explanation doesn’t require much detail, Voz:

    A lot of people on this thread have brought up examples of incredibly hurtful things you’ve said and done, including some outright fabrications, with cites, indicating that you said things that were not just body-shaming or using bigoted, cruel language to hurt people enough to back down from arguments, but sometimes flat-out untrue. I was surprised that, when confronted with that–all these people, including, yes, trans women of color, saying your behavior has hurt or frightened them or that they feel what you did is harmful to the community–the only thing you seem to feel you did wrong was type Piny’s name incorrectly. More than surprised–shocked, I guess, that that’s the only thing you felt the need to respond to or apologize for.

    Much of the argument isn’t a quibble over whether you said “non-trans” or “non-trans-female”–it’s a statement that you said things that were untrue, cruel, and needlessly hurtful. The argument is that you have crossed a line by using tactics like shaming and humiliating people for their body shapes, degendering trans people, race-baiting, publicizing that others have said or written things they didn’t, and threatening physical violence–the argument is that such tactics are wrong even coming from an oppressed person and don’t help protect the community as a whole in the end.

    I guess my question really is–do you disagree with that? Do you claim that these incidents never happened? If not, do you feel that these tactics are necessary or helpful in fighting oppression or winning arguments? Do you feel that this behavior was justified? Do you care that people are expressing that you’ve hurt them? Because I don’t think you’re a bad person, and I know you’re not a fool. I agree with Bint Alshamsa that it’s not necessarily helpful to hold an open moratorium on someone just because they’ve done bad things, but in order to use a different approach, I want to understand where you’re coming from–why you’ve said and done these things, why you think they’re justified, and why you apparently don’t care that they’ve harmed people. I would rather engage with you honestly and figure out how to make sure everyone is taken care of, including you, than just fight about it.

  57. NiceFeminist
    NiceFeminist July 12, 2009 at 3:40 am |

    It’s now become an indictment of someone’s entire personality. Once it transform into a “Why is Voz such an asshole?” thread, then it may become less likely that the original issue will get the attention that it could have.

    Her personality is actually a widespread problem that interferes with good and necessary things, which means that it’s not problematic, but necessary, to address it.

  58. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 3:44 am |

    Little Light,

    Answering questions like those would require a person to open up and talk about themselves a whole lot. Do you really think that after the pile-on that has occurred here, anyone would do that in this forum? I mean, I think that this thread has pretty much insured that no productive dialogue could take place between Piny and Voz on this site. Even if there are all of these different incidents that people want to discuss, do we need to make Feministe a clearinghouse for Voz complaints? I don’t want to minimize anyone’s feelings or claim that they don’t have a valid reason for being upset with Voz. It’s just that “Come here and explain yourself” only works if you actually have the power to force the person to do it. If you don’t have the power to force someone to explain herself, then you’ll have to find some other way of approaching things in order to get the information you’re looking for.

  59. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 4:07 am |

    My confidence in the process is nil at this point. Until that confidence is restored, I fail to see what can be achieved here, short of an outpouring of agreement with Piny’s assessment of which body part my life and personality can be reduced to.

    If your need is simply to shame me in public, you can do that without my assistance. It sounds like you have all adjudicated me as guilty and worthy of shaming in your public wordss, using some rather inappropriately lifted quotes, among some very real concerns.

    Unfortunately, due to a very problematic way of addressing some very real issues scattered among other dubious ones, and the power over dynamic at work here, I have absolutely zero interest and faith in abetting this process.

    I will say this much: Piny’s calling me an “asshole” in a public forum may not be the way to achieve whatever result it is your after, and quite frankly, is inconsistent with the high ground that is being claimed here.

    So, my question to you all stands: Do you really wish to proceed as you are doing here, and do you all really feel that your methods are appropriate?

  60. little light
    little light July 12, 2009 at 4:40 am |

    Well, I guess that’s that, isn’t it.
    Voz, are there terms under which you would be open to some kind of accountability process, to address what you refer to as the real concerns in some other way? What methods would you consider appropriate to address these concerns?

  61. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 5:40 am |

    Well, I guess that’s that, isn’t it.
    Nope. Your words, not mine. I would be careful about making claims that I do not.

    Voz, are there terms under which you would be open to some kind of accountability process, to address what you refer to as the real concerns in some other way? What methods would you consider appropriate to address these concerns?

    Are there terms? Absolutely.

    First and foremost, if anyone here needs to do so, go ahead and express your outrage. This is probably a good place to do it.

    That said, if anyone here decides at some point that addressing me as a human who has proven herself quite capable of fucking up, and being cognizant of the power imbalance that created this travesty of a thread, and is willing to address both issues in a manner that does not reduce me to a body part or a demonized element, then I’m game. I said some dumb ass shit that need to be addressed. And this process here is demonizing and is misusing power over and privilege to retaliate for Piny’s (among others’) very real hurt.

    So, the salient question is, Is the “fight fire with fire approach” that people are roundly condemning me for using appropriate here? Not that what I said should be without censure, but everyone here needs to ask themselves if a highly public, cis centric crucible is really the way to go for addressing Piny’s injury from my comments or any other issues that I have raised.

    An open answer, a yes or no would go a long way. Like I said, if anyone here simply needs to take a public whack at me, using the full force of this blog and the cis privilege that backs it, then, please, go ahead with my full blessings. Far be it from me to interrupt anger, when I so freely display it myself.

    One thing you will find about me is I own my words, even the horrible ones. I will not, however bow to privilege or power when being called out. With that in mind, and an eye for forcing several other important issues to the forefront, we can talk about it here:

    http://voz-latina.livejournal.com/16324.html

    I ask that both the issue of this thread as problematic and the issues that have arisen as a result of my language be addressed. They are both important, and neither can be addressed with the full attention that they deserve in this space.

  62. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla July 12, 2009 at 9:50 am |

    folks, i have to say that i’m really uncomfortable with this being hashed out here on feministe. Voz’s statements and actions are what they are, but the fact remains that feministe continues to be a cis- and white-centric space (and i realize that the feministe bloggers have been working hard to change that and some progress has been made, but we’re not there yet) and voz is a trans woman of color.

    i don’t really know how this conflict is supposed to be worked out here in this forum, without it getting distorted by those coming from white and cis privileged positions. there have already been a number of drive-by comments from people with little or nothing invested in this conflict, and i just don’t see how a venue where people can openly make transmisogynist and racist statements (like throwing out the “pulling the twoc card”, which is just offensive shit, or NiceFeminist coming in and making her judgements when she’s hardly been involved in the sitch).

    i don’t like that this thread is turning into a pile-on. i don’t like that it’s becoming an excuse for racist and transmisogynist thought to come out of the woodwork.

    i am not saying this as a defense or as a critique of Voz. i am saying this from a position of myself having participated in a pile-on against bfp, which i did from a position of ignorance and privilege and without having a clue of the facts on the ground; and i don’t want to see that scenario repeated here.

  63. Lauren
    Lauren July 12, 2009 at 10:33 am |

    i don’t like that this thread is turning into a pile-on. i don’t like that it’s becoming an excuse for racist and transmisogynist thought to come out of the woodwork.

    i am not saying this as a defense or as a critique of Voz. i am saying this from a position of myself having participated in a pile-on against… and i don’t want to see that scenario repeated here.

    This. I don’t like the drive-by commenting either, it’s offensive and inappropriate and clouds the real conversation as it’s trying to happen.

  64. anon
    anon July 12, 2009 at 10:35 am |

    voz – you telling people that this needs to be addressed on your site and our journal means that you control how and what is said and that you can rally your own supports in order to do this. your also trying to derail the original intent of this post by discrediting its validity over and over again here and in your journal and are incredibly defensive in the process.

    part of accountability is dealing with how people address your shit. it can happen in your journal but it should happen here also. you provide no backstory on your journal and are very vague in the process about what you’re even apologizing for. what a joke.

  65. bint alshamsa
    bint alshamsa July 12, 2009 at 11:32 am |

    anon,

    “you telling people that this needs to be addressed on your site and our journal means that you control how and what is said and that you can rally your own supports in order to do this.”

    You might benefit from asking yourself how Piny’s actions are any different from this. Posting this on Feministe allows her to rally the (mostly white, mostly cisgendered) troops who she can then allow to say whatever vile, racist, transphobic comments that she thinks Voz deserves to hear.

    Voz saying fucked up shit does not mean that this free-for-all is any less racist or transphobic and it doesn’t make it any more excusable than it would be if she hadn’t made those comments.

  66. karak
    karak July 12, 2009 at 11:48 am |

    You have said what I’ve thought for months now but wasn’t sure I had the creds or the right to say it.

  67. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale July 12, 2009 at 11:55 am |

    Ditto on the drive-by comments. I am always incredibly uncomfortable at the least when anyone uses another person’s or group of people’s bodies against them. I’ve seen it happen here too many times to be okay with this discussion continuing on feministe. This site attracts all sorts of posters and commenters, with apparently little ability to moderate til the post has been made. Already we have somebody claiming that voz can’t use English appropriately to engage in an online discussion. It’s false, it’s race-baiting, and it doesn’t belong in this conversation.

    I understand piny’s desire to preserve her side for the record, and to illustrate the falsity of some of voz’s comments, but this is not a productive place to continue this conversation. Feministe has been the location of some really fucked up shit about trans people, particularly trans women, and around race. It is not an appropriate venue to continue this conversation, IMO.

    I’m also uncomfortable with this pile-on that takes a number of voz’s comments out of context. I agree that the specific comment she made was fucked up. But to say that she simply advocates violence, free-form against trans men she disagrees with is fucked up. That comment was on one thread, I was there, and she said it in context of responding to violent and disrespectful language that people refused to recognize as such. I realize that queer communities and trans communities are filled with people who have suffered violence and that such statements may be triggering, but I don’t thin it’s appropriate to take them out of context to further discredit your opponent. I’m not sure how much of a place it’s appropriate for me to take in this conversation, but I wanted to say this much.

  68. shah8
    shah8 July 12, 2009 at 11:56 am |

    I know many of you don’t care what I think but…

    My feelings is that when people are as far gone as crudely defaming you, you are best not to engage with that person publically. Typically, those people are spoiling for a fight. The aphorism warns against wrestling with pigs holds here: You get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

    I suppose this is an implicit criticism against piny, but you know? I think voz is acting like a junior high queen b trying to form cliques. I really don’t think we should be feeding anyone’s trollish behavoir. Just handle this using some backroom politics on the one hand and let her comments fall flat. There is a time and place for passive aggression, and this is one of them. Voz knows what she did was wrong and nobody needs to shame her for it. Whether she *cares* is material here.

  69. Nanette
    Nanette July 12, 2009 at 11:56 am |

    Well, fools go and all that…

    I have nothing to do with any of this, having only caught glimpses of the ongoing controversies around the web, but still I’d like to express disagreement with the view that this should not be hashed out on feministe or a like site (although, in my own bias, of the larger feminist sites, feministe is the only one I would be even marginally comfortable participating in, as a Black woman, in a conversation such as this). And, of course I think that racist, sexist or transmisogynist language should be shut down immediately and completely. And pile ons.

    I do realize that it’s a primarily white and cisgendered space, and that would definitely be more of a consideration if the main issue involved voz’s trans or woc status, but, from what I can tell, it doesn’t. It’s about, well, assholishness – which trait crosses all gender, race and everything else lines.

    Anyway, what tips the scales for me towards a discussion of this sort on this site is the word “frightened” – seen not only here, but in other places when it comes to discussions of confronting voz on matters in her own, or other spaces. These are trans folks and women of color saying this, primarily, in addition to anyone else. That’s very troubling to me. There is little or no possibility of discussion or working out issues if people are scared to speak up for fear of what sort of retribution will come.

    And yes, it’s all just words, but that words will never hurt you is of course a lie.

    This space, while not “safe”, is at least of a size and diversity of opinions, outspokenness (and other things) where people can, if they so choose, at least air out the issues and open lines of communication without (as much) fear.

  70. Nanette
    Nanette July 12, 2009 at 12:02 pm |

    Sigh, in my attempt at shorthand to include transmen as well as transwomen I wrote the phrase “transfolks and women of color” (and even emphasized it!).

    I apologize for that, not meaning in any way to separate women of color (or women in general) from each other, regardless of whether they are trans or otherwise. To me, “women” and “women of color” includes transwomen by default, but I realize it is not always read that way, so sorry for my language screwup.

  71. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm |

    Why? Because other people can read it, or because other people are commenting to say that, yeah, they’ve noticed it too?

    No, as a bunch of people have said now, because this has turned into a whole indictment of her personality and her as a person and not just calling out something problematic she has done. I was going to say something about witch-burning but I think this idea has been said better now than how I was going to say it.

    A.W. Without links, sorry, not going to take the time to do that, I don’t know where to look beyond livejournal generally, and I’m not on twitter, but like I said before I know she says inflammatory things. But yeah seems some of it has been taken out of context, like the “runts with cunts” thing, like I said before, I don’t think she was going around calling people that, I think it was equivalent to “chicks with dicks” on an (inflammatory to many) post about how trans men should not reclaim”tranny.”

  72. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm |

    Oh and also Piny, because of all the drive-by transphobia and racism here.

  73. Anonymous for this one
    Anonymous for this one July 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm |

    Lordy mercy.

    Do folks not recognize abusive behavior when they see it? Because Voz has acted like an abuser. And has continued to act like an abuser, especially now that she is attempting to isolate things to her space. And seeing people bend over backward – seeing FRIENDS bend over backward – to accommodate this behavior, is like seeing everything that is wrong with the sweaty, claustrophobic little corner of the web that’s generally referred to as the ‘feminist blogosphere.’

    Perhaps this means nothing, coming from yet another anonymous coward, but truth is, some of us have dealt with enough assholes. It’s not even a question of crap sticking to your shoe, it’s a question of a general inability to deal with abusers any longer, because there’s enough of them out there as it is and you start to feel desperate after a while. And no progressive politics in the word is going to save some people from sinking their teeth into your flesh, like Voz has done to Piny here. Believing otherwise is naive.

    You know when identity politics fails? When people can no longer defend themselves form abusive, self-aggrandizing, manipulative jerks.

    Hey, if you want to defend Voz as a friend, go ahead and defend her as a friend. I’m sure you’ve seen sides of her that no one else has seen. I’m sure your opinions are valid. Just don’t start this crap about how this is an unfair, nasty, mean pile-on and how Piny has no right to respond to this ugly crap in what is, after all, HER space as well as anybody else’s.

  74. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm |

    And yeah, I’d commented on her behalf a number of times “even when she was being inflammatory” because I thought she was in the right–the Bilerico business

    The Bilerico business wasn’t even the sort of thing I was talking about, because there I was immediately angry on her behalf and in general, I think he fucked up royally. I was more talking about coming to her defense at times I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable commenting as a cis woman, or 100% seeing her viewpoint right away, and coming to see it later, and to know mostly she was right on the money. I thought that was the sort of situation you meant originally.

  75. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm |

    The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get.

    1. Like GG above, I think there’s a major problem in taking this from QT (trans-centric space) and voz’s LJ (trans-centric space) to feministe.us. This, to me, says that if trans women, or trans women of color, or women of color, do something wrong in trans space, the best thing to do is to publicly shame them in cis space. That is messed up, and it does not contribute to making feministe.us seem at all like a safe place for trans people, assholes or not.

    2. I highly object to the way in which piny basically said that voz is a friendless asshole who does no good for her cause, and piny feels she’s able to get away with that and it’s not an ad hominem. And commenters here pop up to say “yeah! it’s not transmisogynistic because she IS an asshole!” These are not true. voz has a number of friends, people who are not willing to make her very value as a human being dependent upon whether or not she said insulting and inappropriate things to a non-trans woman who insulted her. That’s not saying I condone what voz said, but I think some sense of proportion is certainly necessary here.

    3. The accusation of “tranny baiting” (and I wince at that word, especially being used by a non-trans person) is pretty rich coming from a non-trans person who deliberately insulted a trans activist on Questioning Transphobia with highly insulting and belittling language. Yeah, I’m sure you feel so oppressed by voz’s transphobia. Who “baited” the “tranny” [sic] here?

    4. The derailment has worked, of course — nobody gives a damn about the fact that piny bounded into a trans space and laid into voz with a very unfair and inappropriate critique. Have any of you bothered to read the thread in context? Does anyone want to discuss whether or not it was the right thing at the right time for piny to say?

    5. I’ll keep this one short and sweet: I am fucking tired of non-trans bloggers thinking they’re doing trans people a favor by patronizingly insulting some of us for being so angry. It’s been happening far too often lately.

    6. What voz said wasn’t cool. But what piny has done is not only uncool, but is reinforcing the patterns of privilege and oppression that place cis people over trans people, and give so many of you the presumptive “right” to hold a public inquisition into whether voz is really “an asshole or not.”

    This type of bullshit vendetta action not only lets piny escape accountability for her offensive speech and contributes to making Feministe a far less safe space for trans people than it was before, but also makes any sort of trans space unsafe also because you never know when some non-trans person is going to get pissed off after she slapped you in the face and drag that argument back here so that everyone can lecture you on your huge personality flaws.

    Gosh, thanks, piny — at a time when trans people continue to reel from several shitty actions from non-trans bloggers, you decide it’s suddenly the right opportunity to say “ZOMG LOOK AT THIS RUDE MEAN TRANS ASSHOLE.”

    You’re making an example of voz in a way that silences trans people who are angry and legitimizes cis privilege as a weapon. Why the hell would you want to do that, if you apparently consider yourself “trans enough” to pass judgment on who helps and hurts trans causes?

  76. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 12:51 pm |

    By the way, “runts with cunts”? I invented that, and shared it with voz. And yes, the context was very much “ever notice how there are no slurs against trans men, the way there’s shemale and chicks-with-dicks and tranny and other stuff against trans women?”

    Trans men were, at the time, claiming that “tranny” was theirs to reclaim regardless of whether it hurt trans women or not. I don’t want to re-argue that here and now — this is definitely not the place for it — but like many of the accusations made against voz, this one’s also quite out of context.

  77. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm |

    voz isn’t “an abuser.” voz is an oppressed person who doesn’t take bullshit, and sometimes she fucks up. She did with what she said about piny, but making this all about “voz is a horrible awful person!!” is some kind of grudgewanky derailment that refuses to address piny’s inappropriate behavior, both at the start of this little spat and by posting this here for public debate.

  78. little light
    little light July 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm |

    Voz:

    That said, if anyone here decides at some point that addressing me as a human who has proven herself quite capable of fucking up, and being cognizant of the power imbalance that created this travesty of a thread, and is willing to address both issues in a manner that does not reduce me to a body part or a demonized element, then I’m game. I said some dumb ass shit that need to be addressed. And this process here is demonizing and is misusing power over and privilege to retaliate for Piny’s (among others’) very real hurt.

    Fair enough. I’ve said my piece, here, and I agree that while Piny had every right to call this out in her own “home space,” it’s a problematic environment for moving through to a solution at this point.

  79. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm |

    A sentence I forgot to type on this paragraph:

    1. Like GG above, I think there’s a major problem in taking this from QT (trans-centric space) and voz’s LJ (trans-centric space) to feministe.us. This, to me, says that if trans women, or trans women of color, or women of color, do something wrong in trans space, the best thing to do is to publicly shame them in cis space. That is messed up, and it does not contribute to making feministe.us seem at all like a safe place for trans people, assholes or not.

    It also makes trans space itself less safe for trans people, because angry non-trans people with a larger megaphone can come to our spaces, insult us personally, flounce off, and then call in their friends with transphobic, racist, and sexist remarks.

  80. shannon
    shannon July 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm |

    Hi! I’m an asshole passing by! I think that folks saying that maybe this should be discussed on a more transfriendly, woc centered space is good, but on the other hand, is there a ground in which those two and others who want to work this out can discuss this on that is more friendly?

  81. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    @Shannon

    Yes, there is, and I am extending an open invite:
    http://voz-latina.livejournal.com/16324.html

  82. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm |

    But Caoimhe Snow, she did call trans men “dickless men” (and got banned from the LJ comm Transgender for that & other personal attacks), has lied about Piny’s posts, and has been experienced as abusive by many–I know various trans people (myself included) who are no longer comfortable posting where she is.
    Many of us didn’t want to talk to her directly because she triggers us, we are afraid of her, we don’t want to be lied about & virtually attacked, and/or we just can’t deal with the drama that would ensue.
    This isn’t really “Voz is rude and makes teh poor cis people uncomfortable”, but that she harms trans people with her words. That she uses the “master’s tools” (sexism, transphobia, racism, etc) to try to take down the master’s house (kyriarchy).

    I do think that QT or somewhere similar would have been a better place to post this, but what’s done is done. (& I ask that anyone, especially cis people, who are not already familiar with Voz & this situation leave the fuck alone)

  83. shannon
    shannon July 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm |

    I hope everyone can get their needs met in safety.

  84. voz
    voz July 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm |

    I hope everyone can get their needs met in safety.

    That is my primary goal now. I know enough about striking out in anger to recognize it when I see it, and to honor it for what it is, even when backed up with a power imbalance as has been done here. Anything less is hypocritical, and I refuse to go there.

  85. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm |

    ATM, I don’t see the point of a white, cis feminist site deciding to “take on” someone who may (or may not) be a problem within the trans community, especially not the way that this was done — with piny basically using her bully pulpit here to declare voz an asshole and getting everyone to line up here to take shots at her.

    What are we trying to do here — change the way voz acts, or write her off as an asshole and make sure everyone knows how worthless and friendless she really [sic] is?

  86. Alexandra
    Alexandra July 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm |

    Oh, god, this is ugly….

    What bothers me most about this – a white, cis, middle-class American woman who’s only just started commenting here, so take what I say with a grain of salt – is that people are reducing Voz to no more than the worst of what she’s said. And it looks like she’s said some incredibly rotten things — and it also looks to me like she’s trying to apologize on her livejournal blog and would like to make some sort of amends.

    Both Piny and Voz strike me as having said a number of angry things – whatever, it’s the internet – and then a number of really problematic things. What Voz said about Piny’s body and identity obviously went beyond the pale; Voz admits it. But that Piny is using her (much larger) blog to condemn Voz as nothing more than an abusive asshole really sits wrong with me.

  87. annalouise
    annalouise July 12, 2009 at 2:55 pm |

    Despite the totally valid concerns that piny and others have brought up, this whole thing has more than a little bit of a “Mean Girls” feel to it.
    I’m not sure what can be gained by (accidentally?) creating a space where lots of people who felt hurt or intimidated by things Voz has said can now air them.

    Instead it just feels like the tide of popularity has turned.

  88. whatsername
    whatsername July 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm |

    Other people in this thread, like Belledame and RD and Caoimhe Snow have said pieces of what I’m think with more eloquence than I’m about to, but for me it boils down to this: what voz said was hurtful and problematic on a number of levels, but this thread is also highly problematic itself. And I’m really not sure what we’re hoping to achieve with it, exactly.

  89. transgenmom
    transgenmom July 12, 2009 at 5:58 pm |

    I think that the problem with this thread is that it lacks an understanding of what abuse does and how it affects different communities.

    Voz has a pretty clear pattern of abusive behavior. The lies, the insults are all pretty common patterns.

    But here is the thing. Abuse comes from abuse. People of color and other disadvantaged groups are much more likely to be abused because they were abused and then they bring it into their family. I’ve personally always thought that being a Republican came from child abuse and from people believing the abusive lies that abusers make up.

    This is one of the reasons why it isn’t ironic for black people to be more opposed to homosexuality than whites or for Israelis to behave the way they do. Oppression does not breed a noble oppressed person. It makes the oppressed person more oppressive and abusive and hateful.

    So while it is important to state that Voz is an abuser it is also important to try and understand why she is an abuser. It is a privilege to not be an abuser because it means that you were not abused past your breaking point.

  90. megankay
    megankay July 12, 2009 at 6:05 pm |

    This is one of the reasons why it isn’t ironic for black people to be more opposed to homosexuality than whites or for Israelis to behave the way they do. Oppression does not breed a noble oppressed person. It makes the oppressed person more oppressive and abusive and hateful.

    um, wow.

  91. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm |

    Transgenmom, I don’t think that’s always true, and find that pretty offensive.

  92. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale July 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm |

    transgenmom,

    people of color are more likely to be abusive? By what matrix? What studies are you getting this from?

    Abuse, in terms of relationships, requires power. Abuse is not just someone saying awful things, it is also that person exerting control over another person or other people. I don’t see that happening here, and I think that the argument that voz is abusive is specious. I also think that if you’re going to come in and say that people of color are more likley to abuse than white people, you better have some backup. The reputable information I’ve seen says that in terms of domestic violence, there isn’t a strong correlation between race and abuse. I also haven’t seen anything convincing that says there’s a link between same-sex relationships and abuse (as an example of “other marginalized people”). So I think you’re making that up, or citing someone else who made something up (the ever elusive “everybody knows,” perhaps?).

    This is just one more reason why this is a bad place for this conversation.

  93. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm |

    That “abuse comes from abuse” I mean, I don’t think that’s always true.

  94. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm |

    And just about every sentence of that post is crazy offensive.

  95. shah8
    shah8 July 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm |

    But plenty of people do think that way.

    I’ve kinda hated Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice partially for the kind of thinking that transgendermom does. It’s a way to indulge yourself/the audience when you percieve that the labeling that you do is cartoonish without imputing *some* kind of motive. I’ll pray for you sentiment to the despised.

  96. ilyka
    ilyka July 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm |

    Am I the only one who thinks that if all this post accomplished was giving Piny a chance to set the record straight about her life and her experiences, then that’s fine? Because if I am, then I think I’m okay with that. I’m especially okay with it if it makes any assholes in the crowd hit the “rethink” button before writing a bunch of hateful lies about someone just because said asshole is sore at having been called an asshole.

    But it sure was swell watching the voz fans pull the old “but what about the larger conversation?” switcheroo that’s somehow bad when white feminists do it, but totally fucking awesome when voz does it. Maybe, just maybe, if you want to have a larger conversation, you don’t start by deliberately, maliciously smearing someone. Maybe you don’t actually get to to do that and then cry about how no one wants to take the high road, WAAAAAAH it’s unfair, without people pointing and laughing at you. Accountability’s a bitch, isn’t it?

    don’t see that happening here, and I think that the argument that voz is abusive is specious.

    Ever had someone lie about you? It’s abusive. It’s toxic. It sucks hours and energy from your life. I’m not sure I’ve ever quite washed the unearned shame of it off me. It’s cancerous. There are people I loathe and despise whom I still wouldn’t wish the experience of being lied about in a public forum on, because they might be assholes but no one, asshole or otherwise, deserves to suffer that. No one.

    Don’t tell people who’ve taken that kind of abuse how they get to feel about it or how they get to define it for themselves. Especially don’t do that and then whine that this is “a bad place.” Yes, it certainly is. It’s a place where spineless know-nothing compassion-less morally bankrupt ASSHOLES get to preen around pretending that they’re rilly making a difference, speaking truth to power and standing up to oppression. Not buying it.

    Piny, sorry you went through this. Little Light, I want to be you when I grow up–alas, I seem also to be cut from the asshole cloth. Everyone else, fucking lick me.

  97. transgenmom
    transgenmom July 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm |

    A quick bit of research shows this.

    http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats.htm

    But I understand why what I am saying is offensive. Because if it is true it would mean that it is wrong to attack and degrade others for being abusive.

  98. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 6:59 pm |

    Well it doesn’t defend you being a flaming racist for one thing. But stats also don’t really necessarily mean something is or will be true on an individual level either.

  99. Donna
    Donna July 12, 2009 at 6:59 pm |

    ILYKA! I LOVE YOU! DON’T EVER LEAVE THE INTERNET AGAIN!

    As soon as my back is fixed, I was planning on making the trip out to your home state and knocking on every door until I found you and made you come back to the internet. That was the plan! Back is still not fixed so I’m glad to see you here now and tell you DON’T MAKE ME COME LOOKING FOR YOU!

  100. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm |

    And yes I’ve been smeared (by someone banking on people hating sex workers) and lied about too in public.

  101. megankay
    megankay July 12, 2009 at 7:07 pm |

    transgenmom, leave it alone. Not all abused people become abusers, not all abusers were once abused. You’re bringing some really inflammatory, irrelevant, offensive shit into this conversation.

  102. lucullean
    lucullean July 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm |

    transgenmom,

    what you have said really elides abusers’ agency, doesn’t make much sense, is racist, decenters survivors and is otherwise fucked up on many levels.

  103. timberwraith
    timberwraith July 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm |

    Um, while I don’t know the methodology behind those statistics, I’m guessing that those who are hit harder by poverty tend to receive more scrutiny from institutions that monitor child abuse. That is, money helps to insulate one from institutional scrutiny. Given that economic resources are not evenly distributed by race and ethnicy, I don’t trust the numbers to represent an accurate portrayal of who tends to abuse their children more.

    Besides that, this is neither the time nor place to bring up abuse and it’s possible correlation with one’s membership in certain demographic groups. In fact, that’s bringing this discussion dangerously close to out and out racism. Stop it.

  104. transgenmom
    transgenmom July 12, 2009 at 7:12 pm |

    transgenmom, leave it alone. Not all abused people become abusers, not all abusers were once abused. You’re bringing some really inflammatory, irrelevant, offensive shit into this conversation.

    Thats fine. I’ll step out.

  105. Jadey
    Jadey July 12, 2009 at 7:14 pm |

    Transgenmom, that research you linked is specific to child abuse, and that is not the kind of abuse being discussed here. Pulling up child abuse stats in order to make a point about voz and her behaviour is beyond the pale. You talk like you are *diagnosing* her, and that is *all* kinds of inappropriate.

    The post is one thing and I think piny’s voice needs to be heard and preserved for the record, but a single one of these offensive comments on this kind of post is too much.

  106. Jadey
    Jadey July 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm |

    Sorry, commented on something already dealt with. My apologies.

  107. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm |

    Please unmod my comments…

  108. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla July 12, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    then consider yourself licked by me, ilyka. if stating the obvious – that this processing or whatever is happening in a space that is cis and white centric and therefore playing into the oppressions that she experiences WHETHER SHE IS ABUSIVE OR NOT, and that people can hold someone who has been abusive accountable WITHOUT USING THEIR OWN OPPRESSIONS against them. cos it’s not an all or nothing thing. as if a person being abusive means that we now have the excuse to pile a bunch of racist and transphobic attacks back on her. and it’s ironic that this is what a lot of people are accusing her of doing – of turning the oppressions of people she’s mad at against those people. but it’s ok for us to do the same thing to her cos “well, she’s an abuser”?

    if that makes me some kind of apologist or “friend of voz” in your mind, then … lick me.

    and to be clear: i am white, i am a trans woman, i am not voz’s friend, and i am the friend of a lot of people who have been her targets.

  109. Donna
    Donna July 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm |

    I’ve been debating with myself on whether I wanted to comment on this or not, because I know that what I have to say is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations. I think people who don’t know Voz think that Piny and some others are using hyperbole and exaggerating when they use words like “abusive” or “toxic”. They just don’t know. And it’s funny to me that this is considered a pile on when I know so many people are actually holding back, like me. So keeping quiet makes it look like it was just one or two incidents of bad behavior, a lapse in judgement, everyone screws up, no big deal. But if everyone who has had a run in with Voz came forward and told what happened, then it’s a pile on. So damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    During that whole NOWHC thing, I wrongly told off BFP. Things are much more complicated than, “NOWHC hates trans women”. They had a hard time finding any medical personnel at all, and could not find any trans friendly doctors or nurses to work at the clinic. But that’s a digression, my point is that I agreed with Voz and told off BFP and criticized NOWHC. Later I saw that several people were contacting NOWHC and trying to get answers. I also saw that the one trans woman in the whole mess who is actually affected by the policy, Queen Emily, wanted people to back off for a few days until she could get a response. I said that people on both sides who want to rampage against NOWHC, and those who want to praise them are a distraction until we get the facts and explanations. I agreed with Em that it was time to stand down for a short period of time.

    This is where the shit hit the fan. Keep in mind: I was still critical of NOWHC. I was not saying that we had to back off forever and ever. I said only for a few days, less than a week. I was saying this because it’s what Em wanted. Em is a trans woman and the only trans woman involved in this who is actually affected by the policy.

    It’s not even a matter of disagreeing with Voz. As Little Light said, you get this even if you agree with her but not vehemently enough to her liking. Voz got angry with me and started lying about me. She was telling people that I, a cis woman, was ordering trans women around and telling them what to do. That I think I know what’s best for trans women. That I undermine trans women. Even though I said several times that what was going on with NOWHC was not okay and that I am only reigning it in because it’s what another trans woman wanted us to do. I was listening to trans women, just not her. I was letting a trans woman take the lead, just not her. I was telling her what I was doing and why, I never told her what to do. But I wouldn’t be her puppet and that makes me a cissupremacist transmisogynist.

    Voz apparently thinks she is the only trans woman who matters. If you are cis and disagree or don’t agree strongly enough, then you are a cissupremacist transmisogynist, even if you are agreeing with and working with other trans women. If you are a trans woman and disagree or don’t agree strongly enough, you are a colluder who has internalized transmisogyny, even if other trans women agree with you.

    I was friends with her, obviously after she started lying about me to our friends and to strangers, that’s not happening anymore. I’ve also been there and witnessed her ballistic off the wall antics with many other people. This is a pattern with her.

    I think the only purpose to this thread is for Piny to set the record straight and maybe give some warning. Voz has lead a hard life, most of us understand that, but she takes it out on everyone who comes into her orbit, friend and foe alike. And I don’t think that kind of damage can be fixed by any blog post or comments.

    1. amandaw
      amandaw July 12, 2009 at 9:13 pm |

      I just want to say,

      I think it is really, really inappropriate to conflate oppression with abuse.

      It does no favors to survivors of oppression or survivors of abuse. It completely disappears the individualized reasons, causes, etc. in favor of a simplistic way to dismiss a person.

      It implies that it is ok when a person is abusive because they have been through tough times.
      It implies that every person who has been through tough times is damaged, made unwhole, made into a bad person.

      Neither of those things is ok to imply – ever.

      Agency exists in every one of us, and though we navigate very complex spaces when we are under intense pressure, we still have a responsibility to make sure our actions do not harm others.
      To imply that a person “can’t help it” or that they just “lash out in anger” or such — that removes that person’s responsibility.

      In doing so it disrespects and denies the experience of people who have been abused, and it denies the personhood of the person accused of abusing, dismissing them as unable to make their own choices.
      It also completely disappears the distinction between anger/emotion and abuse/harm.
      Which is another way to deny a person’s right to anger/emotion, to silence them.

      There is no place for this kind of language in any discussion.

  110. chava
    chava July 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm |

    Look, I have no dog in this fight, so I’m going to stay away from commenting on the prime issue here.

    However.

    It does seem somewhat trivializing of abuse and survivors of abuse to deem, at worst, Internet bullying and gossip mongering “abuse” or the person who perpetuates this “an abuser.” **

    Asshole, sure. Abuser? Maybe not so much.

    **I don’t want to deny that cyberbullying can be a destructive force for teens, or that it can be psychologically damaging. I still would hesitate to use the word “abuse.”

  111. Blackamazon
    Blackamazon July 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm |

    I am not exactly sure how much space I have to speak as a person of some privilege and as a person who has been off the web .I have tried my best to follow but if I am remiss please correct me.
    Pint has a right to respond in her space as she wishes . Whatever else it’S not okay to say that she is wrong to do so. We can critique it as we wish but we can’t say she has no right to speak.
    And frankly what was said about her in voz’s space is something that she has every right to say “this is not a place I can talk and feel safe”
    I have had my brawls my really nasty brawls and done many things I ain’t proud of , but no matter what every one has a right to talk in their own space
    Saying anything else is silencing
    Piny gets to speak for herself
    I have talked to voz and had lovely exchanges but that does not extend to how she treats others
    This whole thing bothers me because the question is at it’s base (and call me wrong and most will ) is who we are accountable to why and how we set those exchanges.
    Privilege is one thing we must check for, speaking for others as well but so is abuse and shaming and fear and fear mongering.
    If people find voz’s actions ( not tone) but use of some very assaulting ,gender baiting, language traumatizing. We have NO right to go well it’s okay or we have to understand. If voz has her reasons or history, for not wanting to discuss it here that’s reasonable but when people hav come out and said 

    I do not feel comfortable not because this is challenging my privzilege but because I feel threatened and triggered

    Because the language and dynamics in use are ones used by people trying to HARM me 

    It isn’t a well we’ll learn from it thing, it’s  a are we considering these concerns expendable thing .

    And if we are not going to base this in truth and concern and  beliefs not straight reactions not threats and tactica moves then no

    Whatever the cause if harm is caused and more so if harm is intented then it has to be addressed and we do not default to privilegung one over another in a desire to SEEM correct

    This can not default to  place where the judgement is based on why or who we like for identity purposes.  Things were done and said here that just are not anger or not 

    These stateMents this actions and this treatment for whatever reasons were not okay

    The ends do not justify the means and yes it MUST be asked if this is okay what next  

  112. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm |

    Fwiw, I agree with Donna & Ilyka.

  113. chava
    chava July 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm |

    And my comment is (yet again) in mod (what DO I say, guys?)–but for when it comes through:

    I should have said “teens and others,” re: cyberbullying–it obviously isn’t only damaging to young people, although this seems to be where it is most serious.

  114. RD
    RD July 12, 2009 at 9:00 pm |

    People who don’t know Voz? I know Voz, I bought her a fucking bus ticket to come see me and mine, I know her and consider her a good friend. Like I said I don’t condone what she said but it is not just people who don’t know her who are objecting to all this.

  115. Renee
    Renee July 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm |

    Finally got caught back up on this thread. Even though Feministe is a large, blog what alternative did Piny have other than to allow voz to continue to abuse her? There may be a power imbalance between the two blogs but it is not of Piny’s making. If someone had attempted to smear my good name, you are damned right that I would scream it from the highest mountain and have no shame about it. As the old saying goes, “don’t start shit won’t be none.”

    Second, this whole “tone” argument really needs to be addressed. When I write, I am direct and to the point which often means that I get disciplined for my “anger”. Heaven forbid a woman of color have an opinion that challenges the mainstream. The difference is that VOZ does not enter a discussion in good faith. Her commentary is often inflammatory and needlessly cruel. Anytime you need to resort to personal attacks rather than sticking with the issue at hand clearly the goal isn’t about raising awareness but working out some unresolved anger.

    I am not going to try and get inside VOZ’s head, I have neither the desire or the right but I will say that no matter what your intent, when you take on the master tools you are doing your cause a disservice.

    Coming from a position of privilege it can be very difficult to call out a marginalized body on abusive behavior. A decent person will always wonder if they are being blinded by their privilege and if that is why they see language and or an action as abusive. Trans, of color, gay, or differently abled, does not give one a free pass to abusive. Assholes come in all categories and I think it is patronizing to act like just because VOZ is a TWOC that she is incapable of being a jerk. Defend her if you must because she is your friend but don’t pretend that a certain vileness has not made itself apparent on several occasions. Being an ally does not mean that you have to sign yourself up to be a punching bag for someone to work out their personal issues.

    While this may seem at first like a personal disagreement what I see is person after person saying that they too have been wounded. There are consequences for every single action that we take in life and I believe that those who spoke in support of Voz are actually belittling her. If you believe in her then allow her to accept the results of HER actions. If she was woman enough to put herself out there then she is woman enough to deal with the results. I hardly believe that she is incapable of hearing the truth as others see it.

    Finally, those of you on this thread that thought that it was okay to use racism or transmisogny to attack VOZ are lower than low. This thread was not about you taking the opportunity to express you inner idiot to the world but about creating an open space where issues that have recently arisen could be openly discussed. By sinking to that level, you are worse that what you are supposedly critiquing.

  116. Jill
    Jill July 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm | *

    FYI to Chava and RD — neither of you are in mod on purpose. Lots of comments (including my own, sometimes) go into the mod queue for reasons I don’t quite understand. Apologies, I know it’s annoying.

    However, Transgenmom? You are going on mod. Your comments were really inappropriate and offensive. Ditto to Nice Feminist.

  117. NoNameToday
    NoNameToday July 12, 2009 at 11:02 pm |

    I’ve spent awhile deciding whether or not to say something in this thread. I’ve gone back and forth, I’ve agonized over it. Now I’m behind a fake name and an onion proxy, and I think that says just about everything that needs to be said. Voz’s behavior, and it hasn’t just been in one space or in one instance, went beyond ugly. It went beyond angry. It went beyond saying something stupid. Voz attacks and hurts.

    The reason Voz’s behavior is being called abusive is because theres a pattern of malice. She says things that are designed to hurt people in the way that she knows is likely to be as painful as possible. She makes her comments with just enough distance and humor that she can accuse people who get hurt of being oversensitive or missing the point. She lies about her targets. She brings social pressure to bear on them. She uses aggression to keep others in line. Someone earlier said that her erratic behavior leaves people walking on eggshells, and quite a few people have mentioned being afraid. Thats the atmosphere that surrounds an abuser. Thats why so many of us tense up when we see someone with a uniform or a badge. Its a pattern, its a method, its intentional, and its ugly.

    The problem with Voz isn’t that shes trans, or a woman, or of color, or angry. There exists no shortage of people who fulfill some or all of those traits either in real life or here on the internet if you’re willing to look around a little. What Voz is being called out on isn’t anger, its abuse. There are many angry trans women of color because the world puts them in a position where its impossible to not be angry. Most of those people do not behave in the way Voz often does. What Voz is expressing is not anger, it is hatred.

  118. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla July 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm |

    *** really really conflicted, hearing what everyone is saying, rethinking things and bowing out ***

  119. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 12:34 am |

    For some of us, Chava, “internet bullying” is just abusive as bullying is offline. For some of us, the internet is our main way of socializing–and when you feel like all your old haunts are unsafe & your friends could hear (& believe) lies about you because of one person then that seems pretty damn abusive.
    I don’t see any difference between describing an internet bully as abusive or calling a bully in your social circle abusive.
    Not to forget that some of us are triggered by what Voz says, how she acts, etc (even if we agree with the point she is trying to make). Even if I’m not her target I get tense & scared.

    And, if you “have no dog in this fight”, why the hell are you commenting?

  120. chava
    chava July 13, 2009 at 12:45 am |

    I do not have a dog in the fight between Voz and Piny.

    I do have a metaphorical dog, as it were, in issues of abuse, which is why I commented after several others chose to describe Voz as “an abuser.”

    As I said in my previous comment, cyberbullying can certainly be as hurtful and damaging as RL bullying, and gossip mongering/smearing is certainly nothing to be taken lightly in either medium.

    Still, I would not describe Voz in this case as “an abuser.” I realize it may sound like semantics–and I don’t want to get into Opression Olympics. “An abuser” to me is different from a bully and it brings up a whole different set of issues, which I usually associate with those who have been abused by parents, loved ones, or those over them in some kind of hierarchical power structure (to be utterly cliché, a priest abuses a child. a child bullies another child) . It can certainly bear similarities to bullying, but there is a different power dynamic present that needs to be recognized.

  121. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 13, 2009 at 1:31 am |

    Can someone explain to me why anyone would think that piny’s original attack on voz on QT is defensible?

    Can anyone explain why this has become “voz is a worthless, horrible asshole” and piny’s privileged and insulting attitude — rightly identified as such by voz in her LJ post (before the clit attack in comments) — is not worth talking about?

    Honestly, if the point of this whole post was to publicly call voz an asshole, well, okay, it worked. But setting the record straight on piny’s transition experience? No, that could have been done without this kind of blatant attack.

    Who exactly considers an appropriate response to this:

    as a twoc, I guess my concerns were primarily with the women excluded from this description, and the larger conversation about NOWHC.

    To be this?

    Well, yes, but…look, you’re an asshole. I agreed with a lot of the things you were saying about transmisogyny and exclusion, and still do, but you’re an asshole.

    You have one interactive setting, and it’s “ballistic.” There are reasonable arguments in favor of the ball-peen approach. Unfortunately, you also have this utter disinterest in context, collateral damage, or applying the same high standards to yourself. You say ignorant and hurtful things pretty routinely, and you don’t care.

    You’ve driven a bunch of people away from the “larger NOWHC discussion” by spearheading it. You aren’t a good organizer or activist, online or offline. You make enemies, not friends. And it’s not because of your politics.

    During this last discussion, I kept my feelings to myself because I didn’t want to get your back up and because I feel like a fucking heather right now. But you brought a lot of dysfunction, and it didn’t help anyone, and I don’t want to see it continue in anyone’s name.

    Yes, voz should not have Gone There where she did in the comment. But up until then? piny was acting quite the malicious, cruel, spiteful asshole herself — and she continued to do so by posting this thread.

  122. Mireille
    Mireille July 13, 2009 at 1:44 am |

    Caoimhe Snow >>

    Well, if those were the only responses, yes, you’d be right.

    But really, I’d direct people to http://voz-latina.livejournal.com/16324.html?view=291268#t291268

    (sorry, this directs to my comment, but scroll up to voz’s post)

  123. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 1:47 am |

    I think, Caoimhe Snow, that you are forgetting the larger context.
    THe context includes the pile-on at Bfp’s and the context of Voz’s transphobic/racist/etc comments throughout the blogosphere & LJ.
    In that context? Hell yeah I say Piny was justified in her comment.
    And personally, when I read her comment, my response was a mixture of cheering (yay, someone finally said something!) and fear for the major ‘drama’ Voz would create in her response.

  124. Anonymous for this one
    Anonymous for this one July 13, 2009 at 3:17 am |

    voz isn’t “an abuser.” voz is an oppressed person…

    But people are people, they’re more than constructs we read about in theory books. Voz maliciously goes after anyone who even vaguely displeases her to deliver the most amount of hurt possible, and particularly enjoys watching people bow and scrape – “you must approach me with respect” was my favorite phrase of hers at QT. And then she doesn’t admit as such. Like any abuser, she only makes the most oblique references to her deliberate and precise actions. It’s creepy.

    No amount of theorizing – genuine theorizing, I’m not accusing you of any malicious intent yourself – is going to change the nature of those actions.

    She rightfully earned very public condemnation. It hurts? It sucks? Hmmm, maybe there’s something to think about for her here….

    It does seem somewhat trivializing of abuse and survivors of abuse to deem, at worst, Internet bullying and gossip mongering “abuse” or the person who perpetuates this “an abuser.” **

    Asshole, sure. Abuser? Maybe not so much.

    I sincerely suggest that you try being run off the internet, particularly at a time when the internet is, for whatever reason, comprising the core of your interaction with people.

    Not only does it suck, but you begin to see the patterns you’ve experienced with an abuser offline. It’s always “look what you made me do,” “I am not actually responsible,” “I had A, B and C happen to me in life, so you can’t suggest as though I don’t have the right to do X, Y and Z…” oh, and now, my favorite:

    “Let’s talk about it.”

    It? What’s that?

  125. Anonymous for this one
    Anonymous for this one July 13, 2009 at 3:19 am |

    Switch the word “concept” in for “construct” in my first sentence, my brain has done gone fuzzy in the heat.

  126. chava
    chava July 13, 2009 at 8:08 am |

    Sheezlebub–

    I did not say one could not be abused online (such as in an online abusive relationship). I said that this seemed to be an instance of (potentially systemic) bullying between peers rather than “abuse.” I think my original comment sounded denigrating of bullying as “not as bad,” which, while my knee jerk reaction, is not exactly what I meant. It is DIFFERENT, not necessarily worse, and that difference is important.

    And for the record, you and Anon have no idea how much the Internet comprises my social Interaction. Ever wonder why I comment so freaking much?

  127. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 13, 2009 at 8:26 am |

    And for the record, you and Anon have no idea how much the Internet comprises my social Interaction.

    FTR, I never made any comments or speculated about the amount of time you spent online. Though I disagree that bullying isn’t abuse, this is not the time or place to discuss it.

    But this really is a derail–I’ve already emailed the mods and asked them to delete my comment. Not because I feel Piny didn’t have a right to address Voz’s post about her (I do), but because I think everything that needed to be said has been said (as well as some things that frankly didn’t need to be), and anything further is going to make the flamewar nuclear.

  128. M
    M July 13, 2009 at 8:41 am |

    Being an asshole, then citing the “tone” defense if one gets called out on it, is really common in a lot of livejournal communities. It is, of course, important to recognize that sometimes anger is reasonable and warranted, and dismissing it is silencing and belittling. But not all that anger is warranted – the anonymity of the internet turns otherwise reasonable people into assholes at the drop of a hat. Somewhere along the line, these kids realized that it was easier to accuse others of bigotry rather than try to control themselves.

  129. piny
    piny July 13, 2009 at 8:53 am |

    First of all, I need to apologize.. I have no excuse for not anticipating the driveby cissexist/racist comments. I’ve been warned, privately and publicly, about exactly that dynamic on Feministe, and I’ve seen it play out many times. At the time, I was worried about censoring or seeming to censor critical commens. So I asked my cobloggers to mod lite. I stand by my decision to post on Feministe, but I should have been a lot more careful. I don’t expect this apology to make anyone feel more comfortable here or in this larger discussion. I just want to say that I’m truly sorry.

    I’ve just moved to Phnom Penh. I probably could also have anticipated that transcontinental relocation and blog shitstorms don’t mix too well. I didn’t see most of the clueless and likewhoa comments until much too late. I have to thank my cobloggers, too, for moderating when I couldn’t get to a computer.

    I do want to say something about what, exactly, I’m complaining about. There’s angry, like when you call Ann Coulter an asshole. Then there’s hateful, like when you call Ann Coulter an ugly mannish cunt. But then there’s this other thing, which is like when someone says, “Ann Coulter? Isn’t she that fascist blonde from the Bill Maher show?” and someone else says, “That’s the one! I happen to know that she wrote all about her ‘botched sex change’ in the first edition of Slander. But don’t bother going to check. She expunged it from all the subsequent editions, because it was just too humiliating.”

    Voz researched me. I know she did, because she made verbatim references to a two-year-old throwaway post on a blog that posts three updates a day. She had to have searched for that post, and she would have found others. When she first showed up on Feministe, I posted some updates that lay out my situation very clearly. So she knew the truth.

    She made a pretty coldblooded decision to lie about me, and then she told another lie to keep people from seeing the disparity between her version and my words. That’s not lashing out in anger, and that’s not lashing out in hate. It’s an elaborate and nasty deception.

    And she knows better than to say things that hateful. Not because she’s trans herself, but because she spends a lot of time on the internet explaining exactly why these kinds of insults are so inexcusable and so effective. This wasn’t privilege. It came from a place of insight.

    So I don’t have much faith in a “resolution.” If I had, I would have sent Voz a damn email. I don’t trust her. I think the township of Good Faith is smoking rubble in her rearview mirror. I’m annoyed and offended that Voz showed up here saying that I had to work to restore her confidence. I know that this is much bigger than I am, and I support whatever interaction y’all want to have. But I’m not going to have some calm dialogue about my “hurt feelings.” Why? So that next year, she can write about the time I said I derived deep sensual pleasure from rimming battery hens?

  130. piny
    piny July 13, 2009 at 8:57 am |

    Oh, I shouldn’t have said that.

    Piny’s a poultrysexual, specifically one who “derived deep sensual pleasure from rimming battery hens,” which she openly described on the blog Feministe. The post is all gone now, because some vegan blogger–Elaine somebody–threatened to post her home address all over the internets. Now she lives in Cambodia, where they also have chickens.

  131. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago July 13, 2009 at 11:39 am |

    Since people are using this space to ad hominem voz, i figured i may as well use it to point to piny’s faults as well. Piny, I hate when you appropriate trans experience, especially trans male experience. Or when people refer to feministe as having one and a half trans contributers–Holly and you. (if there is another trans contributer I missed, I apologize.) You are a cissexual woman and have experiences similar to other cissexual women. Obviously your time spent on testosterone is a little unusual for most cissexual woman.

    I also think your original comments to Voz were completely unfair. Did you seriously tell her she has one setting, and it’s “ballistic”? I mean, c’mon.

  132. little light
    little light July 13, 2009 at 11:41 am |

    You are a cissexual woman and have experiences similar to other cissexual women.

    That’s true, most of the cissexual women I know have transitioned twice. “Time spent on teststerone”? Like, three years, plus legal transition and surgery? Honestly?

    And yes, you’re also forgetting Jack.

  133. timberwraith
    timberwraith July 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |

    Oh crap. I missed the memo from Trans Headquarters that Official Trans Status™ is measured by years spent on testosterone. I’m going to stop mentioning when I medically transitioned so no one can challenge my trans credentials.

    No. Wait. Was that memo for trans women, too? Damn. I’m confused.

  134. Marlene
    Marlene July 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm |

    I keep turning this over and over in my head. Is asshole a strong enough word?

    Voz does (written) violence to trans people.

    I am happy to see her called out anywhere for her lies and cruelty.

    little light, thanks (as always) for saying what you say and saying it so well.

  135. prettyamiable
    prettyamiable July 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |

    I’m hoping someone can clear something up for me. This isn’t intended to derail the thread, but I’m unsure where this question can be better posited. I’m entirely new to feministe.us and have only recently started to consider in depth huge topics like oppression of major (and minor in number) demographic groups. One of my new-found interests is the plight of groups who are marginalized because of utter lack of awareness. For instance, I work at a university and have recently started asking questions about what we do when a transgendered student comes in – simply because of articles I’ve read regarding school aged trans children and the issues they’ve had regarding things like bathroom use and the bullies that make an already difficult issue (the prevalence of society’s male/female dichotomy) more difficult.

    I am a cis hetero white woman. I say this because upon reading this thread, it appears to me that the validity of my opinion seems to rest on each of those descriptors being different than what they are. I wholeheartedly believe that I am lucky to fit into a mold that society approves of – meaning that I have rarely been discriminated against. Thus, I come from some relative privilege.

    Many of the comments refer to taking this argument away from a trans space, into the realm that I inhabit as a white woman of privilege. I understand some of this concern to the extent that I would not want to have it anywhere individuals are transphobic. Some of the language used here for sure connotes some amount of transmisogynism that thankfully was corrected (and I hope that should I err there as well, I would be set straight).

    I don’t understand why Piny couldn’t address it here regardless of the typical reader/participant. Can’t I agree (or disagree – have an opinion on, really) that someone is an asshole if they are transgendered, or, gasp, an ethnic minority who is transgendered? Is the term “asshole” not gender-neutral or cis/trans neutral? I read this in the comments – “But the way this was presented seems too much like using the bully pulpit of a large, cis-dominant blog to squash a trans woman” and just don’t get it. And want to. This argument sucks. It’s not winning friends for anyone. Can’t we at least agree to view each other as people, first and foremost? I strongly disagree with any of the arguments made by either party wherein either individual tries to discredit the other based on their associations (either inherently felt or as determined by others). That kind of makes them an asshole. Is my opinion really unwelcome? If I were a black transgendered person, would the opinion be more valid?

    I dislike the notion that I can’t understand something because I haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes. I can’t ever be the summation of someone else’s experiences. This includes trans women as well as every other cis, white, etc etc. Does this mean we no longer have accountability to one another as people? Can I flagrantly offend someone else because I am different?

    VOX, I need to be clear that I don’t know you nor am casting judgment on your actions at this time. I’m expressing concern that there’s an emphasis on divide in these comments rather than the emphasis I have previously seen on education of the visitors to this blog.

  136. prettyamiable
    prettyamiable July 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm |

    *VOZ, typo (!), my apologies.

  137. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    Voz does (written) violence to trans people.

    When?

  138. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm |

    HAVE YOU BEEN READING THIS THREAD?!
    Have you read the comments from trans* people saying how she triggers the fuck out of us and/or feels really abusive?
    Personally, I cheered when she was banned from Transgender (for making transphobic personal attacks) because that meant I had one space free from her! One space where I could talk without fearing that she’d disagree with me or misread my comment or whatnot.

  139. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm |

    (hit submit too soon)
    One space where I could comment without panic attacks. And fyi, the internet is my main way of socializing. So this meant that during some pretty dark times for me, I had no safe spaces & I felt like I couldn’t talk to any of my friends.

  140. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |

    Okay, here’s more of me calling shenanigans.

    @Renee, you wrote:
    As the old saying goes, “don’t start shit won’t be none.”

    The thing is, even in piny’s retelling of the story, piny is the one who started the shit. Seriously, I challenge you to go back to the QT thread linked and tell me that piny didn’t inappropriately come out swinging at voz. Do you really think that piny’s actions there were justifiable? And if so, why does that same theory not also make voz’s response okay?

    @Renee also wrote:
    Anytime you need to resort to personal attacks rather than sticking with the issue at hand clearly the goal isn’t about raising awareness but working out some unresolved anger.

    I wonder why this isn’t seen as personal attacks? Is this “raising awareness?” This:

    Well, yes, but…look, you’re an asshole. I agreed with a lot of the things you were saying about transmisogyny and exclusion, and still do, but you’re an asshole.

    You have one interactive setting, and it’s “ballistic.”

    You aren’t a good organizer or activist, online or offline. You make enemies, not friends.

    She’s dishonest, manipulative, petty, and ugly-minded. She’s an asshole.

    How are those quotes not reflective of unresolved anger?

    (Also, what’s up with typing voz’s name in all capital letters?)

    @NoNameToday:
    What Voz is expressing is not anger, it is hatred.

    Such as when?

    (BTW, what’s up with so many anonymous commenters joining in on piny’s bashing here? Is that common on Feministe?)

    @Mirelle
    Well, if those were the only responses, yes, you’d be right.

    I’m not sure I get your point. On that thread, I see voz being willing to respond to criticism.

    @Anon Trans Man:
    I think, Caoimhe Snow, that you are forgetting the larger context.

    No, I’m not. I was there for the things you are alluding to. (BTW, you don’t have to call me by my full name; just “Caoimhe” is okay.)

    @Anon Trans Man:
    …and the context of Voz’s transphobic/racist/etc comments throughout the blogosphere & LJ.

    Which transphobic and racist comments has voz made? Links, if possible, would be nice. I hear a lot of hearsay about all this, but I follow voz’s writing pretty closely, and I haven’t seen her doing what you accuse her of doing.

    @Anonymous for this one: (so many anonymous bashers)
    and particularly enjoys watching people bow and scrape – “you must approach me with respect” was my favorite phrase of hers at QT.

    Really?

    Because I looked and I looked, and I couldn’t find this phrase.

    Could you help me find it? Thanks.

    @Anonymous for this one:
    I sincerely suggest that you try being run off the internet, particularly at a time when the internet is, for whatever reason, comprising the core of your interaction with people.

    Who exactly is being “run off the internet” here?

    @Anon Trans Man:
    Personally, I cheered when she was banned from Transgender (for making transphobic personal attacks) because that meant I had one space free from her!

    If you’re talking about Transgender on LiveJournal, voz didn’t make any transphobic personal attacks in that community.

    Meanwhile, you’ve been making plenty of personal attacks, under cloak of anonymity — and piny’s declared open season on voz.

    @Anon Trans Man:
    One space where I could comment without panic attacks. And fyi, the internet is my main way of socializing.

    You’re repeating yourself, you know?

  141. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |

    Oh, and yes, @Anon Trans Man, I’ve “BEEN READING THIS THREAD.”

    Will there be a thread soon where I can discuss if any of your oppressive attitudes (especially as a man trying to get women kicked off of feminist spaces) are triggering to me?

    And if so, are you going to still hide behind an alias?

  142. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |

    If you’ve read this thread than you’ve seen multiple trans* people say how she has harmed us. Therefore, if you read this thread, you should have had no reason to ask if she has harmed us.

    This isn’t just about a feminist space, this is about trans* spaces too; most of them are not women-centric but are trans-centric & as a trans* person I definitely have a right to speak about how she has affected those of us in those spaces.
    How exactly have I been oppressive? By telling y’all that someone acts in ways triggering & abusive? By not being silent about how Voz’s words/actions have affected me and other trans* people? Or perhaps by being fed up with getting panic attacks and so trying to let others know how she acts so that if she does go off on me than people are less likely to believe her lies. If so, then I am so ~sorry~ for being oppressive by wanting trans* spaces to be safe for trans* people.

    And I really don’t want Voz to know who I am. She had access to a number of my personal details for a while & I have no way of knowing how much she remembers/saved.

  143. AnonToday
    AnonToday July 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm |

    are you going to still hide behind an alias?

    Perhaps you should wonder why so many people have seen fit to use an alias here? Why would they desire anonymity? What could inspire that kind of fear? There have been quite a few trans* people in this thread who have felt the need to express their support of Piny anonymously. That really ought to tell you something.

  144. Caoimhe Snow
    Caoimhe Snow July 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm |

    @Anon Trans Man:
    If you’ve read this thread than you’ve seen multiple trans* people say how she has harmed us. Therefore, if you read this thread, you should have had no reason to ask if she has harmed us.

    I’ve heard multiple trans people claim harm; I’ve heard few people describe that harm — and your attempts at such have fallen far short of the mark. (E.g., you claim that she did something on the Livejournal “Transgender” community, but she did not do what you said she did.)

    @Anon Trans Man:
    This isn’t just about a feminist space, this is about trans* spaces too; most of them are not women-centric but are trans-centric & as a trans* person I definitely have a right to speak about how she has affected those of us in those spaces.

    But this here, feministe, isn’t a trans space. It’s a cis-dominant feminist space that is trying to be more trans-inclusive. A non-trans person (such as piny) pulling a trans-space argument into cis-space is rather jarringly inappropriate, in my opinion. And the racist, sexist, and transphobic slurs thrown at voz are proof of part of why that’s a bad idea.

    @Anon Trans Man:
    How exactly have I been oppressive?

    Well, for starters, when a man on a feminist site starts screaming at a woman in all caps to tell her that she isn’t paying attention, maybe that man should take a step back and take a look at his own actions.

    @Anon Trans Man:
    If so, then I am so ~sorry~ for being oppressive by wanting trans* spaces to be safe for trans* people.

    But, again, you’re not talking about trans spaces. You’re arguing, from behind a shield of anonymity, against a trans woman on a cis-centric site. This has nothing to do with trans spaces.

    You’ve also refused to answer direct questions, and your only response has been that voz is just so monstrous and everyone should see it. Sorry, I don’t see it — I don’t see her being abusive and hurting trans people. I see her being less than polite, sure, but it reeks of privilege for a man (are you a white man, BTW?) to drone on and on about a woman of color “hurting” him by speaking up in a way he doesn’t approve of.

    A different (?) anonymous person says:
    @AnonToday
    Perhaps you should wonder why so many people have seen fit to use an alias here? Why would they desire anonymity? What could inspire that kind of fear? There have been quite a few trans* people in this thread who have felt the need to express their support of Piny anonymously. That really ought to tell you something.

    I don’t buy that.

    On a thread which is supposedly about holding voz accountable for her actions, it’s telling that the people who come out of the woodwork (at piny’s instigation) are hiding behind masks and then blaming voz for the masks. Yeah, you’re so scared of her.

    As “M” wrote above:
    … – the anonymity of the internet turns otherwise reasonable people into assholes at the drop of a hat.

    And yeah, that’s what we’re seeing here. People who are, thanks to piny, using this forum to take pot-shots at voz anonymously, including slurs and deliberate falsehoods. Funny, I thought piny was against misrepresentations — but she sure takes no action to monitor the anonymous trolls. Oh, yeah, right: she invited them here.

  145. Someone Who Maybe Isn't Caoimhe
    Someone Who Maybe Isn't Caoimhe July 13, 2009 at 5:22 pm |

    The fact that the Klan wore masks just goes to show you how justified they were — what other explanation is there for? Black people were just that scary to them. Right?

  146. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  147. Someone Who Maybe Isn't Caoimhe
    Someone Who Maybe Isn't Caoimhe July 13, 2009 at 6:22 pm |

    @Anon Trans Man

    Wow, I’m glad that you finally posted some direct links instead of making unsupportable accusations!

    By the way, why didn’t you link to the whole thread? Where a trans man casually drops “trannies” while saying that trans women need to lighten up and not be so “over the top” when confronted by a transphobic ad?

    Note, of course, that even after the mods threw voz off but not someone else who used the same language, it remained okay in the transgender LJ-community to use the word “tranny.”

    voz was making a point. Was it the way I would have made it? No, probably not. But was it a valid point? Her point wasn’t that FTMs are “dickless men,” but that maybe, just maybe, trans men on a trans community should stop sling around the term “tranny” whenever they feel like it — and especially not when it’s a case of self-identification, but telling trans women to just shut up and not be so darn angry about transmisogyny.

    Once more, Anon Trans Man, we see that you are supportive of silencing women in order to promote mens’ voices, and yet you claim you aren’t oppressive? Okay. What else you got here?

    By the way, who are you on LiveJournal?

  148. Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Caoimhe Ora Snow July 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |

    @Anon Trans Man

    Wow, I’m glad that you finally posted some direct links instead of making unsupportable accusations!

    By the way, why didn’t you link to the whole thread? Where a trans man casually drops “trannies” while saying that trans women need to lighten up and not be so “over the top” when confronted by a transphobic ad?

    Note, of course, that even after the mods threw voz off but not someone else who used the same language, it remained okay in the transgender LJ-community to use the word “tranny.”

    voz was making a point. Was it the way I would have made it? No, probably not. But was it a valid point? Her point wasn’t that FTMs are “dickless men,” but that maybe, just maybe, trans men on a trans community should stop sling around the term “tranny” whenever they feel like it — and especially not when it’s a case of self-identification, but telling trans women to just shut up and not be so darn angry about transmisogyny.

    Once more, Anon Trans Man, we see that you are supportive of silencing women in order to promote mens’ voices, and yet you claim you aren’t oppressive? Okay. What else you got here?

    By the way, who are you on LiveJournal?

    I’m really interested in seeing what your contributions online look like, compared to voz’s. Or is she the only one who we’re going to examine?

    (I guess the lesson is: If you want to be offensive, hide behind a fake name like “Anon Trans Man.”)

  149. Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Caoimhe Ora Snow July 13, 2009 at 6:30 pm |

    Oh, and also? That whole thread was a mass of racist, sexist fail, most of it by trans men trying to shut down trans women. The community mods may have caved and made voz into the scapegoat (typical), but she was far from the worst there, and plenty of trans men were throwing around a huge amount of privileged crap.

    So, which one was you, Anon Trans Man?

  150. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale July 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm |

    Anon Trans Man,

    Yeah, slinging back harmful triggering insult for harmful triggering insult is a tactic that makes no one feel warm and fuzzy. The fact that the phrase she used made you feel triggered and unwelcome is unsurprising, and I don’t think anyone arguing with you would want it to be commonly tossed around the way many slurs against trans women are.

    That comment was in the aftermath of a thread in which a whole lot of people [mostly men] defended men appropriating a slur used against women. The very idea that a woman could ask men not to use triggering language was considered “controversial” for that community. So yeah, I think what voz said there was fucked up. I also think it’s fucked up that she’s the one who got banned, and I think the moderation in that community is problematic.

    If all the people who used harmful triggering language, and/or defended its use in that community were banned, a number of men wouldn’t be members anymore. The fact that voz was banned and the men defending the use of “t****y” weren’t is straight up misogynist.

  151. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 8:21 pm |

    Anon Trans Man, thank you for putting this in context with that link. Voz fucked up bad by resorting to a transphobic attack against trans men in response to trans mens right to use a word that pretty universally means “chicks with dicks” or “men in dresses” and is triggering and panic attack inducing for lots of trans women.

    And also is a word thats the fault line for the male and masculine privilege that certain men enjoy in queer female spaces where some women are not even welcome.

    VOz was clearly completely wrong about you. In the same ways that cis men’s dicks can give them societal power and privileges a lot of you guys aren’t dickless at all.

    And Renee, “don’t start shit won’t be none,” who do you think threw the first punch here?

  152. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 8:25 pm |

    Or what Butch Fatale said.

  153. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm |

    Little Light,

    I appreciate a lot of what you said here and that your a person who builds a lot of bridges and goes through a lot of hell trying to hold them together. and you probably see someone like me as an approaching ship with zero clearance. But for me, no, theres a world of difference between being transsexual and cissexual in respect for your gender and making peace with being butch or genderqueer or gender non conforming in a cissexist and binary gendered world.

    I feel like I transition and detransition every fucking day and can’t help but resent Piny’s experiences when they get cast as really knowing what its like. I respect that it wasn’t easy for her but she got the nuts and bolts of it not the feeling of being trapped, invisible, suffocating and wanting to cut your fucking face off all at the same time.

    But you know no disrespect Piny, just how I feel.

  154. Lauren
    Lauren July 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm |

    BFP pretty much nails my thoughts on this, but I’m nobody.

    But I do have an opinion: I think the comments about whether or not this conversation on whether this is an appropriate conversation on Feministe as a cis-space is important, but in this context, a red herring. Why are so many people commenting anonymously? And why are so many people who are saying they feel abused getting hit back with But, But, Buts?

    The commentary that Piny received was triggering for me, and I have no experience with transitioning — none whatsoever. But I am familiar with abuse, and I am familiar with the kind of language that focuses on physicality to further cut down a target, and I’m a little shocked that so many folks are making excuses for tolerating this kind of behavior. I can’t tolerate a reaction to dissent that is always “ballistic” or gonzo or nail that fucker to the wall because it’s so dehumanizing, and interpersonally, straight up abusive.

  155. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm |

    Anon Trans Man, thank you for putting this in context with that link. Voz fucked up bad by resorting to a transphobic attack against trans men in response to trans mens right to use a word that pretty universally means “chicks with dicks” or “men in dresses” and is triggering and panic attack inducing for lots of trans women.

    And also is a word thats the fault line for the male and masculine privilege that certain men enjoy in queer female spaces where some women are not even welcome.

  156. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm |

    Yes Voz was completely wrong about you guys. As far as social power and priviledge you can wield your dicks just like cis guys can.

  157. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 13, 2009 at 10:06 pm |

    And Renee, “don’t start shit won’t be none,” who do you think threw the first punch here?

  158. Sarah
    Sarah July 14, 2009 at 7:15 am |

    “I think the moderation in that community is problematic”

    You’re entitled to your opinion. However, and I speak only for myself here, and not the rest of the moderation team of the LJ transgender community, I’ll point out that the community in question is not some sort of radical transfeminist discussion group – it’s mostly there for people who have come to a difficult, confusing place in their life, have no idea what to do, are scared of losing pretty much everything they have, want to find a doctor, or a therapist who won’t try to “cure” them, want to know about hormones, or how to change their name, or what to do when they’re told they can’t take a pee in a public toilet.

    In other words, it’s a support community. Now I agree that there are things that go on there which are “problematic”, but it’s not the banning of someone whose actions resulted in a number of vulnerable early transitioners of my acquaintance contacting me to tell me they’re terrified of sticking their heads above the parapet in there.

  159. Elly d'Yckgirl
    Elly d'Yckgirl July 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |

    As I don’t know much neither Voz nor Piny I won’t make comments about the direct subject, but I just wanted to say that comments about how someones (Piny in this case) is not trans and is cissexual when that person actually has an exerience of transition.

    I mean, I can completely understand that she doesn’t want to define as trans, but when it is imposed from another person it really reminds me of all the “not trans enough” thing (and as I am an egoist thing, I don’t just say this to “defend” piny but also because as a trans girl who have had to suffer from the “you’re not trans” it resonates with bad experience).

    I think it’s important to say that cis/cissexual oppression exists and to use those terms, but when it’s drawing a line in the middle of the life of people because they are not enough in one category I think it’s really not good.

  160. Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Caoimhe Ora Snow July 14, 2009 at 11:24 am |

    Sarah, you wrote, in response to me:
    … it’s mostly there for people who have come to a difficult, confusing place in their life, have no idea what to do, are scared of losing pretty much everything they have, want to find a doctor, or a therapist who won’t try to “cure” them, want to know about hormones, or how to change their name, or what to do when they’re told they can’t take a pee in a public toilet.

    Uh, yeah, and maybe that’s why people like me (who fits a lot of that, short of ALREADY having lost pretty much everything) don’t really want to stop in there and get slapped in the face by men calling us “trannies.”

    Really, do you want to debate this here? I think you screwed up, and I don’t think you’ll be best served by defensively arguing that in order to maintain a safe space for trans people, you need to let trans men toss slurs at trans women.

    I mean, if you want to talk about bad modding techniques, there’s you blithely ignoring a bunch of COMPLETELY unsafe transmisogynistic stuff said by trans men to support the use of a slur against trans women, but then freaking out when you decide that a word not used as a slur, to you personally, is some oppressive word that requires immediate intervention. Men bashing women? That’s just fine though.

  161. Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Caoimhe Ora Snow July 14, 2009 at 11:28 am |

    Er, oops, I meant “in response to ButchFatale.” Who is not me. :) I promise!

  162. Sarah
    Sarah July 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm |

    Caoimhe – there is a *debate* about the use of the word “tranny” by members of the trans community. This is rather different from, for example, refering to trans men as “dickless men”, which is what Voz was banned for, and which is clearly and unambiguously transphobic. Your apparent vitriol at the LJ transgender community moderation team for not serving as your personal hit squad to slap down anyone who disagrees with your position on the “tranny” thing, I think part of the problem I talked about above.

    Much as some would like LJ’s transgender forum to be a temple to radical transfeminist orthodoxy (parodying the second wave radical feminist orthodoxy which we find so oppressive – I think this would be funny if it weren’t so tragic), with heretics cast out at the merest hint of dissent, it’s not going to happen. Deal with that however you want to – people will still post there asking where to find doctors, whether the drugs they’re taking are safe, and how they go about changing their name.

  163. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm |

    Fwiw, no, I don’t use ‘tranny/trannie’ & I actually didn’t comment in those threads (though I’ve commented in past ones–against the use of ‘tranny’ by trans men). I’ve actually agreed with her point most of the time; it’s just that she often uses oppressive language and she acts in a way that feels abusive to me (and others–men, women, trans, cis, white, POC, etc).

    The use of transphobia as a tool to bring down transmisogyny is rather…counterproductive, wouldn’t you think?

    Moreover, since I’ve been trying to stay away from Voz for the past few months, I don’t recall specific links. She said some racist things about a WOC in her old twitter, she went after a woman on QT when she misread what she had said (the woman was agreeing with her)–that was probably shortly after the Bilerico thing, she was mod-noted in trans_rage comments for dis/ableism, she posted a now-deleted post to transgender about how trans guys need to be raped and killed (it was supposedly “satire”), she called Autumn Sandeen a “ugly trans fan in a dress”…
    Perhaps you just haven’t been paying attention?

  164. Amanda in the South Bay
    Amanda in the South Bay July 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm |

    Sarah,
    Yes, some trans women do reclaim “tranny” as a term they use, but there are also quite a few of us who, well, are most certainly not going to “debate” the issue and think its pretty damn offensive. If someone on their personal blog uses the term, and I happen to visit their blog regularly cause I like what they have to say, its probably not going to bother me; however, in a community setting, I would expect people to at least be aware that not all members of said community are going to be comfortable with it. The fact that there is a debate about it (I think there was a post here about it a few weeks ago) doesn’t mean its not at the same time offensive to lots of people.

  165. voz
    voz July 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm |

    she posted a now-deleted post to transgender about how trans guys need to be raped and killed (it was supposedly “satire”)

    that post is still available in three places, including my LJ, trans_rage, and dot_trans_snark under the title “So, you want to reclaim “tranny,” do ya, lil punk?”

    I strongly suggest you include the context with what you’re slinging. Besides, if I’m as evil as you claim, it could even help your case.

    Or do you have an investment in hiding the full story?

  166. voz
    voz July 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm |

    I do believe I have finally figured out who Anon Trans Man is.

    and the other shoe drops.

    I think I’ll be posting about this Real Soon Now.

  167. Callie
    Callie July 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |

    I do believe I have finally figured out who Anon Trans Man is.
    and the other shoe drops.
    I think I’ll be posting about this Real Soon Now.

    When arguments don’t work, threats will do.

  168. voz
    voz July 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm |

    @Callie

    Ohs…this is a doozie. Real teeth, fur, and claws stuff.

    But it turns out a friend of mine already beat me to the punch.

    http://voz-latina.livejournal.com/16324.html?thread=291780#t291780

    As far as the lil innuendo fest here, enjoy yourselves. Once this went from whiteness powering a personal grudge and clouding important issues to fantasies of being called out for poultry abuse, this was pretty much the only response left.

  169. Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Caoimhe Ora Snow July 15, 2009 at 11:58 am |

    @Sarah wrote:
    Much as some would like LJ’s transgender forum to be a temple to radical transfeminist orthodoxy (parodying the second wave radical feminist orthodoxy which we find so oppressive – I think this would be funny if it weren’t so tragic), with heretics cast out at the merest hint of dissent, it’s not going to happen.

    You keep saying “temple to radical transfeminist orthodoxy” in the same way angry conservatives complain about “out-of-control political correctness.” And you’re using it as a dodge, same way that they do, in order to push the idea that slurs are okay.

    Meanwhile, can you explain why exactly you flipped out over the term “queen” — used properly in context by a trans woman to another trans woman, and not as a transphobic or homophobic slur — but “trannies” as a dismissive slur by men is okay by you?

  170. Anonymous for this one
    Anonymous for this one July 16, 2009 at 5:30 am |

    I do believe I have finally figured out who Anon Trans Man is.

    and the other shoe drops.

    I think I’ll be posting about this Real Soon Now.

    Not surprised. Intimidation is your forté. I hope that the people who have come to defend you will never see the “other shoe drop.”

    You can go on pretending that this is really all about others oppressing and victimizing you, but at least some of us see through that now.

  171. Noren
    Noren July 16, 2009 at 9:49 am |

    I’m trying to follow this, but just a question…

    why is voz-latina.livejournal.com coming up as deleted for me? voz seems to be linking to that as of two days ago, but now I just keep getting messages saying that LJ account has been deleted. Is this an error, or the real thing?

    Thanks.

  172. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm |

    Yeah, she does seem to have deleted her LJ.
    (though, fyi, she can undelete it within the month, so it could be back later. & LJ is free, so she can easily make a new one)

  173. Bint Alshamsa
    Bint Alshamsa July 16, 2009 at 8:11 pm |

    Anon Trans Man,

    Look who’s stalking who now.

  174. Bint Alshamsa
    Bint Alshamsa July 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm |

    Anonymous for this one,

    “You can go on pretending that this is really all about others oppressing and victimizing you, but at least some of us see through that now.”

    You can go on pretending that this has nothing to do with the ways that cis privilege gives certain kinds of people a bully pulpit that they can then use to allow folks like you to make such ignorant comments. This is bigger than whatever Voz did. Once Piny put it on here and then let the masses spout so much racism and transphobia, it started to involve everyone who ends up on the shit end of these forms of oppression. Thankfully, quite a few of us can see through excuses like yours.

  175. Estrobutch
    Estrobutch July 16, 2009 at 9:29 pm |

    When I first saw this it smelled like a mob hit. I’ve thought about it some more and I think its probably more like a US invasion. There was a grudge to be settled but unlike the mob, Feministe had to wait for Voz to cross the line so they could dress it up in moral high ground.

    When the US gov’t decides to bomb someone the first step is to justify to themselves before anyone else. I’m sure it was the same process here which is why its pointless to wonder about what the intentions were–hold Voz accountable? put it on the record? I fully believe that the US leaders can go into a conflict with a clear conscious eventho its clear to everyone else all the underlying selfish motivations.

    By the second un modded drive by it was pretty clear to anyone who wasn’t looking to get a good kick to the ribs in themselves that it was payback.

  176. phaseofgray
    phaseofgray July 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm |

    I am coming into this debate on the late side, but having been part of the whole lj tranny/dickless men debacle I have some thoughts.

    While I agrees that the use of the word tranny in a mixed space such as the lj community is not wise, the context in which it was first used was not intended to be offensive. The poster stated that had the commercial in question used that term in their ad that would have been rage worthy. In other words, the poster said the use of such a slang term was “bad.” I think many people missed that when they read the post. FTMs were not throwing about the term “tranny” they were saying that using that term was bad.

    Further, that particular post should have been made in trans_rage if the OP did not want people to discuss their personal opinions of whether or not the commercial was offensive. As it stands you are allowed to discuss items posted in transgender.

    I in no was advocate or defend the use of the word “tranny;” however, the way in which people took offense and ignored the context of the comment led to an appalling amount of name-calling, shit-slinging, slurs, etc.

    I for one think the MODs took the appropriate action in that particular case.

  177. maevele
    maevele July 16, 2009 at 11:00 pm |

    dammit, voz deleted over all this? damn.

  178. ilyka
    ilyka July 17, 2009 at 3:00 am |

    Okay, I don’t think I’m yet in a place where I entirely understand the objections to this post and this thread, or if I ever will be, but, Bint, you’re hard not to take to heart, so if I get there, it’ll be largely because of you.

    Except I wince typing that, because it seems to have cost you too much, and that, at least, is a pattern I recognize, and don’t like that I contributed to. I’m sorry I was so venomous earlier and I’m sorry you felt unwell.

    This is where I’m stuck–well, no, let me start with what resonated first. This, certainly:

    it started to involve everyone who ends up on the shit end of these forms of oppression

    –because, yeah, it’s as you say a mostly white/mostly cis blog, with a mostly white/mostly cis audience, and while I could go upthread and pick out the exceptions to that, that wouldn’t change the power imbalance that, if I have you right, you’re objecting to. Also take your point that more people than just voz lie on that axis of oppression, and in that respect, what you said in your post about the hammering makes sense to me.

    The stuck part, I have to approach through an analogy. I’m sorry for the length of it, but my brain is kind of broken that way:

    So like tonight Lifetime or somebody is showing the movie “Karla,” about Karla Homolka, wife of Paul Bernardo, serial killer, and say I Google her name and one of the first links goes to an MRA board, where they’re using her to go on one of their usual tears about evil bitches. So say a feminist blog sees that, and wants to host a discussion about why that case is so well-known, why we’re so repulsed by/fascinated with Homolka even more than Bernardo, the feminist implications and blah blah. I mean, that’s a pretty easy-to-imagine post and thread on a feminist blog, enough so that, for all I know, it already exists out there somewhere.

    And so also, if one of those MRAs showed up to tell the feminist commenters “That bitch helped KILL PEOPLE, WOMEN, EVEN–and you call yourselves feminists!” it would be understandable if the commentariat responded with something like, “Dude, we know that. But this is a discussion about the treatment of women criminals in a patriarchal society, so piss off.” And if I were in that thread, I’d be all, “that’s right, MRA d00d, and fucking lick me.”

    (Gotta interrupt for the disclaimer: I am not comparing what voz did to rape, torture, and murder. I’m hyperbolic and everything, but come on.)

    The thing is–the thing is, the feminists wouldn’t be trying to have that discussion with the family of one of the victims, within a week of Homolka’s arrest. Or I’d HOPE they weren’t! And if they were, I’d be telling THEM to lick me.

    That’s why I did that here: I felt like people were piling on the victim for the sake of having a larger conversation that’s perfectly valid and in fact necessary to have, but maybe not here, and not right this minute. Not on the timetables of people who DIDN’T wake up one fine morning to read all about their trendsexuality and poor development. Maybe not in the comments to a post by the person who got to read lies about herself, and not just lies about herself but lies about a very personal, intimate part of herself, and not just even that, but lies that constitute

    tranny-baiting. Not man enough, not woman really, you stupid cunt. If someone did this to Voz–ridiculed her body for failing to meet cis standards, projected all of that disgust into her, and then ridiculed her for shame and self-hatred–she would be furious, and she would be right.

    So . . . I’m uncomfortable with that. Because I think when things like this happen, we lose what I at least loved about blogs in the first place–the very personal, flawed, and human stuff that hits you right there and makes you realize, you’re not as alone as you thought you were. We lose intimacy. We lose community. We lose connection, because you can’t have those things when people are too afraid to share bits of themselves for fear of what may become of them later on down the line–how they’ll be twisted and used against them by someone out for revenge.

    We’ve already lost writers to that fear. I am passionately against anyone wielding that fear as a weapon, and that part of me–look, I’m 40. That part of me isn’t going to change.

    What I can maybe change, though, is assuming the worst of folks I really have no reason to assume the worst of. For charging in here all hotheaded and doing that, again, I’m sorry.

  179. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale July 17, 2009 at 11:21 am |

    phaseofgray – that is not, in fact, how it first came up. The post I believe you are referencing came up after the very contentious debate on a previous post about trans men using the word. The events referenced in that post were not solely about that livejournal community, they were about trans men using the word in general.

    ilkya – I think your analogy doesn’t hold up. We’re having a larger conversation about the tactics piny used in objecting to voz’s tactics. We’re talking about a community and the way people in it leverage their privilege.

  180. ilyka
    ilyka July 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm |

    We’re having a larger conversation about the tactics piny used in objecting to voz’s tactics. We’re talking about a community and the way people in it leverage their privilege.

    Yes, but you’re doing it, as I so laboriously suggested above, on the victim’s doorstep while the wounds are fresh.

    You’re also talking about “tactics”–albeit only piny’s–whereas I’m talking about a very personal response to some very personal ugliness. I’ve tromped all over the internet yelling that intent doesn’t matter, but I’ve made that argument when someone has hurt someone else, and then tried to claim that what’s important is that they didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

    I have NOT made that argument when someone’s hurt someone else and that someone else feels compelled to respond to it. Then, I think, intent very much matters, and execution, how you go about your response, matters.

    Piny doesn’t HAVE another blog that’s not Feministe, and she didn’t say “Go get ‘em, cis women hordes!” She said–well, it’s all up there, isn’t it? She said “This is a lie.” She further noted that this was a lie deeply rooted in transphobia, i.e. one that’s harmful to more than just her personally.

    Anyone who thought that was a license to break out some racism and trans misogyny got booted from the thread, and an apology was issued by piny for those fools ever having been in the thread in the first place.

    I don’t, in other words, know what else you would have her do. And I’m . . . skeptical . . . that anyone really wants to live under the narrow interpretation of intersectionality that seems to be being proposed here, where it’s okay for people to lie about you so long as they live under an oppression you do not, where the greater evil is one’s relatively measured response to viciousness, and not the viciousness itself.

    But I don’t at this point think anyone’s capable of considering that, nor will they be, until one day they wake up to find one of their more personal and vulnerable posts dug out of their archives, twisted beyond all recognition into something misogynist/ableist/racist/etc., which they are then accused of having deleted from shame–and everyone piles into the clown car to insist the conversation be about their tactics, the ways they’re leveraging their privilege.

    When that ricochet hits (and if there’s one thing the internet demonstrates daily, it’s that it will), I hope people reach out in love to the person(s) it’s hit. I also hope those who have some distance from it reach out in love to the person(s) who did the hitting, and I really, really hope it’s understood that it’s not the most workable idea to have these outreaches occur in the same space at the same time.

    But I also hope for an ice cream pony that shits Franklins, so don’t mind me.

  181. Michelle
    Michelle July 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm |

    Estrobutch wrote:

    its probably more like a US invasion. There was a grudge to be settled but unlike the mob, Feministe had to wait for Voz to cross the line so they could dress it up in moral high ground.

    When the US gov’t decides to bomb someone the first step is to justify to themselves before anyone else. I’m sure it was the same process here

    I’ve been lurking on this thread for reasons of my own. I could very well be misreading these words and if that is the case, I apologize. But if not, I feel that Estrobutch’s comment has named not only what could easily be happening here, but also something that resonates hard with my own experiences.

    I absolutely don’t speak for anyone but myself. I am cis, but am reading this from another place where I am a target of unrelenting socially acceptable/polite violence and hatred.

    My experience in/with this society is that there are two types of violence:

    1. The kind that can be done with politeness, and seeming benevolence (including the moral high ground – this type is violence that is culturally plausible as something other than violence).

    2. The kind that has none of the protections that the first type has.

    In the cultural landscape, it’s the second type that shows up as unambiguously wrong, while the first type just sort of swirls around causing pain and harm but not obviously except to its targets.

    Screaming in pain (out loud or not out loud) from the “acceptable” masked violence, what are the options of its targets? I can speak from my own current choice.

    After seeing the full range of what I am capable of when I try to resist (a range that includes me doing the second type of violence – raw, overt, unmistakable), I have recently decided to take in and accept the masked polite violence and hatred that is directed at me. I have decided to accept it, to agree with it, to internalize it.

    I force myself to not fight back, I absorb and do not respond, I discipline myself that I deserve it. I welcome the violence into me. And this process doesn’t look violent at all from the outside. If I don’t fight back, I’m finding, it’s all very quiet in what others can see.

    I do not advocate what I am doing for anyone else. It requires me to consent to a kind of spiritual suicide. But it doesn’t give anyone any excuses. I am learning to be passive, quiet, taking all the violence into myself and protecting the source of the polite acceptable violence from having to deal with someone who will fight back. Because I can’t handle the range of what I can do when I respond externally to this violence. And because I know what is and is not defined as violence and harm in the larger context I am in.

    So I have decided that I would rather kill my own spirit than deal with the range of what I am capable of when I choose to fight back.

    This is not me being a good person or a martyr and don’t anyone take it that way. This has become the easier thing for me to do given the options I have available to me. And my range of options is different from other people’s range of options, so this is not comprehensive at all.

    Again, I don’t advocate my choice for anyone else. It’s horrible. Seeing anyone else but myself do it would break my heart and make me sick to my stomach.

    I don’t know if this is actually relevant to this discussion or if I am projecting and reading into it from my own selfish perspective. I’ll post it but be warned, it could be irrelevant. Again, I only speak for myself.

  182. ilyka
    ilyka July 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm |

    Again, I don’t advocate my choice for anyone else. It’s horrible. Seeing anyone else but myself do it would break my heart and make me sick to my stomach.

    Oh WHATEVER, Jesus.

    Look: Lard that up with all the boldfaced disclaimers you want to, but you posting that here fits one of only two scenarios: (1) You want everyone else up on that cross with you, which I doubt, because having seen you in action before, I’m pretty certain by now that it’s actually (2) you angling for the crown of thorns and the title of Best Ally Ever. I believe you when you say it would make you sick to your stomach if anyone else did it; indeed, where would your sense of self-worth be then?

    Incidentally, do you know how many people have told me they find the behavior you describe above extremely creepy, patronizing, and controlling? And no wonder: It’s classic rescuing behavior, straight out of the Karpman Drama Triangle. The people you want to rescue, your “victims,” sense how that triangle works, even if they don’t have a name for it, and they know that eventually, given enough time and enough strain, you’re going to move to the Persecutor corner–and they’ve got enough persecution to deal with in a day as it is, so thanks, but no.

    What you advocate, even if only for yourself, isn’t healthy, isn’t sustainable, and isn’t going to do sweet fuck-all to end anyone’s oppression. Bonus points for it also being creepy as hell and, more often than I think you realize, unwanted by those on whom you foist it.

    Voz is a full-fledged human being, and if I go by the testimonies of her friends in this thread, not a half-bad one, either. Well, let her be human. Let her own her behavior. Let her grow and flourish in her time, in her way, without you rushing in to play human shield and reduce her to naught but her burdens. Let her be more than the victim role you’ve cast her in and let her BE, period. Because what you’re doing actively obstructs that process. It enables abusive behavior that plenty of nonwhite, noncis people in this thread have expressed a desire to see stop, abusive behavior I’d like to think voz is capable of overcoming.

    Speaking of rescuing and enabling, it’s past time I quit trying to do both with this thread. Good God.

  183. belledame222
    belledame222 July 18, 2009 at 12:43 am |

    Oh WHATEVER, Jesus.

    Goddam, I’ve missed you, Ilyka.

  184. never commented before
    never commented before July 18, 2009 at 1:48 am |

    and don’t plan on coming back here. while i agree that some of the things voz said were inappropriate and hurtful, this is so fucked up.

    She deleted her livejournal, and while I don’t presume to know the reason, i can’t help but think this post contributed to her feeling unsafe (ON THE FUCKING INTERNET–try and wrap your mind around that). another trans woman of color’s voice silenced–no big deal. it certainly doesn’t affect our cis, white lives.

    bang up job!

  185. Anon Trans Man
    Anon Trans Man July 18, 2009 at 10:23 am |

    Fyi Bint Alashema, I’m a member of several communities she posts in & noticed her username was striked out (meaning the journal is deleted). I didn’t realize that reading posts in comms I’ve read for years was stalking.

  186. Michelle
    Michelle July 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm |

    @Ilyka,

    In that comment I was speaking only from my own specific and lived experience, only speaking about and for myself. The bolded comments are from my worries about how bad it is to say these things in public. But — if it is so bad to say these things in public, I should not have said them. Period. Not say them with disclaimers or whatever. I was wrong, purely and simply wrong, to post that comment.

    I have been reading and responding to this whole thing through my own specific and lived experience, which is selfish and wrong of me, especially when I make public what I am thinking about all of this.

    What I did wrong is posted a long irrelevant harmful comment in a discussion about something else. The wrongness underneath is that I respond to these kinds of things through my own lens given my own lived experience, often when it is not actually about that in the slightest.

    My comment has nothing to do with this actual situation here. My comment is completely wrong as part of this discussion and it causes harm.

    It enables abusive behavior that plenty of nonwhite, noncis people in this thread have expressed a desire to see stop, abusive behavior I’d like to think voz is capable of overcoming.

    Ilyka are you yourself not white and/or not cis? I thought you were white and cis, but the way you are writing, I must be incorrect about that and apologies for thinking what isn’t true about you.

    But if you are not in fact speaking on your own behalf, then that’s another serious wrongness in what I did — providing you with the opportunity to respond from that space (I can see how my comment was like giving an engraved invitation for such a thing, if that is what happened).

    I’m pretty certain by now that it’s actually (2) you angling for the crown of thorns and the title of Best Ally Ever

    My observation of my own actions and their effects is this: I am no “ally” and never have been, ever, in actual practice.

    I function as a harmful presence if I do participate in these kinds of discussions. This just how I actually function in actual practice and I need to take that much more seriously than I have been.

    I am not an ally. I have not been at all clear on this, not at all. I hope that people know this from how I actually function in such discussions, but also it is my responsibility to be bluntly upfront on this point.

    I am absolutely not an ally, never have been and never will be. Nor, for that matter, have I ever been interested in any other form of oppression but what I myself experience. Only when there are real or imagined (by me) intersections or similarities do I get involved, and always for selfish reasons based directly on my lived experience.

    I have been engaging for some time in the wrong and destructive practice of seeking intersections and similarities where there are none. Thank you for commenting in a way that shows that in sharp relief, Ilyka. I don’t like you at all, and never have. And your comment was way off in its content, but that’s because of my choice to post complete freaking destructive irrelevance in this thread. Even so, your comment illuminates the wrongness in what I did in commenting and for that, thank you.

  187. belledame222
    belledame222 July 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm |

  188. shemale
    shemale July 20, 2009 at 10:22 am |

    Piny’s post, just so we’re clear, was insanely inappropriate…

    (Trackback not working for me for some reason, so.)

  189. Bint Alshamsa
    Bint Alshamsa July 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm |

    Anon Trans Man,

    “I didn’t realize that reading posts in comms I’ve read for years was stalking.”

    What you realize has absolutely nothing to do with me nor does it affect the fact that, for quite a while now, women in marginalized communities have been saying that Feministe is not a place where they feel safe speaking out. You may not care about how this post contributes to that, but I do.

  190. Bint Alshamsa
    Bint Alshamsa July 22, 2009 at 12:21 am |

    Anon Trans Man,

    by the way, it’s BINT ALSHAMSA. Get it straight or don’t bother directing any comments at me that you seriously want responded to. Ugh!

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