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  1. Beauzeaux
    Beauzeaux August 24, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    I don’t understand the reluctance of feminists to take up the cause of trans women. As a straight ciswoman I first had to understand that lesbians were and are an indispensable part of the feminist movement. (That I figured out in 1970.) It took me a bit longer (about 10 years) to come to the same position re trans women. I had to read up and educate myself. I’m still doing it.
    This is a great post — part of my continuing education.

  2. Jadey
    Jadey August 24, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Pumping is something I only just learned about from Transgriot.

    Thanks for this, C.L. I don’t have much to add except yes. The gender policing of trans women is a particular vicious head on the hydra we’re all fighting, and it’s infuriating that people still construct the idea of “real” women to perpetuate that marginalization.

  3. chava
    chava August 24, 2011 at 11:49 am |

    Thanks for this. I hadn’t thought of putting mtf reassignment surgery in the category of “women’s health services our country fucks over,” but it seems like part and parcel of the same BS, with an extra helping of transphobia.

  4. Mym
    Mym August 24, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Frankly, I wouldn’t call FFS cosmetic either–I’ve heard that for some people it’s more important, dysphoria-wise, than getting the plumbing remodeled. It’s certainly more visible. I’m uncertain on breast augmentation, but at least for some women you could make a strong argument that it’s not cosmetic either.

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

    I wonder if we will ever get to a point where gender policing is not quite so stringent. And I think that there’s even a spectrum of presentation among those who are trans. Some engage in surgical procedures, some do not. Often this is because of simply economics, sometimes personal choice.

  6. Marlene
    Marlene August 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    Thanks for this post. The intersection between my body issues that are trans related and my body issues that are simply the result of being a woman in this culture is a frequent point of focus for my attention and efforts to unwind my real needs from my conditioned anxieties. It’s very nice to read someone else’s thoughts on the subject. Nice to be reminded I’m not alone (even though I know damn well that I’m not).

  7. links for 2011-08-24 « Embololalia
    links for 2011-08-24 « Embololalia August 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    […] Reflections One of the things that sometimes puzzles me is why there is a reluctance, in some reaches of the feminist community, between linking feminism and trans issues. Because if we accept Tobi Hill-Meyer’s definition of trans as “a person who’s gender is not universally considered valid”–well, then. Because it seems to me that one of the major issues confronting women, no matter how we got there, is that our gender, our very personhood is not considered universally valid. Is there that much of a gap between Hilary Clinton being called a mannish for wearing pastel pantsuits while wielding power and Christie Lee Littleton having her widowhood and gender ripped away by a Texas judge? (Or Ann Coulter being called trans, for that matter…but let’s let that one lie for now.) And yet. The act of striving towards “looking like a woman”, so fraught for cis women, is often turned against trans women, held up as an example of our unreality. It’s one of your classic double-binds… (tags: gender feminism trans body.politics) […]

  8. Jay
    Jay August 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    Another great thing about that NYT story: it must have driven the late Abe Rosenthal’s remaining admirers at the paper, if there are any, ABSOLUTELY INSANE. :-)

  9. Jay
    Jay August 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    Drat, guys. Sorry for the dupe. Please delete #7.

  10. Diana
    Diana August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    (for reference, I’m a cis woman and a lesbian) I have no idea what it means to be a woman or a man…I sometimes have difficulty disentangling my actual desires from those stemming from indoctrination. I’ve vacillated between rejecting all the trappings of “femininity” (and hiding my body) to embracing the few that make me smile and wearing clothes that make me feel good (and a little bad–I got a little self-slut-shaming going on in my head, though less now). All I can say is that some things feel right to me (for me), while others feel terribly wrong, and my sexual orientation was somehow tied to my gender performance (though I know that that may or may not be the case for others)…I started deciding which aspects of “femininity” to embrace (rather than rejecting them all full stock) when I came out, and I’ve never been happier or less ashamed. Only you know what’s right for you…and despite what Julie Bindel said in the article you linked, the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of health. May we all have the courage (and wherewithal) to “be who we are” and the compassion/generosity to want that for others.

  11. timberwraith
    timberwraith August 25, 2011 at 7:13 am |

    Diana, I’m a trans woman and what you wrote describes my experiences as a woman almost line for line. I was nodding my head as I read your words.

    I don’t how many people realize this, but femininity (or how ever the heck society defines that term) isn’t something that all trans women go absolutely gaga over. My own personal tastes lean toward the blurry boundary between androgyny and what society defines as “feminine.” I pick and choose what I find to be palatable and push away that which isn’t… and there’s a lot of things about society’s notions of womanhood that I find to be strongly unpalatable.

    I too am primarily attracted to women. One of the things I love about the queer women’s community is that there has always been this broad range of gender expression that defies the boundaries of womanhood that society lays down. Being around so many queer women during my transition helped deepen my own understanding of what feels “right” to me.

  12. Sharing the love « The Lady Garden
    Sharing the love « The Lady Garden August 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    […] Minou on the double bind of looking like a woman. …when I look at my reflection, I don’t see the face-that-was, a face I was fond of only […]

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