“Gender Critical Feminism” = Heteronormative Sex Essentialism

Views: 2806

Gender Critical Feminism (GCF) is a euphemism for TERF. There is no ideological difference between the TERF and “Gender Critical Feminist” (GCF) movement; they are one in the same. GCF teaches that because sex is a natural binary, intersex people are actually just deformed men and women and trans people are always the sex they were assigned at birth. As Janice Raymond’s acolyte Sheila Jeffreys wrote, “sex” is fixed and referring to trans women with female pronouns is therefore immoral in the sense that it is a dishonorable act.

Postmodern and queer theorists share with transgender theorists the idea that “gender” is a moveable feast that can be moved into and out of, swapped and so forth. Gender, used in this sense, disappears the fixedness of sex, the biological basis that underlies the relegation of females to their sex caste. The inferior sex caste status of women is assigned with reference to their biology, and it is through their biology that their subordination is enforced and maintained through rape, impregnation and forced childbearing. Another reason for adherence to pronouns that indicate biology is that, as a feminist, I consider the female pronoun to be an honorific, a term that conveys respect. Respect is due to women as members of a sex caste that have survived subordination and deserve to be addressed with honour. – Sheila Jeffreys, PhD, Gender Hurts, pp 5-6

While GCF/TERFs claim that they apply a “Radical Feminist” critique to gender, they are actually an ideological offshoot of Radical Feminism because instead of rejecting sex essentialism, the GCF/TERF movement uses sex essentialism as its ideological foundation. GCF/TERFs are generally sex-essentialists who believe that sex is a natural binary because there exists some undefined male or female essence that is found in all men and women. Sometimes this sexed essence is viewed as habits acquired during early socialization and at other times it is some specific sex attribute.  The specific “essence” that GCF/TERFs appeal to changes from time to time, depending on the argument they’re making.

Many trans people are generally highly critical of a supposed natural sex and gender binary. In this way, the views of trans people can align well with the views of the Radical Feminist movement. The progenitor of Radical Feminism, Monique Wittig, rejected notions of a natural sex binary:

The ideology of sexual difference functions as censorship in our culture by masking, on the ground of nature, the social opposition between men and women. Masculine/feminine, male/female are the categories which serve to conceal the fact that social differences always belong to an economic, political, ideological order. Every system of domination establishes divisions at the material and economic level. Furthermore, the divisions are abstracted and turned into concepts by the masters, and later on by the slaves when they rebel and start to struggle. The masters explain and justify the established divisions as a result of natural differences. The slaves, when they rebel and start to struggle, read social oppositions into the so-called natural differences. For there is no sex. There is but sex that is oppressed and sex that oppresses. It is oppression that creates sex and not the contrary. The contrary would be to say that sex creates oppression, or to say that the cause (origin) of oppression is to be found in sex itself, in a natural division of the sexes preexisting (or outside of) society. The primacy of difference so constitutes our thought that it prevents turning inward on itself to question itself, no matter how necessary that may be to apprehend the basis of that which precisely constitutes it.”

Sandy Stone, a trans woman who was targeted for death by armed TERFs, said, “There is no ‘natural’ sex, because ‘sex’ itself as a medical or cultural category is nothing more the momentary outcome of battles over who owns the meanings of the category.” Most TERF/GCFs are ideological sex essentialists; most trans, intersex and RadFems are not.

“Hormone and chromosome research, attempts to develop new means of human reproduction (life created in, or considerably supported by, the scientist’s laboratory), work with transsexuals, and studies of formation of gender identity in children provide basic information which challenges the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes. That information threatens to transform the traditional biology of sex difference into the radical biology of sex similarity. That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many. The evidence which is germane here is simple. The words ‘male’ and ‘female,’ ‘man’ and ‘woman,’ are used only because as yet there are no others.” – Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating, pp 175 – 176

If one were to substitute “nature” for “god,” the sex essentialism found in the TERF/GCF crew is somewhat similar to the sex essentialism found in right-wing ideology. It is therefore not uncommon to find anti-gay propaganda mills and Tea Party politicians quoting TERF/GCFs and TERF/GCFs quoting anti-gay Tea Party propagandists. Just as right-wingers have token gay people, the TERF/GCF crew has token trans people. The GCF/TERF movement, much like other sex essentialist ideologies, encourages trans people to detransition.

So, let’s fly under our true colors, shall we? This group that professes to be “critical” of gender is so entrenched in it that they can’t even understand that they are acting agents of the very gender system they claim to hate. Or, as Wittig said, “The primacy of difference so constitutes our thought that it prevents turning inward on itself to question itself, no matter how necessary that may be to apprehend the basis of that which precisely constitutes it.

Here’s what most GCFs profess:

  • Females are a caste system because of “class analysis”
  • The binary is real; sex isn’t a continuum because “sexual dimorphism”
  • Intersex people are just deformed binary sexes because “sexual dimorphism”
  • Male and Female habits (socialization) are essential to being authentic males/females.
  • “Male” and “Female” sex identifiers should be compulsory and eternal
  • “Male” and “Female” gender identifiers are BS because “social construction”
  • “Gender identity” only ever means cultural identities

When pressed on their ideology, GCF will almost never be able to name the attributes of their “class analysis” or “social constructionism.” On a recent BBC interview, Sheila Jeffreys asserted, “the phenomenon of transgenderism [sic] which is a social construction…  is harmful to many groups of persons.” From what I’ve seen, these claims merely function as academic-sounding ideas whose value is purely rhetorical. Some of the brightest feminist thinkers of our time have noticed this too. Judith Butler notes that when GCF/TERF opinion leaders like Sheila Jeffreys burbles on about social constructionism, the things she says makes no sense to people who actually understand social constructionism. Butler observes that Sheila Jeffreys and Janice Raymond “offers a kind of feminist policing of trans lives and trans choices.” About Jeffreys’ “social construction” talking points, Butler said, “If she makes use of social construction as a theory to support her view, she very badly misunderstands its terms.” She goes on to say, “I oppose this kind of prescriptivism, which seems me to aspire to a kind of feminist tyranny.”

I read Jeffreys’ book, Gender Hurts. In the precise way she hamfistedly appropriates social constructionism to attack trans people, she appropriates the concept of class analysis to support her targeting of trans people. Gender Hurts is not a class analysis of gender; rather, it is merely an appeal to class analysis. If you want to see a GCF/TERF squirm, press them to explicitly map the precise attributes of their “class analysis.” They’ll simply appeal to the authority of this academic pseudo-radical terminology until they’re blue in the face. When they utterly fail to support their position, then inform them that the progenitor of Radical Feminism rejected such analysis as rhetorical woo.

Consider what Witting has to say about much of what we find in GCF/TERF ideology. Remember, the following is foundational Radical Feminist thought, not (as GCF/TERFs would say) “transgender ideology:”

[N]ot only is there no natural group “women” (we lesbians are living proof of it), but as individuals as well we question “woman,” which for us, as for Simone de Beauvoir, is only a myth. She said: “One is not born, but becomes a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society: it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine.”

However, most of the feminists and lesbian-feminists in America and elsewhere still believe that the basis of women’s oppression is biological as well as historical. Some of them even claim to find their sources in Simone de Beauvoir.

Colette Guillaumin has shown that before the socioeconomic reality of black slavery, the concept of race did not exist, at least not in its modern meaning, since it was applied to the lineage of families. However, now, race, exactly like sex, is taken as an “immediate given,” a “sensible given,” “physical features,” belonging to a natural order. But what we believe to be a physical and direct perception is only a sophisticated and mythic construction, an “imaginary formation,” which reinterprets physical features (in themselves as neutral as any others but marked by the social system) through the network of relationships in which they are perceived. (They are seen as black, therefore they are black; they are seen as women, therefore, they are women. But before being seen that way, they first had to be made that way.) Lesbians should always remember and acknowledge how “unnatural,” compelling, totally oppressive, and destructive being “woman” was for us in the old days before the women’s liberation movement. It was a political constraint, and those who resisted it were accused of not being “real” women. But then we were proud of it, since in the accusation there was already something like a shadow of victory: the avowal by the oppressor that “woman” is not something that goes without saying, since to be one, one has to be a “real” one.

Besides, if we take as an example the perfect “butch,” the classic example which provokes the most horror, whom Proust would have called a woman/man, how is her alienation different from that of someone who wants to become a woman? Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

However, as Andrea Dworkin emphasizes, many lesbians recently “have increasingly tried to transform the very ideology that has enslaved us into a dynamic, religious, psychologically compelling celebration of female biological potential.” Thus, some avenues of the feminist and lesbian movement lead us back to the myth of woman which was created by men especially for us, and with it we sink back into a natural group. Having stood up to fight for a sexless society,” we now find ourselves entrapped in the familiar deadlock of “woman is wonderful.” Simone de Beauvoir underlined particularly the false consciousness which consists of selecting among the features of the myth (that women are different from men) those which look good and using them as a definition for women. What the concept “woman is wonderful” accomplishes is that it retains for defining women the best features (best according to whom?) which oppression has granted us, and it does not radically question the categories “man” and “woman,” which are political categories and not natural givens. It puts us in a position of fighting within the class “women” not as the other classes do, for the disappearance of our class, but for the defense of “woman” and its reinforcement. It leads us to develop with complacency “new” theories about our specificity: thus, we call our passivity “nonviolence,” when the main and emergent point for us is to fight our passivity (our fear, rather, a justified one).

She goes on to note that if we are to apply class analysis to “woman,” it can only be done as a political class aimed at deconstructing the “natural” sex binary. GCF/TERFs do the exact opposite and view “woman” as a natural biological class aimed at deconstructing the a political binary.

lWTMWBW[1]

Wittig continues:

Marxist theory does not allow women any more than other classes of oppressed people to constitute themselves as historical subjects, because Marxism does not take into account the fact that a class also consists of individuals one by one. Class consciousness is not enough. We must try to understand philosophically (politically) these concepts of “subject” and “class consciousness” and how they work in relation to our history. When we discover that women are the objects of oppression and appropriation, at the very moment that we become able to perceive this, we become subjects in the sense of cognitive subjects, through an operation of abstraction. Consciousness of Oppression is not only a reaction to (fight against) oppression. It is also the whole conceptual reevaluation of the social world, its whole reorganization with new concepts, from the point of view of oppression. It is what I would call the science of oppression created by the oppressed. This operation of understanding reality has to be undertaken by every one of us: call it a subjective, cognitive practice. The movement back and forth between the levels of reality (the conceptual reality and the material reality of oppression, which are both social realities) is accomplished through language.

It is we who historically must undertake the task of defining the individual subject in materialist terms. This certainly seems to be an impossibility since materialism and subjectivity have always been mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, and rather than despairing of ever understanding, we must recognize the need to reach subjectivity in the abandonment by many of us to the myth “woman” (the myth of woman being only a snare that holds us up). This real necessity for everyone to exist as an individual, as well as a member of a class, is perhaps the first condition for the accomplishment of a revolution, without which there can be no real fight or transformation. But the opposite is also true; without class and class consciousness there are no real subjects, only alienated individuals.

Here, Wittig explicitly notes that the subjective is the fatal flaw of Marxist theory. You cannot appropriate and objectify women as a class; as a monolithic “thing” called “sex.” It is the subjective that can’t be erased when being critical of the supposed natural sex binary. Again, this isn’t so-called “transgender ideology,” this is Radical Feminism. And yet, with GCF/TERF goggles on, even Wittig supposedly rejected the subjective regarding gender:

pEeYjaX[1]

GCF/TERFs offer a perspective of sex and gender that’s fatally warped to the point that it explicitly advocates for the very ideas foundational Radical Feminist theory rejected. GCF/TERFs might call themselves RadFem or “gender critical” but what they offer is the very poison chalice RadFems spent decades warning against; it’s an ideology at war with its own roots. The very perspective GCF/TERFs so viciously attack is the foundation of Radical Feminism. GCF/TERFs have such a long history of, with all the asperity of a hellfire creationist, asserting that sexing everyone is better/different/more natural than gendering everyone that I hold no hope they will see past their own obtuse equivocations.

Radical feminists have developed the most realistic framework for analyzing the social realities of gender. Specifically: gender is a hierarchy which is constructed on top of the (real, permanent, dimorphic) category of biological sex. – GCF trans woman, SnowFlakeEspecial

Stop me if you’ve heard this GCF/TERF meme before: unless the natural sex binary is embraced and enforced, gay men and lesbians will disappear. Wittig refuted that meme decades ago but GCF/TERFs don’t want you to know that:

To destroy “woman” does not mean that we aim, short of physical destruction, to destroy lesbianism simultaneously with the categories of sex, because lesbianism provides for the moment the only social form in which we can live freely. Lesbian is the only concept I know of which is beyond the categories of sex (woman and man), because the designated subject (lesbian) is not a woman, either economically, or politically, or ideologically. For what makes a woman is a specific social relation to a man, a relation that we have previously called servitude, a relation which implies personal and physical obligation as well as economic obligation (“forced residence,” domestic corvee, conjugal duties, unlimited production of children, etc.), a relation which lesbians escape by refusing to become or to stay heterosexual. We are escapees from our class in the same way as the American runaway slaves were when escaping slavery and becoming free. For us this is an absolute necessity; our survival demands that we contribute all our strength to the destruction of the class of women within which men appropriate women. This can be accomplished only by the destruction of heterosexuality as a social system which is based on the oppression of women by men and which produces the doctrine of the difference between the sexes to justify this oppression.

It is the system of heteronormativity that is at the root of oppression and it is the heteronormative gaze that produced the concept of the natural sex binary. It is only with a perspective rooted in heteronormativity that a GCF/TERF can assert that gender is an oppressive system that must be abolished by replacing it with a new set of taboos, norms, language and identity labels all must adhere to and somehow won’t be gender. A GCF/TERF seems to think that when they assert that a trans woman is male, insists upon using male pronouns, uses the person’s old name/old picture to construct a sex context for the trans woman to occupy within a cultural system, they aren’t engaging in forced gender performance.

If “he” is hurtful or if “she” is hurtful and you’re a friend, or someone who isn’t an asshole then I avoid using them. However I’m not, nor should I or anyone, actually be expected to lie to appease another’s feelings. When we (gender critical folk) are accused of “misgendering” what we are actually doing is telling the truth.  “He” and “she” denote sex, lets be honest about that and sex is immutable. – WhoIsCis, GCF affiliated with GenderIdentityWatch

In fact, most of them will assert that they aren’t performing gender, that they are instead honoring natural sex binary. They do this without seeing any irony. They seek to institutionalize the naturalistic essence-based sex binary as a means of taking ownership of sex labels, which they mistake for authentic empowerment.

Another reason for adherence to pronouns that indicate biology is that, as a feminist, I consider the female pronoun to be an honorific, a term that conveys respect. Respect is due to women as members of a sex caste that have survived subordination and deserve to be addressed with honour. – Sheila Jeffreys, PhD, Gender Hurts, pp 5-6

Let’s contrast the above GCF/TERF view with foundational Radical Feminist theory:

However, most of the feminists and lesbian-feminists in America and elsewhere still believe that the basis of women’s oppression is biological as well as historical. Some of them even claim to find their sources in Simone de Beauvoir… But what we believe to be a physical and direct perception is only a sophisticated and mythic construction, an “imaginary formation,” which reinterprets physical features (in themselves as neutral as any others but marked by the social system) through the network of relationships in which they are perceived. Lesbians should always remember and acknowledge how “unnatural,” compelling, totally oppressive, and destructive being “woman” was for us in the old days before the women’s liberation movement. It was a political constraint, and those who resisted it were accused of not being “real” women. But then we were proud of it, since in the accusation there was already something like a shadow of victory: the avowal by the oppressor that “woman” is not something that goes without saying, since to be one, one has to be a “real” one.

It is heteonormitive indoctrination that prevents GCF/TERFs from understanding that the “natural sex binary” is just another aspect of gender. While much of the rest of the feminist world is confronting both the causes and effects of oppression, GCF/TERFs spend a significant amount of time and energy in preserving, supporting and appealing to a binary sexed body system constitutionally incapable of working with concepts like cis, trans, gender queer, agender, intersex as it relates to reality of human bodies because such views of humanity are supplanted by the asserted preeminence of an ad naturam binary sexed essence.

Men appropriating our identity hate us, and want to take our skin to become us. Can never happen, but they sure want to destroy us in the process.

No, of all the oppressive forces against Lesbians and women in patriarchy, I believe the trans cult is at the top. Far more dangerous than the rest of the right wing like the nazis and clan and christian, muslim, etc. religious fanatics, THEY WANT TO DESTROY US FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

They are like the worst form of parasite, who tricks the victim into protecting and fighting for those who are killing them. So we don’t even end up fighting these men directly. We have to first face the women who are standing in front of them, working to destroy all women’s rights.  – Bev Von Dohre, TERF pioneer

GCF/TERF ideology is rooted in a twisted ad naturam morality, not radical-feminist-gender-critical theory. Jeffreys herself puts it: “Consider that Another reason for adherence to pronouns that indicate biology is that, as a feminist, I consider the female pronoun to be an honorific, a term that conveys respect. Respect is due to women as members of a sex caste that have survived subordination and deserve to be addressed with honour.” Jeffreys seems totally oblivious to the reality that when she explicitly appeals to the embedded ad naturam morality within her natural sex binary, she is publicly pronouncing her attachment to and support of behavioral norms and taboos predicated upon a coercive binary cultural system. Jeffreys’ hubris and morality blind her to her own hypocrisy while functioning to validate her cruel behavior. Not buying into the naturalistic binary of Jeffreys’ female-essence is, to her mind, a morally dishonorable behavior. Jeffreys’ drive to lay claim to labels rooted in a morally natural male/female essence means that she is privileged to dismissively or mockingly disregard another’s identity precisely because, within her gender system, such behavior is honorable and even preordained.

“There is a witness to the transsexual’s script, a witness who is never consulted. She is the person who built the transsexual’s body of her own flesh and brought it up as her son or daughter, the transsexual’s worst enemy, his/her mother. Whatever else it is gender reassignment is an exorcism of the mother. When a man decides to spend his life impersonating his mother (like Norman Bates in Psycho) it is as if he murders her and gets away with it, proving at a stroke that there was nothing to her… ” – Germaine Greer, PhD, The Whole Woman

In transsexualism, males put on “female” bodies (which are in fact pseudofemale). In a real sense they are separated from their original mothers by the rituals of the counseling process, which usually result in “discovering” that the mother of the transsexual-to-be is at fault for his “gender identity crisis.” These “patients” are reborn from males. As Linda Barufaldi suggested, this fact was symbolized in the renaming of the renowned transsexual of tennis, Renee (literally, “re-born”) Richards, whose original first name was Richard.” The re-birthing male supermothers include psychiatrists, surgeons, hormone therapists, and other cooperating professionals. The surgeons and hormone therapists of the transsexual kingdom, in their effort to give birth, can be said to produce feminine persons. They cannot produce women. – Mary Daly, PhD, Gyn/Ecology, pp 67 – 68

It is only through a moralistic lense that the trans experience can be constructed as being monstrousFrankensteinian and/or even vampire-like. Notice that GCF/TERFs like Janice Raymond make a point of ensuring that the morality of the natural is withheld when speaking about trans women through phrases like, “male-to-constructed-female.” TERFs, so focused on watch-dogging which essence is natural (ie, “real” and therefore valid) – predicated on the notion that their appeal to their own perceived woman-essence is natural – they fail to perceive their own hypocrisy.

Transgender activists such as Serano have developed a new vocabulary to advance their political agenda. One of these new terms is ‘cis’, which they apply to all those who are not unhappy with their ‘gender’. In effect the term ‘cis’ creates two kinds of women, those with female bodies who are labeled ‘cisgender’, and those with male bodies who are ‘transwomen’. Women, those born female and raised as women, thus suffer a loss of status as they are relegated to being just one kind of woman and their voices will have to compete on a level playing field with the other variety, men who transgender. – Sheila Jeffreys, PhD, Gender Hurts, p 50

Returning to what Wittig said, “The primacy of difference so constitutes our thought that it prevents turning inward on itself to question itself, no matter how necessary that may be to apprehend the basis of that which precisely constitutes it.” Jeffreys, acting to protect her steak in a natural binary sexed essence asserts that cisgender should not be used because it somehow impugns the nature of her own claim within a natural sex binary. This isn’t about biology or feminist theory, it’s about a morality.

Let’s be clear about what GCF/TERFs offer. It’s not a non-gender system, it’s merely a new incarnation of a heteronormative gender system in which trans and intersex people are erased. It is an enfeebled attempt at empowerment through forced appropriation and objectification by defining what you are by what you’re not and in this way, what GCF/TERFs offer is nothing new or radical:

“Authentication and denaturalization, the second pair of tactics, respectively concern the construction of a credible or genuine identity and the production of an identity that is literally incredible or non-genuine. We have chosen the term authentication in deliberate contrast with authenticity, another term that circulates widely in scholarly discourses of identity and its critique. Where authenticity has been tied to essentialism through the notion that some identities are more ‘‘real’’ than others, authentication highlights the agentive processes whereby claims to realness are asserted. Such claims often surface in nationalist movements, where a shared language becomes a powerful force in the formation and articulation of an imagined national unity (Anderson 1983; Gellner 1983). Here the process of authentication often involves the rewriting of linguistic and cultural history.”– Mary Bucholtz and Kira Hall, Language and Identity in A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology

So, meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. It’s called “Gender Critical Feminism.”

Michigan Womyn’s Music Fest is Evil

Views: 5968

I have a story that will be coming out sometime this month and it comes from several hours of interviews I did with members of the Lesbian Avengers. They told me about what happened to their group back in 1999, when a mob of violent Michigan Womyn’s Music Fest (MWMF) TERFs held a trans kid against her will and threatened to murder her.

I’ve already released some of the interview in a MWMF post I did for TheTERFs.com. The entire interview is very difficult for me to listen to. I mean, after the physical and mental mob assault happened, one of the MWMF womyn tried to get the trans kid to put out… directly after they had psychologically gang raped her in public.

When an activist friend of mine raised this issue with MWMF*, the Fest claimed that trans people are lying about what happened, that their victim was mentally ill and drunk. They said that what they did to her was for her own good.

What Happened

In 1999, Camp Trans was largely organized by the Lesbian Avengers. The group bought a 16 year old trans girl to the MWMF ticket booth and informed them that they were from Camp Trans and that they had a trans youth with them. While the MWMF sold everyone in the group tickets, the moment the group of Avengers entered the gates, TERFs began trailing the 16 year old trans kid shouting, “MAN ON THE LAND!” This continued until the group turned into a mob that had surrounded the youth, screaming at her until MWMF security moved everyone to a tent where the trans youth was made to stand in front of an enormous group of TERFs who spent the next 2 hours berating her.  One adult openly threatened the life of the youth without consequence. The youth was marched to the gates of the festival and expelled.

[Lesbian Avenger] S: About 10 TERFs were waiting for us when we came in. The whole ‘MAN ON THE LAND!’ started as soon as we walked in. I mean, at the time, we’re kids, we’re teenagers and these are all adults. I mean, when I think about it now, it was just so fucked up. We were trying to give out t-shirts and stickers about being inclusive. But, it was getting bad.

[trans girl in the group] K: A huge crowd of yelling people formed around us and I started crying at that point. It got so loud that Nomy Lamm, who was performing there as part of Sister Spit, came over and stood up for us… The crowd and me were walked over to a tent area. The way that it worked was that there was a queue of people who were going to get to say whatever they wanted to say. I remember, specifically, one woman looking right at me and telling me that I needed to leave the Land as soon as possible because she had a knife and didn’t know if she would be able to control herself if I was around her.

Cristan Williams: WHAT? How did people react to that death threat?

K: Because of the way they were queuing, as soon as one person stopped speaking, another would start, so nobody said or did anything about the death threat. At that point, I checked out. I was first I was sobbing and [B] was holding my face close to hers, telling me that it would be over soon, but then I just checked out.

S: The moderator did nothing. It was just a mud-slinging, hatred pouring out. It was just like one by one by one being like, ‘You’re a rapist! You’re raping the Land! You’re destroying womanhood! I don’t know what I’m going to do to you!’ – it was just violent, hatred, and I know that most of it was geared at [K]. I was up there being attacked, but I wasn’t getting the brunt of it. This went on for at least two hours.  At least 30 people were allowed to speak at us, but there were around 75 under the tent, and if you included the people around the tent who were watching and listening, well over 100.

 

mwmf-terf

 

How, exactly, did MWMF know that this kid was “mentally ill”? I spent hours doing interviews for this story and I’ve found no evidence to support this fact assertion. Moreover, the kid wasn’t “intoxicated,” the kid was terrified.  At one point K was telling me that her friend held her face in her hands saying, “Shhh… It will be okay. It will all be over soon. Just look at me. Don’t look at them.” Now, imagine that after all of this, one of them tries to get you to put out. This was psychological rape. Any adult who took part in harming this kid in this way should – at the very least – have the decency to be ashamed… and the truth is that I know that they aren’t.

A fucking mob of adults did this to a trans kid. Can you imagine being a kid and being made to stand in front of a mob of TERFs, yelling at you, pouring out hate at you, making no bones about how despised and disgusting they think you are and then being told that at least one of them has a weapon and wants to murder you? And then imagine that nobody cared to do anything about a fucking adult, threatening to murder a trans kid in public. Imagine if you were 16 and this happened to you. Now that the truth is finally coming out, imagine that your abuser said that you’re crazy, you must have been drunk and that you deserved it.

Before the full story comes out, I invite the MWMF to clarify how they obtained this kid’s mental health records and if they don’t have the kid’s medical records, I’d like them to explain why they’ve publicly claimed that this kid was mentally ill. I invite them to publish the evidence to support any of their claims. I invite them to issue a statement and explain to everyone why the kid deserved what the she got.

I’d love to see that MWMF has to say, especially since the 16 year old was a straight edge teetotaler who has never been diagnosed as being “mentally ill”.

I hope to have the whole story published on the TransAdvocate this month.

PS:

TERFs plan to harass HRC tomorrow (Friday, 10/3/14) because HRC joined the National Black Justice Coalition, the Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the Nation Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the TransAdvocate (and many other social justice groups) in asking the MichFest stop their decades of trans discrimination:

So, apparently HRC owes MWMF an apology for asking that they stop discriminating against trans people.

Irony: These MWMF TERFs are appropriating the “Amazon” culture to promote their bigotry. The Amazons are based on the Scythians, a TRANS-INCLUSIVE culture.

Note: When I use “psychological rape” in this post, I’m talking about being forcibly positioned to accept a psychological violation that puts one in fear of their life. Moreover, I’ve used this term because the trauma was sexualized by a MWMF womyn when the kid was most vulnerable.

Update: *While the above twitter account exists to promote MWMF and organizing aspects of MWMF, after this post went up, this account now claims that it isn’t associated with MWMF.

Update 2: In addition to now claiming no affiliation with MWMF, the twitter account is now saying that they were referring to some other instance involving a trans kid.

Wherein TERFs support death threats and violence

Views: 1564

TERFs are falling over themselves because Fallon Fox has been beaten in the ring just once and like all MMA fighters, she boasts about her victories. TERFs, in order to pretend that this equates to male violence against women, equivocate about her MMA career in order to claim that Fox is a part of the violent patriarchy. They use this equivocation to make the assertion that trans women, acting on the instruction of an as yet, undefined ‘trans ideology,’ are violent men. A trans TERF got the vapors over this and @’ed me on twitter, demanding that I explain my apparent support of male violence.

What follows is my response and the TERF response…

My Response:

The TERF response

Oh, and then there’s this:

Note that there is ZERO condemnation regarding the IRL violent history of the TERF movement and there’s ZERO desire to actually confront The Second Closet:

 

 

A conversation with a “gender critical” trans woman

Views: 999

“Gender Critical Feminist” is the euphemism TERFs use to describe themselves and is a movement of TERFs and their sycophantic crew of intersex and trans quislings who are exempted from being LOL’d at as long as they agree to occupy a subordinate position within the group.

This group believes that there is a binary sexed essence which, if present at birth, defines all people. Intersex people, according to this crew, are deformed men and women because sex is a binary and not a continuum. In addition to “Gender Critical Feminists,” they also like to call themselves Radical Feminists (even though they reject the foundational RadFem theorists who rejected a natural sex binary and who were supportive of both intersex and trans people).

I recently had a twitter conversation with one of these trans TERFs, to learn more about the power dynamics between trans tokens and the TERFs they attach themselves to:

trans-terf

 

FAQs: the RuPaul edition

Views: 2053

Today I published a piece on the TransAdvocate titled, Faggot Ru Paul: trannys need to “get stronger”. Because I viscerally know the power of those two terms faggot and tranny, I wanted to post a FAQ to be part of the article. In actuality, this will probably be more of a FAC (frequently asserted criticisms) than a FAQ.

Criticism: While I agree with your point, you didn’t need to use faggot.

Answer: I’ve noticed that most articles about the use of tranny are about definitions, freedom of speech issues, historical usages, etc. This is not what my article is about. I state, “My purposeful use of faggot with regard to RuPaul is meant to draw attention to the tension that can exist between in-group and out-group meanings.” The point of this article is the tension between in-group and out-group meanings. To drive my point home, the tension needed to be a palpable specter haunting each sentence.

Criticism: Why not just say what you meant with your use? If you meant it to be the positive rap meaning, then why not just say it?

Answer: As the author of this piece, for me the point of the article is the tension inspired by the casual use of terms people used when I had beer bottles, eggs and rocks (at various times) thrown at me, when I was beaten and when I was bullied as a kid. Deflating that tension by saying that I meant it in a positive way would have missed the point.

Criticism: This is clickbait!

Answer: When folks write a title, “10 kittens playing, but then you won’t believe what happens next!” it is to bait you to their site where you will hopefully experience advertising they make money off of. I’ll point out that TA doesn’t have advertising. The purpose behind inspiring tension before you even read the article is that it brings the point of the article front and center even before the point is contextualized.

In other words, this is the experience many trans people have when cis people take to the media to yet again promote a term cis people use while they bash us.

Criticism: You’re just being childish. This is all about saying, “see how you like it!”

Answer: Again, I’m very clear about what my purpose is. If you notice, the tension is created at the very beginning of the article and is, at that point, entirely left alone. My last article on tranny was an evidence-based review of the term’s history. That article ends with the following:

Answer: I’ve noticed that most articles about the use of tranny are about definitions, freedom of speech issues, historical usages, etc. This is not what my article is about. I state, “My purposeful use of faggot with regard to RuPaul is meant to draw attention to the tension that can exist between in-group and out-group meanings.” The point of this article is the tension between in-group and out-group meanings. To drive my point home, the tension needed to be a palpable specter haunting each sentence.

Criticism: Why not just say what you meant with your use? If you meant it to be the positive rap meaning, then why not just say it?

Answer: As the author of this piece, for me the point of the article is the tension inspired by the casual use of terms people used when I had beer bottles, eggs and rocks (at various times) thrown at me, when I was beaten and when I was bullied as a kid. Deflating that tension by saying that I meant it in a positive way would have missed the point.

Criticism: This is clickbait!

Answer: When folks write a title, “10 kittens playing, but then you won’t believe what happens next!” it is to bait you to their site where you will hopefully experience advertising they make money off of. I’ll point out that TA doesn’t have advertising. The purpose behind inspiring tension before you even read the article is that it brings the point of the article front and center even before the point is contextualized.

In other words, this is the experience many trans people have when cis people take to the media to yet again promote a term cis people use while they bash us.

Criticism: You’re just being childish. This is all about saying, “see how you like it!”

Answer: Again, I’m very clear about what my purpose is. If you notice, the tension is created at the very beginning of the article and is, at that point, entirely left alone. My last article on tranny was an evidence-based review of the term’s history. That article ends with the following:

  • What impact does an obviously very popular context of framing the trans experience (tranny) have on social justice movements?
  • When the majority clearly associates “tranny” with the sex industry while the gay and drag community associates the term with performance and partying, will this affect the ability of the GLBT community to communicate well?

I am talking about the very tension on display in this article.

If you choose to believe that all I’ve done in this article is to name-call for the purpose of getting away with it in the way that RuPaul does, then at this point there’s probably nothing I can say or do to change your mind.  I will say that the instinct to find insult embedded with the use of terms like faggot/tranny beautifully illustrates the reality of the word’s dominate context, regardless of what context smaller in-groups claim.

Criticism: How about a trigger warning?!?

Answer: I struggled with this. As someone who’s had these terms used against me while experiencing violence, they have a very tangible flavor and immediately bring up memories that aren’t happy. At the same time, I couldn’t think of a way to bias the reader before they even read the piece without employing this rhetoric. For the tension I am bringing front and center to only then contextualize, I felt that this was the only way to go about it. Without following the same narrative trajectory the media uses with reporting on tranny, I would not have been able to recreate the experience many trans people face each and every time tranny is used in the media.

When tranny is front and center before we even get into the story, video, movie, interview, etc, that trigger has already been pulled. Trans people are then expected to deal with it and contextualize the use in a way that is removed from hate. Recreating this experience for the cis – and especially for the cis gay community – was central to driving my point home.

I don’t believe this could have been accomplished without copying the way much of the cis media handles tranny.

Criticism: You’re just modeling the same behavior RuPaul is! You’re both gross!

Answer: Again, I totally understand the instinct for outrage. However, this is equivocation. RuPaul frequently privileges the use of tranny over the pain caused from his callous use as a point of personal privilege. I, on the other had, can’t recall the last time I’ve used faggot outside this very specific story for a very exacting purpose: illustrating the tension inspired by the casual use of terms people use while they murder us.

NEW! Criticism: You need to check your white privilege. This is a PoC term. Who are you to tell me that I can’t use this term

Answer: I’ve not once asserted that people should not use this term; what I have done is both document and point to the tension these terms inspire when in-groups assume that their meanings will translate to the wider community. The reality is that whatever meaning your in-group gives to these terms, when you speak to the wider community, you might not want to make the mistake of assuming that the rest of the world knows, accepts or understands the explicitly niche definition your in-group has assigned to that term.

NEW! Criticism: If you really wanted people to understand why you used that term you wouldn’t have hidden half the article in a fold-down box!

Answer: When cis media presents tranny in the title of their media trans people are expected to make an effort and to go the extra mile to be accommodating. If the trans person wishes to be deemed reasonable, they must try to see the term in a different light (usually the cis person’s light).  Valid criticism must be predicated upon an acknowledgement of a cis narrative; a trans person can’t simply assert that the presentation of tranny in the title of a story is problematic without being challenged. For example, even before the movie came out, trans people were told that they were wrong for not being happy with the movie, Ticked off Trannies with Knives. Trans people were told that because they’d not even seen the movie, they could not hold and informed opinion about Trannies.

By constructing the article in this way, it forces the observer to go the extra mile to be accommodating. Even though it’s just a simple click, should the observer wishes to be deemed reasonable, they must click a button to read the rest of the article. Many would probably agree that a valid criticism can’t be predicated on having read only half of this article. Constructing the article like this was the only way I could think of to, in some way, represent the system of privilege encountered by trans people in most cis media.

To be clear, this expectation of accommodation of cis people by trans people is part of the tension this article examines.

To be clear, this expectation of accommodation of cis people by trans people is part of the tension this article examines.

NEW! Criticism:I don’t care why you used it! I think there is never any circumstance wherein the F-bomb should ever be used by anyone! Ever!

Answer:I totally get that. I also know that for the piece to have relevancy as an exposé of the tension created between in-group and out-group casual uses, I needed to recreate the conditions many trans people face each time they are confronted with yet another article, show, interview, movie, etc with tranny in the title. For that tension to be felt – to be a tangible real thing and not some abstract trans complaint – this was the only way I knew of to accomplish it.

So, these are the criticisms I expect to be made about my TA piece. I anticipate that I’ll probably need to add to this list in the coming days.

NOTE: The above is supposed to be read as part of the RuPaul article. However, it was apparent that a number of people did not choose to read the FAQ, which is the second half of the article:

Therefore the FAQs are also presented here as a standalone post.

 

HuffPo contributor, attempts to hide her TERF activities

Views: 4212

Until recently, this page contained proof of a TERF academic trolling a suicidal trans person. This individual contacted my host with their attorneys and had this content censored.  I totally understand why one might want to hide evidence which seems to show a TERF academic know for their human rights activities in the act of toying with a suicidal trans women.

It’s possible that, even now, the information that was censored by a TERF is experiencing the Barbra Streisand Effect. You might want to poke around a bit looking elsewhere.

Now, what was it that the TERF movement was saying about being against censorship? I guess that’s just a talking point they use when it’s rhetorically convenient.

Christian terrorist captured near Houston: “biblical gender roles” part of their “Manifesto”

Views: 3365

In case you hadn’t heard, a Texas Christian fundie terrorist was just caught plotting to murder a lot of folks in my neck of the woods. While the group’s BS was taken down, I did find some of their stuff in corners of the interwebs:

Why do feminists, gays, liberals, anarchists, tyrants, atheists, socialists, and people with commitment issues run amok, and run the government? Why are immigrants let in constantly, when we call for border control? Why do these people make up almost the entire population? Why do we, the sensible, good, and godly people of this earth let this happen?

I have no problem with women. I am sexist, but I love women, I do not see them as mere sex objects at all… Strong-willed, hard working, traditional ladies that follow biblical gender roles are almost nonexistent anymore, especially in the younger generations. They simply do not exist, and anyone who thinks they should is seen by the those who run amok, and run the government as backwards, evil, ignorant, and otherwise unbearably foolish. But hereby I proclaim to you, these people are among the greatest order of fools.

We must fight. We must rebel. There is no other option now. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action… Perhaps we’ll win, perhaps we wont. That is of no consequence. But we will fight, and we will destroy what is evil. We will take from the system, we will break the system. There aren’t many of us, but only a few are needed. We will not plea guilty, if we are detained, for we are only guilty of taking back what is ours. What was ours. – American Insurgent Movement “Manifesto,” March 26, 2014

I – and many of the people I know and love – would have qualified for being on this group’s hit-list many times over.

x6QI3u9[1]
“[We] want to restore America Pre-Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.”

According to reports, he was captured with explosives.

On being Cristan

Views: 2145

It’s been months since I’ve done an update, so here goes:

Most recently, I was included in the trans 100 list. It was kinda cool to get a personal congratulations from Fallon Fox:

1979618_10152680555318066_891174954_n[1]

I got to see the final proof of the piece I’ll have in the Transgender Studies Quarterly journal and The Queer South gave me the final thumbs up on publishing one of my essays.

Last month, I was in Atlanta and in DC.

I’m on the steering committee for Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS). We were having a trilateral meeting between UCHAPS, NASTAD and the CDC leadership.

Me and the Director of HIV Prevention at the CDC, Rear Admiral Dr. Kenneth Castro
Me and the Director of HIV Prevention at the CDC, Rear Admiral Dr. Kenneth Castro

No sooner did I fly back to Houston than I flew out to DC for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convening. I thought the event was kinda of awesome. Generally, what I get out of meetings like this isn’t found in sessions; rather, it’s found in the one-on-one conversations that happen. In nonprofit-speak, what I find most valuable is the “Peer TA” (technical assistance). It’s those amazingly insightful and fortuitous conversations that  happen over coffee,  while we happen to be walking somewhere or in the hallways of the hotel. Over the course of one night, I made some amazing contacts and learned the sad truth behind not one, but two different TERF opinion leaders.

Me and Mason Davis at the White House.
Me and Mason Davis at the White House.
Me and Monica Roberts at the White House.
Me and Monica Roberts at the White House.
Me and Ellie Schafer, the highest ranking lesbian at the White House.
Me and Ellie Schafer, the highest ranking lesbian at the White House.

The right to body autonomy and being free from oppressive gender stereotypes is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve noticed that the same hubris people who stand in the way of trans people are generally the same people who are standing in the way of the right to safe and legal abortion services for many of the same reasons.

The Pacific Justice Institute, the very organization that hounded a trans kid to the brink of suicide, is also an anti-abortion group. The Salt & Light Council, the very organization that went on the news to falsely claim that trans children were scurrying up and and over bathroom stalls so they could watch cis people use the restroom, is also an anti-abortion group. Alliance Defending Freedom, the same organization that went to Fox News with lies about what happened at Evergreen College, is also an anti-abortion group.

Consider the gender stereotypes these folks appeal to as they take an anti-trans/anti-choice stance:

anti

In their anti-trans/anti-choice world, learning to be a good homemaker who pumps out as many kids as the males in her life wish is gender. People like me fuck with that world view.  I’ve also noticed they believe that they – not you – get to contextualize your life experience. They’re happy to tell me that I’m a man while shouting a clinic patients, “No matter what you do, you’ll still be a mother; you’ll just be a mother to a dead baby!” I’ve noticed that the people – be they TERFs or fundies – believe that gender only ever = males controlling females. I’ve also noticed that on top of that, both will smugly privilege themselves to define your experience for you.

I therefore spend my Saturdays defending clinic patients as they attempt to access an abortion clinic because a person’s right to hold agency over their body (and not the other way around) is also a trans issue. I do what I do because the enemies of choice are the enemies of my freedom.

I’m a Clinic Escort, or as the people who try to mob, intimidate and shame people entering the clinic call us, “Clinic Deathscorts.” (BTW, “Deathscort” would make an awesome metal band name!) I generally stand at the front gate and try to keep the anti-trans/anti-choice crew from mobbing cars as they enter the clinic:

I was happy to learn that the president of a state NOW chapter will be doing a TransAdvocate interview, echoing these sentiments. Additionally, I was happy to see Planned Parenthood and NARAL give voice to these intersections of oppression as well.

PPact

Speaking of TERFs, the last post I did was back in December 2013 and was about Cathy Brennan trying to bully my local queer community magazine into covering up the fact that she worked with an ex-gay group in targeting a trans kid who was pushed to the brink of suicide. I’m happy to say that she failed to bully the magazine and the article remains as it was when it was published because the evidence supporting my account of what happened is kinda irrefutable.

Oh, and the ex-gay group Brennan worked with? They were recently officially identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) due to the TransAdvocate’s investigative work:

This is really what caused us to take a hard look at them last year was the wild exaggerations about California schools and the claim that a trans kid was supposedly harassing other kids, the one you found out to be baloney. We look at groups that demonize minorities in our society in a way that makes them targets for real hatred and often violence and that’s what we’ve seen here. – Mark Potok, SPLC speaking with me

While the SPLC has not yet listed Brennan’s group as a hate group, once Potok learned that Brennan was bragging about sending SPLC donations, SPLC stated that they will no longer accept her donations. Additionally, the SPLC opened an investigation into TERF movement and its leadership:

We’d very much appreciate any information you or your allies could provide of the major players, websites, etc., in the anti-trans world. We would like to take a look at this for a possible investigative story for our magazine, Intelligence Report. I’m especially interested in links between the groups. Any help will be greatly appreciated. – SPLC

Brennan’s group responded by claiming that the SPLC has liberal bias and that it’s not adhering to its mission.

Also, over the past couple of months I spoke at the Texas Women’s University as well as the University of Texas, wrote a small grant for the Trans Center, and have been spending a lot more time with my 80+ year old grandmother who’s not in the best health. In-between, I’m still an active member of the City of Houston’s HIV Prevention Planning Group, I’m co-chairing our county’s Ryan White EIIHA committee and I’m on the Board of the Wellness Center – a newly minted FQHC trans inclusive low/no-cost health clinic.  Also, it looks like I’ll be designing the National HIV Testing site this year. Yay!