As you may know, most of the TS Separatist leaders have moved on with their lives and the ones who are left seem to be the Ashley Love/Just Jennifers of the world who regularly make absurd and demonstrably false claims. I will continue to both confront and make evidence-based corrections when folks like Love attempt to pass off fiction as fact. Having said that, now that the historical record seems to have been set right on coinage myths, I can’t say that I have any significant issues with folks like Dana Taylor or Suzan Cooke. I’ve had friendly correspondence with some of the folks I used to butt heads with and I’m glad to see that everyone seems to be moving forward.
After the radfems attacked the transgender community, over the last several months, I have been doing some soul searching and one thing I told myself is that I do NOT want to look like them. I was disgusted by what I saw and am grief-stricken by my part in some of this war. I actually helped hurt some of my sisters and I am paying for it in my own heart. I think now is a time for solidarity. – Dana Lane Taylor
I think for a long time, RadFems have watched us go at each other while they mocked us from the sidelines. It seemed like RadFems cozied up to some TS Separatists so that instead of correctly blaming RadFems for the destruction of trans healthcare, Separatists blamed non-True TranssexualsTM for trans-related health care costs being excluded from health care coverage (and/or tax deductions). While H-BSer Separatists were busy blaming non-H-BSers for the stigmatized view many began taking of all trans people over the past 3 decades, RadFems, of course, never clued them in that it was the RadFems themselves who were fanning the flames of transphobia so that even a trans Stonewall hero like Silvia Revera was beaten for daring to speak out at a queer gathering1.
It seems that we’re coming to a point where we’re beginning to see we share a common enemy:
While RadFems kicked back and mocked us as transpoodles and pretendbians and worked against trans equality we, in our arguing, seemed to forgot the toll anti-trans RadFems took upon the lives of folks like Filisa Vistima. We forgot that RadFems have a history of going as far as to work with racist religious fundamentalists if it meant harming trans folk. We seemed to forget that it was the RadFems who shaped many of the original and enduring anti-trans memes that affect the lives of countless trans folk to this day.
Unity Not Uniformity
The tide is (finally) turning… against our shared enemies: anti-trans RadFems.
At one time, the anti-trans lesbian feminist Julie Bendel, the TS Sepritist Dana Taylor, the radical post-transsexual Suzan Cooke and I would have been at each other’s throats arguing theory, rhetoric and history. It seems that day has past.
Today, all of us agree that transwomen are female women, that lesbian transwomen are actual lesbians, that calling one’s self “transgender” is fine, that calling one’s self “transsexual” is fine and none of us are arguing over who coined transgender. Do we agree on every-fucking-thing? Nope. But that’s not the point. The point is unity, not uniformity.
Today, I get to live in a world that is becoming more and more aware of just how shamelessly, willfully and wantonly harmful anti-trans RadFems have been over the past 4 decades.
Today, I get to live in a world of allies which is more unified, more respectful of our differences and more focused on confronting what has been a hidden tumor poisoning practically all aspects of the queer community for decades. Which means, I think, checkmate.
The featured image comes from http://radfemscorpion.tumblr.com check them out. Now.
1.) Before RadFem influence:
“In the beginning, we were the vanguard of the gay movement…We were very well respected for the first four years” – Sylvia Rivera
After RadFem influence:
Women in the GLF were uncomfortable referring to Rivera—who insisted in using women’s bathrooms, even in City hall—as “she.” Pressure mounted. The year 1973 witnessed clash that would take Rivera out of the movement for the next two decades. Her lifelong friend and fellow Stonewall Veteran Bob Kohler recalled, “Sylvia left the movement because after the first three or four years, she was denied a right to speak.” It was during the Pride rally in Washington Square Park after the Christopher Street Liberation Day March.
To the dismay of Lesbian Feminist Liberation drag queens were scheduled to perform. As they passed out flyers outlining their opposition to the “female impersonators,” Rivera wrestled for the microphone held by emcee Vitto Russo, before getting hit with it herself. Rivera explained, “I had to battle my way up on stage, and literally get beaten up and punched around by people I thought were my comrades, to get to that microphone. I got to the microphone and I said my piece.” Rivera complained that the middle-class crowd cared little to nothing about the continued harassment and arrests of street drag queens. Bleeding, Rivera sang, “You Gotta Have Friends,” screamed “Revolution Now!” and led the crowd in a chant of “Give me a G, Give me an A, Give me a Y…What does it spell?” Barely audible, her voice breaking, “GAY POWER,” she groaned. – Benjamin Shepard, “Sylvia and Sylvia’s Children: The Battle for a Queer Public Space,” That’s Revolting! (ed. Matt Bernstein Sycamore)