Thursday, December 21, 2006

Here we go again, the trans wars

I just went over to Screaming Into The Void and read her latest post:

I am a radical feminist, and so is my wife. My wife is also a transwoman.

If you are one of these people who insists upon calling my wife “him” against her expressly stated wishes or otherwise insulting her because of her birth gender, while ignoring all the efforts she has made to separate herself from the social class of “men”, and you still consider yourself a feminist, I must ask you to deeply consider the implications in that, because the clear implication there is that gender roles are inborn and immutable, which is an idea feminism has historically fought against.

And then I must depart from any calm, logical and rational discourse on the subject and say, if you insult my wife: Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you fuck you. Oh and - fuck you. And don’t forget - FUCK YOU.

In a similar vein - if, because I do not agree with every tenet of transactivism, you have decided I am transphobic, you may refer to the previous paragraph.

I’m done with this ridiculous battle. So. Fucking. Done. Quit fucking fighting each other and fight the people at the top who love this game of divide and conquer.


All I can say is HELL FUCKING YEAH (which I couldn't say in the comments, because they are closed). This is exactly my stream of thought on the matter. I believe that feminism, especially radical feminism is the belief that we must get rid of all types of opression. ALL OF IT. That includes gendered oppression that fits inside this little itty bitty gender dichotomy. I know lots of transpeople that I consider to be women; also some that I wouldn't welcome into a women's only space. I had this battle back at Bluestockings where I was called transphobic because I didn;t think that someone's male roommate who sometimes wears a dress should be allowed to volunteer at our women's collective bookstore. A transperson I would consider is one who gave up their male priviledge on a daily basis. A person who considers themself a woman and presents themself as such on a daily basis. But that's only for the time being. I want the gender dichotomy smashed to itsy bitsy peices where the gender system includes all different types of people, including all those people stuck in between today;s accepted genders. Because there's room for more, and I think that the existence of intersexv people tell us that there definitely are more then two genders, and to an extent transpeople. If you can't understand this, you don't (in my eyes) understand feminism.

13 comments:

Laura said...

Right on! Smash the gender system and stomp all over it. STOMP STOMP

lost clown said...

STOMP STOMP!

Nella said...

"didn;t think that someone's male roommate who sometimes wears a dress should be allowed to volunteer at our women's collective bookstore"
!?!?!? The mind boggles.

"A transperson I would consider is one who gave up their male priviledge on a daily basis. A person who considers themself a woman and presents themself as such on a daily basis."

This is the view i tend to take, thanks for putting it so well.

charliegrrl said...

But if a transperson is presenting themselves as a woman, then they are upholding the gender dichotomy that you dislike, surely..?

I have an issue with allowing trans people into women-only spaces. A mtf trans person, still has been raised with male privilege, and is unable to truely identify with women's oppression for this reason.

The presence of a trans person in a women's group, changes the vibe of the group.

I still think biology is important, as women as a social group, are oppressed on the basis of their biology.

Hmmm...it is something I am still thinking about, because, like yourself, I want rid of all forms of oppression and I sympathise with trans people.

belledame222 said...

Having been in womens' groups with and without transfolk (that I knew of; of course you realize some people simply may never tell you), I will say that no, it doesn't change the vibe, that I am aware of.

Yes, there is such a thing as socialization (male and otherwise), but it's hardly monolithic. Neither is female socialization, is the point. -Any- newcomer into a group is going to change the dynamic. Some non-trans women are very "yang" in their presentation, and/or have been socialized in a very "male" way. Some women may or may not be especially butch, but are simply toxic people. (It's those people that I think are a lot more devastating to a womens' group than a MTF person). And by the way, people are transitioning earlier and earlier these days; and you don't automatically know how any individual has grown up, has been treated, has been perceived.

As for why someone wants to physically transition (or not; someone can live fulltime as a woman without undergoing surgery, too, you know, as surgery tends to be prohibitively expensive and is not covered by any insurance program)--bluntly, it's no one's business but theirs. "My body belongs to me;" that is a basic tenet of feminism as I've always understood it. To me, the presence of XX or XY chromosomes or any particular body parts (btw, you do know that there are also people who are intersexed at birth, right?) isn't what determines gender.

belledame222 said...

and no, we're not all individually oppressed on the basis of our biology. What if you're a chromosomal woman who (as an acquaintance of mine was) was born with a rare condition that led to her being born without a uterus or a vagina? Ain't she a woman? She's certainly been raised and socialized as one, and has been subject to all the same discriminations. What if you've had cancer and had to have a radical hysterectomy and double mastectomy?

lost clown said...

The more I think about it the more I realize that our idea of gender is stupid. I hate it; I wish it were gone.

charliegrrl said...

There should always be a place in feminism for born-women only spaces, which I would say includes intersex women who fully identify as women. What I have a problem with is those who are born male, then change their sex and expect women to recgonise them as exactly the same as us, to warrent them sharing a feminist women-only space. Trans rights are important, and gender is oppressive, but as a feminist, I wish to spend time in and nurture women-only spaces. I understand this may upset some trans people as we are conflicting with how they wish to be identified.

"I am a radical feminist, and so is my wife. My wife is also a transwoman."

I hate to be picky, but the person who wrote this isn't a radical feminist for two reasons
- a radical feminist would never be intimate with a man or a person who was born male
- a radical feminist would not uphold the patriarchal institution of marriage by referring to her partner as her wife.

antiprincess said...

I'm sure amananta would beg to differ.

lost clown said...

- a radical feminist would never be intimate with a man or a person who was born male

I disagree with your definition of radical feminist. I have (before I decided on spinsterhood) been intimate with men and considered myself a radical feminist. If only lesbians can be radical feminists then....well I don't know, but Andrea Dworkin would not be considered a rad fem which is preposterous.

I am a rad fem. I sleep with all genders.

Coathangrrr said...

There is a horribly long, and bigoted thread over at twisty's on trans stuff. A bunch of radfems are hating on the trans.

lost clown said...

Yeah, I saw that. Didn't read too much of it though. All these years thinking I was a rad fem......

Coathangrrr said...

It seems like there is a bit of a generation gap though, with the younger radfems more pro-trans.

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