When Lesbians define Lesbian

On March 27, 2012 Fauxfeminist Avory Faucette said:

I am absolutely fine with folks preferring vulvas to penises (physical preference) and women to men (gender identity preference). . . . My argument is that one should not assume those two things go together automatically, or assume that if one lists a preference for one, the other follows. If a lesbian prefers to sleep with cis women, then she should state that, rather than saying that as a lesbian, she obviously doesn’t like trans women.

When Lesbians define Lesbian(!), we have a shared understanding that NO PENIS is involved. “No penis” goes without saying because attraction to physical traits (not gender presentation) is inherent to Lesbians’ definition of Lesbian. I can easily prove this by reference to the Lesbian tradition of butch/femme. Lesbians, as a class, do not have a problem accepting gender non-conformity in our ranks, thank you very much. You might even say that Butch Lesbians wrote the book on gender non-conformity. So this queer misinterpretation of ‘Lesbian’ as a GENDER preference belies one’s ignorance of Lesbian history, community, and our relationship to gender. Lesbians are attracted to female bodies, not the feminine gender.

Further, in addition to suggesting that we are confused about what our own sexuality means, you demand that Lesbians change the way we talk so as not to “insult” any male bodied persons with penises who believe that their subjectively asserted “gender identity” gives them license to claim entry to our Lesbian community and identity. This is not Lesbians’ responsibility. This is not Lesbians’ error. It is “queer feminism”‘s error. It is not millions of Lesbians with decades– even centuries– of history who should change our knowledge of each other in order to avoid insulting the “gender identities” of penised people who want access to us. It is penised people who must stop arrogantly colonizing “Lesbian.” We are not bigots, transphobic, or politically regressive for maintaining CONCEPTUAL boundaries around our Lesbian identity. It is our RIGHT.

I don’t believe that gender is based on physical characteristics — Avory Faucette

Let’s talk causation, ok? Physical characteristics (sex) do not dictate, or cause, gendered expression. By the same token, and this is MY point: gendered expression does not dictate, or cause, which physical characteristics/sex (I should pretend) someone has. So WHY are you insisting that lesbians accept penised people AS Lesbians based on nothing more than their subjectively asserted “gender identity”?

my conclusion is not that physical characteristics create a meaningful, immutable sex category, but rather that gender is the significant variable and is to be respected — Avory Faucette

Again, no one has an ethical or political responsibility to prioritize “gender identity” over and above everything else. No, it is not our obligation to agree that “gender” is more significant than sex. This fantastical sense of unconditional “gender” entitlement is completely out of hand. Telling me that a cow’s “gender identity” is rabbit does not make said cow, actually, a rabbit. Placing a new WORD on something does not change its essential characteristics. I’m sorry, I know this might hurt the cow’s feelings, but facts are facts. Enough with the semantic reindeer games of “gender.” Seriously. It is unreasonable to demand that lesbians prize penised people’s “gender identity” over physical reality. In fact, I am insulted!

Lastly, I want to address this:

my conclusion is not that physical characteristics create a meaningful, immutable sex category — Avory Faucette

As a person formally trained in the law, avory, please consider the distinct legal protections required to address Female reproductive functions and vulnerabilities. The physical consequences of female reproductive systems cannot be “gender identified” away (come on already!! this is tiring). Feminists have fought VERY HARD for these legal protections, including but not limited to: contraception, abortion, breast feeding laws, insurance coverage of pregnancy, job protections (the FMLA), short term disability for pregnancy, see here for more. http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/updates/index.html Female “physical characteristics” and corresponding reproductive systems most certainly DO make up a “meaningful, immutable sex category.” Maintaining the LEGAL class “sex” is a necessary conceptual underpinning to the protection of female reproductive rights. We will defend the legal class “sex” until the tyranny of “gender identity” stops. Enough is enough. Sex matters because reproduction matters. Please read this. http://sexnotgender.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/the-stereotyping-definition-of-gender-identity/

4 thoughts on “When Lesbians define Lesbian

  1. I posted the above comment BEFORE I had being told I should not leave any more comments in this blog because I am trans and this is a wbw space. I respect it wholeheartedly and I just posted this to apologize.

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