Bathroom Laws: putting women and girls at risk

Originally posted on YouTube by Mancheeze

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Grayson Perry: I’m all man

Originally published on The Times Magazine website

He stresses he is a transvestite, not transgender: he dresses up for sexual thrills. Transvestitism is bound up in his taste for fetish sex, PVC clobber and sadomasochism, which featured often in his early work. “The trans spectrum is a whole different thing. I wouldn’t particularly want to live full-time as a woman. It’d be such a fag for starters, the amount of preparation every day!” (It takes him 90 minutes to apply the wig, make-up and padding.) I say I don’t find being a woman nearly so onerous. I’m being facetious, but like many feminists, I’m weary of womanhood being defined as an elaborate façade: fancy nails, false eyelashes, lingerie, sparkly clothes, heels.

“Transvestites – I speak for my own community – are heavily invested in sexism,” he says. “You go to a transvestite gathering, you won’t see anybody in trousers. It’s a joke, you know: if one of the other transvestites regularly wears trousers, they go, ‘They’re going to have a sex change any minute.’ Because only real women wear trousers all the time.”

Yet no one is equal in their sexual fantasies. “At some level, everybody is either being bent over the desk or is bending someone else over a desk. They’re not saying, ‘Shall we get cat litter on the way home?’ while wearing matching fleeces. Although in reality that’s exactly what me and my wife are doing. We live functional lives with people we love and our sex life, all the exotic stuff, happens off stage. And it’s best kept that way.” His first date with his wife was at a fetish club, but now they’re more likely to be at home watching Gogglebox: “It’s so funny. And it can be very moving.”

But we live at a moment when sexual identity appears to be in flux. Perry thinks the transgender lobby “is a very vocal group. They punch above their weight. I do wonder why they are so angry.” Maybe because trans women almost always began as heterosexual men? Perry laughs. “Yes, so they have that entitlement. Yes, it could be.”

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Women Saying ‘No’

Originally posted at Gender Apostates

Women have always been called names for saying no. Frigid, bitch, prude. These words are meant to shame us into saying yes.

Women are supposed to be available, welcoming, obedient, and it has been the aim of the women’s movement since its inception to challenge these preconceptions, to say no to men’s definition of us.

It is thanks to feminism that since 1991 wives can say no to their husbands and have that ‘no’ backed up by law. It is thanks to feminism that women no longer have to accept dismissal if they marry or become pregnant. It is thanks to feminism that women in the West are beginning to feel confident in saying no to men in myriad different situations.

Prude, bitch, frigid don’t sting like they used to. Misogynists in the west are losing society’s assumption that women should say yes. Increasingly, it is they who are shamed for insisting. As feminists we applaud this.

However, when it comes to transgender males, men who wish to call themselves women – or more to the point want us to call them women – the story is very different. If we say no to the appropriation of our name, our bodies, our struggle, it is we women who are shamed. We’re being re-named: TERF, cis, transphobe. We’re being re-named by men who wish to try on the costume ‘woman’; they think it doesn’t fit us any more, us no-sayers are not the pliable girls of their dreams, and we must share.

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Reclaiming Women

Originally posted by Stephanie Davies-Arai at Wales Arts Review

There’s a strange thing happening to the distinct group formerly known as ‘women.’ The change in meaning of the word has crept up on us but it has become so established this past year across the media, government, public institutions and women’s groups that I find myself wondering ‘Who is International Women’s Day for?’ I don’t know anymore, I’d have to check with the organisers: ‘When you say ‘women’ who do you mean?’ The only answer permissible would be ‘anyone who self-identifies as a woman’ because anything thing else would be exclusive of transsexual males and therefore ‘transphobic.’

Already I can hear the sharp intake of breath from those shocked at that term ‘transsexual males;’ already I have declared myself ‘transphobic’ by not using the term ‘trans women.’ I do use that term sometimes out of courtesy, but I use accurate terminology here because that’s what this piece is about. A ‘trans woman’ is a male who identifies as the opposite sex, that’s all, no judgment. ‘Transsexual male’ is accurate and facts in themselves are neutral.

Clarity of language is important, words and their meanings influence thought; it matters to be factual.

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The Masculinity of Transition

Originally posted at My Only Path to Power

If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand about MtF transgender people since being married to one, it’s how very masculine the idea of transitioning from male to female is.

To decide that you can have anything you want, and to just take it, even if it’s very the identity of a set of people with whom you cannot, by definition, identify with, is a very masculine idea. It’s an idea that male privilege absolutely primes one for. Colonization, capitalism, rape, pillage. To want and to get, because you can, because you aren’t even aware of the possibility that you can’t. To shove aside the oppressed in your quest for getting. And to get away with that, as you always have.

To wake up one day, more than a decade into marriage, deciding that you need something new and that nothing can or should stop you, is a very masculine idea. To hell with your wife, your family, your memories. To indulge this midlife crisis as men always have, whether it’s with a teenage mistress, a red corvette, or lipstick and a pair of heels, and let it destroy your family.

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How men are using gender identity to deny male privilege

Originally posted at Lavender Blume

Anyone who has delved into the topic of gender identity has likely heard about the diverging understandings of gender according to queer theory (gender is arbitrary i.e. whatever you say it is) and radical feminism (gender is a social construct with well-defined parameters). This disagreement comes down to how womanhood and manhood are defined (although for reasons obvious to feminists, the nature of womanhood is much more frequently debated) and what we’re ultimately supposed to do about sex/gender stereotypes.

For centuries, women have struggled to break away from the expectations regarding how we’re supposed to look, act, think, and feel. While debates rage on about what it means to be a woman or a man – or a proper lady or a real man – there are people who want to identify as something other than what they were born as or how they’re expected to be. While it’s often said that the reason for this varies from person to person as it’s a purely personal choice, this individualistic approach fails to take into account the inequality between the sexes. This is critical to understanding what’s happening and why because a system whose goal is the dominance of males over females will necessarily seek to define womanhood and manhood, femininity and masculinity, in such a way as to perpetuate that supremacy. It attempts to do this at every opportunity and within every social movement, arguably most aggressively when done under the guise of progressive politics. Once a theory regarding gender is adopted by those who identify as social justice advocates it becomes nearly impossible to question a doctrine already presumed to be revolutionary.

Are we willing to consider that some of the ideas promulgated by such groups could in fact reinforce structures of power rather than challenge them?

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