Originally published by The Morning Star
THE concept of gender identity is being enshrined into law in several countries now, giving new legal protections to transgender people on the basis of their identities.
In the United States, the Obama administration recently signed a declaration that all public schools in the country must recognise the gender identity of their students.
Canada has recently announced new legal protections for transgender people. In Britain, there is interest growing in allowing people to legally define their own gender.
As a person on the political left and as a member of the LGBT community, I am expected to applaud these changes to legislation, but instead I am critical.
This is because the concept of gender identity is poorly defined, and the politics of transgenderism is harmful to women and girls and rooted in individualism rather than collective action.
Originally posted at Glosswatch
Jaqueline Rose recently wrote 15,000 breathless, muddled words on transness for the LRB. “Transsexual people are brilliant at telling their stories,” she declared. They are interesting, you see, unlike cis women, those dullards, unquestioning conscripts to the gender regime who see themselves as “normal” because they lack the trans person’s unique ability to inhabit a liminal space:
The ‘cis’ – i.e. non-trans – woman or man is a decoy, the outcome of multiple repressions whose unlived stories surface nightly in our dreams. From the Latin root meaning ‘on this side of’ as opposed to ‘across from’, ‘cis’ is generally conflated with normativity, implying ‘comfortable in your skin’, as if that were the beginning and end of the matter.
Who, exactly, we may therefore ask – trans or non-trans – is fooling whom? Who do you think you are? – the question anyone hostile to transsexual people should surely be asking themselves. So-called normality can be the cover for a multitude of ‘sins’.
Cis woman, as far as Rose is concerned, restricts herself to a surface-only existence. She is Woolf’s looking glass, now providing an outline to be filled with someone else’s deep, meaningful knowledge of what it is to truly live as neither one thing nor another. The patriarchal insistence that women do not have souls gets an update; cis woman does not know her own soul, but that is her fault. She condemns herself to inauthenticity through her own lack of curiosity, content to remain tits and ass, “the cover for a multitude of ‘sins’.”
Originally posted at Words by Maria Catt
How different does the daily narrative you are building in your head have to be from the narrative the world is witnessing before it’s a problem? The party line seems to be that people’s personal narratives have a sacredness about them. Perhaps because telling people who they are, how they look, seems cruel in a world where we all seem so crushable, so disposable, so un-special, so regular. From a mental health standpoint they encourage practitioners to enter into these narratives to build a relationship with the client. If you have a new client come in talking about invisible bugs all over their skin, it is not helpful to argue with them about it. They will leave your office and never return. You enter into their world, you discuss the bugs with them, you write your impressions in a file about them, you assess whether their delusions and hallucinations make them a threat to themselves or others. You treat them as a sick person but you do not reveal to them that that is what they are to you.
There was a client who was an adult baby at the clinic. What that meant is that this person who was actually male and in his fifties lived full time as a female baby. Like, what he had everyone call him was “Baby Jessica.” (It wasn’t Jessica, it was another name, duh.) Now, people don’t actually use the word “Baby” as a title when referring to babies, usually. Except if the baby is trapped in a well. But in an adult baby’s life there are lots of contradictions. Babies don’t take blood pressure medication. Babies don’t argue with receptionists over rushing the submission of insurance forms. Babies aren’t assertive about insisting that the staff of their doctors’ office respect their baby identity.
Originally posted at Jaqueline Sephora Andrews
People are important. When you value life, you can honor and respect opposing view points. Some might not like that I’m a transsexual, or feel that I too appropriate other realities. I can disagree with other opinions, but their lives matter regardless of how their comments make me feel. The world doesn’t revolve around my feelings. The lack of respect for people, especially women, is why it was necessary for me to leave the trans movement. I saw that it was a misogynistic movement that expected women to be obedient. Women who don’t obey are labelled Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) and targeted with abuse. Regardless of how you feel, transwomen, radical feminists are people and entitled to their analysis. If what they are saying isn’t true, then why do you work so hard to try to silence their voices? You have fallen for your political agenda that you fail to see the value in people. People deserve safety. Women are entitled to their safe spaces.
Originally published by The Antioch Review
Those who choose to alter or even mask their gender merit full protection under the law merely because their decisions, while they may divest them of breasts and birth names, do not strip them of their humanity. TGs face violence, murder, mass unemployment, homelessness, poverty, rampant HIV infection, inadequate healthcare, depression, and, at alarmingly high rates, suicide. Many commentators have singled out tolerance for this most vulnerable part of the population as the final frontier of civil rights, a new contest against bigotry and homophobia, one it would be irresponsible for both politicians and everyday citizens not to address.
And yet just as the issue has come to the fore of public awareness, TGs have ambushed the debate and entangled us in a snare of such trivialities as the proper pronouns with which to address them, protocol as Byzantine and patronizing as the etiquette for addressing royalty. They insult us with the pejorative term “cisgender,” which they use to describe those of us who accept, however unenthusiastically, our birth gender, as opposed to the enlightened few who question their sex. Moreover, they shame us into silence by ridiculing the blunders we make while trying to come to grips with their unique dilemmas, decrying our curiosity about their bodies as prurience and our unwillingness, or even inability, to enter into their own (often unsuccessful) illusion as narrow‑mindedness.
Originally published by Bronwyn Winter at The Age
I would like to live in a world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ cease to be categories of social distinction, to the considerable advantage of those labelled ‘male’ and the considerable disadvantage of those labelled ‘female’.
I would like ‘gender’ to disappear as a mark of social categorisation and prescribed behaviours, even if ‘sex’ – the number of ‘Xes’ in our chromosomes – inevitably remains one mark of biological diversity, and differing needs, among us.
But we do not live in such a world, and gender continues to separate humanity into two classes. As such, it is a deeply political question. It shapes our collective social experience as sexed beings from the day we are born, and we cannot disappear that experience and acquire another, simply through an act of will. Biology is not everything, but it is not nothing either – as any intersex person surely knows, and as all women know.
Throughout history, any specificity of women’s embodiment or needs has been ideologically constructed as justification for considering us weak, incompetent and unclean. We know, deeply, viscerally, that embodiment is a political issue.
Originally published at The Morning Star
The “protected characteristics” of the Equality Act 2010 would replace the terms “gender reassignment” and “transsexual” — which the report says are “outdated and misleading” — with “gender identity.” Essentially, it will become against the law to discriminate against someone on the basis of “gender identity,” as much as it is now on the basis of sex or race.
It is this recommendation above any other that led to the negative reaction that Miller received from feminists. To understand why anyone would object to protecting “gender identity” in this way, we first need to understand what “gender identity” means.
The words “sex” and “gender” are often used interchangeably, which obscures the real meanings of these words, and it is between these two a distinction needs to be drawn.