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 4th Wave Now
There is power in naming. It’s how we find each other, how we connect to our histories, how we connect to our futures. Driving us apart from each other is the easiest way to keep us from learning to recognize attempts to redefine our realities.
I didn’t know this then. I subscribed to an incredibly misogynistic set of beliefs for years. “DFAB privilege” was a common phrase in our community – “designated female at birth privilege.” It was accepted fact that being born female gave you a lifelong advantage over a male who transitioned. This included men who used transition only to mean using different pronouns on Tumblr and having an anime girl as their avatar. We believed that, as “dfabs,” we needed to shut up about our petty problems. We could never have it as hard as any “dmab women or non-binary people.” Everyone in the trans community agreed that it was our responsibility to uplift “dmab voices.” None of this seemed outrageous or strange to me; it felt pretty intuitive. Growing up under male domination is a grooming process that leaves many girls and women extremely vulnerable to manipulation.
The first experience that did make me start to feel suspicious of male transition was when I was 18 and a genderqueer-identifying man who had never pursued any kind of transition raped my best friend, a woman unacquainted with insular trans community politics.
Originally posted at Purple Sage
The following questions are designed to make anyone reach peak trans.
If there is nothing distinguishing trans women from other women then why are we calling some women trans? How do we know which women to call “trans” if there is no way to tell them apart?
Assuming that transgender means transitioning from one gender to the other, then what did trans women transition from? If they were born women and have always been women then why did they need to transition?
Do you think we need a word that describes the set of all adult humans who can produce ova and bear young? Why or why not? If so, what do you think this word should be?
Can you define the word ‘woman’ without using the word in the definition? (i.e. without using a circular definition.)
For the very first time, I’ve had a commenter attempt to answer the questions.
Originally posted at sian and crooked rib
So someone tweeted this blogpost from The F Word yesterday about the need for gender-neutral toilets. The article made some good points about the need for more gender-neutral toilet provision – for example to help out parents with opposite sex children, people caring for a member of the opposite sex, and also for trans or non-binary people who are concerned about being misgendered and the violence that can follow this. To me, this is where the debate about gender-neutral loos is surely meant to be sitting – there simply isn’t enough public toilet provision anyway, and we need to increase that provision to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
And then I read this paragraph:
The shelter, relative privacy and access to running water that public toilets provide have made them useful places to have sex when folks have nowhere else to do it, but they don’t particularly lend themselves to sexual assault. In the Ladies, women remain fully-dressed outside locked cubicles. These are rooms where people may walk in at any time. Currently, there’s nothing stopping men entering the Ladies (and indeed, the laws proposed in the US would force trans men to do so) but these aren’t common locations for sexual violence; outside of horror movies, ongoing drug deals and norovirus epidemics, public toilets are pretty safe.
The paragraph has now been removed from the article, after an exchange on Twitter where the editor apologised to me. I really appreciate the apology and the acknowledgement that this paragraph could result in upset and hurt. However, I started this post so I’ll finish, as the article isn’t the only place I’ve seen this dismissal…
What I want to address is the sweeping statement that women’s loos ‘don’t lend themselves to sexual assault.’
Because that, quite frankly, is bullshit.
Originally posted at New York magazine, Science of Us
It’s conservative lawmakers and organizations who have refused to acknowledge anthropogenic climate change, who have rallied to keep evolution out of textbooks and comprehensive sex education out of classrooms, who have stymied life-saving research into stem cells and gun control.
But that’s in the world of politics and lawmaking, where conservatives often have a numerical advantage. In the halls of social-science academia, where liberals do, it’s telling that some of the same sorts of feeding frenzies occur. This should stand as a wake-up call, as a rebuke to the smugness that sometimes infects progressive beliefs about who “respects” science more. After all, what both the Bailey and Chagnon cases have in common — alongside some of the others in Galileo’s Middle Finger — is the extent to which groups of progressive self-appointed defenders of social justice banded together to launch full-throated assaults on legitimate science, and the extent to which these attacks were abetted by left-leaning academic institutions and activists too scared to stand up to the attackers, often out of a fear of being lumped in with those being attacked, or of being accused of wobbly allyship.
Originally posted on Tumblr
Claim: Sex-based oppression targets trans women.
No, gender-based oppression affects trans women. Because of the gender “woman.” Females are oppressed based on their sex and the fact that they can get pregnant (and what they have to do to not become pregnant or to end a pregnancy, something trans women do not have to do), gestate fetuses (which puts them at physical risk in all kinds of ways) – also something that males can’t do, as well as give birth (yet more risk), and breastfeed.
Claim: Under patriarchy, women who are unable to bear children are less valued. This affects trans women.
No, trans women are not affected by this because no one expects males to bear children. Additionally, many trans women are fathers before their transitions. 95% of females are capable of giving birth in their lifetimes. THAT is reality for why females are discriminated against and marginalized for not bearing children.
Claim: Women are socialised to be quiet and defer to men and do “women’s work.” This affects trans women.
Originally posted at Transgender Tropes
This trope is a reversal, a thought-terminating cliché, and a colonizing attempt to re-frame women’s liberation concepts into erasure of the physical reality of the female sex and erasure of the primary role our reproductive biology plays in the targeting and enforcement of female oppression by males.
The goal of this trope is: total erasure of females as an organizing class under patriarchy, erasure of the way our reproductive capacity is targeted and exploited by males as the very basis of patriarchy, reversal of feminist concepts into male-supremacist ones, promotion of anti-feminist concepts of equating certain psychological, behavioral and intellectual traits with the female reproductive system.
This is a very, very popular trope, with many variations.