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Sorry, Sex-Positive Transwomen: I’m Not Buying What You’re Selling. At All. November 9, 2009

Posted by FCM in authors picks, feminisms, gender roles, health, PIV, pop culture, prostitution, self-identified feminist men, sorry!, thats mean, trans, WTF?.
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sex-pos transwomen–if i were born male, like you were, i might be “sex-positive,” too.  you know:  exhibitionist, pro-porn, and squeeee!-fully sexually available to men.  if only….

i had been lavished with male privilege since the day i was born, and taught that the only thing that mattered was my wants, my feelings, that i was entitled to turn my desires into reality, no matter how trite, fleeting, or bizarre.  if i grew up with an entirely misogynist view of women, instead of one interspersed with actual, lived, female experience.  like you, believing that girls and women were emotional manipulators, that just have to cry big, black tears to get “their way“–and merely the sum of their fleshly and artificial parts–as observable by men.  the clothes, the eyelashes, and always, always how fuckable they are.  if i had no cramps, and no fear of pregnancy.  you know, all the things you obviously think constitutes “woman” as well as the things that you dont think about, at all, which make your interpretation of “female” so deeply problematic.  if i had been taught to stick my dick into anything that moved from day one, and to enjoy it.

if i had to have regular intercourse with men, on advice from my sex-reassignment surgeon, literally on pain of death: lest i lose my “use-it-or-lose-it” neo-vagina or experience life-threatening complications from (gasp) not being fuckable enough!  (oh, thats rich.  and how “pleasing” to men generally must one be, to ensure oneself of regular access to their sex?)

in other words, if i had grown up a man, like you, i might be as inclined as you are, to tell women that they should be having sex with men.  if i literally had to have regular intercourse with men or DIE, that would color my perspective, as well.  but guess what?  i wasnt, and i dont.

now, there are all kinds of things to be said about transwomen more generally.  about their residual male privilege.  about their co-opting feminism and the language of social justice to achieve their own dubious ends (born-women are privileged over men because we arent seen as sexual predators, and men are?  boo-fucking hoo).  about the fact that there are others out there who share the inexplicable desire to amputate healthy body parts, in order for their bodies to conform to “the way they’ve always seen themselves” but *those* people are seen as mentally ill.

while the T’s in GLBT have all the political power and protection that comes from co-opting the GLB movement.  crazy + powerful = “eccentric,” doncha know!  and “eccentric” is f-u-n, which is about all it takes to be wrapped in the teeny-tiny bosom of the twenty-something fun-fems.  without regard, apparently, for the fact that they are spending precious feminist resources on men, and mens problems.  radfems are a little more discerning about who they allow into the fold, as it were.  (and radfems eat blueberries, therefore they are transphobic!)  the trans-identified have also co-oped the movement of the intersexed, by claiming (and hoping!) to be intersexed, even when they arent.

and dont even get me started on the fallacy of cis-privilege, or the fact that mainstream feminism has embraced the trans-phenomenon so completely, to the detriment, i believe, of feminism, and to women as a sexual class, when women all over the world are having not only their female gender but their heterosexuality enforced upon them as certainly as their born-sex.  or that transwomen are exercising not only their male-privilege in insisting that their dreams be made into reality, but exercising their first-world privilege as well, by tying themselves to the medical establishment literally forever, to get their hormones, dilations, and emergency treatments when something “goes wrong.”  (ask yourselves, feminists:  would a 12-year old child bride in ethiopia care about this?  is the feminist treatment of the trans-identified helping women around the world, at all?  if so, how?  if not, why not?)

while i do not accept transwomen as women, and i absolutely grieve for what transwomen have been allowed to do to our movement, its the sex-pozzies that really get under my skin.  leave it to born-men to *encourage* women to be exhibitionist, sex-workers, porn-actors, and above all, sexually available to men.  how, exactly, is that *different* from what men have been telling women forever?

nothing new under the sun.

h/t to miska of fab-matters.

privilege_dog

The Fallacy of Cis-Privilege. if i had a candy bar, and you wanted it, i would not have “candy-bar privilege”. if i had a nice dog and you wanted a nice dog like mine, i would not have “dog privilege.” you cant just say that any old goddamn thing i have that you want is a privilege. privilege means that there is *power* there, and girls and women dont possess any kind of gender-based power. exactly the opposite.

 graphic used with permission, and originally published here.

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Comments

1. Max - November 10, 2009

…wow.

Given the respect that I have for you, I feel I owe you the honest truth: there’s so much unchecked privilege here, it’s kinda uncomfortable. You really need to take a step back, do some more reading, and try not to get so personally offended by the reactions of other people to the same patriarchy.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

max, i am sorry you (as a third-wave male feminist) are uncomfortable with my analysis. but frankly, this is where you and i are going to part ways, by definition. and i find it incredibly revealing, and offensive, that you would suggest to me that i am displaying unchecked privilege…while you imply that i am uneducated, that sex-pos is unproblematic, and that i need to “read more.” WTF? all the while not offering a bit of evidence that you actually read what i wrote, or considered it (except how it affected YOU, and offended YOU). i suggest, to you, that as a male third-waver that you very seriously consider what i have said here, and think about what could have “possessed” me to write it. thats the essence of critical thinking, after all.

2. Max - November 10, 2009

It’s uncomfortable because it’s outside the realm of your normal output. I expect different things from you, but this is all sounds more like blaming people of color for being lazy and smoking crack or something to justify not having to address white privilege.

The quickness with which you take offense to my words, given what you know about me, is suggestive. If I were just some random dude, sure, that’s totally fine, but for a suggestion that you read a little bit more on trans issues to have such an impact?

I respect you. I like you as a person. I’m being honest. This is transphobic. I’m no expert on trans issues, but I can guarantee you that there’s far more to it than you have put forth. You can either get pissed at me and pull the “but I’m too progressive for that” card, or you can consider the possibility that you, like everybody else on the planet, may have something more to learn about something.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

max, i do not accept that there is any such thing as cis-privilege. thats not the way gender-privilege works. therefore, accusations of transphobia mean nothing to me. i feel that trans-persons deserve human rights, legal rights, and every protection that everyone else deserves, and that they should not be physically harmed or discriminated against. but i am not going to end my analysis there, for fear of being labeled “transphobic.” again, thats an example of the ways that trans-persons have coopted the language of social justice and feminism, (in terms of “privilege”) but they arent doing it honestly–they think they are above a critical analysis, but they arent. i have done plenty of reading on the subject, and this is my conclusion. why would you assume otherwise, is the question?

i take offense at your words because they are typical fun-fem versus radfem bashing. i had hoped for more from you. however, you are a man, and in the last few months i have come to believe that men cannot be feminists. and i dont think that fun-feminism is feminism. i think that YOU should do some more reading, if you are unsure what the radfem take is, on transsexualism. i didnt make this shit up. but you are acting as if its the first time you have heard it, and that its inconsistent with the decidedly radfem influence that has been showing up in my work lately. things have changed since my days at newsvine, where even describing the most basic ideas (sexism, DV) was met with resistance. i think my perspective has become more nuanced, and more radical. if you dont see that theres a fork in the road there, and a difference of perspective between radfems and fun-fems on the issue of transsexualism, then its *you* who needs to read more. fab-matters has some great links.

3. basketcasey - November 10, 2009

Good god, that “fallacy of cis privilege” post was a joke. You can’t be serious. As a cis female, I’m shocked that you could have such audacity as to say you don’t “accept” trans women as women and still call yourself a feminist. Just because I’m not drowning in my own privilege doesn’t make me a fucking “fun-fem” either, can you get more condescending? Excuse the rest of us if we refuse to cry for the trials and tribulations of fucking white girls on power trips over minority classes.

4. Max - November 10, 2009

If you don’t accept the existence of cis-privilege, then you don’t accept the existence of a different manifestation of gender identity than is expected for one’s body, which means that you think they must all be fucking nuts, because who would do something so barbaric to their body for no reason other than to have tits that they can play with all day?

Why would you assume otherwise with me? People fuck up. People get caught up in personal biases. The most intelligent, decent people I know have said some of the dumbest shit when they weren’t paying attention. I’ve heard your arguments about transpeople, which conveniently leave out any in-depth analysis of FTM, from other people in the past, and I’ve seen them shredded apart. I understand where you’re coming from, but you’re oversimplifying things.

It’s not about the sex-positive thing, either. I don’t really get involved in that argument. I’m opposed to exploitation, I’ll discuss it with dudes if they say something dumb, but I WON’T challenge a woman on that point any more than I will on the ethics of abortion: it’s not my place, I can’t know, it’s a personal choice, etc. Please accept this bit of clarification, ’cause it’s really hard to get anywhere when assertions are being put in my mouth against my will.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

casey, men are not a minority, or a political minority, anywhere in the world. and transwomen are not a legally-recognized minority class in most places. to the extent that they are legally recognized as a “minority” class, the only reason they find themselves there is that they CHOSE IT. thats the definition of privilege: exercising CHOICE. the whole time they are crying that they have neither choice, nor privilege. leave it to teh menz to not see their own privilege, and to *demand* that others ignore it.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009


If you don’t accept the existence of cis-privilege, then you don’t accept the existence of a different manifestation of gender identity than is expected for one’s body, which means that you think they must all be fucking nuts, because who would do something so barbaric to their body for no reason other than to have tits that they can play with all day?

no, i think that theres a reason that there are way more MTF than there are FTM. its because when men dont feel comfortable with (fill in the blank) they use their male privilege to change it. they feel entitled to change it, and to demand that others *respect* them, goddammit, while they do it. and its because they have a really fucked up and misogynist idea about what it means to be a woman. which isnt really a surprise: they are men!

i never felt comfortable with my assigned gender either. women in the third-world will be married off and impregnanted, regardless of how they “feel” about it. transsexualism is a first-world “disease”, which makes it extremely problematic, and highly suspect. the fact that the (male) medical establishment agrees that theres nothing more to “women” than breasts and vaginas is telling. as is the fact that neo-vaginas need to have intercourse in order to survive (and this is acceptable medical practice?) although at least some doctors have the sense (and the medical ethics) to say “neo-vagina” when they are speaking of a post-op transwomans parts, instead of “vagina.” a vagina is an organ, but a neovagina is not.

5. Max - November 10, 2009

[1] People of color can choose to conform to the dominant culture, and in doing so, escape much of their oppression. They choose to live as what they feel inside instead of how they’re expected to live. Given that a large part of the symptoms of racism can be opted out of by making certain choices, does white privilege get called into question?

[2] Binary sex is a socialized myth. Gender is a socialized myth. These are not new ideas. The essentialist correlation between one arbitrary set of culture-bound behaviors to a few body parts is specious and based solely in tradition. Your critiques of trans-people are accurate only within the confines of a perspective that embraces aspects of male heteronormativity.

[3] Focusing on this one aspect of one portion of trans-people is dismissive of their experiences as a whole.

I am not an expert on these matters, but my trans friends are. I’m putting forth the things that I’ve heard them say that I actually understand, and nothing more. I don’t want to do their cause a disservice by speaking from a place of ignorance. Still, you sound like a white dude defending your privilege. I know those sounds well. I trust you to know more about the female experience than me, by dint of you having lived it. Trust me to know more about the white male experience. Trust in our largely identical critiques as context to suggest that I’m not defending my privilege here, but that I know what it sounds like.

And please don’t do the thing that your blog is founded upon calling out: hiding behind your “progressive” status.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

think of it this way. race-privilege only works in one direction: white dominates nonwhite. gender privilege also only works in one direction: male dominates female. you are only ever going to have males dominating females through gender-privilege. females will never dominate anyone. thats why cis-privilege is a fallacy: it places females in the position to dominate others, based on a gender-based privilege. but thats not how gender-based privilege works. this is how miska articulated it on her blog, and i think shes right. are you saying that cis- is something other than gender-based? if so, on what is it based? i have only ever heard it used as a gender-based privilege, usually by men who want to use the currency of feminism (“privilege”) to further their own agendas, and use it against women, and feminists. when really, it makes about as much sense (and is as valid politically and logically) as the concepts of “reverse-racism” and “misandry.”


Your critiques of trans-people are accurate only within the confines of a perspective that embraces aspects of male heteronormativity.

WHAT? its precisely this male heteronormativity that leads men who dont “feel” particularly manly, to think they need to be wearing a dress, and be fucked “like a woman” by other men. why cant a non-manly man wear pants and fuck women? because he is buying into these myths you describe. i am not. i also said that what they are doing surgically only exists in the first-world, which makes it problematic. transsexualism is not a disease, and is not “cured” surgically, in other parts of the world. this should tell you something.


Focusing on this one aspect of one portion of trans-people is dismissive of their experiences as a whole.


huh? what does this even mean? i deliberately focused on the sex-positive angle as being especially problematic, but its not the only problem. and we can rely on the transwomen themselves to wax on and on about their own “experiences.” thats what men do best. or, was there something specific you wanted to talk about? seriously. i never claimed that trans-people werent people.


And please don’t do the thing that your blog is founded upon calling out: hiding behind your “progressive” status.


do i look like i am “hiding” anything, or pretending to be particularly progressive here? progressivism means nothing to me anymore, precisely for its hiding-out of misogynist ideals. trans-politics are distinctly misogynist, IMO. as in reducing “women” to tits and a fuck-hole, (not even a true vagina!) thats literally unattached to anything, and serves one purpose only.

6. Will - November 10, 2009

You said:

i also said that what they are doing surgically only exists in the first-world, which makes it problematic. transsexualism is not a disease, and is not “cured” surgically, in other parts of the world. this should tell you something.

Many surgeons exist in other countries who preform the surgeries needed to change one’s gender marker. I may agree, however, that they do not view it as a “cure” there.

What about the history of transsexuals, or “third-gender” people? There is a history, it does show up in religious texts as well as non-religious texts.

And as to there being more MTFs than FTMs, well, you may be mistaken. It is easier to not stand out as an FTM vs. a MTF, but I doubt there are any accurate numbers. I find some agreement with my interpretation of your presentation on male-born people having better access to the medical means necessary to change their gender markers. MTFs have better surgeries than FTMs will have and I have heard it suggested that it is because of “male privilege”.

I always thought that at its core, “feminism” meant equality for all, regardless of gender, sex, orientation, race, creed, so on and so on.

No one should blindly accept any group just because they look or sound like us, but neither should we deny a group based on our interations/opinions of a single person or many persons from that group.

That’s where all the “-isms” come from. Are you a bigot?

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

will, i didnt say “other countries.” i said first-world versus the “undeveloped” or “developing” countries, where constant, reliable accessible medical care does not exist. in those places, it would be unethical to perform sex-reassignment surgeries or even hormone therapies, because it would tie otherwise healthy people to the medical establishment for life. of course, i agree that there have always been intersexed persons, as well as people who didnt conform completely to their gender-norm. but those people have NEVER been subjected to the medical interventions we see now, and they never expected it, or demanded it.


I always thought that at its core, “feminism” meant equality for all, regardless of gender, sex, orientation, race, creed, so on and so on.


feminism is the study of power, not of women. its the study of privilege, who has it, and who doesnt. but feminism, to radical feminists, is also the identification of “women” as a sexual class, not as a gender. and women, as a sexual class, can get pregnant, and in fact around the world its womens pregnancies and reproductive health (or lack of access to OB-GYN) that is the most pressing issue. its literally a matter of life and death, for example, when 12-year old girls are married off and impregnated, when they arent physically large enough to safely give birth. our physical differences and resulting forced sex-role (motherhood) is what leads to womens oppression world-wide. not whether you feel “girly” or gender-bendy or whathaveyou. and its certainly not about mens “oppression” (by other men). THAT is where trans-politics have hijacked feminism, IMO. making it sound like feminism is primarily about “gender” and not sex.

tying yourself to the medical establishment for life, when you dont have to be, is a privileged act that only a first-world-privileged person could conceive of. and the fact that so many more men than women are exercising this privilege is telling. in other places, and in other times, your “gender” is literally enforced upon you, as surely as is your born sex. as is your heterosexuality. only first-world privileged whiny internet addicts care about this gender-bendy shit. queer theory, same thing. seriously. check your first-world privilege, why dont you, and re-imagine feminism as it relates to women around the world, as a sexual class. everything else is a distraction.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

heres some analysis on “queer theory” and why being queer is a privilege:

http://redmegaera.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/why-being-queer-is-a-privilege/

7. Tree - November 10, 2009

(Here via a link)

I think you saying that you ‘do not accept that there is any such thing as cis-privilege’ sums up this entire post. How would you feel if someone said that their was no such thing as male privilege, as they were a man and had never noticed such a thing? That is exactly what you sound like here.

So basically, this cisgendered feminist thinks you are a person with little sense of intersectionality, or possibly even basic human empathy, re. trans people.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

i approved this post because its hilarious:


How would you feel if someone said that their was no such thing as male privilege, as they were a man and had never noticed such a thing?


hmm. i imagine that i would feel that men dont get to define gender-privilege, or change the direction in which gender-based oppression operates. basically, i would feel exactly how i feel now, about men inventing and benefitting from the concept of “cis-privilege.” that its inappropriate, fallacious, and a goddamned joke (unfortunately, like most of mens jokes, its not funny in the least).

and, as is always glossed over when anyone dares criticise the trans-identified, i already said that i think trans-persons deserve full human and civil rights. this isnt about “hate.” so spare me the accusations of “trans-phobia” because i am not scared of trans-persons. and i dont accept your very premise, that cis-privilege exists. you may as well accuse me of being a glod-hopper. theres no such thing, so i dont care.

8. Tree - November 10, 2009

That is the most impressive failure to see the point I’ve read today! Well done.

I also feel that cis (yes, the term exists and you are insulting trans folk by denying it) people don’t get to define gender privilege, for the simple reason that we are soaking in it. There is absolutely nothing transgressive about you ‘daring to criticise’ transsexuals either; people do it everyday. I wish I could say I don’t care about your wilful privilige and ignorance, but when such attitudes regulary affect LGBTQ people trying to live their own damn lives without being policed by those who think they know better (who are usually cis and/or straight. I wonder why.), I cannot.

factcheckme - November 10, 2009

tree, i get your point. but you dont get to invert an anti-misogynist argument to serve men in this way. these disingenuous inversions are a symptom of the trans-infilatration of feminism of late: isnt it interesting that all of a sudden, everythings “as bad as rape”? only a born-man could think up something so stupid, and untrue, as to equate every piddly slight or “unfairness” or oppression as a rape. these are not feminist ideals, they are men’s inversions of feminist arguments, used to suit mens needs. and i am calling bullshit on that.

besides, i didnt say the “term” cis- doesnt exist, i said the concept doesnt exist. like “reverse racism” or “misandry,” cis- is a made-up term coined by a privileged-class (men) to co-opt the plight of those they are oppressing (women). gender-based privilege only operates as male-oppresses-female. if you are going to say that cis- is not gender-based, and is based in something else, then i am all ears. but gender-privilege does not operate in the direction, or in the manner, that you are suggesting. and your and anyone elses repeating it ad nauseum does not change that.

9. whatsername - November 10, 2009

Holy fuck this post is made of massive fail.

Max and others have done a wonderful job pointing out just how much fail, but I have to add in here: you keep going back to trans women and how they’re really men. By that logic, trans men are really women. Well, those “women” say the exact same things about cis privilege existing as the “men” do. So how is cis privilege “made up” by “men” in any way? Clearly it’s a concept that has emerged from both men and women? So your whole gender oppression hierarchy logic isn’t even internally coherent. (and that’s on top of all the other problems with your post)

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

ah yes, the “problem” of FTM. by the logic of cis-privilege, you have women oppressing other women by virtue of a gender-based privilege. thats impossible, because gender privilege works in one direction only: men-oppressing-women. again, if you want to take cis- out of the realm of gender-based privilege, please do. otherwise, it doesnt work, as you can see.

all transsexualism removes “women” as a sexual class. thats precisely why its problematic, and anti-feminist. transwomen are (infertile) fuck-toys for men. transmen have their breasts removed and thrown in the trash, and male hormones take care of the female (fertility) “problem” even if the female parts are left intact. both are inconsistent with radical feminism, which recognizes women as a sexual class, and discards the notion of “gender” as the root of womens oppression world-wide, by men. its the fact that women can become pregnant thats at the root of female oppression. and all transsexualism takes female fertility out of the equasion.

men arent oppressed by means of their fertility, so the disingenuous knee-jerk inversions (what about teh mens fertility?) arent going to work. so dont try.

10. Ms Sassy Pants - November 11, 2009

Edited, slightly, to come across calmer in hopes that this will get out of moderation.

FYI – I am a cis sexual, cis gender, female-assigned-at-birth woman.

Your claim that trans women who have had vaginoplasty must have sex with men to stay healthy is completely false. There are vaginal stents to use for this purpose. Most surgeries require a lot of post-care, this does not make them “unsafe” or any less valuable.

Cis privilege is separate from the traditional notion of gender privilege because it relates to whether your gender identity matches your assigned gender. Matching is the key thing there, not which gender. That’s why it’s called cis privilege, not gender privilege.

It is a perfect example of transmisogyny to assert that trans women’s expression of femininity is due to “male” perceptions of what makes a woman. There are butch trans women, there are femme trans women, there are androgynous trans women – just like there are femme, butch & androgynous cis women.

Finally, as a cis woman & feminist, I have an understanding of what it’s like to not agree with the gender roles placed on me and to feel confined by them – but that does not mean I know what it’s like to feel so deeply disconnected from my assigned sex/gender that I need to change my assigned identity. I have the privilege of never having felt that disconnect. Again, many trans men and women experience the same discomfort with gender roles that many cis men and women do. It has nothing to do with reaffirming patriarchal notions of gender & gender roles. It is something that I do not think I can fully understand as a cis woman, but I don’t need to understand it to respect other people’s lived experience. It really, really, really just comes down to respect.

There is so much more I feel needs to be said – about the lie that trans women take resources away from cis women, that trans people claim/hope to be intersexed when they are not, etc. These lies will not get us anywhere. All women would benefit from being inclusive – these divisions only harm us.

11. softestbullet - November 11, 2009

I have some questions. Did you know that trans men exist? (You would think of them, incorrectly, as “really” women.) Did you also know that cis men have cis privilege too? So, if a trans man called out a cis man for his privileged behavior, would you still think of that as some kind of reverse-oppression ploy??

if you are going to say that cis- is not gender-based, and is based in something else, then i am all ears.

I think it’s just more complicated than that. Here are some forms of oppression based either partly or solely on gender:

1 male privileged over female
2 masculine privileged over feminine
3 identifying with the sex and/or gender assigned at birth privileged over identifying with a different sex and/or gender
4 conforming to stereotypical gender expression and/or appearance privileged over nonconforming
5 binary genders privileged over nonbinary genders or lack of gender

(Apologies if I am forgetting anything.)

2 & 4 are often lumped in under sexism, but they can also affect butch women and femme men, so it’s not straight up male-vs-female.

So anyway, it’s not like trans folk are saying that transphobia/cissexism is more important than or negates sexism. They both exist.

12. softestbullet - November 11, 2009

Oh. I forgot you’re obsessed with pregnancy. WTF. Why do you hate (cis) prepubescent girls and post-menopausal women and women who have had hysterectomies and sterile women so much?

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

ok, softestbullet. you are right. ’tis *i* who am obsessed with pregnancy, and whether or not women can (and do) become pregnant. patriarchy isnt obsessed with it at all, and i am *not* just pointing it out.

/s

13. whatsername - November 11, 2009

“and all transsexualism takes female fertility out of the equasion.”

How is that exactly? Some trans men get pregnant and have children after their transition. That doesn’t seem to take “female” fertility out of the equation at all. It does seem to point to yet another flaw in your equation, however.

Also, your interpretation of the tenants of radical feminism are…interesting. The fixation on pregnancy seems to be rather misplaced, as softestbullet has already called attention to, so I won’t repeat hir.

14. Miska - November 11, 2009

Excellent point about the way sex-poz feminism intersects with trans activism, factcheckme. They seem to have a tidy little relationship going – where transwomen are happy because sex-pozzies accept them, and the sex-pozzies are happy because the transwomen demonstrate that gender is merely an a harmless “identity”, rather than a construct which ensures women remain subordinate to men. No need to confront the tough issues about whether your stipperific gender-conformity is buying into the patriarchy, because it’s all about personal agency and expressing your identity!

“if i had to have regular intercourse with men, on advice from my sex-reassignment surgeon, literally on pain of death: lest i lose my “use-it-or-lose-it” neo-vagina”

This too, is an excellent point. I have considered the way neo-vaginas are merely fuck-holes (as opposed to organs in their own right, with other purposes). But I hadn’t considered the connection between the need for neo-vaginas to be penetrated, and the enthusiasm of transwomen for the sex-poz “fuck our way to freedom” ideology. Makes perfect sense.

15. Max - November 11, 2009

What defines a woman? Apparently, you don’t think it’s the body parts [...]

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


Some trans men get pregnant and have children after their transition.


LOL no they dont. “transition” being the key word here: theres a dick in the way after the “transition” unless its not a full transition. and there may not even be a uterus or ovaries left intact. those that havent transitioned surgically are not transsexuals, they are transgendered. which are problematic as well because they are exercising privilege, although might not “remove women as a sexual class” as thoroughly as transsexuals, but dont do us any favors, either.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

max, let me stop you right there. because you are wrong, from the get-go, if you think i believe that “woman” has nothing to do with “body parts.” if you want to try again, go ahead. otherwise, stop wasting my time. and spare me your condescension and offensive parallels.

16. Max - November 11, 2009

You censored my comment. I worked really hard on that comment, put a lot of thought into it, because I thought that you deserved the effort.

Apparently, I was wrong. You owe me an apology, and the reinstatement of my entire comment. If you don’t want to read it, that’s your own intellectual dishonesty, but do not deprive your readers of differing opinions.

17. A couple of new links … « fab matters - November 11, 2009

[...] Deuce on The fallacy of “cis…michelle on The fallacy of “cis…Sorry, Sex-Positive … on The fallacy of “cis…Sorry, Sex-Positive … on What [...]

18. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

So if the entire point of my existence, as a transsexual woman, is to co-opt the cis female experience, and to be used as a “fuck-toy for men,” and to use male privilege to usurp the female experience while imposing patriarchal views… why am I lesbian-identified, use androgynous presentation, and identify as a tomboy who skateboards and does plenty of sports regardless of whether they are deemed appropriate for women to do?

I love my sexual partners, only engage in safe, consensual sex, and always check to make sure my partners are enjoying every stage of the act. I suppose that sort pre-emptively blows your obvious “you’re lesbian-identified because you’re a straight man/rapist” retort out of the water.

Secondly, the comments around the “T” in “LGBTQ” having the most prestige, power, authority, protection within LGB… that’s laughable. The HRC completely delisted gender-identity from their ENDA once we became a “problem.” Many LGBT-inclusive organizations such as Planned Parenthood have absolutely no idea how to deal with TG or TS clients. Psychiatry attempts to put us in nice little patriarchal boxes, designed to oppress us and fit their model of a “perfect transsexual”… while many of us simply reject these values and determine to do anything we’d like, whether it be presumed to be “properly feminine” or not.

I do not consider my identity to be a sum of my body parts, either. I do not consider the other female- or male-identified people I know to be the sums of their body parts either. A man is not a penis, a woman is not a vagina.

Your entire post reeks of privilege. Do you have any idea the kind of oppression trans people face, from within and externally? Our minority has close to a 30% suicide rate due to the intense body dysphoria caused by a mis-sexxed brain/body connection. We are the most oppressed class of people in LGBT, with the highest rates of bashing, abuse, murder, and so on. We are the most mis-represented (thanks in no small part to individuals such as yourself), the most repudiated, the most discriminated against in the workplace, and the most socially objectified class of people in the world. We are objectified based solely on whether or not we’ve had “the surgery.”

Ever had anyone come up to you in public, without any provocation, and ask, bluntly, “Are you a man or a woman?” Or, “Do you have a vagina or a penis?” No? Well, I have. Count yourself lucky.

19. Sybil - November 11, 2009

“transwomen are not a legally-recognized minority class in most places. to the extent that they are legally recognized as a “minority” class, the only reason they find themselves there is that they CHOSE IT.”

It seems that, by your above statement, you are stating that any minority who “chooses” their minority status has no right to protection, because it was based on a choice. This “choice” argument is the same argument used against those of differing sexualities.

So, in your radfem-ness, are you also stating that gays and lesbians don’t deserve protection as a minority because they “chose” that lifestyle?

If you decide that gays and lesbians did not “choose” that lifestyle, but transfolk did … I simply disagree. Being transgendered is as much of a choice as being gay, ie. not a choice.

To state that women as a class can get pregnant negates those women who are sterile, pre-pubescent, or post-menopausal. Are those women less women because they cannot get pregnant? If not, then “woman” should not be equated so heavily with getting pregnant. Leaving transwomen out of the equation for a moment, not even all cis-gendered women can get pregnant.

You also seem to think that all transwomen are interested in men. Not all transwomen are straight. To state that transwomen have to have sex with men or die is a complete fallacy, and an example of heterosexual privilege. Gender and sexuality are not connected. I would have thought that your radfem teachings would have explained that.

I really have no notions that you will actually listen to anything that I have written. However, your blog was so horribly offensive that I felt it necessary to voice my disagreement.

20. softestbullet - November 11, 2009

Pointing it out as one thing, positioning it as the sole defining quality of sexism is another. It’s pretty amazing how many women you are attempting to silence with that.

Not everyone defines their transition by whether or not they have chosen SRS.

Trans stands for transgender as well as transsexual.

21. Katie Mulligan - November 11, 2009

Cisgender privilege is not only about gender, but also about men and women who claim the right to decide for another human how they are permitted to express their gender. It’s not always about how trans persons are oppressed, but also about how those of us who are not trans persons do not have to deal with the difficulties of those who are.

Transwomen are not “fuck toys” for men. I am extremely troubled by that characterization for any person. Claiming a sex-positive stance does not remove a woman’s claim to be a feminist or even a radical feminist. It just means that people (including feminists) disagree on that point. Claiming a sex-positive stance also does not remove a person’s right to decide her availability to men. The article you linked to

The issues that transwomen and transmen are dealing with are also our issues as cisgender women. Spending resources and time on ensuring that we retain agency over our gender and sexual expression, on the safety of our bodies, and on the right to disagree among ourselves is not wasted, and does not detract from our own issues–these ARE our issues.

Your contempt for fun-fems is about as misogynist as it gets. It’s a brilliant tactic as it may scare some women away from supporting transwomen–none of us like to be characterized as irrelevant, traitorous, or frivolous after all. But the brilliance of fun-fems is their ability to see overlapping oppressions and privileges and their willingness to embrace allies across boundaries.

Mostly I grieve that sisters would be subject to this kind of shame and disgust from other sisters. We are better than that. Transwomen I have interacted with make wonderful allies in our struggle. Their needs and concerns do not always match ours exactly, but there is commonality.

22. redmegaera - November 11, 2009

What I don’t understand is the reifying of “gender” as it were some biological, bodily property rather than a socio-political construct. Nobody has ever been able to explain to me how that idea is compatibile with feminism. Gender roles are inherently oppressive and perpetuate systems of male dominance…BUT everyone has an innate gender identity so if you think there’s something wrong with the socio-political system, its probably just ’cause you were bathed in too much oestrogen or testosterone while in utero. WTF? I mean really.

Will said: “I always thought that at its core, “feminism” meant equality for all, regardless of gender, sex, orientation, race, creed, so on and so on.”

The privileging of the word “equality” in definitions of feminism always raises a red flag for me. It’s not that I don’t think its is a worthy cause, but for me, “equality” is synonymous with “liberalism”. Radical feminism theorizes patriarchy as a system of power and systemic, structural inequalities are ameliorated but not dismantled by by legal provisions that ensure formal equality. For me, feminism is about fundamentally transforming the society that we live in.

23. Miska - November 11, 2009

Your claim that trans women who have had vaginoplasty must have sex with men to stay healthy is completely false. There are vaginal stents to use for this purpose. Most surgeries require a lot of post-care, this does not make them “unsafe” or any less valuable.

They still require regular penetration though, which is the point, really. And most surgeries do not involve altering healthy, self-maintaining tissue into something which will then require ongoing attention and fuss to remain functional.


Cis privilege is separate from the traditional notion of gender privilege because it relates to whether your gender identity matches your assigned gender. Matching is the key thing there, not which gender.

But it’s still based on gender, if it wasn’t then there would be nothing to “match”. As I have written before – The cis/trans binary and the man/woman binary BOTH refer to gender. Gender is the means through which females are oppressed by males – we lack the capacity to use gender to oppress other males (who wish to “live as” females), as much as a poor person couldn’t oppress a rich person (who suddenly became poor) through means of class privilege.

It is a perfect example of transmisogyny to assert that trans women’s expression of femininity is due to “male” perceptions of what makes a woman.

Of course transwomen’s expression of femininity is based on male perceptions of what makes a woman! Transwomen are male people with male bodies, male socialization and recipients of male privilege. Even if they wish it were otherwise, wishing doesn’t make it so.

24. maevele - November 11, 2009

apparently you think woman is defined exclusively by their bodyparts, actually. biology is destiny, right?

25. Joce Claire - November 11, 2009

Stopping by to say “hear, hear!” and add that one can’t be “cisgender” without accepting women’s subordinate gender role. Radical feminists don’t want to be women the way society has defined women (as wives, victims, fucktoys, etc.).

I will correct your assertion about third-world countries, though. Thailand and Iran have the highest rates of transexual surgeries, from what I’ve read. In Iran, men having sex with men is punishable by the death penalty, but if you claim to be trans, the government will pay for your sex-change surgery.

Factcheckme, glad to see you’re identifying more with radical feminism! I’ve been off on a weird little real life feminist adventure, I will email you about it.

26. Valerie M - November 11, 2009

Excellent post, factcheckme.

Also, Miska:

‘Excellent point about the way sex-poz feminism intersects with trans activism, factcheckme. They seem to have a tidy little relationship going – where transwomen are happy because sex-pozzies accept them, and the sex-pozzies are happy because the transwomen demonstrate that gender is merely an a harmless “identity”, rather than a construct which ensures women remain subordinate to men. No need to confront the tough issues about whether your stipperific gender-conformity is buying into the patriarchy, because it’s all about personal agency and expressing your identity!’

Great comment!

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

max, your comment, that you “worked so hard on” did not evince that you had even read or understood my position, yet you tapped out an arrogant, angry response to what you “thought” i believed. i am not going to waste my time reading your comments, when they miss my point so completely. that bullshit “arguing for arguments sake” might fly on newsvine, but its not gonna fly here. seriously. i am very disappointed in you, if you could read everything i wrote here and conclude that i think “womanhood” has nothing to do with body parts…after i have mentioned pregnancy and the ability to get (and the expectation of) pregnancy as the root of womens oppression, around the world.

in the meantime, stop pretending that i “censored” you, we all know what that means. and dont pretend as if your comment “that you worked so hard on” was responsive to my argument, in any way. if you want to try again, please do. but yor comment is lost forever, because i deleted the portions that were nonresponsive (in this case, nearly the whole fucking thing). thats your fault. not mine.

27. Bee - November 11, 2009

this analysis of trans-culture just sums up perfectly what i have long thought about this wave of trans trends in western culture.

i would however insert the idea that there are potentially real psychological issues associated with some trans-identifying individuals, but the symptoms of those actually suffering from genuine gender identity disorders are much fewer and far between than the recent overhaul on female to male identifiers.

also brilliant is you connecting the dots between privilege and “the change.” sickening the kind of money, energy and assets that are expended into trans issues.

its also a real issue for me that the gay rights movement is so closely connected to trans issues. where as a gay person will forever live their life as a gay person, a trans person often times leave their “queer” lives behind to find hetero-normative happiness in another town far away from the truth of their hormone treatments. there’s no T on my GLB movement.

thank you for this bold analysis. i certainly hope this blog doesn’t instill the feelings of fear in any trans person reading, but it is your right to voice it.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

bee, its not my intention to instill “fear” in anyone, and i have said repeatedly that i wish no harm on any trans-person, and i think they deserve all the legal protections that we all enjoy. if they are ever granted the status of a legally-protected minority group, then those rights should be enforced. so i agree with you in hoping that no “fear” is read into my post. either my being “fearful” of them (trans-phobic) or them fearing me because i wish them some sort of harm. i dont. but, as some people have stated elsewhere, the trans-identified believe that they are above reproach, and that a few big, black, well-timed tears will get them off the hook when it comes to a critical analysis. but again, thats their misogynist view of women, believing that we are all sucseptible to that emotionality, and manipulation, and that a few tears will do the trick. wrong, and wrong.

it bothers me as well that the gay movement has taken on TQ issues, or rather, that TQ issues seem to have taken-over the GLB movement. its like they have thier fingers in every pie: they have appropriated the GLB, feminism, and intersex arguments, and coopted our victimization even (men claiming gender-based oppression!), and then relied heavily on the psychiatric and medical establishment which is no friend to any of those groups. then, many trans-identified people lie to get the surgeries they need, not becuase they probably want to lie, but because the medical model of “trans” dictates that a “successful” transition will be a transperson living as a heterosexual within his/her assigned gender. no doc wants to take on a patient who is unlikely to have a “successful” outcome. so the prospective patients lie, if they plan to live as gay/bi or asexual after transitioning. i will provide some links on that issue shortly.

as to the reality of “real psychological issues” among trans-identified persons, i agree that this exists. in fact, by definition, trans-identified have a psychiatric disorder, and they just lap up these diagnoses because it means they are one step closer to transitioning! when in reality, there are serious problems with the medical model, AND there are other people out there desirous of amputating arms and legs. so which one is it? are they mentally ill, or arent they? perhaps the ones who desperately want the amputations, and will self-mutilate or commit suicide if they arent given what they want are the ones that need to be more closely monitored for psych issues. and the ones that just want to “live as” another gender should be allowed to do so, but without surgery or hormone therapy. theres no medical cure for non-medical issues, after all. you cant have your cake and eat it too.

28. berryblade - November 11, 2009

Recommendation for the people who believe in “transphobia” and so called “cis-privilege”:

Go read Sheila Jeffrey’s “Beauty and Misogyny” and it will explain how much of a load of crap it is.

“Femininity is sexually exciting to the men who seek it because it represents subordinate status and thus satisfies masochistic sexual interests. Men’s femininity is very different from the femininity that is a requirement of women’s subordinate status, because women do not choose femininity but have it thrust upon them.”
(Jeffreys, 2005)

On FTM trans* being very different to MTF trans*

“FTM are overwhelmingly lesbians before they seek surgery. The phenomenon of women transexing and wanting to remain with their husbands who then have to reclassify themselves as homosexual, does not seem to exist. The causes of female-to-male traasexualism … lie in the oppression of women and lesbians (Jeffreys 2003) … internalized hatred of lesbianism … histories of sexual abuse … and gain safety with identifying with the abuser”
(Jeffreys 2005)

I second Bee’s motion of “thank you for the bold analysis” – you’re an amazing writer.

29. Rebecca Crouter - November 11, 2009

Author,

While I appreciate your thoughts, and your right to speak them, I feel compelled to provide my input as well.

I am transgender…MtF to be exact. I am legally and officially classified as female, a fact that I am extremely proud of.

You say that men have priviledge. I do not dispute this. That being said, please understand that if I had a choice, I would have grown up as female…with all the stereotypes, sexualization, and all good and bad that goes along with it. I would have gladly shared in the feminine experience. I cannot go back and change history…but I can change my future. I accept being female, with everything that comes with it.

Oh, and just so you know, I have breasts, but not to “play with all day”, as you suggest most MtF’s do. I don’t like them all that much…they hurt a lot, and one of them is posing some serious medical complications.

I don’t think you will understand my point of view, just as I don’t wholly understand yours. Please remember: If I could have been born female, I would have.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


If I could have been born female, I would have.


oh, sure you would! and i would have been born black, if possible, because i think its cool, and i like the way their hair looks. come on, rebecca, seriously. do you not see the privilege inherent in your statement? you dont know, and cannot know, what its like to be “born and raised female.” so your volunteerng for said experience, after the fact, and when its impossible to actually do, is meaningless. anyone who would “choose” to be subjected to misogynist hate from literally the day they were born is ignorant, in the literal sense of the word. there are many born-women (and many feminists) who wouldnt even make the statement that you are making: “i accept being female, and everything that comes with it.” does that mean we are men, or transmen?

i appreciate your respectful reply, and your being candid about what appears to be an unsuccessful breast augmentation/construction-from-whole-cloth. the surgical complications that come with sex-reassignment arent often discussed, although i linked to a few sources in my article that describe the problems with having to dilate the post-operative neovagina. many born-women have problems with unsuccessful cosmetic surgeries as well, and some of them can be reversed. which brings up an interesting point: can a post-op transwoman give up her “breasts” and still be considered to have successfully transitioned? can you decide not to have top surgery at all, and still be a success medically? be careful: this is a trick question. i think the medical establishment would say “NO” on both counts. which basically blames the patient for a medical failure, AND says that “real” women have to have noticeable breasts, when many born-women dont. LOL now born-women arent “real” women either. oh well.

30. Max - November 11, 2009

You have questions that make sense in your post. Thing is, you put them forth as hard facts. I’m not arguing for the sake of arguing, nor do I appreciate this out of nowhere turnaround. You really should have read my comment. It addressed many underlying concepts on which your assertions are predicated.

Oh, well. I guess I’ll just post a link to this blog post on all of the other feminist and trans communities that I’m in, see if anybody else can get you to stop acting like a middle class white guy.

And don’t you fucking dare be disappointed in me, factcheckme. You know better than to accuse me of that sort of shit.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

sure, max, go ahead and get some support from the trans-activists and fun-fems, who rely on each other for their circuitous arguments, and whom i dont trust any farther than i could toss them. thats really going to mean alot to me.

in the meantime, you ignore my points in favor of your own, you swear at me, and tell me i am acting like a middle class white guy….when you actually *are* one, AND you are acting it out, on my blog. thats rich. consider, for example, what it would have taken on your part, and what it would have contributed to the discussion, if you had addressed the “questions i raised that made sense” instead of quibbling over the delivery. why do you think you get to dictate my delivery, and ignore my points? this is not a rhetorical question.

and yes, i am very disappointed.

31. tair - November 11, 2009

While I have my doubts that you’ll reconsider anything, at all, this drivel is offensive enough that I feel the need to chip in. It’s yet another “hi, you’re wrong” post essentially, but it should at least help to get it off of my chest.

Hi, I’m a transwoman. I’ve never been comfortable with my body as it was to begin with it. Things such as having hair growing all over my fucking face kept me depressed for a long time. When people saw me as a “boy”, a “man”, I felt sick. It wasn’t right. I wanted them to see me as a woman. Not because I was particularly feminine, or for any sexual reasons. Because that’s who I am.

I am not and will never be a “fuck toy for men”. I consider myself pansexual. For the most part, I just say bisexual if it comes up since most people get it immediately, but I’m really not too concerned about genitalia and other sexual characteristics in the first place. I’ve yet to have any sort of sexual encounter, and I deliberately avoid it, because the idea of having sex the way my body is now is unappealing at best, sickening at worst. I have no particular intentions to have sex if I do get SRS (which I likely will), but at least it will be a possibility.

Speaking of, yes, I want to have my genitals changed. For the sake of no one but myself. It has nothing to do with “amputating” anything. Transsexuality is in no way as simple as surgery, despite what a lot of uninformed people may think. Having to dilate every so often is a drawback, but frankly, I find it quite tolerable if it means I can be comfortable with what’s between my legs. Still, it’s a distant goal that I’m not hurrying towards. My hormones are all I need for now, and it’s so incredibly calming how they reverse some of the harm my own body did to itself and corrects it as best they can.

I rarely ever wear dresses outside of special occasions. In fact, I dress quite normally, you’ll often find me wearing a pair of jeans and some sort of top or t-shirt. For the most part, I look pretty androgynous, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

Now, it really isn’t my intention to hand you my biography. My point is that while your arguments could possibly be valid if they’re aimed at a select few fringes, they completely misinterpret and offend transsexuality as a whole. I’m a woman. A transsexual, yes, but that’s just an immense hurdle that I have to get past, one that you should consider yourself lucky that you never had to face.

I transition, not out of a sense of privilege or a wish to emulate femininity, but to be myself, and let others see me as myself. It has been and will be a tough journey, and there’s much I don’t look forward to, but to be able to live my life, it’s worth it. Unfortunately, bullshit like what you’ve inflicted on us here does not help one bit, and so long as people sincerely believe this sort of crap, it’ll be hard, if not impossible to improve the situation.

In short, beyond being transsexual, I’m a pretty fucking normal person. People like you spread the idea that I’m not.

Stop it.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

tair, you and other trans-identified people are the ones who are spreading the idea that trans- have something wrong with them, not me. its YOU who are saying “the way i feel inside doesnt match my genitals, and everyone elses feelings do match their genitals, therefore there is something wrong with me.” how do you *know* what the fuck i feel? frankly, noone ever asked *me* how i felt about my gender. noone probably asked you, either, but being a man you felt compelled to tell everyone your opinion anyway. guess what? my “feelings” dont match my gender, either! many women and feminists feel this way. and there is NOTHING wrong with us. thats one perspective that we are trying to advance, through feminism. a pretty important one at that. all the while you co-opt our victimization, invert our arguments, and push your agenda, which is the opposite of what feminists are trying to accomplish. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU, just because your “feelings” dont match your genitals.

now, if you are going to self-mutilate and/or commit suicide if you arent allowed to amputate…thats another story entirely. i think its time that the trans-identified get honest with themselves about whether or not they “feel” their gender dysphoria this extremely (granted, thats asking alot of any mentally ill person, but thats where objective analysis comes in). if you dont, stop misappropriating the medical establishment to treat your non-medical conditions. if they really are a danger to themselves and/or others, let the medical establishment intervene. but question, always, whether surgery is the answer. as of right now, gender dysphoria is listed as a psychiatric disorder, and surgery is NEVER a legitimate treatment or a cure for that.

32. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

factcheckme, you never replied to my initial post above. I would like you to take into account my arguments. Search for “nonmalicious” in your browser.

I would also encourage you to walk a mile in our shoes before you continue to dismiss us as “masochistic sexual objects” or whichever. I tried for ten years to manage these feelings before eventually coming out. You have no idea what those ten years did to me. I would encourage you not to co-opt my experience, and speak for me – otherwise you are a hypocrite, practicing what you are preaching against,

Here is a peer-reviewed medical journal explaining that MtF brains are wired to be natal female brains, and FtM brains are wired to be natal male brains, almost 100% of the time.

http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/85/5/2034

33. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

factcheckme

I think that there is often some confusion wrt “gender identity” as applied to trans people. part of the issue is a lack of language for a particular – squick (see language again).

I’m a trans woman. As such, I could say I “always felt like a girl/woman”. But that’s only meaningful as applied to my understanding of my childhood. I think it would be more accurate to say I always assumed that I was a girl. It’s difficult, and personal, thus hard to articulate.

How this played out for me was in very subtly ways. For instance, if a book/movie didn’t have a strong or important female character – I didn’t want it. The social gendered messages that girls received I applied to myself. I remember a distinct argument with my fater because I was playing on a shed roof with some neighbor girls. My dad thought the roof was too dangerous/dirty for girls to play on. We (my friends and I) argued (as much as children argue with parents) that we should play on the roof just like the boys.

The social message that “girls don’t get dirty/play rough/put themselves in danger” applied to *me* and my friends, and it hurt, it was unfair, it sucked.

Saying “I’m trans because I feel like a girl” is a gross over simplification of a greater disconnect. An over simplification used by trans people and the ME far far to often.

I gravitated to gendered behaviors because the social messages for “girls” hit me, while the social messages for “boys” just didn’t. I looked to adult women for my social cues and learned that men were dangerous and not to be trusted.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

laughriotgirl, i appreciate your response, because it seems to address the problem of language, and of articulating ones subjective experience of gender. i think thats important, because as a woman i often wonder what the hell transwomen think “feeling like a woman” feels like? they must be making some assumptions there, by definition, because they arent female. and its difficult to articulate non-normative, subjective experience, by design. so it makes sense that the trans-explanation is going to ring hollow, in many ways. partly because it IS hollow, but i accept that it might also be partly due to language. so thank you for that.

now, i ask you the following question in all seriousness, and with all due respect.

did you ever believe that you could become pregnant, or that you would ever have and breastfeed children? did your concept of “dangerous men” include fear of unwanted pregnancy? if not, i have a hard time believing that your childhood was as female-identified as you think it was. again, born-women have experiences that far exceed their experience with “social messages” and self-identification with male-verus-female genders. and world-wide, the female “gender” has everything to do with the female SEX, in that its motherhood and pregnancy that define womens worth, womens roles, and therefore womens oppression, by men.

i believe you when you say that you identified with certain messages over others, and that you “assumed that you were a girl” but only if you are talking about “girl” as completely devoid of female reproduction and sex-based vulnerabilities that are female-specific. the distinction, however, kind of overwhelms your original claim.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

PS. you also dont sound as if you are particularly sex-positive, which i think is a smart move. because as much as transwomen rail against women and feminists for not accepting them, and often comparing this nonacceptance to “violence”, the truth is that if anyone is ever going to physically harm you, is going to be a man. for whatever reason, at least that message got through to you. do you have any insight into why that is, and why so many others miss that very important point?

34. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

Factcheckme-

I will not ever say that my childhood or experience of socialization was the same as the girls of my same race/class/region/etc. background. I’m not making that statement to deny a trans feminine socialization, but because I simply don’t know if it would be true or not. I rarely find it useful to say “my experience is the same as yours” in any context.

I do not recall believing I could become pregnant. Breast development and breastfeeding is another thing, however. I did have an understanding that my body would develop breasts. This carried into puberty and young adulthood (hard to explain).

My experience of “dangerous men” was one of fear of violation (physical/sexual), invalidation, intimidation. Men were those other people who I needed to avoid if I could, but if they paid positive attention to me, I should for some reason feel *better* (language again).

I’m thinking about your last paragraph. I stuck on how a specific fear of pregnancy overwhelms what I have stated. Here’s my line of thought for clarity and potential correction:

Universal misogyny is based on the reproductive (assumed) capabilities of women. This applies in an all-pervasive system that limits and punishes women from birth to death regardless of the desire or ability to reproduce.

If this is universal and is the root of women’s oppression, wouldn’t that make all forms of women’s oppression come from the same root?

Sorry if I’m not clear, and sorry for rambling on.

35. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

To the PS:

You are correct, it is men who are most likely to to be *sexually* violent and murderous to trans women (However, I have personal experience with physical violence from non-trans women, sexual assault from same)

To many trans women, radical feminism does not allow us agency, appears to shift goal posts, and positions academic theory over actual living bodies and lives.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


Universal misogyny is based on the reproductive (assumed) capabilities of women. This applies in an all-pervasive system that limits and punishes women from birth to death regardless of the desire or ability to reproduce. If this is universal and is the root of women’s oppression, wouldn’t that make all forms of women’s oppression come from the same root?


yes, i believe that to be the case. this is why its disingenuous to claim that theres any form of gender-based privilege that would position women over men: female gender oppression is directly related to womens sexual oppression. and that has everything to do with born-sex, and nothing to do with gender. around the world, women simply do not have the luxury of seperating their female gender from their female sex. they are going to become mothers, and heterosexual partners to men, whether they like it or not. even non-mothers will be viewed as types of “mothers”! (unsuccessful ones. and failed women). and motherhood and poverty go hand in hand, which is another way that women are oppressed due to their SEX, rather than their gender. again, the two are inseperable, in most parts of the world.

viewed in this context, i absolutely do not accept that women will ever oppress men based on gender. thats why cis-privilege simply does not ring true, for many people who think about gender and sex, and what they mean globally. you cant separate them, and gender and sex are the root of WOMENS oppression, by men. not the other way around. similarly, saying that a woman could oppress another woman by way of a gender-based privilege (which cis- is) is like saying that a white person can oppress another white person based on race-based privilege. it doesnt make any sense.

36. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

Ahh, ok then we agree, and then part company. I think though, it’s due to communication (pesky language).

Cis-privilege is not the same as sexism, in the way that homo/lesbo phobia is not the same as sexism. They are related and have the same roots, but play out in specific ways. Like a heterosexual woman can oppress a lesbian based on her hetero-ness, a non-trans woman can oppress a trans woman based on her cis-ness.

Most anti-lesbian violence is perpetrated by men, but the systems that oppress lesbians are enforced in part by women.

Cis-sexism/trans-phobia names the particular way that the patriarchal systems (medicine/laws/social constructs) impact and harm trans people. It puts a name to a series of oppressions that are more likely to mark trans lives as objectionable. In the exact same way that homophobia marks LGB lives as objectionable.

Interesting point – I was going to use poverty as an example of women’s oppression in the same way you just did. So, I don’t think our assessment of oppression is that far off. I think our divergence comes from the ways “cis/trans” is used. (again hope I clear)

37. Zip - November 11, 2009

“i had been lavished with male privilege since the day i was born, and taught that the only thing that mattered was my wants, my feelings, that i was entitled to turn my desires into reality, no matter how trite, fleeting, or bizarre. if i grew up with an entirely misogynist view of women, instead of one interspersed with actual, lived, female experience. like you, believing that girls and women were emotional manipulators, that just have to cry big, black tears to get “their way“–and merely the sum of their fleshly and artificial parts–as observable by men. the clothes, the eyelashes, and always, always how fuckable they are. if i had no cramps, and no fear of pregnancy. you know, all the things you obviously think constitutes “woman” as well as the things that you dont think about, at all, which make your interpretation of “female” so deeply problematic. if i had been taught to stick my dick into anything that moved from day one, and to enjoy it.”

I think there’s a lot right here that’s just plain wrong. You seem to assume that transsexuals grow up just like any other person before suddenly deciding to transition. That isn’t the case. Many have extreme issues with the puberty they’re usually forced to endure, and would much rather be on the “other side of the fence” from the get go.

From an MtF point of view, what if you don’t have a misogynistic view of women (you consider yourself one, after all)? If you don’t objectify them in any way, or think they’re emotional manipulators? What if you feel you should be able to become pregnant because it’s part of how your brain is wired? If the idea of using your “dick” for anything sexual makes you sick, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you?

You also manage to note that MtFs apparently find women “fuckable”, yet at the same time, you (falsely) claim that maintaining a “neo-vagina” requires sex with men. Does that mean being a transwoman requires you to be bisexual, or did I miss anything? Does sexual orientation just sort of change on the way?

Just curious, really. You seem to be way off the mark on a lot of things here. I know the whole point of your nickname is to tell people to check the facts themselves, but in this case, the facts don’t seem to match what you say.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

nonmalicious, i want to respond to the “peer-reviewed medical journal” stuff because it brings up some interesting points. first of all, assuming its true that MTF brains appear to be “wired like” natal female brains…its impossible to know for sure what would cause the similar appearance. in particular, did the MTF behaving like a female cause the brain to re-wire itself? or was the brain wired that way from the beginning, and that presentation caused the female behaviors? testosterone has long been implicated in violently aggressive behaviors in male chimps for example, but in linda brannon’s “gender: psychological perspectives” she goes beyond that and explains that chimps with normal levels of testosterone develop elevated levels of testosterone BY behaving aggressively. all studies of gender and sex are necessarily ex-post facto, they have to be. the only way to legitimately study gender difference would be to lock up newborn babies and fail to socialize them, and run tests to see how they develop in the absence of social conditioning. not only would that be impossible (unless robots were running the tests and performing all the physoical caretaking of the infants) it would be unethical to try, because not socializing babies is abuse.

so, even if i accept that a MTF brain is wired similarly to mine, that doesnt prove what you want it to prove: namely, that you were born genitally-male but with a female brain. ALSO, it does nothing in the way of supporting the concept of cis-privilege. because if i start out with a brain that matches my body, and your body matches your brain when you are born too, we are both cis-.

38. thebeardedlady - November 11, 2009

Good post.

@Tair, I’m a faab woman, and I have hair growing all over my fucking face, too. Check out the handle!

I just don’t understand what my ‘cis privilege’ consists of? As a woman, I am universally hated. I live in fear of rape and murder, by the men I am closest to. If I don’t conform to my gender, I am punished, sometimes by the system, sometimes just by random men in the street, who have a right to comment on and punish me for anything that they think is wrong with me. Etc, etc. I could go on but we all know the score.

On a more personal level, I am not feminine, do not do very much beauty work (only enough that I can do/keep my job), and I have always felt that my sex and gender are completely mismatched – but I think the solution is revolution, not surgery! I have no desire to physically ‘be’ a man – I would just like my full human rights, please). If I had the choice, at birth, to decide my sex, there is no way I would choose to be a member of the despised sex class! With everything that I know, and everything I have experienced, why should I? When women are not treated as full human beings – why would I decide I actually WANTED that, to be treated as less than human for my whole life?

My point is that, as far as I can see, I don’t have ANY gender privilege, whatsoever.

Can someone please explain to me how my ‘cisprivilege’ is helping me? What do I get out of it? And what do trans-people endure that women as a class do not have to? I know it’s not abuse, rape, job discrimination,low pay, isolation, verbal abuse, murder, or slavery, because these have been part of women’s normal life forever. So what is it?

I would genuinely like to know the answer to this question!

(I’d also be interested to hear more about why trans-people want to be women, given how completely shit it is to be a woman. Not an easy question, I’m sure, but I’d be interested all the same if anyone wants to take a stab at it.)

39. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

The study specifically states that both trans women not on HRT And trans women on HRT have the same brain structures – that of a cis female. It also states the same for trans men. It also goes on to show that cis men, despite an absence of testosterone (through orchidectomy, androgen-blocking medications such as Androcur), continue to have male brain arrangements.

The amount of re-wiring through socialization would have to be so extreme as to essentially create and entirely new brain. We are talking about the number of neurons in many parts of the brain, not even those linked to memory functions. How would “acting female” change the number of neurons in, say, the parts of the brain that control breathing, or reflexes? That is absolutely impossible. Neurology simply does not work in the capacity you describe.

The paper essentially discusses everything you just retorted against. The fact is, I have a female body and social identity that is not linked to anything I do socially. I skateboard, I’m a tomboy, I act in certain ways that many butch cis women do. I do not consider my body, which is taking on a female appearance with HRT, to be a sexual object for the pleasure of men – my positive body image as a woman helps me have confidence and happiness, in order to have the drive to live my life. To continue on in University, to get a degree, and to make my friends and partners happy.

Cis privilege is the act of cisgendered people, both male and female-identified, exerting power, prestige and privilege over those who do not fall into the gender/sex dichotomy. I am not respected as a man in this society – I am subjugated as a “transsexual.” It is common for many people to see the gender heirarchy in our society as “male, female, transsexual.” We are expected 100% to be sex workers or escorts. We, being trans women, are expected to be hyper-feminine, even though tomboys such as myself exist. We are rejected by our families, by employers, made fun of in academic circles for being “freaks,” and so on. I take no pleasure in this. My mother, a second wave feminist, asks me constantly: “why would you ever be a woman?” I ask myself the same question. To be insulted by people like you, to be ostracized socially from so many things, to be objectified and repudiated by cis people… I never wanted any of this.

Before you continue co-opting my experience, basking in hypocrisy, demanding we stop co-opting the experiences of cis women while objectifying and attempting to erase our own experiences, I would encourage you, again, to walk a mile in our shoes. It would eat you alive.

40. Zip - November 11, 2009

“(I’d also be interested to hear more about why trans-people want to be women, given how completely shit it is to be a woman. Not an easy question, I’m sure, but I’d be interested all the same if anyone wants to take a stab at it.)”

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is all biological and social, and has nothing to do with any given benefits or downfalls other than for one’s own psyche. I figure it’s the same for transmen, that their transitioning has little to do with “gaining privilege” and all the more to do with biological and social factors.

As for cis-privilege, it’s not exactly far fetched to assume you get a whole lot of shit for “switching sides”, not being a “real” man or a “real” woman. It might even make close family and friends reject you. This all probably falls on top of any gender-based injustices, so I guess the point is that male privilege and cis-privilege are two different things that are far from mutually exclusive. Transwomen really get the short end of the stick there.

I have to admit I find some feminists’ attitudes towards transsexuals a bit strange. Among the most radical ones, the idea seems to be that transmen are “traitors” and transwomen are “infiltrators”…

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/2009/11/relinquishing-woman.html

dirt copied and pasted a transman’s own words off a FTM site, where he specifically addressed the male-privilege he gained from transitioning. basically, he said it was pretty freaking awesome. i dont doubt that it was.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

again, nonmalicious, giving someone hormone replacement therapy as an adult doesnt prove anything one way or the other, regarding what their brain looked like when they were born, and how it changed over decades of social conditioning, behaviors, environments, and the like. you are trying to assert that cis- is innate, but you havent proved that its there (or not there) at birth. you havent shown me that cis- exists, because you havent shown that trans-exists, at birth. more importantly, its impossible to prove. so why are you trying? this is not a rhetorical question.

41. Bee - November 11, 2009

just another kudos for handling this comments section with such conviction.
you could easily publish a book on this. youve got the facts and the bravery to be a distinctive voice. start writing.

42. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

Yes, but did you read the part of my post where I explained that social conditioning CANNOT change the brain at such a fundamental level. Social conditioning cannot change the structure of the brain in every single area. Neurology does not work that way.

Cisgenderism is where there is a female-structured brain inside a natal female body, and similarly for males. Transgenderism is where there is a female-structured brain inside a natal male body, or a male-structured brain inside a natal female body. Thus, cisgenderism is innate, since there is a connection between the mind and body, while in transgenderism there is a disconnect.

It has nothing to do with social roles for me. I dislike many of the prescribed social roles for women and reject them. For many trans women, the social roles fit them. There are many cis women who feel the roles fit them as well, however oppressive you may see them. Is it your place to strip them of their gender based on this? No? Then why are gender roles, when applied to trans women, a carte blanche for you to strip them of theirs and continue to call them “men who co-opt the female experience”?

And another retort to an earlier comment you made: you stated that fertility is one of the major oppressive factors for the female sex, that trans women cannot experience. Many cis women cannot experience it either: birth defects, XY female syndrome (and other intersexed syndromes), ovarian or other cancers of the reproductive system, and so on. Do they fail to meet the criteria for the experience of the female sex, also?

43. thebeardedlady - November 11, 2009

nonmalicious – I see how, as a woman, whether faab or trans, you are subjugated and excluded and discriminated against.

What I don’t see is:

a) that faab women are responsible for this; and
b) that faab women benefit from this (after all, it’s how we are oppressed, too).

If trans-people took a stand AGAINST gender, and directed their activism against patriarchy and the enforcement of gender, feminists would have no problem. In fact, I for one would be very supportive. Trans-people would find, in this case, that this is something that radical feminists already campaign and write about.

I believe that gender is a social construct. Radical feminists tend to agree that gender is a social construct. This is sort of the point.

Sex, on the other hand, is biological, but I don’t think that the male/female binary covers it all. There are various intersexes. And I can accept that some people feel that they are the wrong *sex*. Sex is biological, and it’s conceivable that a miswiring/misfiring could result in a mismatch between sex and identity.

Yet all the research into trans stuff seems to be about a mismatch between sex and gender. But gender isn’t innate! It’s a myth, a patriarchal myth. EVERYONE has a mismatch between their sex and gender. Everyone!

So I don’t think I can describe myself as ‘cisgender’ and claim that privilege.

And on privilege… I have yet to hear of any tribulation or oppression experienced by trans-people that is not experienced by women. Of the ones mentioned so far: family disowning you? Check – especially for those women who defy gender conformity/refuse to marry/refuse to be heterosexual. Seen as sex workers? Check – lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked, ‘how much love?’. Expected to be hyper-feminine? Check – we even have vibrating mascara now! Derided as a ‘freak’ in academic circles? Check – and medical circles, religious circles, social circles, art circles, all the circles, really.

Do you understand that women are oppressed in all these ways? Not just trans-women. ALL women.

I wonder if the experience of living with male privilege blinds trans-people to female oppression to such an extent that when they change, and experience life as a woman for the first time, they automatically attribute the hatred and oppression they experience to being trans, when in fact it is just NORMAL LIFE for all women.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

nonmalicious, by definition, almost all women can reproduce. thats the default for any species so far as i am aware (not to be sterile). most women do reproduce at some point. so you are asking me, do the very small percentage of women who cannot reproduce act (somehow) outside of sex-based systems of oppression? well, no. for one thing, women are assumed to be able to reproduce, until its shown otherwise that they cannot. so, they are treated as if they can, with all the oppressive sociaization that comes with that (girls are taught to be the gatekeepers of sexuality for example). they are funnelled into the maternal role. if the day comes where its discovered that she is infertile, shes already been socialized into an oppressive gender role based on her born-sex. it also means shes trying to get pregnant, and failing (otherwise how would she know?) then she is treated as a failure, if she cannot conceive. its kind of a damned-if-you do-or-dont situation. and all this is part of the female experience. men never experience any of this. but all women do, whether they are actually fertile or not, so long as they have female-looking external genitalia, at birth.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


I wonder if the experience of living with male privilege blinds trans-people to female oppression to such an extent that when they change, and experience life as a woman for the first time, they automatically attribute the hatred and oppression they experience to being trans, when in fact it is just NORMAL LIFE for all women.


i have wondered the same thing. it would look very similar, if not identical, to just good-old fashioned misogyny, rather than anything having to do with trans-. how would they know, having come into that experience as men, with only their experience of male privilege to go on, whether it was misogyny or trans-anything?

44. thebeardedlady - November 11, 2009

Quite. (Although I cannot claim this as my original thought – I nicked the idea from another radfem but can’t recall where I read it first.) The person who called me a ‘fucking bitch’ as I walked through the city centre this morning did not know if I was a born-female or if I was trans. But it’s misogyny and patriarchy that is the problem, not transphobia.

Which is why I keep asking for concrete examples of oppression against trans-people that women do not also suffer.

I’m beginning to think that the oppression trans-people are talking about is precisely and only their exclusion from radfem blogs. And that’s why we are being pushed to acknowledge cisprivilege. Cisprivilege is the ability to post a comment on a radfem blog without fear of someone calling out your male privilege.

Is that it? Is that unfair? I *want* to include trans-people and for them to become rad fems and shout down the patriarchy. But not if it means giving up all the rad from my fem and accepting damaging (to women) ideas like gender is innate.

45. Laurelin - November 11, 2009

One thing I have noticed is how much transactivists (NOT transpeople, but transactivists) tend to be on the side of the pro-porn, sex ‘postive’ lot. If you’re gonna support the sexual slavery of women and girls, I’m not going to support you. You’re not on my side, and I won’t pander to you.

Oh and for the record chaps, Factcheckme doesn’t have the power to ‘censor’ you. She’s not the government; she’s a woman voicing an unpopular opinion and getting jumped on for it. Get the fuck over yourselves; you do NOT have the right to space on Factcheckme’s blog. If she publishes you, then you should be grateful. It is not your due.

46. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

Specific examples of cis-sexism?

1) (law) Having to account for mis-matched documentation. For example, my state ID lists me as “F” and my Birth Certificate states “M”. I live in a state where this will not change.

2) (economic)Due to this mismatch, future employers are notified for potential fraud with a “Gender No match” letter

3) (social) This opens up the cis-centered assumption that I am therefore deceptive and a liar when I assert my most fundamental understanding of my own life.

These are simply examples and not intended as exhaustive.

47. Zip - November 11, 2009

Oh, and I think you misunderstand. Gender is not a social construct in and of itself. Gender roles and inherent differences are.

Let me put it this way. Do you want to be seen as a woman? Do you appreciate it when people you meet think of you as female, not male? Do you prefer if your body has female characteristics and functions? If so, that’s because you’re a woman, that’s your female gender.

Transwomen feel the same way. That’s why they’re women.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

thanks, laurelin, for bringing it home. this post was about sex-positive transwomen, and (as miska observed) the intersection of sex-positive, liberal feminism and trans-activism. most people who commented here seem to have missed the point, and wanted to discuss, essentially, whether trans-persons deserve to exist. a big fat red herring, since i never implied or stated otherwise. another red-herring is any discussion on transmen, or transgendered rather than transsexed persons.

i entertained that discussion for ahwile, (and laughriotgirl made it worth it IMO and did so without derailing) but the time has come for some heavy-handedness on the moderation.

this post was about a very specific criticism i have about sex-pos transwomen, and how entirely banal it is for born-men to tell women essentially that they should be having sex with men, and servicing them for money. i also suggested an ulterior motive (neovaginal dilation) as well as a lack of natural inhibition (they cant get pregnant) that makes it clear that sex-pos trans-activism takes a tack thats problematic for born-women to follow. and liberal feminism IS following it, seemingly without question.

can we get back on point, people? if not, you wont be published. and you will have to call your mama if you want to complain, because i am not hearing it.

48. of note - November 11, 2009

Just a note on the law:

transwomen are not a legally-recognized minority class in most places. to the extent that they are legally recognized as a “minority” class, the only reason they find themselves there is that they CHOSE IT. thats the definition of privilege: exercising CHOICE.

Even though legal protections for gender identity and expression exist in a relatively small percentage of the US in terms of physical geographic area, the majority of people in the US live in areas where gender identity and expression *are* protected, because of urban v. rural population distribution.

Also, religion is a choice, and it is a federally protected class. This reasoning — that just because membership in a class may involve some element of choice doesn’t mean that the choice element negates the protection of the class — is gaining some traction in the federal courts, too (Schroer V. Library of Congress).

On a person note, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the people who worked on that case and hear them speak about the process, and there is just like, no way on earth you could describe them as “bimbo fun-fems.” These are some serious, intellectual, heavy-hitter feminist legal scholar/practitioners. I don’t think it’s fair to paint everyone you disagree with as a dupe, especially when they’re working so hard to create positive change.

49. laughriotgirl - November 11, 2009

I feel like I’m posting way to much, so I’m going to stop after this.

Trans-misogyny is what happens when misogyny and homophobia play out on trans bodies/lives. For example:

I was at a party with friends and a man thought he was entitled to access to my body. He groped me in passing and thought something was amiss. His privileged access to my body resulted in his discovery of my status. This resulted in violence, stalking, and later sexual assault.

My initial report to the cops and subsequent misgendering and blaming made it not safe to report the stalking and assault. My status as a trans women left me with no resources for my rape.

The oppressions parallel and intersect. It is the ways in which they differ that requires naming as we dismantle a confining system of oppression that has the exact same root and highly similar results.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

oh for christs sake. this is the last post i am going to entertain on such an idiotic track!

Let me put it this way. Do you want to be seen as a woman? Do you appreciate it when people you meet think of you as female, not male? Do you prefer if your body has female characteristics and functions?


no. no. and no. not unless i am in a very specific situation, that i can control, and that presents no danger. which is basically 2 hours a day: when i am getting ready to leave in the morning, and unwinding at home at night. any other time i fucking HOPE nobody notices, because thats going to be the beginning of something unpleasant, always.


Transwomen feel the same way.


LOL no, they dont. perhaps you should have asked me the question first, before you (inexplicably, and WRONGLY, and BADLY) predicted my answers.

50. thinkaboutit - November 11, 2009

Max and others have done a wonderful job pointing out just how much fail, but I have to add in here: you keep going back to trans women and how they’re really men. By that logic, trans men are really women. Well, those “women” say the exact same things about cis privilege existing as the “men” do.

Yes, but it’s not ‘cis’ privilege. It’s MALE privilege.

51. Zip - November 11, 2009

My apologies if I offended you. I’d appreciate if you weren’t so quick with the banning though.

You seem to misunderstand the sentiment of my comment. Gender injustices ASIDE, would you like to be seen as a woman, rather than, say, a man?

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

of note, religion is kind of its own thing. its *kind of* a choice, in that its not genetic, but its also a social meme passed down over hundreds of years within a family, and within a culture. so i would ask you not to equate transsexualism with religion, and then argue that religion is (and should be) a protected legal class. thats a strawman, and a pretty obvious one. thanks.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

laughriotgirl, i have appreciated your comments, and have enjoyed conversing with you. thank you for participating. i have not spammed any of your replies.

52. thinkaboutit - November 11, 2009

apparently you think woman is defined exclusively by their bodyparts, actually. biology is destiny, right?

No: I think ‘woman’ is a political class, defined by the privileged. Female is defined by bodyparts, woman is defined by an imaginary construct called ‘gender’.

However those who hold that they have the gender identity ‘woman’ and must alter their male body to match clearly do think ‘woman’ is defined by body parts.

53. thinkaboutit - November 11, 2009

Let me put it this way. Do you want to be seen as a woman? Do you appreciate it when people you meet think of you as female, not male? Do you prefer if your body has female characteristics and functions?

No. No. No.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


Gender injustices ASIDE, would you like to be seen as a woman, rather than, say, a man?


HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA is this a joke?? only a fucking man could come up with this shit. born-women know that theres no such thing as “gender injustices ASIDE.” it comes with the territory, pal. now stop embarassing yourself, please.

54. thebeardedlady - November 11, 2009

Yes, sorry. Transactivists. Not transpeople. I should have made that distinction in my comments. I do agree that it is an important distinction. Sorry if I missed the point of the post – I have been thinking a lot about ‘cisprivilege’ and my comments were directed that way perhaps more than was appropriate in this instance. Don’t wish to derail as I think it’s a great post and an interesting discussion.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

no worries, beardedlady. thank you for posting. dont stop on my account! actually, i couldve been more clear that i was talking about transsexuals over transgendered. its all connected, and its all relevant. there were some intentional derails though, as there always are in these topics. i wasnt speaking of you.

55. thinkaboutit - November 11, 2009

I was at a party with friends and a man thought he was entitled to access to my body. He groped me in passing and thought something was amiss. His privileged access to my body resulted in his discovery of my status. This resulted in violence, stalking, and later sexual assault.

So no ‘cis’ women ever experience violence, stalking and sexual assualt then?

56. Will - November 11, 2009

I think I get it. I don’t agree, but I think I get your point(s) now. I think some of the language used is slightly ugly and fails to get the true point across by bringing up entrenched feelings for most readers, but I think I get it.

When I decided to start transitioning (FTM, yes), I had a real problem with that word because it denotes a definite start and end. Truthfully there is no “end” and cannot be with the science we have. I tried for a while to buy into the brains being wired differently, and I do believe for some this is true – I believe it could happen. I can go back into childhood memories and point out where I wanted to be a boy instead of a girl.. BUT! Why?

Because society, privilege, whatever you want to call it in your academic world (meaning I’m from a small town and we don’t use words like that) dictates what is what. Did I want to be a boy because I felt like one, how can that be when I don’t know what it feels like to be a boy, I can only guess? And what I’m guessing at, identifying with, is in reality an illusion. Created, again, by whatever word you want to use.

Before I ever took my first injection of Testosterone, I thought about all of it. Saw it for what it was, at least on some level. I still took that shot, and still do. And what am I now? Well, I’m Will. I’m a little “boy” and a little “girl” and a little “lesbian” and a little “fag” and generally just “queer” except I don’t really feel anything for the culture – which is what GLB(TQ) feels to ME to be all about.

And I try every day to be the person my mother would be proud of – whether that would be taken as “man” or “woman” by others, and I take the comments, questions, and looks in stride most days, too. Some days I don’t fair as well and it really messes with my head but over all it’s okay.

And for the same reasons other feminists would hate you or think you’re crazy, other GLBTQ folks hate me when I bother to disagree with them.

So, as much as I hated this when I first read it, thank you. I still think you are wrong about some things but if I’ve read the crux of your argument (from the comments) correctly, you feel that you should be you, and feel however you want to, instead of believing what society, power, whatever tells us is one thing over the other.

Or I’m completely wrong about what you were trying to say, which is cool, too, because I still had to think about it.

I can tell you one thing I’ve learned – for certain that is – in my transition. I sum it up roughly to friends as “estrogen makes you crazy, testosterone makes you stupid”. That’s when it’s in excess, that is. Meaning simply that hormones make you think and feel and more importantly EXPERIENCE things differently. It’s not an excuse for behavior or for violence or for manipulation, but it is an ingredient in our lives and interactions with others.

And I guess that I even have time to think about this or spend money on my hormones proves I am first-world priviledged. But, then, my Xbox proved that.

57. Zip - November 11, 2009

About transwomen thinking women are defined by their body parts, you seem to miss the whole “dysphoria” part of it.

But that’s not the topic, and as I was about to say…

You note that “sex-pos trans-activism takes a tack thats problematic for born-women to follow”, which obviously makes sense. I assume you also understand most transwomen would agree with you? Just nitpicking at your choice of words here, sorry.

I don’t think there’s all that much to discuss on the specific topic, though. Yes, transwomen who basically act as ridiculously stereotyped sexual doormats and advocate it as a good thing is, well, a bad thing. I suspect that’s a reason why you haven’t gotten many comments about that, specifically. In all likelihood, everyone agrees with you on that while many get riled up by your “i do not accept transwomen as women”.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

thank you for reading and being respectful, will.

58. thebeardedlady - November 11, 2009

Thanks, fcm.

Am thinking about laughingriotgirl’s points, which are interesting. I think the oppression she describes is a function of male privilege – not cis. Because I believe the only gender privilege is male privilege. I will continue to think on this.

@thinkaboutit – to be fair, I read that comment as laughingriotgirl experiencing rape, and then *because* of her trans-ness, being unable to access the criminal justice system or other resources. I didn’t read it as saying she was raped because trans or rape is particular to trans. Of course it isn’t.

59. thinkaboutit - November 11, 2009

My initial report to the cops and subsequent misgendering and blaming made it not safe to report the stalking and assault. My status as a trans women left me with no resources for my rape.

The rape conviction rate in England (for REPORTED rape) is 5.6%. Most women never report rape at all. Because they fear being disbelieved, called a liar, being effectively raped all over again by the so called ‘criminal justice system’.

This is no doubt an example of so called ‘cis gender privilege’.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

do transwomen understand that most WOMEN dont get taken seriously when they report rapes? again, its hard to tell whats misogyny, and whats transmisogyny in a case like that. i reported a sexual assualt when i was in college, and it was handled very professionally, but it was in a decent-sized college town; AND the guy who assaulted me was black; AND the cops knew him, by name, because he had a rap-sheet longer than his arm, AND he was a known sex offender and domestic abuser. was i treated well in this case because i was born-female? not so sure.

all male-perpetrated rape is a function of male-privilege. cis-has nothing to do with that! in laughriotgirl’s case, her assailant used his male-privilege to violate her, then found out through touching her that she was trans…and proceeded to stalk and rape her. 1) how does she know he wouldnt have violated her anyway, and that the attack would NOT have occured had she been born-female? maybe he as just a rapist? they are a freaking dime a dozen. 2) how do you know the guy was cis-?

60. Zip - November 11, 2009

Also, just as a response to the ‘no’ chorus up there:

Well, that’s how I feel, as a woman. I want to be seen as female, I want my body to be female, because I like it that way. I don’t want the bullshit that often comes with it, and I’ll fight as best I can against it. But I sure as hell am a woman, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But with that, I think I’m resigning from here before my argumentativeness gets the best of me. To be perfectly honest, I find your comment about it “coming with the territory” a bit disheartening. I, for one, wish to change that. Do you?

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

polly, i too have a hard time swallowing the concept of “cis-privilege” when its clear that women are on the receiving-end ONLY of any gender-based oppression. the extremely low conviction rates for rape kind of bring that point home. transwomen being treated like shit by men and male institutions is kinda like, hey, welcome to my world.

that they apparently didnt see this kind of mistreatment coming is telling. that they assume that they are on the bottom of any particular totem pole, and that its “unfair” just becuase the cops dont run instantly to thier aid, is telling, too. they want to be treated *better* than women. not that i blame them.

61. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

I didn’t mean to say that trans women face oppression that is wholy different than that of cis women. That wasn’t my intent. I realize that much of the things I described are, too, prescribed to cis women.

The main difference in oppression is that our entire identities are discounted and made into a joke. For instance, take the horrible show known as Jerry Springer. You get both cis women and trans women being oppressed and mis-represented on it. But the difference is that the women are still taken for granted AS WOMEN. Trans women are made fun of at the level of their identity – that they are “really” men, or freaks, or trannies, or just one big punchline. Our identities are essentially destroyed and we are forced to roll over like a trick-dog. We are dehumanized in the same was that cis women are, as sexual objects, as something men fetishizes, but to a greater extent, where both our bodies and our identities are completely discarded, and seen as something that should be both repudiated and desired. Of course, butch women have the same problems – told they are “not female” and having their identities called into play. Many “bois” I’ve been acquaintances have had the same problem, where they are seen in disgust by men as “unwomanly.” In these things we share commonalities.

While cis women have had advances in the world in terms of employment, we have had next to none. The LGB movement has largely ignored the plight of trans people in the work place. While a woman may not get hired for a job because it deemed too “manly” for a woman to do, a trans person might not even be considered regardless of any of their qualifications, due to them being “deceptive” or “causing disturbance in the workplace” because of others repudiating trans people as freaks or undesirable. You will never have your average cis person turned down from a job because of their “freakish” nature, despite being well-adjusted, educated, and with a good work ethic.

I can provide more examples if you would like, from health care to psychiatry.

I would, on that note, like to talk about your use of psychiatry as a talking point against trans people, of them being “mentally disordered.” Much of the initial foundation of feminism was reclaiming the female experience from psychiatry, who stripped women of their sexual agency by prescribing such things as “hysteria,” or punishing women who simply did not obey male authority. I find it ironic that the same institution that oppressed women (and gays/lesbians) for so long is the same one you’re using in defence of your argument against the identities of trans people.

I would also like to explain my female body image and identity. I do not dress in an feminine way for the benefit of anyone except myself. I do not dress in a stereotypically feminine way – unless cargo pants and t-shirts count. I do not dress in a feminine way to attract men. In fact, I dress and present myself in that way in spite of these things. I will not have men or external male privilege exert any influence over my dress, or any part of my personality. I will not conform to what a proper “tranny” should be in the eyes of the chasers who look at me like a sack of meat, confused as to why I would be dressing like a dyke (because no trans woman is a lesbian). I will skateboard and do any sort of activity I find interesting despite any male or female dominance. I will not have gender norms define me or my life. I have changed my body to make myself have a positive body image, one that neurology has PROVEN in many case studies to be wired as the female sex.

I will not be stripped of agency, or identity, or experience, by anyone. Not you, who uses biologically deterministic arguments – the same arguments used by men to say “women are weak, men are strong” – to say I am deranged, or “really” a man. Not by the chaser on the street, who objectifies and fetishizes me as a “chick with a dick.” Not men who see me in disgust as being an inhuman, disgusting “tranny.”

Nobody.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009


You will never have your average cis person turned down from a job because of their “freakish” nature, despite being well-adjusted, educated, and with a good work ethic.


i am sorry, but this is a pretty obvious example of a trans-persecution complex. if i dyed my hair the wrong color, it could cost me a job. where, exactly, do you get off telling “cis-” women that we have it easier than you do? when you could have just kept your dick and STFU about it. how dare you make these choices, and exercise these privileges and then claim that you have neither choice, nor privilege? i am sick of this shit. if you dont like how people treat you when you wear a dress, (or whatever) dont wear one. i have to make these choices every fucking day of my life.

this reminds me of a talk show i once saw where “baby-daddies” had to pay child support, and they were crying about having to forego college so that they could fulfill their financial obligations. one of them had to give up a football scholarship, because it would have taken up all his time and wouldnt have given him enough $ to send to his kids, under the child support order. and this guy had the unmitigated GALL to say “if i were a woman, the courts and the schools would bend over backwards to accomodate me! this wouldnt happen if i were a woman!” HA well guess what? number one, OH, YES IT WOULD. and number two, most women who have children at a young age DONT go to college, and they dont feel ENTITLED to go, either.

the unmitigated goddamned gall. the entitlement! this is terribly revealing, really. stop it.

62. nonmalicious - November 11, 2009

Yes, it would have been much easier to “keep our dicks,” and suffer extremely debilitating body dysphoria and depression for the rest of our lives. Do you think that’s a recipe for success?

I don’t understand your comments regarding the fact that trans women “don’t see it coming.” We think about this oppression before, during, and after transition, nigh-constantly, as we are stared at intently just walking down the street to the drug store or post office like we are a one-person freak show.

We (specifically trans women) look at the oppression of trans people and our gender. We look at social discrimination, workplace discrimination, sexual objectification, the abuse, the sexual assault, and everything that comes from being both trans and a woman.

We look at all of that, and then at ourselves in the mirror, and ask: “Why?”

We probably ask the same questions you do. Why does male privilege, or, indeed, any privilege, exist? Why are we, as a class of people, oppressed, objectified, abused, assaulted, and so on? Why must we face these things every day of our lives? Why are we driven to madness by it?

We ask the same questions. We feel the same things. And despite that, we do it anyways, swallowing those god damn pills that give us a half-decent body image because the dysphoria that we would otherwise have drives us to depression and suicide. We do it anyways, because we’ve spent such a long period of our lives considering those variables, staring at the abyss below, and deciding that we’d rather not find what was at the bottom. We do it anyways because even if our lives turn into hell afterwards, WE turned it into hell. WE were responsible, and tried, and had agency, and didn’t let our social surroundings define us.

That we chose to reject the prescribed roles for our sex, that we chose to break out of our depression and our tiny little boxes, and tell the world who hates us for breaking the sex/gender dichotomy to fuck off.

We all know what were were getting into. We did it anyways. We had to. And people like you berating us for the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do doesn’t help us, it just reminds us how very alone we really are.

63. Zip - November 11, 2009

Okay, I promised myself I’d stay out of this from here on, but it’s seriously frustrating how you won’t listen at all to nonmalicious’s great comments.

First of all, she had little choice in the matter. Chances are her only real options were “being miserable” and “doing something about it”. She’s already provided proof that this is biologically determined.

Now, the point you attempt to counter is actually a valid one. As ciswomen, there are definitely injustices that we have to face, and she seems completely aware of that. The problem is that, if you happen to be a transwoman, you get that IN ADDITION to the automatic labels of “freak”, “pervert” and what have you.

Getting back to your claim that she has a “choice”, that’s exactly why I asked if you wanted to be seen as a woman earlier, and to have a body in line with that image. You didn’t, and I apologize for making a wrong assumption there, but that’s how I feel. Perhaps that’s why I seem to have a better understanding of what transwomen go through and why they have no other real options.

To turn that on its head, I have nothing against men, really, but the mere thought of being male, being seen as a man and having male body parts seems… weird. Scary. I can entertain the thought of experiencing it some time, but I would never, EVER want to be stuck in such a situation.

I pity those who are involuntarily stuck in a situation that’s mere hypothetical thinking to me.

64. clavicular - November 11, 2009

No, really, you stop it. Would you tell a gay woman to “just date men and STFU. How dare you make the choice to date women and then complain about it”? I know you probably don’t think it’s the same thing but I really don’t understand where you see the difference to be.

And comparing the discrimination trans* people face to men complaining about having to pay child support? REALLY?

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

no, clavicular, its not the same. maybe bee can tell you why she doesnt accept the T in her GLB movement? but for me, it comes down to “master class.” wheras i think you are talking about identity-politics, which i couldnt give a shit about on most days. for those who dont know, your “master class” is what people see of you, when you walk down the street. race and sex are the big ones. and ability too i guess. those ARE, in fact, the biggest “ones” and are the categories around which we have created anti-discrimination laws. theres a reason for that. its because you cant hide it. no matter where you go, there you are. we have to protect people from discrimination for that which is innate + obvious/cannot be hidden from the world.

everything else is “identity politics.” and frankly i dont care much about “identities.” not when master-class is so much more important, and as i have said repeatedly, affects women around the world profoudly, based on what people see, rather than anything that you “do” or identify with. for example, 12-year old child brides in ethiopia will be married off and impregnated, because they are female. ask them if they really give a crap about whether some first-world-privileged man wears a dress to work, or not. i dont really give a crap either. and i wont, until female as a master-class becomes acceptable. as i keep saying, its women as a sexual class that i care about, the most.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

its not the “being miserable” part that sticks in my craw. its the “doing something about it” that gets me. how nice it must be, to have something that can be “done”, and to have the resources to then “do it.” again, this is a part of male-privilege, that transwomen just dont “get”. do they think they are the only ones who are suicidal and depressed? seriously.

65. basketcasey - November 12, 2009

So then your entire argument is not really about trans women, it’s about privileged people who can make choices to alleviate or not alleviate their privilege. It is a fact of life that some people are more privileged than others, and you insisting on demonizing an entire minority is not fucking helping eliminate the concept of privilege (which is one of the more meta aims of feminism, I think we might all agree on?) Why would you just keep harping on one community instead of the forces that oppress you in the first place???

66. laughriotgirl - November 12, 2009

@factcheckme –

Since you asked. I guess I’m assuming the guy was cis. I included the lead up to show how the initial act was a common potential violation we have (men feeling entitled to female bodies). The resulting violence was based on my status as a trans woman based on the verbal assault. The stalking and harassment was also based on or at least targeted toward my status. (I’m trying to be vague to avoid triggering language)

The rape, again, a potentially shared experience in that any woman who does not perfectly meet a man’s desires is subject to being punished and shown her place as the object to satisfy a man’s desires.

The way the attack was handled by the police was a failure. was it specifically because I was trans? I don’t know for sure, but the tone and attention paid to what I was saying changed the moment I told them I was a pre-op trans woman.

again, cis/trans isn’t about trans women having it “worse”. It’s about trans people having specific and important differentials in access to support systems. It isn’t a denial of oppression, it’s an evaluation of how that oppression is applied to a specific group.

Cis- women can prop up cis-sexism by invalidating the lives of trans woman, assigning motivations to trans woman, minimizing the concerns of trans woman, and positioning theory over experience.

67. berryblade - November 12, 2009

@nomalicious “Yes, it would have been much easier to “keep our dicks,” and suffer extremely debilitating body dysphoria and depression for the rest of our lives. Do you think that’s a recipe for success?”

Recovery from self-esteem/image related issues is rare, but possible. So don’t use that as an excuse.

@Fact Check Me “do they think they are the only ones who are suicidal and depressed? seriously.”

Yeah I don’t get that either. As someone who’s suffered a party mix bag of mental illness that kind of pisses me off.

@basketcasey “Why would you just keep harping on one community instead of the forces that oppress you in the first place???”

I’m not going to speak for Femonade here, but I will say that I.M.H.O there is a bit of an overlap between this community and the powers that be. Also, that’s apparently a *really* intense question.

68. Orlando C - November 12, 2009

FCM-

I have to read this in a little wonder, because I don’t know (or I don’t know that I know) any MTF transpeople, I only know FTM folks. And they’re all sex-positive, so I have a hard time believing that sex-positivity is somehow linked to being male-at-birth.

69. Miska - November 12, 2009

What no one has explained is how women supposedly BENEFIT from the oppression of transwomen. Because in order to have privilege, one must be benefiting from it somehow.

And women don’t.

Male people reward (with some caveats) gender conforming – or feminine – females. Males also punish unfeminine females. And they reward masculine males and punish non-masculine males.

Males are the one setting the rules. And they are the ones reaping all the benefits and privilege.

It is true that feminine females can (and do) punish unfeminine females or non-masculine males. But they are only able to do this if they have enough male-approval points. And they only get these by subjugating themselves to males – by being compliant, nurturing, fuckable doormats.

It is at best at devil’s bargain, and women certainly do not benefit from it in the sense of having privilege (and lets not forget that most women have to work at being gender-conforming – it is not like male privilege which someone is born into).

You note that “sex-pos trans-activism takes a tack thats problematic for born-women to follow”, which obviously makes sense. I assume you also understand most transwomen would agree with you?

Oh really? And where are they saying this?

Take a wander into either the sex-poz crowd or the trans activist crowd, and the big love-fest between them is clear.

For instance, take the horrible show known as Jerry Springer. You get both cis women and trans women being oppressed and mis-represented on it. But the difference is that the women are still taken for granted AS WOMEN.

Yes, and we are oppressed because we are recognized (and treated) AS WOMEN, and not as HUMAN BEINGS.

This is NOT a privilege. It is the opposite of a privilege.

You had full human being status. It is neither the problem of women nor feminism that you gave it up.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

miska, thanks for your points about what does, and does not, constitute a privilege!


It is true that feminine females can (and do) punish unfeminine females or non-masculine males. But they are only able to do this if they have enough male-approval points. And they only get these by subjugating themselves to males – by being compliant, nurturing, fuckable doormats.


this is exactly it. our “privilege” is garnered through subjugating ourselves? and…is based on our behaviors and mens responses to us, rather than being “innate”? (i will also note here that not one single person has been able to show that cis- or trans- exists in the brain at birth, and in fact it would be impossible to show for reasons i spelled out below…do a find-word search for “ex-post facto” in the comments). not innate? doesnt sound like any kind of biologically-based privilege i or anyone else has ever heard of before. gee, i wonder why that is? its because its fucking made-up, by transpersons and transactivists who want to use the language and currency of “feminism” to gain access and acceptance, and they dont want any goddamned women *or* feminists questioning their right to be there, and take up space, and coopt our movement to benefit them.

its almost as if the trans-activists sat down with a PR-firm because they needed some PR and some allies, badly. the firm said “whats the currency of feminism, because thats whats going to get you in the door.” whats the currency of feminism? P-R-I-V-I-L-E-G-E. great, lets make one up, claim that they have it and you dont, and they will be so confused they will let you in the door and onto center stage before anyone figures it out.

and damned if thats not exactly what happened.


Yes, and we are oppressed because we are recognized (and treated) AS WOMEN, and not as HUMAN BEINGS. This is NOT a privilege. It is the opposite of a privilege. You had full human being status. It is neither the problem of women nor feminism that you gave it up.


exactly.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

nonmalicious, you said (and berryblade commented on it too:)


“Yes, it would have been much easier to “keep our dicks,” and suffer extremely debilitating body dysphoria and depression for the rest of our lives. Do you think that’s a recipe for success?”


SUCCESS? what the fuck are you talking about? again, all men think they are absolutely entiteld not merely to “survival” but also to “success”. SUCCESS! god, how nice it must be to demand not only the air in your lungs and for men to leave you the fuck alone on most days, but for a SUCCESSFUL LIFE, too? william f. buckley in a handbasket. fucking christ. do you not see any “privilege” in your words to me? you are not entitled to “SUCCESS!” ok? you arent. and feminism is not about making women “successful”, and it sure as hell isnt about making men succesful. its about getting women LIBERATED, and free from sexual, relational, and institutional abuse, at the hands of men.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009


I have to read this in a little wonder, because I don’t know (or I don’t know that I know) any MTF transpeople, I only know FTM folks. And they’re all sex-positive, so I have a hard time believing that sex-positivity is somehow linked to being male-at-birth.

orlando, this post is about sex-pos transwomen. if i had a specific problem with sex-pos transmen i wouldve written a post about them. for your future reference, i strongly suggest that you stop it with the strawmen, and read what i write and understand it, before you respond. you are not entitled to one minute of my time, so stop acting as if you are entitled to all of it, by leaving non-responsive comments that dont evince any critical thinking on your part. you did the same thing on the porn article, and i have started spamming your comments over there. thanks.

70. Rebecca Crouter - November 12, 2009

With all due respect, please do not put words in my mouth. I never said, nor did I suggest, that those born female whom do not have what society would call “discernable breasts” are not female. I would never make such a statement.

In my particular case, my breasts grew just like any other girl’s did. It was a result of estrogen, not surgery, that caused mine to grow. The medical issue I was referring to in my original post is breast cancer, which I have, sadly.

I personally do not associate with trans-related groups. I am not proud of being transgender in any way…in fact, I’m ashamed of it. I took this route because I had to, not because I want to. All I ever wanted was to be as “normal” as possible, without a true definition of “normal”.

I know I can never fully understand what it is like to have been born female in an essentially male-dominated world. This fact I deeply wish I could change. Sadly, I cannot. This is not to say that I like having the choice; indeed, I wish I didn’t.

When I started to accept being “transgender” (In March of 2008, and after 25 years of not doing so), I lost everything. My friends, family, spouse, dream job, everything. I have been beaten, discriminated against, fired and rejected from many opportunities due to a label I wish I didn’t have. I suspect you will say that I had a choice to do so…and you were right. That being said, I attempted suicide back in November of 2008. I did so because I couldn’t stand being identified as male any longer, and with the loss of everything I held dear to my heart, I just lost all hope. After being in a coma in a hospital for 3 days, I decided that enough was enough…and I decided to live outwardly as female, as should have always been the case. Again, it was a decision…I don’t dispute that. But, this decision is one that I should have never have had to make.

I wish I could understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think I ever will. I never had the privilege of growing up as a girl, with people automatically calling me she, her, girl, woman, etc. without having to think about it. I never had the privilege of being 5 years old and not having your mother beat the living shit out of you because you were trying on her makeup.

I say this will all respect that is due to you: from where I sit, you are the one with the privilege.

71. maggieclark - November 12, 2009

Hi,

I’m writing to request clarification on the general flow of your original post. I’ve been immensely intrigued by the discussion, and in particular the various tangential arguments that have emerged. I’d greatly appreciate confirmation that I have the basics of your argument right.

1) Transsexuality, not to be confused with being intersex, is itself an acceptable framework inasmuch as every trans person deserves the same human rights and freedoms as any other.

2) However, claims of cis-sexism are a manifestation of male privilege, because

a) they subordinate universal women’s issues (especially those pertaining to a complete lack of choice) in the feminist paradigm,

b) they require that women have gendered privilege over other women, despite the threats from dominant male privilege over both groups being difficult to differentiate,

c) they arise from a sense of gender dysmorphia that is by no means unique to the transsexual community, and in fact is at the very least identified as a mental illness among non-trans-persons (certainly the majority being depressed, disenfranchised women), but for which acceptance by suffering cis-women is made more difficult by the fact that trans persons take gender dysmorphia as necessitating some sort of identity transformation; and

d) they are joined at times with such ideologies as “sex-positivism”, which for transwomen has a distinct set of sociobiological benefits and considerations but which nonetheless subordinates the ciswoman, sex-positive discourse in the feminist spectrum, and in so doing further supplants the lived female experience with a subjective, cis-male derived interpretation of what it means to be female at all.

Is this a fairly accurate summation of your argument?

Thank you for your time.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009


I wish I could understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think I ever will. I never had the privilege of growing up as a girl, with people automatically calling me she, her, girl, woman, etc. without having to think about it. I never had the privilege of being 5 years old and not having your mother beat the living shit out of you because you were trying on her makeup. I say this will all respect that is due to you: from where I sit, you are the one with the privilege.


rebecca, i am so sorry to hear that you have breast cancer. i wish you a successful recovery. and i am sorry that you were abused as a child, whether it was for putting on makeup or for any or no reason, a parent beating a 5-year old is always wrong.

that said, i think your desription here of what you are interpreting as “privilege” is telling. so thank you for that, for real. it helps me understand what you mean when you say “privilege” and i dont think it matches up with my definition, or with any accepted definition of it frankly. because i think what you are essentially saying here is that “i have something you want.” it would be more accurate to say “i have something you *think* you want” because theres no way you could really know if you wanted to grow up like a girl, because as a boy/man, you dont know what it was like. (to take a little tangent here, but to illustrate and underscore that point, i was assualted by 4 neighborhood boys when i was 5, because i was a girl, and they wanted to look into my underpants. so, they trapped me in a camping tent that was set up in the backyard and wouldnt let me leave, and they said i could either give each one of them a kiss, or they were going to look inside my underwear. does this sound like fun to you? frankly i would take a beating from my mother on any day of the week, rather than ever be trapped inside a closed space by a bunch of sexually predatory boys who gave me such a disgusting “choice.” i kissed them all and they let me leave. luckily.).

but heres the problem with “i have something you want” = “i have privilege”. if i had a candy bar, and you wanted it, i would not have “candy-bar privilege”. if i had a nice dog and you wanted a nice dog like mine, i would not have “dog privilege.” you cant just say that any old goddamn thing i have that you want is a privlege. privilege means that there is POWER there, and girls and women dont possess any kind of gender-based power. exactly the opposite.

72. Weighing In - November 12, 2009

As a gay man, I wanted to note that almost every single MTF posters here are describing events/feelings that most gay men also reference from their childhood. Trying on make up, being told you should play in the dirt, or having mostly female role models. (I mean, Madonna, Streisand, Midler)
I am not saying that what you feel isn’t different, but certainly not a single person has yet identified an actual reason to make the transition. People cope with alienation for all sorts of reasons. Not everyone feels the need to pump their body full of hormones and have their body parts changed in order to not feel alienated? I put a question mark there, cause it doesn’t seem like the transition has a non alienating effect. Oh well, what do I know really..

73. thebeardedlady - November 12, 2009

if i had a candy bar, and you wanted it, i would not have “candy-bar privilege”. if i had a nice dog and you wanted a nice dog like mine, i would not have “dog privilege.” you cant just say that any old goddamn thing i have that you want is a privlege. privilege means that there is POWER there, and girls and women dont possess any kind of gender-based power. exactly the opposite.

Woah FCM, I think you just totally nailed it.

Yep. You did.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

hi maggie, i am glad that there are lurkers here who are enjoying the conversation as well. as far as “grading” your summation of my argument, i think i will take a pass, for now. for one thing, its hard for me to dissect or give a thumbs-up to any interpretation of my words that uses terms like cis-sexism and cis-women and cis-male, that i have already said have no meaning for me. if you are willing to remove the idea of “privilege” from the concept of “cis-” i might be agreeable to using the term, since i understand at least whats meant by cis- (cis- seems to be any level of gender dysphoria from 0 to < "zomg-ew!" yes? non-cis is >/= “zomg-ew!” not exactly scientific, but i get it.) but i dont buy that theres any privilege there. anyway, i can certainly respond to a few of your points, without agreeing that your summation is complete, or completely accurate:

transsexualism should definitely be distinguished from either transgender or intersex because they are not the same. all people deserve basic human and civil rights. transsexualism seems to be more closely related to other mental illness that leaves sufferers desperate for non-medically necessary amputations, so i am not sure i would call it an “acceptable framework” anymore than any other mental illness is a “framework”. the mentally ill deserve medical treatment (thats only my opinion though, since in the US none of us are “entitled” to any medical care, at all) and protections under the ADA if appropriate. transgender seems to be more on the spectrum of gender as we all experience it, albeit on the zomg-ew end, but doesnt leave the sufferer wanting amputations. transgender has always existed, as well as intersex. transsexualism seems to be, very literally, a medical invention, as much as it is a mental illness. but thats the problem with many psychiatric and behavioral models, isnt it? 500 years ago, anyone who cut off healthy breasts or penile tissue would have been seen as mentally ill, but today we really dont know how “badly” anyone has it, because we have doctors who will cut things off of people for them, before the person does it themselves. most likely, most people would *never* have done it themselves. hormone therapy is also very, very new. the line between transsexual and transgender is very blurry, as is what really is, and isnt, an illness. its…complicated. and frankly, i think its not feminism’s problem, and its not feminists’ resposibility to figure it out.

where trans-issues harm femininsm is that trans- is a gender-based model that it ignores the category of “woman” as a sexual class. and yes, i think trans-issues have subordinated woman as a sexual class, and reduced feminism to issues with female “gender” rather than issues with the female “sex.” this has had a reductionary effect, reducing class-woman to issues involving only thier gender and not their sex; and its also had an expansive effect, expanding class-woman to now include men who dont feel like men. issues like reproductive health, child care, sexual violence against women have taken a back seat. now we want everyone to be able to “express their gender identity.” who cares about that? answer: men. both cis- and non-cis men are fucking obsessed with it.

born-women are trying, on the other hand, to supress ours, and borrow from male privilege to whatever extent we can (gender-neutral! gender-equal! YAY!) transmen, interestingly, follow this model as well (borrowing or co-opting male privilege).

74. nonmalicious - November 12, 2009

I find it disheartening that you refused to allow my post on the agency of female-bodied people to be public. I will summarize it again, and hopefully you wont find any fault with letting the argument present itself.

In summary: you seem to think that all female-bodied people have a complete and total lack of any agency whatsoever unless they reject the female gender. How, then, are there female business owners? Engineers, doctors, construction workers, and what have you? You seem to present the female sex as being completely and totally helpless in the face of male privilege, power, prestige… yet completely ignore feminist organizations, lesbian and gay organizations (that include lesbianism), and so on, that have worked tirelessly for the last forty years to allow women to do whatever they’d like in the workplace. Does income inequality still exist? Yes, of course. Does workplace harassment still exist? Yes, of course. But as early as 20-30 years ago, workplace harassment was an accepted part of life… now there are legal ways of dealing with such things. For instance, the woman in the states, who was called “disgusting” for being lesbian and married to her female partner by a co-worker. The co-worker was reprimanded and fired from his job.

And another thing that confuses me… if females are completely without agency, then how are trans men able to exist? What if they don’t blend in well as a male for a long time in their lives, but are still able to transition and eventually find themselves? How are they able to do such things without male privilege at their immediate disposal? Again, it is your argument that male privilege is the ONLY way trans women are able to transition… so what of trans men? You cannot silently erase them, I won’t let you.

One thing that I find disturbing is your complete assault on the success of women as well. You claim, again, that only men and those with male privilege can CHOOSE to be successful. You will not be taken seriously by anyone of the female sex and/or gender if you present this point outside of academia. I know both trans men and trans women who have careers in their desired fields. I know the same for both cis men AND cis women. Are women and female-bodied people so helpless as to not have any determination of their lives? This is the argument I see you putting forward.

75. thebeardedlady - November 12, 2009

Are women and female-bodied people so helpless as to not have any determination of their lives? This is the argument I see you putting forward.

If that’s the case, you’re not really paying attention, nonmalicious.

Women don’t have POWER.

And no, we don’t have determination over our lives. We can be forced to submit to sexual behaviour, be prostituted, be enslaved, be denied the right to abortion, be prevented from getting to the top of our chosen professions, beaten, subjected to forced marriage, displacement, rape, forced to throw ourselves on our husband’s funeral pyre, operated on without our consent and killed. So no, we don’t have self-determination. If you had been paying attention you might have learned that feminism is the WOMEN’S LIBERATION movement. What do you think we want to be liberated from?

And you are claiming that WE have privilege over transpeople because we are *forced* (yes, forced) to wear dresses and learn how to apply make up before we’re even out of puberty.

76. thebeardedlady - November 12, 2009

@nonmalicious – Being denied power is not the same as being ‘helpless’. That construction is so twisted, I don’t even know where to start. It’s just like when men tell women that we should stop complaining, because it’s not about being male or female, it’s about hard work and guts and confidence. No. It’s about power and oppression.

The idea that you would assume the feminist analysis of power and privilege boils down to feminists claiming women are helpless, and the fact that you think you are really smart for coming up with such a pathetically hopeless argument, and the presumption that FCM would ‘censor’ you because your argument is so powerful and convincing (hah!) really speaks volumes. And what it says (screams) is: MALE PRIVILEGE.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009


If that’s the case, you’re not really paying attention, nonmalicious.

thanks, beardedlady. i think thats why i dropped the hammer lastnight and told people to get back on track in the comments. its not that i dont enjoy the tangents and the discussion, i actually like it when things go “organic” and the conversation takes on a life of its own. but honestly, i think people arent paying attention, and when that becomes obvious is when i start spamming comments. i dont owe anyone my time, and its disrespectful when people come on here and leave long, rambling “replies” that are completely nonresponsive to anything i have already said. write in your diaries at home, people. i dont have time for this shit.

77. maggieclark - November 12, 2009

Thanks for your response! I used the term cis in the scientific sense, for wont of a better term to describe your perception of it. “born-woman”? Or just “woman”? And here I already get muddled with the differentiation between gender-woman/sex-female, since as you clearly outline in your response, it’s the sexual class, female, that you feel must be central to feminist discourse. So transsexuals are never female, though they may gender-identify as women, and as such their arguments in the feminist sphere about sex politics should be inherently secondary, if not entirely irrelevant, to feminist deliberations on such matters?

(Further, to clarify on “privilege”, I was referring specifically to what I perceived in your argument as the concept of cissexism itself stemming from existing male privilege — is that not what you perceive the use of “cissexism” in argument as being?)

I’m also confused about the differentiation of transgender and transsexual as it relates to the legitimacy of argument within the feminist sphere. You firmly separate transgender from transsexual, identifying the latter as a mental illness made manifest through medical procedure, and the former as an identity with tremendous historical legitimacy. How does this distinction play into the matter of subordinated feminist discourse? If a transgender person makes a sex-positive appeal, is that any more valid by your definition than the same appeal made by a transsexual person?

78. nonmalicious - November 12, 2009

I never stated that women were not an oppressed class. Only that by the comments and argument placed forth, that I find most of you claiming that women have no agency over their own lives.

And maybe you’re right. World-wide, women are still the most oppressed class of people. Genital mutilation, the fetishization of virginity, arranged marriages, forced rape with the consent of families… but to ignore any of the progress made by organizations run BY WOMEN in reclaiming power from males shows how short-sighted you are. It was only 70 years ago that women got the vote. There are still people alive today who remember times when women were not considered people in the west. That has changed, largely due to feminist movements.

This is all stuff you know. Why do you claim women have no power when we are able to come forth and make this kind of change happen? If it can happen in the West, it can happen everywhere else. It’s only a matter of time.

If women were truly powerless in every respect, no progress would have been made – male privilege would have prevented such things from happening. Clearly this is not the case, or we would not have organizations like the UN widely condemning any and all violence and oppression against women.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009


If women were truly powerless in every respect,


i am no longer going to respond to nonmalicious, due to this statement alone. this statement alone renders her entire post nonresponsive, since beardedlady took much time and effort in explaining the difference between “totally powerless” and “on the receiving end of gender-based oppression” and her points were ignored.

nonmalicious, you are being disingenuous here. again, its only men and anti-feminists that are saying shit like “(you)ve come a long way, baby!” by your own logic, logic that you apply to born-women but not to yourself, transpeople are making great strides, and have great power…just because they arent “truly powerless in every respect” right? well, welcome to your independance, baby. you have the power to type, and to be heard, on the internets. i also assume you are at least somewhat ambulative, and that you digest food under your own “power”. that must mean that you arent oppressed! you have solved your own problem. granted, by reframing the issues, and moving (removing) the goalposts, but hey. i am not going to create a problem where there isnt one.

bye.

79. factcheckme - November 12, 2009

weighing in, thanks for your input about dealing with alienation as a gay man, who never felt the need to transition. i agree that alienation is not a good enough reason to transition. and frankly, its pretty common knowledge that many trans-identified persons lie to their docs about the degree and type of “alien” feelings they have in order to fit the medical model of “trans” and become candidates for surgery. women feel pretty alienated from the “human” experience too, let me tell you. since “human” means, essentially, “male.”

80. thinkaboutit - November 12, 2009

I wish I could understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think I ever will. I never had the privilege of growing up as a girl, with people automatically calling me she, her, girl, woman, etc. without having to think about it. I never had the privilege of being 5 years old and not having your mother beat the living shit out of you because you were trying on her makeup.

I say this will all respect that is due to you: from where I sit, you are the one with the privilege.

Rebecca, female children are considerably more likely than male children to be sexually abused. Here are some statistics.

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/Briefings/prevalenceTable1_wdf49715.pdf

Now you don’t know my mother, or anyone else’s mother, or father, wasn’t abusive. I think you’re making a lot of assumptions that aren’t warranted.

81. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

Being seen as ‘a woman’ is not a privilege, I’m afraid. When I’m seen as a woman, it usually entails catcalls and jokes at best. At worst, assault and intimidation.

I want to be seen as a human being – a right that men take for granted every day.

82. thinkaboutit - November 12, 2009

Privilege (in a political sense) is an unfair advantage conferred by society as a whole, which could also be removed by society as a whole if it wanted to.

Somebody else having what you want in terms of their physical body is not privilege. It’s life, an accident of birth. Take it up with whichever deity/fate/all powerful being you believe in.

Example: As a white person, I benefit from white privilege. The lower economic status of BME people allows me to have a higher standard of living for example.

As a non disabled person, I have the privilege of having access that is denied to disabled people.

Both these privileges could be removed if society were fairer. If there were no racism, or if society was more concerned with providing equal access to all.

In the UK, currently, trans women who have undergone gender reassignment have exactly equal legal status to FAB women. (It may be argued that they have superior legal status in some respects) I realise this may not be the case in other countries.

And to repeat, being born female compared with being born male is NEVER a privilege in the society I live in. Or any other society I can think of.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

maggie, maybe this will help. i think that woman as a sexual class is the heart and soul, and the very reason for the existance, of feminism. because womens born-sex is the root of all female oppression, by men. around the world, the concept of female as a “gender” is not seperable from female as a born-sex. for that matter, the hetero/homosexual distinction is largely irrelevant, around the world, for women. because historically, and still today in many parts of the world, women will be mothers and (hetero)sexual partners to men whether they like it or not.

i think that there are problems with any politics that focus on gender instead of sex, because it erases that which is exclusive to women: oppression based on our born sex. i think transgender and transsexual activisms are both problematic because of the focus on gender rather than on born-sex. not that they arent legitimate activisms: i think they are, because gender is not unproblematic. just that they arent FEMINIST. i made the disctinction between transsexualism and transgender not because one is more or less problematic to feminism, although upon further analysis i may decide thats the case. i just think they are different, and i wanted to make that clear. anything that focuses on gender instead of born-sex is a problem for feminism, and distorts its history as well as its aims.

oh, and as far as cis-privilege, i think its indistinguishable from male-privilege. so, if transpersons have problems with cis-men, i wouldnt discount their experience, but i would suggest that its “just the way teh menz are.”

83. clavicular - November 13, 2009

[@factcheckme:]
I hadn’t heard of master class or identity politics as named concepts, so thank you for that. And yes, I was talking about identity politics; I understand that this may not be the most pressing issue in the world, but I would argue that it shouldn’t be dismissed completely (we all choose our battles, however, and I am not trying to imply you should make this one more of a priority). I will certainly agree with you that protection from discrimination based on one’s master class is incredibly important and it is the most immediate problem that people face. I think arguments about which minority group is “worse off” cause more problems than they solve, though, and I don’t agree that making hateful comments about other people is the best way to further a cause.

[mostly @bee:]
I had a look at bee’s earlier comment (which I previously missed). In some ways I can understand the argument that post-op trans women and trans men may not suffer prejudice if they’re not recognised as being trans gendered, but I don’t think that should automatically exclude them from the queer rights movement. Queer people all experience prejudice to varying degrees and saying that someone isn’t discriminated against “enough” to belong to the group isn’t helpful. Do you think they’re not going to feel hurt by transphobic attitudes, even if they aren’t deliberately targeted? Similar arguments could be made that a bisexual person in a relationship with a person of the opposite gender will not experience discrimination and therefore has no place in the queer movement either.

84. clavicular - November 13, 2009

I’d like to add that your comments have been seeming less deeply negative about trans gender people than the entry itself, so perhaps some of my language in the above comment was too strong. However, I do feel that you are trying to say that because women’s rights are the issue that is most important to you, everyone else should see it as the most important issue to them at the cost of other important movements. This is your blog and if that’s your focus then I’m certainly not going to object, but if any widespread progress is going to be made, I believe it is important to have people who focus on a whole range of issues. (To understand my context, I’m a queer cis woman and I find myself most active about queer rights.)

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

clavicular, all i am saying is that FEMINISM has to concern itself with women as a sexual class, first and foremost. FEMINISM. of course there will be other activisms, there should be as many activisms as there are issues. but i dont think its fair to heap all this at the feet of the feminists and co-opt our arguments and our entire movement to support YOUR activism, which is gender-based trans-activism, and in many ways is literally antithetical to feminist ideals, and erases women as a sexual class. ERASES IT.

85. maggieclark - November 13, 2009

Yes, that definitely helps clarify things — thank you for your patience with my questions.

86. Zip - November 13, 2009

I get the impression that you’re not being as aggressive right now, and your points come across more clearly, which is good. That feminism is about women as a sexual class is true in many ways, though I personally fail to see how that excludes transwomen. I also disagree on how gender-based trans-activism affects feminism. It erases women as a sexual class no more than it does the same to men. Please don’t forget that FtMs exist, and that they do have the same motivations as MtFs do.

That said, I’m sorry, but I really can’t help but see willful ignorance and sheer bigotry all over this page and its comments. Perhaps with a hint of fear, fear that’s understandable, I suppose. Still, this attitude is one of the main reasons why I’m driven away from feminism, as I don’t want to be associated with it, even if it’s mostly limited to particularly radical feminists. I’d rather not be part of something that’s no better than what it opposes.

I guess I just want to make it clear that this isn’t a matter of ciswomen vs transwomen. “They” actually have some of “us” on their side. Some of the things you say are horribly offensive to trans-people, and if you disagree, I’ll point you to your own comment about white men not being allowed to say what offends blacks or women.

You’re by all means allowed to believe whatever you want. I agree with you on some points, like what feminism is specifically about, and that trans issues are perhaps a different fight (but by no means one of more or less importance). I just ask that you reconsider some of your rather nasty opinions on trans-people, as well as your assumptions regarding their intentions and motivations. Most of them are far from true.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


I also disagree on how gender-based trans-activism affects feminism. It erases women as a sexual class no more than it does the same to men.


yes, but you dont *explain* why or how you disagree. because you dont know why you disagree, just that you do. big fucking surprise. not really going to get you very far in an argument outside the fun-fem blogs though.

and why (cough, cough) are you so concerned about men as a sexual class? oh, becuase you ARE a man! thats right. and because you literally dont get that feminism is, like, pretty much unconcerned about teh menz. and for a very good gooddamned reason. they arent women; and they are the CAUSE of the problems that feminists are trying to resolve.

87. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

I guess I just want to make it clear that this isn’t a matter of ciswomen vs transwomen.

I actually agree with that. It’s women versus the patriarchy. Transwomen have a clear choice – they can either be allies of women or they can be for the patriarchy. Many transwomen seem to want to be allies in some respects. I think that’s worth working on. Most of the transactivists I’ve come across, however, seem to plump for the latter. That’s fine, but don’t think that radical feminists are going to let you take over all our spaces the way you have all other women’s spaces.

Transpeople are not oppressed by women, but by the same forces which oppress women. You can be horribly offended all you like, but I’m never going to call myself a cisgendered woman just to placate you.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


Transpeople are not oppressed by women, but by the same forces which oppress women. You can be horribly offended all you like, but I’m never going to call myself a cisgendered woman just to placate you.


excellent, beardedlady. i changed the FAQ on my front page to address the fact that no, i am NOT cis- and why. (before i just didnt address it at all). i am not going to put cis- in my bio right next to straight, white, and female, just because the trans-activists and funfems all demand it of me. fuck them all. transwomen do NOT get to demand anything from me, they dont get to define my identity, or how i define my own identity as a woman, or as a feminst, blogger, or body politic. and they dont get to bully me into signalling to the world that i am a trans-ally with their little code-word. since when do feminsts do shit like this? this is blatant bowing down to the demands of men, who are used to giving orders, and even self-identified “feminist” women are a little too quick to not only take orders from them, but like it too.

88. Laurelin - November 13, 2009

“I get the impression that you’re not being as aggressive right now, and your points come across more clearly, which is good.”

Ouch. I found factcheckme to be clear from the start. But maybe I’m aggressive and bigoted too, hey?

One problem I see here is that people are confusing ‘X doesn’t know what it’s like to be Y’ with ‘X has privilege over Y’. Not the same thing at all. I don’t pretend to know what it feels like to be a transperson- how would I know that? It does not follow from that that I have ‘privilege’ over a transperson.

Let me put it another way. I have severe OCD, and those who do not have OCD will not be able to understand what it feels like to have OCD- why should they? Non-OCD people, however, do not have ‘non-OCD privilege’. There is nothing about the fact that I have OCD and you (generic) do not that means you are more privileged than me. It is not a privilege to not have the mind I have; it may be more fortunate.

Also, in these conversations, nine times out of ten when people are describing experiences of transphobia, those who commit the violence are MEN. Committed by men against other human beings because those human beings have a particular gender alignment- this is sexism.

The problem is not women. Not factcheckme. Criticising the lean of transactivists towards sex ‘postive’ feminism that condones the sexual slavery of women and girls is NOT discrimination or phobia. It is justified criticism.

89. m Andrea - November 13, 2009

Excellent! Thank you very much! Much food for thought here, unfortunately, my mouth is already full so can’t talk now. I’ll come back for dinner. :)

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


“I get the impression that you’re not being as aggressive right now, and your points come across more clearly, which is good.”


i noticed that too laurelin, and it pissed me off. i guess only teh menz get to be nasty and aggressive right? oh, and they get to define what constitutes both *nasty* and *aggressive* as they apply to women…which are different than when men do it. nothing new under the sun. you should have seen the comments i DIDNT publish, calling me all sorts of vile, misognist names (cow, hussy etc). and not once did i or any other radfem use the T-word. this is telling. even as they display their male privilege and misogynist view/opinions of women, they demand that we ignore the “flavors” they are adding to the stew. well this stew is starting to taste like shit. and…ball-sweat. thats why i wrote the article, in the first place.

90. Zip - November 13, 2009

FCM, as frustrating as it must be to have someone on your “side” disagreeing with you, I point you to above comments where I noted that I am not a man, and that will not change regardless of how much you insist otherwise.

I can’t say I’m very concerned about men as a sexual class. I just noted that trans-people do not “erase” one sexual class more than the other, due to the simple fact that it happens both ways. I’ll also repeat that I’m interested in many feminist causes, but the ignorance that’s often displayed by radical feminists discourages me.

Beardedlady, it’s good to at least see that you realize that much. I do agree that a disproportionate amount of activists who make themselves visible come across as “trans” more than anything. I guess there’s some logic to that, given the cause, but it’s easy to get the impression from some that they’re transsexuals first and foremost, while the majority are men and women, with trans just indicating that that’s how they got there.

As for being offended, I’m not speaking for myself (directly, anyway, as I’m not very fond of offensive things even if they aren’t directed at me). The offensive parts are the ones that basically describe transwomen as mentally ill, invalidate their identities and pretty much, if you’ll excuse me, treat them like shit. You’re no particular offender here, there are others I’m referring to. Though it would be nice if you’d stop othering transwomen and implying that they’re taking over spaces. If you really think they do, I’d appreciate an explanation.

You don’t have to call yourself a cisgendered woman. You are a ciswoman because cis implies that you were born that way and… yeah. That’s just what the term means. Thing is, ciswoman and transwoman, as well as cisman and transman, should be irrelevant terms unless something specifically makes cis or trans status relevant.

I also agree that male privilege plays a part in discrimination of transsexuals, just as it plays a part in many other things. Thinking about it, I still believe there’s a separate discrimination there, but it’s perhaps better described as transphobia than cis-privilege. You cannot deny that trans-people go through stuff that they wouldn’t otherwise, regardless of whether they’re MtF or FtM.

Either way, I’ll repeat my request that those of you who have something against transsexuals as a group, not just particular individual transsexuals, reconsider your opinions. They really aren’t bad people. I was by no means a bigot before, but having an FtM in the family opened my eyes properly. As I’ve said myself, activists can easily come across as… special. But you know what? That most definitely applies to feminists as well.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

oh great! because a woman judging another woman as “too aggressive” on a thread about sex and gender (and the infiltration by men and male values into feminist discourse) isnt problematic at all. sheesh.

91. Zip - November 13, 2009

Aggressive in the sense that most of your comments seemed to be more about putting down transwomen than anything. May have been a bad word choice on my part, but I’ve personally gotten more of your relevant opinions out of your more recent comments, rather than just vitriol. Exceptions given for ones like what I’m replying to now, of course.

I really don’t care if you’re a woman or a man. I just got the impression that some of your recent comments were more informative (of your opinion) and less offensive, which I appreciate.

92. Laurelin - November 13, 2009

“Either way, I’ll repeat my request that those of you who have something against transsexuals as a group, not just particular individual transsexuals, reconsider your opinions”

Factcheckme was pretty clear about who she was critiquing- check title of the post.

93. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Blimey, zip, could you be a bit more patronising and entitled please? Thanks for your approval, which I don’t need or particularly want, as it should be clear to anyone reading that I am not anti transpeople as people, but I am very against being marginalised within feminist space, and told that I cannot speak unless I accept my ‘cis privilege’. That is meaningless to me.

And it’s not ‘othering’ to say that trans-activists are taking over women’s spaces on the net. I can think of three sites off the top of my head where feminists are now routinely expected to refer to themselves as ‘cisgendered’ or ‘ciswomen’.

You don’t have to call yourself a cisgendered woman. You are a ciswoman because cis implies that you were born that way and… yeah. That’s just what the term means.

I am NOT a ciswoman. I am a woman. The term ‘woman’ implies that i was born female, which I was. There is no need whatsoever to change the word women. Why can’t we have women and transwomen? Makes it perfectly clear to me.

The only reason you won’t accept that is because you insist on this ridiculous, insupportable notion of ‘cis privilege’, which I do not accept.

So, no, I won’t be calling myself a ciswoman. And for the record, I don’t care if that offends you or not. Plenty of things you’ve written here have offended me, but personal offence is not the issue. The issues at stake are feminist space, the integrity of our movement and our critical analysis, and the abolition of male privilege.

94. Zip - November 13, 2009

“Factcheckme was pretty clear about who she was critiquing- check title of the post.”

She has also made it clear in her comments that, as I mentioned, she considers transsexuals mentally ill and, from what I gather, refuses to accept their status as whichever sex they transitioned to. That’s pretty damn offensive. It’s an attitude that has no place in modern society.

Beardedlady, I DID note that you weren’t a particular offender here. Also, I think there’s a whole lot of confusion between us that needs to be cleared up.

First of all, and I repeat, it’s perfectly understandable if you have something against particular transsexuals, just like you can have something against any other person. The ones I’m asking to reconsider their opinions are those who spout vitriol about transsexuals as a group, rather than certain ones. If that isn’t you (any if you), assume that I’m not talking about you.

You’re right, there’s little reason to require you to call yourself “ciswoman” rather than just “woman”. For the same reason, “transwomen” have no reason to call themselves anything but “women” either. Making transwomen out to be something different entirely rather than a sub-group of “women” is what I refer to with othering.

For instance, in your example above, I think it’s just silly to require you to add cis- whenever you call yourself a woman. Likewise, I think it’s equally silly and demeaning to demand that transwomen do it. See my point there?

If you’d actually read my comment above (one of them), I specifically stated that it’s probably less about cis-privilege and more about general transphobia. While I do see your points regarding the notion of cis-privilege (that is, I see how the word may not be a completely accurate one and imply something a bit different), I dare you to find anything supporting a claim that trans-people aren’t discriminated against for being trans.

So, yes, feel free to not call yourself a ciswoman. I don’t unless it’s relevant. No one forces you to, unless they’re being dumb. Just don’t expect transwomen to refer to themselves as anything but women, either. Don’t be a hypocrite.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

here is a little gem i found from a “transabled” blog. transableism is where people with typical bodies “see themselves” as disabled, and desire surgical intervention to “acheive” the desired disability, so that their actual bodies “match” the mental image they have of themselves. the article is written by a transsexual who is also “transabled” in that she wishes to be deaf. she wants to find a surgeon who will sever her auditory nerve, but she doesnt want any negative consequences from society either, and talks alot about “choice”. this comment is from a transabled person (or an activist, its hard to tell which):


It’s much easier for someone on the outside – particularly one who is in a position of authority and control – to simply express how they wish the world worked, and simply dismiss the arguments of those with actual experience, when those arguments contradict the worldview of the academic theorist. It becomes even easier for those experiences to be officially dismissed when those espousing them can be categorised as ‘mentally ill’, which is a carte blanche for society to dismiss their beliefs, feelings, needs, and experiences as irrelevant.

http://transabled.org/thoughts/a-comparison-between-transsexuality-and-transableism.htm

and heres the bio of the blog’s owner, sean:

About Sean
Sean is transabled. His body image is that of an L2 paraplegic. He has been living pretty much 100% of his public life from a wheelchair for the last decade, but hasn’t found peace of mind (and is unlikely to until he does become a para).

wow. thats specific! an L2 para, huh? what a wuss. i dont trust anyone who doesnt want to be paralyzed at or above C5, at least.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

heres some more on “transableism.” this comment is from a young woman who uses a wheelchair even though she is perfectly ambulatory:


It has been about 4 years now since I first decided to take the plunge, find out how to erase the history from my computer and start searching. I know each and every one of you knows the feeling of elation and relief I felt when I saw that I was not alone. There were only a few sites then and most were on amputees, but they were there…I am so happy with the way we have grown, online at least if not yet mainstream. The one thing that I know now with absolute certainty is that we were all born this way….gays, lesbians, transgendered, transabled. It is there, it has always been there and it is not going away. We may need help dealing with it or accomplishing it, but it is there to stay.

http://transabled.org/thoughts/cure-vs-treatment-protocol.htm

i am sure the GLBTQQI community will be thrilled, THRILLED that their movement and thier arguments are being co-opted by the transabled.

95. thinkaboutit - November 13, 2009


“i have wondered the same thing. it would look very similar, if not identical, to just good-old fashioned misogyny, rather than anything having to do with trans-. how would they know, having come into that experience as men, with only their experience of male privilege to go on, whether it was misogyny or trans-anything?”

Quoth my girlfriend who’s gone through transition, and gone from not being gendered female on sight to ‘passing’ (though I hate that term.)

“The gulf between being read trans and read cis and female is WAY bigger than the gulf between being gendered male and being gendered female.”

She received death threats, was harassed, called the police and they begged her off… all this went away when her hormonal balance finally made her look the way she felt.

Really, really, really.

Many, many female people receive death threats and are on the receiving end of violence BECAUSE THEY ARE FEMALE.

Your partner received death threats, not because they were read as ‘trans’ but because they were “read” as a non gender conforming male. And a gay male to boot, because non gender conforming men are always read as gay. It’s homohpobia. You know what: I’m a big fat obvious dyke and the same thing happens to me. I get abuse in the street.

Many, many highly gender conforming females are also on the receiving end of violence as you’d know if you bothered to ever read a newspaper, or listen to the news, (or indeed know any women.) 2 heterosexual born females who are fairly close relatives of mine have been nearly murdered by men. Their partners.

Anyone who is visibly gender non conforming will be harassed. But gender non conforming women get many times the hassle of men, because they get misogyny as well.

96. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Zip, apart from calling me a hypocrite, an accusation I refute (re-read my comments, please), you seem to be confusing yourself. First you state that ciswomen are women born women, saying “You are a ciswoman because cis implies that you were born that way and… yeah.”

I reject this on the grounds that ‘woman’ is a perfectly adequate term to describe my sex, and the political implication of adding ‘cis’ shifts the debate into the arena of gender privilege, suggesting that women have it and transwomen don’t, which I reject.

You then say, “feel free to not call yourself a ciswoman. I don’t unless it’s relevant. No one forces you to…”

Why do you think it’s OK for you, or anyone else, to define me as ‘ciswoman’ when I have explicitly stated that I reject the label?

It’s never ‘relevant’ for me to describe myself as a ‘ciswoman’ because that term is anti-women and I reject it. If transwomen want to distinguish themselves from born women, or vice versa, then the appellations ‘transwoman’ and ‘woman’ are perfectly meaningful and pro-womanist.

And it’s simply not true to say that ‘no one forces you to’ identify as cis. As I said, I can think of at least three feminist websites/blogs where it is considered transphobic not to identify as cis.

For the record, and to put this one to bed, I’m not transphobic, or a hater, or anything of the kind. I believe that transpeople should have full human and civil rights. I think that if transactivists were to start directing their campaigns against men and male privilege, and to reject the notion of innate gender, then they could be amazing feminist allies and anti-gender crusaders and I for one would be more than happy to welcome them into feminist spaces. But this is not what is happening. Rather, feminists are being told that ‘cis privilege’ is the problem, not male privilege, that we must share our space with people who refuse to admit their male privilege and who blame women for the discrimination that they suffer, and at the same time expect us to fight battles on their behalf. That’s the problem, zip, and that’s what I’m against. Which isn’t transphobic.

I’m not going to say all this again, because I really think I’ve made my points perfectly clearly! If you still can’t see my point, what can I do except ask you to re-read the comments here.

97. thinkaboutit - November 13, 2009

Some more violence against women statistics:

Three women a day are murdered in the US by an intimate partner:

4.8 million women a year in the US experience sexual assault or violence by an intimate partner.

More than 600 women a day are raped in the US.

http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

i agree with beardedlady: i will identify as “woman”and transwomen can identify as “transwomen.” for born-women to identify as cis- is a mandatory shout-out to the trans-identified every time we introduce ourselves! thats an utter manipulation and extortion on the part of the trans-activists. i am not falling for it.

98. thinkaboutit - November 13, 2009

Oh and the prefix ‘cis’ means ‘on the same side as’. Referring to someone as ‘on the same side as’ woman is nonsensical.

I am not ‘on the same side as’ a woman. However if you rilly, rilly want a prefix to distinguish from “trans”, I’ve got my own made up word thanks, FAB.

Now I don’t feel the need to go round defining myself as non male, or non Tory, (cis socialist) or non carnivorous,(cis vegetarian) or anything else I’m not. So I’m not going to define myself as non trans thank you very much. So get lost cis-sies.

I can’t say I’m very concerned about men as a sexual class. I just noted that trans-people do not “erase” one sexual class more than the other, due to the simple fact that it happens both ways. I’ll also repeat that I’m interested in many feminist causes, but the ignorance that’s often displayed by radical feminists discourages me.

Um: where ARE all these shouty transmen, loudly demanding admission to men only spaces? Where are all the references to ‘cis males’? Where are all the high profile transmen, with articles in the media about how they just knew they were a man from birth, because they always like wearing ties, and playing with Meccano?

It’ll be hard Zip, but I’ll try to get over the fact that you are very dissapointed in feminism for not paying enough attention to the privileged and just banging on about boring old women and the bad things that happen to them.

99. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Aw, shit, FCM. That transablism stuff is so disturbing. I had to stop looking when I read Ada, who commented that when she saw on the news about someone who had become completely paralysed in an accident, her first thought was, ‘Life’s not fair – why wasn’t it me?’

But to extend the analogy… what if the ‘transabled’ decide that they want to be in disabled people’s spaces? And that the discrimination they experience is due to disabled people not accepting them? And so disabled people should realise that they actually have ‘cis disablement privilege’ and should henceforth describe themselves as cisdisabled or cisabled because they are soooooo so so privileged and lucky, unlike the poor able-bodied transablists who are seen as freaks. And any disabled person who refuses to identify as ‘cis’, on the grounds that she does not have able privilege and is not oppressing other disabled folk, whether ‘transable’ or not, will be known as a hater and a vile oppressor? And when a disabled person says to a transable person, someone like Ada who has full use of her limbs but pretends to be paraplegic, ‘you are able bodied! Own your privilege!’ the disabled person will be accused of transphobia.

I feel a bit sick, actually, after that.

100. Zip - November 13, 2009

I won’t repeat myself anymore either. You quote “no one forces you to” but not “unless they’re being dumb”. If you read, carefully, you’ll see that I’m fully aware that some demand it, which is something I consider stupid.

The term “ciswoman” is not one you have to use. It’s an actual, relevant term that specifies that you were born female. As far as I’m concerned, being against that is on par with insisting that you’re “handed” rather than “right-handed”, but I’ll just leave it at that. No reason to argue it any further.

I tire of this, and it’s clearly been pretty futile since the beginning, but I have some quick questions before I go waste my time on something else:

A woman, specifically a transwoman, is talking with you. She refers to herself as a woman. Do you consider her wrong? Would you try to “correct” her? Would you refer to her as male when talking to her, or when talking about her with someone else?

Basically, do you consider a transwoman a woman, despite wanting to label them as such? Are they a sub-group of women, or “really men”?

101. laughriotgirl - November 13, 2009

thebeardedlady – In general I’m seriously liking what you are saying in this thread. I do want to point out a specific problematic quote:

“If transwomen want to distinguish themselves from born women, or vice versa, then the appellations ‘transwoman’ and ‘woman’ are perfectly meaningful and pro-womanist.”

This becomes meaningful to you, but not to me as a trans woman. I am a woman who is trans, like I am a woman who is brown-eyed. My womanhood is not negated by the descriptor applied. By having two classifications of people person and person the personhood of the marked group is diminished while the unmarked is bolstered. (Invalidated vs validated) Like “poor women and women may attend my party.”

Also, my issues as a trans woman are women’s issues. Access to adequate heath care that actually means something to my body and life and is targeted to making me well – is an issue we all share, even if modified by circumstances and particulars. Access to better social services so that the poorest and most marginalized have adiquate means to survive. Serious cultural shifts that do not reward men for violence and do not make reporting violence = further violence. A cultural dynamic that does not promote one set of arbitrarily assigned gendered behaviors above the other set.

By saying that trans women’s issues, or the ways in which shared issues play out for trans women is something other than “Feminist” would be like saying homophobia and lesbian issues are not “Feminist” (and actually that did happen if memory serves).

These are some of the ways that cis-women do, in fact, help perpetuate oppression of trans women.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

beardedlady, i know, i probably shouldve added a trigger-warning or something. i feel sick too. there was one comment that pushed me over the edge (TRIGGER AHEAD!) it was from a guy who wanted his spinal cord severed to produce paralysis, and wanted to know if injecting alcohol into this spinal column was as good as surgically severing it. AND HE GOT AN ANSWER. apparently, someone knows the answer to that. the answer is (apparently) that injecting alcohol into your spinal column isnt as good, because it could result in “severe nerve pain” (NO SHIT SHERLOCK!) and it wont give you the “level of paralysis you want.”

i am puking on the inside. and almost on the outside too.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

laughriotgirl, i find it ironic that you use your need for “access to medical care” as support for your argument that you are a woman, and that your issues are womens issues. because if you go in for a female exam without telling your provider that you are, in reality, trans, s/he is going to be in for a hell of a shock. and frankly, you may not be able to get the care you need from an OB-GYN, because OB doesnt apply to transwomen, and GYN isnt gonna cut it for you either, when you have NOT A VAGINA between your legs but a NEO-VAGINA which is completely different.

just because a urologist isnt going to work for you anymore doesnt mean that your medical needs are now “womens issues” or “womens health issues.” i am sorry, but post-op transwomen really are a third-sex. you arent women “down there.” does that offend you to have that pointed out?

102. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Laughingriotgirl,

This point:
This becomes meaningful to you, but not to me as a trans woman. I am a woman who is trans, like I am a woman who is brown-eyed. My womanhood is not negated by the descriptor applied. By having two classifications of people person and person the personhood of the marked group is diminished while the unmarked is bolstered. (Invalidated vs validated) Like “poor women and women may attend my party.”

I’m not trying to negate anyone’s womanhood with the use of the term ‘transwoman’. The problem is that the insistence on the term ‘ciswoman’/’cisgendered’ does negate women and is anti-woman. So my suggestion was that we stick with these terms that are pro-woman, and that if there is any need to distinguish between born-women and trans-women, these terms can be used.

It’s not that I don’t get your point. I do see what you mean about exclusivity/validity. The issue for me though is that the debate is not mainly informed by people like you and me, who are both identifying as feminists and to some extent at least, rejecting gender. If it were the case that ours were the dominant voices, I would be more willing to consider the language. I don’t have an ideological problem, for example, with the term FAB woman. Except inasmuch as it means ‘non-trans’ – which means that I have to identify myself in relation to transpeople, as a subset of transpeople. But in theory, if we were talking about transwomen being allies in the feminist movement, I suspect lots of women would be more flexible with this issue.

As it stands, there is just too much at stake.

Also, my issues as a trans woman are women’s issues

Exactly! That’s it, isn’t it? These are women’s issues. So, become a radical feminist, and fight the patriarchy. That’s what I wish would happen, because I really think that a group of people so hurt by gender as a social construct that they would medicate themselves and have surgery to try to escape it could be a powerful voice in destablishing gender normativity.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the powerful voices are being used to shout down women.

103. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

These are some of the ways that cis-women do, in fact, help perpetuate oppression of trans women.

No. I reject this. This is pleading for special treatment. You are asking women to give special treatment for transwomen. We are not oppressing you by not catering to your demands that we campaign on your behalf.

I am asking you, if you identify as a woman, to fight for women’s rights. Not trans rights. Women’s rights.

Either that, or as FCM says, define yourselves as a third sex, and do your own campaigning on your own behalf, and leave women out of it.

Also, please stop calling me a ciswoman. I am not cis.

104. laughriotgirl - November 13, 2009

FCM- being un-sexed by you offends me, yes. Discussion of medical issues does not.

I’m talking about access to medical care. period. Not trans-specific medical care, not reproductive care, but the whole lot of it (because really medicine will touch each of us in highly individual ways). That you took this as an opening to let me know I’m not *really a woman* but some exotic “third sex” is pretty sparkly-fantastic.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


Exactly! That’s it, isn’t it? These are women’s issues. So, become a radical feminist, and fight the patriarchy. That’s what I wish would happen, because I really think that a group of people so hurt by gender as a social construct that they would medicate themselves and have surgery to try to escape it could be a powerful voice in destablishing gender normativity.


well said. i would qualify this though to exclude transwomen’s medical issues as it relates to OB-GYN. but many (if not all) of the social issues are the same, and the oppression is working in the same direction as that which born-women experience. as in man-oppresses-woman.

why arent more transwomen radical feminists? i suspect that it feels better to be welcomed by the uncritical embrace of the liberal feminists, AND that the sex-pos message of each is compatible. but frankly, i agree that its the radfems that are doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to womens AND gender issues. not transfolk, and certainly not the fun fems.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


That you took this as an opening to let me know I’m not *really a woman* but some exotic “third sex” is pretty sparkly-fantastic.


for christs sake. you are a fucking third sex! your idea of a “vagina” is not the same as my idea of a vagina, its not the same as a vagina, its not CALLED a vagina, and yours doesnt need the same things that mine needs. you are also not going to be able to be properly treated as if you had a penis anymore, if you dont have one. how does NOT-MALE equal female? fuck that noise. you sound like fucking freud–women are just castrated men and all that.

neovaginas are not vaginas. you are literally a third sex. your denial of that frankly astounds me. if your gender is female, FINE! why does that mean your sex is, too? gender and sex are not the same thing. and a neovagina is not a vagina.

105. laughriotgirl - November 13, 2009

Thebeardedlady – thank you. I think we are pretty close to *something*. A little movement here and there from the two of us and we may have a working model for better communication. Thank you again for respectfully engaging with me.

Thank you also FCM – I feel that we have been able to have an important discussion here (even if it wasn’t exactly the one you were wanting – sorry for my part in the derail).

106. Zip - November 13, 2009

Beardedlady, seeing as your reply to laughriotgirl pretty much answers my question as well, I’ll just reply right away. Thanks. That’s what I was trying to figure out. Whether one sees transwomen as women, or as men/others, is a very good indicator of whether or not one has basic understanding and respect for them.

FCM, your othering of laughriotgirl is disgusting. She does not have a different idea of a vagina than you do, she merely has to make do with what she can get. For someone who fights to remove the injustices that happen solely based on what’s between one’s legs, you seem awfully eager to discriminate based on that yourself.

With that, I’m out. Sorry for wasting your time as well as mine, but as I mentioned a good while ago, my argumentativeness can easily get the best of me.

Take care.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


For someone who fights to remove the injustices that happen solely based on what’s between one’s legs, you seem awfully eager to discriminate based on that yourself.


zip, this will be your last post here, whether you want it to be or not. your continually misinterpreting and misrepresenting my words tells me either that you are unable to read, or that you dont WANT to hear what i am saying. so which one is it? specifically, how does “men oppressing women due to our ability to become impregnated by them” equal “solely whats between ones legs”? and how can you seriously accuse me of “discrimination” when i have already said that i do not accept the concept of cis-privilege, and you have not and cannot prove that cis- exists, or that women are positioned to discriminate against ANYONE based on gender.

seriously. this is disgusting, and disingenuous. i can only assume that laughriotgirl does not want people like you on her side, and i hope thats the case.

107. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

I don’t want to speak for FCM but I do feel pretty confident in saying that she sees transpeople as people who deserve human and civil rights. I believe she states as much in the post and her FAQ.

Whether or not she believes that laughingriotgirl is a woman or not is a different issue. The idea that FCM is responsible for sex-based discrimination is, frankly, completely laughable. What discrimination? What ‘othering’, for that matter?

It seems that transfolk want to be able to say ‘I’m a woman’ and for women to say ‘ok, fine’, and if we don’t automatically accept that, because of any number of perfectly reasonable issues, such as male privilege, the assumption that having a vagina = being a woman, the anti-feminism, the assumption of innate gender, the dismissal of reproductive issues, or anything else, we are transphobic and ‘disgusting’.

And not only do they want automatic, unquestioning acceptance, they want feminists to identify themselves as a subset of transfolk and take responsibility for gender privilege and discrimination.

For myself, my view is pretty clear. I invite transwomen who identify as women to ally themselves with radical feminism and work for the abolition of male privilege, male supremacy and discrimination against women. Alternatively, if they are to be a special interest group, they should refrain from co-opting feminism and feminist spaces, and they should in particular stop accusing feminists of oppressing them.

108. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Also, what FCM said.

109. thinkaboutit - November 13, 2009

Basically, do you consider a transwoman a woman, despite wanting to label them as such? Are they a sub-group of women, or “really men”?

Woman is a word, and a word means whatever you want it to mean. Look up the word ‘woman’ in the dictionary if you don’t believe me. One thing it means, according to my shorter oxford english dictionary, is ‘the reverse side of a coin’.

So you are asking is a transwoman the reverse side of a coin then? Are you asking “Is a transwoman born female?” If you are the answer is no. Are you asking “is a transwoman regarded as a woman by others?” Depends who the others are and what their definition of woman is.

All you are doing is arguing over the meaning of a word. There is no such thing as *gender woman* that you can somehow be granted admittance to. Sorry, but there isn’t. There are born females. There are those placed in the political/sex class women. These are categories that have some meaning. Persons in category 1 are defined by their biological sex. Persons in category 2 are defined by their experience of oppression in a patriarchal society, which is based upon their perceived biological sex.

If someone else thinks you are a woman, or doesn’t think you are a woman, why does it matter? If you fit your own definition of ‘woman’ whats the big deal? I not only don’t give a shit if I get ‘misgendered’ and called ‘sir’ or ‘mate’ (which quite often happens) it can be an advantage a lot of the time.

Someone who is born male cannot ever be born female. That is fact. I have no issues with someone changing their body or wanting to live in whatever social gender role they want to. It’s their life. Just stop talking about *gender woman* as though it was something real. It isn’t.

110. Zoe Brain - November 13, 2009

FCM – why do you say that “a neovagina is not a vagina”?

Does that mean that women who have had reconstruction after a radical hysterectomy are no longer women, but “third sex”?

For that matter, what about Intersexed women like my friend Nat. Swyer syndrome, 46xy chromosomes, but she could bear a child as a surrogate mother (half her luck – my internals were removed without my knowledge or consent by a patriarchal medical establishment when I was 20).

You make claims about other women, ignoring their narratives and substituting your own unevidenced claims. You claim the right to do this, by birth, and yet do not call that privilege. How is this different other than in detail from patriarchal behaviour to you?

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

well said, beardedlady. just one point though…..transwomen do NOT have vaginas. they have neo-vaginas, which is the medical terminology used to refer to a constructed “hole” between a post-op MTF transsexual’s legs. whereas a vagina is an organ proper, that serves several purposes (ie. things may or may not go in, more than one thing can go out, and it doesnt need to be “penetrated” or dilated at all, ever.)

in fact, i would be hard-pressed to find someone with a vagina who wasnt a born-woman, wouldnt you?

111. thinkaboutit - November 13, 2009

Oh and: men have bodies and also need medical care. It’s not a female only thing.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

zoe, a neovagina is not a vagina because its not a vagina. medical records have to be specific, and it would be unethical and dangerous for a doctor to refer to a “vagina” in a MTF’s medical chart when she in fact does not have a vagina proper. for example, neovaginas need to be douched and vaginas should NEVER be douched. if the doc looked at the chart and saw vagina, s/he would give the wrong advice to the patient.

and i said that ONLY born-women have vaginas. not ALL born women have them. how could any critical thinker look at my words and conclude that i would argue that a born-woman who had a hysterectomy wasnt a born-woman?? seriously. it boggles the mind.

if you arent trolling me, do a better job of it, ok? because i am likely to spam you if i see another logic-fail like the one you just left. thanks.

112. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

FCM, yes, that was a typo – I did mean neo vagina.

Although I don’t think having a vagina = being a woman. I think that is a risky argument. What if scientists create incredibly good neo vaginas? What if they came up with something horrific like a vagina transplant? We would then still have to come back to the point, which Polly makes above, that a born male can never be a born female, and the rest is a matter of identity, which is a completely socially constructed phenomenon.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

omg, the idea of a vagina-transplant is totally grossing me out. :( i do like pollys “a born male can never be a born female.” that works, and covers the bases, even the squicky science-fiction ones like you point out above. BUT…even a really good neo-vag would still be neo.

113. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Does that mean that women who have had reconstruction after a radical hysterectomy are no longer women, but “third sex”?

That’s a pretty kooky reading of fcm’s words, there.

By the way, there are plenty of people who judge born women on whether or not they qualify as real women. It’s part of the female experience of life.

114. thebeardedlady - November 13, 2009

Sorry fcm, I grossed myself out with that one, too. (Feel free to moderate/delete)

factcheckme - November 13, 2009


By the way, there are plenty of people who judge born women on whether or not they qualify as real women. It’s part of the female experience of life.


this. you know, there was something more i felt needed to be said about the radical hysterectomy thing, and you hit it on the head. again, transwomen are so busy crying about transmisogyny that they really fail to miss the point. this IS what its like to be a woman!!

but seriously, it wouldnt be radical feminists who would say an infertile or post-menopausal woman wasnt a real woman. it would be misogynists and patriarchy that would say that. they are the ones who are obsessed with womens reproductive capabilities, whereas i am just pointing that obsession out. plus, there are PLENTY of unnecessary and too aggressive -ectomies performed on women by the male medical establishment. this is yet another way that born-women are abused by patriarchal institutions and attitudes. NOT by feminists, or radical feminists.

its literally as if once you have had your babies, or are “of a certain age” they feel they can tear your insides out and it wont make a lick of difference. why is that? oh yeah, because they didnt “work” anymore. excuse me? infertile lady parts “work” just fine, their job is to sit there and hold everything else in place. and they are just now beginning to realize that the uterus and uterine ligaments etc are active in female sexual response. DUH.

factcheckme - November 13, 2009

LOL thats ok beardedlady. i guess it was payback for the transabled stuff. that just about made me gag, for reals.

115. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

The point is, that it doesn’t matter who is, or isn’t a *woman* to me. It’a all pointless arguing about semantics. Once you get into that argument, you end up with all the ‘but is a woman who’s had a hysterectomy a woman’

I know who has male privilege and who hasn’t. The non privileged group is those assigned female at birth (which includes those intersex people deemed female, so no a vagina or a uterus isn’t necessary to be in class woman, just ‘girl’ on your birth certificate is enough).

That is the only thing that matters politically.

116. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

You make claims about other women, ignoring their narratives and substituting your own unevidenced claims. You claim the right to do this, by birth, and yet do not call that privilege. How is this different other than in detail from patriarchal behaviour to you?

So do you Zoe, so do you.

117. factcheckme - November 14, 2009


I know who has male privilege and who hasn’t. The non privileged group is those assigned female at birth (which includes those intersex people deemed female, so no a vagina or a uterus isn’t necessary to be in class woman, just ‘girl’ on your birth certificate is enough). That is the only thing that matters politically.


exactly. thank you polly. valerie, see above. its telling that the trans-activists and transwomen want to derail the discussion, always, ALWAYS away from male-privilege. why would that be?

118. Miska - November 14, 2009


By the way, there are plenty of people who judge born women on whether or not they qualify as real women. It’s part of the female experience of life.

Exactly.

If we are too muscly, or too flatchested, or too fat, or too hairy, or too old, or too sexually forward, or too loud, or too aggressive, or too tall, or too lesbian or have short hair, or wear unfashionable clothes, or …. on and on and on – then our womanhood is questioned.

It’s part and parcel of being a woman.

And this perfectly illustrates what FCM has been saying – that transwomen don’t want to be treated like women – they want to be treated better than women.

Which is understandable, really. But then they pretend the shit they suffer from is exclusive to them! And with their accusations of “cis privilege” imply that we are responsible for perpetuating it (instead of MALES who are the real ones behind it), and that we don’t suffer equally from it (or more, actually, because we get it heaped upon us from birth).

Well, the libfems may buy into this nonsense. But the radfems certainly won’t.

… And can I just add – FCM, thebeardedlady and Polly – you WIN at feminism. Brilliant, utterly brilliant.

119. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

And Valerie Keefe, a lot of intersex people would argue with you that intersex people ‘need’ medical intervention.

120. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

And people born with CAIS are intersex Valerie.

121. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

Oh and by the way, there are now transpeciesists. They’re people who are (non human) animals.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8355287.stm

But a small minority take it further still – believing they are animals trapped in human bodies, or consider themselves to be part animal. A study by Ms Gerbasi at one furry convention found about a quarter of the participants did not consider themselves 100% human.

She is currently researching this in relation to gender identity disorder, when people feel they are the wrong sex and trapped in the wrong body. She says currently unpublished data supports the hypothesis that there are similarities. She is calling it species identity disorder.

122. Zoe Brain - November 14, 2009

Perhaps because you never considered that girls brought up as boys don’t have the same experience as boys brought up as boys.

Or are you saying that boys brought up as girls lack male privilege in adulthood? Yes, that happens. See for example “Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency” by Cohen-Ketternis:

Individuals with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3) are often raised as girls. Over the past number of years, this policy has been challenged because many individuals with these conditions develop a male gender identity and make a gender role change after puberty.

In these two syndromes, the degree of external genital masculinization at birth does not seem to be related to gender role changes in a systematic way.

I was assigned male at birth. I had a hysterectomy at age 20 (not that there was much to remove, and not that I gave consent). That happens to some Intersexed people. They don’t tell the patient as it might upset them. Father Knows Best – or in this case, the Patriarchal medical profession. Yes, it happens to cis-sexual women too, just rather less often.

Again, you claim your ideology trumps others personal narratives about themselves. Proving once again that Patriarchally typical behaviour is the province of privilege in general, rather than just masculine privilege.

123. thebeardedlady - November 14, 2009

Dear Valerie Keefe,

Read the thread.

Love,

TBL

124. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

Trans masculine presentation is far more acceptable than trans feminine.

No Valerie trans masculine presentation is far more convincing than trans feminine. Trans men ‘pass’ well because a)they can grow facial hair and b)testosterone is capable of masculinising facial features, but it’s a one way process. Once done, it can’t be undone, except by surgery.

Valerie I am a gender non conforming female person, I know what I’m talking about.Not everyone who doesn’t define themselves as ‘trans’ has the privileges associated with being gender conforming.

And females of all types get abuse in the street actually. Female receive constant street harassment as you’d know if you ever took your head out of your own arse and bothered to read around. But if you were born MALE, you don’t realise that. Just as if you’re born white, you don’t realise the amount of racist abuse BME people experience. But I do realise the abuse that comes with being gender non conforming Valerie, sorry, as do a lot of so called ‘cis’ females. Because any women who dares to trangress the standards of ‘fuckability’ will be made to suffer for it, make no mistake. As will those who do meet the standard as well of course. Catch 22.

Again, you claim your ideology trumps others personal narratives about themselves. Proving once again that Patriarchally typical behaviour is the province of privilege in general, rather than just masculine privilege.

As do you Zoe, as do you. As a born male, surgically/chemically altered person (sorry, I mean somebody who mysteriously changed sex naturally, as you claim on your site) you tell me that you are no different from a born female person. So you are saying your narrative about yourself trumps my narrative about myself, aren’t you? In that my femaleness is nothing to do with my natural body and it’s sex organs and it’s chromosomes, but some mysterious quality of ‘gender’ that resides in my brain.

And you prove yet again Zoe that you do not understand what ‘privilege’ in a political sense means. Privilege is based on the way you are perceived. Not the way you perceive yourself. I don’t care if you were a “girl” inside, I don’t care if you were a furry animal or a space alien inside, you were seen as male. And that’s the privilege you received.

Some examples of privilege given to male children:

Male children are much less likely to be the victims of sexual abuse. Male children are much less likely to be the victims of infanticide in most parts of the world. Male children are much less likely to be the victim of genital mutilation. Male foetuses are much less likely to be aborted on the basis of sex. Male children get more resources expended on them.

This happens no matter HOW that male child perceives itself Zoe. That’s privilege.

125. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

And I do understand cis privilege Valerie. I understand women don’t have it. ‘Cis’ gender/sexual privilege does indeed exist WRT trans women, but it’s ‘cis’ males who have it, not women. They’re the ones who get to walk down the street without abuse.

Like TBL says. Read the thread.

126. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

Or are you saying that boys brought up as girls lack male privilege in adulthood? Yes, that happens. See for example “Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency” by Cohen-Ketternis:

Individuals with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3) are often raised as girls. Over the past number of years, this policy has been challenged because many individuals with these conditions develop a male gender identity and make a gender role change after puberty.

In these two syndromes, the degree of external genital masculinization at birth does not seem to be related to gender role changes in a systematic way.

People with 5-ARD are intersex Zoe. As you are now claiming to be I see. Previously you said it was only your brain that was intersexed, now you’re saying it’s the rest of your body. Do make your mind up.

Now as I have just said many, many times, the privilege you receive depends on the binary sex class you are PERCEIVED to be in. Intersex people put in the sex class ‘male’ at birth will have male privilege. Those put in class female at birth who can successfully pass as ‘male’ will indeed get male privilege from then on. The problem is that, like a black person who ‘turns’ white because of vitiligo, their upbringing lacked privilege, and that will affect them for life.

Anyway you may want to turn to that well known source, wikipedia for more information on 5-ARD Zoe.

Although most people with 5-ARD identify themselves as females, some may develop a male gender identity coinciding with the pubertal virilisation, or can present themselves with apparent gender dysphoria and transgender behavior. Most cases of gender (role) changes have been reported in large families in the Dominican Republic and São Paulo.[citation needed] It is unclear if these patients had the means or possibilities to be treated against virilisation. In some cultures it seems to be socially more beneficial to be a man than an infertile woman. It is unclear whether this has played any part in the above mentioned gender changes.

(empahisis added)
And for those who are claiming that ‘masculine’ females do not receive censure, can I remind you about the unfortunate Caster Semenya?

127. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

I also note Zoe, that you think it ‘sane, rational, polite and witty’ to say the following:

There are people who do not know the difference between the medical condition of True-Transsexualism and the choice and perversion of transgenderism. That includes those who are ignorant, practicing perversion, Wikipedia writers, and people with agendas

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2009/11/some-for-reference-library.html

128. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

And of course, you think that lesbians are not women (though Monique Wittig might agree).

It doesn’t matter if you raise a child in the wrong gender. You can’t affect things significantly.

If they’re boys, they’ll know it. If they’re girls, they’ll know it. Sometimes at 3, usually by 7, always by 10 no matter what you do or how you treat them. Just let them mix with other kids, and it will be obvious to them which group they belong to.

And don’t be misled by play that doesn’t conform to traditional stereotypes. Yes, if a child likes to climb trees, play with toy guns etc then it’s very likely they will end up being attracted to girls. And if a child prefers playing with dolls and make-believe house, it’s likely they’ll end up being attracted to boys.

There’s no evidence that discouraging these play patterns, or forbidding them, has any effect. These things are set neurologically, before birth. What is important is not what the child is allowed or encouraged to do, but what comes naturally to them.

Usually, children with feminine bodies will end up being women. Some who are more than just Tomboys will end up being lesbian instead (emphasis added).

Now who is claiming her ideology trumps others personal narratives about themselves now Zoe? Oh it’s you again!

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2009/11/todays-battles.html

129. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

Also Zoe expresses her homophobia, (which she seems perversely proud of), and tell us she is a “protandrous dichogamous pseudohermaphrodite” (which would mean she’s not female of course). A quick google reveals that she is apparently the only person on the internetz with this unique condition. But here’s what it means.

Protandrous hermaphrodite: an organism that begins its life as male, but is able to change into a female. Some species eg clownfish can do this. Humans, not so much.

dichogamous: having the characteristic of changing sex (therefore unneccessary in the phrase ‘protandrous hermaphodite)

I think you’re talking bollocks AND ovaries there Zoe. Some humans are hermaphrodites. However sequential hermaphroditism is confined to fish, gastropods, and flowering plants generally. I’d go back to the gullible people who aren’t friends with google if I were you.

130. thinkaboutit - November 14, 2009

If you want to read about the types of street harassment women experience Valerie, you can start here:

http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/

131. Cissupremacy: The Hollywood Edition « gudbuytjane - November 14, 2009

[...] fear and hate. Whether it is a Hollywood film with real movie stars, or the straw man ranting of transmisogynist feminists making effigies of lives I never come across as described by actual trans women, denying us real [...]

132. donteatthefishsticks - November 14, 2009

I want to say something about the idea that gender dysphoria is listed as a psychiatric disorder and thus cannot be “cured” by surgery. In fact it is “cured” by transition (which may or may not include “surgery”), is not “cured” by other means (you cannot “convert” a trans person any more than you can “convert” someone from gay to straight) and is in fact the only psychiatric disorder that can be cured at all. What is the cure rate for schizophrenia? How about bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder? It’s zero percent. That’s right. Maybe that says something about whether gender dysphoria is really a “psychiatric disorder” or not?

About the idea that trans people “tie themselves forever to the medical establishment.” Might this be because the patriarchal medical establishment has
secured for itself a state-backed monopoly on the right to control the supply of pharmaceuticals (including hormones), and of people’s bodies and what they can do to them? Give me the right to buy my own hormones please.

Another thing. The great majority of trans people do not have the “surgery” you obsess about, either because they cannot afford it or because they don’t want to. Missing from all this bluster is the simple recognition of two ideas. One, that what people do to their own bodies is nobody’s business but their own, and two, that nobody has the right to know anything about another person’s genitals. But, if you are used to being able to tell someone’s biological ex from looking at them, I can see how you might start thinking you have the right to know it.

Finally, differently gendered people have existed for as long as human societies have existed and have been modifying their bodies for as long. We are not a “first-world phenomenon.” We certainly are grateful for the medical technologies that can improve our lives and why should we not take advantage of them? Call it privilege if you want, okay, we are all very privileged living in wealthy developed countries.

There is a lot of real hatred of trans people here. Circular arguments are employed against us and we cannot win, no matter who we are or what we do we conveniently fit into a paradigm that labels our very existence as anti-feminist. FTMs are self-hating women. MTFs who have surgery and are heterosexual are “fuck-toys for men,” those who have female partners are really just rapists looking to infiltrate lesbian space, etc. We can’t win and that tells you something about the analysis employed.

133. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Valerie, we have had a very interesting discussion about privilege on this thread, which covered all of the points you made in your comment. I was surprised to see your comment, which suggested that you hadn’t read the discussion about male privilege and cis privilege. It really was quite a wide ranging discussion and I believe you could find answers to all the points raised in your comment herein.

That’s why I directed you to read (or re-read) the thread.

I honestly don’t believe that there is hatred of trans people expressed in this thread, donteatthefishsticks. There is a lot of questioning, however, about how the trans community affects the feminist community, and there is a lot of analysis about the nature of privilege. One thing that feminists find hard to accept is that we are not supposed to question trans people about anything, for fear of being accused of hatred and transphobia. And yet we can’t ignore that there are some very serious implications for women in accepting trans folk into our communities. We have the right, I believe, to question all aspects of transgender politics. To do so does not express hatred.

There is no ‘we can’t win’ either. I have said many times that I wish trans people would ally themselves to radical feminism, and do some of the work in deconstructing and demolishing gender that radfems do.

It seems to me that the concerns of trans activists are antithetical to the concerns of rad fems. We believe that gender is a social construct, a patriarchal myth that is used to police women, a set of violent behaviours against women, an ideology which causes untold suffering to every woman and girl in the world. Trans activists appear to believe that gender is innate, natural and biological. They believe that the dysphoria they experience is a result of being the wrong sex for their gender. It strikes me, therefore, that there is no real common ground between trans activists and rad fems.

I keep getting told about my cis privilege. Well, I think it’s clear from my comments in this post that I have indeed thought about cis privilege, what it is and what it means, and my conclusion is that I don’t have it, and that it is anti-woman and anti-feminist to expect every born woman to claim it. I invite you to look at male privilege with the same level of scrutiny and attention to detail. Do you have it? Did you have it before you transitioned? Are the feelings and oppression you ascribe to cis privilege really just the result of you losing male privilege, or the result of being seen as a women, and experiencing what is normal, everyday life for women, i.e. a bunch of shit? Why do you think that fab women have privilege? What power do you think fab women have over you? Why do you claim to feel oppressed by women and seem to ignore the role that males and male privilege play in oppressing and discriminating against you? And what do you think of transablism? A movement which very much sees itself as aligned with transgenderism and whose activists make many of the same arguments and claims? Is there such a thing as disability privilege? If not, why? What are the parallels with transgenderism? What are the differences?

It is not hatred or transphobia to ask searching questions. Please identify the ‘circular’ arguments you believe are being deployed against you.

134. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Valerie, I get abuse on the street every day. I have experienced rape, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, cat calling, name calling, job discrimination and everyday abuse. I DO NOT ACCEPT that the experiences of trans women are more serious or more deadly than the experiences of born women. If you read as a woman, you get the kind of abuse women get. If you read as an effeminate man, you get homophobic abuse. If, like me, you are a woman with massive breasts and a beard, you get every kind of abuse. Don’t tell me you suffer WORSE than fab women. You don’t. And what’s more, fab women have had to contend with this shit ALL OUR LIVES.

Privilege? what privilege?

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


Are the feelings and oppression you ascribe to cis privilege really just the result of you losing male privilege, or the result of being seen as a women, and experiencing what is normal, everyday life for women, i.e. a bunch of shit?


WORD. srsly, well done TBL.

135. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Tonights “mundane” misogynistic abuse (and homophobic, for a Brucie bonus), just for Valerie.

Polly, having had a pleasant evening, is eating chips outside the chippy. Up wanders dude who starts to express,(in the ‘gay village’ to three lesbians) his view that gay people ‘shouldn’t advertise it’). Polly’s friend (the most tolerant of the three of us) says that ‘there’s no need to conceal it either’. He repeats his views. Polly, growing somewhat disenchanted, tells him he has the wrong audience and he should move on or she’ll call the police. He refuses to move on, Polly calls the police (who react impeccably, top marks GMP). Polly’s friend suggests we move on as we have night buses/taxis to catch, and also because if we don’t she’s going to punch him. We walk away, and he refers to Polly as a ‘slut’.

Yes it is ‘mundane’ Valerie. In the sense that this kind of crap happens on a fucking never ending loop. Not like the glamorous, exciting transphobic abuse that happens to privileged, entitled MALE BORN fuckwits like you eh? Just plain old boring violence against women.

You’re offensive Valerie. Go fuck yourself.

136. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

There is a lot of real hatred of trans people here

No what there is here, is a)a request that those people born with male privilege recognise said privilege and b)a request that the same people stop denying the level of violence against women.

But that’s just ‘mundane’.

137. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Question for Valerie, has a man ever:

a)sexually assualted you as a child
b)raped you
c)tried to kill you
d)beaten you up severely

because all these ‘mundane’ acts have happened to either me, or my family and friends Valerie. But you know they’re just boring, because hey – they’re not happening to cool, groovy transwomen.

Like I say Valerie (and I mean this sincerely) go fuck yourself.

138. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Some Random Tranny,

I think you’ll find that all the examples you list are experienced by FAB women. I think you will also find that the oppression you experience is at the hands of MALES. Not women, and certainly not feminists.

Frankly, if you can’t be bothered to read the thread and ‘respond to the entire discourse’, then I don’t see why you think you can come here and make the same points that have been made and refuted SEVERAL TIMES already in this thread.

Honestly, if you can’t add something new to the discussion, or develop a point further, then why do you bother? Just because you keep saying something is true doesn’t mean it is.

Trans folk: I want to hear about male privilege. I want to know your views on transableism. I want to hear your answers to the questions I raised above. I want you to address polly’s question about why you think violence against trans folk is so much worse than ordinary everyday violence against women. Can you please stop sticking on the whole cis privilege thing – it’s as if that’s the only argument you have! And if you read the thread, you’ll see your argument has already been taken apart and demolished, several times.

139. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Or is it that this is what you want? You WANT to be the lowest of the low, the minority with the least rights, the most oppressed? Because you fetishise the power differential between men and women, and you romanticise the concept of oppression? If you had to believe that your oppression was just the ordinary kind that every woman suffers, that wouldn’t be enough for you? You wouldn’t get the feeling of righteous indignation, the thrill of being the downtrodden heroine, you against the world, etc etc?

Is this stuff playing a part? Because I am struggling to understand why, in the face of OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE that the discrimination you face is the result of male privilege and male supremacy, you still do not seem to give a toss about fighting the patriarchy, and you IGNORE women’s rights and women’s health and women’s safety and women’s freedom, and instead INSIST that women oppress you.

We oppress you? Nah. Maybe we just PISS YOU OFF because we won’t let you have your romantic fantasy in the midst of our real suffering.

140. factcheckme - November 15, 2009


I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.


yeah, you went on and on, like some fucking entitled MAN, and didnt even bother to read the comments left here by born women, explaining that they have to deal with pretty much the same shit as you do. leave it to a born-man to discount the experiences of born-women though. the point you made is not the point you wanted to make, but thats ok. thats just your male privilege showing again. its bound to happen to all born-men, they cant help it.


Cis-privilege is not standing outside of the washrooms and having to choose between the one that could possibly get the cops called on you, and the one that could possibly get you raped.


i am always afraid that i will be raped at all times. bathrooms are no exception. in fact, most men and transwomen probably never bothered to notice this, but many times the womens restroom is located PAST the mens room, at the end of a dead-end hallway where there are no viable exits. and the women then have to walk PAST the mensroom again to get back out. thats some scary shit right there. and women are not going to call the cops on some non-woman looking person in the ladies room, if you are even trying to pass at all (if you arent, you dont belong there in the first place). there are many decidedly unwomanly-looking women in the world, and they have to pee too. we are used to it. although heres a tip, transwomen: born-women are ashamed of their bodily functions, so they put at least a stall or three in between themselves and the next gal, if they have to take a shit. thats a bit of advice. FOLLOW IT.

if anyone calls the cops on you, it will be some homophobic man in the mens room. again, that has nothing to do with me. its teh menz.


Cis-privilege is not having a gynecologist catch your cervical cancer because they don’t consider you a real woman.


you are just used to getting top-notch medical care, because you lived most of your life as a man. women are frequently at the receiving end of medical malpractice, they are more likely to be uninsured or not able to afford their treatments, and they are afraid to discuss medical problems with their providers out of shame, again, over their bodily functions. and most docs dont realize that and they dont ask. because they are men. for that matter, though, med mal happens to men too. i really dont know why you think trans-are on the bottom of that particular totem pole. they arent.


Cis-privilege is not having a lawyer argue that even though you were raped and murdered it’s not so bad because you “lied” about your gender.


women being raped and murdered is NEVER “that bad”. particularly if you were in a relationship with your abuser, NOT in a relationship with him, or servicing him for money. yep, that about covers all the bases.


Cis-privilege is being able to hand a police officer your ID card without worrying you will suddenly become a third class citizen.


born-women are ALWAYS considered less-than. even natalie fucking holloway was a second-class citizen, but most of us dont look like her so WE are third-class citizens. we dont even have to whip out our IDs to prove it, either. the cops know it, becuase they can see it from 20 paces. and they have already made thier judgements before they even talk to us.


Cis-privilege is leaving an abusive relationship and having a shelter you can go to.


go fuck yourself. the reason there are womens shelters is because through no fault of thier own, women dont have the social and financial resources to start over, when their abusive relationships end. they usually have children in tow. you gave up your male privilege by choice, and you arent going to be dragging kids behind you 99% of the time.


Cis-privelege is not worrying that should a paramedic remove your pants they will simply leave you to bleed on the sidewalk.


i seriously doubt a female paramedic would care. again, you are talking about male homophobia and male privilege. women are NOT victimizing you. however, i dont know why you think you are the only ones that receive negligent or even criminally negligent care from medical professionals. this is not unique to you. women and minorities are ALWAYS at rik of being “left to bleed in the streets.” the only people who receive top-notch medical care are rich, white men.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


We oppress you? Nah. Maybe we just PISS YOU OFF because we won’t let you have your romantic fantasy in the midst of our real suffering.


well said, TBL. i think you are onto something there, with the romanticising of being oppressed by men. how sexxxxay!

141. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

FCM, you totally said it all there. Fuck trans folk who can’t or won’t acknowledge MALE PRIVILEGE. And fuck everyone who doesn’t even bother to educate themselves about discrimination, privilege and oppression before deciding they want to join an oppressed, unprivileged, discriminated against class of people.

142. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Being cis is not cis privilege, saying cis doesn’t exist or that trans women aren’t women, like saying straight doesn’t exist or that lesbians aren’t women, is most certainly cis privilege.

I win! I win! Zoe Brain has cis privilege, Valerie says so. Now will you admit Valerie that substituting your own definition of ‘woman’ for someone else’s definition of ‘woman’ is trans privilege?

No thought not. You can’t have it both ways Valerie. If people who fall into the category ‘woman’ by most definitions don’t get to define “woman” why do you get to define it? What’s so special about you?

FWIW I don’t give a shit whether Zoe Brain thinks I’m a woman or not, but her heternormative ramblings are the kind of thing that give trans women a bad name.

143. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Cis-privilege is not having a gynecologist catch your cervical cancer because they don’t consider you a real woman.

Sorry, but really. You need a cervix to have cervical cancer. Surgically constructed vaginas do not have cervixes. That’s because the cervix is the NECK OF THE UTERUS.

144. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Cis-privilege is leaving an abusive relationship and having a shelter you can go to.

Fuck you again. Seriously. Who do you think provided shelters for women? Who do you think funds them, volunteers in them, keeps them going?

It was WOMEN who identified the need for women’s shelters. And it was WOMEN who agitated, fought, organised, and militated until they got what they needed. And even now, it isn’t enough. Nowhere near.

You want a shelter for trans women? Fine. I’m not stopping you. Why on earth do you think that women should be putting their energies and resources into providing shelters for you?

I don’t see any males providing help and support for women victims of male violence. I don’t see any trans women using their money and resources and knowledge to help women in any way whatsoever.

145. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

FCM, the romantic fantasy version of oppression was an idea I got from Sheila Jeffreys, in the article Red and UP have posted on FRG.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


You need a cervix to have cervical cancer. Surgically constructed vaginas do not have cervixes. That’s because the cervix is the NECK OF THE UTERUS.


god, really. i was trying to figure out WTF she was talking about there. is she under the impression that her neo-vag has a neo-cervix too? even if it does, its just a NEO. the cervix is not the “back of the vagina.” as you correctly note, its the neck of the UTERUS. UTERUS.

EDIT: ok, i think i figured it out. are we talking about transmen here, who still have thier female parts? if so, i dont know any OB-GYN that would not consider a FTM’s cervix a “real” cervix, although whether its ailments are caught in a timely manner depends on many factors, like male docs generally being insentitive to women’s issues, born-women (which FTM are) still not being active participants in thier own care out of shame and/or compliance, and straight-up medical negligence, that happens to women all the time. and if the FTM is having unprotected intercourse with men, even though she couldnt get pregnant anymore if shes taking male hormones, her risk of cervical cancer would be high from exposure to HPV. high risk = greater chance for a positive result = greater chance that a pos result will be missed.

146. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

And now, I’d like to say something important. I have to say that the opinions expressed by trans women here are not the kind of opinions I’ve ever heard expressed by real life trans women (and men) I’ve met.

It seems that there is something about the internetz that brings all the unsane out of the woodwork (just fancy that eh?). Fundamentally I disagree with the idea that people who are trans are all deluded, because I’ve never heard the kind of nonsense Zoe or Valerie spouts come out the mouth of trans women I’ve met IRL (quite a lot since you ask). So it’s a shame maybe that they’re runnning about the internetz giving people the impression that they’re representative. They aren’t, at least in my experience.

That’s why I’d like to say that I don’t agree that all trans women are ‘mentally ill’. (I also have problems with the construction of ‘mentally ill’ anyway, since it’s based on the patriarchal structures of psychiatry).

Most trans folk I’ve met are eminently rational, do not deny the reality of violence against women, the reality of misogyny, and bleat on about ‘cis privilege’. Nor are they overly concerned with gender. It’s a shame if the Valeries and Zoes are seen to speak for all trans women, because in my experience they certainly don’t.

147. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Or is it that this is what you want? You WANT to be the lowest of the low, the minority with the least rights, the most oppressed? Because you fetishise the power differential between men and women, and you romanticise the concept of oppression? If you had to believe that your oppression was just the ordinary kind that every woman suffers, that wouldn’t be enough for you? You wouldn’t get the feeling of righteous indignation, the thrill of being the downtrodden heroine, you against the world, etc etc?

Is this stuff playing a part? Because I am struggling to understand why, in the face of OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE that the discrimination you face is the result of male privilege and male supremacy, you still do not seem to give a toss about fighting the patriarchy, and you IGNORE women’s rights and women’s health and women’s safety and women’s freedom, and instead INSIST that women oppress you.

We oppress you? Nah. Maybe we just PISS YOU OFF because we won’t let you have your romantic fantasy in the midst of our real suffering.

Word

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

hey polly

is your email addy really @googlemail.com? WTF is googlemail?

148. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

I agree that the trans women I’ve met in real life (not that many, afaik) are smart people who seem to understand privilege and never ask for special treatment.

Trouble is that the internet trans activists want to set the tone and context of every debate. And they do so without understanding, well, without understanding anything much at all about feminism, women’s rights, women’s history, gender, privilege, power, violence. But they refuse to listen to women or to acknowledge women’s experiences, and they insist on putting their own meanings onto women’s experiences, and defacing our truths.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

personally, i find it telling that the fun-fems dont make any distinction between reasonable and unreasonable behavior of trans-folk. thats kind of the whole problem actually, because radfems arent saying anything except “look at this rationally” and “this is unreasonable.” not that transfolk dont deserve to exist.

to the fun-fems, even this over-the-top internet craziness on behalf of the trans-identified is something that needs to be embraced by by feminists, and feminism. they literally can do NO WRONG. thats the whole freaking problem, and what radfems are trying to unpack.

149. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Send me an e-mail FCM and you’ll find out. Yes it’s a real e-mail address.

150. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

ok, i think i figured it out. are we talking about transmen here, who still have thier female parts? if so, i dont know any OB-GYN that would not consider a FTM’s cervix a “real” cervix, although whether its ailments are caught in a timely manner depends on many factors, like male docs generally being insentitive to women’s issues, born-women (which FTM are) still not being active participants in thier own care out of shame and/or compliance, and straight-up medical negligence, that happens to women all the time. and if the FTM is having unprotected intercourse with men, even though she couldnt get pregnant anymore if shes taking male hormones, her risk of cervical cancer would be high from exposure to HPV. high risk = greater chance for a positive result = greater chance that a pos result will be missed.

I don’t think the sentence construction with it’s reference to not having a gynecologist catch your cervical cancer because they don’t consider you a real woman, suggests the reference was to transmen actually.

But supposing it was. I don’t know of any gynaeocologists who’d do this either – in fact I know a transman who has had cervical cancer and received treatment.

I do know of a lot of lesbians who’ve been told they don’t need cervical smears though. So maybe what’s going on is the assumption that someone who is FTM doesn’t/hasn’t ever had penetrative sex with males. Which is rubbish on two counts – firstly HPV can be transmitted other than PIV sex, it’s less likely, but it’s possible. Secondly a lot of lesbians/transmen have penetrative sex with men.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7811947.stm

(this article ignores the other possibilities for HPV transmission BTW – the risk of women who’ve never had sex with men, but have had sex with women is about 5% for HPV infection)

But I’d like some evidence that it’s happening, and if so that it’s happening more than it happens to lesbians. Because I think that’s homophobia and ignorance again it is happening, sorry cis-sies.

Of course according to Zoe, I don’t have a cervix. Maybe these medical practitioners have been reading Zoe’s big book of who’s male and who’s female, instead of text books.

151. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Update (I haven’t kept up with research obviously). HPV is as likely to affect lesbians who have never had sex with a man as lesbians who have.

http://www.womenshealthlondon.org.uk/leaflets/hpvwarts/hpvwarts.html

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


HPV is as likely to affect lesbians who have never had sex with a man as lesbians who have.


WTF is guardasil supposedly guarding against then? since you are supposed to get the shot *before* you start having unprotected, penetrative sex with teh menz. (another WTF…dont girls use condoms anymore? because the condom would have the same protective affect, without any nasty side-affects that the guardasil is being “inconclusively” linked to). i <3 big pharma.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


I don’t think the sentence construction with it’s reference to not having a gynecologist catch your cervical cancer because they don’t consider you a real woman, suggests the reference was to transmen actually.

yeah, i was being charitable i suppose. i didnt want to believe that we actually have transwomen operating under the DELUSION that they have cervices, and that their cervices were yet another point of cis-oppression for them. you know, the MTFs. the ones that dont fucking have a single cervix between them.

152. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Also to be picky, by the definition of cis privilege Valerie et al are using, a woman could not have cis privilege over a trans woman and a trans man simultaneously could they? Or if that is the case why do we never hear of men having having cis gender privilege?

It seems to be only women according to the online transactivists. I have never, ever ONCE seen a piece about male ‘cis privilege’. Reminds me of the piece that was once written asking why trans men aren’t loudly demanding admittance to the freemasons.

153. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

I think there is probably a very, very large proportion of the male born population who don’t even know what a cervix is FCM. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they included trans activists.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

well, to say that men have cis-privilege would make it obvious that cis- and male-privlege are identical. miska said that she came across a cis-privilege checklist online somewhere and the privileges were indistinguishable from male privileges. LOL maybe i will look around for that checklist later on.

also, all this cis-privilege bullshit is a deliberate tactic used against teh feminists, who are vulnerable to those kinds of accusations. transfolk also arent using it to get into male-only spaces (although i am not entirely sure why that is). whereas lobbing accusations of privilege against men wouldnt have the desired paralytic affect (they are immune).

154. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

WTF is guardasil supposedly guarding against then? since you are supposed to get the shot *before* you start having unprotected, penetrative sex with teh menz. (another WTF…dont girls use condoms anymore? because the condom would have the same protective affect, without any nasty side-affects that the guardasil is being “inconclusively” linked to). i <3 big pharma.

Well the assumption is that all women are heterosexual and will have PIV sex, because that’s the only type that exists apparently. I remember taking a letter home from school saying if I hadn’t had rubella (I had as it happens) I should be vaccinated before I ‘reached childbearing age’.

155. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

But FWIW, condoms aren’t as effective against HPV as they are against other diseases, because the virus is carried on the skin, not in semen.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

but you said that even women who DONT have PIV sex get HPV? or did i read your lesbian-post incorrectly? there were a lot of double negatives in there (lesbians who dont have sex with men is a double negative isnt it?) and i mayve gotten confused?

156. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Here’s a cisgender privilege checklist:

http://takesupspace.wordpress.com/cis-privilege-checklist/

It’s the loooooongest privilege checklist I’ve ever seen! There must be a LOT of cis privilege!

I’m only halfway through…

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

a transwoman named “jen” sent me the following email:

Look I accidentally clicked “Notify…” when I responded a while ago (a response you deleted it). Do whatever you have to to make sure I do not get another e-mail telling me about this ridiculous crap.

“look” yourself jen. you fucked up, and its not my responsibility to fix this for you. not only that, theres nothing i can do about it. dont tell me what to do. you sound like a goddamned fucking MAN. okely-dokely? great.

157. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Ok, IMHO the reasons for the emphasis on ‘cis privilege’ are:

1)so trans women can claim that FAB only spaces are an exercise of ‘cis privilege’

2)to conveniently take the focus away from male privilege

3)to guilt trip FAB’s and ensure that the trans activists remain the focus of female attention their privileged male upbringings have told them is their birthright.

158. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

Yes women who don’t get PIV sex can get HPV, because it’s carried on the skin. The (incorrect) assumption, is, it seems, that lesbians don’t have any kind of sexual contact involving genitals.

159. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

If we had but world enough, and time, I could take the cisgender privilege checklist apart. well I did once. But I loved this…

Clothing works for me, more or less.
I am a size and shape for which clothes I feel comfortable wearing are commonly made
There are clothes designed with bodies like mine in mind.
If I am unable to find clothing that fits me well, I will still feel safe, and recognizable as my gender
If I have a restriction on what clothing I will buy (e.g. vegan, allergy, non sweatshop), I can expect that specialty stores will have them in my size/shape.

160. thinkaboutit - November 15, 2009

But this is great as well:

Perception/acceptance of my gender is generally independent of:

Anything mentioned in 8.*
My clothing choices, how my clothing fits
My adherence to traditional roles of my gender (both “too much” and “too little”)
Holding sexist, sex-negative, or rape-culture beliefs
Holding feminist or sex-positive beliefs
My sexual choices/desires
With whom? (gender, number)
Frequency
Circumstance (marriage, love, one-night-stand)
What (e.g. penetrating/enveloping, fetishes, dominance)
Being assertive, aggressive, or passive
Being in a position of power
Being intellectual or not
My dietary habits
My weight
My height
My occupation
My musical taste
My hairstyle
My hobbies
Wanting gendered things/actions labeled “immature” or “childish”

I get ‘misgendered’ all the time you fuckwits! for more or less all of the above!

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

this was my favewit, TBL:

20. My control of my body is independent of the good will of oppressive institutions.

hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahhahahahhahaha! for christs sake. again, they want to be treated *better* than born-women. and they blame women (and cis-) for patriarchy, and male-oppresses-female (male privilege).

161. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Actually, you know, I love this because it really is a list of what MALES are conditioned to expect from life.

The idea that females have all, or indeed ANY of the privileges on the ‘cisgender privelege checklist’ is utterly, utterly misguided and wrong.

Having grown up with male privilege, and all that entails, maybe trans women really think that there is some kind of equivalent female privilege. I mean, this can’t be it, right? This can’t be the fabled, the wondrous WOMAN? Despised, ignored, rejected, isolated, raped, beaten, abused, hated… That isn’t what they signed up for, right? So, if that’s what they’re experiencing, it must be a hell of a shock.

Yep, you had full human status as males, and when you ‘transitioned’, you became less than human in the eyes of the world, just like females are and always have been. And instead of that making you weep for the injustices dealt out to femalekind, you join in the hatred and abuse, calling us privileged bigots and transphobics.

Ok, IMHO the reasons for the emphasis on ‘cis privilege’ are:

1)so trans women can claim that FAB only spaces are an exercise of ‘cis privilege’

2)to conveniently take the focus away from male privilege

3)to guilt trip FAB’s and ensure that the trans activists remain the focus of female attention their privileged male upbringings have told them is their birthright.

You said it, sister.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

oh and this too:


24. I expect the privacy of my body to be respected.


fucking christ. this is absurd.

i guess ESPN’s erin andrews must be a transsexual then, becuase she was super-pissed when some turd videtaped her in her hotel room. right? right? well, no. the difference between a woman and a transwoman is, apparently, that we arent SURPRISED when this happens, and we dont blame WOMEN, but men for violating us when (NOT IF) it happens.

162. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

That is a good one, FCM. This is is my favourite bit, though. The sense of privilege sweats through it like an old jockstrap.

Information important for me to keep private will not be revealed by:
[...]
5. My voice
1. Having a cold
2. Coughing, sneezing, yelling
3. Singing

HA! I would LOVE to hear how I benefit from having a cis-cold. Oh the power!

Translation:
My voice is your problem. Like every single damn thing that causes the slightest problem for me, I need YOU to be aware of it, care about it, and feel sorry for me. If I have a cold, well, that’s just not fair, because having a cold is SOOOOO much worse for me as a trans person. You ciswomen can’t possibly understand what it’s like to have a cold the way I have a cold. I mean, someone might assume from my voice that I’m a male! And that’s YOUR FAULT!

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


You ciswomen can’t possibly understand what it’s like to have a cold the way I have a cold. I mean, someone might assume from my voice that I’m a male! And that’s YOUR FAULT!


LOL yeah. last time i had the flu, i shat roses and antique lace. and charlotte church stole my angelic voice. that cis-bitch!

163. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

No, come on, seriously, this is the best one:

12. Wronging me is taken seriously

I would laugh, but actually, I’m jealous and sad. That people can actually expect this. It makes me realise that I’m so done down and fucked over by men that I no longer even imagine that this could happen. Wrongs against women aren’t taken seriously, ever. Wrongs against women are the foundation upon which our society is built.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


I would laugh, but actually, I’m jealous and sad. That people can actually expect this. It makes me realise that I’m so done down and fucked over by men that I no longer even imagine that this could happen. Wrongs against women aren’t taken seriously, ever. Wrongs against women are the foundation upon which our society is built.


yeah. well said. the fucking audacity displayed here is stunning. just like the transwoman that said that having to manage her gender-dysphoria was “not a recipe for success.” WTF? only a fucking man would ever think he was entitled to success in this world. the rest of us are just trying to get through the day without being raped. i wish i were kidding about that, but i am not.

164. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

thebeardedlady, you asked for an example of a circular argument. here is one (sorry, I don’t know how to itali-quote):

“ah yes, the “problem” of FTM. by the logic of cis-privilege, you have women oppressing other women by virtue of a gender-based privilege. thats impossible, because gender privilege works in one direction only: men-oppressing-women. again, if you want to take cis- out of the realm of gender-based privilege, please do. otherwise, it doesnt work, as you can see.”

This is called begging the question. The proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly and used as an argument against attempts to argue the opposite. It’s a logical fallacy; how can we argue that cis-privilege exists and that women can oppress women (and “men,” if one insists that trans women are men, but I don’t) and that men can oppress men-as-men (gendered oppression), and that cis people of any gender oppress trans people of any gender, if it can just be said that “gendered oppression doesn’t work that way, therefore the kind of oppression you are talking about doesn’t happen.”

Which brings me to my next point, the idea that trans folk have to worry about oppression from men but not from women. It is true that it is men, not women, from whom we have to fear violence, rape and murder. It is usually not men who would call the police on us for, say, using the women’s bathroom. It is women. I am harrassed on the street and asked inappropriate questions and told “we don’t serve your kind here” by women as well as men. So to be told “if anyone calls the cops on you, it will be some homophobic man in the mens room. again, that has nothing to do with me. its teh menz.” just doesn’t jive with reality, sorry.

This is extremely distressing for me because I once had a great deal of respect for the author of this blog. It’s heartbreaking to come here and read an attack on me and mine simply for existing. What is the purpose of the post? To attack transsexuals. In the very first sentence, sex-positive trans women are told that they are all exhibitionists and “fully sexually available to men.” And assumed to all be heterosexual. Next paragraph, we are told what we think about women, and that we’re all misogynists who think women are emotional manipulators, etc. How is a feminist supposed to feel when she reads that? It’s an attack post. Some trans women have inflamed the author, so she has decided to attack us all. You don’t care about us, okay, that’s fine, we already knew that. Just don’t pretend we aren’t being attacked here.

Words are being put in our mouths. For example, we are told that we only talk about cis privilege being exercised by women, not men. Yeah. right.

As regards becoming an ally of radfems, I am as much as I can be. I’m not going to work against trans interests obviously – we are the most vulnerable and marginalized segment of society whether you want to believe it or not. We are more likely to be murdered than any other group, and more likely to commit suicide. But my friends call me a radfem, and I have to correct them, somewhat sadly, because the fact is most radfems I have met either treat me with a wary tolerance at best, or open contempt at worst, before I even open my mouth.

Anyway, we should probably all clue in to the fact that this is a very old and very tired debate, that everything said here has been said before, and that absolutely no new ground has been covered here at all, by either side. We are all wasting our breath.

165. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

The whole blog is quite… interesting. I wonder if Miska has seen it. The purpose of the blog is to discuss transmisogyny, feminism and transactivism. There’s a whole section on rad fem trolls.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


This is extremely distressing for me because I once had a great deal of respect for the author of this blog.


who are you, and why am i supposed to care what you *used to* think about me? god. as far as i know, this is the first time you have ever visited my humble little blog. like i suggested to max, who also *used to* respect me, why dont you think critically, and try to figure out *why* i might have written this, in the first place? instead of focusing on, you know, how it affected YOU, and offended YOU. fucking egomaniacs.

166. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

donteatthefishsticks:

Your objection to the argument about cis privilege is that male privilege is merely an assumption, an unproven hypothesis? That the direction of oppression (i.e. always against women) is just a theory? So basing arguments on that ‘theory’ renders those arguments illogical/circular?
(I think I need m Andrea here for a dose of the logics).

The point is, gender oppression DOESN’T work that way. I’m not just CLAIMING that. There is a huge and growing body of literature, stretching back for hundreds of years, which analyses and unpacks power and privilege. I haven’t just plucked these ideas out of thin air.

Saying that women oppress men is like saying people of colour oppress white people. Saying women oppress trans women is like saying people of colour oppress white people who want to be/have medical intervention to appear as a poc. (Oh, come on, they must exist, right? The privileged want to ‘transition’ into every other oppressed class.)

Do you get it? There’s no such thing as ‘reverse racism’ and there’s no such thing as ‘cis privilege’.

Please explain to me in what ways you think women oppress men? Where is our power? Where do we get it from?

(Giving examples of when some women have been mean to you does not equal oppression by women. In order to oppress, it has to be backed up with POWER, which women don’t have, although they can and do act as tools of the patriarchy, in a sad attempt to get approval and rewards.)

Society is built on the backs of women and minorities. Women and minorities therefore have no power. If women and minorities had power, society as we know it would cease to exist.

We are the most vulnerable and marginalized segment of society whether you want to believe it or not. We are more likely to be murdered than any other group, and more likely to commit suicide.

Really? Because in the UK, where I live, 2 women are killed every week by their partners or ex-partners. Which seems hard to beat. Can you link to some statistics/evidence for these claims? Also, can you have any way of knowing that the abuse you experience (which I don’t deny, by the way, and never have) is due to you being a trans woman, or a woman?

this is a very old and very tired debate, that everything said here has been said before, and that absolutely no new ground has been covered here at all, by either side.

I asked a lot of questions in my last response to you, and the only one you’ve addressed is the one about the circular argument. There are lots of places to take this debate. How about talking about male privilege? Because despite the many, many times I have raised it, there has been NO attempt to address it.

167. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

What about the ‘cis privilege checklist’, donteatthefishsticks? Do you really think that women have any of the privileges listed there? Why? What do you think of my, polly’s and FCM’s refutations and explanations of why we DON’T think women have those privileges?

What do you think of transableism? How much do you see it as coming from a similar place as transgenderism? Do you think that non-trans disabled people have power and privilege over the trans able? If not, why not? If so, why? Is it a different case to trans women and fab women? Why?

I have a LOAD of questions that I think could move the discussion on. I don’t know why you won’t have a stab at answering some of them. Surely you must have asked yourself these questions before you decided to transition? If so, you must have some interesting, well thought out points to make. I would love to hear them.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

i believe that the intersection of sex-pos/liberal feminism and trans-activism is new ground, and that conversation has been conveniently derailed in favor of about a half-dozen *other* discussions.

the ways that transactivists ignore the problem of male-privilege, and the ways that cis- and male privilege are literally identical, is also more than worth discussing, and the radfems on this thread HAVE been discussing it. its been ignored by everyone else.


Your objection to the argument about cis privilege is that male privilege is merely an assumption, an unproven hypothesis? That the direction of oppression (i.e. always against women) is just a theory? So basing arguments on that ‘theory’ renders those arguments illogical/circular? The point is, gender oppression DOESN’T work that way. I’m not just CLAIMING that. There is a huge and growing body of literature, stretching back for hundreds of years, which analyses and unpacks power and privilege.


exactly, TBL. thank you.
PS. i am looking forward to mAndrea’s comments too. she pwomised!

168. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

I didn’t say women oppress men. I said cisgendered people oppress transgendered people. As to whether cis women oppress trans men, you would have to ask a trans man.

“I asked a lot of questions in my last response to you, and the only one you’ve addressed is the one about the circular argument. There are lots of places to take this debate. How about talking about male privilege? Because despite the many, many times I have raised it, there has been NO attempt to address it.”

Because we’re all feminists here and we all know what male privilege is? Okay, you want a tedious run-down of answers to your questions, I am bored so here goes.

[quote]I keep getting told about my cis privilege. Well, I think it’s clear from my comments in this post that I have indeed thought about cis privilege, what it is and what it means, and my conclusion is that I don’t have it, and that it is anti-woman and anti-feminist to expect every born woman to claim it. I invite you to look at male privilege with the same level of scrutiny and attention to detail. Do you have it? Did you have it before you transitioned?[/quote]

Of course. As to whether I still do, I don’t know, to be honest. It doesn’t feel like it in public. I don’t know if I’m passing at any given moment. But when I think about the ways that male privilege usually functions, I’m forced to conclude, “probably not,” but I could be wrong. We both know that privilege is almost always invisible to those who do have it.

[quote]Are the feelings and oppression you ascribe to cis privilege really just the result of you losing male privilege, or the result of being seen as a women, and experiencing what is normal, everyday life for women, i.e. a bunch of shit?[/quote]

I think I can tell the difference. When someone comes up to me and asks me “what the fuck ARE you?” or tells me to get out of a store, or get off a bus, I’m pretty sure they’re not just being sexist.

[quote]Why do you think that fab women have privilege? What power do you think fab women have over you? Why do you claim to feel oppressed by women and seem to ignore the role that males and male privilege play in oppressing and discriminating against you?[/quote]

Who said I seem to ignore it? Would I be a feminist if I ignored it? You assume I ignore it because I am here defending trans people against an attack from feminists. I never said I felt women had power over me or felt oppressed by “women” as such. But I have seen women call the police on my friends and say “there is a MAN in the woman’s washroom here and I don’t feel safe!” It wasn’t a male bus driver who told me to get off for defending myself from another transphobic creep. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m not talking about women oppressing trans people. We are talking about society privileging non-transsexuals over transsexuals. The simple fact is in most jurisdictions we can be still be fired for being trans.

Why should I be answering these questions at all? Because trans people are being put on trial here. It is one thing to ask questions. Most of us don’t mind being asked questions. It’s a little different when we are asked to [i]justify[/i] our existence, or explain our positions on groups that don’t have a thing to do with us at all. I don’t care about transableism, except that people’s bodies are theirs to do with what they will. Are they sick in the head, is that what you are trying to get at? And by extension, hint hint, maybe I am sick in the head too? The answer is that I don’t care if they are and I don’t care who thinks I am. Psychiatry is a coercive discipline that has been used to serve power and oppress women, people of colour, gays and lesbians, trans folk, children, and every other minority you can think of for hundreds of years. But I suppose I do have a stake in what transableists are fighting for: the right to do what one pleases, medically speaking, with one’s body, no matter the wishes of the state-backed medical establishment. For example, doctors can lose their license to practice medicine if they remove healthy limbs. Why? Whose limb is it? It’s not society’s limb. Doctors’ first responsibility should be to respect their patients’ wishes. The same arguments are used to deny trans folk hormone replacements and surgeries until we have convinced the medical/psychiatric establishment that we are not “fakes” and that we’re really “sick” and need their help. Why are the criteria for getting sex reassignment surgery so stringent? Why is that seen as “mutilation” if cosmetic surgery is not (at least by the medical establishment)?

One estimate places the likelihood of a transgender person being murdered [i]in America[/i] at one in 12. One in twelve. What do you think the likelihood of a transgender person being murdered in Afghanistan is?

http://www.hrc.org/issues/1508.htm

Factcheckme, I never suggested or supposed that you would care what I think. I tried to think about why you wrote what you did, but for me, that isn’t really as important as what you wrote, because what you wrote is offensive and smears a whole group of people for existing. Step back and take a look at what you wrote. “Trans women are (infertile) fuck toys for men.” Not offensive or hateful? You said all transsexualism is problematic because it removes women as a sexual class. But all I’m doing is changing my body. I won’t speak for other trans women.

169. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

and, I still don’t know how to quote properly.

170. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Why should I be answering these questions at all? Because trans people are being put on trial here. It is one thing to ask questions. Most of us don’t mind being asked questions. It’s a little different when we are asked to [i]justify[/i] our existence, or explain our positions on groups that don’t have a thing to do with us at all.

Are you kidding me? I asked some questions. I never asked you to justify your existence. Don’t put words in my mouth. I asked questions which I thought might move the discussion on. I never asked you to explain yourself or justify yourself. I asked your opinion. Give it, or don’t give it, but don’t tell me I’m hating on you because I asked you to tell me what you think.

171. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009


I think I can tell the difference. When someone comes up to me and asks me “what the fuck ARE you?” or tells me to get out of a store, or get off a bus, I’m pretty sure they’re not just being sexist.


Hmm. I am pretty sure that it IS sexist. And that I have had those exact same words said to me. Fab women who are non gender conforming get that shit all the time. Although I have never been asked to leave a store.

What I’m trying to say is not that trans women don’t experience abuse and discrimination. I can see fine well that they do. But the argument from trans activists suggests that trans discrimination is a function of CIS privilege. And my argument is that it is a function of MALE privilege.

And the problem with CIS privilege is that it is applied to fab women, and we are asked to identify as cis in order to flag up our privilege – i.e. our power over trans people. But we don’t have power over trans people, and in suggesting and claiming that we do, trans activists take all the focus AWAY from male privilege, which is what feminists are trying to expose and fight against.

So, the advancement of trans interests, as typified by the views expressed by trans activists in this discussion, is antithetical to the advancement of women’s interests.

Hence the discussion.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

asking legitimate questions of ourselves as feminists regarding what has happened to our movement, and our complicity and/or resistance to it is not the same thing as putting transpersons “on trial.” really, there was absolutely NO REASON for any transfolk to appear on this thread or to respond at all. i wasnt surprised that they did, but it wasnt necessary, because this wasnt about them. believe it or not, feminists can and do have discussions amongst themselves about MEN without requiring that MEN participate or even wanting or allowing it. same applies in discussion about trans. i could have easily spammed all transactivists comments, and i think the discussion would have been just as good. thier playing the victim is just so fucking tired, and old.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

i once had a little kid ask me if i was a boy or a girl. i thought it was weird, since i *do* look like a girl (although i was thin and muscular at the time as i was rockclimbing almost every day) and i was wearing a pink jumper and had a long blonde ponytail! i was a little hurt by it, but it didnt wreck my whole fucking life. the guy i was walking with said i should have whipped out my breasts and shown the little shit what was what.

and dont get me started on the “what the fuck ARE you?” because i wondered that about myself for years, when my parents refused to let my sister and i buy the nice clothes, or use hairspray, or makeup etc. i was always the dowdy one amongst my friends. it was all about MONEY, and i wasnt able to spend enough to be a proper girl. it has a whole lot to do with class privilege as well. are you going to blame that on cis-women too? is it my fucking fault that you (AND ME) are too poor to pull it off? how much are you spending on your hormones and surgery? and how are you going to legitimately claim poverty, when you have all this extra cash?

172. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

And yeah, you’re right. Bodies in and of themselves are not the problem. Do what you want with your body, whether that’s cutting off a penis, an arm, or taking hormones, or dressing in a non gender conforming way, or whatever.

The problem is that trans activists don’t just want to change their bodies. They want to change the MEANING of their bodies. But in doing so, they have to change the meaning of ALL bodies, not just their own. A male becoming a woman changes the MEANING of woman. And it changes it in ways that are detrimental to fab women.

Because of the conflation of sex and gender, and because of the power difference between men and women, and because of women’s oppression being enforced through gender, transgenderism posits a set of ideas and meanings right slap bang in the middle of feminist discourse.

When we, as feminists, attempt to pick apart those meanings, to try to critique transgenderism in any way, we are told that this is ‘othering’ and are derailed into a discussion about cis privilege.

When we, as feminists, analyse cis privilege, and identify the ways in which it oppresses fab women, and the ways in which it is identical to our analysis of male privilege, we are told that we are being transphobic.

When we refuse to identify ourselves as cisgendered or ciswomen, we are told we are being transphobic and ‘othering’, despite the fact that we (and this thread is a good example) consistently give ground by describing ourselves as fab women, a term which we find more pro-woman and not anti trans.

And yes, feminists get angry when they consistently make well reasoned, well argued, thoroughly substantiated and evidenced points, and in response they are told they are ‘putting trans people on trial’. It’s not so. It’s trying to figure out if there is really any common ground between us, and it’s trying to figure out if, in all the talk of cis privilege there is any analysis from trans activists of male privilege (which so far on this thread there hasn’t been), and it’s trying to develop a feminist critique of transgenderism, which includes trans people’s voices, which isn’t constantly being derailed into precisely the type of discussion that has happened here.

And no, it’s not on to expect women to UNQUESTIONINGLY accept trans women into their communities when a) they repeatedly show that they’re not listening to our concerns; and b) women are understandably scared and threatened by individuals who grew up with male privilege, as this has been the tool we’ve beaten with all our lives.

173. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

asking legitimate questions of ourselves as feminists regarding what has happened to our movement, and our complicity and/or resistance to it is not the same thing as putting transpersons “on trial.”

Well said.

174. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

[quote]So, the advancement of trans interests, as typified by the views expressed by trans activists in this discussion, is antithetical to the advancement of women’s interests.[/quote]

Well if this is true we are in real trouble, aren’t we? I don’t believe it is, of course. We have a common enemy. Our interests are not opposed, they are aligned. Why choose to view potential allies as, instead, competition for limited resources? We should be working together against patriarchy – to dismantle it and support its victims. That cause isn’t helped when people act like the very existence of trans people is a problem for feminism. Like, hello, we’re here, we’re trans, get used to it, we have a common enemy, we should be allies. We are not a new phenomenon and we are not going to stop existing in a hypothetical post-patriarchal future.

175. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

For example, doctors can lose their license to practice medicine if they remove healthy limbs. Why? Whose limb is it? It’s not society’s limb. Doctors’ first responsibility should be to respect their patients’ wishes.

I thought it was ‘first, do no harm’. Pretty tough call for a doctor to be asked to remove a healthy, functioning body part.

Also, this isn’t just about the individual. You must see that there is a huge impact on society in general. Not just financial, legislative etc, but also ideologically. And also it has a personal impact on others. It’s easy to see in transableism that transabled people oppress disabled people both by their sexual predation and by their claiming of resources and energies and rights which disabled people have fought long and hard for.

This is not you, in your bedroom, carving initials into your thigh with a penknife. This is about more than just your individual body.

176. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

Factcheckme, I never blamed you, or cis women, for any of whatever you think I am blaming you for. I never claimed poverty either. And a lot of transition expenses can be covered in some Canadian provinces including mine, though two have recently delisted SRS. Hormones haven’t cost me a thing, either before or after I had medical approval to be on them, which took a ridiculous amount of time (now comes the part where you accuse me of blaming women for that too, haha right??).

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

i will spam the next comment, and every one thereafter, that refers to me or another woman or radical feminist as cis-. you have been warned.

177. donteatthefishsticks - November 15, 2009

“I thought it was ‘first, do no harm’. Pretty tough call for a doctor to be asked to remove a healthy, functioning body part. ”

Yes, that 2000 year old motto is a great starting point. But now we live in a society where, thanks to the efforts of the church, the state and the medical practice to eradicate alternative healers, mostly women, for being heretics, one group of healers has a state-backed monopoly on the practice of healing, performing surgeries and prescribing pharmaceuticals. Within this context, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to expect doctors to follow patients wishes, since patients are not legally allowed to get what they want anywhere else.

“Also, this isn’t just about the individual. You must see that there is a huge impact on society in general. Not just financial, legislative etc, but also ideologically. And also it has a personal impact on others. It’s easy to see in transableism that transabled people oppress disabled people both by their sexual predation and by their claiming of resources and energies and rights which disabled people have fought long and hard for.

This is not you, in your bedroom, carving initials into your thigh with a penknife. This is about more than just your individual body.”

No, it’s not. What someone does with her body is in fact her business and nobody else’s. I don’t suspect we are going to come to agreement on this issue. Nor do I see how the existence of trans people promotes an “ideology.” We are simply a reality. We have always existed. We don’t have the option to not exist. We can either stay in the closet or not.

178. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

We should be working together against patriarchy – to dismantle it and support its victims.

So how does telling women they are privileged within the patriarchy help to further our ‘alliance’? I know you say you don’t personally claim this, but that’s what this WHOLE thread has been about.

You know, it seems like you want an alliance all on your terms. But feminists aren’t happy to abandon their critiques of gender and privilege just to make trans activists feel like allies. Or make that rad fems aren’t – seems the fun fems already did.

At the moment it just keeps on sounding like ‘feminism – ur doing it wrong’. You know the other group of people who always claim to be oppressed by women, and to be the ‘lowest of the low’ in society are MRAs.

And the whole issue is complicated by sex-positivism and porn, and the fetishisation of women’s bodies and even women’s clothes, which is prevalent in the trans (and non trans het male) communities, and which threatens and harms women. Which is kind of the point of this post in the first place.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

fishsticks has been spammed for deliberately breaking the anti-cis rule. big fat fucking surprise that transwomen and transactivists cant respect born-women, and the boundaries they establish.


And the whole issue is complicated by sex-positivism and porn, and the fetishisation of women’s bodies and even women’s clothes, which is prevalent in the trans (and non trans het male) communities, and which threatens and harms women. Which is kind of the point of this post in the first place.


exactly. so dont fucking tell me that transpersons and transactivists are critiquing patriarchy, or that they have embraced the feminist ideals necessary to make them true allies to feminists. pro-porn fun-fems notwithstanding, obviously.

179. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

Nor do I see how the existence of trans people promotes an “ideology.”

Please at least take the trouble to read what I actually wrote. Which was that you can do what you want with your body, but there is a problem when you try to appropriate and control the MEANINGS ascribed to bodies which do NOT belong to you.

I’m getting tired of this. You’re not listening, are you? You just don’t understand why you shouldn’t be the centre of the universe, all of the fucking time, even when women are saying to you, please stop this, you are hurting us. Please listen, please consider us. Please stop treating us as if we don’t matter at all.

You won’t even stop referring to rad fems as cis women, despite the fact that we have written thousands of words here explaining why we don’t want to be labelled that way. You don’t care, you’ll do it anyway. Even though we have been careful to use respectful terms to describe your identities, ones we know you find acceptable. You can’t even return that courtesy.

180. thebeardedlady - November 15, 2009

fishsticks has been spammed for deliberately breaking the anti-cis rule.

Thanks, FCM.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009


You won’t even stop referring to rad fems as cis women, despite the fact that we have written thousands of words here explaining why we don’t want to be labelled that way. You don’t care, you’ll do it anyway. Even though we have been careful to use respectful terms to describe your identities, ones we know you find acceptable. You can’t even return that courtesy.


yup, that about sums it up. not a single person here has used the t-word to refer to transpersons. not a single one has called transmen “she” or transwomen “he.” this is my blog and i get to make the rules, but its interesting, isnt it, that i had to set a boundary to protect radfems from transpersons, but the radfems acted completely on their own when it came to respectfully “naming” transpersons with their preferred pronouns.

this is just more of the same shit. transwomen are MEN, who feel entitled to track thier shit into every corner, and have learned from birth that born-women are gullible, not to be respected, and that men get to define us. transactivists are complacent and compliant when it comes to these problematic behaviors, and what it MEANS when born-women are treated this way, in the name of trans-activism.

factcheckme - November 15, 2009

as another example of entitled behavior on the part of transactivists, fishsticks felt the need to email me after i spammed her:


Well, I certainly never referred to you or anybody else as cis in that post. I just defended its usage. But I never referred to you or anybody else as cis. I followed your instructions to – tha – letta, and you know it. But anyway. It’s been real. Keep on making posts about how trans women are all fucktoys, all pro-porn and all misogynists!


of course, even as she deliberatey misinterprets the “rule” she claims that she had followed it to the “letter” while (obviously) violating the spirit…then violates the spirit again by contacting me off-blog. fucking men.

181. louisa - November 16, 2009

this is some transphobic bullshit.

182. Miska - November 16, 2009

The whole blog is quite… interesting. I wonder if Miska has seen it. The purpose of the blog is to discuss transmisogyny, feminism and transactivism. There’s a whole section on rad fem trolls.

Oh yes, it’s certainly on my radar. And I will be posting about that very checklist some time in the future … it’s just going to take awhile because that list is so damn long, it’s like writing a thesis (I feel like I should be awarded a doctorate from Internet Feminism University. Ha)

And it is so true that these debates re trans never get past the idea of “cis privilege”, enough so we can even start talking about MALE privilege. Which is ridiculous, really. Feminism is sort of built on the idea that all males have male privilege, even if they deny it.

But then we have this special breed of males in our movement who are assumed to not have male privilege, and furthermore that we supposedly oppress. What kind of weird Twilight Zone version of feminism is this? (the same as the “pole dancing is empowering” one, which is why FCMs post is so necessary and timely)

And if trans activists want to insist that they both lack male privilege, and that females oppress them, that’s completely fine. But feminism is not the place to do it. For exactly the same reason why we don’t see MRAs guest blogging at feministe, or shakesville: because they are NOT feminists, and their ideology is anti-feminist at its very core.

And it’s so typical how transactivists continue to refer to women as “cis”, when they have explicitly stated that this does not describe them (when there are plenty of other terms that would be acceptable, like woman, female or FAB). Utterly typical male entitlement and contempt for women.

The trans activists have had ample time to show that they are allies of women, but they can’t even condescend to use respectful terminology when speaking to us. Well, fuck them.

Playtime is over.

183. Miska - November 16, 2009

And yes, I need a cigarette. lol.

factcheckme - November 16, 2009


this is some transphobic bullshit.


i published this because it gave me the lols.

factcheckme - November 16, 2009


And if trans activists want to insist that they both lack male privilege, and that females oppress them, that’s completely fine. But feminism is not the place to do it. For exactly the same reason why we don’t see MRAs guest blogging at feministe, or shakesville: because they are NOT feminists, and their ideology is anti-feminist at its very core.


WORD. can you imagine an MRA guest-posting spot over at feministe?? wait…i kind of can.

184. akibare - November 16, 2009

I can’t believe I read the whole thing… but I’m happy I did, as I learned quite a lot.

First, thanks for the concept of “master class” as opposed to identity and identity politics. That’s a concept I’ve long tried to discuss, but not being from any remotely related field, never had the words for it.

I also very much appreciate the distinctions being made between sex and gender, and the essential category of a female body (which is assumed impreggable) which (unfortunately!) necessitates certain socializations, currently.

I found this blog via a chain of following links from the transabled site, via Miska. No, I’m not transabled, I merely found the topic interesting and over time read all of its posts. For some of your questions, it would be interesting for you to read the archives from five or more years ago (or particularly the very early posts) and compare them to the current stance. I’ll just say that for now.

Part of what I found interesting about it is the concept of transitioning from a “higher” into a “lower” class, what that can mean, and if it’s actually possible – and in the meantime, what it means to pretend.

As for the other types of trans* discussed in this thread – I’m a born woman, girl from birth, who isn’t very “femmy.” I rebelled against various gender-role expectations to the extent possible, and ended up a rather plain woman in a largely male field, learned to play along with the “good ol’ boys” stuff for the most part, and married (!!) to someone who is okay with me as I am.

I’ve had the “what are you???” catcalls, oh yes. In my experience, they were always from men. Additionally with the threat of violence.

I think some of the special hate that the transwomen get is due to this same dynamic, and it seems to me that the privilege involved is really “passing privilege” (which I realize is apparently a bad term). Someone upthread put it well, I think, that it’s a combination of general misogyny (sometimes, if the passing starts out well – so you have the “I can feel you up” entitlement applied as any woman might get) then coupled with homophobia when the “secret” is revealed. And yes, that can be really dangerous. But again, it seems to come from men. Men who are angry at being “tricked” into falling for what they consider another man, and not just another man, but a femmy man. Because, it makes them homosexual.

I will say, there is a transwoman at my workplace, also in the male dominated field, who passes so well that unless I’d known her from before, I would never ever know, and most people don’t. She will not get those catcalls. Quite frankly, she’s hot, on the usual scale.

She will face general misogyny now, passing, and thus being ASSUMED to have a functioning uterus and possible pregnancies and all that. As such, sure, she has a stake in those issues, and understands what that is like, currently.

HOWEVER. I have to admit, I’m jealous of her in one major way, and that is that she was able to grow up as a boy, encouraged to do all sorts of things, encouraged to try and fail and take risks. That’s socialized in, now, part of her. I wish it had been that way, for me.

In saying that, I don’t mean to deny any of the presumably conflicting and troublesome experiences with gender issues that she has had. Not by any means. But they’re different issues than I had.

In a way, people with this brightness and confidence that comes from that encouragement of risk taking end up seeming like they have overcome, that see, they can do all this and not have self-doubt or all those negative messages, so it seems they’re the perfect ideal. I mean, hey, they’re women but without all the baggage! But they didn’t overcome. At least, not those same issues.

…which brings us to sex-pos. I think it’s probably easier to be sex-pos if you don’t hear from birth that you should never “give it up” ever because that makes you a slut, until you get married when you must, etc. It’s hard to flip that switch on a dime, y’know?

But finally, I do think that if a transwoman is to the point where the flash snap judgement, the master class, has become “female” then she has legitimate points to make about treatment that results from that, from this point forward. But, when it comes to internalized messages, or attitudes that only come from growing up always judged that way, or why do the rest of us who were judged that way have various baggage that we have, or want to discuss that baggage, then they should respectfully bow out, or take the listening role.

185. thebeardedlady - November 16, 2009

Dearest Miska,

You SHOULD be awarded a doctorate from Internet Feminism University.

Love,

TBL xx

186. Trans-activism is incompatible with feminism « fab matters - November 16, 2009

[...] Straight from the horse’s mouth: Rebecca Crouter, commenting on a post at femonade [...]

187. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

Nor do I see how the existence of trans people promotes an “ideology.” We are simply a reality.

Agreed. If people simply state for instance, “I have a male body, I wish to have a body with genitals that resemblance those of born females and I am going to achieve this through surgery” that is a statement, nothing wrong with that.

If someone insists they are a ‘woman’ because of their ‘gender’ and that because of that they must have ‘gender confirmation surgery’ that does promote an ideology though.

I’ve referred to this person before,( but there’s a blogger called Jasper and s/he (I don’t know Jasper’s preferred pronoun) has upset a LOT of transpeople. How?

By saying that s/he has the gender “woman” but does not need to surgically alter his/her male body to match. The transactivists HATE Jasper.

http://jasperswardrobe.wordpress.com/

How very telling eh? Now you might be able to fool some of the people some of the time, but don’t tell me the heteronormative, gender obsessed crap the likes of Zoe Brain spout isn’t ‘promoting an ideology’. And that is TYPICAL of internet transactivists. The fact that Jasper has received so much criticism for stating the bleeding obvious – if gender is an internal psychological state, you don’t NEED to alter your body, tells us everything we need to know.

188. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

As to whether cis women oppress trans men, you would have to ask a trans man.

Why? I’m white, but I know white people oppress BME people.

189. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

OK, it’s maths time. Donteatthefishsticks tells us above that trans people in the USA have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered.

Let’s assume that’s over a lifetime, and that over that lifetime there are 55 years when a person is an adult and can be murdered because of their gender, since such attacks are very unlikely in children (I’ve taken the years 15-70). The link we are given tells us that 27 trans people were murdered in the US in 2002. Let’s assume that’s the average number per year.

So the number of trans people in the US is 27 x 12 x 55 = 17,820. Really?

I also wonder how many of these supposed ‘transpeople’ were declared trans after their deaths, and were in fact gay men and lesbians who wouldn’t have judged themselves to be ‘trans’.

By any of the popular definitions (definitely by Zoe Brain’s) I’m ‘trans’. I notice how this has been studiously ignored by commenters here, despite my many remarks about it. In fact I notice how I have been studiously ignored. Perhaps because I’m saying stuff some people don’t want to acknowledge? Like most ‘transphobia’, is ACTUALLY homophobia, because people assume anyone who is gender non conforming is gay or lesbian whether they are or not?

190. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

Words are being put in our mouths. For example, we are told that we only talk about cis privilege being exercised by women, not men. Yeah. right.

Care to give me ONE example, with a link, where an internet transactivist has moaned about ANYONE but a FAB exercising ‘cis privilege’?

191. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

i once had a little kid ask me if i was a boy or a girl. i thought it was weird, since i *do* look like a girl (although i was thin and muscular at the time as i was rockclimbing almost every day) and i was wearing a pink jumper and had a long blonde ponytail!

Not so weird really. Children up the age of 5 don’t really have a defined sense of sex/gender. It’s probably something the kid was asking everyone.

192. From Sling Video – The Gender Puzzle « Feminist Whore - November 16, 2009

[...] hurts, understanding helps. Leave a Comment No Comments Yet so far Leave a comment RSS feed for [...]

193. Laurelin - November 16, 2009

I keep meaning to ask Feministe what precisely their policy is for guest posters- they invite people who don’t ID as feminist. Personally I would have thought that was the No.1 qualification, but hey.

I’m just bitter and twisted because they’ve never asked me.

*sniff*

194. Laurelin - November 16, 2009

I’m not one of the cool girls.
*more sniffling*
*sulk*
:)

factcheckme - November 16, 2009

miska has created a graphic over at her place, inspired by this dicussion, that has me giddy with delight. see her latest post, while i wait for permission to post the graphic over here. miska also makes the following excellent observation:


But if you believe that females are privileged for being recognized and treated AS WOMEN, then you are not a feminist.

You are the same as MRAs who insist that women are privileged over men because we win most custody disputes. You are the same as college boys who insist that women are privileged over men because we can “get sex whenever we want”. You are the same as men who insist that we are privileged over them because they feel like they have to open doors for us and pay for dinner.

And you do not even have a grasp of feminism 101.

http://fabmatters.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/trans-activism-is-incompatible-with-feminism/#comment-136

yay miska! you win!

195. Miska - November 16, 2009


Dearest Miska,

You SHOULD be awarded a doctorate from Internet Feminism University.

Love,

TBL xx

Aww, thank you TBL <3

I’ve referred to this person before,( but there’s a blogger called Jasper and s/he (I don’t know Jasper’s preferred pronoun) has upset a LOT of transpeople. How?

Yes, this Jasper business is so interesting, I followed a link to his blog that you posted elsewhere, a while ago. The transactivists absolutely went to town on him. Once again their hypocrisy simply astounds me. I plan on writing about this too, eventually.

I keep meaning to ask Feministe what precisely their policy is for guest posters- they invite people who don’t ID as feminist. Personally I would have thought that was the No.1 qualification, but hey.

I have wondered about that too! Though I consider feministe to be a feminist site less and less, these days. I see it more as a generic progressive site with a “special interest” in women’s issues.

And FCM, I wouldnt be surprised if they had MRAs guesting there eventually too. It would be the logical end point of the train-wreck that is third wave feminism, lol

factcheckme - November 16, 2009

hey miska, i just commented over at your blog. i wanted to post your graphic over here, in the article itself since i dont know how to do it in the comments?

factcheckme - November 16, 2009

i have a new post up yall. take a look.

196. thebeardedlady - November 16, 2009

Dear Akibare,

I enjoyed reading your comment. Glad that you read the thread all the way through (I know, it’s long!) and thought about the arguments.

But finally, I do think that if a transwoman is to the point where the flash snap judgement, the master class, has become “female” then she has legitimate points to make about treatment that results from that, from this point forward. But, when it comes to internalized messages, or attitudes that only come from growing up always judged that way, or why do the rest of us who were judged that way have various baggage that we have, or want to discuss that baggage, then they should respectfully bow out, or take the listening role.

I think that’s a really good point. The only thing I’d add is that it’s clear from this thread that the treatment trans women get when they’re judged as female is seen by them to be specifically based on their being trans (so not a women’s rights issue) and perceived to come from ‘cis privilege’ rather than male privilege.

197. maggieclark - November 16, 2009

Hi Valerie,

I’m hopping into this discussion after sitting with the comments here for a few days now. As I already wrote to FCM, this conversation has been extremely enlightening for me, as it’s given me a sense of renewed place in the feminist spectrum after being silenced/ousted by the charge of cis privilege in another feminist forum. This charge upset me because I couldn’t shake a conviction that the transwoman who quite literally set me up for this charge/ousting was herself in the wrong: But in the framework that exists in many feminist communities at present, transpersons are given hierarchical preference over other women, which invariably means they’re always in the right. I didn’t even have anywhere to talk about the questions this raised for me as a humanist and as a feminist — i.e. Was I transphobic for being unable to see my privilege in that instance? — and that kind of isolation from discourse doesn’t help feminism at all. So just as you’ve no doubt perceived your experiences to be limited or de-legitimized here, many born-women feminists experience the very same in other quarters of feminist discourse. This is, I believe, a crucial reason for having discussions like this one in the first place, because the moment conversations central to the furtherance of feminism are considered unacceptable (example below), feminism loses its ability to effectively fight male privilege. We need to find a framework that permits an opening of the discourse again, or we’ll never get ahead. We need a place where it’s okay to ask if an argument is transphobic or just pro-feminist. Where hurt feelings aren’t automatically deemed an exertion of gender privilege. Where the real, tough work of feminism can continue for all persons allied with its cause.

That said, I wanted to comment on something you said above. I can see how “choice” would be deemed a fatal word for transsexuals in this context (because it is only used for transsexuals, not all transgendered, above), but I think this very much goes back to the kinds of conversations that are being censored out of feminist discourse as automatically transphobic.

I flesh out this argument more fully on a reflective comment on FCM’s post, here, where I welcome further input from anyone, but the gist is this: Feminism is concerned with the deconstruction of gender oppression in large part through the deconstruction of “gender” itself. Regarding surgery/hormone treatments as a necessary step to positive self-identification (as is standard for transsexuals, and which is often termed the only step standing between some transgendered persons and suicide) reaffirms gender roles to an extreme that denies the lived experience of many, many born-women who don’t fit into the model of femininity transsexuals are striving to achieve physically. This raises key questions with concrete policy outcomes. For instance, the work of feminism is in the business of teaching young born-women to love themselves for who they are, in the bodies they already have, even if those bodies come with facial hair or very slight breasts, or very large clits and labia, or a variety of other attributes that don’t fit into the ideal of female appearance. This necessarily means regarding the oppressive gender binary as complete rot, championing in its stead a more fluid understanding of gender values, and further questioning whether breast implants, face-lifts, etc are the appropriate, feminist response to the belief that we’re not “woman enough” the way we look now. But this is a very curious argument to have in conjunction with the absolutism of transsexual engagement with that same industry of body modification. One might even say the aims of transsexuality and feminism are in this regard distinct, despite there being overlap in the realm of bodily autonomy. These are all, I think, important questions to ask, and important comparisons to make for the furtherance of feminist discourse as a whole. But to question even for a moment that transsexual absolutism — to venture even for a moment, that is, that the pressure to conform to gender oppressive conceptions of “what is female” plays some role in the surgery-or-death transsexual paradigm — is considered in some circles to be cissexist and/or transphobic.

Can you see how destructive this kind of censorship might be for feminism as a whole?

Thank you for your time,

Maggie

factcheckme - November 16, 2009

i agree aki and TBL re: transwomen taking the listening role (imagine that!) when it comes to discussing that which is particular to born-women. the fact that they would even attempt otherwise is telling. as is the fact that they often dont self-identify as trans when making statements about their own experiences. IMO that leaves the historical record blurred, re: womens actual lived experience, just as we are being recognized as a legitimate legal (if not social or political) class, and gaining a voice. thats a real problem.

actually, i may have misread aki’s original comment, becuase i was under the impression that she thought that transpersons chosen gender-identity was their master class, therefore they deserved protection as master class:trans. ie. getting “not hired” for being trans would/should fall under the same type/degree of “wrong” as being not hired for being female. but there is no master class:trans. its either male or female. if thats not the case, then i apologize, but that was my initial interpretation. if all you are saying is that transwomen have legitimate concerns about being raped because they are female, then i would agree (although they arent the *same* concerns as they cant get pregnant for example). but then thats where TBL is spot-on, in identifying that as a gripe with male privilege, and not cis-.

198. thebeardedlady - November 16, 2009

Ah, sorry if I misread the original comment. I find the term ‘master class’ a bit confusing, and I suspect other people do too, as it seems to be used in different ways through this discussion.

To be clear, I agree with FCM – there’s no trans master class.

199. thebeardedlady - November 16, 2009

Well, Valerie, if a man threatens to kill you, then at the very least we don’t have to blame a rad fem for it.

200. thebeardedlady - November 16, 2009

Male privilege and cis privilege are the same thing. I haven’t got a problem if you want to call cis privilege on a man.

Women don’t have male privilege, therefore we don’t have cis privilege either.

factcheckme - November 16, 2009


Male privilege and cis privilege are the same thing. I haven’t got a problem if you want to call cis privilege on a man. Women don’t have male privilege, therefore we don’t have cis privilege either.


exactly. you cant take the male-privilege checklist, repackage it WITHOUT REALLY CHANGING IT to read “cis-privilege checklist” and then tell women that they have it, too! this is idiotic, and IMO obviates a misogynist view of women: that we are too fucking stupid to know when we are being conned.

factcheckme - November 16, 2009

maggie, thank you for posting here. i think you have hit at the heart of the issue frankly, when you say that feminsts who question transactivism and transpolitics have been censored and even ousted from the feminist movement of late. i think thats very obviously the case.

on your LJ entry, which i encourage my readers to visit, i think you have hit the nail on the head again, when you state essentially that transpersons are not automatically feminist, because the very nature of their transitioning can be easily read as nonfeminist, and gender-conforming. they must CHOOSE to be feminist allies, and IF they make that choice, they need to realize that born-women have different problems than they do (namely, the “baggage” of growing up female in a male-dominated cuture, and thier unique status as the bearers of children).

whereas the current paradigm has transpersons as automatically feminists, and transissues as automatically feminist issues, and women and FEMINISTS needing to be allies to transfolk, instead of the other way around.

really, i think all of this needs desperately to be discussed.

201. akibare - November 16, 2009

As I understand “master class” (only from this thread, where I’ve just now learned it), it’s a class that someone ELSE puts you in, without you having any input in the matter whatsoever – it’s someone else’s snap judgement. That concept is something I’ve long thought about but had no words for, because discussions (about race, sex, etc) that I’ve been involved in have tended to slide into identity politics.

That said, what I meant to say in my former post was that if I, as a non-educated in these issues person, looks at a stereotypical case of transition from M to F, it starts with someone who has been assigned male, master class male. Snap judgement on the street would be “that’s a guy, yeah” even if it’s a rather androgynous one.

Then the person starts up the physical changes. For a WHILE, there’s an awkward stage. Depending on the person and the individual body, this can lead to a time where the snap judgement is “guy in a dress” or “guy wanting to use the women’s room, what is up with him??” The claimed identity at this point is “woman” but the snap judgement is “she-male” (yes, with the offensiveness that it implies). I’d say THAT is the time where people are getting specific hate for being trans (or gender nonconforming, but often they seem an extreme case). It’s different from usual misogyny, though people in that “what are you?” gender non-conforming state for other reasons can get it also. It might not be an official master class, but it’s a snap judgement on the street not chosen by the individual, that gets applied for a while. That’s all I meant by that.

HOWEVER. Read any thread on the non-feminist general internet about individual trans* cases, and I think you’ll find most of the squickness and the hate is coming from men, not women. Particularly men who are paranoid about being “tricked.” THAT is where it seems (to me) most of the “I’m going to kill you you fucking tranny” is coming from. Not from the women.

If everything is going along as desired physically and the person has the right body characteristics, etc, eventually the person reaches a point where the snap judgement made by people on the street is just “woman.” Of course she has no uterus, etc, but just by looking no one can tell that so the master class becomes “woman,” with all of the assumptions that she can become pregnant and the rest of it. At that point, she’s fair game for the usual misogynistic attacks. (And at that point would have something to say about them, from that experienced point of view.)

It’s the awkward stage that can lead to trans hate. Man-in-a-dress. Certainly it’s possible for FAB women to look that way (and get hate for it, though it’s maybe different hate once their female genetics are confirmed – you’ll never find a man like that so never have a kid so… old maid time!), or ordinary crossdressing men, also. But there’s also the “what? You cut WHAT off?” added with trans.

But the thing is, if you “pass,” at some point to people on the street you’re just a woman. If you don’t (and that’s where things get subtle) then forever you’re marked out as gender non-conforming at the very least. And, people who don’t “pass” can be envious of those who do, and can want people to pretend to not notice. That’s why, if anything, I see a “passing privilege” in that area, among transwomen.

When it comes to the workplace, I don’t see a reason to discriminate against trans* people in hiring, no. Though, it still seems a pretty niche thing, at least in my area. FWIW both of the trans* people at my workplace worked here before they started transitioning anyway. They now have amended ID, if they get new jobs no one will need to know they’re trans anyway. Get a passport, and no one ever needs to see your birth certificate.

However, even if perfectly blending in, I do think it’s unfair if a transwoman starts claiming childhood experiences as if growing up ASSIGNED in the “female” box, when discussing certain experiences. I certainly won’t claim that she must broadcast “Hey! I’m trans!” (far from it!) or purposely mention all the time that hey, in elementary school I was a boy, or whatever (just being vague and letting people you assumed you ate at the girls’ table when reminiscing about horrible school lunches is fine by me). But when it comes to specific issues FACED by FAB girls related to being assigned as girls, they have no standing so shouldn’t speak there. And, please don’t pull the “oh, you have psychological hang-ups about this or that, well, I don’t have them, I don’t see what your problem is” type talk, when you don’t have those problems because you had access to a different and more risk-encouraging upbringing.

202. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

Ooh Valerie, I have seen lots of trans activists refer to Jasper as a ‘man’ and a ‘pervert’. Just follow the links on Jasper’s blog if you don’t believe me!

203. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

Trans women are female at birth

Only if you are using the word ‘female’ to mean something other than it’s normal meaning of:

•being the sex (of plant or animal) that produces fertilizable gametes (ova) from which offspring develop

Trans women are not female at birth, Valerie in the commonly used meaning of the word. They are male. However if you decide to use ‘female’ to use something different from what everybody else means, fine. It doesn’t change the physical reality one bit.

204. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

http://womenborntranssexual.com/2009/09/14/jasper-gregory/

There is a misogynistic dick trying to make a name for hmself by running around claiming to be a lesbian. Of course he also claims to be “transgender” without showing any signs of living 24/7/365 as a member of the sex not commonly associated with his current genitals. Perhaps he is female bodied in which case he has the misogynistic pig part of maleness down perfectly.

Misogyny is present when ever a male presumes to speak for women and tell women what they should do and how they should do it. This is why most religions are inherently misogynistic.

In the case of Mister Gregory there seems to be an added layer of sexist delusion in that he claims to be a lesbian. Again existential actions speak louder than words. Mister Gregory displays no outward signs of being transgender therefore he is not. You see I will allow that both pre-SRS people with transsexualism and people with transgenderism have complex lives and labeling them heterosexual or homosexual is not as simple as it is with cis-sexual folks. Many of us are in hetrogendered or homogendered relationships prior to SRS than may techically based solely on genitals be considered homosexual or heterosexual when viewed by so-called “objective” observers.

Can I say Tee? and also Hee?

205. Laurelin - November 16, 2009

I’ve just read the ‘Cis-privilege checklist’ and I have to admit to feeling profoundly upset and insulted. Most of those items that ‘cis’ people supposedly take for granted are well out of the reach of women- it’s a fucking male privilege checklist. Women are completely invisibalised by that list- it is insensitive and cruel.

“I expect people to respect the privacy of my body”- Oh I fucking wish. I wish I could expect that.

How hard is it for a transactivist to admit that they were born male, socialized male, and that that privilege doesn’t just go away, and that it will effect the way they see women and the world? How hard is that, really? And how disrespectful to women to deny that! That list sounds like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a clue what women face every fucking day of their lives.

I’m sorry to be so foul-mouthed, but I am really quite stunned and revolted by that ignorance and callousness.

Some of the reason that I think that women are supposed to never question transactivist dogma is because we are socialised to immediately care about anyone who feels out of place in the world. It’s not a bad thing; on balance, that immediate, automatic compassion is a bloody good attribute. But here, as usual, we’re supposed to put another group of people before ourselves *again* because it’s too much trouble for a few transactivists to admit that they have experienced male privilege.

That total misreading of women’s reality has brought on the tears for me.

206. Laurelin - November 16, 2009

And I feel sorry for trans people who have to deal with these ‘activists’ misrepresenting them.

207. thinkaboutit - November 16, 2009

Valerie, if you’re born female, why have surgery?

208. had it - November 16, 2009

“Trans women are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to rights: If they can legislate that doctors can refuse to treat us, because they find our choice morally objectionable, then all the other women are next.”

Am I really the only person who saw that and thought what the motherfucking cocksucking bullshit kind of woman-erasing fuckeduppery is THIS SHIT?

‘Scuse me – “all other women” get firsties in this area – abortion, over the counter birth control, etc. Yeah, we are SO missing out on you being great fucking allies.

209. Laurelin - November 17, 2009

I saw that too, and had the same reaction.
Unbelievable.

210. berryblade - November 17, 2009

“Am I really the only person who saw that and thought what the motherfucking cocksucking bullshit kind of woman-erasing fuckeduppery is THIS SHIT?”

Naw I got that feeling too.

211. dirt - November 17, 2009

People are not born in the wrong body, people are born in the wrong society.

dirt

212. thebeardedlady - November 17, 2009


I’ve just read the ‘Cis-privilege checklist’ and I have to admit to feeling profoundly upset and insulted. Most of those items that ‘cis’ people supposedly take for granted are well out of the reach of women- it’s a fucking male privilege checklist. Women are completely invisibalised by that list- it is insensitive and cruel.

“I expect people to respect the privacy of my body”- Oh I fucking wish. I wish I could expect that.

How hard is it for a transactivist to admit that they were born male, socialized male, and that that privilege doesn’t just go away, and that it will effect the way they see women and the world? How hard is that, really? And how disrespectful to women to deny that! That list sounds like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a clue what women face every fucking day of their lives.

WORD.

factcheckme - November 17, 2009


Am I really the only person who saw that and thought what the motherfucking cocksucking bullshit kind of woman-erasing fuckeduppery is THIS SHIT? ‘Scuse me – “all other women” get firsties in this area – abortion, over the counter birth control, etc. Yeah, we are SO missing out on you being great fucking allies.


tell us how you really feel?

213. Lucinde - November 17, 2009

Weighing In:
“I am not saying that what you feel isn’t different, but certainly not a single person has yet identified an actual reason to make the transition. People cope with alienation for all sorts of reasons. Not everyone feels the need to pump their body full of hormones and have their body parts changed in order to not feel alienated?”

For me, and everyone I’ve ever asked, it’s not really about alienation. It’s about feeling wrong. The wrongness is there, and it gets stronger and stronger, and eventually you work out what is wrong. Then you start doing things about it. Things like adopting a more feminine style of dress. Things like outright crossdressing. Things like adopting a feminine name. That sort of thing. For some people that’s enough. For some it’s not.

There is no reason to do it that would look logical from the outside. You don’t win by being a trans woman in a society that favours cis over trans and male over female. It costs money, time, your health maybe, and you’ll probably lose some of the people you thought were friends. You don’t win magic superior sex because your sex drive goes through the floor. You aren’t suddenly exceptionally desirable when you’re done (unless you were to start with), and if you prefer women as partners (which seems more common) then you’ve just really cut down on your dating pool. So it isn’t a fetish thing. You get to be infertile (which is not usually an advantage), and often to alienate your family (partly as a result). As a little kick in the teeth you also end up a shape that isn’t well catered for in clothing.
There is therefore no gain that looks like a gain to people who don’t feel as you do.

Oh, I missed some: you get to be hated and feared and mocked. You get pity as a best majority response from people who know. You get to go on the internet and be told that it’s not enough, that you’re not a woman, that you’ll never be a woman, and that you’ve still got male privilege and are hence not allowed to be a feminist despite living as a lesbian.

So why do it? Because when you imagine the future, and you imagine five or ten years down the line, and you can only see three ways it could be: dead, wishing you were dead, or living female… well, that’s why you transition.

214. thinkaboutit - November 17, 2009

Hey dirt congratulations, you are even more evil than Miss Andrea in Zoe Brain’s mind. Probably her homophobia showing through….

215. thebeardedlady - November 17, 2009

For me, and everyone I’ve ever asked, it’s not really about alienation. It’s about feeling wrong. The wrongness is there, and it gets stronger and stronger, and eventually you work out what is wrong.

Lucinde, I’m not going to claim I understand what you’re saying here. I have no idea what you are trying to describe. I too have always felt ‘wrong’ in my body, but I have never wanted to alter my body, so perhaps we’re talking about a different kind of ‘wrong’ feeling.

Maybe there’s a lack of language that adequately encompasses trans experience. I know that one of the major, ongoing goals of feminism is to create and develop a language which speaks of and to women’s experience.

I think perhaps one of the barriers between trans activists and feminists is that trans activists are appropriating language that feminists have *fought for* and are trying to change its meaning to something anti-feminist. Things like ‘privilege’ and ‘entitlement’. This is stuff that feminists came up with to try to articulate our experiences as women in a sexist, male supremacist society. Well, in fact, a lot of it came from women of colour, trying to articulate their experiences in a white supremacist society. So we tend to defend it tooth and nail when it seems that people want to take it from us and use it against us, for example by telling us that we have male privilege. Which of course we don’t.

The idea of white privilege translates easily to the idea of male privilege, because we live in a male supremacist, white supremacist society. Racism and sexism are two of the major forms of oppression.

The concept of ‘cis privilege’, on the other, does not translate, because it suggests that the victims of gender-based oppression are the perpetrators. It is sexist and anti-feminist, because it invisibilises women and disregards our experiences, and also because it undermines the whole concept of privilege, suggesting that a class can have privilege without power.

You get to go on the internet and be told that it’s not enough, that you’re not a woman, that you’ll never be a woman, and that you’ve still got male privilege and are hence not allowed to be a feminist despite living as a lesbian.

Yes. I think there are a few issues here though. I think that the majority of people on here have said you can’t be female, because it’s a biological impossibility for a born male to become a born female. Whether or not you can be a ‘woman’ is, I suppose, part of what’s being discussed. What is a woman? Is there some definition – having breasts, a uterus, nice hair, smooth skin? The stuff I’ve read from trans activists seems to focus on this kind of thing. But that’s problematic to me, because, even though I’m a born female, I’m not really very gender conforming. So it’s possible that a trans woman with lovely hair and no beard and smooth legs and lipstick is more of a woman than I am. Maybe ‘passes’ better than I do.

So, it’s not a simple question, is it?

On the issue of male privilege, I think it’s interesting that trans activists tend to ignore the whole question. If you were born male, and brought up male, then you experienced male privilege. I think that it undermines trans activists’ credibility when they don’t accept that, and when they don’t acknowledge that years of being male in a male supremacist society has affected the way they see relations between men and women, and the way they see women and gender. Of course it has.

And some trans women will happily admit this – see Talia on the ‘cis privilege’ thread.

On ‘not being allowed’ to be a feminist – well, for one thing, no one can stop you calling yourself a feminist. But feminists can and do question the dominant paradigms of our society, social, sexual, power, privilege. So there’s no chance of transgenderism going unquestioned and uncritiqued by rad fems. In some ways, trans activists and rad fems seem to be working at cross purposes – trans activists want to uphold gender and rad fems want to eliminate it. So it’s hard to see how we can find common ground. Of course, I’d love it if you decided to join the critique and become a rad fem ally. These kinds of discussions are important.

216. thinkaboutit - November 17, 2009

I don’t disagree with most of what you’ve said about transitioning not being an advantage Lucinde. Except for this bit

You get to be infertile (which is not usually an advantage),
There’s a woman about to die in childbirth somewhere, or be forced to give birth to a child she doesn’t want that would disagree with you about that.

You get to go on the internet and be told that it’s not enough, that you’re not a woman, that you’ll never be a woman, and that you’ve still got male privilege and are hence not allowed to be a feminist despite living as a lesbian.

The problem is Lucinde you’re not a ‘woman’ for the same reason I’m not a ‘woman’.

‘women’ (gender woman) don’t exist. There are males, there are females, there are intersex people. A description (solely) of reproductive biology. There are no ‘women’. None. ‘Women’ are the invention of patriarchy. You are not born a ‘woman’, you have ‘womanhood’ thrust upon you.

And who said you ‘are not allowed to be a feminist’? TBL has asked you to be a feminist. But to be a feminist you have to recognise that male privilege exists as a bare minimum. And you have to recognise that “womanhood” may be a desired goal for YOU, but for billions of people denied full (or even part) human status througout the world it is a prison.

217. Laurelin - November 18, 2009

TBL- you rock.

218. Lucinde - November 18, 2009

Me:”You get to be infertile (which is not usually an advantage),”

thinkaboutit: “There’s a woman about to die in childbirth somewhere, or be forced to give birth to a child she doesn’t want that would disagree with you about that.”

Yes, she would – hence “not usually” an advantage rather than “always a disdvantage” which is what I’d say if we lived in perfect society with free guaranteed contraception and no rape and free abortion as a backup and 100% survival rate for mothers in childbirth.
On the other hand, there are an awful lot more women who are about to live through giving birth to children that they do want, or are playing happily with children that they gave birth to, who would not give up the fertility they had because it gave them something wonderful.
If I had a choice between an infertile neo-vagina or the full works and the prospect of pregnancy, I’d take the latter because I want to have children one day. I don’t have that choice. What’s more, while I don’t know your own state of fertility, I’d suggest that you probably consider it an advantage overall too. Cis women who live in the country where I live and decide that they no longer wish to be fertile have a relatively easy time getting that fixed permanently.

“The problem is Lucinde you’re not a ‘woman’ for the same reason I’m not a ‘woman’.
‘women’ (gender woman) don’t exist. There are males, there are females, there are intersex people. A description (solely) of reproductive biology.”

Ah. So in your way of thinking there should be no such thing as gender, which you see as entirely artificial. This I think is a laudable aim, but not one that’s goign to come true in my lifetime.

“And who said you ‘are not allowed to be a feminist’? TBL has asked you to be a feminist.”

Well, there are two problems. The first is that you don’t accept trans women as women (you applauded that post by miska), which means you don’t accept me as a woman. Presumably that means you think I’m a man. Then you said men can’t be feminists.

Also:
You have defined feminist as “misandrist” which means to hate men. I hate a few men, for very personal reasons, but I don’t hate all of them. That would hardly be fair, since I haven’t met most of them. If your definition of feminism is to hate men then I’m going to have to back out.

Then you say:
“But to be a feminist you have to recognise that male privilege exists as a bare minimum.”

Well, duh. When that old guy at the bus stop thought it was okay to make strange kissing faces at me the other day, it was a bit obvious. Changing from a state where everyone treats you as male to a state where most of the time most people treat you as female gives you a clear insight into what you’ve just given up… though it’s true what the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

=======================

thebeardedlady says:
“I too have always felt ‘wrong’ in my body, but I have never wanted to alter my body, so perhaps we’re talking about a different kind of ‘wrong’ feeling.”

Perhaps we are. It is one of the least explainable sensations I know, as there aren’t words for it, and if there were they’d be difficult or impossible to define. But when you look in the mirror and you see a male face and you wonder who that is, that’s a part of it. When hearing your birthname makes you unhappy, there it is again. When you have sex, and she’s having a lot of fun, and the sensation is great, but then you look down and see what’s happening and suddenly you have an out-of-body experience because you know that isn’t you having sex because you aren’t made like that, well then there it is again. When you pick out some clothes and they don’t look right and you wonder why and you realise that you keep picking things that would look a lot better if you had breasts… and then you get an idea and put on a bra and pad it out with some hosiery and suddenly the feeling goes away… well. That’s it.

They call it gender dysphoria.

“I think perhaps one of the barriers between trans activists and feminists is that trans activists are appropriating language that feminists have *fought for* and are trying to change its meaning to something anti-feminist.”

I doubt that trans activists are not deliberately tying to make language anti-feminist. That would be remarkably stupid when the majority of trans people are women.

“Things like ‘privilege’ and ‘entitlement’. This is stuff that feminists came up with…”

From a pedantic linguistic point of view, I feel the need to point out that both of those words are older than the word feminism…
How would you define privilege? And entitlement?

“for example by telling us that we have male privilege. Which of course we don’t.”

OF course you do not… but no-one said you did. They said you have cis privilege. You then said that there was no such thing, and conflated it with male privilege, which is unfair and doesn’t help.
Of course, you don’t WANT cis privilege – you want to be on the same level as cis men, but if you were fair you’d admit that it’s rather better being cis than being trans in a number of ways.

“The concept of ‘cis privilege’, on the other, does not translate, because it suggests that the victims of gender-based oppression are the perpetrators.”

It does not. There is no blame. I personally have race privilige – I’m white in a mostly white society. Does that make me an evil oppressor? Well, I try not to be. You are cis in a mostly cis society. Does that make you an evil oppressor? Not in itself. In the same fashion that race and sex are different axes of privilege, trans/cis is not the same axis as sex, and the advantages you have by being cis are not the same as the ones you’d have by being male.
Consider: AFAIK you are FAAB and living as female. If you were to transition to male, you’d gain male privilege (in most circumstances)… but you’d then have a whole new set of problems, including: having a big secret that could destroy your life, medical oddities, and living as a man when you hadn’t been socialised as one and therefore not realising when you’re behaving oddly by the standards of the people around you.
…and those new problems there would be what trans people would call a loss of cis privilege.

Now, you might say that it’d be worth it. Fair enough then, do it. But it should be obvious that it’s a compromise for FAABs.
“What is a woman?”

Good question. If I’d an answer I’d share it with the world.

” Is there some definition – having breasts, a uterus, nice hair, smooth skin? The stuff I’ve read from trans activists seems to focus on this kind of thing…”

I think the people you’re describing as “trans activists” are the kind of people trans people don’t generally describe in those terms.

The physical stuff… no, the definition isn’t in there. Because women can have mastectomies and shaved heads and rough skin. Focussing on anything physical is problematic, because it’s looking at gender presentation (how we present ourselves to the world) rather than anything else.

“Maybe ‘passes’ better than I do.”

Passes is a problematic word generally, because it leads to the assumption the opposite is “fails”. Better to say that someone “gets read as [gender]“. If people in the street identify you as female and treat you as female, then they’re reading you as female.

“On the issue of male privilege, I think it’s interesting that trans activists tend to ignore the whole question. If you were born male, and brought up male, then you experienced male privilege.”

I certainly did, but I didn’t know it at the time. Then it stopped. I could start it up again by presenting male again, but my heart wouldn’t be in it anymore.

“when they don’t acknowledge that years of being male in a male supremacist society has affected the way they see relations between men and women, and the way they see women and gender.”

Hmm…”supremacist” is actually a problematic word here. From some dictionary or other:
Supremacist: “an advocate or adherent of group supremacy”
It’s only a male supremacist society if the majority of people are advocates or adherents of male supremacy. If, say, it’s got an awful lot of people who haven’t really thought about it and a handful of supremacists and institutionalised supremacy and a greater number of people who oppose this supremacy and are trying to change it but not getting on very fast then you need a different word.

“But feminists can and do question the dominant paradigms of our society, social, sexual, power, privilege.”

Being trans is a dominant paradigm now? Wow, I missed that meeting.

“So there’s no chance of transgenderism going unquestioned and uncritiqued by rad fems.”

First… what is “transgenderism” supposed to mean?

Second, there’s a distinct difference between questioning and insulting.

“In some ways, trans activists and rad fems seem to be working at cross purposes – trans activists want to uphold gender ”

Meh. Uphold gender? I doubt it. If I have to act more feminine than you to be read as female, that’s not because I want to uphold gender. That’s because I have to do it to be read as female, which is an objective for me.
Personally, if I wanted to tear down gender as a concept I’d support anyone with a subversive gender identity. So anyone acting outside the gender norm. That includes most flavours of trans.

If you eliminated gender concepts then there would probably be no more gender dysphoria, which would rather suggest no more trans people being depressed by it. Good news.
On the other hand, since just about everything in my society is gendered I won’t hold my breath.

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

lucinde, first of all i am going to ask you to keep your replies to a manageable length. i think its disrespectful to come onto someone elses blog (one you dont even know) and leave long, rambling, multi-part replies like this. i dont have time for this shit, and you are not entitled to any of my time, let alone the 20 or more minutes it would take me to get through your post. i skimmed it briefly and decided to publish it, since you were responding directly to some other of my readers. but rest assured, this is the last such comment that will be published, in this space.

as to your substantive points, i want to respond to your obvious longing for female fertility, which aint gonna happen. you have NO RIGHT to romantisize, fetishize, speculate or even comment on born-womens experience with their fertility, which as i have said repeatedly is literally the source of our oppression as a sexual class, by men. even women who want to have children are in a hell of a gritty situation, when the male-medical establishment has so little understanding of OR CONCERN for our anatomy and well-being that they would force us to give birth ON OR BACKS. that alone is reprehensible, and leaves women vulnerable to serious injuries and difficult, traumatic births, but its also just one example of the ways that childbearing is problematic for us, and just one of the ways that being born-female leaves us vulnerable to men, and oppressive misogynist institutions and practices.

watch the videos on my “go hillary!” post, about the plight of malnourished, 12-year old child brides in ethiopia, who are married off and impregnanted, when they arent physically mature enough to safely give birth. these women are dying in childbirth, and the ones that dont die suffer egregious, catastrophic internal injuries called “fistulas” that leave them incontinent of urine and/or feces. its permanent, unless corrected by surgery, and they have no access to medical care. their families abandon them. and their “husbands” go off and marry other 12-year olds and do the same thing to them. in these places, serial child-rapists and SERIAL MURDERERS are passing as husbands to these women, lucinde. and the female gender as well as hetero-orientation is enforced upon these women just as surely as their born-sex. they dont have the LUXURY to suffer from gender-dysphoria. and yes, its a goddamned luxury, and a first-world-privileged persons problem. its not a feminist problem.

219. maggieclark - November 18, 2009

Me:”You get to be infertile (which is not usually an advantage),”

thinkaboutit: “There’s a woman about to die in childbirth somewhere, or be forced to give birth to a child she doesn’t want that would disagree with you about that.”

Yes, she would – hence “not usually” an advantage rather than “always a disdvantage” which is what I’d say if we lived in perfect society with free guaranteed contraception and no rape and free abortion as a backup and 100% survival rate for mothers in childbirth.
On the other hand, there are an awful lot more women who are about to live through giving birth to children that they do want, or are playing happily with children that they gave birth to, who would not give up the fertility they had because it gave them something wonderful.
If I had a choice between an infertile neo-vagina or the full works and the prospect of pregnancy, I’d take the latter because I want to have children one day. I don’t have that choice. What’s more, while I don’t know your own state of fertility, I’d suggest that you probably consider it an advantage overall too. Cis women who live in the country where I live and decide that they no longer wish to be fertile have a relatively easy time getting that fixed permanently.

Hi Lucinde,

You’re responding to other people here, but I feel I very much need to comment on this aforementioned point, which is so very, very much the difference between born-woman and trans woman experience sets.

You define fertility as only having one possible positive/negative measure: the ability to get pregnant should a woman want to. This framing of fertility is exceptionally narrow, and ignores the full weight of what it means to grow up “woman”, with the expectation of being able to give birth.

While I, as a fertile born-woman, have the ability to choose pregnancy; or even choose to be somewhat happy with my initial ability to get pregnant if I bear a child I love dearly, regardless of the circumstances that led to that pregnancy, there are also the following absolute negatives that absolutely defy the notion of fertility being, in general, an advantage:

1) Fertility grants me the privilege of society’s imposition on my sexual habits. This includes when I can start having sex, with whom, whether I’m allowed to control that sex once penetration has been achieved, whether I can get access to medicine that will protect me if I want to start having sex outside social expectations for my sexual habits, and whether I have any choice about having sex when I’m married, drunk, or asleep. All these pressures and impositions arise from the fundamental role of woman as childbearer, and thus owing a debt on birth to society to behave in such a way that will maximize my ability to be a “good mother” (as gender oppression defines that capacity) down the road.

2) Fertility grants me the privilege of society’s imposition on my choice to pursue a pregnancy. This should require no explanation: The need to constantly defend my reproductive rights (and those of my fellow born-women), including the ability to choose NOT to reproduce, is part and parcel of the lived born-woman experience.

3) Fertility grants me the privilege of fearing rape from a young age, knowing full well that 1) and 2) are de facto parts of the female experience, such that if I am raped as a young girl, there are a completely different set of consequences for me than for young men. These include in some cultures/religions being “damaged goods” and thus less worthy participants in later marriage rituals, and of course not getting to choose whether or not to carry a child to term, on account of many male-dominated households stripping young girls of such reproductive rights. Also, a pregnancy at that age often yields complications for pregnancy/fertility later in life… all the more reason we born-women have to fear rape early on, and to an extreme that non-fertile persons do not.

4) Fertility grants me the privilege of being considered damaged, mentally ill, or otherwise a “failure of the genetic code” if I choose not to procreate. (And I have been called ALL THREE for daring to suggest that I would rather adopt a child than give birth, if only because too many living breathing children in the world are already going without love.) Why? Because my uterus is not my property, and other persons often feel they have a right to tell me that I am a failure as a woman for not using this “gift” when and where others tell me I should.

5) Fertility grants me the privilege of being considered damaged if I CANNOT procreate — either because I’m sterile, or because my uterus is a dangerous place for sperm, or because I had to have a hysterectomy. Growing up born-woman, with the expectation that we will be able to procreate, makes this failure set a GIVEN in the current gender oppressive system that is the Real World.

6) Fertility grants me the privilege of being considered USELESS the moment I hit menopause, while also granting me the delightful biological privilege of being far more susceptible to a wide range of conditions from that point on. Far higher indications for osteoporosis is absolutely a part of the lived experience / fear set of fertile women, and absolutely a part of that “privilege” you see us as having over trans women.

Earlier in this conversation, someone asked if, barring all the messy complications of being a woman in society, born-women didn’t actually like being women instead of men. I think it was FCM who had to laugh at that, because you cannot compartmentalize that experience: There is no such thing as being a woman in our society without having to deal with all the gender oppression that goes along with it. The same is every bit as true here. Fertile born-women have the absolute privilege of getting to choose to bring a child to term, but only IF we’re allowed to make that choice at all (and being born-woman means you’re plagued with potential social limitations on that choice your entire young life), and WITH the caveat that if we don’t have children while we could have, we’re failures, and ALSO WITH the caveat that when we can no longer have children, we are hit with an extreme set of biological changes, risk factors, and social criticism of that fact.

This is the full discourse of fertility you need to be considering when you consider calling born-women privileged over trans women. To make a comparison on any less is disingenuous, and delegitimizes the lived experience of born-women (fertile and non-fertile alike) everywhere.

All the best,

Maggie

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

well said maggie. i just noticed and responded to the same thing in lucinde’s post.

220. maggieclark - November 18, 2009

Thanks FCM! And I loved the video link you referenced above; I think I scared my cat crying out “You go, Hillary!” by the end of it :)

Oh! And I forgot to mention, under point 3), that becoming pregnant as a young girl also — regardless of the circumstances — leads to a higher incidence of violence against women in the household, who are often beaten for this “gift of life”. And then there’s the lovely matter of incest, and being forced to bear proof of that incest to term in many, many cases. The list of “privileges” women get for being fertile just goes on and on — hey, do you think there’s a cause I could join to help fight all these social issues that manifest for women on the basis of gender oppression? I feel like there should be!

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

maggie, if you have time, and in case you missed them, please make sure you also watch the 2 videos on the hillary post about the “fistula foundation.” they are located below the fold. but hillary was great, wasnt she!? awesome. amazing. etc. etc.

221. maggieclark - November 18, 2009

I am a fucking shit of a feminist for omitting all the complications (oops! sorry — “privileges”) of pregnancy and childbirth from my criticism of “fertility privilege”.

Good fucking god, that fistula foundation video made me cry. Thank you for pointing it out to me!

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

it made me cry too. i got through the whole thing (the longer version is about an hour) when it was on PBS earlier in the year. i was really pleased to have found it on you tube, so i could embed it here. the article got alot of hits, but theres no way for me to gauge whether anyone watched the embeds or not. the post was x-posted at womanist musings as well, so there were more opportunities for it to be seen. i think it should be required viewing, for all feminists, and absolutely for MTF transsexuals, whether they fetishize female reproduction or not. its such a source of suffering for born-women around the world.

222. Lucinde - November 18, 2009

factcheckme Says:
“lucinde, first of all i am going to ask you to keep your replies to a manageable length. ”

So I’m to think about and respond to a post two pages long, but can’t write more than two paragraphs in reponse? Yes, that’ll work well.

“…and absolutely for MTF transsexuals, whether they fetishize female reproduction or not.”

I see. So if we wanted to give birth then we fetishize reproduction and if we don’t then we’re sex toys. Or to put it another way, there is no position we can take that will not result in you calling us names.

maggieclark Says:
all sorts of stuff that I’m not allowed the space to quote.

All your points basically relate to women as a group within society. You’re essentially saying that bearing children makes women oppressed. Fair, but not the most important factor for a specific individual. From an individual perspective the most important point is this: If you want to have children fertility is an advantage. If you don’t want to have children then fertility is a disadvantage.

Looking around, I can see far more human beings (of any sex) who want to have children than who don’t. So if I picked a random member of the population I should bet they’d call fertility an advantage for them as an individual.

Of course, the societal factors that you consider make fertility a disdvantage mostly still apply if you’re an infertile woman – but with the added kick in the teeth that you can’t conform by having a child. 1,4,5,6 above also apply to me in any situation where someone doesn’t realise I’m trans.

223. thinkaboutit - November 18, 2009

What’s more, while I don’t know your own state of fertility, I’d suggest that you probably consider it an advantage overall too.

Well let me enlighten you, I’m an infertile lesbian. Which I do consider an advantage actually.

224. thinkaboutit - November 18, 2009

A while ago Cath Elliott had this great piece about intimate partner violence and coerced pregnancy.

http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2009/07/14/intimate-partner-violence-and-coerced-pregnancy/

225. had it - November 18, 2009

Lucinde – it is outrageous to me that you feel repeatedly entitled to not just wildly speculate on how “most” women feel – about fertility or anything else – but to actually make PRONOUNCEMENTS about it. Seriously, it is completely out of line and angering. And it is part and parcel of why I, personally, do not consider trans women to be allies to female born people at ALL. It is misogynist to think that you, as a male born person, have a right to tell radical feminists what the female born experience is, especially when we are saying otherwise. It is, simply, annihilation of our personhoods.

226. maggieclark - November 18, 2009

Hi Lucinde,

Fair, but not the most important factor for a specific individual. From an individual perspective the most important point is this: If you want to have children fertility is an advantage. If you don’t want to have children then fertility is a disadvantage.

We have to part ways here, because what you should be writing here is “From MY individual perspective the most important point is this” — because it’s NOT my individual perspective. MY individual perspective of the Most Important Point is that I can’t even tell anymore if a choice of mine to have a child in the future will even BE a choice, or if it will have been predicated in part by the pressures and expectations of others to have a child simply because I have the ability to have one. That’s what eats away at me the most. So I’d greatly appreciate not having my experience being subsumed into your assertion of what all individuals would characterize as the most important point here.

Also, the second half of that statement requires a clarifying term “If you want to have children [at the point that you are having them, in the circumstances you are having them] fertility is an advantage. If you don’t want to have children then fertility is a disadvantage.” Framing this without those clarifications pretends this desire to have children exists in a vacuum from other aspects of fertility: It does not.

Finally, how does 6 apply to you? If you don’t have the basic equipment for procreation, how can you suffer the biological consequences of that equipment shutting down?

227. thebeardedlady - November 18, 2009

Lucinde,

I’ve been out and didn’t have a chance to respond to your post. However, I think others did a good job of picking up your arguments, so I’ll move on from there. I do agree with FCM that your post was a little hard to read, as you seemed to be making so many different points. So it’s possible I’ve missed out the one thing you feel is most important, or something. But anyway, the only thing I really want to say is in response to this:

the advantages you have by being cis are not the same as the ones you’d have by being male.

According to the cis privilege checklist I linked to earlier, they are. Exactly the same. So my points in relation to this stand.

228. thebeardedlady - November 18, 2009

Laurelin,

You rock harder.

TBL xx

229. Lucinde - November 19, 2009

Maggie:

Hello.

With respect to your first paragraph… you’re right, I did make a mistake. It didn’t occur to me that you’d let other people make your decision for you. You don’t come across as that sort of person.

With respect to your clarifying term… well, I very nearly agree with you. I was going to include something like that, but then one little thing occurred to me: If you don’t want to have children right now but do want to have children in, say, five years time, then fertility is still an advantage.

With respect ot your 6) earlier, here partially quoted:
“Fertility grants me the privilege of being considered USELESS the moment I hit menopause, while also granting me the delightful biological privilege of being far more susceptible to a wide range of conditions from that point on. Far higher indications for osteoporosis”

Three things:
First, if society consider you useless the moment you stop being fertile, then what does it consider people who are infertile to start with? Also worthless. If fertility really were the only value society believes a woman has then a fertile woman has value for some time then stops having it, while an infertile woman has no value all the way through. You presumably prefer to be valued as a productive human being than for your fertility, but there’s no consistancy in complaining that your fertility value goes away if [b]you[/b] didn’t value it in the first place.
Second, if someone doesn’t know I’m trans but does read me as past menopausal age (which will probably happen sooner or later) then they will read me as a post-menopausal woman and respond to me exactly as they would a post-menopausal cis woman. So any social consequences of being a post-menopausal woman will apply to me too, unless I die before I get there.
Third, osteoporosis is actually higher in trans women than cis women. Apparently the doctors don’t understand hormones well enough – quelle surprise. I appreciate that little bit of information isn’t really relevant to your life, but there you are.

230. Lucinde - November 19, 2009

thebeardedlady
You said:
“Lucinde – it is outrageous to me that you feel repeatedly entitled to not just wildly speculate on how “most” women feel – about fertility or anything else – but to actually make PRONOUNCEMENTS about it.”

I suppose you must be referring to this statement (bold added just now):
Looking around, I can see far more human beings (of any sex) who want to have children than who don’t. ”

Or to put it another way, I’m talking from personal experience here. Most of the people I have met in my life either had kids and wanted them or wanted kids and hadn’t had them yet or wanted kids and can’t have them. The number that do not want kids is a minority – in my personal experience.
Further to that, the structure of the society I live in suggests that this sample is roughly representative of the population at large.
Now, that last sentence could be problematic – it’s suggests, it’s not proof. It could be that most of those people out there with children regret that particular decision… but it seems unlikely.

Why not do a quick poll yourself? Check a list of everyone you know, whether they have children or plan to, whether they want(ed) them. Then watch people in town and have a guess at whether your sample is representative. I found that an interesting study.

231. Lucinde - November 19, 2009

Me:
“the advantages you have by being cis are not the same as the ones you’d have by being male.”

Thebeardedlady:
“According to the cis privilege checklist I linked to earlier, they are. Exactly the same. So my points in relation to this stand.”

It’s fair to say there are some crossovers. But looking at the list:

http://takesupspace.wordpress.com/cis-privilege-checklist/

Well, let’s start at the top. We don’t have to bother going any further than point 1). 1) applies to you, unless you manage to live in a country without anti-discrimination laws.

If you really want to check this, and you’re not just saying things for the sake of an argument, find a trans man. Ask him how his life has changed. He should be able to give you some interesting insight into the difference between cis and male privilege.

232. thebeardedlady - November 19, 2009

Lucinde

thebeardedlady
You said:
“Lucinde – it is outrageous to me that you feel repeatedly entitled to not just wildly speculate on how “most” women feel – about fertility or anything else – but to actually make PRONOUNCEMENTS about it.”

Lucinde, no I didn’t. Just so you know, you’re directing your comment to the wrong person.

233. thebeardedlady - November 19, 2009

Lucinde,

Well, let’s start at the top. We don’t have to bother going any further than point 1). 1) applies to you, unless you manage to live in a country without anti-discrimination laws.

You’re kidding, right?

For information, this is number 1 on the cis privilege checklist:


I expect non-discrimination acts that apply to me to cover the most prevalent vectors of discrimination against me. I expect laws banning the creation of a hostile work environment will ban the use of offensive language about me.

I don’t expect anything of the kind. What I expect is that the laws against, for example, sexual harassment, will be broken in spirit and letter repeatedly; that women who report sexual harassment at work will be victimised and punished and sacked; that the nation’s media will use any high profile sexual harassment cases as an excuse to talk about the good old days when you were allowed to feel up the secretaries, and to titillate their readers with fabricated stories of sexual intrigue in the workplace; and I expect men to use such stories as an reason to feel persecuted and victimised; and I expect pretty much everyone who reads about a sexual harassment case to call the victim a humourless bitch who shouldn’t have been such a flirt in the first place.

As for banning offensive language against me. Oh, please!

234. thebeardedlady - November 19, 2009

If you really want to check this, and you’re not just saying things for the sake of an argument, find a trans man. Ask him how his life has changed. He should be able to give you some interesting insight into the difference between cis and male privilege.

How? According to you he didn’t have cis privilege, as he was never cis. Or why would he have transitioned? (Am I the only one who feels like every single trans woman on here has a different definition of cis privilege? Some seem to have more than one.)

Anyway, the only stuff I ever hear from trans men is how completely fucking easy it is to be a man.

I think it’s more interesting to hear what trans women say about losing their male privilege and finding out the reality of women’s lives.

235. maggieclark - November 19, 2009

Hi Lucinde,

It didn’t occur to me that you’d let other people make your decision for you. You don’t come across as that sort of person.

This says it all. I strongly feel you don’t get what it means to be born-woman if you think this is a matter of “letting” other people make my decision for me. I’ve been raised in a society that always valued my fertility more highly than my choice. And by “society” I mean my father, my mother, my counsellors, my sexual partners (willing and otherwise), my peers, and the many institutions that inform public discourse. All of this invariably means that choosing to have a child is never, ever going to be a choice I can be sure I’m making freely. Deeply ingrained from childhood on is always going to be those messages informing me that being a woman means being what others want me to be. This is why the gender “female” is a prison, and why born-women as often as not hate hate hate,/i> that we’ve been cast in it. We don’t want to be gender-male. We don’t want to be defined by gender at all.

If you don’t grasp this, I strongly feel you don’t grasp how gender oppression hurts women.

You’ve also repeatedly ignored my point about the relative weight of the fertility advantage: What if I framed it in the form of benevolent sexism? Would that clarify things for you? Having men offer to pay for dinner more often is, on its own, an advantage: But feminism refuses to pretend that this advantage exists distinct from the huge negative consequences and pressures brought into that “chivalrous” exchange. Fertility is no different: It’s an “advantage” that reaffirms gender oppression — by being told how lucky we are to have children, we’re supposed to forget the host of severe, life-constraining social implications this biological fact brings with it.

Three things:
First, if society consider you useless the moment you stop being fertile, then what does it consider people who are infertile to start with? Also worthless.

I already addressed this point in the aforementioned list, but I’ll address your specific argument again:

If fertility really were the only value society believes a woman has then a fertile woman has value for some time then stops having it, while an infertile woman has no value all the way through.

Wrong! Because a born-woman grows up with the expectation set of being fertile. This makes her failure, once that infertility emerges, for not living up to the expectations that were externally imposed in the first place. An absolutely unfair, gender-oppressive, full-person-marginalizing social construct.

You presumably prefer to be valued as a productive human being than for your fertility, but there’s no consistancy in complaining that your fertility value goes away if [b]you[/b] didn’t value it in the first place.

Absolutely there’s consistency — you just have to appreciate what it means to be a born-woman. Regularly here you conflate social perception with self-perception: My fertility value TO SOCIETY, which oppresses on the basis of the gender it reads me to be, grants me the ability to reap social benefits by doing what society wants me to do with MY body; and once I can no longer do what society wants me to do with MY body, I enter a phase of disconnect with any social benefits whatsoever. Just as with women who grow up told they are expected to give birth, and then can’t, this is a traumatizing shift for women, with real world consequences — such as a higher incidence of lost partners to younger, more fertile women; and a higher incidence especially of losing partners when we get cancer or similar chronic conditions. These shifts in how society values us, which women have NO control over, are a central aspect of gender oppression.

Second, if someone doesn’t know I’m trans but does read me as past menopausal age (which will probably happen sooner or later) then they will read me as a post-menopausal woman and respond to me exactly as they would a post-menopausal cis woman. So any social consequences of being a post-menopausal woman will apply to me too, unless I die before I get there.

I agree wholeheartedly! Being read female means you suffer under male-dominant gender oppression, just like the rest of us. There’s nothing distinctly trans about this — if you pass as female (and at that age, it gets especially easier, since born-women lose a lot of gender-norm-female definition as well) you get the shit end of the gender oppression stick — but the reason for that is because women as a sexual class are given value on the basis of our fertility. That’s my point; and if experiencing this oppression as an older transwoman gives you a better understanding of the socially-imposed whims fertility condemns women to suffer under their whole lives, than all the better: hopefully you’ll grasp that the relative advantage of fertility is hugely offset by the negatives that come with it. (See again: Benevolent sexism.)

Third, osteoporosis is actually higher in trans women than cis women. Apparently the doctors don’t understand hormones well enough – quelle surprise. I appreciate that little bit of information isn’t really relevant to your life, but there you are.

This, I didn’t know! Thanks for the tidbit. If osteoporosis is higher in trans women, then they should absolutely be allies of born-women: This sounds like an excellent issue for shared activism.

236. factcheckme - November 21, 2009

i was linked to as a “transphobic feminist” by the feminist legal theory blog. heres the comment that i tried to post in response to their accusation (thier blog is restricted as to comments…big surprise!)

it bothers me very much that you linked to my blog, and my anti-pornography article, as an example of “feminists furthering transphobia” and in fact accusing me and my work of perpetuating and condoning, literally, murder of transpersons. this is a gross misinterpretation and misrepresentation of my work, and a hilarious extrapolation of my ability to “further” the murderous violence of people who dont even read my blog.

firstly, considering that you are speaking about gendered violence, feminsts are not the problem, so your aim is off; patriarchy, male privilege, and mens homophobia are the source of all gendered violence, a problem that born-women and transwomen must navigate, and survive.

secondly, my blog is geared toward women and feminists: those who would perpetrate gendered violence (men) or support it are not going to find any support from me or my words, even if they come across my blog by mistake. homophobic, entitled, misogynist, violent offenders arent going to be spending much time reading anything i write, although they somtimes find themselves there through disgusting keyword searches such as “rape porn.” as soon as they realize that i dont support or host the disgusting material they are looking for, do you suppose they stick around for a radfem analysis of their misogyny and male privlege? i doubt it.

transpersons have little to fear from women in general, and certainly not from women critical of gendered violence, and supportive of social and legal services for victims of male violence. radical feminists are doing much of the heavy lifting, in point of fact, when it comes to furthering womens interests internationally. the work we have done to protect women from intimate partner violence and rape benefits transpersons as well, although your words belie the truth of the matter, dont they?

as long as you are quoting me, how about quoting this as well, to give a more accurate portrayal of my viewpoint: “i feel that trans-persons deserve human rights, legal rights, and every protection that everyone else deserves, and that they should not be physically harmed or discriminated against.”

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/sorry-sex-pos-transwomen/#comment-336

heres the link to their article, which is about the “day of rememberance” of murdered transpersons. how fitting, that they would blame a radical feminist for perpetuating male violence. or, as mr. FCM likes to say: THATS RICH.

http://femlegaltheory.blogspot.com/2009/11/remembering-dead.html

237. thebeardedlady - November 21, 2009

I’ve tried to leave a comment there, too. But so far it hasn’t appeared.

factcheckme - November 21, 2009

thanks, TBL. what were you going to say? i think its fucking disgusting that a law school (law students i assume? fucking children!) would take such a fallacious, unreasonable tack and blame/equate radical feminism with male violence, and murder. sorry, but that kind of pandering is completely trans-parent (LOL) and wouldnt get them anywhere in a court of law, or in an actual discussion with somone who knew better. like my readers, and myself.

fuck you, university of california, davis school of law!

238. polly - November 21, 2009

Third, osteoporosis is actually higher in trans women than cis women. Apparently the doctors don’t understand hormones well enough – quelle surprise. I appreciate that little bit of information isn’t really relevant to your life, but there you are.

If this is true (this link says there’s no research into prevalence http://vch.eduhealth.ca/pdfs/GA/GA.100.Os7.pdf
but one in three women have osteoporosis genereally ) then I’m afraid it’s a result of the transition process. Oestrogen helps bone formation in women (that’s why as a prematurely menopausal woman I take HRT) and testosterone does the same in men. Cut down on your natural hormones and you have risk.

There are a lot of risks associated with a medical process of ‘transition’ basically.

239. polly - November 21, 2009

PS TBL, I doubt the ‘femlegaltheory’ is an official site of UCL. Just some law student trying to big themselves up probably.

240. polly - November 21, 2009

Ooh a quick google reveals the Lisa R Pruitt seems to be the author.

http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Pruitt/

Dear me Prof Pruitt. Do you think your remarks would stand up to legal scrutiny?

241. thebeardedlady - November 21, 2009

My comment to femlaw was:

It is unacceptable and frankly ridiculous that radical feminists are not allowed to scrutinise and analyse transgenderism without being accused of transphobia. Radfems are not responsible for violence against trans folk any more than they are responsible for violence against women. Your article is woman-blaming, victim-blaming, and lets the real perpetrators of hate and violence (men) off the hook. Articles like this one only serve to perpetuate divisions between women and trans women, whilst the real perpetrators of hate and violence are free to carry on without fear of criticism.

242. thebeardedlady - November 21, 2009

I know, not a brilliantly incisive comment, but that shit just makes me too tired to think straight. Anyhow, I just went back to give them the whole ‘and another thing…’ and am told that ‘comments on this blog are limited to members of the team’.

I’m sorry that you’ve been treated like this fcm. I looked through their links to ‘genderbitch’s blog and it seems over there they think this whole entire post and discussion was aimed directly at gb to get revenge for some comment left on your porn post and everyone having a good old crack about what evil, twisted haters all rad fems are. Fucking bullshit, when over here ALL the rad fems have been patiently answering questions, doing feminism 101, explaining our position, reiterating our committment to human and civil rights for trans people etc. People like Maggie who are beyond polite all the way to being kind and gentle. I don’t hate trans women, and I have the right to discuss transgenderism, because it DOES affect women.

Anyway. Getting back on topic after all this time, and to cheer us all up, here’s some Sheila Jeffreys I was reading this morning:

Behind the choice of femininity on the part of men lies their fascination with playing the subordinate role of “woman” for the sexual satisfactions of masochism that this offers. For large and rapidly growing numbers of men, to judge by the pornography, websites, shops and services that serve them, the behaviours and appurtenances of femininity are a kind of sex toy.[...]transgenderism on the part of men needs to be understood as originating in socially constructed sexual fantasy rather than constituting a biological condition.

From ‘Beauty and Misogyny’.

243. polly - November 21, 2009

You could always e-mail Prof Pruitt TBL. Her contact details are on the link.

factcheckme - November 21, 2009

i followed the link and thought about contacting her myself. its fucking disgusting that any lawyer, let alone a law professor, woud stoop to such blatant pandering to trans-activists and absolute slander and misrepresentation of a fellow feminist blogger. clearly, she knows what she is doing, and clearly, shes OK with herself. otherwise she wouldnt have done it. so i doubt my contacting her would help.

as for genderbitch thinking that this is “all about her,” well thats a pretty ego-centric perspective of whats trans-pired, isnt it? big fucking surprise there, that a born-man would believe that everything is all about him. i never intended for this discussion of trans-issues to happen here, as i wasnt even that interested in it until recently. but it became an issue when i wrote the porn-is-rape article, and i had MTF transpersons, sex workers, and fun-fems here (and on womanist musings) putting their sex-pos, pro-porn politics on display. i put 2+2 together and saw some intersectionality there, specifically, that MTF dont have the same consequences to acting like rabid fuck-bunnies as born-women do. so i responded to that with another article. when i was attacked for being TRANSPHOBIC! i wrote another article on cis- and how disingenuous it is to refuse any critical analysis in this area. it all happened very naturally, and it grew from the conversations that occured here and elsewhere. i fail to see how any of this could be legitimately construed as “revenge” when there has been no ad-hominems at all, and as TBL mentions, several VERY patient radical feminists laying it all on the line, for the sake of a little fucking intellectual honesty, the likes of which is ONLY found on the radfems blogs on this and related topics.

244. polly - November 22, 2009

She is not the author of that article,who appears to be a student, though as she wrote the first post on the blog, it seems the blog is her idea. I’d certainly e-mail her if I were you.

Anyway maybe next time the feminist lawyers could write about the plight of girls in India.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/5125810.stm

245. thebeardedlady - November 22, 2009

I think the masochism of transgenderism plays out in their interventions in feminism – the narrative of being put down, oppressed, left out, hated etc seems to be central to transgender identity on the internet. I wonder whether that it is essentially all part of the same thing – the thrills of sexual masochism are undermined when feminists challenge the narrative of TRANSPHOBIA!

Which suggests that the reason why they focus so intently on rad fems and try to create the perception that rad fems hate and despise them is because they get a sexual masochistic kick out of it. This is the only way I can make sense of it.

factcheckme - November 22, 2009

i am starting to believe the same thing TBL. which if true, is really kind of funny: they NEED us, even as they proclaim their hatred of us. becuase all they are getting from the fun-fems is a bunch of kumbaya bullshit.

as an aside, i just saw a post over at womanist musings about the “day of rememberance” where renee (a black, disabled woman) was claiming her privilege as a cis-woman. it made me fucking sick. she literally said that there were “privileges attached to her body” that she needed to own in order to be a good trans-ally. excuse me, but a black, disabled woman has NO privleges attached to her BODY. ok? none. for christs sake. this has gotten insane.

246. Laurelin - November 22, 2009

What really gets on my nerves is the transactivist insistence that women must apologise for being female. That we must be humble, put ourselves last, and say ‘but you have it worse than us’. Exactly what males have always insisted that we do, be caring and self-effacing, help the needy, never ever ask anything for ourselves. The F-word thread from sometime ago was an equally cringeworthy example of feminists falling over themselves to apologise for vbeing female- it was bloody embarrassing.

I read an article a long time ago by a transwoman who said (something like)’I never realised how badly women are treated on a daily basis until I transitioned’. She correctly interpreted what was going on: transwomen experience sexism, just as women do. It’s not ‘transphobia’, it is bog-standard ‘mundane’ (ha!) misogyny. Women deal with it everyday, but on a brave face, accept it as part of life because, as I said above, women are socialised to put themselves last and to say ‘well I don’t have it so bad’ or ‘oh it must have been my fault’. And *this* is precisely what the transactivists are manipulating.

Male-born individuals experience the world differently to female-born because they are treated differently: with more respect, they have more resources, they expect to be respected and taken care of by women. So when transactivists experience sexism they 1) label it ‘transphobia’ and decide that their enemies are the ‘cis’ (a word foisted on women, just as so many words are, by the way), and 2) take it out on women for not looking after them.

All it requires is some commonsense and self-reflection from transpeople (as the transwoman I mentioned above).

And women need to stop apologising, and stop putting themselves last as well.

We do not need to be humble. We do not need to take second place to male-born people. We need to do what we never do, and demand first place.

247. man-born - November 22, 2009

Man-born gay here. Feminist. Not transphobic. I haven’t much to say other than I agree completely with the article and with Laurelin’s comment just before mine. I read most of the comments… Trans theory is very much like queer theory.

248. laughriotgirl - November 24, 2009

TBL “the thrills of sexual masochism are undermined when feminists challenge the narrative of TRANSPHOBIA! ”
And quoting Jeffreys… this is why I have trouble with radical feminism. Aplying some psycho-sexual motivation onto my body, my life, my understanding of myself – then calling it theory and denying voices that call it untrue. Because as MAndrea so rightly put is elsewhere, trans women can ALWAYS be completely dismissed as “mentally ill” when talking about our lives.

Applying theory over personal narratives is feminist?

Now, much of my oppression is due to being perceived as a woman. Actually the majority. However, upon discovery of my status as a trans women I am further marginalized by BOTH women and men. I am deceptive, “trying to hard” at femininity (reifying binaries if you will), not trying hard enough, my participation in feminist groups is now suspect, both women and men(feminist or not) feel at liberty to discuss what’s happening in my pants.

This is much the same as, or can have a very real parallel drawn to what happens to me daily as a woman. remember, I get that every day all day. Once my status is known it becomes worse and I held to even stricter models of acceptable behavior because if I get angry… I giving off “man energy” or something. The stuff is them same – but trans makes it worse, and feminists and women in general are not above contributing to this.

factcheckme - November 24, 2009

sorry, but to the extent that women treat you poorly, they may be bitches, but they dont have cis- or any other kind of gender-based privilege over you. ok? they might not even be bitches, but are very legitimately reacting to your male privilege, or the fear of rape. just because you cant tell the difference, or dont like it, or feel its unfair or whatever doesnt create “gender-privileged women” out of thin air. thats not how privilege works. again, you think that being treated “poorly” or “unfairly” or in a way that you dont 100% approve of is evidence of something besides your own dissatisfaction. its not.

now fucking cut it out with this cis-bullshit, or you *will* be banned.

249. polly - November 24, 2009

Applying theory over personal narratives is feminist?

Well the personal narrative of a rapist is that the bitchez deserved it. Either that or they all really wanted it.

The problem with personal narratives is that everyone has a different one. If you think political movements consist of accepting everyone else’s ‘personal narrative’ you’re soon going to get into trouble. We would have to accept that abortion is murder, that not allowing adults to have sex with children is restricting children’s RIGHT to have sex with adults, that homosexuality is a sin, that women’s place is in the kitchen, etc etc etc etc etc if we take everyone’s ‘personal narrative’ as valid.

You do see the problem don’t you? No, thought not. Well let me spell it out. It’s not ALL ABOUT YOU.

250. polly - November 24, 2009

Once my status is known it becomes worse and I held to even stricter models of acceptable behavior because if I get angry… I giving off “man energy” or something.

And what do you think happens to women who get angry? They get called bitches, aggressive, unfeminine, insane……

251. Laurelin - November 24, 2009

privilege is about having unearned advantages over other people, that give you real tangible power over them, that allow you to treat them badly with impunity.

Being criticised by someone else is not by itself a result of that person’s ‘privilege’. Women do not have any power over male-born persons. They may offend male-born persons, may be nasty to them, but that is not the same as having power over them.

Let me put it another way. I have been called some very nasty names by sex-‘positive’ women on the internet. Now some of those names are offensive (though most are merely amusing and innaccurate), but the fact they have offended me does not mean they are more privileged than me. They, as women, do not have any more power in the world than me. However, when I have been called equally nasty names by male pornographers/ porn consumers, the effects are different because they have a multi-million pound international business empire behind them, and they rely on the fact of my fear of them as males to make their triggering and cowardly comments. They are privileged over me; they have power in the world that I don’t have- even the poorest male porn consumer has more than me because he can use my justified fear of male violence against me. The women who insult me, however, are less backed up by such a system, and cannot rely on a fear on my part of female violence, because female violence is not a reality that I have to live with. Male violence and domination is.

I’ve probably gone waaaaaaaaay off topic here (in terms of the immediate argument on this thread), but I’d like to go back to the sex poz thing:

If you oppose male domination, if you oppose the sex industry because of its rampant abuse and torture of women and girls then you are on my side. If you support that system, then you are not. That is nothing to do with any imaginary privilege you believe me to have: as far as I’m concerned, being able to ignore the rape epidemic in pornography and prostitution is a luxury that the women and girls affected by that industry cannot afford.

252. thebeardedlady - November 24, 2009

Hi Laughriotgirl,

It’s frustrating for me and the other women on this thread to keep on reading comments like yours when for weeks now we have been patiently and logically dealing with those same arguments. A great example is Laurelin’s comment above. She’s set it all out for you there, hoping you’ll get it, despite the fact that it’s been explained in thirty different ways throughout the course of the thread and no trans woman commenting has yet managed to ‘get it’.

You don’t have to agree, of course. You could agree to disagree. That would be fine with me. No one is making you read fcm’s blog and there are plenty of other spaces on the internet where people do agree with you.

You know, Sheila Jeffreys has been fighting against violence against women longer than most trans women have even been women. She was one of the instigators of the first ever RTN. She is a sister and a feminist and efforts to silence her voice are, in my opinion, completely offensive.

Again, you don’t have to agree with her analysis. Then again, you don’t have to act as though I’d quoted Adolf Hitler, either.

this is why I have trouble with radical feminism…

You have trouble with radical feminism because it calls into question things that it suits you to believe are natural, immutable, proper, normal etc. It does that to everyone who engages with it, radical feminists included.

As Polly said, it’s not all about you.

253. Laurelin - November 24, 2009

Laughriotgirl- no-one is doubting that trans people such as yourself suffer, and no-one pretends to understands how you yourself feel. However, you equally have no right to assume you know what female-born persons go through, and certainly not to assert that you suffer more than they. Male-born people have unearned privilege in this world- we ask that you acknowledge it, we do not blame you for it.
Can’t you see that a ‘Cis’-privilege Check-List that in fact lists male privilege is immensely insulting to female-born persons? Can’t you see that we are being invisibilised by your assumptions?

All we ask for is some respect. And part of respect involves you not telling us how it is for *us*.

254. polly - November 24, 2009

I have just had ‘transfeminism’ explained to me elsewhere and it’s instructive. Apparently it goes like this.

“Transfeminism” says that men are privileged above women, who are privileged above all transpeople.

So there we have it in a nutshell. The real reason, I suggest laughriotgrrl that you have problem with radical feminism is that it will keep challenging your ‘oppressedest of them all’ status. Or as Laurelin said.

“What really gets on my nerves is the transactivist insistence that women must apologise for being female. That we must be humble, put ourselves last, and say ‘but you have it worse than us’.

Shan’t. Thorry.

factcheckme - November 24, 2009

transfeminsm, eh? thats rich. why dont they just stick to transactivism, and leave us feminists alone. listening to a bunch of fucking men discuss privilege is like fingernails on a chalkboard as it is. and making themselves out to be the oppressed-est is just the shit icing on the shit cake.

thorry, indeed.

255. polly - November 24, 2009

And laughriotgrrl. All these things you’re saying.

Why aren’t you saying them to MEN?

factcheckme - November 24, 2009

i have a new post up re: the vaue of “personal narratives” and taking lived experience at face value.

256. lucinde - November 26, 2009

I said:
“It didn’t occur to me that you’d let other people make your decision for you. You don’t come across as that sort of person.”

maggieclark Says:

“This says it all. I strongly feel you don’t get what it means to be born-woman if you think this is a matter of “letting” other people make my decision for me. I’ve been raised in a society that always valued my fertility more highly than my choice.”

Well obviously I don’t, since I was raised male. However, quick point – I have been told in every encounter and by every person I have ever met that I am male, since age 0 and through to 19 when I first met an out trans woman, and since then by nearly eveyrone else. I’ve been raised in a society that has certain poorly-defined masculine qualities that it demands I fulfill. No, there was no central focus on fertility… but there is still a mould to fill. Now get this: I have told them all to stuff it. I have met vast numbers of people in my life, and all of them can stuff it. Every day that I go out en femme I am telling everyone I meet that they can, in fact, shove their socialisation and their collective assumptions about what an MAAB person should do up their collective fundaments.

So no, when you say your decision isn’t your own, I don’t get it. No doubt one of the other people on this thing are going to say that this is male privilige talking, but I know that’s a lie, because all the FAAB types in my family are stronger willed than I am.

Fatcheckme:
If you deny that trans identities have any validity (which you do), then you’re being transphobic right there. Since you’re not worried about the action why be worried about the label?

Everyone who thinks cis privilige is a lie:
This weekend I was working at a trade show. While at the trade show I experienced some sexism. Men responded oddly to me, and then their responses changed when they twigged the trans thing. I was expecting that.
I also experienced transphobia. Women responded oddly to me. Part of that odd response was a relatively common reaction where (when they realised), they suddenly started treating me like a particularly ignorant child. Acting like it was very impressive that I could speak in a coherent fashion and knew what the products on the stall were and that it was just amazingly wonderous that I didn’t have eyeliner smeared all over my face. This is remarkably similar to what my mother gets when she goes out in a wheelchair.
Think for a second: is that sexism being done by men, when women are doing it to me?
No. Here’s something bad, being done by women, to me. I was left with a crushing sense of disappointment and dispair. I had expected drunken lads causing trouble. I had expected bad reactions from men. I hadn’t expected this.
Anyone who thinks women can’t oppress: you’re wrong. It happened then, to me. It’ll happen again. You can’t call it sexism when it’s being done by cis women to a trans woman – it’s on a different axis. It’s transphobia.

To say that there’s no advantage to being cis is nonsense. To say that cis is not, overall, an advantaged state is nonsense. To call it privilege – well, that depends how you define the word, doesn’t it? I note that none of you have.

Anyway, it’s been interesting, but I’m off. I might come back, but just in case, I’ll leave you with some strategic advice: In order to tear down the patriarchy and destroy the concept of gender (two goals I can get behind), you’ll need more than just you. In fact, you’ll need more than every woman on the planet. You’ll need some of the men as well. If you start by declaring yourself misandrists, you’re unlikely to get that. Some of them know what that word means.

factcheckme - November 26, 2009

lucinde, and what “trade” are we talking about here? let me guess.

we have all defined “privilege” and used accepted standards and interpretations of the word. you just prefer not to acknowledge the accepted defintion of it, or to acknowledge that we have pointed that out for you about a hundred times on this thread. and let me ask you this, should you return: “what have you done for born-women and radical (or any) feminists lately?” other than demand that we be your “helpmates” that is? this is a serious question.

257. maggieclark - November 26, 2009

Well obviously I don’t, since I was raised male. However, quick point – I have been told in every encounter and by every person I have ever met that I am male, since age 0 and through to 19 when I first met an out trans woman, and since then by nearly eveyrone else. I’ve been raised in a society that has certain poorly-defined masculine qualities that it demands I fulfill. No, there was no central focus on fertility… but there is still a mould to fill. Now get this: I have told them all to stuff it. I have met vast numbers of people in my life, and all of them can stuff it. Every day that I go out en femme I am telling everyone I meet that they can, in fact, shove their socialisation and their collective assumptions about what an MAAB person should do up their collective fundaments.

So no, when you say your decision isn’t your own, I don’t get it. No doubt one of the other people on this thing are going to say that this is male privilige talking, but I know that’s a lie, because all the FAAB types in my family are stronger willed than I am.

I’m begging out of this discussion, Lucinde, because your implication that I’m just not strong-willed enough to ignore all the oppression in my personal life, my personal lived experience, and how it comes to bear on my questions of personal choice all down the line, is extremely offensive.

And a strong-willed FAAB type? Would absolutely understand that. Women who for whatever circumstantial reason have the ability to put aside their gender oppression, and who consider themselves feminists, absolutely respect that different lives mean different outcomes, and wouldn’t consider “weak” on sight a person who cannot always perceive her choices as being completely her own.

Get your final word in if you want — I’m done.

factcheckme - November 26, 2009

seriously, maggie. LOL i think we have all been more than patient with lucinde. but i am done with her too.

258. Bridget - November 30, 2009

Just a general comment and not a directed response.

The general attitude presented here is deeply hurtful to a lot of people who are simply trying to live a life they can be happy with.

1) about 1/2 of trans-women are gay, interestingly you’d be suprised at the number of trans men and women who are gay implying there is a very large number of transsexuals who already don’t fit your male starved sex object archetype, and from what i understand a sex-positive trans-person must engage in female/male relations? what about sex positive lesbian trans-women? or sex positive trans-men?
A lot of transwomen (most of them) completely lose their libido as well during hormone therapy.

2)leave it to born-men to *encourage* women to be exhibitionist, sex-workers, porn-actors, and above all, sexually available to men.

I think you’re grossly oversimplifying trans-women based on a terribly archetype that most of us are offended to be shoe-horned into.

Trans-sex workers – A lot result to sex work, because men pay, and trans-people live mostly in poverty the most recent stats say trans people are 50% unemployed and half of the employed make next to nothing, this is a terrible industry that meerly capitalizes on the poor (including poor trans-women)
In this way, trans-women are victimized by a terrible system where women “must” be sexually desirable.

Trans- exibitionist – I know way more reserved/shut-in/depressed/shunned trans-women who can barely leave their own dorms @ college, but somehow to you they magically become exhibitionists. Most trans-women live in complete crippling fear that they aren’t accepted by society, not even “progressive” outspoken, rights-minded women like yourself will accept them. So many many many many of them fly completely under the radar and aren’t noticed by people who are trying to “find” transsexuals to fill their cross sections of our community and end up finding only the most outgoing and generally most offensive/visible of us. it’s just the same as straight people assuming all gays want to convert straight people to their “agenda” and feeling threatened by their simple request for rights.

porn-workers – porn existed and started long before the visible trans-community, many many many trans women have no libido as a result of their hormone treatment or desire to watch or propagate pornography. personally i find this to be your most ironic statement and i would kindly ask you cite trans-people who have worked to propogate pornography beyond what straight society has already done. Yes, there is trans-pornography, but it is an incredible minority in the field of porn, Porn itself being incredibly disturbing and offensive to me i am offended that i am associated with it’s propagation through no action of my own.

4) i don’t like men, i was raped when i was 17 by a cab driver, i have very little interest in “propagating having sex with men,” again i am incredibly offended that you lump a lot of people who don’t fit your archetype into this box.

conclusion:
I’m not going to try to claim i understand where you are coming from, i don’t at all, but i do personally feel that you don’t understand the trans-community even close to well enough to make some of the very broad statements you’ve made. Most if not all trans people do not equate transsexuality with sexual orientation or drive, gender identity and sexual orientation are two individual entities.

the reason people are complaining about “cis-privilege” is due in large part to the fact that you honestly have no idea how the transgender community thinks.

It’s sad to see that you’re exercising an incredibly exclusionary attitude the world hasn’t seen since being gay was treatable with electro-shock therapy.

factcheckme - November 30, 2009

bridget, my article was specifically addressing sex-positive transwomen, and the problems that specific intersection presents for born-women and feminists. it was not an indictment of transpersons generally, so your comments really make no sense now do they? if you want to try again, and actually respond to anything that was said here, i might be charitable and publish it. then again, maybe not.

259. Bridget - November 30, 2009

i’m implying that your definition of a “sex-positive” transwoman is an incredible extreme, perhaps it’s less enraging to positively support these women and attempt to educate them as opposed to marginalizing them and by collateral paint a picture of trans-women in general.

A good example of this, gay men who have a very “i’m going to get it anyways” attitude to the spread of HIV, instead of inciting people to hate and exclude them, it would be much more productive and not marginalizing to many people to enhance education, support and preventative measures to the community and eventually weed out the bad social influence.

You catch more flies with honey right?

factcheckme - November 30, 2009

i am sorry, but i dont think its my or any feminist’s responsibility to “educate” transwomen, when they are infiltrating feminism, calling themselves feminists, and demanding that feminists cater to their needs. why arent we expecting transwomen to teach themselves what its all about? if they dont even know, how do they know they even *want* to be feminists? and how is my teaching them different from doing feminism-101 with a bunch of fucking MRAs? answer: its not.

i also do not appreciate your “flies/honey” reference, when its clear that you are a born-man telling me how to behave as a more properly feminine “woman” to please (and educate) you, and other born men. do you even hear yourself? seriously. get a clue, k? and do it on your own time. thanks.

260. Bridget - November 30, 2009

do you live a constant defensive? i’m not outwardly disagreeing with you, i am asking why you have to marginalize many people to illustrate your point.

By your logic of pacifism and femininity, any pacifist man is attempting to propagate female archetypes even if he had no interest in women at all and was referring to other men and THEIR need for pacifism ?

I’m not demanding anything from you, you are demanding that i and trans-women dissapear though, that seems to be a very male-centric attitude (if i don’t like it i’ll force it out of existence)
Trans-people aren’t going away it sucks for some but that’s something that’s only going to lead to bad energy between everyone.

If it’s not your responsibility as a feminist to educate people on feminism, why do you bother posting your ideas in the first place? There are plenty of ways to address this issue without saying derogatory statements about an entire community.

And regarding your statement about me specifically, you don’t know me or my situation or my opinion beyond not wanting to insult entire communities based on stereotype.

If your opinion is legitimate and flawless it shouldn’t have to resolve to personal attacks to dissagreements.

261. Bridget - November 30, 2009

elaborating on my pacifism comment, it’s not quite what i was trying to express.

I’m in no way telling you to be some docile female archetype.

in fact i didn’t tell you to do or say anything, i simply illustrated how your comments have repercussions outside of your “intended” target. also, usually people get what they want without resorting to offensive attacks, i simply don’t want to fall victim to hurtful opinions, and i don’t think that’s a very unreasonable desire from anyone.

factcheckme - November 30, 2009


If your opinion is legitimate and flawless it shouldn’t have to resolve to personal attacks to dissagreements.


LOL or…perhaps i am just bored of people like yourself coming in here and spraying the place with your male privilege, and eating up my time, when you clearly havent even read the article or the comments preceeding your own? could that be it? mmmmm….yes. yes, i think it is.

262. thebeardedlady - November 30, 2009

Bridget, you’re turning fcm’s thread into a proper yawn-a-thon.

How about you read it, think about all the smart and interesting things that have been said, and if you think you have something new to say (preferably which meets the standards of logic and critical thinking that us feminists appreciate), then come back and say it?

Every single point you’ve raised has already been dealt with, at length and in depth, at least once if not three or four or more times already on this thread and the previous one. You don’t agree with the points made? Fine. You don’t have to. Let’s agree to disagree. But coming around here just to moan about the nasty feminists being mean isn’t going to get you very far.

263. Bridget - November 30, 2009

you May be right

factcheckme - December 2, 2009

i have a new post up, for anyone who is interested. watch the video at the end if you need a good laugh. it actually made me LOL.

264. Ama - December 3, 2009

This just boggles the mind… Anyone who has studied even a small amount of genetics knows that our gender binary is a falsehood, down to DNA and up. How can it be impossible for there to be a “third class” that is discriminated against by women and men? The “men” you are criticising aren’t and for the most part, they’re aware of it from a very young age. I’m surprised that someone who professes to be a feminist would be so privileged and shout to the hills that they are not! Not! NOT! Even when everyone else is pointing out that you are.

I know everyone else has said it and better but… What on earth? At least get a better grounding on the reality of trans and intersex people before ignorantly ripping them to shreds.

265. M. Dubz - December 3, 2009

I keep seeing the question on these posts, over and over again, for someone to define an example of discrimination against a trans person that was not an example of male privilege. I’m ashamed to say that I have an example of institutional trans discrimination perpetrated by women that due solely to status as a transgendered person.
I attend a small women’s liberal arts college that also admits trans men, as long as they are legally identified as female. Many women’s college have this practice, and at many schools, they are a thriving voice on campus. A few years ago, a trans boy enrolled as a freshman, and was placed with a female freshman roommate (a note: my school is partnered with a local coed institution and permits boys to live in the residence halls, or to visit overnight. I had a boy more or less living on my hall freshman year) This roommate complained about the trans student, and said that she felt uncomfortable with the arrangement. Instead of moving the roommate and moving someone else into the room, which is the standard arrangement when one roommate complains about another, the young man in question was essentially kicked out of housing. He was unhappy at our school, and ended up transferring to our partner institution. When questioned about this, our president (who is a woman) made a glib remark along the lines of “I don’t know why someone who self identifies as male would want to come to a woman’s college.” This is all SORTS of bullshit, as many young trans men at the beginning of their transition process seek out women’s colleges that will accept them specifically to escape from male sexism and harassment at coed institutions. Our school, while ostensibly open to the educational needs of a trans person, did not provide this young man with the help that he needed, because he was trans. He was pushed out of his housing, and eventually the college, by a system that is maintained for young women, and overwhelmingly by older women.

factcheckme - December 3, 2009

m.dubz, i may respond more later, but for now i will say to you that according to what you have said here, this transman chose to attend a womens school specifically to avoid men, because he knew he would have been treated even worse by them. and he was most certainly right. why not just end the analysis there? i mean really. why do transpersons think they are entitled to all kinds of love and affection from women, just because we are women? when you are invading our spaces SPECIFICALLY because you are scared shitless of being raped, beaten, harassed and killed BY MEN, not by us? theres your male privilege-problem, right there. featuring prominently in your “example of transdiscrimination not rooted in male-privilege.” fail, fail, fail, fail.


they did not provide this young man with the help that he needed, because he was trans.


this is a convenient way for you to explain the above situation, so that it supports your own agenda. but clearly, this WOMENS COLLEGE did not provide HIM with the help HE needed HOUSING IN AN ALL-FEMALE DORM because he self-identified as a MAN. not “because he was trans.” cant you see the difference?

does living with a self-identified man sound like anything that THE WOMAN signed up for, when she chose to attend an all-womens college? hell fucking no. was the transman on the T yet? was he practising getting his male privilege on by abusing and demeaning women? you dont say, but i wouldnt want to sleep next to anyone on any kind of T if i didnt know them really really well. and even then i (and all women) are taking our lives in our hands when we have these kinds of intimate relationships with men. you go on to say that he was “essentially” kicked out of housing (not the college) which is a dubiouis claim at best. was he “kicked out” or not? sounds like he wasnt. then he chose to leave voluntarily, because he was “unhappy.” well boo-fucking-hoo. why do transpersons always think that they are “entitled” to happiness? theres no such entitlement, sorry.

maybe someone else can do a better job with this, but honestly, your example just pissed me off, and leaves me wanting. you have to reach far and wide to even come up with an example of a women-run institution, for one thing (and you havent even said that this was exclusively women-run, just that there were SOME women in positions of power). you also havent even claimed that the housing was also run by this partly-female cartel, so maybe it was and maybe it wasnt. but its telling that the best example of this alleged “discrimination” even you could come up with (and you were really, really determined to come up with one) is really just a case of “they chose to NOT to fuck over the woman” by making her room with a self-identified man! so again, transpersons want to be treated BETTER than women. this is getting real fucking old.

factcheckme - December 3, 2009


Anyone who has studied even a small amount of genetics knows that our gender binary is a falsehood, down to DNA and up. How can it be impossible for there to be a “third class” that is discriminated against by women and men?


because gender-based power operates in one direction only: male oppresses female. women do not possess ANY gender-based power with which to weild against anyone. try my next article “the fallacy of cis-privilege” and the related discusison for more on that.

266. thebeardedlady - December 3, 2009

Ama, read the cis privilege thread. You say this is boggling your mind, but really, it’s all pretty logically laid out. It’s fine to disagree but you can’t argue there isn’t a solid, robust, thoroughgoing and completely logical argument here.

M.Dubz, I absolutely agree with every fcm says in her comment to you. Check your own privilege, why don’t you? There’s no way I would want to share a room with a self-identified man. Why on earth should any women be FORCED to share intimate space with someone who identifies as male? And you call not forcing women into embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations transphobic? Give me a break.

why do transpersons think they are entitled to all kinds of love and affection from women, just because we are women? when you are invading our spaces SPECIFICALLY because you are scared shitless of being raped, beaten, harassed and killed BY MEN, not by us? theres your male privilege-problem, right there. featuring prominently in your “example of transdiscrimination not rooted in male-privilege.” fail, fail, fail, fail.

Exactly.

267. thebeardedlady - December 3, 2009

“I don’t know why someone who self identifies as male would want to come to a woman’s college.”

Yep. That sounds fair enough to me. If he’s so desperately keen to be a man, what the hell is he doing there in the first place?

So you think trans women should be allowed in women’s spaces, trans men should be allowed in women’s spaces – basically, any fucker can invade women only space, according to you, because women defending and defining themselves is irrelevant to you.

268. M. Dubz - December 3, 2009

My comment is an example of interlocking systems of oppression. Sure it’s an example of male privilege because the young man in question may or may not have wanted to escape from male violence, or course it is (although, meeting him, I don’t think that was the case, especially since he then transferred to a coed institution). My point is that he was not given exactly the same resources to deal with a roommate problem that a young woman in a similar situation would have been given (I had girls on my hall who got into drag out screaming matches, and their problems were resolved with a minimum of fuss). I’d also note that I’m sure there would have been plenty of women on the campus who would have been happy to live with him after his initial roommates said no. I would have (but was not a freshman at the time). I think that his roommates certainly had the right to feel uncomfortable as young women out on their own for the first time living with someone who identified as male. However, according to all of the housing drama that I witnessed freshman year, the proper course of action would have been to sit down and negotiate with all three of the kids in question, find a solution that worked for all, and kept the young man in housing (although probably not with the same roommates). That is what they would have done for any female student who had such a major problem with her roommate so early on in the year. Or, if the problem was not something awful, they would have told the two to suck it up and deal all semester. Not advocating that one, note. My point is, if you are going to admit a group of people into your college, you’d better be damned sure that you have the foresight to deal with a pretty foreseeable issue before it becomes an issue, not minimalize it, and make sure that, should such a problem arise, that you can resolve it in a way that all of the students THAT YOU CHOSE TO ADMIT TO THE SCHOOL are happy. Also, your insinuation that a school where the president, the Dean, the vast majority of the administration, all of the major financial donors, and 65% of the teaching faculty is female is secretly being controlled the Patriarchy negates a space that I have seen to be very good at reversing lots of harm that the patriarchy can do; hell, they worked wonders on my attitude.

factcheckme - December 3, 2009


My comment is an example of interlocking systems of oppression.


no its not. you use terms like “cis-privilege” and “interlocking systems of oppression” deliberately to paralyze women and feminists into submission, because you know there is no bigger character flaw, and no more embarassing faux-pax than that. they are still trying to figure out what the fuck is going on, and to reconcile your ridiculous claims with thier own LIVED EXPERIENCE as women, and with feminist theory (none of which supports a single goddamned thing transactivists say) meanwhile, transpersons have stormed the gates, drugged the guards, and taken over the place. and the fun-fems dont even know what hit them.

radfems see right through you.

269. thebeardedlady - December 3, 2009

M.Dubz, what are you even talking about?

Half the time you’re ‘oppressed’ because people say you’re a woman when you identify as a man. And then the other half of the time you’re ‘oppressed’ because women agree to see you in the way you self-identify, i.e. as a man, and ask you to respect women-only space.

WTF?

Oh, and ‘interlocking systems of oppression’? Can I just say – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, I needed a good laugh.

270. bridget - December 3, 2009

“so again, transpersons want to be treated BETTER than women”

Your ignorance on what transpersons want is summed up in your bold-text statement right there.

271. thebeardedlady - December 3, 2009

Your male privilege and ignorance about women’s lives is shining through in everything you say, Bridget.

272. bridget - December 3, 2009

please explain

273. thebeardedlady - December 3, 2009

No, Bridget. Read the thread. Educate yourself. Take some responsibility for yourself and stop expecting feminists to do all your thinking for you.

factcheckme - December 3, 2009


Read the thread. Educate yourself. Take some responsibility for yourself and stop expecting feminists to do all your thinking for you.


and they wonder why we cant take them seriously, or as feminists. she should google “feminism 101″ too while shes at it.

factcheckme - December 4, 2009

bridget has been spammed. bye bridget!

factcheckme - December 4, 2009

oh goody. briget has returned, and protested my decision to spam her by mocking me: apparently she believes that her comments here have been “so good” that its an injustice to humanity to ban them. that, and we feminsts cant handle the truth. male privilege on parade.

274. thebeardedlady - December 4, 2009

Heh. You just can’t handle the truth, fcm. That’s why you’re a radfem, blogging about violence against women, rape, porn… Imagine how pink and fluffy your world could be if only you could embrace the ‘truth’.

275. polly - December 5, 2009

Anyone who has studied even a small amount of genetics knows that our gender binary is a falsehood, down to DNA and up. How can it be impossible for there to be a “third class” that is discriminated against by women and men?

Que? because although oppression may be based on PERCEIVED physical characteristics, everyday perceived physical characteristics do not include DNA, that’s why. It is entirely true that the existence of intersex people is ignored by the gender binary, but that’s because they are placed into one of the two gendered categories man and woman in a patriarchy.

Gendered discrimination in a patriarchy is based on there only being two gendered categories. Gender non conforming people are oppressed because of their non conformity.

276. 666 - December 5, 2009

You’re not any kind of radical, you festering sack of herpes infected rat testicles, you’re just another “DEM FUKKIN QUEERS” conservative in a different coat and you can go and fuck yourself with a rotting horse cock. All this bullshit about “co-opting female experience” and “appropriating womanhood” is nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on “It’s against nature and God will damn you to hell”. It doesn’t change any fucking thing. It doesn’t help women in their acceptance of their bodies or sexuality or anything. It’s just more beating up on people who are “weird” and it’s about as “radical” as my grandmother’s opinion on black people. Your kind of “radical” feminism is the kind of feminism that makes me feel like a piece of shit about being a lesbian (and an XX lesbian, if you must know, so don’t pull that “obviously you disagree with me, you’re a man” shit) since obviously – by your standards – actually being attracted to women and wanting to suck their tits and lick their cunts properly is objectifying women, and it’s much worse when women objectify other women. Yeah, in my experience, it’s not transsexuals that shit all over the gay rights movement, it’s fucking straight girls like you who pretend to be lesbians for attention – oh sorry, I mean “to strike a blow at enforced heterosexuality” – that do more to ruin the direction of the LGBT movement by being really unpleasant to anyone who doesn’t fit your narrow right-wing definition of what is and isn’t acceptable (said definition can be found on any freerepublic post or worldnetdaily.com article about Sarah Palin). I am aware that there is a gay male version of you (misogynist, hates lesbians, treats people like shit), and those people are fuckers too, and they’re fucking everything up too, and you’re exactly as bad so take your halo of righteous feminist purity and ram it in your anus as you’re sucking Satan’s cock for inspiration for your next piece of shit internet post. You suck and you can get out of the real LGBT movement because nobody likes you.

factcheckme - December 5, 2009

i dont know about anyone else, but i can smell the T from here.

277. maggieclark - December 5, 2009

Hi,

Feminist here. Queer. That’s definitely led to a very different outlook on the porn discussions being held on both this and other threads. (And I do still stand by the lesbian amateur porn I’ve seen not meeting any of the expectations given to for-male porn — namely, a) climax determining endpoint, b) unreasonable expectations for female sexuality and appearance, and c) all female eroticism arising from a place of degrading ourselves for men.)

But I did back myself into a logical corner in another post, such that agreeing not to watch porn did make the most sense, in line with my understanding that even if my porn doesn’t a) contribute financially to male oppressive professional porn, and b) have any more risk of rape than any sex act, it still is a tricky line to tread as a feminist, because it opens the door for other people to equally insist “well, my porn doesn’t oppress women,” even if it does.

And I do want to have room for my sexuality. Of course I do. I want to have room for my physical attraction to women, and work on developing a world wherein women can express their sexuality without being exploited by males.

But a part of that desire has to take into consideration the world we presently live in, and the different investments different potential allies have within it. And the truth in that real world is, lesbian-for-queer porn is a niche market: not mainstream. Meanwhile, mainstream porn is responsible for gendered exploitation on a level too horrific and expansive even to begin quantifying. And not everyone who rallies together to support female empowerment through sex has the same investment in truly non-exploitative outcomes. Which is why male “allies” telling women to empower themselves sexually will always be suspect, from a feminist perspective. And which is why transsexuals, though natural allies against sex industry abuse, are equally non-automatic allies on any question of sex-positivism — because they don’t have the same threats and expectations (deriving primarily from an expectation of fertility in born-women from birth) that play into the question of sex-positivity among born-women.

In short, this isn’t anti-queer rhetoric. This is part of the very same fight against gender-normativity seen throughout the bulk of radical feminist theory. Because real non-gender-normativity recognizes that social pressures and expectations (in conjunction with some sex-based facts) dictate all gendered outcomes, and lead to all violence in our current, male-dominated gender-binary society. For this reason, we recognize that ANY social pressures could easily guide non-gender-conforming persons into the traps and exploitation of gender-conformity. Which is why it’s so very important that all support for women, in the feminist paradigm, comes out of a non-suspect place (one that acknowledges privilege, for instance, and then listening instead of advising).

That’s really all this comes down to: Trans women who refuse to acknowledge the male privilege they experienced, and who instead fetishize that fertility which causes so much pain and suffering for women under male-dominant gender oppression, have no right telling women to be pro-sex. Full stop.

All the best,

Maggie

factcheckme - December 5, 2009

thanks for that reply, maggie. although i am not entirely sure that username “666” deserved such a well thought-out response. for my part, i have a hard time taking posts like that seriously, and i certainly cant take them personally (even though that was clearly the intent) because “666”‘s comments werent even responsive to anything that i actaully said, or to anything i even believe, or could be reasonably extrapolated to believe. dont even think he/she read the article, or any of the comments preceeding his/her own.

278. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

Just felt the need to have a SANE queer feminist response thrown explicitly into the mix!
<3

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

heres a link to kate harding’s shapely prose, where they are tossing about the issue of cis, and threatening to ban a commentor for being transphobic. just a little light reading material this saturday nite!

http://kateharding.net/2009/12/03/wednesday-one-liners-2/#comment-123023

279. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Oh Em Gee! They want to ban this commenter for TRANSPHOBIA! Why? Because she said that she felt it would be unethical to lie to your sexual partner. That you would have a right to be pissed off if someone you were having sex with lied to you when asked a direct question. Er… WTF? Just Some Trans Guy (who I believe we’ve seen around these parts) immediately cried TRANSPHOBIA! and now she has to grovel and check her ‘cis privilege’ and be sorry otherwise she’s banned. Fucking hell. Why has everyone’s critical faculties turned to mush in the face of these ridiculous accusations of TRANSPHOBIA?

280. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Here’s what one of the mods has said about it:

If you consent to sex with someone on your unfounded assumption that they’re cis (because, what, you wouldn’t be attracted to them otherwise? Or because trans people don’t exist? Seriously, what?)… and meanwhile you neither question that assumption, nor do anything to become someone that a trans person would have any reason to trust? The problem is you.

Right, what does this even mean? That you MUST sleep with trans people otherwise you’re transphobic? That if you aren’t attracted to women with penises or men with vaginas, you’re transphobic? Or if you’re not attracted to people who have such major issues with themselves that they are on T, or wear more make up than you do, you’re transphobic. You, woman, don’t get to CHOOSE who you have sex with – you don’t get to decide who you’re attracted to – you HAVE TO do it with any trans person who wants to do it, otherwise you’re TRANSPHOBIC!

I mean, seriously, what other interpretation can you derive from this?

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

i thought it was interesting the way the offending commentor framed her question as well: what if the sexual partner was deeply religious, and having sex with a hetero trans- (same born-sex as you) would be a mortal sin. the answer was, essentially, that the trans-persons right to fuck you trumps YOUR right to make informed choices consistent with your own morality…and BTW you shouldnt be religious in the first place, and if you are, its your own damn fault for being so closed minded.

ok…as an atheist i admit that pandering to other people’s religions isnt exactly high on my list of priorities. but this utter disregard for another persons immortal soul really bothers me. its the same kind of self-serving sex-positiveness that causes fun-fems to assume that all sex workers are sex-pos, like them. when in reality, many sex workers (like many people) are deeply religious (like shelley lubben) and truly believe that what they are doing by engaging in prostitution or porn is a mortal sin, and they will burn in hell for eternity for what they are doing. walking around tortured, because you think that you are going to hell? OH WELL, its a small price (for you) to pay so that *i* can fully realize *my* sexuality.

281. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Yes, exactly. Exactly! It’s like they will throw all feminist ideas out of the fucking window right here and now just so that they can get on the trans express to fucking nowhere. Ideas like self-determination, like my right to say no to sex and sexual partners, like the idea that bullying and emotionally manipulating women into sex IS in fact rape. But if a trans person says hey, you better fuck me or I’m going to tell everyone you’re TRANSPHOBIC, that’s fine, is it? That’s not emotional blackmail?

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

i’m with you TBL. “the problem is you” if you dont want to get into a relationship with someone who fucking lies, and excuses their own behavior becuase they assume that if they told you the truth that you’d kill them, because all cis-people are so TRANSPHOBIC! hey transpeople: men are dangerous. if you are afraid for your life, and of what men will do to you if they find out youre trans (and you should be afraid) then STAY THE F AWAY FROM MEN!! fucking shit! dont try lying to get into their pants: THEY are the only ones who get to do that, and they dont appreciate it when their own games are used against them.

once again though, none of this supports the case that WOMEN have cis-privilege. thats just an inconvenient little truth that is never addressed in these discussions…even as women are being battered about the face and neck to OWN THEIR CIS-PRIVILEGE, or be banished.

282. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

If you consent to sex with someone on the basis that they’re a woman, and you’re sexually attracted to women, and to them, and then you find out that they are a trans woman, and they have a penis, are you allowed to change your mind? Or would that make you transphobic?

I mean, how far are they willing to go with this stuff?

283. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Yeah, because you know if you lie to a man about this stuff, he’s going to kick your head in. But if you lie to a woman, hey, that’s her problem.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009


If you consent to sex with someone on the basis that they’re a woman, and you’re sexually attracted to women, and to them, and then you find out that they are a trans woman, and they have a penis, are you allowed to change your mind? Or would that make you transphobic?


interesting choice isnt it? either you consent to being raped (again, we have “consent” being used very loosely here and exclusively to keep the person with the dick out of jail) or you are a big old transphobe! which one would the “real” feminist choose?

i can see it now: choose to be raped, then guest-blog on feministe about how being raped was preferable, not really rape, and then “own and apologize” for being a cis-privileged “cissy”.

your rapist will guest-blog on the same site the following week, and take the victim-stance, but thank you for checking your privilege, and thanking feministe for being such great trans-allies.

284. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

I really, really wonder what would happen if this comment,

If you consent to sex with someone on the basis that they’re a woman, and you’re sexually attracted to women, and to them, and then you find out that they are a trans woman, and they have a penis, are you allowed to change your mind? Or would that make you transphobic?

were posted on that site.

I appreciate that it would be seen as trollish, but this is PRECISELY the silencing behaviour that upsets me so much. Did you see what Just Some Trans Guy pulled as a trump card? That he didn’t feel “safe” in this place where the majority of fellow posters were all jumping up against the woman’s tentative comment. BULL FUCKING SHIT. He wasn’t being silenced. He had full opportunity to respond, and most everyone was ON HIS SIDE when he did. The only problem was that he was upset about not wholeheartedly, one-hundred-percent trouncing the other argument.

THERE IS NO RIGHT IN THE WHOLE GODDAMN WORLD TO LIVE ONE’S LIFE WITHOUT BEING OFFENDED. The difference lies in our right to be protected against a REASONABLE THREAT against our safety. Was this deferentially-raised hypothetical a reasonable threat against JSTG’s safety? No. Absofuckinglutely not.

And now, as a queer person, I really want to see their answer to the question brilliantly posed by TBL. Because while the question of passive/active rape could be brought up with a “cis” straight man and trans woman with a penis, the question is DEFINITELY one of active rape with a “cis” queer woman and a trans woman with a penis.

Fuck, I’m pissed off now. Where the hell is the room for open and honest discourse? Born-women KNOW their personal experiences are up for discussion and debate — hypothetical and concrete alike! — in feminist discourse. Why the HELL is there a double standard here?

All the best, despite my seething rage now,

Maggie

factcheckme - December 6, 2009


I really want to see their answer to the question brilliantly posed by TBL.


me too.

285. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Oh I very, very nearly posted it over there. But, as you say, I thought it would be seen as trollish and I probably would be spammed… Would it do more harm or good?

Yes, it makes me really angry too, that we can’t engage in the discussion there. These are serious questions and discussions that are just being totally silenced – and I hate that woman-blaming, woman-hating attitude of ‘shut up, if you don’t like it, that’s your problem’.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

this probably wont make you feel any better, but i have gotten quite a few responses from them and/or the people reading gudbytjane’s blog entry shapely prose cites to (both shapely prose and gbtj reference this thread) and how “THATS HURTFUL!” we are all being. they cant help themselves. they also arent stopping to wonder, as we are, whether their comments would be welcome, or whether they would just be seen as trolling. they feel perfectly comfortable saying just about any old goddamned thing they want, such as in the “herpes infested rat-testicles” entry above, and worse. and on their own threads, they are threatening violence, such as “i am going to fisk her til she bleeds!” now *that* sounds both “hurtful” and painful. of course, born-men are used to threatening violence, and to threatening specifically UPPITY WOMEN with violence, specifically to shut them up. this is standard-issue male privilege. AND WE CANT EVEN NAME IT.

“our problem” indeed.

286. polly - December 6, 2009

Oh Em Gee! They want to ban this commenter for TRANSPHOBIA! Why? Because she said that she felt it would be unethical to lie to your sexual partner.

Ok FWIW, every single trans person I have ever met thinks it would be unethical to lie to a sexual partner.

What other things do they think it would be ethical to lie to a sexual partner about? Or does the rule only apply to trans people?

287. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

It amazes me that self-identified feminists would defend that sort of violent and threatening language against women. You ‘deserve’ it, I guess? Well, why should I be surprised? Women always ‘deserve’ what we get, from rape threats to murder – it’s always ‘our problem’.

I just can’t get over the lack of logic, lack of questioning, lack of thought shown over at SP. The only person who raised a (reasonable) question was shut down immediately and threatened with a ban. It’s like it’s not even open for discussion. How is that ok, for feminists to go around telling women to shut up, while ‘some guy’ flounces around saying ‘oh you’ve hurt my feelings’ because one woman has suggested there might be an ethical problem with lying in order to get sex. Hello? They’re all falling over themselves, saying please come back, we’re sorry – er, what? He’s clearly trying to manipulate the situation so everyone turns against the female commenter, which they have, and so she is silenced, which she has been. And this on a feminist blog.

This is bullshit. This is male privilege, taking down feminists.

288. polly - December 6, 2009

But let me turn that question round. If you knew that someone wouldn’t want to sleep with you if they knew something about you you hadn’t told them, or had lied to them about, why would YOU want to sleep with THEM anyway?

That’s the bit I don’t get. I remember reading a piece ages ago by some trans woman complaining about her sexual partners only viewing her as a sexual curiousity and I thought ‘Hmmmm, why not be more discriminating in your choice of sexual partners?’.

289. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Well, I went and asked my question over there. Honestly, I know that it will probably be seen as trolling, and I’m expecting to be spammed and banned, but it enrages me that they can just silence us all like that.

290. Laurelin - December 6, 2009

“i am going to fisk her til she bleeds!”
“you can go and fuck yourself with a rotting horse cock”

Classy. I wouldn’t speak to my worst enemy like that.

You’re not on my side. I owe you nothing if this is the way you think it appropriate to speak to women to disagree with you.

This is not feminism. It is not good for women.

I don’t find comments like the above clever or funny. We live in a world in which sexual violence is committed by men against women on an epidemic scale, and in which women live in fear of such violence. The ‘horse cock’ part is particularly special- there is nothing more woman-hating and evil than that genre of pornography.

But yeah, you make jokes about it. If you hurt our feelings/ trigger us that’s ‘telling it like it is’ or some such shit abusive people say when they’re being arseholes. If we hurt your feelings, we’re horrible bitches who deserve sexual violence.

Look at yourselves. Please.

291. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Polly, I was amazed that the trans guy on that thread didn’t answer exactly that – that he’d consider it unethical to lie to a potential sexual partner. It’s not strictly a trans issue – I would think most of us would mention something to a potential partner that we suspected might put them off us. Wouldn’t we? Isn’t that just common decency?

Of course, I know from my own experiences that men lie ALL the time to get women to have sex with them. Not just lie, but hide and obscure the truth, pretend to be something they’re not, like nice and decent – or single – and manipulate the hell out of women to ‘get’ sex. It’s pretty standard procedure. I’m a non-practising heterosexual these days, but I know of what I speak.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009


If you knew that someone wouldn’t want to sleep with you if they knew something about you you hadn’t told them, or had lied to them about, why would YOU want to sleep with THEM anyway?


thats something i have wondered about too polly. i mean really. WTF? they *want* to be in relationships with misogynist homophobes? if thats all they can get, then why are they even having sex at all? oh i forgot: its compulsory when you are a sex-pozzie. its also more fun to get help dilating the old neo-vag than taking time out of your day to do it yourself.

as dirt has said on her blog, “when in doubt LIE” seems to carry the day with many transpersons, in whatever situation. but this is something that needs to be critically examined: misogynist homophobic men, creating a real danger to transwomen, in real time. is “just lie to ‘em!” any kind of a solution to the problem? in other words, isnt the problem of misogynist homophobes something that born-men should consider before they trans-ition, as well as during and after? for that matter, why is the medical establishment giving the go-ahead to constructed neo-vags that have to be penetrated/dilated, when sexual intimacy with men is frankly the most dangerous thing a woman could ever do because of domestic violence and rape? seriously. penetrative sex with men should NEVER be billed as “its required” and whether or not “its good for you!” is completely depedent on the situation. theres something wrong with this discourse on every level. even as a medical discipline its extremely problematic on the most basic level: safety and likelihood of a positive outcome. a procedure thats been green-lighted when its clearly not ready to go live, and post-op standard of care thats deeply misogynist and likely to get you killed.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

UPDATE: (kind of) i just visited shapely prose, and they have posted TBLs question…and its gone strangely quiet. hers is the most recent comment, and the last one. despite the early hour (in the US) there are several comments published *before* TBLs comment, all date-stamped 12/6 (today). we shall see how (or even whether) this is received by the cult members, and their trusted cissy leaders.

http://kateharding.net/2009/12/03/wednesday-one-liners-2/#comment-123063

292. polly - December 6, 2009

Posted in response (in case it doesn’t get through).

Aren’t you missing the point somethingquitelike? Thebeardedlady is positing a situation in which someone agrees to have sex with someone (while that person is fully clothed I presume) and then realises when they remove their clothes that they have a different genital anatomy from what they were expecting.

And what thebeardedlady asked is if that person says ‘no’ at that point, are they then considered transphobic.?

And your answer seems to be yes they are because the person in question is a woman because of their gender identity, whatever their phsyical anatomy.

What you are actually doing in this case is removing someone’s right to define THEMSELVES as a lesbian based on being attracted to people who are biologically female, whatever their gender identity, or lack of it, because I don’t have a gender identity personally.

So I’d say you’re being HOMOPHOBIC, actually, because you’re not respecting lesbian’s right to self define as biologically female people sexually attracted to biologically female people. A sex, not a gender.

293. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Polly, that’s a great response. Funny, they seem to have posted my response to somethingquitelike, but not yours?

You’re right, though, it is completely homophobic.

294. polly - December 6, 2009

Because male bodied people have every right to define themselves as “lesbians”, but female bodied people don’t have a parallel right it seems, for the really hard of thinking.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

i posted there too:


re: TBL’s question. i find it problematic that we seem to be talking about RAPE here, because we are taking away a woman’s right to say NO. are we comfortable with this? yes or no? if we are, why? if we arent, why not? this is not a rhetorical question, and i think TBL poses it beautifully. the way she framed it: “can she change her mind?” is absolutely the way it needs to be framed. because in order for sex to be consensual, each partner *must* be able to change their mind at any time, for any reason. would this woman who changed her mind be transphobic? and would she be kicked out of a feminist space for it? are questions that further come to mind.

in other words, are we demanding that women choose between being raped, or being transphobic?

295. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

I posted as well, and brought up the absurdity of random sex with strangers also being made the norm for these hypotheticals. Why on earth do we want to have sex with people who might harm us if they knew who we really were?

Anyway, it’s too long to post here. I hope it gets approved!

296. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

Huh. Still waiting for mine to be approved. I sure as hell hope it gets put up. For now, I’m putting it here, because I have to leave soon and won’t be online for most of the day. All the best, gang!

Hi Something Quite Like,

That’s not a straw man, sorry. You’re interpreting it as such because you’re interpreting TBL’s comment as being intrinsically linked to a slippery slope that says “If there’s ever ONE case where a trans person is wrong not to reveal identity in advance, then in ALL cases trans person are, as you put it ‘out to con you into sex you would not otherwise have had.’” That’s absolutely not the argument being made, so your counter becomes the actual straw man.

It seems to me very clear how this conversation has arrived at this point. Annalynn started it by saying: Whether or not the situation is likely to happen is irrelevant to me because the argument being made by various commenters was that transpeople at no point have any obligation to reveal to their partners their trans status.

Just Some Trans Guy didn’t like the hypothetical. That’s his purview. But feminism talks about all women’s lived experiences, and pays close attention to the language we use to frame acceptance and understanding. So let’s be real about sex here: Ideally, we all want to have it with people who are honest about a lot of things — people who won’t lie about their interests and intentions to get into our pants, people who won’t lie about the diseases they’re already carrying in their pants. If a trans woman is with someone she feels would beat her or otherwise reject her if he knew she was trans, she’s with a bad partner — someone she’ll never be able to share all of herself with. That might be fine for the sex-pos camp, which advocates sex with strangers as one of a woman’s means of liberation from gender oppression. It is, however, more than a little uncomfortable to think that kind of sex is taken for the norm in these discourses.

Now, I’m queer. The term I particularly like to use is impartial, which others would read as “bi.” Most of the trans women I’ve met are lesbians. The very fact that I can identify them as trans women arises from the fact that they are “out” already. I can’t conceive of any of the trans women I know ever wanting to hide who they are when having sex, but that’s anecdotal: Clearly, from the comments posed by Just Some Trans Guy, some trans women do. (See: Me being unnerved by random sex with possible perpetrators of violence being identified as the norm here.) Okay.

Say I’m a lesbian or bi queer who feels the same. (And I know plenty who loves them the NSA sex.) I meet someone, it clicks, we go home. It turns out she has a penis. Now, me, I’m impartial. That’s pretty much why I use the term, because it doesn’t matter to me what equipment a person has — I’m attracted to the whole person. But not all lesbian or bi persons would feel the same way. A LOT would see that as a piece of equipment that doesn’t attract them, and in fact is a turn off. At this point, in an ideal world, the lesbian or bi person should be able to say “no, sorry, not interested” and leave / ask the other person to leave. Would this make the woman transphobic? No. This would make the woman very aware of her own turn ons and turn offs — namely, no penis. To say anything else is to subordinate an individual woman’s right to personal choice to a trans woman’s desire never ever to be rejected from sex on the basis of gender identity. On that I would be boggled if there wasn’t universal agreement in the realm of feminism.

But this gets trickier when we consider the penis itself. Because born-women are coded from a very young age to recognize the threat of violence that comes with that sex which is predominantly, physically stronger, and certainly has the equipment to be more forceful with the taking of sex. The fear I would have here is for a lesbian or bi person being afraid to decline — and in short, being submitted to polite rape. I find this especially easy to envision if the conversation here, normalizing a notion of transphobia in the person who wants disclosure before hitting the bedroom, is ubiquitous in feminist discourse. A woman is already gender coded not to hurt people’s feelings, even when our own perception of safety is at stake: it is by no means a stretch to see this gender coding rearing up the same here as it would being alone with anyone who has a penis, and who expected sex upon entry to our homes. Again, I would be boggled if there weren’t universal feminist agreement on this score.

Now again, we are, ideally, already talking about a hypothetical case, and not the norm. Trans women and born women alike generally want a sexual partner we can trust to love us for who we are. We both equally want partners with whom the expectation of violence or rejection for revealing our inner identities is not a likely outcome. We are therefore dealing here, in this hypothetical, in a wholly alien sphere — one of random sex with strangers. And that’s always a scary arena. That’s an arena wherein we don’t know if the person we’re with has STDs, or if they’re violent people, or if they simply are diametrically opposed to us in their outlook on life.

So for a trans woman who can “pass” physically as a woman, and seeks out random sex with a man, she is absolutely riding on her ability to pass to carry her through without being outed, because she really doesn’t know the person she’s with — she has no idea how he’ll react. Best of luck. But for a trans woman who has her penis, and seeks out random sex with a woman, this is a scenario wherein the born-woman, who has her own right to perception of safety, and her own gender-coded history of fear of violence from the penis, has an equal right to know before hitting the bedroom.

In short, in the hypothetical world first presented for discussion above, where random sex with people who might be perpetrators of gendered violence is for some reason the ideal for some trans women, yes, trans women with penises have an equal responsibility to born-women to reveal before hitting the bedroom.

In my hypothetical, though, feminists would never in a million years shack up with someone we thought might hurt us if they knew who we really were, and so give us leave to hide our most basic inner identity during sex. For me, therefore, this is all a pretty non-feminist argument from the get-go.

That said, I apologize for jumping on to this space, but I do feel saddened when feminist discourse is derailed this way. The sharing of our experiences, and the full understanding of the language we use to do so, is I think one of the most beautiful things about the movement. I don’t think anyone should be silenced for that.

All the best,

Maggie

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

my comments are going through, but i have posted there before so that doesnt mean anything. they might get taken down later after the mods wake up. heres my latest post:


re: the use of hypos. generally i dont think its a good idea, but thats mostly because of the way hypos are deliberately abused: for example, straight men “asking questions” about rape by creating absolutely disgusting and graphic scenarios (that are almost always CLEARLY rape) meaning to harm, trigger, offend and ultimately run-off the women who are discussing the topic…the topic that 90% of the time affects the WOMEN and not the men (except as the perps, because men perpetrate it 99% of the time).

but when the topic is either ethics or logic, the use of hypos is completely reasonable. thats the way ethics and logic are tested, in fact: by applying your “rules” to a certain set of facts, and seeing if your “equasion” still works. the topic TBL is responding to is and issue of ethics, ie. lying to your sexual partner about your status as trans. in this context, crying “privilege!” against anyone who poses a set of facts to test “teh rulez” is disingenuous.

297. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

SHE JUST CLOSED THE THREAD. WHAT THE HELL.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

hey maggie…thanks for posting your comment here. i think its a good one, and needs to be seen. it makes me LOL to see the thread closed, and we nasty radfems directed to “trans 101″ when we ARE doing a fucking intersectionality analysis. thats what my entire article was about, and thats what the commentors here have been doing since it was posted (or trying to, in the midst of all the abuse and derailing from the transactivists).

i wonder if these people know what polly knows: that internet transactivism is a big fat joke, and that transpersons IRL dont act this way? because shutting down the discourse is blatantly pandering to one, and ignoring the other. i dont even know where a “regular transguy/gal” would go online, to get a real discussion of intersectionality, should they want one. i have a hard time believing that all the “good” trans are not connected to the internets.

298. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Comments are closed! Here’s what kate harding says:

this may be an amusing intellectual exercise for cis people who haven’t ever had to think about it, but for other people, it’s fucking real life.

Right, so born women have never had to think about sexual violence, misogynist or homophobic hatred, rape etc? It’s only ‘fucking real life’ for trans women, so fuck you born women if you’ve got a problem with being told you have to fuck anyone who tells you to, or you’re a transphobic bigot.

Seriously? Seriously? What the fuck?

factcheckme - December 6, 2009


Right, so born women have never had to think about sexual violence, misogynist or homophobic hatred, rape etc? It’s only ‘fucking real life’ for trans women, so fuck you born women if you’ve got a problem with being told you have to fuck anyone who tells you to, or you’re a transphobic bigot.


so, your question wasnt answered, because it was a hypo, and hypos are per-se “privileged” and abusive. ok, i grant you that many, MANY times, abusive men show up online to perpetuate the (sexual) abuse of women by introducing deliberately abusive hypos, usually on issues of DV and rape, as i said in my comment to them (its still there as of this second). but as TBL points out here, the issue is sexual violence and misogyny…and as maggie points out SEX WITH STRANGERS. are born-women so “privileged” that we cant even discuss the issues, and we cant use hypos, even when its used to test an ethical system (which is exactly how questions of ethics SHOULD be tested)?

again with the CIS-DOWN AND SHUT UP. theres no such fucking thing as cis-privilege. i dont think we are ever going to get beyond this point, because the disagreement is literally with the premise.

EDIT: its more than that. the disagreement is with the premise (that cis- and cis-priv exists) BUT normlly, that could be worked out through discourse, and testing equations. in this case though i think its literally a problem of the cissys being PARALYZED FROM THE NECK DOWN UP by the accusations that they are being abusive, and that they have privilege. this was the intent of the transmovement, when they deliberately co-opted our language: PARALYSIS and MASS CONFUSION. mission fucking accomplished.

299. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

I’m amused that they felt they had to close comments. Yet more silencing tactics! No one was abusive or nasty, not like trans activists and cissies have been over here, towards fcm and others. If their argument is so strong, why can’t they present it and discuss it?

I mean, I wasn’t imagining that a woman was threatened with banning because she thought she should be able to ask questions of her sex partner? So that’s trans 101 is it? Asking questions is transphobic. Shut up and do what you’re told.

Maggie, I really liked your comment. Shame it probably won’t ever get seen over there.

300. polly - December 6, 2009

This is exactly analogous to the kind of thing that gets posted about ‘transphobic’ lesbians (ie those who demand female only spaces) all the time. So it’s not a strawman at all. Especially since I note it is so often STRAIGHT WOMEN dictating to lesbians who they should be attracted to.

Take this piece

Some of this is still played out today in Europe, exported worldwide and with that is the knowledge that the fear and hatred apportioned to the civilising process which continues riding the wave of contemporary history today. It is no surprise that suddenly all the lesbians around you feel threatened by the unknown they assume that you present them with. It is something people do out of insecurity, paranoia and a scream out for approval. The question I would love a straight answer to is, who’s transphobic/homophobic now? The assumption that only female born women can be lesbian has a history as dated as humanity itself. Translesbianism is only one strand of womanhood and trans-homosexuality (i.e. transsexual and homosexuality), there are trans-gay-men (a strand of manhood) out there doing their thing on various platforms too: be they non op, pre op or post op and we date with as much diversity as the mainstream does.

http://www.blacklooks.org/2008/09/trans-homosexuality.html

Which was linked here

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/09/an_account_of_l

By a straight, white, English blogger (who incorrectly states that the piece is about someone living in Africa when it clearly states it is ‘taking place in Europe’).

What right does a straight woman (I think Kate Harding is straight, though I’m not sure?) have to tell lesbians who they should and shouldn’t be attracted to, and who they should accept in her place?

301. polly - December 6, 2009

Sorry, last bit should read ‘who they should accept in their space)….

And BTW Kate Harding, this is REAL LIFE for me as well. Because when I asked to be referred to a ‘lesbian’ counsellor, I was referred to a trans woman. Because it is ME who is expected to accept male bodied people as people I should be sexually attracted to, according to you, I have no right to even say who I can and cannot sleep with.

You’re advocating rape Kate. You’re saying lesbians have no right to self define. And you’re too cowardly to even let people respond.

302. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Talking of cis privilege, if I have so fucking much of it, how come there’s about 3 blogs on the WHOLE of the internet where I am able to discuss these issues without being banned/the entire blog being shut down?

As for hypothetical questions, of course they can be misused, but in this case I think that it was fair enough – they’d set up an ethical model in which trans people are not expected to truth tell, and in which asking questions is considered transphobic. The hypothetical question tested that system. And it turns out that they still think that ethical model is ok.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

even *i* havent closed any of my comments yet, and you have seen the shit that i have been putting up with. and *i* and my readers and commenters are the ones being accused of using silencing tactics.

maggie: i really liked your comment too, and your conclusion that we are talking about sex with strangers, which is ALWAYS dangerous for women. again, they think the danger they are facing is because they are trans: ITS NOT. its because they are having sex and otherwise being intimate and alone with men they dont know. FULL STOP. this presents a HUGE problem for the sex-pozzies, doesnt it? to admit that we ALL face this danger? and that its real, and it has everything to do with the fact that men routinely abuse their sexual partners? BTW this abuse doesnt top, just becuase you know your partner, either. perhaps if any of these “slut bags” (as m. andrea calls sex-pos transwomen) ever got beyond the casual-sex stage, they would realize that, too. and when they do…THAT will be a trans-issue too. not a woman-issue. and they will STILL be saying that born-women have cis-priv.

303. polly - December 6, 2009

This is also REAL LIFE Kate, for every single woman in the UK at the moment. Because BY LAW they have to receive personal care from male bodied people whether they want to or not, if those male bodied people are legally ‘woman’. Yes in the good old U of K you CAN legally be a woman no matter what your physical anatomy is.

This is REAL LIFE Kate, for the Muslim woman who asked for a female driving instructor and got told she had to accept a MALE person because legally they were a ‘woman’.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23486202-muslim-man-threatens-to-sue-driving-school-for-sending-transsexual-instructor-to-teach-his-wife.do

This is REAL LIFE Kate for the woman prisoners who now have to share space with a rapist and murderer.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3161209.stm

304. Laurelin - December 6, 2009

“this may be an amusing intellectual exercise for cis people who haven’t ever had to think about it, but for other people, it’s fucking real life. ”

I don’t think any of us found this amusing.
What a fucking insult to female born persons.

305. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

And you know what, it’s fucking MALE privilege that makes trans women think it’s OK to lie and decieve women in order to get sex – because that’s how men are taught to deal with women. How can they get away with twisting it so that it’s now ‘cis privilege’ to object to someone lying in order to get you into bed?

Fucking hell.

Sorry for all the swearing, fcm, but I am pretty annoyed about being told my ‘fucking real life’ is all about nice intellectual exercises while trans people have to deal with male violence and oppression.

Fuck feminism. Kate harding just totally invisibilised and erased MY real life, in order to curry favour with some trans guy.

306. polly - December 6, 2009

And BTW Maggie. Nobody will EVER admit the homophobia in so much trans politics, because it’s just too awkward for them to deal with.

I always, always accepted all comments that were left on my blog barring literally about 3. I occasionally closed threads when they were just going over and over the same ground. But if you resort to referring to ‘intellectual exercises’ when I am talking about MY real life, I’m going to assume that’s becuase you haven’t got any sensible answer.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009


“this may be an amusing intellectual exercise for cis people who haven’t ever had to think about it, but for other people, it’s fucking real life. ”


for real, laurelin. this isnt a case of men mentally-masturbating to rape-hypos. yes, men do that! and NO, its not acceptable. but 1) we arent mentally masturbating here. we dont benefit from misogynist homophobes raping and killing transwomen, becuase they do it to us too! whereas men DO benefit from perpetuating and apologizing for rape, and rape-culture. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MOTIVE. and 2) the above quoted phrase is a very potent example of the appropriation and regurgitation of feminst principles, used to further an anti-feminist trans-agenda. whats next? no, really? what?

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

swear away, TBL. LOL why should i be having all the dirty-word fun?

307. polly - December 6, 2009

BTW Maggie your (unpublished) comment is wonderful.

308. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

LOL! It’s helping to relieve my severe fucking annoyance at kate harding.

And I’ve been asking myself the same question – what’s next? The links Polly posted are so disturbing. If any man can decide to be a woman, any time he likes, and thus gain access to women’s spaces of any kind, even though he may be anatomically male, with male hormones, male dress etc, that is a problem for women. And if we can’t even address these problems without being accused of transphobia, we are doubly fucked over. It’s misogynistic, sexist and homophobic, and we’re not allowed to name it.

kate harding and the rest of them are basically telling women to get fucked – shut up and do as you’re told or you can get out. Don’t give a fuck if you’re a lesbian, you’re not allowed to make your own choices about this, because if a man says he’s a woman, he is, so you have to fuck born men with men’s bodies, or be labelled transphobic. How is that not totally homophobic and woman-hating?

309. polly - December 6, 2009

This also has to be comedy quote of the century BTW. It’s only 9 years in but I’m calling it now.

>
Also, besides the complete lack of sympathy I feel for your hypothetical transphobic (given that she thinks a trans woman is actually a man) lesbian, I also have to wonder why her own sexual preference/identity is so fragile that it can be threatened by someone else’s self-identification.

Whereas the hypothetical trans woman has an identity so fragile it can only be validated by women who are only sexually attracted to female bodied people affirming her ‘womanhood’. If they refuse to accept her as a ‘woman’ by wanting to sleep with her her identity is so threatened they must immediately be deemed transphobic for thinking she is a man.

I tell people at work sometimes about these internet debates and they think they’re hilarious!

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

plus…its not this hypothetical transpersons “self-identification” that said hypothetical lesbian would find threatening. that would be the PENIS. i swear to fucking christ, these people think that sex and gender are the same. no matter how much they try to jump on the feminist bandwagon thats premised on the belief that sex and gender are NOT the same…and no matter how earnestly they claim that they are subverting gender, they are making the same essentialist statements and fallacies as are the MRAs, misogynists, and anti-feminists. all the while proclaiming that its the radfems who are essentialist.

310. polly - December 6, 2009

Oh yes that is completely obvious by the question ‘what if you slept with a female person who later came out as a trans man’.

And the answer is, no lesbian I no would be in the least bit threatened by that, because they are female, whatever their gender identity is.

And bear in mind this is the law of the land where I live, gender = sex.

311. polly - December 6, 2009

‘know’ not ‘no’ I am turning into Nigel Molesworth….

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

PS. i just had someone named “GMS” email me and inquire “what are the specifics of your educational background?” well, GMS. why does it matter, since i make arguments that stand alone, and encourage people to “look it up yourself!” rather that insisting that anyone take me on my word, or on my authoritah? and….if you didnt find the info that you were looking for in my FAQ than that means its unavailable. AS I STATED CLEARLY IN MY FAQ. for fucks sake. this is an anonymous blog, get over it.

312. polly - December 6, 2009

I think the fact that all this stuff is so patently absurd explains the religious type devotion to it. It has to be an article of faith because if you examine it rationally you realise it’s nonsense.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

re: the person who emailed me, i googled their email and found that they have been posting/stalking over at feministing under username PepXC. anyone know this person? the fact that they were giving the ‘stingers a hard time kind of makes me LOL…but the fact that they are also creepy and stalky makes me even more sure that i will not be returning their email.

http://community.feministing.com/2009/09/i-finally-got-a-job-at-a-strip.html

313. factcheckme - December 6, 2009

deleted your accidental post TBL. want to repost?

314. thebeardedlady - December 6, 2009

Merci fcm! I was just saying how much I agreed with Polly. Again. LOL.

factcheckme - December 6, 2009

yeah, you and polly should get a room! (j/k)

315. polly - December 6, 2009

The driving school one would have made a REALLY INTERESTING legal case I have to say. But there is bound to be one sooner or later in the UK. The problem is that legislation on trans rights conflicts with other UK and European law.

316. maggieclark - December 6, 2009

And BTW Maggie. Nobody will EVER admit the homophobia in so much trans politics, because it’s just too awkward for them to deal with.

Thanks for the comments, Polly, as frustrating as the truth of them is. I am thoroughly disgusted by the refusal to engage in genuine intersectionality in that thread. What, queer rights don’t matter now? Feminist rights don’t matter? My comment about the REAL considerations this issue creates for lesbian/bi/impartial women was nothing more than an “amusing intellectual exercise”?! What the hell?

It struck me last night, while summarizing what I’ve learned over the last few weeks about myself, in large part due to these threads, that the real issue with cis privilege is laughably simple:

Cis privilege is the “privileged” privilege, because in the real world, it doesn’t fucking matter how victims self-identify. It matters not one whit whether I identify as queer or trans, or liberal or rad feminist, or what-have-you. VICTIMS DO NOT HAVE VOICE. The ones who DO have voice, the perpetrators — they decide if we’re gender normative enough. If we’re not, we incur violence and discrimination and marginalization and disenfranchisement. And if we are, and that gender normativity is gender-female/sex-female, then congrats! We incur violence and discrimination and marginalization and disenfranchisement.

But the notion that a man who does violence against a “faggy” person has the theoretical nuance to determine if this person is gay, bi, transgendered, transsexed, or even just a cross-dressing straight man when he commits this violence, is laughable.

The ONLY group capable of precisely targeting a specific sub-group of non-gender-normative identities is the group of people who UNDERSTAND that there’s a difference between gay, bi, transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser; and more generally, gender normative and non-gender normative in the current gender binary.

In short, us. Feminists. People committed to “gender issues.” This is what truly makes “cis” the privileged privilege: For everyone else there is, in the gender spectrum, only fag and cunt.

I don’t know where to go from here. I really don’t. I resonate with whomever said there was an element of religiosity to this whole lack of critical discourse. What do we do to fix this? How do we bring honesty back to feminist theory? Because right now I’ve seen born women and queer persons marginalizes and invisibilized in the same breath. This cannot fucking stand.

317. maggieclark - December 7, 2009

On second thought, I worry I’m denying transphobia exists. Of course it does. I just strongly, strongly feel that people who do violence against trans persons assume they’re gay; think of transgenderism as an extreme manifestation of the already effeminate gay archetype. They most assuredly think trans persons are trying to “turn them gay” by tricking them into liking “men in women’s clothes.”

I’m also just really mad right now, because I never in a million years expected a conversation about trans inclusivity would be almost by definition queer exclusive. Maybe there is something to the immaturity of 23-year-olds after all — I am learning a FUCKLOAD about how hugely marginalizing this whole mess of a discursive playing field really is. Ideals of inclusiveness and intersectionality? Fading really, really fast just now.

All the best,

Maggie

318. polly - December 7, 2009

How do we bring honesty back to feminist theory? Never, while there is indulgence in the tactics of the cult.

I think the internet has a part to play in this. It is immensely easy for one individual who has the psychological techniques at hand (bullying, guilt tripping, shunning) to exercise undue influence, and I have certainly heard of one particular individual ruling the roost and declaring who should be shunned – Ironically this is usually those who are at least trying to toe the line, since I think this person sussed out long ago who to leave alone.

You are right Maggie to say that we should not deny that discrimination against trans people exists. It does and no one can defend trans people being denied basic human rights such as employment protection and equal access to all social services including medicine and housing. To the extent that that occurs in countries it is very wrong.

However the situation in the UK at the moment is extremely worrying because legally there are no longer ANY single sex services. I know that most people in women’s services have had to take a very defensive stance, they are terrified of challenging anything because they will lose precious funding. An incredibly ill drafted ‘equalities’ bill which is now unlikely to go through thankfully would have made the situation worse in a lot of cases. I think for the first time in my life I may actually be glad to see a Tory government.

319. polly - December 7, 2009

BTW Maggie, I can’t see your post because it’s protected.

factcheckme - December 7, 2009

i could see the post maggie.

320. maggieclark - December 7, 2009

Ah yes — I closed that post last night after discovering that a few people defriended me for having the audacity to say I do not recognize any “inner gender identity” for myself. I’ve re-posted it here. My other journal is almost entirely for my poetry, fiction, plays, essays, etc, so I’m going to let my identity speak through those alone in that sphere. This is the safer sphere, clearly, for talking about my feminism and my identity.

Also, thanks for responding, Polly. I ended on such a difficult, angry note last night that I really didn’t feel very good about myself: As much as queer and feminist issues are being marginalized and often quite literally silenced in these conversations, what they want from us, I think, is really and truly to blame trans persons for it, so they can further prove us to be transphobic, cissexist bigots. I’m not playing that game. I refuse. Non-gender-normativity hurts women, queer persons, and trans persons alike. We should all be allies in this. It makes me very, very upset that we’re not.

All the best,

Maggie

321. thebeardedlady - December 7, 2009

Maggie, I was angry yesterday too, mainly because of kate harding’s comment, which I thought was completely awful and inexcusable.

Your comments are always well written, intelligent and thoughtful, and I was also very annoyed that your excellent comment didn’t make it through.

I think that we are living through a time of enormous backlash against feminism and a lot of what we are seeing now is part of that. Feminism needs radicalism, it needs theory, it needs strong smart logical women. But it probably also needs a lot of support from other women, who haven’t got much theory, and it’s those groups of women that have fallen into this cult-like way of thinking.

Having said that, common sense is usually no sense at all, and majorities are renowned for being utterly wrong. If you ever find yourself in the majority on an issue, saying how it’s just common sense, you can be pretty sure you’ve missed the point! Take comfort from being in the minority sometimes – I do!

322. polly - December 7, 2009

Thanks Maggie. I am different from some people in that I don’t have a burning sense that I want to change my physical body, or that I particularly want to be perceived socially as a particular gender that is at odds with one I am perceived as.

However this is an advantage, NOT a privilege. The difference is analogous to the situation I may be more comfortable in my own skin than someone with severe depression. But not having depression in itself isn’t a privilege, being treated differently, such as finding it easier to get employment than someone who is depressed is.

The only people who enjoy cis gender or cis sexual privilege are heterosexual males.

If people can’t see what the problem is with saying than ANYONE not wanting to have sex with ANYONE is an expression of ‘privilege’ or ‘phobia’ they’ve got far more problems than I can go into here. Yet again and again I’ve seen this view expressed – even from some ‘radical feminists’.

Look people. Sex IS NOT A RIGHT. Yes someone may, for example, not want to have sex with black people because they are racist, but not having sex with a black person can never in and of itself be a racist act. Because sex is not a right. Geddit? No one has a right to any sort of PERSONAL relationship with another person.

No probably not.

323. thebeardedlady - December 7, 2009

Heh. Talk about sweeping generalisations… I think I made a fair few in my last comment. I don’t really think most people are stupid. Sometimes they really piss me off though!

324. thebeardedlady - December 7, 2009

And I’m sorry to multiple post! But I thought this was an interesting post on intersectionality, in the light of recent debate here and on SP, and I wonder what you make of it:

http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/intersection-specialization/#comments

325. polly - December 7, 2009

Oh and just to hammer home the transphobia/homophobia message…

A transgender teen in Orlando has filed a discrimination complaint against a McDonald’s restaurant whose managers refused to interview her for a job.

Zikerria Bellamy claims two McDonald’s managers refused to interview her after she applied for a job. And she says one of them later left a voicemail message that included a gay slur.

The 17-year-old Bellamy is male but says she has been living as a female for about six year (my emphasis).

http://www.wptv.com/news/state/story/Trangender-teen-says-McDonalds-refused-to-hire-he/VGOr5pn-5U66DcxInMmqbA.cspx

She’s transgender but they refused to hire here because they thought she was gay.

326. polly - December 7, 2009

Two more random things

Can Kate Harding note that it was justsometransguy who brought up the ‘outing question’ thusly, not anyone wanting an ‘academic debate’

Also, re: outing, I can’t help but remember the whole “Tranny Alert” evilness when I think of outing. What if you out a trans person whose partner doesn’t KNOW that he, she, or ze is trans? That could have deadly consequences. God, especially when a Large Feminist Blog That I Refuse To Name had heaps and heaps of commenters who very seriously argued that trans people who have sex with cis people without beforehand stating that they’re trans are RAPING their sex partners.

And just some transguy also had this to say…

Oh – cis-privilege: you don’t have to worry about a judge severing your parental rights despite all other evidence that you’re not a bad parent. Just to throw an example out there.

Really, like gay men or lesbians never lose parental rights. Or “slutty” women? Or poor women? Or women with disabilities? Or FAT WOMEN? Because I’ve heard of all those happening. But this was the best ever. A woman having her child forcibly adopted because she ‘let’ him see her husband abusing HER.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1206625/This-mother-went-run-Europe-social-workers-tried-snatch-son-Her-crime-Letting-husband-shout-.html

Total fucking ignorance of others real lives, your name is justsometransguy.

327. polly - December 8, 2009

Oh and answer me this one please: why is it ok for certain trans activists to post endless hate speech about *rad fems* online – like the ones who make jokes about rad fems dying or the ones who sent racist rape threats to Arooo, without a peep out of ANYONE, yet threads like this and thoughtful comments like Maggie’s are examples of hideous transphobia so bad that they can barely read it?

I really would like an answer, because from where I’m sitting it looks a lot like misogyny.

328. maggieclark - December 8, 2009

Thanks for those links, TBL and Polly!

It occurred to me yesterday (and I’m sure you’ve already LONG since come to this realization, so humour the young’un) that contemporary mainstream feminism is no different than contemporary mainstream punk-rock: both have had their aesthetics and outward appearances embraced by corporate culture, which has found ways to mass market both concepts back to consumers in safe, easily-to-swallow packaging. Just as punk rock apparel can be bought with ease at big name stores, to the detriment of the very underlying notion of “punk” in the first place, so too can feminism be “bought” through a wide variety of readily available consumer goods, to the detriment of the very underlying notion of “feminism” in the first place.

The only trouble is, punk rock has no essentialism binding it with the class politics that played a huge role in its original emergence. It is, rather, one of many chosen forms of self-expression used to demonstrate difference and non-normativity. Feminism, on the other hand, IS bound intrinsically, essentially, and without user-choice to gender politics — so when it’s made universally palatable consumer-grade quantities, it perpetuates horrific real world consequences for marginalized women everywhere.

Now, I know a lot of women wouldn’t feel comfortable allying themselves with a brand of feminism that isn’t trendy or mainstream. I myself am struggling with how much I should articulate my deepest beliefs in my day-to-day life, because it’s not fun to lose friends over anything. But it seems clear that real feminism can never happen in a comfort zone. Feminism needs to be taken off the shelves. So long as it’s for sale at the most universally accessible level, how can we ever hope to get full, open, and honest discourse going again?

Best,

Maggie

329. Secretive By Force - December 8, 2009

Thank you so much for writing this.
I used to read Kate Harding’s blog but it seems to slowly be transforming into a lovefest for transwomen above all else.
How anyone can argue that its somehow “theoretical” for the idea of a transwoman to lie “her” way into bed with someone and a “strawman” is beyond me – I know of many incidents like this and I’m only one person. Yes its rape, of course it is, to lie about something that important to get to sleep with someone. And someone tried to lower it to lying about one’s religion by bringing up Catholics who believe its a sin to sleep with Baptists? Newsflash – both of them believe its a sin to have sex outside of marriage anyway. There’s a real strawman argument for you.
No I’m not for outing someone at work where their genitals shouldn’t matter anyway. but before being sexually intimate with someone?! They are SERIOUSLY advocating their right to lie about this?! How much further can they take this fucking crap? Its just another case of born women have no rights at all, we only exist as fucktoys for the men, be they “transwomen” or not, our silly little bigoted desires mean nothing. Lean over and take that transwoman cock, its really just a big clit, because they say it is. *cusses to self*

330. polly - December 9, 2009

Another similarity to mainstream punk rock Maggie is the slavish adherence to FASHION. As I’ve pointed out a few times.

Lean over and take that transwoman cock, its really just a big clit, because they say it is. *cusses to self*

Rest assured, SBF, I’ve never known anyone who has ACTUALLY been persuaded by this argument that wasn’t into penii to begin with. But indeed, how VERY DARE YOU say what type of genitals you want your partner to have? I’m going to start calling every heterosexual woman who doesn’t want to have sex with me homophobic I think.

331. maggieclark - December 9, 2009

I’m going to start calling every heterosexual woman who doesn’t want to have sex with me homophobic I think.

Hah! I just snorted orange juice. Which is about as pleasant as it sounds. Thanks, Polly — I think I’ve got a new pick-up line!

“Hey, baby, we should have sex sometime. I mean, unless you’re a homophobe. ARE YOU?!”

100% pick-up rate, here I come!

factcheckme - December 9, 2009


“Hey, baby, we should have sex sometime. I mean, unless you’re a homophobe. ARE YOU?!”

100% pick-up rate, here I come!

this works for straights too. next time a man turns me down for sex, i am going to call him GAY to his face, and then tell everyone he knows that hes GAY.

332. Elaina - December 11, 2009

Wow. What a big bowl of wrong.

I’m sorry, this is the kind of thing that tears at my heart. My partner has been through gender transition, and we struggle through life, trying to be principled feminists, call out bullshit oppression, and really educate dipshits who think they know enough to make comments and assumptions about our lives without *actually* knowing jack-shit about our lives. And these usually are friends and loved ones- and we’re patient with them.

I have no patience for this bullshit.

But I have to admit, before I ever gave enough of a shit about a person who was trans to walk beside them in life a little ways, I thought a lot of the same bullshit. Just without the vitriol.

I’m not going to argue the nuances here. This is hate speech. It’s one thing to talk about male privilege and differences in lived experience. It’s not so unreasonable to talk about what it’s like to live your formative years with one set of expectations, and then talk about what it’s like to have those expectations turned on their heads. There needs to be a dialogue about all that stuff, no doubt.

Here’s the thing: this isn’t dialogue. IT’S FUCKING HATE SPEECH. It’s a form of scapegoating. This is targeting a marginalized group when your own feels too fucking weak to target the real enemy, the real oppressor. It makes me angry as hell, because it destroys opportunities to work together, it stirs up THE VERY BEHAVIORS IT SEEKS TO CRITICIZE, and it just isn’t fucking feminist.

Rambling on in this fashion without any thought to what it might be like to have to live through changing your gender- physically, mentally, on paper, and out there in the world- is a malicious act of hatred. It tells people that radfems are just as cloistered and cliquish as the friggin’ skull and bones club. This is why the rest of the activist world, and more and more young women who could *benefit* from radical feminism turn away from it- and yeah. A lot of those women that you alienate are women who are trans.

I’ve lived the nightmare of pornography, abuse, and oppression, and I want it to end. FOR ALL OF US. I’ve defended the radfem point of view to every kind of person you can think of. I can’t defend this. This isn’t analysis. It’s gleeful hatred. It’s beating up that smaller kid on the playground after the bully’s taken your lunch money, just because you don’t feel like standing up to the bully.

It’s wrong.

333. polly - December 11, 2009

Threatening women with rape and murder is hate speech Elaina. Calling a black woman the N word is hate speech. Denying that women experience oppression is hate speech. Denying the existence of lesbians by insisting they must be attracted to male bodied people is hate speech.

334. thebeardedlady - December 11, 2009

Hate speech, Elaina? Oh, you mean when someone upthread told us we were a bunch of rat infested herpes lovin something or other, and fcm should “go and fuck yourself with a rotting horse cock”. Or the person who said about fcm, “i am going to fisk her til she bleeds!”

Yep, that’s hate speech alright.

Haven’t heard any hate speech from rad fems on this thread, though, and I’ve been here the whole way through. Unless you think it’s automatically hateful for women to discuss the complex ramifications of some trans women’s sex-positivity and related issues? Because if that is what you think, you’re not alone. It’s something we’ve discussed here, too. Why aren’t we allowed to talk about issues that affect us without being accused of transphobia?

Shorter Elaina: I haven’t read the thread. 430 comments – are you kidding?

335. Laurelin - December 11, 2009

Elaina- please read the thread through and point out specific instances of hate-speech.

Criticism isn’t hate-speech.

I wish you and your partner all the best.

factcheckme - December 11, 2009

i agree with the posters who say that this isnt hate speech. for those who actually READ the article and discussion (and elaina clearly didnt) this is a very specific criticism of sex-positive transwomen. its not generic trans-bashing, by any stretch. again, we see that women and feminists arent allowed to even discuss the subject without other women and feminists attempting to shut down the conversation. but i am going to allow this discussion to happen, because this is my blog, and thats what i want to do. anyone who doesnt like it doesnt have to read it (not that most of the detractors even HAVE read it, which is completely obvious by their interpretation of the discussion here as transphobic).

people keep stopping by to “voice” their disapproval to this conversation being had, but this conversation WILL be had, its been had, and its still going on, thanks to my readers. thanks to everyone who has participated and who continues to participate in this discussion. really. its been important to me to find some comeraderie and support, when i thought that feminists had completely lost their way. others have said that this was important to them as well. that means something.

336. polly - December 11, 2009

Confession time, I didn’t know what ‘fisk’ meant (why should I) so here courtesy of urban dictionary…

when a male sits on the back of his partner reverse Cowboy and slides his cock in and out of her ass cheeks without penetration. This works particularly well with fat chicks. The position is named after hall of fame catcher Carlton Fisk.

No I don’t know who he is either.

337. polly - December 11, 2009

Oh I see the trans lobby is getting into a collective lather about someone daring to suggest that maybe gender non conforming behaviour isn’t a mental illness now. How TRANSPHOBIC can you get?

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/transgender_a_disease_that_doesnt_exist.php

338. thebeardedlady - December 11, 2009

fcm, it’s been an educational experience hanging around with you and others on here. Thanks for providing this space – it does mean something. You’re great. Big love to you :)

P.S. How about we get a room?! (joke!)

factcheckme - December 12, 2009

excellent link polly. the 300+ comments are telling…i will finish reading them later!

factcheckme - December 12, 2009

thanks TBL. i would totally get a room with you, and several others posting here. my guess is it would be a hell of a fun party. and i dont even like parties.

339. thebeardedlady - December 12, 2009

I saw that post yesterday (before they took it down). I don’t know why I was surprised to see the comments consisted mainly of telling Ron Gold he’s a transphobe, and virtually nothing that refuted any of his actual points.

However, I did find out from that site what transmisogyny looks like. Apparently it is mainly what happens when women, feminists, gays and trans males set up their own resources and services that do not serve trans women’s needs, or when those services refuse to sacrifice their users’ wellbeing in order to give access to trans women. Someone in the comments asked, ‘what’s stopping you from setting up your own centres and resources?’ Answer? Transmisogyny, of course!

There were a couple of very valid instances of trans/misogyny in the article – like the writer being told that she was lying about her abusive relationship because it made her feel more like a woman! That’s obviously horrible. But so much of the article was really directed against women, feminists, queers, trans men. It doesn’t even mention MEN or MALE VIOLENCE, except in the context of trying to access support services for trans victims.

How is it that their activist is mainly directly against women? Where does that come from? Male privilege? Misogyny?

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/03/what_transmisogyny_looks_like.php

340. polly - December 12, 2009

I see the post linked above has now been removed BTW, although originally they stood by it. So the people who think I should consider myself mentally ill because I never played with Barbies have won.

341. polly - December 12, 2009

Oh excellent, it now appears that I AM trans whether I like it or not, I don’t get any say in the matter.

All of which is important for me to note because I want it made very clear that while you may not identify as Trans, and you may not perceive yourself as such, you may very well be Trans, because I’m going to talk about what is Trans, in the hopes that maybe some folks will understand it.

Trans is not an abbreviation. It is not Latin or Greek. It is a term that has developed over the years, a neologism of sorts that tries rather hard to encompass a wide variety of people and persons who usually have very little in common. It’s the commonality that defines it, though, not the differences.

In a recent couple of articles here at The Bilerico Project, people have said things about a gay man who was killed and about how transgender shouldn’t be a term of any real value. I’m going to point out that the Trans community is an amalgamation, a collection of very different social affinity groups – it’s like a much more complicated version of the LGB all unto itself.

And the one thing they all have in common is that they do not conform to societies expectations of how someone of their physiological sex assigned at birth is supposed to be in the culture they live in.

Ta muchly. Appropriation anyone?

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/what_is_trans.php

342. polly - December 12, 2009

I’m a trans woman and felt validation in talking with cis women who have experienced abuse,

Well I’m glad others sharing their experience of abuse makes you feel validated. Because it’s all about you of course.

343. JenniferRuth - December 14, 2009

Ah, Polly, I do so miss your blog! Your comments here (and those of TBL and factcheckme) have been amazing and so well thought out.

344. Power, privilege, and missing the point « Advice and Consent: Delilah Wood's Blog - December 15, 2009

[...] tongue in cheek but extreme comment that males into BDSM dominance should kill themselves, and FactCheckMe’s analysis of MtF transexuals as merely men slumming as women. (Don’t read that post, by the way, unless you want your head to explode. You have been [...]

345. makomk - December 16, 2009

polly: One of the big things trans activists are battling is this horrid idea that you’re not a real trans woman unless you played with Barbies as a kid and wear a skirt. It is, quite frankly, a load of gender-role enforcing patriarchal bullshit.

Okay, re. cis privilege:

The major benefit of cis privilege is the continuation of the gender binary, which is fundamental to a whole bunch of things and which trans women and men fundamentally challenge in a way that women and men that are merely gender-variant do not.

For example, suppose you were running a feminist event, and suppose that it was a women-only safe space. Would you deny a woman entry because she was too masculine in dress and attitude? How about letting a man in who was feminine? What about if the woman was more masculine than the man? How about if you were a woman visiting such an event – would you expect to be denied entry for being too masculine?

People who are gender-variant but still identify with the gender that matches their genitals don’t undermine the gender binary because they can still be classified into “male” and “female” and their classification won’t ever change. They just weaken the gender roles built on top of that binary. However, the idea that someone solidly classified as a woman can suddenly turn out to be a man or vice-versa? That undermines the entire idea of clear, life-long, unchangeable binary gender. Radical feminism relies on this idea as much as everything else does, perhaps even more so.

One example of how this affects trans women is when they have to use public restrooms. If they use female restrooms, they’re at risk of being treated as potential rapists and arrested. If they use male restrooms, they’re at risk of being treated as women and raped. (Yes, really. Quite a few trans women have been raped in restrooms, and none seem to have ever raped anyone in one.)

factcheckme - December 17, 2009


(Yes, really. Quite a few trans women have been raped in restrooms, and none seem to have ever raped anyone in one.)


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHA oh thats rich. and just how the FUCK do you know that? hmmm? just becuase you want something to be true dont make it so.

346. joankelly6000 - December 17, 2009

“People who are gender-variant but still identify with the gender that matches their genitals”

There is no gender that matches my genitals. There is a sex role FORCED on me and all female assigned at birth people that is BECAUSE of my genitals. The very fact of this enforcement benefits all people assigned male at birth.

That is what gender IS. It’s not some loosey-goosey name tag where some people are like “yeah, that’s me all right,” and some people are like “whoa, wrong tag,” and then good or bad things happen to them accordingly.

It’s a system of enforcing a sex role on female assigned at birth people for the benefit of male assigned at birth people. Period.

347. thebeardedlady - December 17, 2009

How about if you were a woman visiting such an event – would you expect to be denied entry for being too masculine?

No, makomk, but I might expect to be denied entry to a woman only event if I was MALE or a MALE-BODIED PERSON.

Is it really so difficult to understand?

348. thebeardedlady - December 17, 2009

(Oh and btw, when I say MALE-BODIED, I don’t mean a woman with short hair or a cute little beard.)

factcheckme - December 18, 2009

as much as i hate kate harding and her trans-cult lately, i thought i would post a link here to an excellent article she had a few weeks ago entitled “schroedingers rapist”. for some reason, the trans crew didnt take it personally, but they should have. any transwoman that laments her inability to use the womens restroom (lest she be RAPED by the MEN in the MENS ROOM) should read this article, and consider the source: kate harding. someone they trust isnt TRANSPHOBIC.

basically it goes like this: you have no way of knowing if a man (even one in a dress) is a fucking rapist UNTIL HE ATTACKS YOU. No. way. of. knowing. UNILHEATTACKSYOU. being on guard against all men, therefore, is NOT trans fucking phobic.

http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%e2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%e2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

349. thetroubleis - December 19, 2009

Trans* women are not men in dresses. Holy hell, what is with your refusal to to see privilege? I’m not an expert on trans issues, being cis, but damn, you have a lot work to do if you really believe in social justice.

factcheckme - December 20, 2009

thetroubleis, read the article, and every single one of the comments, and evince same in your next post, or dont bother posting here again. thanks.

350. TBL - December 20, 2009

Can we have a song for people like thetroubleis? Maybe to the tune of *twinkle twinkle little star*

poster, poster, read the thread
think about what has been said
use some logic, read and learn,
only then you take your turn,
poster, poster, read the thread
or post somewhere else instead

No? Ok then…

factcheckme - December 20, 2009

HAHA yes, TBL, thats now our official femonade themesong. with proper credit going to you (and whomever wrote TTLS of course). well done!

351. “Fully sexually available to men”? Haven’t we been through this? « Natalia Antonova - December 21, 2009

[...] Still, this is kind of a special moment in the history of the feminist blogosphere: transphobia AND rape apologia, in one nifty little stocking stuffer of a post: sex-pos transwomen–if i were born male, like you were, i might be “sex-positive,” too.  you know:  exhibitionist, pro-porn, and squeeee!-fully sexually available to men.  if only…. — from someone called factcheckme [...]

352. Nicky - December 22, 2009

As an Intersex person born with Kallmann’s syndrome, I don’t buy into any of what the Transgender community, the trans activist and the Transgender Taliban is peddling. What they are trying to do to women, they are doing the same thing to the Intersex community, but only far worse than ever.

As for Zoe Brain, He’s been outed as a Transsexual in deep denial and in my blog I have posted proof of Zoe Brain as Alan Brain and a Transsxual in denial.

353. Laurelin - December 23, 2009

Hi factcheckme, I’ve just noticed from the pingback above that you may be being targetted by the ‘sex-poz’ bloggers. Just wanted to give you some support and fill you in on their usual tactics:

1. Attempt to comment on your threads
2. One writes a rude post about how evil you are
3. Several more do the same thing, much of a muchness

The posts as a rule:
include myriad comments from each other commiserating and joining in the childish abuse,
use terms of abuse when you do not capitulate,
wilfully misrepresent what you say,
try to emotionally blackmail you and intimidate you,
alternate nastiness and niceness,
act is if *you* are the ‘unreasonable’ one.

It’s a tried and tested formula, and they have used it over and over again, so don’t take it personal. (I’m a bloody veteran, me).

You probably knew all this already, so sorry if I’m stating the bleeding obvious. Keep doing what you;re doing, doing what your conscience says is right, regardless of the ill will of others.

http://laurelin.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/how-to-discredit-a-survivor/

http://laurelin.wordpress.com/2008/03/23/yes-this-is-going-to-be-a-cryptic-post/

love and hugs,
L

factcheckme - December 24, 2009

hey laurelin, i havent gotten much trolling or spam lately, despite the pingback. guess they are content to talk about me on their own blogs. LOL fine by me. they stink the place up when they come over here.

354. Laurelin - December 26, 2009

cool, glad to hear it! x

355. That blinking cursor is really helping the writing process. « Major Issues - January 22, 2010

[...] and if you do there is a huge chance that we can’t be BFF.  I’m not okay with the rampant transphobia, hijacking gay politics to suit one’s own agenda, racism, and a myriad other isms [...]

factcheckme - January 22, 2010

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA oh, goody. a pingback.

356. SheilaG - January 22, 2010

You always have to be a little weary of any self respecting lesbian who calls herself Cis-gay. It means she is not completely self confident as a lesbian, and might actually be afraid of the word. Women hide behind “gay” for a variety of reasons, but it is always sad for me to read a blog by a 20 year old in college who doesn’t even know what radical feminism is. And is probably too male identified to try to find out. All this re “Blinking cursor’s” comments via pingback.

I do hope this young woman will read the radical lesbian classics, and SHOCK maybe actually talk to real live radical lesbians out there.. the young ones and the old ones. Women are getting swallowed up in “gender studies blender studies” all over the place. It’s a sad thing.

357. ricky - January 23, 2010

“sex-pos transwomen–if i were born male, like you were, i might be “sex-positive,” too. you know: exhibitionist, pro-porn, and squeeee!-fully sexually available to men. if only…….”

…and still getting off on rape fantasies.

factcheckme - January 23, 2010

exactly! they are still getting off on rape fantasies. men dont get what the problem is with rape, from the perspective of the victim. for the men, its just incredibly sexy, and in fact from the perspective of the rapist, “sex” and rape might look exactly the same. you know, if he was completely into his own pleasure, and cared not a whit about how his partner wanted or felt…pretty much standard fare for most sexually-active hetero males.

nothing changes when these men transition into “women.” nothing at all. they still dont get what is so disasterous, about rape. in fact, rape does not even exist in their minds, in any form that would be recognizable to a born-woman. theres no way that it could. the fact that they cant get pregnant has alot to do with it.


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