marjaerwin: (Default)
… because there are way too many trans-exterminationist pseudofeminists identifying radical feminism with transphobia and especially transmisogyny.

As a trans womon, I used to identify as a radical feminist, and I have learned a lot from radical feminism, although I already supported intersectionality and treated my feminism as one part of my support for human liberation.

I sometimes get the impression that trans-allied radical feminists are silent, and thereby enabling trans-exterminationists to identify their politics with radical feminism. I sometimes get the impression that trans-allied radical feminists are also many other kinds of feminists, and don’t usually feel the need to identify as radical feminists, while the trans-exterminationist pseudofeminists aren’t any kind of feminists, but latch onto radical feminism as a sort of slogan.

I should add that the orthodox seventies radfem view of gender, erasing any underlying identity, and of sex-and-gender-based oppression can be misleading. I don’t think we can reduce sex-and-gender-based oppression to one axis, since there are:

* privileging of normative masculinity over everything else

* privileging of gender conformity over gender nonconformity

* privileging of cis bodies over trans and intersex bodies

* privileging of ‘looks’ although these cannot be reduced to one axis

* more homeless men than homeless womyn

* and all the ways sex-and-gender-based oppression intersect with other types of oppression
marjaerwin: (Default)
Anti-trans ‘feminists’ who insist that we had male socialization, and they need a refuge from male socialization, and then blog about their butch boyhoods.

Anti-trans ‘feminists’ who insist that we are in denial about basic human biology, and then write about parthing.

Anti-trans ‘feminists.’
marjaerwin: (Default)
I see this going around on tumblr, about how “radical feminists are worth none of [our] time,” and I find it really leaves me feeling angry, and othered, and erased. I too am angry at so many betrayals from so many cis radfems. I am feeling too exhausted, and stressed out, and everything after an awful day that had me curled up in a ball at the doctor’s office, to really unpack why this makes me feel so awful. But it does. I know that’s not the intention, but that’s the result.

odofemi:

RADICAL FEMINISTS ARE WORTH NONE OF YOUR TIME

a litany of prayers to the self and the Trans Ancestors

*

In the names of the Mothers, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Pay-It-No-Mind Johnson,

the Daughters, Venus Xtravaganza and Greer Lankton,

and the Holy Ghosts, Mark Aguhar and Candy Darling,

I pray for the strength to not let my attention be diverted,

from the artwork and lifework of those Beautiful Queens.

[full version:] http://odofemi.tumblr.com/post/43485654587/radical-feminists-are-worth-none-of-your-time
marjaerwin: (Default)
I contacted Elsie to ask this last December. I have not heard back yet. It's possible they didn't get my question, but at this point, I'd like to share it even without an answer.

Hi,

I subscribed to Lesbian Connection a few years ago, understanding that it was intended for the whole lesbian community. I am trans. I suggested Lesbian Connection to a few of my friends, and one of them pointed out the language under the guidelines. I had not seen this before. She thought the definition, "women-born-women who identify as lesbians" was intended to exclude us. I don't know whether that was the intention and whether that is still the intention. I do know that I am who I was born, and I am a woman.

I am trying to decide whether to renew my subscription and whether to suggest Lesbian Connection to my trans lesbian friends. I would like to be able to share a reply to clear the confusion one way or the other.

Thank you.
marjaerwin: (Default)
The Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence theory is nonsense, and they crafted their definition of autogynephilia to fit the nonsense and to be untestable.

So you can't compare autogynephilic traits among trans womyn, and among cis womyn, without redefining autogynephilia into something that makes sense. And Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence object to that. As it turns out, autogynephilic traits are fairly common among cis womyn, which invalidates all their special theories about trans womyn; there may be some cross-correlation between autogynephilic traits, sexual orientation, and age among trans womyn, but that can be an issue of barriers to transition, and it isn't a neat two-type division.

A recurring complaint in feminism is that we [womyn] have learned to look at ourselves through men's eyes instead of our own eyes, and to define relationships, sexuality, etc. through men's experiences instead of our own experiences. There's something twisted here. Being happy in our own bodies isn't problematic. Being happy only if we see our own bodies from another's point of view would be problematic. Autogynephilia is only problematic if it's the latter, but it's used to condemn people who assert the former and defy the latter.
marjaerwin: (Default)
http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/2009/08/andrea-dworkin-on-transgender.html

Since comments aren't working there, I'll post here:

I agree that Andrea Dworkin seems to have been a supportive ally, at least at this stage, but she doesn't seem to have understood trans experience, and she doesn't seem to have realized she didn't understand. We don't often get to speak for ourselves, and we can have trouble when allies [and queer theorists] speak for us without understanding our experiences or our needs. I call it 'allyjacking.' [Edit: I don't want to suggest that Dworkin was allyjacking, but just that it is something to be careful about.]

I think there's also a deeper issue involving different people's different needs in terms of feminist theory. For Dworkin, the important thing is to show the artificiality of the social distinction between sexes and say sex shouldn't matter, as class shouldn't matter, and should be abolished. But for many other people it's just as important to reclaim the life-renewing potential of our lived sexed experiences/sex identities: to say "I am a womon, and this is also a womon's experiences," or "I am a man, and this is also a man's experiences," or "I am a unique sexqueer person, and this is my experience," and so on. A lot of people, and most trans people, reach a point where we have to say that; transition makes more sense in this context than in the narrowly androgynous context. Unfortunately some people choose to say "I am a womon, and you are not a womon," from Jan Raymond on, and we get infighting instead of a more inclusive feminist movement which, to begin with, finally squares the circle of androgyny and originality.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I still consider myself a radical feminist. Also an anarchafeminist and trans feminist. I take a lot of criticism, and sometimes hate, for being trans and for having unorthodox feminist views. But this maddens me more than all of that.

Commenting on this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/20/condom-seizures-sex-workers-hiv-aids#start-of-comments on the criminalization of carrying condoms, I noted:

"Sometimes it seems that the purpose of the law is to keep the powerful powerful and the powerless powerless. In this case, it's to punish/endanger/sometimes extort sex from prostitutes and punish marginalized demographics, not to protect prostitutes from abusive clients. Anti-prostitution sweeps target poor womyn, womyn of color, and trans womyn, and profile the targets."

And someone called me a "propagandist in favor of prostitution" who "serve[s] as the mouthpiece of sex traffickers."

*headdesk*
marjaerwin: (Default)
Being trans critical means pointing out issues within trans theory and trans feminism. Some critics might call for changes within trans theory, other critics might call for rejecting trans theory. I think allies should be more trans critical.

Examples: "I am not convinced of the limbic-system sex theory." "I had a lot of trouble accepting my body during puberty, and I'm not sure how my body-image issues differed from their body dysphoria." "I am convinced that butch flight is real."

Being transmisogynistic means hurting trans womyn, degrading trans womyn, or supporting social norms which hurt trans womyn. I am disappointed that some other feminists practice transmisogyny in the name of trans-criticism.

Examples: "All transsexuals rape women's bodies." "Male to Constructed Female." "They expect we'd be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don't realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead." "Surgically and Chemically Altered Male."

Transmisogyny, like any other form of misogyny, seems to be inconsistent with feminism. I discussed my view of feminism in an earlier post here: http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com/52802.html Transmisogyny often involves gender-policing, victim-blaming, and a hostility to harm reduction. Transmisogyny ignores the fact, which Dworkin pointed out in '74, that many, though not all, trans womyn are in a state of what she termed primary emergency.

Transmisogyny is one of the effects of what radtransfem calls the gender ternary. I would suggest reading her post here: http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/genderternary-transmisogyny/ The separation between womyn and men, the creation of distinct roles for womyn and men, and the historical subordination of womyn to men has depended on the use of violence against anyone who blurs the lines.

I can't regard outing, doxing, and suchlike harassment as anything but deliberate transmisogyny. Some of my friends have been doxed, and the doxers have often been misleading and sometimes been wrong. It's wrong, it's reckless, and at times it exposes people to others' violence. It should have no place in feminism.

[One of these sites has put up a list of trans activists whom they identify as "white, "formerly" heterosexual males." Most, if not all, are female. At least one is of mixed descent, but has white privilege. At least one more was asexual before transition, as was I, and at least one more was exclusively attracted to males before transition.]

I can understand the insistence that trans womyn are really men and/or really male, the refusal to use our taken names, and the refusal to use our preferred pronouns as an attempt to assert the significance of reproductive femaleness and/or an attempt to assert the differences between cis girlhood and trans girlhood. But the effect is often transmisogynistic.

Men's and womyn's names, and masculine, feminine, and other pronouns are basically arbitrary. There's no essential femaleness to she/her, or to feminine names, and no essential maleness to he/him, or to masculine names. If someone states a preference for a feminine name and feminine pronouns, using another name and masculine pronouns is rude at best. If someone goes through the world as a womon, using a masculine name and/or masculine pronouns and/or non-binary pronouns may out her and expose her to violence. It doesn't matter if she's "really a womon" or "really a man." I think I pass. I occasionally get sirred, [and frequently get sirred if I'm at the Philly Trans-Health Conference] but I think that has more to do with my preferred clothing than my body or voice. So I feel like I don't have to worry about the pronouns people use for me. But other trans people may feel like they need to worry about the pronouns people use for them. It doesn't necessarily matter if she's out on an obscure blog either. My point is, it's up to her to decide on her safety, and it's not up to anyone else to second-guess that.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I'm thinking of writing a quick guide to trans feminism. I haven't finished yet, but here is my working draft of the Basic Principles section. Some of the language may be an issue for people not familiar with feminist theory, and I'm not really sure what to do about that. I hate glossaries. I really hate starting with glossaries.

Basic Principles

Feminism is a movement against sex-based and gender-based oppression. In practice these are often inseperable from economic, racial, and other types of oppression. Intersectionality is one way of understanding how different types of oppression reinforce one another, and different movements against oppression can aid one another, changing society to empower people.

Trans feminism is part of feminism. Trans feminism applies feminist theory to trans experiences, and expands feminist theory in light of trans experiences.

Feminism often tries to give voice to womyn's experiences. In a culture which most values rich white cisgender heterosexual cissexual men, it's important to give voice to everyone else's experiences. It is important to note that, although there are many experiences which most womyn share, there are no experiences which every single womon shares. In other words, there are no universal female experiences. There are many experiences which both faab womyn and maab womyn share, and there are no experiences, beyond the initial birth assignment, which every single maab womon shares, or which every single faab womon shares.

That said, the fact that I can't become pregnant, that many other womyn can't become pregnant, and that some men can become pregnant does not mean reproductive rights issues aren't feminist issues. They are feminist issues because the violations of reproductive rights are sex-based and gender-based oppression, and also because the violations are targeted at womyn.

Victim-blaming is wrong. Blaming people for what other people do to them is wrong. Blaming people for what they do to survive amid 'primary emergency' is wrong. Victim-blaming often silences people's experiences, and the more we speak of trauma, or victimization, or the more our experiences differ from rich white cisgender heterosexual cissexual men's experiences, the more victim-blaming silences our voices or victim-blamers encourage violence against us for raising our voices.

Harm reduction ought to be an important part of feminism. Harm reduction can help people while we continue intersectional struggles to try to change the cultural, economic, and other systems which harm people. Since many of us have survived physical and often sexual brutality, and almost all of us have suffered sexual assault, harassment, or other attacks, it is important to create healing resources so we can get back on our feet.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Sex stereotyping?

Sex-role stereotyping?

An institution of oppression which can affect every aspect of one's life?

***

It frustrates me that so many trans feminists build trans theory on top of "gender," gender identity, transgender, gender transition, etc. without adequately defining gender, and without addressing how other radical feminists have defined gender.

Of course, trans-ness is complicated; it is socially defined by the kinds of prejudice we face. The various forms of transsexualism, including non-binary transsexualism, are probably biological; it would make sense to refer to sex identity, etc. instead of "gender identity." The rest are probably more complicated. I think it makes sense to refer to gender when referring to the prejudices, and some social aspects, but not to reduce everything to "gender."
marjaerwin: (Default)
Since the 1970s, the term "born womyn" has been used to exclude trans womyn, or to include other womyn and sometimes certain men, on the grounds of biology, socialization and originality. However, if we consider this more closely, I think it is clear that the term should include trans womyn on all three grounds.

1. Biology. There are biological differences between most trans womyn and most cis or otherwise non-trans womyn. However, they are not universal differences.

Some have described menstruation and fertility as important differences between cis and trans womyn. However, many cis womyn have never menstruated, and some trans womyn have had müllerian tissue and/or unexplained bleeding.

Others have noted certain differences in the limbic system of womyn and men. Trans womyn seem to have structures similar to cis womyn, such as the size of the BSTc, and different from cis men.

In my opinion, brain differences seem more important than reproductive differences. There are some problems with the brain-structure studies. The sample sizes are small, and its unclear how the few known differences may relate to gender identity/subconscious sex. There is some controversy about whether these studies have adequately ruled out any effects due to hormone replacement therapy. There is also evidence from the David Reimer case as well as the accounts of many trans womyn that subconscious sex can emerge extremely early and can resist socialization. I am skeptical of the alternative hypothesis that gender socialization shapes subconscious sex in the first months of life, and that subconscious sex is locked in after that.

2. Socialization. Both groups receive most of the same messages from our society, and both groups generally interpret these as messages about themselves. Of course, most cis or otherwise non-trans womyn are raised as girls, and most trans womyn are raised as boys.

There are certain obvious exceptions. The distinction between cis and trans socialization collapses for those who transitioned in childhood. It weakens for people whose parents and friends respected gender-atypical interests. Although most tomboys grew up with parents who pressured them to act in more conventionally feminine ways, a few grew up with parents who respected them and treated their daughter the same as they would have treated their son. One can reasonably say that those womyn had boyhoods. The distinction widens during puberty, as people's bodies differentiate. The vast majority of trans womyn who cannot transition before/during puberty go into severe depression during puberty. If you end up excluding someone because they survived hell, you should rethink your standards for inclusion.

The next issue is more subtle. This whole society treats being a girl/womon as a shameful condition and wanting to be a girl/womon as a shameful desire. I think that these are parallel but not identical. I think that these messages converge if and when someone learns to take pride in herself as a womon and/or chooses to transition, because these experiences unite the desire with the condition. If anything, it means overcoming an additional layer of misogyny to get from being a womon to proudly being one.

3. Originality. This is probably the hardest to define. I would say it is a matter of self-determination and the assertion of a womonhood in relation to womyn, and not in relation to men, which is an ongoing expression of one womon's authenticity and the whole community's integrity, and which does not depend on men, does not depend on the medical establishment, and does not rely on anyone but womyn to define who is a womon and what it is to be a womon.

And we can't have originality as communities unless we have it as individuals too. Self-discovery and re-discovery are part of originality. Many smaller transitions are part of originality: girl to womon, nonsexual to lesbian, and so on. As communities, I don't think we can define people out [of their gender] and still respect originality; I do think we can try to discern who is genuinely discovering themselves, who is trying to and can use some advice, and who is not.
marjaerwin: (Default)
But radical queer politics is getting increasing misogynistic. I would point to Bash Back!, Pink & Black Attack, etc.

I managed to avoid the fiasco at Camp Trans, but those events, and the subsequent debates, seem to bring the crisis into stark relief. Ultimately it is about womyn's independence and womyn's spaces. Ultimately it is about whether we are to exist as ourselves, or to be morally mandated into androgyny by our supposed allies.

We are not less-than because we are womyn. We do not need men to be whole. We are womyn and we are whole as womyn. We do not need to integrate "masculine" and "feminine" aspects into ourselves or our relationships. Subversivism runs on the same premises as heterosexism when it pushes the idea that womonhood is incomplete. We are not assimilationists because we live our lives instead of playing the androgynous-chauvinist roles you assign to us. We do not want to destroy Fest. We would rather see it thrive and embrace the sisters it has excluded so long.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Every womon is born a womon. And every womon must transition to become that womon. Whether trans or cis, we all face a misogynistic society, and we all need to struggle to rediscover our original womonhood.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Okay, it's going to be hard work. I'm not much of an organizer, and even less of a musician. I'm not exactly sure how I can contribute to creating something new, but I'd like to start. Yesterday.

Profile

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