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This exchange typifies many a conversation I’ve had during debates on gender and transactivism.  Critiquing and debating a position is not hate.  Many thanks to the radfemchronicals on tumblr for so eloquently stating her position and highlighting the difference between ‘hate’ and ‘criticism’.

 

grumpypiano asked: I keep seeing anti-trans posts on this blog. Do you not like trans people or something? :( I understand if a few trans ppl said something you didn’t agree with but it seems like the fact that they are trans is what is bad. I feel like I’m missing something here o_o’

:

Hi! Thanks for the question.

I wouldn’t characterize my posts as anti-trans so much as anti-trans rhetoric. None of my posts call for murder, harm, or anything bad to happen to trans people, nor do I purposefully use wrong pronouns/deadname anyone because I don’t think it’s useful or necessary to do so, nor do I deny that people can and should present however they want (although my position on surgery is different, because I don’t believe body altering surgical intervention and hormones are good ways to treat sex dysphoria – in much the same way we can all agree giving liposuction to an anorexic is a bad idea). 

That being said, I disagree with much of the rhetoric pushed by trans activists these days, with good reasons, none of which boil down to aversion toward trans individuals as a class of people:

1. Trans women are women, trans men are men: This is the biggest one, and probably what results in all the others. This idea that you can identify into and out of manhood and womanhood are dangerous, particularly as it applies to women. If you think this way, you necessarily believe that the idea of what a woman is is what is oppressed, since anyone can be a woman. This isn’t true. Women haven’t been oppressed for six thousand years because men don’t like the idea of us, it’s because they want to exploit our bodies for reproduction. It’s not that deep. But if we must include males in our definition of womanhood, we cannot talk about the fact that the oppression of women has and does stem from our assumed reproductive capacity. Thus, the category of woman becomes useless and meaningless, and we can’t talk about our oppression because we are forced to act as if male people can be oppressed for being women, which they can’t be since womanhood is a function of being born with a vagina. The idea that a male can just identify into our oppression without having the parts that cause our oppression is outrageous, and if they can understand why white people can’t identify as black, then they should be able to understand why males can’t identify as women.

2. Brain sex/gender (or any argument that makes gender anything other than an oppressive social construct): This, which has been proven false, is pure misogyny. Again, women have not been oppressed for 6000 years because we have lady brains and are naturally feminine/submissive/docile. These gender roles are imposed upon us by oppressive institutions created by men (hijabs, foot binding, corsets, extreme diets) as well as through socialization (telling us from childhood we’re supposed to be feminine, docile, and submissive). To be told that gender is something of the brain and soul exonerates men from their oppression of us and shifts the blame to women for being helpless, weepy creatures who are just figuring out how to take care of ourselves.

3. Trans people aren’t socialized as their assigned sex at birth: Exonerates trans women (natal males) from male pattern violence and male behavior (such as sexual entitlement and mansplaining). Forces trans men (natal females) to feel obliged to exhibit these male traits even though they were never taught to be like that due to their socialization as females. Denies the impact socialization has on people, particularly in terms of male pattern violence.

4. Natal females have cis privilege: Women who identify as women do not have any privilege in identifying with their assigned sex. Yes, women who are rich, white, and heterosexual have privileges in society, and these privileges may make the experience of womanhood easier (such as having access to birth control/abortion where poorer women might not), but to say that women are privileged by virtue of identifying as women is empirically false. Women are not at any institutional advantage for identifying as women, and to say otherwise is misogynistic and erases female struggle.

5. Trans women do not have male privilege: Anyone born with a penis has male privilege, even if you are effeminate and don’t “identify” with masculinity from a young age. You still have male privilege because male privilege begins in utero. Male fetuses are never subjected to sex selective abortion. Male infants are given more nutrition and parental attention than female infants. And no matter what, if you are a male, your reproductive system is not state regulated and neither is your sexuality (condoms are given out for free, birth control is expensive and can be denied to women on the basis of religion, abortions are inaccessible virtually everywhere in the world and where they are accessible they are not easy to obtain). That is male privilege, and to deny it denies the reality of male privilege in a patriarchal society.

6. Excluding people with certain genitals from your dating pool is violence: Not true. Sexuality involves sex, and during sex you’re forced to interact with a set of genitals, and you cannot learn to be sexually attracted to certain genitals if your innate sexuality compels you otherwise. It’s not reducing someone to their genitals if you’re only attracted to certain genitals. Especially since the chromosomes come with other aspects, secondary sex characteristics, pheromones and socialization, all of which are important to sexual attraction. But more than that, it just isn’t violent to say to a person, “I’m just not looking for a romantic/sexual relationship person with a dick/vagina.” What’s violent is telling gay men and lesbians they need to force themselves to engage with genitals they aren’t sexually attracted to, ESPECIALLY since that was like the whole point of the gay right’s movement.

Sorry for the long winded response, but I hope you can understand better my point of view.

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