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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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Another common charge against Gender Critical Feminists or really, Radical Feminists in general is that they are just a small outspoken subset of Feminism, soon to be forgotten with the passage time..bla bla bla. Apparently, as demonstrated by publication in the US newspaper of record, gender critical thought isn’t going away soon, and if anything is gaining more popularity and momentum as time passes.

Lisa Selin Davis, in her opinion piece ‘My Daughter is Not Transgeneder. She is a Tomboy.’, writes the following (pardon, the formatting, these are screencaps):

 

Wow. :)  Identification of gender as the problem, correctly assessing the role of socialization, and realizing the power of gender stereotyping – all in the same article?!  I highly recommend going to read the full article on the NYT.

   Acknowledging reality, is what this about.  Prioritizing women’s struggle against gender or glorifying the concept that enslaves women in patriarchy.  Women who dare to speak out against patriarchy, as always, are singled out and laid bare for threats and abuse.  Thank you to the brave tenacious women who dare to soldier on with their ‘heretical’ messages and disagreements.  Telling the emperor that he has no clothes, speaking truth to power, addressing the root problems of society – this is the wheelhouse of radical feminist politics and ideology.

This is an excerpt from The New Statesmen that describes the power of the ‘newspeak’ gender identity movement and how it is attempting to silence debate and discussion of gender politics and ideology.

 

“Another thing we are supposed to deny is the differences that now exist among self-identified trans women. The category has broadened over time to encompass more biologically male individuals who have not modified their bodies, and who in some cases do not live permanently as women, but alternate between male and female identities. Their status as women is based on a combination of performative declarations that they are women, and surface features of ‘gender presentation’ like the names they use and the clothes they wear. Nevertheless, they invoke the ‘trans women are women’ principle: if you identify as female then you are female, and should be treated as such by others. In some circles it is considered transphobic for women to question the presence of people with openly displayed male sexual organs in spaces like communal female changing rooms, or for lesbian women to refuse to recognise those people as potential sexual partners (a resistance sometimes referred to as ‘the cotton ceiling’, a phrase which smacks of misogyny and male entitlement). It isn’t just radical feminists who find this problematic: some trans women do too. Is that really just irrational bigotry?

During the debate on the Observer letter, a man who had finally grasped what the trans v TERF dispute was about tweeted (I paraphrase for his own protection): ‘So, you’re saying we have to pretend to believe lies to be nice. Like saying I think cats can fly’. To avoid giving offence to a minority group — or to avoid persecution by its most extreme and vocal members — it’s as if we have all agreed to live in a fantasy world where reality is whatever certain people say it is. My penis is female. It is exclusionary for feminists to talk about female bodies. Cats can fly. Ignorance is knowledge.

A TERF is not someone who disputes trans people’s right to exist. What s/he disputes is the right of a small subset of trans extremists to impose their definition of reality, and their political agenda, on everyone. A TERF is someone prepared to say that the Emperor has no clothes. Though I understand their fears, it troubles me that we have got to the point where people like Mary Beard and Peter Tatchell feel obliged to throw the TERFs to the wolves rather than stand up to the Emperor and his court. ”

Amen to the last two paragraphs.

Well it is most comforting to watch someone take a stand against the doublespeak that seems to permeate most of transactivst rhetoric.

Transactivist: Aint nothing radical about your “movement”…. you’re reactionary. You’re all bigoted and transmisogynistic. Step ya pussy game up.

RF: ok

RF: do u even know what “radical” means lol, it means “getting to the root”, as in getting to the root of women’s oppression which is male desire to control women’s reproductive capacity

TA: Trans women are women too….. if you wanted to get to the root of the problem you would include trans women as well…

RF:the root of the problem, and by problem we obviously mean misogyny and female oppression, is sexism and sex-based oppression (sex-selective abortion, forced pregnancy, female genital mutilation, stigma against periods, lack of reproductive rights, etc) and guess what transwomen face literally N O N E of those things because they have penises so i don’t know what benefit would it bring to include them when they aren’t even affected negatively by the same things we are? why don’t transwomen just create their own separate movement to address their own separate struggles instead of trying to hijack the women’s rights movement?

RF: It’s like the transgender advocates are out in the middle of a lake in a canoe with only one paddle. They’re trying so hard to figure out how to get to shore, but they won’t pick up the other paddle, which is actually lying in the bottom of the canoe. They won’t touch it, and so they keep spinning around and around, far from shore … making the same leaky arguments that get them nowhere.

RF: I used to think if they grasped the fact that feminism is the political movement for the liberation of women they would then realize what women are fighting to be liberated from.

   Sadly, no.

[Source: Cumbler-tumbler]

Hint: As to what women are fighting to be liberated from, it starts with a ‘P’. :/

Yet more evidence that identity politics is bad for women.

   “Pregnant woman” is not an identity. It is a social reality. A pregnant woman’s ever-contracting rights – whether she can choose to end this pregnancy, whether she will risk imprisonment for drinking too much, whether she will lose her job, whether she will be murdered by her partner – can only be seen through the filter of her inferior social status: that of woman. She neither chooses nor identifies with this status and it matters that the restrictions it places on her and others be fully acknowledged. Hundreds of women died today because of the way in which pregnancy intersects with their political and social status as women. The term “pregnant people” denies them the specificity of their deaths and masks the cause.

   What gender-neutral pregnancy campaigning has achieved is wholly negative, making it impossible to articulate why there exists a class of people who are not granted full sovereignty over what lies beneath their own skin. It has located the abortion debate (which should not be a debate at all) back where conservatives want it: on the status of the foetus, not that of the woman. It has allowed the misogynist left to consolidate their definition of woman as “passive fantasy girl with tits” as opposed to “person with independent physical functions, emotions and needs.” Above all, it has created the illusion of an opt-out to being placed in the inferior sex class. Well, there isn’t, at least not until you can be bothered to challenge the fundamental idea that half the human race is inferior (oh, but that’s so much harder than messing about with words!).”

 

 

-Queen of Mists

Today’s Radical Feminist insight comes from Humble Kitten, reminding us that dudes will be dudes in whatever form they happen to come in.

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