Guest Blogger

Solidarity: "Transmisogyny" & "Faggots"

Filed By Guest Blogger | December 21, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, LGBT community, misogyny, solidarity, transmisogyny

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Rachel Dunn is an out and proud trans-lesbian filmmaker living in Los Angeles. Although very supportive of community events, her primary activism comes in the form of fostering and contributing to queer and minority film projects as a cinematographer, producer, writer and consultant. Some of her work can be seen at www.racheldunn.com

DSC_7913a.jpgAfter reading "What Transmisogyny Looks Like" and "I Have a Problem with Faggots", something occurred to me that some may not like to hear, but here it is it is:

The entire queer community has gender issues - not just the transfolk. Gay and lesbian people have a big gender issue - otherwise the gender of the people they love would not be an issue.

Being punished for failing to adhere to heteronormative gender roles is part and parcel of a common problem we all share. When a male child is harangued, harassed, and humiliated for showing emotion, gentleness, crying or displaying other "feminine traits"; that is transmisogyny - whether or not they identify as trans - or even gay.

The double standard created by this type of misogyny is fairly evident.

Lesbian erotica is routinely displayed and accepted in many men's magazines- so homosexuality is not an issue in this context - in fact it is a common fantasy. But at the intersection of homosexuality and misogyny, displaying two men kissing is completely unacceptable to the same men who may fantasize about two women kissing. In this context, kissing a man is supposed to be strictly a "woman's thing" - any male that participates in such an activity is, in effect, taking on the woman's role - in much the same way that transgendered M2F women do.

Watching Adam Lambert's career go down in flames while Lady GaGa rakes in the cash for similar antics is probably the most glaring example of this misogynistic double standard in recent news.

Is it any wonder that the horizontal hatred that transwomen experience from the larger gay community exists? In an effort to sublimate their own 'feminine' traits, some gay men lash out at the most obvious embodiment of these traits, while the paranoia of many lesbians, who grew up dealing with a lot of unwanted, often insistent advances from men, causes them to view transwomen as predators trying to covertly violate their 'sacred space.'

Is it any wonder why many F2M transmen remain connected and accepted by the lesbian community, and seem more accepted by the larger gay community? They are not viewed as interlopers by the women, because many F2M's were once 'one of them,' and this is further reinforced by the butch/fem paradigm pervasive in the lesbian community - which emulates heteronormative behavior, so I suspect F2M transition is not a stretch for many.

Although many F2M's may not be viewed as 'real men' by the gay male community, perhaps the glimmer of heteronormativity offered by such a relationship might serve to further sublimate a gay man's distress at his own gender transgression - despite the masculine appearance of their transman partner. (Because I want to concentrate on our common gender issue, I'm not even going to attempt to address the quagmire of who's got the privilege in a patriarchal society - and why M2F's are considered "downwardly mobile.")

In reading "I Have a Problem with Faggots", I was surprised by the striking similarities experienced between my own trans history, and that of the writer - a gay man. Except that my history had many more examples of this kind of cruelty, as well as many more examples of outright physical cruelty by my peers.

I was also struck by the fact that some of the commenters had a hard time believing that so many bad experiences could happen to one individual - obviously, they don't know many transwomen. The judicial enforcement of rigid binary gender roles is something that everyone has to deal with - gay, lez, straight, bi, intersex, trans, or cis.

Big, life changing - or sometimes life ending- problems arise when our underlying natures make it impossible to conform to these rigid ideals, despite our best efforts. (I've lost count of how many transwomen I know who once joined the military in an effort to "butch up," only to later accept their femininity and transition. )

I just wish that the larger queer community would realize that we are all fighting the same fight, and concentrate on our similarities, rather than bickering over our differences. Establishing individual identity is a wonderful thing, it makes us all unique, and can give us a sense of community within a larger community - but the people who want to eradicate us don't care about how we identify - they don't want to know about our differences, or the subdivisions within our community, they just want the whole lot of us gone - or dead.

We all have a gender issue. The queer community's failure to conform to rigid mainstream heteronormative gender roles is our common gender issue.

And failure to comply is met daily with systemic discrimination, hatred, and violence - even amongst ourselves.

And that is truly a shame.


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Rachel Dunn, you said:
"Although many F2M's may not be viewed as 'real men' by the gay male community, perhaps the glimmer of heteronormativity offered by such a relationship might serve to further sublimate a gay man's distress at his own gender transgression - despite the masculine appearance of their transman partner"

what did you mean, specifically?
(referring to what's after the comma)

That some gay men date transmen to feel more heteronormative or "normal".

I don't understand. who are these [non-trans] gay men? how does it make any sense for a man to date another man in order to feel more straight? is this actually common?

my relationship with my boyfriend definitely isn't heteronormative.

Yeah, I've never met a gay man who wanted to date me to appear more normal.

Well, it's common enough for me, as a TS man, to see TS women rant up and down about how "all" or "most" Gay men are somehow completely or inherently transphobic, no matter what. Yes, i know many TS women who can very plainly see that such defeatist claims are in no way even "mostly" true, but the idea of "gay men = hates Teh Tranz" is disturbingly common among more than a handful of the politically-minded TS women I've encountered.

Well, my expereince as a trans woman has been quite different. I wouldn't say most or many, I'd say some.

Most of my problems with gay men stem from a different source than my trans ness

I'd have to say that I haven't had that experience myself, either. Cis gay men and lesbians have been some of my finest friends in RL and have always accepted me as a woman (in fact, it was gay men that helped me gain more confidence in my womanhood). It seems like it's mostly the internet-tough-guys-and-gals that like to whip out the hardcore transphobia.

However, I have multiple times had the experience that some gay guys and lesbians think trans women are the same thing as drag queens, and feel like that means it's OK to out us or play "spot the tranny" on us because they think we'll think it's all in good fun like drag queens. I don't think they conciously intend it to be hateful, which is probably why they think we're overreacting when we call it out as transphobia.

that's interesting.

perhaps they're speaking from their experience, and you're speaking from yours?

there is plenty of support for the position that many cis gay men are very transphobic right here on this blog... (see, for instance, comments from david)

It only makes sense to people who view trans people's genders as false. I guess it's the flip side of guys who date trans women so they can get "secret dick".

I don't know how common it is, but I have personally known one such gay male couple; as soon as the trans guy started hormones and started getting misgendered less, the cis guy broke up with him. He was an insecure douche anyway, so the trans guy was better off.

After reading Antonia's last post--and all the comments--I'm sensitive to the difference in applying other's definitions, labels, etc, to ourselves, sort of outside looking in, as opposed to accepting what I am in myself, and seeing this as just one example of appearances can be deceiving.

http://jessicalive.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/appearances-can-be-deceiving/

I digress this bit because of your opening example of

When a male child is harangued, harassed, and humiliated for showing emotion, gentleness, crying or displaying other 'feminine traits;' that is transmisogyny - whether or not they identify as trans - or even gay.

If you posit this as an example of Gender, it makes me wonder about two possible paths from your further example of

In this context, kissing a man is supposed to be strictly a 'woman's thing' - any male that participates in such an activity is, in effect, taking on the woman's role - in much the same way that transgendered M2F women do.

1) If these "transgendered M2F women" are, say, crossdressers, at a party, known to be straight, and generally practice both cisgender and especially cissexual privilege in the rest of their lives; and

2) If these "transgendered M2F women" are post-transition, post-surgery and have been completely accepted as the women they are, and, possibly paradoxically, practice cisgender and especially cissexual privilege.

I believe it is impossible analyse these circumstances without addressing what you refuse to address:

Because I want to concentrate on our common gender issue, I'm not even going to attempt to address the quagmire of who's got the privilege in a patriarchal society - and why M2F's are considered 'downwardly mobile.'

Until you address this universal backdrop, then it becomes very difficult to discuss our common gender problem because of the different ways our gender is accepted in society.

Maybe you see no difference between the gender of path 1 and path 2?

I believe it is important to differentiate between the way others impose situational membership on us, and the way we see ourselves--possibly these can seem the same, but appearances can be deceiving.

There is also the attempt here to equate not only the intention, but the results of each of the two alternatives I indicate above.

Analysis is based not only on finding--or making--similarities, or just simple sameness, but also on finding real differences.

Ultimately, as others have pointed out, you make for a broad identity--more based on intention--than on actual existence--which is not usually based on intention. . . .unless you take the identity of transgender, the first of the alternatives I suggest above, and impose it on the latter women.

For these women, being women is not an identity--such a strange sound, this; it is a state of being. While in early stages of transition we may appear to be transgender, most of us, will, in time, not.

I, for one, look for analyses that say something about the way things are--not something convenient or that facilitates a political perspective, regardless of motivations behind it.

We share a common goal there, Jessica :D

I would assert, however, that identity is part of being, not separate from it.

Good thoughts, all.

What does 'Focus On Family' or any of the other myriad of homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic organizations (including the House and Senate) think of Path 1 or Path 2?

Not even on the radar - to them, the entire LGBTQ community has a 'situational membership' in a group called 'freaks and deviants.'

As for privilege (of any kind), they want to keep it all to themselves, and give us none. Which is why they are fighting so hard to 'protect marriage.'

I was hoping to wake people in our entire community up to this fact, and the possibility that the bias might be largely gender based.

By focusing only on splitting hairs, without occasionally looking at the overall view, (even if only in simple terms,) you could be in danger of winding up with a bad haircut.

And who wants bad hair?


What does 'Focus On Family' or any of the other myriad of homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic organizations (including the House and Senate) think of Path 1 or Path 2?

Why would you let "'Focus On Family' or any of the other myriad of homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic organizations (including the House and Senate" determine your theory?

I might, just might, accept such an analysis for political reasons--though I have argued against such--but I, for one, would never accept such an analysis for ontological reasons.

You, apparently, have.

You wouldn't accept their arguments against equal marriage--what we call same-sex marriage in Canada; why would you accept their arguments in this?

The whole point of my article was to try to address External Universal Bias from outside of the LGBQ community - 'Focus on Family" is but one highly visible example.

They do not determine my theory, any more than you do. But they do oppress our community - which was the WHOLE POINT of my original article.

Both of you examples whether 'straight or not' talked about people who have transgressed gender boundaries, and therefore are equally applicable to my statement:

"In this context, kissing a man is supposed to be strictly a 'woman's thing' - any male that participates in such an activity is, in effect, taking on the woman's role - in much the same way that transgendered M2F women do."

By splitting between 1) cross dressers and 2) post-ops, you are displaying an elitism that has nothing to do with the original conversation.

In order to be relevant to my article at all, the division would have to be between "those who transgress gender boundaries in ANY way", and "those who do not."

So you two examples are flawed, because it does not take into account the larger community that does not transgress gender boundaries.

Any other division is more about seeking the privilege you are so keen for me to discuss.

As for those who do not transgress gender boundaries, there are many who are actively involved in a system of oppression and bias that I DID want to discuss.

But that has been severely curtailed by all of the hair splitters who somehow think I am invalidating their identity by even looking at the issue - let alone my attempt to frame it in a unique context.

By imposing the same identity upon my paths 1) and 2) you have done precisely what you have claimed to challenge, the Universal gender bias coming from without the LGBT community.

Maybe you cannot see a difference between your transgender identity and my medical condition, but then, this is precisely the core of the challenge from women of history that you, and all those who impose transgenderism, simply cannot, or more likely, will not see.

You seem remarkably willing to allow gay and lesbian people to retain their differences within the community you seek to impose, but will not allow for any such freedom among those who do not accept your dictatorial imposition.

You can be whatever and whoever you like.

I'm happy that after 43 years of reflection and analysis you have come to the conclusion you are neither male nor female and find repose in some other place.

This is transgenderism.

Why do you insist that I, after my 58 years of reflection and analysis--which has brought me to quite a different place--must be precisely the same as you?

I am not.

This is the absolutism here--it is your, oxymoronic as it sounds, transgender privilege--that prevents you from seeing the damage you are a party to.

You refuse me the option of opting out when I have never opted in.

Are you so uncertain of your life, your identity you need to include as support those who are so different from you? And do not provide any support for your argument.

You are constantly comparing apples and oranges.

No - I don't see much of a difference between MY medical condition and Your medical condition, except that I am still in treatment, and you are not.

While at the same time I acknowledge a big difference between your identity and my identity.

Yet neither of these have to be as mutually exclusive as you make them out to be.

Frankly, I think that if you DID happen agree with me on ANYTHING at all, you would vehemently deny it out of principal.

Some people are just need to argue.

You are covering the same old ground that has been a part of the transgender dialog for more than 10 years now, while I am trying to break new ground.

As for forcing you to eat my spinach - I never said you had to like it.

I can't force you to see the cis-gender privilege you exert on me. And the harder you argue, the more you are trying to impose your will on me.

After all, YOU are the one who had a problem with my original post, not me.

I never said you could not opt-out. I am certainly not forcing you to continue this dialog with me. You are free to leave this discussion any time you choose to.

And THAT is why it is impossible for me to force you to accept my philosophy.

Go ahead and opt-out - PLEASE opt out. It will free up my time to have a meaningful dialog with my intended audience - the larger Gay and Lesbian community, instead of going round in circles from someone too set in their ways to even acknowledge an alternative to their way of thinking.

You are constantly comparing apples and oranges.

Actually, Rachel, you are the one who is saying these apples and oranges are the same, I've been trying, as have others, to maintain these apples and oranges are different.

As for opting out, yet, again, you choose to see not what I've written or argued, but what would be most convenient for you.

I've asked you to let these oranges opt out not from this dialogue--we can do that at any moment, as many have--but out of your universalizing theory.

You've determined to include in your theory those who do not wish to--and refuse to hear anything different.


Specifically how am I doing this?

"Gay and lesbian people have a big gender issue - otherwise the gender of the people they love would not be an issue."

The "gender" of who we love is not the issue. The sex of the people we love is the issue. How many homophobes do you know who would suddenly be ok with same-sex relationships if only a different "gender" of one or both partners was involved?

"while the paranoia of many lesbians, who grew up dealing with a lot of unwanted, often insistent advances from men, causes them to view transwomen as predators trying to covertly violate their 'sacred space.'"

Are you joking? Is the concept that we don't want males in lesbian spaces just too simple and obvious? Have any actual lesbians confirmed this paranoia as a personal reason?

"They are not viewed as interlopers by the women, because many F2M's were once 'one of them,' and this is further reinforced by the butch/fem paradigm pervasive in the lesbian community - which emulates heteronormative behavior, so I suspect F2M transition is not a stretch for many."

What is the connection between the acceptance of F2M transition and the acceptance of butch/femme heteronormativity you are implying?

Let's be a tad more accurate, shall we?

Both matter.

You are attracted to someone because of the way they are (masculine or feminine) in addition to the sex they are (male, female).

And, indeed, the connection is that a trans man is a man. Who often has a vagina, in the usual thought of such things (although that's not always the case).

If he's gay, he likes men -- who like other men. For them to like him, they are going to have to see him as a man. For them to be attracted to him, they are going to have to see him as a man.

If the absence of a penis makes him not a man, then why would they want anything to do with him?

Is being with him, sexually, something that would make them straight, even though they are both men?

Or would it make just one of them straight and the other gay?

Or would they both be gay?

All serious questions -- these are not merely hypothetical and decidedly not rhetorical -- I'd like to hear your answer.

Transfolk have the same questions about themselves everyday (usually different people) -- and there is a great deal of significance for one's sense of self in the answers.

The same applies to a non-op trans woman, in reverse, with a lesbian. In order to be attracted to her she needs to be a woman, but does having a penis, in and of itself, stop her from being so?

Answering both often leads to some interesting revelations about sexism.

"Let's be a tad more accurate, shall we?

Both matter.

You are attracted to someone because of the way they are (masculine or feminine) in addition to the sex they are (male, female)."

I'm not sure if you mean "you" as in me personally, or "you" as in people in general, but, in either case, the assumption that this attraction scheme applies is incredibly presumptuous.

"And, indeed, the connection is that a trans man is a man."

I don't see how this or anything that follows it answers my question, nor do I understand why you are attempting to answer a question directed specifically at the author of this article. I also fail to see the relevance of any of the questions you asked me, but I will answer anyhow.

As far as I know, the Western conception of sexual orientation is founded on the concept of biological sex. In that conception, trans status is irrelevant; a person's sexual orientation is based on their sex and the sex of those to whom they are attracted. Labeling a person as straight/gay/bi/whatever (which are sexual orientations) based on something other than biological sex is meaningless; it would be like trying to determine someone's biological sex without considering their physical body. So, if you are asking me to characterize the sexual orientation of the people in your example based on their sex/their partners' sex; the answer is obvious. If you are asking me to do so based on something else, you're asking me to do something nonsensical.

"If the absence of a penis makes him not a man, then why would they want anything to do with him?"

Maybe the gay man(I'm assuming you are excluding bisexual men, as that would provide an obvious possible reason) in question isn't really homosexual. Maybe he holds an unusual definition of "gay," such that he claims it despite attraction to people who are not men. Maybe he didn't previously realize the extent of his attractions, but has yet to loosen his grip on a label that still feels like home. Maybe he's asexual, and genitalia doesn't really matter to him. Maybe, though realizing that he isn't gay in the usual sense, he can't or won't think of a more appropriate label for himself for laziness or the lack of better options. Of course, there's always the simple explanation that, to this particular guy, not having a penis does not preclude this person from being a man.

This seems a rather random question to pose to me. I wonder what in my thought processes you are trying to get at, or what assumptions you have made about my thought processes that would inspire it. I hope you haven't assumed that a lack of a penis determines whether or not I consider someone to be a man.

As I explained, its not that I have any particular ideas about your thoughts or what they might be or if I would judge them as good or bad.

I'm just curious. I'd like to know.

You responses here deal with the underlying subjects, and your responses within the thread as a whole do, indeed, answer the questions that I asked.

As for why I responded to the question you asked -- it is an open thread.

Since trans men are not male to you, and trans women are not female to you, the essentialism in your worldview is likely what I was probably trying to get at.

From that point, what happens is up to others, including yourself :).

Thank you :)

Your misunderstanding is great.

"Since trans men are not male to you, and trans women are not female to you, the essentialism in your worldview is likely what I was probably trying to get at."

Trans men are not male according to the definition of male. Trans women are not female according to the definition of female. These terms and concepts come to us from the biological disciplines, they are not just some opinions of mine, nor do they play much of a part of my worldview.

See my What is Sex column for current biological thoughts on what the definitions are.

Just in case you'd like to know.

I have read it.

I should expand upon that. I have read it, and nowhere in the article do I see anything that states or implies that the 7 layer model of sex is "current biological thinking," meaning that it is the model used and accepted by a majority of biologists.

You mean biology like this:

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-12/gene-switch-transforms-adult-female-mice-males

It seems that XX or XY is not the only gene determining your sex.

Or perhaps this:
http://precedings.nature.com/documents/2954/version/1
or this:
http://philpapers.org/rec/RAMCVC

The neurological basis for which could easily apply to trans people in addition to those suffering from apotemnophilia.

(I believe the researchers themselves studied post-op transwomen, although they incorrectly categorized them as suffering from apotemnophilia.)

Since Gay-ness seems as hard-wired as Trans-ness, Perhaps there is a neurological basis for this?

Maybe it is only the attraction centers in the brains of G/L people that have developed counter to their physical sex - a lot like Trans people who's internal body map is also affected.

In either case, according to this recent research neurological basis seems plausible - which means that the possible causation for all of these traits is a lot more similar than once thought.

After all, this is exactly why homosexuality was removed from the DSM several decades ago.

I feel that a lot of the negative attitudes towards transpeople is still based on the incorrect assumption that this is a 'lifestyle choice," as opposed to being just as hard-wired as sexual orientation.

Gee, maybe we're no so different after all.

What in the world is this comment supposed to be relevant to? Did you just feel like giving me a random biology lesson, or are you, too making a bunch of assumptions about what I think?

"I feel that a lot of the negative attitudes towards transpeople is still based on the incorrect assumption that this is a 'lifestyle choice," as opposed to being just as hard-wired as sexual orientation."

I suggest that you simply ask people instead of following your feelings.


It was a response to your comment:

"These terms and concepts come to us from the biological disciplines, they are not just some opinions of mine, nor do they play much of a part of my worldview."

So now you want me to ignore biology - and concentrate on people 's opinions?

Either there is a biological causation for maleness, femaleness or transness, or there is not.

You can't have it both ways.

First of all, you replied to the wrong comment. Second of all, the comment you left me is full of links that have no apparent connection to what I posted, with no commentary making a point that was related to what I posted. Your comment seems to stand completely on its own, and I'm not interested in trying to decipher what you are talking about. In order for me to see the relevance, you're going to have to directly address something I posted, not just quote it, but actually explain what your post has to do with it.

"So now you want me to ignore biology - and concentrate on people 's opinions?"

I never stated that. Don't pretend like my question about relevance is anything other than a question about relevance.

"Either there is a biological causation for maleness, femaleness or transness, or there is not."

Since I never discussed a biological causation for anything, we're back at the same point: How is your comment relevant to mine?

Hey, here's some recent biological research on which to base your opinions:

http://cbc.ucsd.edu/pdf/occurence_phantom_genitalia.pdf

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-12/gene-switch-transforms-adult-female-mice-males

http://lgbtlatestscience.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/sexual-hormones-and-the-brain-part-1/

http://lgbtlatestscience.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/intersex-cause-treatment-and-ethics/

All of which point to physiological origins of transsexuality.

Which means that Biology and medicine are beginning realize that this is a physiological condition and not a mental illness or a 'lifestyle choice.'

Who knows - Since sexual orientation seems as hard-wired as transsexuality - perhaps scientists may one day find that only the attraction centers in Gay and Lesbian brains are affected by the same pre-natal cross gendered development that transfolk experience on a larger scale?

After all, this all seems remarkably close to the reason why homosexuality was removed from the DSM 30 years ago.

That would really be something, wouldn't it - a similar physiological basis for transgressive gender behaviour?

What in the world is this comment supposed to be relevant to? Did you just feel like giving me a random biology lesson, or are you also making a bunch of assumptions about what I think?

"I feel that a lot of the negative attitudes towards transpeople is still based on the incorrect assumption that this is a 'lifestyle choice," as opposed to being just as hard-wired as sexual orientation."

I suggest that you simply ask people instead of following your feelings.

Oh, I get it! You're assuming that I don't think there is a physiological basis for transexuality, right?

that seemed to be my understanding of your post. I apologize if I was mistaken.

I was hoping to point out that recent discoveries in several biological disciplines are changing many previously held perceptions, and therefore may change our own perceptions - including the definitions and terms we use to describe our identity and existence.

It has certainly changed mine.

It is my hope that as more of these biological advances occur, that the theory will eventually change to match the biology, rather than biology being shoehorned into a narrow theory.


Both gay. It's interesting that people are bringing up dating/relationships here, because the only men I've known to be in a relationship with a transwoman have been bi or straight, and the only men I've known who've been in a relationship with transmen have been gay or bi.

That's my experience, or rather the experiences of people I know. It's completely limited, anecdotal, etc.

But I always found it funny that men's sex drive can figure out the gender of someone else while their brains often can't. While I've read quite a few stories by women, and know one woman, who've asked if they're lesbians now that the person they knew as their husband/boyfriend came out as trans and is transitioning, I don't think I've heard a similar narrative from a man.

Again, could all be the limitations of my experiences.

Alex, of all the people here at Bilerico, you are actually the one person I can say with absolute unequivocal faith that "gets it", lol.

I build my stuff not merely on the science behind it all, but also on the wide ranging experiences of others -- listening and coming to understand them, and not merely on "our side" or LGBT, but also our opponents, straight folks, trans, gay, the whole thing.

I actually know a few men who did have trans men partners and they did in fact have to ask both themselves and others if they were gay.

The downside to that is that I don't know anyone who stayed together where the cis partner identified as straight (which is while not common among trans women, is still something often noted) before the marriage and transition.

Humans are awesome, though -- I have no doubt that there is indeed at least one out there. My curiosity wants to know their side, but I'm patient.

And things are slowly changing for the better everyday.

My personal answers are likely easily deduced, but I'm very interested in the answers on the part of the two people I asked, and for the same reason:

I'm curious.

I don't particularly care to judge them as people vis a vis good or bad, but I'm curious because it is the questions like that -- the uncomfortable, hard ones -- that need to be asked to learn about different points of view.

When you start from a position of there always being five sides to everything, you gotta ask a lot of questions. :D

"Is the concept that we don't want males in lesbian spaces just too simple and obvious?"

Why then, are trans men often allowed into these spaces? If the distinction is one of sex (having a penis or a vagina), then how come most of these spaces are unwilling to allow trans women even if they are post-op? While continuing to allow trans men, and allowing other phallic objects like sex toys?

"Have any actual lesbians confirmed this paranoia as a personal reason?"

Yes, repeatedly. Do you know the history of the Michigan Women's Music Festival? That is one example of many.

""Is the concept that we don't want males in lesbian spaces just too simple and obvious?"

Why then, are trans men often allowed into these spaces?"

As transmen aren't male, I don't see the implied connection between the idea I expressed and the question you asked.

"If the distinction is one of sex (having a penis or a vagina), then how come most of these spaces are unwilling to allow trans women even if they are post-op?"

Since I don't think sex is reducible to "having a penis or a vagina," I can't properly answer for someone who does. Even if I did think that way, though, that would not obligate me to include post-op transwomen, as they do not have vaginas. Vaginas aren't made. People are born with them.

"Yes, repeatedly. Do you know the history of the Michigan Women's Music Festival?"

To some extent, yes. Are you referring to the reason behind the Festival's policies, or the testimonies of individual festival-goers?

Vaginas and penises develop from the exact same tissue in the undifferentiated fetus. They're the same meat. They're not magical, and your idea that they cannot be made is just shallow opinion (and becoming more and more obsolete as science progresses).

"Vaginas and penises develop from the exact same tissue in the undifferentiated fetus. They're the same meat."

What is your point?

"They're not magical"

Who said they were?

"your idea that they cannot be made is just shallow opinion"

Until you know the reasons behind that idea, you are not in a position to make such a judgment.

"and becoming more and more obsolete as science progresses"

This proves that you don't understand the reason why I said what I did about vaginas.

"Vaginas and penises develop from the exact same tissue in the undifferentiated fetus. They're the same meat."

What is your point?

My point is that since they're the same meat, there's nothing inherently special that makes the vaginas of cis women real vaginas and the vaginas of trans women not-vaginas.

"your idea that they cannot be made is just shallow opinion"

Until you know the reasons behind that idea, you are not in a position to make such a judgment.

Too bad, so sad. Since I've had to deal with that idea my whole life and yet never been given a valid argument for it, I'm not going to wait with bated breath that you're going to be the one that has it. Life's hard for the essentialist, huh?

This proves that you don't understand the reason why I said what I did about vaginas.

Actually it just proves you don't want to articulate yourself fully so that people can accurately rebut your claims. You're being vague so that you can move the goalposts easier.

"My point is that since they're the same meat, there's nothing inherently special that makes the vaginas of cis women real vaginas and the vaginas of trans women not-vaginas."

You're ignoring the fact that the tissue out of which genitalia develop is not the sole determinant in how they are categorized.

"I'm not going to wait with bated breath that you're going to be the one that has it. Life's hard for the essentialist, huh?"

Right, much easier to just assume what I mean. What is this "essentialist" you refer to? An abbreviation for biological essentialist? If so, I dare you to back up that charge.

"Actually it just proves you don't want to articulate yourself fully so that people can accurately rebut your claims. You're being vague so that you can move the goalposts easier."

Actually, I was not in the mood to explain myself to yet another person on this thread making assumptions about what's going on in my head. You gave no indication that you actually cared about what I meant, and since you realize that you cannot accurately rebut claims you don't understand, why then did you attempt to rebut them?

It's actually quite simple. A vagina is a biological organ. Biological organs are implicitly defined as the product of nature, and nature only. Humans can alter what nature gives us, but we cannot manufacture any of it. Surgeons can alter genitalia to their hearts content, but they cannot create vaginas. The result of their efforts is but an altered version, not something new.

You're ignoring the fact that the tissue out of which genitalia develop is not the sole determinant in how they are categorized.

You're ignoring the fact that the biological categorizations of male and female are also not the sold determinant of how a PERSON is categorized.

Right, much easier to just assume what I mean.

If you had any cards you'd have laid them on the table already.

What is this "essentialist" you refer to? An abbreviation for biological essentialist? If so, I dare you to back up that charge.

You already backed it up for me:

"Since I don't think sex is reducible to "having a penis or a vagina," I can't properly answer for someone who does. Even if I did think that way, though, that would not obligate me to include post-op transwomen, as they do not have vaginas. Vaginas aren't made. People are born with them."
&
"It's actually quite simple. A vagina is a biological organ. Biological organs are implicitly defined as the product of nature, and nature only. Humans can alter what nature gives us, but we cannot manufacture any of it. Surgeons can alter genitalia to their hearts content, but they cannot create vaginas. The result of their efforts is but an altered version, not something new."

Which boils down to trans women forever being male and never having vaginas regardless of how their organs are shaped and function as such, because they've got something inherently male to them, whether it's chromosomes or male energy or magic or whatever. Which apparently gives cis women the right to define them. Welcome to being a biological essentialist.

Are you joking? Is the concept that we don't want males in lesbian spaces just too simple and obvious?

This is the confrontational stuff you started this with. First you state this, and when other commenters offer arguments to it, you say the biological definitions of male and female are paramount, as if lesbian spaces were all biology study groups that really dig typing chromosomes. When Rachel offered information surrounding the biology of sex and gender that show that it's not so cut and dried, you not only dismiss it without reading it, but suddenly you switch to how biology is irrelevant.

You might want to wear cleats if you're going to move the goalposts so much.

You gave no indication that you actually cared about what I meant

Your disingenuous attempts at arguments are rapidly making that a reality.

"You're ignoring the fact that the biological categorizations of male and female are also not the sold determinant of how a PERSON is categorized."

You seem confused. We were discussing vaginas, not the definition of a person.

You already backed it up for me:

"Since I don't think sex is reducible to "having a penis or a vagina," I can't properly answer for someone who does. Even if I did think that way, though, that would not obligate me to include post-op transwomen, as they do not have vaginas. Vaginas aren't made. People are born with them."
&
"It's actually quite simple. A vagina is a biological organ. Biological organs are implicitly defined as the product of nature, and nature only. Humans can alter what nature gives us, but we cannot manufacture any of it. Surgeons can alter genitalia to their hearts content, but they cannot create vaginas. The result of their efforts is but an altered version, not something new."

"Which boils down to trans women forever being male"

No, it boils down to people only ever being issued one set of genitals in their life. For one thing, I wouldn't discount the possibility of the existence of a trans woman who would actually be medically classified as intersexed (as opposed to male). For another thing, as in the statement you quoted above, I don't think sex is solely determined by genitalia, therefore I do not think that the lack of a vagina means that the person in question is male.

"and never having vaginas regardless of how their organs are shaped and function as such, because they've got something inherently male to them,whether it's chromosomes or male energy or magic or whatever."

You're making stuff up. I've never stated or implied anything about inherent maleness.

"Which apparently gives cis women the right to define them."

I never stated or implied that either.

"Welcome to being a biological essentialist."

Your analysis is based on arguments that exist in your imagination. Try again.

Are you joking? Is the concept that we don't want males in lesbian spaces just too simple and obvious?

"This is the confrontational stuff you started this with. First you state this, and when other commenters offer arguments to it, you say the biological definitions of male and female are paramount,"

No, I didn't say they were paramount. I talked about how they were defined.

"When Rachel offered information surrounding the biology of sex and gender that show that it's not so cut and dried, you not only dismiss it without reading it,"

How do you know that I didn't read it? More assumptions. Also, I asked how it was relevant to the comment Rachel responded to. That's not the same as dismissing it; in fact, asking about something could be considered as engaging with it.

"but suddenly you switch to how biology is irrelevant."

Not what I stated or implied, again. Rachel posted links to papers about the physiological basis of transsexuality. I had not been discussing the physiological basis of transsexuality, that's where the irrelevance comes in.

Wonderful. Now you didn't say things that you were quoted as saying within the very same comment you're responding to. Since you've achieved the irrationality event horizon, I'm done with this.

Hello Iconoclass.

"This proves that you don't understand the reason why I said what I did about vaginas."

That is very easy to understand you hold a worldview that is a form of biological fatalism that reduces people to bits of reproductive meat, and then try to disguise this fact with discussions about social constructs etc.

As I was born sans reproductive organs does that also define me as a human being?

"That is very easy to understand you hold a worldview that is a form of biological fatalism that reduces people to bits of reproductive meat, and then try to disguise this fact with discussions about social constructs etc."

If it's so easy to understand, then you can prove it by quoting something I said and explaining how it proves your point. I'm done with the assumptions from you and others on this thread. Back up what you post about me, or stop wasting my time.

"As I was born sans reproductive organs does that also define me as a human being?"

Seeing as how I never posted anything stating that reproductive organs define human beings, you're asking the wrong person.

Hello Iconoclass.

"If it's so easy to understand, then you can prove it by quoting something I said and explaining how it proves your point."

By All means :)

I said:

"That is very easy to understand you hold a worldview that is a form of biological fatalism that reduces people to bits of reproductive meat"

In response to:

"Trans men are not male according to the definition of male. Trans women are not female according to the definition of female. These terms and concepts come to us from the biological disciplines"


And then I continued with:

"And then try to disguise this fact with discussions about social constructs etc."

in response to:


"They are not just some opinions of mine, nor do they play much of a part of my worldview"

So it is an observation not an attack and it seems pretty clear to me given the context in which you were discussing this (Social constructs etc). I have no doubt you will dismiss this out of hand and fail to give me any other response other than the "Moral high Ground" tactic where you will say something like "Oh you people are just abusive"
Well I am simply making an observation, but then as an intersexed individual I am not allowed to do that as your view automatically prevails, what is it the transsexual folks here call it? "Cis privilege" ah yes that's it. (I have other words for it).

"Seeing as how I never posted anything stating that reproductive organs define human beings, you're asking the wrong person."

You were talking about "Biological sex" (Same difference) which is a euphemism for "Genitals and meat" (And don't dodge it with social constructs please).
Now would you please answer my question, In peewee theory gender-sex fatalism land how do you define intersex people, and I am asking as an intersex person who after being mutilated by your precious two sex system as an 18 month old, I feel I have a perfectly legitimate question and I would still ask you to answer it.

If you wish to run away claiming I am being abusive well that's fine you are entitled to do that because of an accident of birth, like you can say who can walk into who's pathetic single sex spaces (Ah sex segregation the reason the likes of me get butchered). You could also try understanding the viewpoints of others such as transsexual folks who are being told by you that they are their "Biological sex" well how do you determine that? Because when they argue their case you just dismiss it don't you. Again a privilege that is yours via an accident of birth.

to be perfectly honest I consider all this "Nah nah you aint normal you are what you are not you cannot walk into my segregated space" nauseating in the extreme given that such segregation was the reason I was butchered in the first place. And if you walk away from that, then fine it means I had the last word, which makes a change.

:)

"Vaginas and penises develop from the exact same tissue in the undifferentiated fetus. They're the same meat."

What is your point?

"They're not magical"

Who said they were?

"your idea that they cannot be made is just shallow opinion"

Until you know the reasons behind that idea, you are not in a position to make such a judgment.

"and becoming more and more obsolete as science progresses"

This proves that you don't understand the reason why I said what I did about vaginas.

"while the paranoia of many lesbians, who grew up dealing with a lot of unwanted, often insistent advances from men, causes them to view transwomen as predators trying to covertly violate their 'sacred space.'"

'Are you joking? Is the concept that we
don't want males in lesbian spaces just too
simple and obvious? Have any actual lesbians
confirmed this paranoia as a personal
reason?'


i'm confused, are you saying that you consider MTF transwomen to be males?

a perfect example of someone who simply doesnt wish to be educated on this issue; and perhaps is not capable of it in any event.

another binary warrior lol ... talk about enslavement to an artificial construct ... she has my sympathy.

In general, yes, although it's not inconceivable that there is an MTF out there somewhere who would actually be medically classified as intersexed.

Iconoclass;
I belong to a group of Lesbian profesionals that has a member who is a Lesbian of operative history. She IS a woman,nothing about her breathes male and she is a valued part of our group.

"i'm confused, are you saying that you consider MTF transwomen to be males?"

Not at all, I consider them to be completely female - regardless of op-status.

I'm saying that many in the larger Lesbian community disregard the evidence our gender identity, defines us by our sex at birth, and labels us male - regardless of our op-status.

Therefore, I was trying to illustrate the difference between the M2F and the F2M experiences within the lesbian community within the context of gender oppression.

i was answering iconoclass in my post, rachel....

Look, I won't deny misogyny is rampant in the world. Hell, I'll go one further and outright state that no matter the advances that have been made by women in the public arena since 1975, or the election of our current president, it's still a white man's world.

Which creates a dilemma for me...

Applying situational membership, do I denounce Ms Dunn's statements because I am a middle aged Caucasian male or because I am homosexually oriented?

"The entire queer community has gender issues - not just the transfolk. Gay and lesbian people have a big gender issue - otherwise the gender of the people they love would not be an issue.

I don't know about other people but, with me, the gender of the person I love is not an issue for me. The gender of the person I love is an issue for others and those "others" are, definitely, not members of "the queer community."

Hi Eric,

I'd like to ask you the same questions I just asked iconoclass:


If the absence of a penis makes someone not a man, then why would they want anything to do with him?

Is being with him, sexually, something that would make them straight, even though they are both men?

Or would it make just one of them straight and the other gay?

Or would they both be gay?

All serious questions -- these are not merely hypothetical and decidedly not rhetorical -- I'd like to hear your answer.

The same applies to a non-op trans woman, in reverse, with a lesbian. In order to be attracted to her she needs to be a woman, but does having a penis, in and of itself, stop her from being so?

I look forward to your answers, truly. I'm always interested in such things. Which is probably why I ask questions, which then end up, after a while, in something I write.

Sometimes the questions of others are even more important than my own, as well. Learning is odd that way...

Hi Eric,

Hello, Toni.

I'd like to ask you the same questions I just asked iconoclass:

Sure. Shoot.

If the absence of a penis makes someone not a man, then why would they want anything to do with him?

I didn't say the absence of a penis makes someone not a man. Perhaps that's where the misunderstanding exists between us. Everyone to whom I've been romantically attracted has been in possession of a penis. However, the act of sex has never been an overriding factor in my romantic attractions. It's the person for me, not the physicality.

I know I certainly believe that should Bill or I be in an accident in which one or the other of us lost our penis (I kind of chuckle writing this, but I'm sure such accidents have occurred... car accidents and flying glass spring immediately to mind) that the internal switch governing our emotional attraction doesn't suddenly flip to the "off" position.

Is being with him, sexually, something that would make them straight, even though they are both men?

Or would it make just one of them straight and the other gay?

Or would they both be gay?


I've told you this before, Toni; I'll repeat myself.

I don't label people, period. If someone introduces themselves to me as "Toni, a woman," then to me that person is a female named Toni. If they subsequently re-introduce themselves to me as "Tony, a man," then that person is a guy named Tony.

Who a person sees themselves as being has absolutely no import on my life at all... unless that person and I are drawn together, emotionally. And then, it's only important if that self-perception is one that is going to preclude that person from fully embracing that emotional attraction.

All serious questions -- these are not merely hypothetical and decidedly not rhetorical -- I'd like to hear your answer.

You got it.

The same applies to a non-op trans woman, in reverse, with a lesbian. In order to be attracted to her she needs to be a woman, but does having a penis, in and of itself, stop her from being so?

Okay, the question here is a little confusing, but I think it's decipherable. That is, if I'm guessing correctly at which of the "hers" you refer to, and when, in the above scenario.

I think you are referring to the attraction of the lesbian toward the "non-op trans woman" when you state:

... (i)n order to be attracted to her she needs to be a woman, but does having a penis... stop her...?

I don't know, Toni. Nor do you.

That would be a quandary for that specific lesbian when, and if, she ever found herself emotionally attracted to a "non-op trans woman," wouldn't it?

After all, we all know it is possible to stop a relationship, or even a budding relationship, based on factors other than the loss/lack of emotional attraction.

If the possession of a penis is a disqualification for a relationship with that particular lesbian, despite the emotional attraction, then that is that particular lesbian's decision to make - and only her decision to make.

I look forward to your answers, truly. I'm always interested in such things. Which is probably why I ask questions, which then end up, after a while, in something I write.

Sometimes the questions of others are even more important than my own, as well. Learning is odd that way...

Ed-you-kay-shee-un. Ain't it wunnerful?

interesting exercise in evasion.

I never said that you said such -- I postulated it as a point of reference.

You stated:

I don't know about other people but, with me, the gender of the person I love is not an issue for me. The gender of the person I love is an issue for others and those "others" are, definitely, not members of "the queer community."

If it is not the sex of the person (and I do not refer to the act of sexual directly, but to the concept of physical sex) then it will be, to some extent, the Gender of the person (their masculinity or manliness), and, therefore, it will matter to you what their gender is, if you prefer *men*. However, you have said you are attracted to males, specifically, which is an aspect of a person's sex (and something that, ultimately, you can only guess at until you see them naked in most people's minds, or until you've completed a battery of tests otherwise).

That you've only had relationships with people who do have penises is irrelevant to the question -- it is, after all, for you a hypothetical question in the first place, one which requires you to make an educatd guess regarding yourself.

Given the way you aswered the question, let me rephrase it for you.

Would you still be attracted to a man that met all your other criteria with clothes on for a man but without clothes, had a vagina?

An interesting thing about penile attachment surgeries -- the leading country in the world for them in 2005 was Thailand. It seems they've had cause to learn tricks in doing it, as it happens fairly frequently over there. (totally off topic I know, and a useless bit of trivia, but your chuckle reminded me of it).

The questions regarding the sexuality of the persons involved was not about their identity -- so yor shifting to a discussion of respecting their identity is unwarranted and evasive.

So I ask them again:

In your opinion, is being with him, sexually, something that would make them straight, even though they are both men?
Or would it make just one of them straight and the other gay?
Or would they both be gay?

This is not a question about how they see themselves, Eric. It is a question about how you see them. Only you -- you will not get to ask them what they identify as, or come to know how they identify.

It's a fairly simple and straightforward question, as well -- yet you appear to want to complicate the issue as an avoidance tactic. In short, you responded to the questions, but you did not answer them.

You really have worked in journalism before, lol.

You make a leap to a conclusion when you suggest that I do not know. An unfounded, and, as it turns out, incorrect, one -- *if*, again, you shift it to an internal understanidng on the part of the lesbian.

Which was neither implied nor expressed.

It is a repeat of the same situation as before, and in the process you minimize your own value in the conversation, which is an injustice to yourself.

I am interested in your opinion, your answer -- this is merely another avoidance.

So, let me repeat and rephrase again:

In your opinion, is the lesbian being with her, sexually, something that would make them straight, even though they are both women?
Or would it make just one of them straight and the other a lesbian?
Or would they both be lesbians?

I am not asking you for the opinion of the women involved, I am asking you for *your* opinion.

Which is relatively clear from the questions, and yet you avoided it by going to an area that is neither present in them nor part of wht was being asked.

And while the rough attempt at phonetic spelling is kinda silly and absurd, yes, it is indeed wonderful. But I'm admittedly biased since I've had perhaps three days in the last 30 years I haven't learned something new. And on all three days I was kinda busy with unpleasant stuff.

Toni,

As I stated - I see them as people.

I do not label, period.

In all the instances you've created, my answer is the same: They are people. Whether they are gay, straight, bi, bi-curious, transvestites, transsexuals, or just really drunk when they hook-up, any labels they wish to use to describe themselves are entirely their choice.

I've been emotionally attracted to women, even though I knew I was gay. I had a child at the age of 16. He was raised by his mother and stepfather; in fact, his stepfather adopted him when he was still a young child. Eleven years ago, he re-entered my life with a desire to know his biological father. When he was killed in a car crash, ten years ago, I mourned him... but not as my son, as he wasn't my son. I was not the man who nurtured and raised him.

Recently, his mother and I have re-established contact. She's now in an abusive relationship, after leaving her husband of 20-plus years. I still feel something for her and have openly told her I loved her in our phone calls and e-mails, but I also made her realize it is not romantic love I feel for her.

Bill and I have discussed her predicament, and have offered one of our guest bedrooms, should she choose to leave her present relationship. I've been working behind the scenes with her sister and 90-year old mother to get her out of the house in which she's trapped with her abuser.

Does my care and concern make me straight?

No.

It makes me human.

I know it seems California-banal, and all "feel good EST-y" to say it, but a person being labeled is, ultimately, labeled by no one but themselves.

Perhaps we fail to understand each other, Toni, because I really don't adhere to the social mechanisms that insist everything/one be neatly jarred and labeled for no reason other than an observer's comfort factor.

I wanted to jump in here a bit. The precondition that if the absence of a penis makes one not a man...." is very significant in as much as it is not a view that all of us hole.
For instance if I meet a person who says that he is a man and clearly identifies as such and we end up in an intimate situation and his physical genitalia happens to be a vagina, that does not cause me to think of him as not a man or as a female. And so it goes for a female who happens to have a penis.
I don't think that we are all trapped into viewing the gender of another person through his or her genitalia and would like to think that many members of the queer community are certainly free of this.
Parts of this discussion are tweaking my nose a bit because I'm seeing the head rear itself up that is attached to the idea of genitalia and gender identity linking up. The idea that it is being said that gender is conception is depending on genitalia is significant. That is a big if in that statement and I have to say that it is a big 'if' that makes the statement only apply to some and not all situations.
It is a very individual issue and we have to take care to avoid generalizing something as a standard and make sure that we all carefully read the 'if's in these statements.

That's part of what underlies the discussion, Rob. Some here feel that the two do link up (iconolass, for example, and probably Eric, although he's working hard to avoid going there).

Its one of those things that is still very present out there within our own community, and is something we need to address within before we can address it without.

Yes, that was what I wanted to go after was the 'if' part of the statement. Because these positions with which I disagree depend on that part of the statement being perceived as true. Without that preconception there is no issue.

Rachel,

This was a great piece, and I do not just say that because of similarities, but in this case because of differences :D

Thank you!

Judas Peckerwood | December 22, 2009 1:33 AM

"I just wish that the larger queer community would realize that we are all fighting the same fight, and concentrate on our similarities, rather than bickering over our differences."

In. A. Nutshell.

if there is any lesson that can be applied from the fight that health care reform is creating, it's that enda will be at least as tough, and maybe tougher.

a community that's not necessarily in lockstep, but at least acting with common purpose, will be much better positioned to help move the bill along, and let's hope everyone here can stay on good terms as this process begins to get underway.

Is it any wonder why many F2M transmen remain connected and accepted by the lesbian community, and seem more accepted by the larger gay community? They are not viewed as interlopers by the women, because many F2M's were once 'one of them,' and this is further reinforced by the butch/fem paradigm pervasive in the lesbian community - which emulates heteronormative behavior, so I suspect F2M transition is not a stretch for many.

During my transition (FTM), I lived in a community full of lesbians, so I have first hand knowledge of how FTM's are often glorified in that community. In the beginning, I was just another very boyish girl, something that attracted many lesbians to me (who I quickly swatted away...I like men). The more masculine I became, the more the lesbians would drool. Of course, the time came when I no longer looked like a masculine woman and more like a man and this is when the drool stopped. Clearly they like something about masculinity on a female body, but not on a male body. But drooling isn't something you convince yourself to do, its just a part of your sexuality. How does this fit in with your view of acceptance of FTMs in lesbian communities?

My whole point was to not lose the forrest through the trees - focus on inclusiveness, instead of exclusivity.

Eric - the gender of the person you kiss may not be an issue for you, but it probably is for someone you know, or have associated with in the past. You might have even dealt with discrimination, violence or verbal abuse because of it. You may have strained relations with your family because of it.

I refuse to believe that you are so unaware of the world around you that you are not aware of these issues - which were the genesis for this very forum.

But how strongly you are trying to differentiate yourself from me, tells me that you yourself may be uncomfortable with certain aspects of your identity in relation to transgressing constrictive heteronormative binary gender expectations.

I don't know your situation, but if you can recognize that the cause for any sanctions you may have received might be caused, at least in part, by the gender transgressing nature of a gay relationship, then maybe we can open a real dialog, because you fully comprehend my message.

I'm only trying to understand how gender relates to the broader community of which I am a small part, so that I can more clearly define myself in relation to the world, and interact with it more easily.

Being a non-op trans Lesbian, I can say from experience that possession of a penis is a real deal breaker for most lesbians. Understandably so, if a girl wants to 'get her face wet,' and that's not something I can physically do for her, well then ultimately, it's probably not going to work out.

The women that have gone for me in the past were more of a bisexual orientation. In fact, my last girlfriend actually stated flat out that she was glad she could finally be 'bisexual AND monogamous."

As for Kian's comment, I really have no idea of the transmen's experience, except to say that many butch women I've known seemed about one T shot away from manhood, but that is not how they identified, and that was the overriding factor to their gender experience and expression.

Often, many of F2Ms come out as lesbian, and form strong relationships within that tightly knit community, which continues to support them until the final stages of their transition.

M2Fs, however, often have no such support network, except maybe group therapy, and have to 'tough it out' on their own. There is a crushing loneliness to it all, even for the most optimistic of souls, as I consider myself to be.

Once it was clear that you were 'all man,' I would say that it is perfectly understandable that any attraction to you would cease, because lesbians are attracted to people who are female identified.

What you experienced might possibly because deep down, they may not have acknoleged your true gender as male until they could find no more evidence of the female that they once percieved you as.

I face the same issue when confronted with 'womyn's only spaces.' Their failure to recognize my true gender identity can hurt very deeply. Too often, in this position, many of M2F-TS's are stuck in the same connundrum, except that this time, they are trying to prove that they are 'real women' instead of 'real men.'

How about just being a 'real person?'

I've actually had people try to dissect my personality and figure out which parts are male vs. female! What a crock of bull-pucky! The female brain that I was born with received intense conditioning to be male, so it's impossible to untangle the nature from the nurture, and only I know what's really going on up there.

My identity encompasses both genders, and blessed because of it. It has enhanced my perspective, and my life - even if it did make the selection of a life partner exponentially more difficult.

So if you call me 'a man' because of this, I'll scratch your eyes out - and I will be sad because I was unable to help you see beyond the binary gender construct.

I'm not trying to deny or invalidate anyone's identity here, I can only speak from my own point of view.

I do think that the prescribed gender roles are two narrowly defined, and one would question the need to transition in a utopian 'world without gender.' No one would be labeled 'gay,' or 'lesbian,' or 'straight' in such a community, either. There would be no hate crimes.. It would be Utopia!

The only problem with Utopian Philosophies that they they do not account for 'social inertia.' As stated on this very site, it will be a long time before the binary gender system is eliminated, if at all, because it works so well for so many - but that does not mean that we can't work to loosen it's stranglehold on our community.

Our WHOLE community.

As they say, 'the first step to recovery, is recognizing that you have a problem.'

Unless gay and lesbian people can recognize that, at least as far as the outside world is concerned; they are transgressing gender boundaries by their innate preference and expression of that affection, (though visible to a lesser degree than many transpeople,) then there will be no way to bridge our communities, and open a larger dialog with the heteronormative world.

THAT is our common issue - let's focus on that, instead of which hairs we can split by trying to differentiate between one group or another - to do so tells me that you didn't comprehend my article, and if that is the case, I sincerely apologize for not expressing myself more clearly.

One Last thing - although I now see binary gender as a sham, the nearest binary-gender related basket that I could stick myself in would be that of a lesbian - for lack of a better name.

This is mostly because I identify as way more female than male, and I am attracted to women - whether or not they have a penis. Frankly, if I could have surgery to have both a penis and a cooch, then I would. ( Still looking for an agreeable surgeon.)

So what is gay or straight in this situation? I would ask, "does it matter?" And if it does, then 'WHY does it matter?'

Is it to determine some type of privilege, rank or social status, based on degrees of gender non-conformity, so you can feel warm and fuzzy about your identity?

Well - then that's the crux of the problem right there, isn't it?

All that should really matter to anyone is that we love our partner(s), and we can't keep our hands off of each other. As far as the rest of the non-queer world goes - it shouldn't be an issue, but it is.

We don't live in a vacuum or a hermetically sealed community. Heteronormative society is a major factor in our lives - restricting our rights to marriage, and equal opportunities in housing, employment, education and a comfortable bathroom experience. So their views of our gender transgressions are a major factor.

It is also why ENDA will never succeed at become law without gender protections.

In fact, much of the recent successful case law protecting gay and lesbians from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act have been framed in in the context of gender expression!!

The argument repeatedly being that the G/L person was discriminated against because they failed to conform to expected gender roles - which has been interpreted by the courts as constituting sex discrimination, and protected by title VII. (Prior to employing thisor similar arguments, a lot of claims were dismissed as 'not applicable.')

(In fact, reading about this case law is what first woke me up to the overriding gender concept expressed in my article.)

So really, by ejecting Gender identity/expression, from the equality bill, mainstream G/L people ignore successful case law, and inadvertently undermine their own efforts.

An invisible catch-22.

It would just be nice to see the exposure of a 'gender context' to the whole GLBTQ environment bring us closer together rather than ripping us apart.

If the courts can recognize it, why can't we?

Would you still be attracted to a man that met all your other criteria with clothes on for a man but without clothes, had a vagina?


NO. Absolutely not. I have no sexual response to vaginas. I do not "hate" them. I simply do not respond sexually to them. Period.

I am a gay man and my sexual desire is for men with penises and balls (if someone had them amputated and I was with the man I would deal with it the same way I dealt with men who went mad or lost their faces/body parts from AIDS). I have fought the right wing all my life for the right to determine my own sexual desire: same sex, same penis. Period.

If some gay men are attracted to a transman who has a vagina that is their business (I have never met any other gay men who are other than those who want to "do a trans man" as a sex fetish kick like trying something once). The label gay to me has meant sexual desire for men with all the man package especially the cock and balls. I have NEVER met a gay man who is NOT into cock. The men who are not into it, are not gay -- they are often confused and not sure of their sexual desire. They are very few in number. Any gay men out there not into cocks? If you are not, you should explore another label/identity.

So WHY in 2010 must gay men have to defend our right to sexual response with only men with penises and not sexual response to transmen without penises? This sexual rejection is called bigotry by some (transmen who call themselves gay). But this mis-labelling of personal rejection as some kind of political prejudice is ABSURD and contrdicts the very premise of gay sexual liberation which was to find and celebrate your true sexual response no matter how hated by society (male with male, dick with dick). Now transmen are castigating gay men for our actual hard wired sexual response to men with penises, and NOT a shred of a hard-on for any vaginas -- even when attached to what seems to be a person with male secondary sex characteristics. Most gay men do not respond with erections to Buck Angel's pussy -- this is a blood to penis response and nothing to do with politics.

But this entire post contradicts the forced inclusion of so much of trans sexuality where any lack of desire for anyone is seen as a political hate response and not merely a lack of a boner. This is problematic and another instance of gay and trans peoples being light years apart.

wow. calm down buddy, nobody is forcing you to date or have sex with anyone without your consent.

you said:
"The men who are not into it, are not gay -- they are often confused and not sure of their sexual desire."
has this discussion really devolved into "you're not REALLY gay!!!!" accusations? who are you to define others' sexual orientation for us?

you said:
"(transmen who call themselves gay)"
you meant, transmen who ARE gay. again, why do you need to deny others' sexual orientation to make your point? how rude.

btw, not all transitioned men have vaginas. and not all non-trans men have penises (you kind of acknowledged that when you said this:)
"(if someone had them amputated and I was with the man I would deal with it the same way I dealt with men who went mad or lost their faces/body parts from AIDS)"

so maybe it's not about penises at all? perhaps you just don't want to date people who are trans? (yet you're not transphobic? hm...) if so I don't understand, but you've got a right to define your own dating pool. some people won't date guys with curly hair... guess it's their loss!

"a gay male": To conflate a desire for the penis on the part of a gay male with "curly hair" is totally disingenous. Do you as a "gay male" have no criteria of genitals in your sexual desire? yes or no. And if no, how dare YOU dictate my sexual response and reduce it to a preference like curly hair. One of the reasons for rifts in older gay male and younger queer people is the inability to discuss sexual response -- hard throbbing boners -- without using Queer Speak. State your own sexual desire in explicit terms -- does the cock turn you on and does the vagina turn you on. And if one of the other does not, why make that a political attack on another person's RIGHT to sexual desire and freedom to live one's own sexual (not gender but boners and wet cunts) reality!?! This response to sexuality is a massive divide in conversation. Queer people speak their sex as "I am into transgresssive interactions with fluid gender roles". Many older gay men speak their sex as "I am into large hard thick cocks with lots of foreskin and massive hanging nuts on a hairy bearded man". Why is the first queer liberation and the second trans hate?

The person below is on the attack mode so no dialogue is possible.

LOL... you actually ARE playing the "gayer than thou" game! and you actually expect me to engage that? please.

you seem really worked up about this issue. I still don't see how men who've transitioned are denying you your rights?

p.s. you've made a lot of assumptions about me, including my age :)

Do you reduce every man you date to their cock? If so, I wouldn't want to date you either.

David,

Very interesting points about generational conflict. I'm happy to respond to you on your terms. What gets me hot? Imagining either a disembodied cock or cunt doesn't really do much for me. When they're attached to somebody is when it has an impact. Who they're attached to and what I'm doing with them matters significantly too.

A slick silicon cock can get me on my knees and drooling, but not when it's sitting on a store rack. My partner flashing me hir cunt turns me on, but not if I'm giving them medical attention.

I'm guessing you wouldn't be attracted to a woman with a cock, and that would mean there are other factors for you as well. I'd like to ask - out of curiosity and not an attempt to challenge your self-definition of attraction - if your guy lost his penis in an accident you say you'd stay with him, but would you still be hot for him or would it just be a "stand by your man" kind of thing even though he'd never trigger your sexual response again. And you also say that you wouldn't be attracted to a trans guy without a cock, but what about a post-phallo guy with a large one?

I'll also share that the genitals of trans folks who haven't had any genital surgeries still aren't directly comparable to cis folks. Sucking off a trans man's dicklit is not the same thing as going down on a cis woman. A trans woman's bits are not the same as a cis guy's cock. Those differences, minor and major, add up. And perhaps it has something to do with what turns me on, as I described above, but even though flesh cocks don't really do much for me, when I'm with a hot girl the idea of going down on her really gets my motor going -- regardless of the shape her genitals are in.

That's not to say that my sexual response is any more valid then yours, but it's useful to be aware of it. I know a lot of folks who never considered it a possibility until they found themselves getting hot (blood flowing to genitals kind of hot) for someone they found out was trans. It's not all that uncommon, as often you start getting hot for someone before you see their genitals.

I have NEVER met a gay man who is NOT into cock. The men who are not into it, are not gay -- they are often confused and not sure of their sexual desire. They are very few in number. Any gay men out there not into cocks? If you are not, you should explore another label/identity.

The gay men I have known who have dated trans men are plenty gay. They're not bi or queer or whatever other term you want to use - they're gay.

And, really, it's not up to you to tell them that they aren't.

This may be a generational divide, with the older generation telling us younger gay men what we should do with our bodies and who we're allowed to date and fuck. There is something to saying that people get more authoritarian as they get older, or at least learn to love to tell other people what to do. Personally, I'll choose not to believe that it's a generational divide until I see further proof.

Personally, I'm not just attracted to cock. If there was a cock on the floor, severed from the body it was attached to, my first response wouldn't be sexual desire. I'm into the whole package, the entire person, with gender being an important issue as I have no attraction to women, trans or cis.

I'm sure I'm not in the minority of gay men because of that.

Alex said:

"There is something to saying that people get more authoritarian as they get older, or at least learn to love to tell other people what to do. Personally, I'll choose not to believe that it's a generational divide until I see further proof."

Alex, as part of what you prolly consider 'the older generation' (I am 49, sigh...), I can tell you that we aren't *all* like that, so perhaps there is hope for *you*! For me, the older I get, the less certain I am that I have the absolute answer on anything at all...

Carol :)

PS: I always enjoy your posts! :)

A label free for all is YOUR utopia. It is not mine. As a gay man who loves men and penises, I love the gender binary. Your utopia is my hell. Speak for yourself please.

David Wrote: "But this entire post contradicts the forced inclusion of so much of trans sexuality where any lack of desire for anyone is seen as a political hate response and not merely a lack of a boner. This is problematic and another instance of gay and trans peoples being light years apart.

Wow!! - Perfect example of missing the point entirely.

"A label free for all is YOUR utopia. It is not mine. As a gay man who loves men and penises, I love the gender binary. Your utopia is my hell. Speak for yourself please."

Good for you - But until you recognize that this divisive attitude if symptomatic of oppression of the Trans community by the Gay community - as well as symptomatic of the oppression of the entire queer community by the straight community, we will be unable to have a meaningful dialog.

By stating that "my Utopia is your hell," you are exposing your ignorance and intolerance. Just because YOU don't like pussy, doesn't mean that there aren't other men, who define themselves as 'gay,' that do.

You are in fact trying to re-label them, not the other way around. Really, how do they diminish your gay experience? They don't - but by insisting that they are 'not gay' you are attempting to diminish theirs.

At the same time you say that MOST gay men do not respond to Buck Angel - you are not saying that ALL gay men are this way. This acknowledges that there are SOME gay men who might, which invalidates your whole point.

"WHY in 2010 must gay men have to defend our right to sexual response with only men with penises and not sexual response to transmen without penises?"

You're missing the point entirely - again!

You gotta ask yourself WHY does trans inclusiveness diminish the gay rights movement?

And it seems to all come back to gender and transgressing conventionally held gender traditions. Something we ALL have in common.

GAY people that try to distance themselves because they don't want to be associated with trans people, when we do in fact have a common issue, and seem generally too myopic to see how restrictive heteronormative gender roles also hurt them.

You seem to be a perfect example of this.

I was speaking for myself, and from my viewpoint along - I personally feel that trans inclusion does not subtract from the G/L liberation movement, but enhances it. A view not held by many.

Kind of similar to arguments for/against Gay Marriage, isn't it?

Until you can see the Binary Gender system for what it is, a social construct created to facilitate breeding while imposing controls on rights of reproduction and social expression - then having a dialog about this is a moot point.

Just like religious fanaticism closes the eyes to the validity of other life experiences, your vehement defense of your identity, while denying the validity of other forms of gay experiences, closes your eyes the the root cause of the whole issue.

Please open your eyes and see gender oppression for what it is - something that every person in our community (GLBTQ or straight) has had to deal with at one time or another.

Maybe then, you will stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution. Otherwise the bridge will never be built because we are too busy arguing over which type of wood to use.

If you don't like vaginas, bully for you -but please don't use it as a reason to deny the validity of relationships which don't exactly match yours. Otherwise you are just as responsible for perpetuating gender oppression as 'focus on family' or many other conservative hate groups.

You know your TRUTH and you insist that I will not be "saved" until I "open my eyes" to YOUR TRUTH. Who is the fundamentalist here? BTW, this proves that many gay men cannot interact with trans/queer people because you hold A TRUTH and we are ignorant of YOUR TRUTH. Enjoy your certitude. I enjoy a flat earth where sex is a human body response and not a politicized manipulative tool.

ps end of bilerico reading -- no room for gay men like me here -- I will leave so you can air out the room for others who think EXACTLY like you. Borg much?

ps Jessica below "gets it" -- you know the TRUTH, so you do not.

Evidently there are different versions of the TRUTH based on individual perspective.

David,

I'm on the verge of agreeing with your decision concerning Bilerico. In the last few weeks, I've felt more excluded by the opinion postings (both of the editorial and personal variety) than included - and am disheartened by the seeming lack of interest in some commenters to acknowledge any comment/belief but their own as being valid - up to, and including, this little bon mot from "Rachel":

"Eric - the gender of the person you kiss may not be an issue for you, but it probably is for someone you know, or have associated with in the past. You might have even dealt with discrimination, violence or verbal abuse because of it. You may have strained relations with your family because of it.

I refuse to believe that you are so unaware of the world around you that you are not aware of these issues - which were the genesis for this very forum.

But how strongly you are trying to differentiate yourself from me, tells me that you yourself may be uncomfortable with certain aspects of your identity in relation to transgressing constrictive heteronormative binary gender expectations.

I don't know your situation, but if you can recognize that the cause for any sanctions you may have received might be caused, at least in part, by the gender transgressing nature of a gay relationship, then maybe we can open a real dialog, because you fully comprehend my message."

Rachel manages to hit several different plateaus with her comment, not the least of which is an underlying negativity concerning my "attempting to distance (myself) from (her)." It is an opinion not based on fact, but from a simple differentiation of viewpoint - for her, gender roles and the labeling of such gender roles are important in her continuing to weave through some nebulous pattern imposed by society.

To me, those patterns are not important.

But for me, she really crosses a line when she supposes that I am "uncomfortable with certain aspects of (my) identity in relation to transgressing constrictive heteronormative binary gender expectations."

The actuality is I simply don't give a damn about any "constrictive heteronormative binary gender expectations."

She may "paint-it-up with purty words," as most of my parents' siblings would put it, born, bred and based in the hills of West Virginia, but her words, stripped of the "purtiness," are still a negative attack on me because she and I have different viewpoints and expectations out of some societal norm. I'm absolutely certain, in a by-gone time, I would have been one of the first put to the flames in some heretical purge.

Since Mr. Gold's opinion piece was electronically published, such responses have been the norm for those who question electronically published opinions concerning "trans issues are issues that affect us all!"

My one hope concerning Bilerico is the editors of the site do not let the restrictions that are, apparently, attempting to be put in place by a majority of those commenting on the recent spate of "trans issues postings" - comments that, when stripped to the core, essentially say: If you don't agree with us, you're a hater, and haters have no place here... it's a safe place! - become part of the parameters within which they extend invitations for someone to submit their opinions for publication.

That would be a shame.

My one hope concerning Bilerico is the editors of the site do not let the restrictions that are, apparently, attempting to be put in place by a majority of those commenting on the recent spate of "trans issues postings" - comments that, when stripped to the core, essentially say: If you don't agree with us, you're a hater, and haters have no place here... it's a safe place! - become part of the parameters within which they extend invitations for someone to submit their opinions for publication.

Like no gay person has ever done that one before. "If you don't agree with me on marriage, then you're full of hate! Only a homobigot would think that hate crimes legislation is wrong!"

Don't worry. Bilerico isn't a safe space. We've made that clear from the start. Part of the reason this site exists is because of Bil's and my frustration with the concept of a "safe space."

But that doesn't mean that we're going to start deleting the comments of people who disagree with you so that you feel safer to voice your opinion. Someone says you're a hater for having your opinion, well, deal with it.

Alex states:

"Don't worry. Bilerico isn't a safe space. We've made that clear from the start. Part of the reason this site exists is because of Bil's and my frustration with the concept of a "safe space."

And yet, Andrew Gold's opinion piece is gone, as is his status as a contributor, based on allegations his opinion was hateful, intentionally hurtful (I guess there's a high percentage of psychics who read Bilerico) and failed to make Bilerico appear as a "safe space."

(Go, read the comments... note how many times the site no longer being a "safe space" is commented upon.)

Cart/horse, pot/kettle... Bilerico either is a safe space where contrary opinions will not be published/stored based on the outcry made by commenters, or it is a space where all contributor's opinions are given equal weight by the editors-in-chief.

Alex continues:


"But that doesn't mean that we're going to start deleting the comments of people who disagree with you so that you feel safer to voice your opinion. Someone says you're a hater for having your opinion, well, deal with it."

Nowhere did I ask that any comments be deleted, Alex. I have asked that some commenters who are also contributors re-examine their published opinions based upon the running commentary; one I've even asked, outright, to please discontinue that contributor's ongoing series as, I feel, the assumptions made in that ongoing series are, themselves, based on a false argument.

But nowhere did I ask for their deletion.

Unlike a previous commenter, who has since gone silent, I recognize the difference between a published piece going through the editorial process and censorship.

To suggest changes in text in a piece which the editors-in-chief of the site are considering for publication - be those changes in text, in placement of content or in the conceptualization of the opinion, itself - are part of the editing process.

To simply hit the "delete" button, especially on any material that has already been published, either as a comment to a published opinion or as the published opinion, itself, is censorship.

And, as a note while you've expressed its based on a false premise, you've yet to demonstrate that is is such.

Whereas Ron Gold's post was shown to be inherently based in a false premise, and as a result a lie.

If you are going to to attack a premise, you need to do it in a manner that does not rely on logical fallacies such as straw men and argumentem ad argumentum.

Do that -- which is possible, logically, if it is indeed a false premise -- and you might have a point.

Until then, it stays. I'm always up for examining new evidence -- I'd be a piss poor sociologist if I wasn't, and as a note I'm a damn good one in a field that few can make it into because its so interdisciplinary.

Now if only people would get past the whole bitch thing and trans thing...

By definition, someone's opinion cannot be "based on a false premise," as it is their opinion.

Mr. Gold was not asked to write an editorial to represent an official stance from Bilerico, but was, instead, solicited for an original opinion piece - and I'd wager the subject of that opinion was left completely to Mr. Gold.

You may be a "damned good sociologist," Toni, but you don't know squat about the differences between publication of hard news pieces/editorials/opinion pieces/public commentaries and what the criteria are for the publication of same.

Even another Bilerico contributor who claimed to have extensive newsroom experience showed ignorance in those differences, confusing the editing process with "censorship," an ignorance that becomes more understandable once one realizes that "extensive experience" was as an intern in college, almost 20 years ago; traditionally interns in newsrooms are little more than coffee-fetchers and copypersons; in the hierarchy of the newsroom, delivery people rank above them.

As I've said, in the last two weeks (since the electronic publication of someone's opinion) the space at Bilerico, once utilized to reflect opinion toward the reality of the nation and how that reality had the potential to affect everyone in the nation - Everyone. Not just gays or lesbians or bisexuals or trans - has, instead, become the electronic equivalent of the "Trans Publisher's Clearing House," where any opinion is, seemingly, deemed worthy of electronic publication, as long as that opinion addresses some sort of "trans issue."

That's an interesting observation, Eric.

You are aware that contributors get to pick what they will talk about, aren't you?

Bil's long wanted me to talk about my particular approach to marriage equality. And I will -- its something I've written about several times before, though, so I want to come at it with a fresh perspective.

And while I've seen several trans articles, I haven't seen many that aren't related -- and not because of any particular editorial decision, but simply because that's what's being put in the hopper.

But it's nice to know you've been ignoring stuff by Alex, Bil, Father Tony, D Gregory Smith, Michele O'Mara, Gloria Brame, Rabbi Kleinbaum, Jerame, Patricia Nell Warren, Pedro Serrano, Joe Mirabella, Nathan Strang, Kate Clinton, Rev. Monroe, Terrance Heath, and more, in favor of just the comparatively fewer posts by a handful of authors.

Makes me feel special :D

Toni asks:

You are aware that contributors get to pick what they will talk about, aren't you?

Didn't I just say, in the comment to which you've decided to add this comment:

"Mr. Gold was not asked to write an editorial to represent an official stance from Bilerico, but was, instead, solicited for an original opinion piece - and I'd wager the subject of that opinion was left completely to Mr. Gold."

Well, damn. How about that. I sure did.

Mr. Gold stated was asked by the editor(s)-in-chief to submit an opinion piece for publication.

Mr. Gold was allowed to decide for himself the subject of the piece he presented.

Mr. Gold's opinion was submitted and (here, I admit it is a guess; I just assume some process is in place) submitted to the pre-publication editing process, and; finally, Mr. Gold's opinion was electronically published, with all the necessary disclaimers labeling the piece as nothing but Mr. Gold's opinion in place.

But, Toni, by your own admission, you failed to understand Mr. Gold was simply stating his opinion, as you say:

"Whereas Ron Gold's post was shown to be inherently based in a false premise, and as a result a lie."

Someone's opinion does not have to be based on a non-faulty premise, or even on demonstrative fact, Toni.

Want proof?

I believe you mentioned you life in the Bay Area, but in the East Bay, correct? If I am correct, go out tomorrow and purchase a copy of all the dailies - the Chron, the Examiner, the Sausalito and Oakland papers. If Hayward has one, get that, too. Get San Jose's Merc.

Go to the Editorial/Opinion pages. Since tomorrow is Christmas Eve, how many opinion columns are printed that are extolling Christ and praising Him as God? Now, prove to me the premise on which those opinions are based is 100% accurate.

Here's what I believe:

Mr. Gold's opinion was published.

Someone took exception to Mr. Gold's opinion and, either through their own personal blog, Facebook page, MySpace page, any of a dozen "chat" or instant messenger programs, issued a "call to action" to come to this site and make comment on Mr. Gold's opinion, as well as inundate the editors-in-chief of this site with e-mails of complaint.

The editors-in-chief chose to delete Mr. Gold's opinion and issue a form of public mea culpa which, in my opinion, was a mistake on their part.

Some contributors, seeing the increased presence of trans persons at the site, read that as persons who have always read Bilerico and have simply remained silent, instead of an influx of persons specifically directed toward Mr. Gold's opinion. Those contributors then increased their submissions concerning trans issues; the editors-in-chief, perhaps even unconsciously, approved those submissions as a type of "offset."

Are the issues facing transpersons of importance to the gay and lesbian community? Of course they are, as are any issues of any prejudice against any group of persons.

But should those issues have dominated what has been a very heavy news cycle over the last 2 weeks? Of course not.

And is the infighting among transpersons, themselves, concerning who is really trans, who is not trans, what type of trans a person is, etc., important to... well.. anyone except the person expressing the opinion? Hell, no.

In the last few days, commentary on real news and real world issues has once again begun; hopefully, that trend will continue.

So a double-standard is just fine with you, as long as that standard favors you.

Maybe the infighting among trans people is a microcosm of the infighting among the larger GLBT community.

Or indicative of the infighting within society as a whole.

Those at the top rarely concern themselves with the oppression and exploitation of those beneath them.

So your privilege is showing when you state that the larger queer community doesn't care, or shouldn't be concerned with trans issues.

So tell me, Rachel, do you read?

I ask, because as the latest comment to one of Toni's replies to a comment I posted, you state:

"So your privilege is showing when you state that the larger queer community doesn't care, or shouldn't be concerned with trans issues."

Yet, in the comment to which Toni is responding, I state:

"Are the issues facing transpersons of importance to the gay and lesbian community? Of course they are, as are any issues of any prejudice against any group of persons."

So which is it?

Did you not read the original comment to which Toni responded, or is it that you're simply not interested in anything anyone says except for a handful of persons?

Either way, I would submit it is not I who is either exhibiting, or expecting, some sort of "privelege."

Dear Eric,

I read so many posts since I released my piece, that my eyes are crossed, and it is hard to keep some of them straight.

I have felt that I have been under attack since I released this piece, and have done a great deal of reading over the last 36 hours - mostly in order to cauterize the trans-infighting, and steer the dialog to a more constructive LGBT space, so that I did not suffer the same fate as Ron Gold.

(To be fair, I did get a bit confused with the format of the threads, which can be a little hard to navigate when they are so long, and may have mixed up some of your comments with those of others.)

So I'm sorry I did not reading your posts more thoroughly.

I have since re-read them, and apologize if I have mischaracterized you because of not reading your posts in depth. I feel that I have really done myself a significant disservice by not being more thorough, since on second and third reading, you seem largely to agree with many of my points.

So, please let me clarify a few things:

In retrospect, I believe I was quite off the mark with the following comment:

"So your privilege is showing when you state that the larger queer community doesn't care, or shouldn't be concerned with trans issues."

Which you didn't exactly say. The above comment was in response to my misinterpretation of the following comment from you:

"And is the infighting among transpersons, themselves, concerning who is really trans, who is not trans, what type of trans a person is, etc., important to... well.. anyone except the person expressing the opinion? Hell, no."

So which is it? - I agree with the following comment wholeheartedly:

"Are the issues facing transpersons of importance to the gay and lesbian community? Of course they are, as are any issues of any prejudice against any group of persons."

"Did you not read the original comment to which Toni responded, or is it that you're simply not interested in anything anyone says except for a handful of persons?"

I read it - quickly - and I am very interested in other's opinions.

Unfortunately, my inappropriate knee-jerk reaction was a result of numerous interactions with the larger Gay/Lez community, and their frequent dismissal and trivialization of trans issues - in person and in print.

Also, in your original comment, the debate seemed to be concerning the events connected with Ron Gold's recent post, and the controversy surrounding it, which I did not want to get involved with, since I did not participate in that in any way.

I do agree, however that the removal of his article from Bilerico of his original post is a grave mistake, and it underscores the problematic volatility of electronic media.

Used to be, once the paper was printed - that was it. A retraction or correction could be printed in the next edition, but you could not eliminate the article from every edition once it had been distributed.

History can be re-written so easily with Electronic Media, that I wonder which version of history future generations will be reading about - the real events, or the propaganda?

There has always been propaganda, but artifacts such as books and newspapers made sorting out or refuting the 'true' history far easier than with 'movable type.'

Electronic media should strive to preserve a more permanent record, otherwise it is in danger of being 'tweaked,' by every regime change.

Finally, your quote:

"Either way, I would submit it is not I who is either exhibiting, or expecting, some sort of "privilege.""

Definitely NOT my intention. Apologies if I did. I'm only human, and as such I sometimes make errors.

I only hope that these errors don't completely undermine my efforts to find a common ground between our communities.

Unlike some in this forum, I can admit when I am wrong, and so I apologize for my incorrect reaction to some of your comments and the uninformed posts that resulted from it.

As far as the trans-infighting goes, I do actually believe that the Trans community it is a microcosm of the internal conflicts of the larger GLBTQI community.

I truly believe that this internal conflict within the trans community shares common traits with regards to efforts of one group to distance themselves from another group to preserve whatever small portion of privilege they may have.

So I guess if there is anything to be learned from this whole experience it's that bias can come from just about anywhere, for just about any reason. And that is something we should all be concerned with - especially at a time when we can use all of the allies we can find.

It is unfortunate that a few vociferous separatists were able to hijack what could have been a more meaningful dialog with the larger LGBTQI community. And I fear that I may have only hindered this effort by some of my responses.

I was sincerely trying to focus on, and give a name to a common bias coming from OUTSIDE the LGBTQI community, rather trying to further oppress our entire community. So, I must also wonder if some commenters read my entire article, since they seem to have completely disregarded the spirit in which it was written. Frankly, I truly did not expect some of my biggest detractors to be trans-people.

All I can say to them, (as well as the larger LGBQ community,) is that if we can not stand united, then we shall surely fall divided.

In the future, I myself will strive to express myself more clearly so as to alleviate any further misunderstanding, if at all possible.


Dear Eric,

I read so many posts since I released my piece, that my eyes are crossed, and it is hard to keep some of them straight.

I have felt that I have been under attack since I released this piece, and have done a great deal of reading over the last 36 hours - mostly in order to cauterize the trans-infighting, and steer the dialog to a more constructive LGBT space, so that I did not suffer the same fate as Ron Gold.

(To be fair, I did get a bit confused with the format of the threads, which can be a little hard to navigate when they are so long, and may have mixed up some of your comments with those of others.)

So I'm sorry I did not reading your posts more thoroughly.

I have since re-read them, and apologize if I have mischaracterized you because of not reading your posts in depth. I feel that I have really done myself a significant disservice by not being more thorough, since on second and third reading, you seem largely to agree with many of my points.

So, please let me clarify a few things:

In retrospect, I believe I was quite off the mark with the following comment:

"So your privilege is showing when you state that the larger queer community doesn't care, or shouldn't be concerned with trans issues."

Which you didn't exactly say. The above comment was in response to my misinterpretation of the following comment from you:

"And is the infighting among transpersons, themselves, concerning who is really trans, who is not trans, what type of trans a person is, etc., important to... well.. anyone except the person expressing the opinion? Hell, no."

So which is it? - I agree with the following comment wholeheartedly:

"Are the issues facing transpersons of importance to the gay and lesbian community? Of course they are, as are any issues of any prejudice against any group of persons."

"Did you not read the original comment to which Toni responded, or is it that you're simply not interested in anything anyone says except for a handful of persons?"

I read it - quickly - and I am very interested in other's opinions.

Unfortunately, my inappropriate knee-jerk reaction was a result of numerous interactions with the larger Gay/Lez community, and their frequent dismissal and trivialization of trans issues - in person and in print.

Also, in your original comment, the debate seemed to be concerning the events connected with Ron Gold's recent post, and the controversy surrounding it, which I did not want to get involved with, since I did not participate in that in any way.

I do agree, however that the removal of his article from Bilerico of his original post is a grave mistake, and it underscores the problematic volatility of electronic media.

Used to be, once the paper was printed - that was it. A retraction or correction could be printed in the next edition, but you could not eliminate the article from every edition once it had been distributed.

History can be re-written so easily with Electronic Media, that I wonder which version of history future generations will be reading about - the real events, or the propaganda?

There has always been propaganda, but artifacts such as books and newspapers made sorting out or refuting the 'true' history far easier than with 'movable type.'

Electronic media should strive to preserve a more permanent record, otherwise it is in danger of being 'tweaked,' by every regime change.

Finally, your quote:

"Either way, I would submit it is not I who is either exhibiting, or expecting, some sort of "privilege.""

Definitely NOT my intention. Apologies if I did. I'm only human, and as such I sometimes make errors.

I only hope that these errors don't completely undermine my efforts to find a common ground between our communities.

Unlike some in this forum, I can admit when I am wrong, and so I apologize for my incorrect reaction to some of your comments and the uninformed posts that resulted from it.

As far as the trans-infighting goes, I do actually believe that the Trans community it is a microcosm of the internal conflicts of the larger GLBTQI community.

I truly believe that this internal conflict within the trans community shares common traits with regards to efforts of one group to distance themselves from another group to preserve whatever small portion of privilege they may have.

So I guess if there is anything to be learned from this whole experience it's that bias can come from just about anywhere, for just about any reason. And that is something we should all be concerned with - especially at a time when we can use all of the allies we can find.

It is unfortunate that a few vociferous separatists were able to hijack what could have been a more meaningful dialog with the larger LGBTQI community. And I fear that I may have only hindered this effort by some of my responses.

I was sincerely trying to focus on, and give a name to a common bias coming from OUTSIDE the LGBTQI community, rather trying to further oppress our entire community. So, I must also wonder if some commenters read my entire article, since they seem to have completely disregarded the spirit in which it was written. Frankly, I truly did not expect some of my biggest detractors to be trans-people.

All I can say to them, (as well as the larger LGBQ community,) is that if we can not stand united, then we shall surely fall divided.

In the future, I will strive to express myself more clearly so as to alleviate any further misunderstanding, if at all possible.


Apology accepted, Rachel. I understand how confusing the "decreasing-in-width" thread-weaving formatting is in sites which employ that layout.

Are you saying that all transgender people seek to blast the gender binary?

Are you saying that the straightest transsexual woman is really not different from you--a self-identified non-op transgender woman?

I see from your analysis, and your non-response to those gay men who keep trying to focus your attention on sex that sex, the thing between your legs--as opposed to gender, the thing in your head--that you really do not understand, and apparently do not want to understand there is a difference.

This is the difference the gay men posting to your blog make--and it is the point I make with respect to women of operative history.

You declare you want to see only the similarities. You declare you don't want to see the loss of privilege transitioning from male to female, particularly permanently (which apparently you are) but also especially after surgery.

Until you not only see the difference, not even Judith Butler cannot not see the difference, but also accept it into your theoretical universe, you will trivialize not only the lives of gay men--as has been demonstrated by comments above--you will also trivialize the lives of women of operative history.

And you will make our lives far more dangerous than you can possibly imagine--and that they need to be.

All this to satisfy some urge to impose identity on those who are quite happy with our own identities and have come to terms with who and what we are.

This is where the flaws in your analysis bring you.

I fail to see how I am trivializing ANYONE by taking an inclusive view of the larger queer community.

Just because I'm trying to make people aware of the problems and dangers caused by a constrictive heteronormative binary gender system - Problems that many in our own queer community may not be aware of, because they have not had to look at that part of themselves as deeply as I have.

Just because I choose to focus only on one facet of the queer experience, does not mean that I am choosing to ignore and invalidate other aspects of queer experience.

But addressing them in my article would only have confused the issue. As your posts, which seem overly involved, and somewhat confusing.

By trying to strip away the veneer of Binary Gender I am trying to examine a system of oppression that is invisible to most people.

I see the difference - but I'm addressing our similarities, and trying to define WHAT those similarities are.

Until you can agree that there ARE similarities in our oppression, any further discussion with you will be a non-starter.

I'm striving for inclusiveness. What are you doing?


Sadly, your brand of inclusiveness does not include many of those who are posting comments here.

Maybe, there are those who agree with your intent to impose your brand of inclusiveness; they, however, are currently silent.

There is an old story about a man named Procrustes, who had a marvellous bed, which, he said, fit absolutely everyone.

And it did.

If you were too small, he stretched you until you fit.

If you were too big, he cut off your head and your feet--though in what order is unclear.

Naturally, those who experienced this marvellous bed didn't live to tell the tale.

Until Hercules--who fit precisely Procrustes' bed; then he sprang up and slew Procrustes.

Now, is this too involved?

O, and by the way, Hercules was an absolutely unique person--hero--who just happened to fit this bed; most of us are not heroes, we are just people working to live our lives.

And we don't fit your bed.

Maybe I am confused, There is different types of inclusiveness? One would think there was one type. The type that is inclusive, otherwise it is, exclusive.

Inclusiveness for some tiny flags for others!

The cost of the inclusiveness on offer here is way too high for me--and I'm not the only one.

Why, we'd have to give up being who we are and become who Rachel at least who Rachel says she is. Which might not be the same thing.

Maybe you're OK with that?

Interesting statement.

Especially given there is zero justification for it.

Care to outline the basis for that?

It seems that you only deal in absolutes, Jessica.

In a discussion about the grey areas of GENDER (not sex) I don't know how I will be able to have a meaningful discussion with someone who declares that there is only black and white, and refuses to acknowledge the existence of grey.

Rachel, there are some very vocal separatists who are transseual and go around saying things like "there's no such thing as a non-op transsexual" because they've chosen to exclude those who do not fit their paradigm of what is or is not a transsexual, and intentionally ignore relatively simple things in favor of ever more complex conspiracy theories regarding the whole thing.

For them, like for many, a straight woman like myself is not supposed to have anything to do with gay people. Indeed, offsite, they can be found agreeing with and spouting some pretty homophobic things, but here they seek to advance their cause of separating transsexuals from trans everything else by using the resistance that other LGB folks often have against T folks.

Hence the agreement by some LGB folks with some of them in the comments.

In the end, its all a matter of reclaiming or reinforcing cisprivilege, in that trans are other.

Smile, nod, and tell them good for them.

Anything more will get you accused of not really being a transsexual.

oh, wait -- that's been done already, hasn't it?

i'm a conspiracy theorist?

i'm a 'cisprivilege enforcer'?

i'm a homophobic spouter of non-sense?

Wow.

And here i thought i was just somebody with an opposing opinion on some things.

*smile*

*nod*

Good for you, Dys. Good for you.

Now I was pretty sure I used *some*.

Not all.

I know.

I was once called a 'Skin Transvestite" by one abusive separatist, while my non-op status has more to do with the risks of surgery and the potential to lose the ability to orgasm than anything else.

Even if the prevalence of this is 1 in 1000, it sucks if you're that one. I've already beat slimmer odds by being trans.

It seems lately that I have found my self thinking that I may indeed may opt for surgery, but does taking 10 years to give it a good hard think invalidate my identity as a transwoman? I think not. It really just labels me 'cautious.'

It's really interesting how the most dogmatic among us have tried to twist my opinion into the cause of their oppression, when my opinion was arrived at through my own journey of self acceptance.

The world is made of more than black and white - there ARE shades of grey. And the existence of GREY does not negate the existence of black OR white. It simply makes finding the division between them harder.

My opinion is that the expectation of behaviour in the current binary gender system are too constrictive, and ignore the possibility of the existence of any other state of being - something that EVERY person on the planet has had to deal with at one time or another, whether they are conscious of it or not.

Biologically speaking, there are many intersex conditions which blow the sex binary out of the water. Maybe it's simply underdevelopment, or a genetic condition - but these states of being do not fit squarely into the 'male' or 'female' categories.

My own understanding of my condition is that the map of my body that exists in the somatosensory cortex of my brain is diametrically opposed to the physical structures of my external anatomy. This seems the best description of MY experience that I have found - Therefore I have concluded from my own experience that my brain, and therefore my gender and identity do not conform to the binary notion of gender.

This does not change the self definition of a straight trans woman, Jessica. Of course there is a difference, but you are trying to force your opinion of the absoluteness of binary gender down my throat, and trying to invalidate the difference that I feel I am entitled to express about my own identity.

Maybe you have more invested in the binary gender system than I do. That doesn't make either of us wrong.

There is another old saying: 'There are none so blind as those who refuse to see."

You don't have to accept or agree with my opinion, but you must respect my right to have an opinion - as I must for you.

I only hope that I have been able to broaden the perspective of some of the people who have read my piece, and have not commented.

Obviously, I am quite aware that I can not please everyone. Nor should I try.

(Of course, there's no pleasing some people, no matter how hard you try.)


Rachel, I think you are missing that Jessica in fact *likes* the gender binary! (if I understand her correctly, I am sure she will let me know if I misunderstood! )

That seems to be her basis for everything she says in TBP. My understanding is that she is completely opposed to transgender philosophy, along with some of the other posters in this thread, though she doesn't make it as explicit as they do.

Carol :)

I realize that she likes the binary.

The problem is her trying to enforce her binary on me.... or to invalidly claim that because I wish to examine the binary, I am trashing her whole identity.

Kind of feels like the same arguments that "Gay Marriage" destroys "Traditional Marriage."

After all if marriage were truly "traditional," it would be arranged at birth for largely financial reasons, the wife would have to kill herself when her husband died, there would be no such thing as divorce, and adulterers would be executed.

So even today's (American) concept of "traditional marriage" is a social construct that has been tweaked to suit our oppressors - and it will continue to be tweaked in every way imaginable before the fight is over..

For some people there is room for both, for others, there is not.

The problem is her trying to enforce her binary on me.... or to invalidly claim that because I wish to examine the binary, I am trashing her whole identity

Frankly, I don't care how you present, what your beliefs about your presentation are, or those people who accept this as part of your examination of gender.

What I object to, and I'm just a bit more precise than declaring you're "trashing [my] whole identity" is your recruiting me into your examination of gender. This is part of a long tradition of people trying to enforce their views of gender on women of corrective history; you accuse me of the very thing you do--what your post did; what the tradition you are part of does.

It is more anodyne, I suppose, to call it an examination but it is something a bit more radical--and bitter--than that.

Your examination of transsexuality--maybe you have not examined transsexuality in the way you have examined gender--has not shown you it is not an identity, anymore than, I expect, homosexuality is an identity--as opposed to "gay," "lesbian".

BTW, it is not a question of liking the gender binary. I don't accept the statement of any man simply because he is a man. Does this make me transgender? Of course not, no more than for any woman.

Or do you consider this part of your examination of gender? Or maybe this is part of deconstructing gender?

I don't think so. Nor would any of the women I work with. Their living in the world as women does not require them to be men, or some third gender. Why would you require this of me?

Nor, Carol, am I "completely opposed to transgender philosophy", only when it recruits me against my will.

Is this clear enough?

Jessica - It's a free country.

I did not force you to read my article, and I certainly did not force you to comment on it.

But if you are going to engage in active debate on the subject, you myst also accept that you can not force me to subscribe to your dogma any more than one can truly "enforce their views of gender on women of corrective history."

In case you failed to comprehend my original post - I was focusing on bias against the ENTIRE LGBTQI community - not just one small segment of it. This includes quite a few cis-gendered people as well as 'those of operative history.'

As you point out, 'examining' is much the the same as 'deconstructing' if not synonymous.

But is deconstructing gender a bad thing?

I think not. You think so.

I have never stated something like "the problem with post-ops is..." with such a sweeping condemnation as:

""The problem with those like you who are universal gender deconstuctionists is you absolutely refuse the reality that for 99% of the world the binary works just fine gay or straight."

Something which I disagree with - not only because I feel that the gender binary serves less than 50% of the population, but I also disagree with the inference that I must be delusional because I refuse to accept your reality.

I can't force someone to change their mind, any more than I can force someone to stop being ignorant or intolerant.

After all, one can force someone to eat spinach, but you certainly can't force them to like it.

That is truly something only they can do for themselves.

you myst [sic] also accept that you can not force me to subscribe to your dogma

When have I ever forced you to accept my dogma? All I, and others, are trying to do is opt out of yours!

You're also imposing community upon me. The last time I looked, both here in Canada, and elsewhere, there seemed to be significantly less, if any, inclusion of, well, transsexual women in the community organizations, positions of authority and respect that for others is routine.

Now, if there were a community that actually paid the respect most reasonable people assume is part of inclusion--as opposed to the forced internment you champion--then, maybe, there might be something to talk about.

And you are certainly forcing the consumption of spinach. . . .every time you conflate my paths 1) and 2).

respect is a two way street -sometimes it has to be given before it can be received.

Frankly, if you don't want to be a part of my community, then don't. Frankly I would rather not have you.

But from what I've gathered, you do not identify as TG, but as a woman of 'operative experience,' then what makes you think you have the right to make comments and judgements on the community of people that contains TG's.

To do so is an attempt to exert your perceived privilege over my community.


then what makes you think you have the right to make comments and judgements [sic] on the community of people that contains TG's.

To do so is an attempt to exert your perceived privilege over my community.

Because you have included me, and all women of corrective history, in "the community of people that contains TG's."

I simply reflect your comments back at you "what makes you think you have the right to make comments and judgments on the community of people that contains TS's.

"To do so is an attempt to exert your perceived privilege over my community."

And yes,

respect is a two way street -sometimes it has to be given before it can be received.

I simply reflect your comments back at you "what makes you think you have the right to make comments and judgments on the community of people that contains TS's.

But I consider myself part of her community AND I am TS....Sooooooo......yeah.

You don't consider yourself TG. Well great, I don't understand why you care how someone else categorizes you in their mind.

Example: If you are a blond and dye your hair red but I still consider you a blond, WTF do you care? It is irrelevant to your existence.

There is no contradiction in, in my mind at least, with someone who has the medical condition of transsexuality who chooses to identify as transgender--anymore than anyone who is cissexual who chooses to so identify.

The problem arises when, as Rachel has declared in these comments, that transsexual people, in this discussion transsexual women, must be gender deconstructionists.

Why would I criticize your choosing to be transgender, Tara?

Now, if you declare that I, too, must also be part of your "community" there is quite a problem.

There is the related problem that, if I choose not to self-identify as you have self-identified and you take that to be a personal insult to your existential status--as Rachel has and many who argue as she has do.

And this is more than just a trivial, abstract thing, as you seem to imply.

If Rachel goes around declaring she is the spokesperson not only for gender deconstructionists, i. e. transgender people, but also for transsexual people, then, there are consequences for my life and for those whose lives are like mine, not like yours and Rachel's.

Do you also need the forced support of people like me to bolster your life? It seems that Rachel does.

"Because you have included me, and all women of corrective history, in "the community of people that contains TG's."

By this, you mean that I have included you in the overall group of LGBT?

This contains not only post-ops, but gay, lez bi and tg as well. So why are you even reading a GLBTQI web site if you are not a member of this group?

Jessica - you need to take a course in logic.

I took one in college, and it has helped me in my self analysis, and you could certainly benefit from it.

Here's how it goes:

Group A (LGBT) contains both Group G (gay men) and Group L (Lesbians).

Inclusion in Group A, does not make Group G (gay men) into Group L (Lesbians).

In fact there is almost no overlap between Group G and Group L.

And then there is Group T (TG's only) , now some TG's are members of Group A (gay men) but NOT ALL members of Group A, are members of Group T.

...and some members of Group T are members of group L, but Not ALL members of group L are members of group T.

and because group T has members that are also members of both groups G and L, that does not mean that ALL members of from T are members of either group G or group L. Many also belong to group S (straight).

TG's and post-ops are each subsets of the superset LGBT.

Your insistence that I am compromising your identity by including you in a group that also contains TG's is based on VERY faulty logic, and I refuse to debate with you any more on the matter until you take a course, or at least do more research into logical thinking.

(logical thinking is a core requirement for computer programmers, who use the same principals to construct these marvelous programs.)

This should have said:

And then there is Group T (TG's only) , now some TG's are members of Group G (gay men) but NOT ALL members of Group G, are members of Group T.

Great post, Rachel. I'm with you pretty solid on almost every paragraph, and I am with you totally on what the queer community's "common gender issue" is.

Rachel,

The problem with those like you who are universal gender deconstuctionists is you absolutely refuse the reality that for 99% of the world the binary works just fine gay or straight.

I have repeated this over and over for years but once again, deconstruct your own gender to your hearts content, but the minute you try to deconstruct mine we have a big problem. You see, you simply do not have the right to do so.

And for your consideration since you are a "non-op" transgender (there simply is no such thing as a non op transsexual by choice) The very existence of women like myself proves that the binary is not only real but hardwired in to most people....as in neurologically because, and this is the part you will have trouble understanding, if it weren't there simply would not be classic transsexuals who absolutely need to correct their bodies to the maximum amount possible.....and we have been around since the dawn of recorded history. As a feminist Pagan historian, I can state that with absolute certainty. Across social organizational modes, across all cultures, across all time, we exist. And we are clearly different than you so don't presume to speak to our lives, our realities or our need to correct our bodies.

Gender deconstruction is the place Ron started from, it's the place Julie Bindle starts from, it's the place Janice Raymond started from. It's the place that Mary Daly started from and eventually rejected. Consider the bedfellow you have with your insistence that that's how the world works in the face of all the evidence of most of humanity it isn't. Men and women are different.

The problem with those like you who are universal gender deconstuctionists is you absolutely refuse the reality that for 99% of the world the binary works just fine gay or straight.

Does it really work fine for them?

I would have to disagree here. If it did, there would be no need for feminism (let alone trans-feminism.)

The discrimination and violence that cis-women face is also symptomatic of the fact that the current system has problems.

Until all women truly have equal rights - such as equal pay for equal work, and no glass ceiling to their career advancement, and no sanctions or restrictions on reproductive rights - then the binary gender system can not be considered to be 'working just fine for 99% of people.'

As far as I can see, the current gender system only truly works fine for less than 50% of the population - the heterosexual male segment of the population.

As I said repeatedly, the problems with the current gender system apply to EVERYONE - not just the LGBT.

But it is true that this probably won't be changing any time soon, because of 'social inertia.'

I suspect that if it does, it will be far more likely to come as a result of biological discoveries about our genome and physiology than because of any political, sociological or ideological discourse.

"there simply is no such thing as a non op transsexual by choice"

Of course, you can state things like this as though they were fact.

Amazing.

Everyone is different.

Also as a Feminist Pagan Historian I can state that all types have existed throughout time. But one person always JUST HAS to have the truth under his or her belt right?

because it is fact.....

The definition of transsexual is someone driven to put mind and body in congruence to the maximum amount possible........


Yes, crossdressering has been around a long time too, just not recorded as much and not as far back and more dependent on gender roles in any given society...consider Maoist China for an example, pretty hard to crossdress when men and women wore the exact same clothes and yet they still felt they were either men or women, imagine that!

None of which has to do what I was addressing which is that gender deconstructionism is the tie that binds radical lesbian separatists, Ron Gold and TGs.

I have heard and had directed at me the most out and out mysogynistic and gynophobic garbage you can imagine and most of it came, not from the religious right, not from macho homophobic men but transgenders. So much so I coined a word for it, neogynophobia.

And before you launch into calling me a post op nazi or such:

A pre-op transsexual woman is as much a woman as a post op one.

A post-op transgender is no more a woman than a non-op transgender.

Surgery is something that those born with transsexuality do to correct their bodies to get on with life, sometimes crossdressers do it as well for some percieved legitimacy, we call them "regretors" or dead all too often.

And lest anyone hasn't figured it out yet...in addition to classic transsexuals proving the binary, so do gay men and lesbian women because if the gender binary was a false construct, who they were attracted to wouldn't matter, they'd all be bisexuals as would everyone else.

and sexual orientation would actually be a preference.....care to try to sell that one to gay men and lesbians and straight people? Good luck to you and the Red Sox if you try

Side note: Didn't the Red Sox actually win?

I would not call you anything of the sort. I was just finding the humor in someone telling another not to make statements that effect their identity whist at the same time stating their opinions as absolute fact. Which you do again right here.

Upon reviewing the "definitions" of transsexual I can not find a single one that states "someone driven to put mind and body in congruence to the maximum amount possible"

That is how you perceive it and that is largely the definition that I use as well, which means you and I use a similar lexicon. But that does not make us right OR make it a fact.

"A pre-op transsexual woman is as much a woman as a post op one.

A post-op transgender is no more a woman than a non-op transgender."

Based on what criteria? Who does the categorizing here. Who gets to make these distinctions and based on what?

Do you not see that in the end you are making as much blanket statements as the original poster?

"butch/fem paradigm pervasive in the lesbian community - which emulates heteronormative behavior"

Oh nothing annoys me more then this propaganda about the butch/femme community. So here are some basic A,B,C's from a an actual member of the butch/femme LESBIAN community.

A. Butch LESBIAN women... are WOMEN.
B. Femme LESBIAN women... are WOMEN.
C. Lesbian women involved in the B/F Community are not "emulating heteronormative behavior"... because we are not freaking STRAIGHT.

There are femme tops, butch bottoms, there are femmes who do all the house and car repairs, there are butch women who do needle work and cook and the list goes on and on and on.

It's just absolute NONSENSE that B/F LESBIAN WOMEN are still being stereotyped, made invisible and shamed in the great LGBTQRXY and Z umbrella ella ella "community".

The absolute sexual shaming and DAMAGE this type propaganda has made on B/F Lesbians is catastrophic.

I've said my peace.
Dieks


Dieks,

My apologies for speaking from an uninformed perspective with regards to the B/F paradigm. I was only trying to give my theory (and it is only a theory) a broader context by basing it upon observations and discussions with members of that community

"The absolute sexual shaming and DAMAGE this type propaganda has made on B/F Lesbians is catastrophic."

As is the propaganda towards trans women - and in neither case is is right.

I would be interested in hearing more about your experiences within this community in order to broaden my understanding. Please feel free to contact me off list, so as to avoid any further incendiary posts.

Thank you for understanding.

The Title of this OP is:
Solidarity: "Transmisogyny" & "Faggots"

My point is that the misogyny begins somewhere.

In the OP and in some of your comments you have basic misogyny. Like being a "little bit racist".

"I was trying to illustrate the difference between Gender Identity, and Gender Expression being as separate Gender Identity and physical sex."

And I truly do understand that is what you are trying to say. But the reality is that not everyone believes in that "gender" god. We all have different gods. This world we live in has battled, died and had many a war over their "god".

The reality is that misogyny exists.

The beliefs of all the well intentioned, still oppress women. The term and ID Butch was made by lesbian women. By the women themselves. A self expression that didn't mime men... but made themselves individually visible. It's not about gender. It's about sex. Lesbian visibility.

A point that several of the TBP posters here are trying to make. Not everything in the LGBTQRXYZ is about gender. It's about sex for many of us and it doesn't make us "transphobic" or closed minded. It's just not our religion.

You tread-ed on lesbian visibility and sexuality... not TG gender. Lesbian women will not be labeled "men" or "heteronormative" within our own LGBTQRXYZ "community".

Is it "lesbophobic"?
Or just basic misogyny?

I think it's just good old fashion misogyny.

But misogyny isn't as catchy of a phrase as transmisogyny... so who cares.

Dieks

"A point that several of the TBP posters here are trying to make. Not everything in the LGBTQRXYZ is about gender. It's about sex for many of us and it doesn't make us "transphobic" or closed minded. It's just not our religion."

My point all along has been that it may be more about gender than many people realize. And I shouldn't be burned at the stake because I take a different view of your 'religion,' simply because I exist outside of it, and may be able to examine it a tiny bit more objectively.

Seems to me that gender is a prime component of misogyny. I would really like to see you explain how hatred and discrimination against women it not related to their gender.

I experience it regularly, and it has very little to do with my actual genitals, since 99.999% of people I encounter have never seen my genitalia - they just make an assumption based on my appearance.

Same goes for Misandry - this hatred and discrimination is based on gender as well!! And it exists within the Lesbian community. (imagine that!)

Actually, I believe that gender is also a prime component of the sexual attraction between Lesbians (or anyone for that matter) - if it were not, everyone would effectively be bisexual.

"You tread-ed on lesbian visibility and sexuality... not TG gender. Lesbian women will not be labeled "men" or "heteronormative" within our own LGBTQRXYZ "community"."

I was not trying to re-label them 'men' but I have seen heteronormative role play within the lesbian community, though it is not practiced by the majority of women I have encountered - but that does not mean that it doesn't exist.

So at worst, I'm guilty of using a poor example to illustrate my point.

That doesn't mean that I think they identify as anything other than women, but as you yourself commented, masculinity in a women can be found very attractive - up to the point where there was too few feminine components left in the individual's gender expression.

For what it's worth, although some are more comfortable playing out heteronormative roles, that doesn't mean that I believe that they identify as anything other than women.

If anything I feel that my identity as a lesbian female is routinely invalidated, and tread-upon by the non-recognition of my innate femaleness and my general 'untouchability' as a sexual partner within the lesbian community. And this happens in real life interactions, not just in text on some blog.

And I've experienced gender bias through TG eyes, but that doesn't mean that I can't recognize it's effects in a broader community. In fact, my TG eyes may be exactly what enables me to see it in places that others can't.

So maybe I'm also guilty of trying to improve my own lot in life. That was the whole point of writing this article.

I am not trying to do that at the expense of other groups, however if I successfully gain any kind of status because of it, this inherently means that I will diminish the status of those that consider themselves superior to me, and seek to exclude or oppress me.

I've seen many examples of people trying to enforce and reinforce the "Status Quo" in this very discussion.

As for the origins of misogyny, it can come from everywhere. Hatred is hatred.

Beating the FEM out of little boys (regardless of their identity) could certainly be called misogyny. I called it trans-mysogeny because it is an attempt to eliminate transgressive gender behaviour.

If we were talking about beating the BUTCH out of little girls, I would have called it trans-misandry.

Different side of the same coin.

Misogyny will always exist unless the root cause for it is eliminated. If it ever is, it will probably be replaced with some other kind of hatred or power structure..

The real point of this is that the perpetrators of trans-misogyny don't give a damn about their victim's identities - they are merely trying to punish and correct transgressive gender behaviour based only on their own view of acceptable gender roles.

As many of the responses to my article illustrate, there are many who have not analyzed this behaviour in the context of gender - especially transgressive gender experience.

But being ignorant of the causation of both misogyny and misandry doesn't stop them from existing or occurring. After all it took several millennia before first-wave feminism really got off the ground. In the 1980's my mother was STILL legally considered my Father's 'chattel' (property)

And you are right - misogyny can come from anywhere - even from within in our own communities. But don't think you can fully analyze gender bias without the need to address gender itself.

I would also argue that the invalidation of my female identity - which I have experienced directly from some in the lesbian community, who disregard gender and adopt a simplistic view that I am a 'man' because of my genitalia or the history of my genitalia, is a form of misandry.

Just because many of these women do not perceive on their end that there is a gender component to this bias, does not mean that I am incapable of perceiving it from my end, or that it does not exist.

Which is exactly the same as how I was trying to highlight gender bias from the outside world. Just because one is not aware enough to perceive it, does not mean that it does not, or can not exist.

Wowza... that is a loooong ass reply. LoL

"And I shouldn't be burned at the stake because I take a different view of your 'religion"

I never burned anyone at the "stake". I mean seriously? I held you accountable for the misogyny of some of your "theories" and statements about B/F lesbian women. Wasn't Ron Gold held responsible for his statements and "theories" about TG's?

"Seems to me that gender is a prime component of misogyny. I would really like to see you explain how hatred and discrimination against women it not related to their gender."

Okay... hold on here for a moment. You called Butch Lesbian Women "one T shot away from being a man" and I'm the one who doesn't understand misogyny? Hahaha! When in the very begining of the original post you make the statement that B/F lesbians are a "heteronormative" type of coupling? Ha!

"Same goes for Misandry - this hatred and discrimination is based on gender as well!!"

OooooOOOOoooh poor men. W/all that privilige you would think they could make that a more popular word. And why are you even bringing up Misandry? Because I'm a lesbian? So subliminly you are making me out to a be a man hating lesbian? Hahhhaa. Umm... no.

"Actually, I believe that gender is also a prime component of the sexual attraction between Lesbians (or anyone for that matter) - if it were not, everyone would effectively be bisexual."

If for some lesbians "gender" is their bag then yes... but my point is that for many lesbians, it's about sex. It has nothing to do w/"gender" politics. It's just sex.

"I was not trying to re-label them 'men' but I have seen heteronormative role play within the lesbian community, though it is not practiced by the majority of women I have encountered - but that does not mean that it doesn't exist."

If the two parties involved have ID'd themselves as lesbians, then it's two women who do their own thing. There is nothing "hetero" about two women f**king each other.

"So at worst, I'm guilty of using a poor example to illustrate my point."

No. You have been misognistic, ill informed and have treaded on lesbian visibility/sexuality when you can only really speak from from a TG perspective.

"That doesn't mean that I think they identify as anything other than women, but as you yourself commented, masculinity in a women can be found very attractive - up to the point where there was too few feminine components left in the individual's gender expression."

I never stated that "masculinity in a women can be found very attractive". Please quote me where I did? I made reference to Butch Lesbian Women. I find butch lesbian women attractive. Butch lesbian women have made their own ID and visibility... when society has consistently told them "NO!" That is pretty freaking HOT! I also never stated... "up to the point where there was too few feminine components left in the individual's gender expression." Never ever stated that part. They have a twatt... that's pretty female to me.

"For what it's worth, although some are more comfortable playing out heteronormative roles, that doesn't mean that I believe that they identify as anything other than women."

Even after the statement that you think B/F is "heteronormative"? Yea. The Lesbian B/F Community feels so validated now. Thanks!
Jezzuz.

"If anything I feel that my identity as a lesbian female is routinely invalidated, and tread-upon by the non-recognition of my innate femaleness and my general 'untouchability' as a sexual partner within the lesbian community. And this happens in real life interactions, not just in text on some blog."

You have to at some point grasp the reality, that not every single lesbian in the greater umbrella ella of the LGBTQRXYZ of the internetz... is just not going to be into a self ID'd lesbian w/a dick? I mean seriously? People can say whatever they want on the internetz and look very "open" and understanding. But it's not real time.

As hard as it is to get laid w/in the lesbian community, cause it is... trust me. Lot of lesbians are actually into sex. We are. It has nothing to do w/"gender" politics. We are into sex. We like titts, ass and vagaga. It's kinda what makes us female lesbians. I know... I know a no brainer at first thought.... but needs to be explained.

Why does this have to be explained? Because lesbian sexuality is sold out to men allllllll the freaking time. Lesbian sexuality is pulling tricks and don't see a dime.

And I've experienced gender bias through TG eyes, but that doesn't mean that I can't recognize it's effects in a broader community. In fact, my TG eyes may be exactly what enables me to see it in places that others can't."

You can't seriously believe you know what it is like to be any one else? I mean seriously? You can't. It's impossible. I know what my life is like. I will acknowledge that you know what your life is like. But YOU will NEVER know what my life is like.


This reminds me when Wannabee white boys in my neighborhood would drive lowriders, drop their pants and try to speak w/a Mexican accent to look Chicano.

Paaaaaaaaaaahleeze.

"So maybe I'm also guilty of trying to improve my own lot in life. That was the whole point of writing this article.

Your article stomped on old stereotypes and ill informed ID's of lesbian women and sexualty that you are not personally experienced/involved with.

I am not trying to do that at the expense of other groups, however if I successfully gain any kind of status because of it, this inherently means that I will diminish the status of those that consider themselves superior to me, and seek to exclude or oppress me.

Welcome to being a woman. I have lived this every single day of my life. Why would you be exempt?

"I've seen many examples of people trying to enforce and reinforce the "Status Quo" in this very discussion."

You wrote the article and put yourself up there for grabs. People disagree w/you. That doesn't mean they hate you... they just disagree.

"As for the origins of misogyny, it can come from everywhere. Hatred is hatred."

No. Misogyny has A LOT more to do w/then hatred. A. Lot. More. It has to do w/the very essence of what a woman is. How she "behaves" and/or "appears". You yourself demonstrated that several times in this thread alone.

"Beating the FEM out of little boys (regardless of their identity) could certainly be called misogyny. I called it trans-mysogeny because it is an attempt to eliminate transgressive gender behaviour."

As is beating the commercialized, packaged, white, thin, girly and perfect female Barbie image for all women since they were little girls. The majority of us get through it.

Oh we suffer. Lord have mercy it isn't an easy ride... but at some point we just say fuck it and get through it.

"If we were talking about beating the BUTCH out of little girls, I would have called it trans-misandry."

WRONG! Very... very.... VERY... WRONG.
That isn't helping women in the least bit. It sincerely is everything WRONG about this entire "gender" BS. Little girls who do not "fit" into the pink and blue lines, get through it all the time. I know hundreds and hundreds of women who didn't fit into the "pink" line.... and they are better women for it.

The mere fact that you think you can label it as "trans-misandry" is OUTRAGEOUS. You are labeling "butch" AGAIN as male. It's not male. It's butch. Female.

Different side of the same coin.

Hardly and part of the problem. In your attempts to make all experiences the SAME... you fail to recoginize the differences.

"Misogyny will always exist unless the root cause for it is eliminated. If it ever is, it will probably be replaced with some other kind of hatred or power structure.."

Misogyny will continuely exist as long as we live in a privilidged male society that thinks it knows... how, what and who is a woman. You have made that abundtly clear.

"The real point of this is that the perpetrators of trans-misogyny don't give a damn about their victim's identities - they are merely trying to punish and correct transgressive gender behaviour based only on their own view of acceptable gender roles."

Okay. So what?
I mean seriously?

Half the population has been struggling w/real time old fashion misogyn every. single. day. Every day. For CENTURIES. Half the population. HALF THE POPULATION DEALS W/MISOGYN. No one cares. No biggie. You yourself stomped on that ground in this very thread.

Then add on sexuality, class, woc, abelism and on and on... but we get through it. Every. Single. Day.

Why? Because we are women. We get through it.
There is a point in every womens life that she just doesn't need to be validated. Not everyone is going to like us.... and it's okay.

I'm not here to be "liked".

"As many of the responses to my article illustrate, there are many who have not analyzed this behaviour in the context of gender - especially transgressive gender experience."

Oh I think everyone so far that has responded actually have analyzed "gender".
But many just don't agree.

"But being ignorant of the causation of both misogyny and misandry doesn't stop them from existing or occurring.

Disagreeing w/you doesn't make anyone ignorant.

"And you are right - misogyny can come from anywhere - even from within in our own communities. But don't think you can fully analyze gender bias without the need to address gender itself."

That would mean I would have to hitch my post to your gender train... no thanks.

"I would also argue that the invalidation of my female identity - which I have experienced directly from some in the lesbian community, who disregard gender and adopt a simplistic view that I am a 'man' because of my genitalia or the history of my genitalia, is a form of misandry."

Have you ever considered that some lesbians are just not that into you? There are MILLIONS of lesbians not into me and I'm okay w/that. I don't really give two rats poops why they are not into me. It's there perogative not to be into me.

The Lesbian Community is not held ransom to be into me. The Lesbian Comminity doesn't have to be into me. It's okay.

"Just because many of these women do not perceive on their end that there is a gender component to this bias, does not mean that I am incapable of perceiving it from my end, or that it does not exist."

Or... it's just not their bag.
Being a lesbian involves more then what you see on the Lword. Lot's of lesbians are seriously into twatt.

"Which is exactly the same as how I was trying to highlight gender bias from the outside world. Just because one is not aware enough to perceive it, does not mean that it does not, or can not exist."

You can exist all you want. I have no power over you. But you called Butch LESBIAN Women a "shot" away from being men and that B/F Lesbians were "heteronormative".... and that was wrong and very misogynistic.

I was merely pointing out the old fashion misogyny.
No biggie.

Have a Happy Holiday!

Interesting reply. Did you even read my original post?

You're basically telling me that I can not identify as a lesbian because I am a TG. Mainly based my possession of a certain genitalia at one point in my life.

And you are completely disregarding the existence of misandry within the Lesbian community when that is a root cause of the lack of acceptance of the M2F's within the community.

The disregard for MY identity as both a woman and a lesbian is staggering. If you deny that there is a component of misandry to this, you are blind to your own bias.

You are essentially saying that I have no right to comment on the lesbian community because I will never - ever be one. Who's seeking to define who here?

I am not trying to DEFINE YOU just because I state something about something I've observed in the wider lesbian community, which I consider to be my own community.

I'm saying that BUTCH = MASCULINITY (which it is) which you take to the extreme and insist that I am trying to label you MALE - not true at all.

I'm also saying that FEM = Femininity -someone who identifies as a male, that does not make them a women.

How about moving away from a MALE/FEMALE dialog to one about MASCULINITY/FEMININITY.

Then you will begin to comprehend my whole point.

You keep throwing my comment about being one "T shot away from manhood" in my face - so let me address it once and for all.

Here's the original comment for your convenience:

"As for Kian's comment, I really have no idea of the transmen's experience, except to say that many butch women I've known seemed about one T shot away from manhood, but that is not how they identified, and that was the overriding factor to their gender experience and expression."

So please let me clarify - There are some women who appear so MASCULINE that it seems they only need one shot of T to tip them into a space of MALE GENDER EXPRESSION. But That is NOT how they IDENTIFY, so they are NOT MALE and therefore it was not an overriding factor in their GENDER EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESSION.

I'm sorry for not explaining it simply enough for you to understand. Please let me know if I need to clarify it further.

I was talking from the beginning about GENDER NOT GENITALS - and trying to examine GENDER BIAS from the outside world.

You are correct that you never stated "masculinity in a women can be found very attractive." I got this confused with another poster - an F2M who said,"

"The more masculine I became, the more the lesbians would drool. Of course, the time came when I no longer looked like a masculine woman and more like a man and this is when the drool stopped."

Seems to me that this person's IDENTITY as MALE was disregarded by the lesbian community until the degree of masculinity they attained made it impossible for them to be seen as female anymore.

You are guilty of exhibiting the same bias, in reverse, when you are talking to me about my identity as a lesbian..

When I stated, the following:

"Seems to me that gender is a prime component of misogyny. I would really like to see you explain how hatred and discrimination against women it not related to their gender."

You didn't answer the question - you chose instead to mock me. Kind of implying that I could not possibly have experienced misogyny because I could never be a woman.

Yet later you stated, " No. Misogyny has A LOT more to do w/then hatred. A. Lot. More. It has to do w/the very essence of what a woman is. How she "behaves" and/or "appears".

What in the hell do you think GENDER is? It has little to do with what is in your pants, and everything to do with what is in you head!! THIS is my whole POINT!! Yet you are trying to make it seem that we disagree on this!!

You can not separate GENDER from either Misogyny, or Misandry.

You said that - "You have to at some point grasp the reality, that not every single lesbian in the greater umbrella ella of the LGBTQRXYZ of the internetz... is just not going to be into a self ID'd lesbian w/a dick?"


Frankly I am insulted by the inference that I am delusional. I have reality smacking me in the face every moment of every day.
This is also a form of bias perpetrated on the Trans community - call it whatever you want - it does not change the fact that is is oppressive and biased, and usually comes from cis-gendered people who' deepest examination of gender constitutes a cursory look at the signs on the bathroom door.

I am well aware of the fact that there are some lesbians who only want cooch, and there are others who are flexible enough with their sexuality that they would not find my genital configuration objectionable. If you had bothered to read my entire post, you would have seen this, because I stated:

"Being a non-op trans Lesbian, I can say from experience that possession of a penis is a real deal breaker for most lesbians. Understandably so, if a girl wants to 'get her face wet,' and that's not something I can physically do for her, well then ultimately, it's probably not going to work out."

Finally - let's talk about Genitals. This is a Discussion about GENDER, not necessarily about GENITALS.

When referring to a discussion about F2M's you said:

"They have a twatt... that's pretty female to me."

You are disregarding their IDENTITY as re-labeling them as FEMALE because of their GENITAL configuration, and you can't see this as OPPRESSION?

Who is ignorant and ill-informed? You seem to have no concept of the long held idea the GENDER can be independent of GENITALS.

And if you read my original post - I WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT GENITALS - I was talking about GENDER and GENDER BIAS. Something you yourself are guilty of - as much as, if not more so than myself.

I am not seeking to re-define your identity as a lesbian - but you seem to be seeking ways to exclude me from that community. And that is the CORE problem I was trying to address in my original article.

In the end, when you give me other examples of oppression to women - you do not invalidate my examples of oppression. You are merely showing me more examples of oppression.

They can COEXIST because they are two example of oppression - just like a TG Lesbian and a Cis-Lesbian can coexist - one does not automatically invalidate the existence of the other.

I have never stated that ALL lesbians are a certain way...

You repeated assertion that your examples of oppression trump my examples of oppression is insulting, oppressive and comes from a place of cis-privilege, and gender bias against transpeople.

So we're all not as squeaky clean as we would like to believe.


Wow... the response is even LOOOONGER? You know "size" isn't everything and it's really all in how you rock the boat.

I do not believe in your gender "god".
I believe in sex.

You can do whatever you want. I have no power over you. You want to call yourself a lesbian w/a dick go for it. Doesn't mean I agree... but you do not need me to validate you. So go for it.

I merely pointed to the misogynistic, ill informed and outdated stereotyped statements that you made about B/F lesbians in the community.

You can spend the rest of your life "observing" lesbians and still never "get it". I was informing you that what you observed was WRONG, ill informed, outdated and perpetuating damaging propaganda.

To label any butch lesbian woman who doesn't ID them self as male is misogynistic. You in fact did that w/"the one shot of T away".

It's not for YOU to decide on what tips anything for ANY woman.
AMAZING! Absolutely AMAZING!

This is the part that YOU seriously do not comprehend. In your rigid "gender" politics... and shoot them up medical INDUSTRY...

Butch Lesbian Women don't need any of it. Don't need the gender police, don't need some fucked up shots, don't need their breasts removed, don't need to be validated. Because... they are women. They are more then use to being judged, oppressed, controlled and what they do... what these butch lesbian women do... is make themselves VISIBLE AS BUTCH LESBIAN WOMEN. They don't need to be validated by you or me or the fucking man on the moon.

Have a Merry Christmas.

So how do you see F2M's then?


After re-reading your posts, I'm really curious, about something.

For a moment, forget everything I just said, and I will do my best to reply in a calm and rational manner to every criticism you have made of me or my argument, after you answer this one question:

Do you have a gender?

Ask the FTMS.
It's their life and ID

I asked how YOU saw F2M's. Not how they saw themselves.

Hello Deiks

What you have just said makes sense.

Alex Blaze, you say you have "no attraction to women".

Interesting. When I say I am attracted to men with penises and balls (and those who commented on penises lying on the floor need to grow up) you conflate the issue into one of generalization about all gay men and then resort to a generational put down. Regardless, back to your own statement about attraction:


Your statement means that you are using some form of criteria to distinguish what you are attracted to (the whole person and not just the cock) and not attracted to (women). What is it specifically and arousally about "women" that makes them unattractive to you whereas "men" as a whole package (whether with penises or not) you imply are attrative to you? Are you saying that there are specific body parts, gender aspects, features, combinations of human physical actuality and so on that you are more sexually aroused by than others? Is this what you are saying or not? Are you more attracted by some human physical aspects than others?

If you ARE saying this, then it follows: If another person says that they are not attracted to any human physical aspect and you politicize that statement, you must politicize your own and begin some serious self-work on your problem sexually with rejection of "women" or whatever part of them you use to determine your criteria of attractiveness.

You have done this to me. I am not attracted to men with vaginas or with semi-developed genitalia (described by Tobi). This is not a put down of trans men (or women) -- it is just a fact. And other men -- using whatever label -- have an identical desire locus for men with penises (the WHOLE man combo and not an appendage on the floor) and are not attracted sexually to trans men with vaginas or hermaphrogenitals (described by Tobi). And Tobi, I have been in sexual situations with transmen in a sex space and when the vagina appeared my erection vanished. No synapse. No blood flow. No matter what the person looked like -- just limp at the vagina. This is not hate or bigotry or anything to do with those concepts. This is physical and sexual reality -- that's all. We can't all be attracted to everyone or every type of person and most people do not want to be!

I find it quite insane that on one hand I argue to right wing christians that I do not like vaginas sexually and they say I am lying and just need to open up to women. And transmen and queers telling me that I and others like me are old bigots because we don't like vaginas and should just deal with our gender issues and open up to people with vaginas. Wow. We "men who do not like sex with people with vaginas and use the label gay but do not represent ALL GAY MEN EVERYWHERE" get it from every side.

By the way, this issue shows so well how older gay times used the personal narrative of explicit sexual sharing as a form of liberation. I note the Queer/Gender Paradigm is almost devoid of any actual descriptions of actual physical sex and genitals and acts and so on. Interesting difference in paradigms.

ps to "radical bitch" below. thanks for a quick breath of fresh real air in this oppressively stagnant room

David,

The genderqueer paradigm doesn't include explicit sexual sharing in and of itself because it's not really about sex and sexuality, but about gender. That's not to say there aren't genderqueer folks engaged in sexual liberation movements, just that it's kinda a different topic.

As far as missing it from the younger gay/queer/LGBT generation in general, I can see your point. Although, you might want to peek around a bit more. There are sex-positive communities that very much do just what you're talking about.

The difficulty you're encountering around the politicization of certain patterns of sexual desire is a really difficult subject to pick apart. On one hand, these patterns have been politicized long before anyone here pointed them out. What turns us on and off has always been very political. If someone told you how they were really turned on talking to someone on the phone and once they found out the person they were talking to was black suddenly their erection went away and they were 100% turned off, would you interpret that as solely personal taste and nothing to do with racial prejudice?

On the other hand, just because it overlaps with systemic oppression doesn't mean we can tell people what to do. It's like the feminist issue of women who want to wash dishes and be a housewife. Perhaps it's a desire influenced by patriarchy, but that doesn't mean it's okay to tell her that she would be a bad person for following her desires.

Part of the difficulty here is that trans people are routinely shoved into sexual extremes -- exotified as novelties or rejected as sick freaks. When you encounter person after person after person who sees you as incredibly hot but still unfuckable -- not just you but anyone like you -- it becomes a pattern that you can't ignore. You don't ever know any one individual's motivations or influences, but it's clearly not a coincidence. Societal influences are definitely a part of creating the larger situation.

Additionally, there's a big reason why people care so much about this. Gay/queer communities have been and are based upon sexuality. Even the folks who don't do the explicit sexual sharing you do have their own ways of expressing and sharing sexuality. And in a community where you can't through a cat without hitting an ex, being unfuckable is a big deal. When half the community is based on hookups, who's dating who, and networks of ex's, then being unfuckable means that you're not really a part of the community.

I'm only 30, so please bear with me.

Why must gay sex be about liberation? Do you define yourself primarily by who you have sex with? Is there a magical quality about two men with all the accoutrements having sex that I am missing? If you had sex with someone who you saw as a man but was really a pre-op transwomen, would you no longer by gay (in your own mind)?

__________________________________________

Being gay is not radical. Being open about being gay is radical. There is a big difference.
Its just sex. I seriously don't get where you are coming from. There is nothing special about two men having sex. Its just sex. Period.

And I'll repeat what others have already said. No one is forcing you to have sex with a trans person. So why are you acting as if someone is forcing your head into a vagina, screaming as you are swallowed whole?

"that many butch women I've known seemed about one T shot away from manhood, but that is not how they identified"

And you yet you feel perfectly comfortable w/making the statement that Butch lesbian women, who do not ID in anyway TG are merely a shot away from being men?

So no matter how/what a butch lesbian woman personally IDs and tells you... subliminally you view them as a "partial" man or a pseudo man who just needs a good shot?

There is a lot of misogyny in this mind thought.
Seriously.

Wow.
DieKs


I meant that their gender expression was extremely masculine - but their IDENTITY was completely FEMALE.

Apologies for my vague wording.

I was trying to illustrate the difference between Gender Identity, and Gender Expression being as separate Gender Idenitiy and physical sex.

I guess I did a poor job of it.

Tara questioned Radical Bitch's description of classical transsexualism.

RB's description (definition) was perfectly legitimate. It was basically a condensed version of this definition given by Jan Wallander.

1. A sense of belonging to the opposite sex, of having been born into the wrong sex, of being one of nature's extant errors.

2. A sense of estrangement with one's own body; all indications of sex differentiation are considered as afflictions and repugnant.

3. A strong desire to resemble physically the opposite sex via therapy including surgery.

4. A desire to be accepted in the community as belonging to the opposite sex.

Wallander's definition was accepted until John Money persuaded the world that he'd succeeded in convincing David Reimer that he was a girl.

That act of duplicity entrenched the identity paradigm in place and led to massive diagnosis creep to the extent that Classical Transsexualism was eventually redefined as an extreme form of gender role transgression.

I don't mean to URL pimping but it would help this discussion were you to all read Joanne's article on Trans-Fried Fluff.

That way you will get a better understanding of the interactions between psychological theory, definitions, and the construction of a new class of persons: namely TG's.

The compliments of the season to you all.

P. J. Schrödinger.

Isn't it amazing that the only piece of "evidence" supporting the malleability of gender "identity", John Money's John/Joan case has been totally discredited as false and a fraud for over a decade, is still the dominate one in gender circles and yet 300+ studies (not just the Danish BSTc one) confirming the neurological intersexed nature of classic transsexuality continue to be ignored or denied?

The transgender world concept is dogma absolutely similar to the dogma of creation "scientists" now repackaged as "intelligent design" and evolution.

Established to the level of practical fact vs faith without support. Challenge either transgender dogma or creationism and the response is identical....

See, that case, and the disgusting breach of ethics that it enshrouded really only goes to illustrate that you cannot change another persons identity artificially.

This is incorrect.

It is not the only piece of evidence.

From 1965 to the present day, there have been well over 100 different studies that all said the same thing.

The catch is that they lacked a control, which Money's case did have. Until the beginning of this century, that control gives that study more weight and more validity.

Some research into the subject might actually prove of value to you.

I think you're bringing up a really useful point of turning how transmisogyny is viewed around. Often trans women are seen as marginal, so fighting transmisogyny is seen as a less important struggle that only affects a few people. But if trans women are seen as central, with transmisogyny as kind of a big mass of oppression that affects a lot of people who aren't trans women while also hitting trans women the hardest, it's clear how trans feminism has a big, far-reaching power to knock holes in all kinds of oppression.

Thank you Ronan for understanding what I was trying to do.

By viewing our common oppression through the lens of Gender, I was hoping to build consensus, not exacerbate divisions.

It was my hope to promote the idea that trans-inclusiveness could be an seen asset to the gay rights movement, instead of a liability.

By doing so, I was not ignoring these divisions, but rather trying to focus on common oppressions through a different lens.

When someone is subjected to violence and discrimination for not being a 'real man' or a 'real woman' for whatever trivial reason - it's a gender issue - regardless of your age or individual identity.

No one has yet to disagree with this one point.... The main point of my original posting.


Sorry, this should have read:

It was my hope to promote the idea that trans-inclusiveness could be seen as an asset to the gay rights movement, instead of a liability.

How interesting because in the 15 years since transition almost every incident of my being told I would never be "real" was some TG saying it. Literally the only times the bathroom came up in all that time was from crossdressers!

TGs need to clean up their own act first in how they insult classic transsexuals before you'll have any credence at all.

Hey Radical Bitch - what gives? You quote me out of context and ignore my main point in order to discredit my argument based on nothing other than op-status?

Well, I would say in answer to your non-sequitur:

Maybe it's because TG's have their identity constantly questioned by everyone around them - including 'classic transexuals' that we feel we have to defend ourselves - especially when confronted by an "classic transexual" with entitlement issues.

Elitist attitudes by "Classic Transexuals" who invalidate other's identity and experiences because of op-status or because they do not fit as neatly into the gender binary, really don't help matters any.

Ever consider that "classic" and "classist" come from the same root; "Class" which implies a hierarchy, and therefore a system of 'privilege?' And if you deny that there is an unspoken hierarchy within the trans-community, then you need to wake up. Establishing a hierarchy establishes privilege.

So please don't pull rank on me because I'm not a "Classic TS" you'll just insult both of us, and confuse those cis-folk who are listening in.

Everyone suffers from the external enforcement of gender expression - in the case of the "Classic transexual" it is easily seen in the hoops one has to jump through to satisfy the medical establishment that they are a 'real transexual,' before they are allowed to have the corrective surgery.

Once post-op, some of these 'Classist' -er I mean 'classic transexuals,' have a tendency to embrace their op status as a validation that they are the only 'real transexuals,' and they in turn disparage those who have not yet completed the journey, or only jumped through enough hoops to satisfy their individual dysphoria.

I mean, congratulations on being post-op, It's quite an accomplishment - but that does not invalidate those identities of those who walk a slightly different path from yours.

This kind of seems a bit transphobic to me. I'm curious, what did you say to them to elicit such a response?

Most TG folks I know identify as completely female, and would be insulted by the suggestion that they were not.

If you were attempting to establish privilege over a TG by trivializing their experience based on surgical status, and insisting that they would never be 'real women,' as you did in several posts regarding the existence of non-op TS's in this discussion; then I could easily see why they might have insisted that neither would you - because you have the same origins, went through most of the same procedures and arrive at only a slightly different destination.

So personally I think that TG's are not the only problem within the trans community. Some "Classic transexuals," also have lingering issues with gender as well, regardless of their op-status.

After all, until someone comes up with a "History Change Operation," we will all have to deal with our trans legacies, unless we go completely stealth.

But then someone in stealth mode isn't likely to comment on here, are they?

Is it any wonder that TG's are overly sensitive to this type of attitude? This is exactly why I myself stopped trying to be a 'real woman.' I realized that this concept is an ever-changing fiction, and therefore unobtainable not because of my identity, or physiology, but because of my history, and because the goal posts can be so easily changed.

By allowing myself to define my identity independent of binary gender ideals was the best thing I ever did, because it allowed me to let go of a lot of baggage, and take a broader view of our current gender constructs with what I feel to be a more objective opinion.

So please don't insult me by implying that "classic transexuals" are somehow more valid, because they conform better to a fictional ideal.

If you define yourself as 100% female, that's great - it is your right to do so, and I completely support it.

In fact, I was under the impression that a great number of post-op women no longer identify as "transexual' at all. Since the 'transition' effectively ends with GRS (SRS), and they are now completely aligned with their target gender, it was my understanding that the large majority of them identify as completely female. You would probably insult them by referring to them as a 'classic transexual,' no matter how apt you feel the label fits.

But you won't catch me saying that there is no such thing as a "Classic transexual" as you yourself have done with "non-op transexuals" - which quite frankly, I found insulting. You're not one, so how can you claim to know?

Getting back to words - ever notice that 'male' is the second word in female? Even our language exposes our similarities - yet we are as blind to this, as we can be to many other social constructs which have a more fundamental impact.

Anyway, despite your valiant attempt at deflection, you still have not disagreed with my overriding message that:

"When someone is SUBJECTED to VIOLENCE and DISCRIMINATION for not being a 'real man' or a 'real woman' for WHATEVER trivial reason - it's a gender issue - regardless of your age or individual identity."

.... or even the ORIGIN of such violence and discrimination.

Tobi, thank you for responding to me. I knew Alex Blaze would not. Interesting that a transperson is willing to engage in a frank discussion of gay male sexual reality but a politically correct "gay man" is not. Very telling. Perhaps male homo desire is more complex than the genderqueer paradigm's TRUTH. Thanks again. I'll let the discussion return to where it usually is: endless arguments over who is or who is not trans -- people who are get told they are not while people who are not (like me a gay man) get told that we are. note: y'all may need more outside hobbies.


ps one last thing. your analogy of the phone and a black person is not accurate to what I was saying. There is no hate or human emotion involved in sexual response to body parts -- it just IS.

David, Alex is on vacation now for the holidays. It's not a personal slight.

I look forward to his reply when he returns. Or perhaps you could answer as you I believe identify as a gay male. Read my post and answer with your own sexual desire criteria. If it excludes vaginas, then you have a lot of explaining to do to all the gay men who are not attracted to transmen who are vilified as "bigots" and not as mere humans with human sexual desire responses.

David, it seems to me that your sexual desire is focused too closely on penises. I've never understood this about some gay men, honestly, and I AM a gay man.

First off, speaking strictly mechanically, unless you're a bottom or really like sucking cock, I just don't see what it matters at all. Hell, if you have any sexual encounter with a transman (unless you want to suck cock or are a bottom,) you'd be hard pressed (ha) to tell the difference.

While I've never been in a relationship with a transman, I have had sex with an FTM man before. Guess what - I didn't really miss the penis a whole lot. It just wasn't a big deal. He was attractive, we had a good time together, and we had sex. It sure makes the "who's gonna be on top" dance a whole lot easier!

Besides, there are dildos and strap-ons to alleviate an itches you need scratched if it turns into a longer-term thing. No, it's not exactly the same as a penis, but I'm sure there are some boys out there who are good enough with one you wouldn't be able to tell much difference. It won't do you much good to suck on a dildo, but damn - I don't know too many people who simply MUST suck cock every day.

One thing I've noticed - and I'm not saying you fall into this category - is that many of the gay men I've met who are totally turned off by the idea of the vag are also rather misogynistic in their views toward women. They don't like vaginas, they hate the sound of a woman's voice, and they generally have a poor view of women as a whole and they tend to avoid more than passing relationships with women.

I've also noticed that a lot of gay men who feel the way you do about FTM's also don't really consider them men due to their lack of a penis. Somehow, the defining characteristic of a man is the penis for these folks. I've heard gay men make these kinds of statements for years.

Yet, they'll accept a MTF as a woman whether or not she's had surgery. And strangely enough, no matter how womanly a MTF appears, a lot of gay men don't seem to rule them out as sex partners so long as they still have their penis. So, again, we're just back to penises.

I'm not saying that's 100% across the board, but I do think the same correlation happens with gay guys who also won't consider things like a group sex experience that involves a female and get turned off by straight or bisexual porn.

I'm a believer in the Kinsey scale and I find it hard to believe that so many gay guys are at the far extreme of that scale. They seem to act a LOT like their straight counterparts - "I don't want anywhere near a dude's hair ass." isn't a whole lot different than "I don't want anywhere near a vagina."

Also, how do you know you can't have a sexual reaction to a vagina? Have you tried? If so, have you tried with someone whom you were attracted to with their clothes on and who was genuinely attracted to you? If not, I'd say you've probably built up in your mind that you can't have a good time with a vagina, but you really just don't know and are too scared to try.

There are some really hot transmen out there just the same as any other men. Open your mind, expand your horizons and you just might find that you're not so attached to another man's phallus after all.

Just my two cents.

your analogy of the phone and a black person is not accurate to what I was saying. There is no hate or human emotion involved in sexual response to body parts -- it just IS.

But that was exactly the point of my analogy. And you could just as easily put in just about any stigmatized minority. But the point is that the person in my analogy would also honestly say that there is no hate or human emotion, just physiological response. And my point is that physiological response is not necessarily free from societal influence. It might not be conscious, it might not be malicious, there might be no flood of emotion, but still it is hard to hear this example and not imagine it's at least influenced by societal messages about race. Similarly, it's hard to hear dozens and dozens of people describe similar responses to trans people and not believe that societal messages about trans people aren't playing an influence.

It certainly doesn't help that the vast majority of people who claim not to be attracted to trans people also have very little contact with trans people, perhaps having met 5 or 6 trans folks and never getting to know any on a meaningful level. Half the time what they are saying they are not attracted to is a stereotypical image. I've known dykes who say they aren't attracted to trans women because they aren't attracted to femmes (an awkward issue in itself), while completely ignorant of the fact that not all trans women are femme and some are butch.

Those instances are very different from yours, but they are a part of the overall community dynamic that leads to people complaining about the people who say they are not attracted to trans people. Lots of folks here are challenging you, but half of what they are frustrated with are these dynamics which apparently don't apply to your behavior.

"And my point is that physiological response is not necessarily free from societal influence."

This may be true to a certain, limited extent.

If not, how else would someone explain the waxing and waning popularity of plus and minus weight ratios in women, from ancient to modern societies?

But influencing genital preference?

What you seem to be arguing is that there may be a lack of innate preference for the most part in people. That they develop sexual preferences, or aversions, or both, based on what society impresses upon them.

i just don't think that's possible. Society could not successfully repress the basic human nature of so many people for so long. If it were true, why isn't there a crushing population of bisexuals?

On the other hand, with what limited background i know, you seem to be a walking, talking proof of what you propose, or one hell of a coincidence.

i can argue against myself with the best of them.

A response to your email will take time. i haven't ignored it.

This may be true to a certain, limited extent... But influencing genital preference?

There's precedent for it. Remember the statue of David and his really small member? That's because really small penises were considered very attractive back then. But now our society values big cock -- the bigger the better.

Some folks have major preferences for shaved genitals, unshaved, or trimmed. Some folks want surgically altered (aka circumcised) penises, others do not. All of these things pretty clearly have some societal and technological influences. Come to think of it, I've seen some folks expecting a shaved vagina to respond in the same way David did to suddenly seeing a hairy one. It's still very much about physiological response, but I have a feeling that it's not a response that would exist in a society that did not have shaving and waxing technologies readily available.

I'm not actually saying that there are no innate preferences -- I believe there are. I just think that other things influence that as well. I hate trying to sort out nature and nurture, I think it's impossible to do -- and both inevitably play a role.

Take your time with the email, I'll be looking forward to it.

"But now our society values big cock -- the bigger the better."

Well, not all of us.

Being ripped in half like a phone book isn't my idea of a good time.

But i understand what you're saying.

"Note: y'all may need more outside hobbies."

i lol'ed!

Rachel, I'd refer you to my last comment on Antonia's entry for a partial answer.

The facts are something TGs seem immune to understanding. Women know other women. For years prior to transition I was gendered female by almost everyone meeting me for the first time.

I'm not transsexual except in the broadest sense that I was a surgically constructed one at birth due to having been born a "true" hermaphrodite.

The term classic transsexual was reclaimed because of the past ten years of re-defining all meaning out of transsexual by transgender people with a political and personal agenda. Twelve years ago if you did a search on the term "transsexual" that definition would have been in the top five responses. I know this because it was on my webpage then. Today, all you'd get is thousands and thousands of shemale porn sites.

Surgery doesn't make you a woman, I point I tried to make above. Especially today when almost anyone can get letters for surgery by declaring they are transsexuals and the therapists saying, yeah, whatever, here's your letter now go away. The truth of actual transsexuality is quite simple, it's a neurological birth condition and the results can be expressed as thus: Eventually a female neurology will reject a male anatomy.

Constantly ignored by TGs are when I explain that today's TG non op might in the future find themselves on the losing side of that truth and suddenly need to correct their body....need to. I do not pass judgment on someone else's being transsexual or not for this reason but I do speak the truths. If I meet you in person, I would know within a few minutes if you are transsexual or not based on vibes....in the end this remains the only real way of separating sheep from goats and so my advice I give to women's groups on transwoman inclusion is this; Don't set rules of who is or isn't, don't open your doors and take each case on a case by case basis using your own senses.

I have been subjected to a LOT of violence and terrorism since I transitioned. I've commented on it Bilerico more than once with specifics. It almost universally came from the TG camp. It started when I was an active trans-advocate lobbying State and Federal legislatures, establishing a safe house for newly transitioned women, organizing the only known LGBt Katrina relief effort. It was horrific beyond words.

When you meet a woman, if you are a woman, you know it. TGs will not accept this. Setting guidelines for inclusion fail every time because you will sometimes meet someone who tells you they are a crossdresser and you know in a few years they will transition out of necessity. You will meet others who are post surgical and they vibe male male male.. Most women, like myself are polite and keep this to themselves. It has almost nothing to do with presentation or any of the trans wisdom of "passing"...the most wrong headed concept the trans ever came up with. Men are not skilled at this, women are due to basic psychological differences between the sexes.

A full response to you would require a lot more than is possible to put in a simple comment response but experience tells me it would be pointless at any rate.

Since you did not respond to me earlier I am going to try one more time.

I think, and I am just guessing, that the issue the people you label TG's problem with you comes from things like this "When you meet a woman, if you are a woman, you know it. TGs will not accept this." and "they vibe male male male.. Most women, like myself are polite and keep this to themselves. It has almost nothing to do with presentation or any of the trans wisdom of 'passing'". Not because they are your opinions, but because you state them like fact.

I am at a loss to understand how you cannot see that as denying another their identity and it smacks of Superiority as well.

Honestly, it is, as I see it a masculine trait to lay down strict borders, but that is just my feeling my perception of the binary which is of necessity flawed.

The idea of one type of person wanting to draw lines so as to not be associated with another type of person who they feel is not their own, is both natural and useful. I encourage everyone, build your tribe, your small group of people with their own ideas and ideals and more importantly agreed upon lexicon. But for the sake of The Goddesses please do not assume that you are right.

You are not.

Not because you are wrong, because you are not wrong.

But because your lexicon is not more right than anyone elses.

That is the tricky part about spaces like this. Where ideas come together. Everyone starts off in a place of fear that their ideas will not only be challenged but their identity. I have never seen more "Other"ing than in queer spaces. Never.

I just hope you can keep that in mind. Keep an open mind that what you consider "Classic" is just a type, and when you use words with strong meanings.

Classic is Defined as according to Merriam-Webster:

1 a : serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value b : traditional, enduring c : characterized by simple tailored lines in fashion year after year
2 : of or relating to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture : classical
3 a : historically memorable
b : noted because of special literary or historical associations
4 a : authentic, authoritative b : typical

5 capitalized : of or relating to the period of highest development of Mesoamerican and especially Mayan culture about a.d. 300–900

The TG's you seem to have problems with probably feel you are saying a "Classic Transsexual" within the context of the first definition. This implies a sense of superiority which as we all know chaffs. To your credit I am going to continue to believe when I hear that term that it leands more to number three. "Historically Memorable" I like the sound of that.

"Historically Memorable Transsexual". Me, my personal identity? I am a woman, born with a weird body, loved by people. Called Transsexual, lovingly called Tranny by my best friend when she wants me to kick her. Happy to be named Tara, queer, and above all, a flawed talking monkey.

After more than 12 years of the most unbelievable violence aimed at me by TGs, recounted elsewhere on Bilerico, I no longer pull my punches with those that espouse a philosophy that has caused much direct harm to women with a history.

If you don't like that, I don't care.

That's the only response you will get from me.

"You shall know them by their deeds"....outings, attempts to cut off all communication, even snail mail, turning people in to Homeland Security as terrorists, magazine bombings, credible death threats, attempts to leave someone homeless and a decade long character assassination tells me who these people are.

I am sorry you have suffered so much, but that is a little like saying that English are bad and can be denied the right to self evaluation, identification, and empowerment because some English were assholes to the Irish. I am Irish and English, and like most people a mix. Just like in cases like this, in reality, we are all a little bit of everything.

I'm not sure how the specifics of Radical Bitch's life, which naturally go into her theory-making, are somehow less valid than the generalities--with more wide-spread acceptance, especially on this site--which go into the theory-making of others.

I am quite certain, however, that the ahistoricism encouraged by the internet, and certainly by youth, erases what we should respect and include in all our theory-making.

Responding to another comment, simply to declare the only way to go into the future is to blast the gender binary, and to recruit transsexual people into this challenge, against our often proffered refusal, is to implement the very absolutism I am accused of doing.

The greater experience we bring to these questions, the more likely--hopefully--we are able to include not only what we believe ought to be, but what also is.

How can anyone deny to the English the right to self-identification? There are far too many of them; they have been around for a long time; and they have written and otherwise recorded most of the history about them

On the contrary, the denial of self-recognition--transsexuality is not an identity, like, say, gay--is quite real and persuasive. There are not that many of us--certainly those who have neither been cowed or exhausted, and while we have been around for a long time, too, it is others who continue to write our histories, our stories, and our theories.

We see this being played out right here in comments.

Maybe I am confused now because again I see broad stroke generalizations based on personal prejudices and the actions of few.

I note this, because I do not see, and please understand it could well be from personal bias or lack of knowledge, TG identified people saying that a self identified "Classic Transsexual" is not "Real" or denying their existence as valid. What I have seen and this I will grant you is some, but by no means most, TG identified people disagree vehemently that there is any difference. Now, I would and could never deny anyone's right to be offended by someone saying they see similarities, but I reject the idea that it is in some way an affront.

I fully believe that each person should be able to love their individuality, and define themselves, but that as a whole of humanity it is only by looking for commonalities that we can unite.

I will always stand with someone who is seeking inclusion over otherism. Any time anyone says, I am the right kind of something and you are the wrong kind it leads to problems. I have never seen it be otherwise.

Identify yourself. But know that in the eyes of another you will be wrong. Judge others, but know that your judgment is false. Be superior, but know that you will always be inferior to another.

We are Gods and Goddess all, of our own hearts and minds, but in the end, that is where it ends, because our opinions and beliefs are all bullshit to someone and that someone is not wrong, neither are they right. That is the only is that enters the equation.

"I will always stand with someone who is seeking inclusion over otherism."

The problem, Tara, when you make this statement is that those of us who resist forced inclusion (in the GLBT machine) do so in order NOT to be "othered". If I am seen as "T" in the "LGBT" by the mainstream I am othered by definition. And that's not acceptable.

It's all about perspective, isn't it?

Sara ...

Always. But you do not have a choice unfortunately any more than anyone else. All you can do is attempt to hide the best that you can amongst the support network you have.

To be fair if you did not wish to be seen a part of "The GLBT Machine" then one would suppose that you would not wish to be associated and thus would not attempt inclusion in said group and thus not attempt exclusions either.

Example: If I dye my hair red, but am naturally blond then it is a reasonable assumption that people will decide on their observation one or more of several options. Either that I am a natural red head, and assign me to that internal category. Or that I am a bottle red, and thus in another. Or that all people with red hair are in a certain category, regardless of how it came about.

All of those are on the observer's end. We have no control. But if were to attempt to say that I am blond still it would be my right, but at the same time fairly odd since I went to the trouble to dye it. And even more so, I can say what I want but it does not change the right of the observer to their thoughts and their assessments right? No matter how wrong they are.

Now for the final step it would be even more odd if I were to say I died my hair with Henna so it makes me more a natural red head than someone who used an over the counter dye. Because it really is just elitism then. Creating the other.

Would it not be better to just, I dunno, live your life as you see fit and not try to be more something than someone else?

on second thought...here's more of a response.

Superiority? Are you seriously telling a feminist woman that womanhood is a position of superiority? What planet do you come from? See, this is what I find unbelievable, male bodied people insisting that they are being denied something when women don't want them in women only space, that's the very definition of entitlement and I agree almost completely with the rad fem position here. I found myself no longer able to counter their arguments when I kept seeing example after example after example they were right on the money.

Women do know other women, that is a fact.

I do not deny anything beyond many of these specific TGS (and I was clear on the specifics, not a class) are not women in the fashion other women recognize as woman....and that is also fact.

Interesting, for the record I am from Earth, just so we are on the same page.

Yes, I say superiority. Anyone, anyone, anyone, in a position to deny something to someone is in a position of superiority. Do you deny this simple example. Anything about patriarchy and rad fem ideology aside, if you can deny someone something you have the superior position. This is something we all too soon forget. It becomes very easy to forget that. Because as I said, there is always someone else in a position of superiority so we tend to look up, but forget that there are still people below us.

The problem I have with your arguments is the absolutism in them. "Women know Women" This is inherently false because it is such an absolute. Some people are amazingly Empathic, able to read and understand the mirco expressions in the human face to great detail. Others, cannot. Some woman may have a greater sense for traits that you define as "woman" other, will not. That is the natural variability of life.

I understand you have been hurt. And it pains me deeply that anyone could do cruel things to another, but it is a reality. Some people are fucked. But do not let that stop you from being open.

You can label people all you want for yourself, but until you understand, and we all do, that our labels are meaningless we, all of us, will not progress.

Women do know other women, that is a fact.

Proof please.

Oh wait, there is no way to prove that. Silly me.

Radical Bitch,

It's been a busy week and I've only had a chance to skim this thread of conversation. I did want to pick up on the women-know-women thing. We all have a sense what other people's genders are, and a well tuned sense can often be better to rely on then other things. Still, not all women agree on who is and isn't a woman and that complicates things.

I've heard the same sentiment before, "Why can't it be up to the women to decide who women are?!" It was said by a non-trans woman who if it were up to her none of us would count as women at all.

I gather that you might imagine she is more repulsed by certain transgender folks and see disassociation from those people as a way to convince her that you are different from them. But what happens if she remains unconvinced? What happens when there is no consensus? And is there ever really consensus? I mean, I know plenty of women who would disagree with you about the transgender crowd you reference.

That's why I'm skeptical of the "a woman knows" approach. Some women believe that butch women are not really women. Others believe that of lesbians in general. So either everyone is right and there are very few actual women, or some women's judgments of who is and isn't a woman are wrong.

Oh dear!

Thank you for saying what I way trying to. That is what I was getting at, consensus is an impossibility beyond small groups.

Thanks for the definition:

Classic is Defined as according to Merriam-Webster:
1 a : serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value b : traditional, enduring c : characterized by simple tailored lines in fashion year after year
2 : of or relating to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture : classical
3 a : historically memorable b : noted because of special literary or historical associations
4 a : authentic, authoritative b : typical
5 capitalized : of or relating to the period of highest development of Mesoamerican and especially Mayan culture about a.d. 300–900

I would think that the segments of this definition that do not pertain to hierarchy are: 1a, 2 and 5.

The rest indicate power structure - even 'historically memorable' implies a superiority over that which is not 'historically memorable.'

Very subtle distinction, but it's not the finest of hairs that have been split in this dialog.

Granted. But I am willing to allow for that. What it comes down to is I am fine with someone feeling like they are superior to me or hierarchically higher. I am not in a position to tell anyone where they should see themselves.

But that in no way makes them right. I actively reject any assessment by any person that lowers me. Why shouldn't I. No one should. Because the observer is often wrong. Especially when it comes to identity.

The only purpose a lexicon should serve is to decrease misunderstanding.

The Queen of England sees herself as royalty. A lot of people see her as such, but that does not make her so. It is a word, a descriptor that is pointless upon inspection.

She is both more and so much less than that. As are we all.

Agreed.

We have to deal with pervasive hierarchies on a daily basis, but examining them and deconstructing the causation and mechanisms of them are at the core foundation of feminist theory.

Most of the people that seem to deny the existence of hierarchies tend to be perched firmly at the top -no matter where their hierarchy fits into the overall hierarchy of hierarchies.

You may certainly declare your intentions to do away with the gender binary, Rachel. In response, I may declare this is an imposition upon, not only me, but most people who just live their lives, straight or gay, quite happily.

To be sure, you, and others mentioned by Radical Bitch, cavil at the imputed restrictions--and yes, certainly violence does result from the gender binary.

But there are imputed restrictions, and violence, that result from those who wish to blast the gender binary.

To attempt any kind of argument without attempting to include more than just this utopian desire--excluding

the quagmire of who's got the privilege in a patriarchal society - and why M2F's are considered "downwardly mobile"

leaves you somewhere without all the provisions needed to make the trip.

Its certainly an interesting place you've built, with may aspects I would also value, and many seek to be there with you.

But there is no room for many others, who have certainly attempted to point out to you the ground you walk on is not all that secure, that it is quicksand for far too many who try to live their lives--but find your declarations render them, well, evil and violent, apparently.

I've worked on the theory part of things, as you have, but the necessity to account not only for the way I believe things should be, but also the way they are--even including the necessity for change--has forcefully made itself known.

Far too often I've found people whose theoretical foundations, excluding so much actually here, declare as absolute what is simply their own lives.

I'm quite happy to have you live your life the way you wish; I hope you permit me the same privilege.


I can see that there is no way I am going to have the last word in this forum, where people cherry pick tangental arguments to try to obliterate and obscure my opinion.

Jessica, I was not suggesting 'blasting the gender binary apart,' only that we EXAMINE it, and the impact it has on the ENTIRE LGBTQ community.

So please stop trying to insert words into my mouth.

It seems that I am not being allowed to even EXAMINE the issue without the dogmatic fanaticism of the separatists among us.

Frankly I feel that the power struggles, discrimination and oppression within the trans community is a microcosm of the larger GLBT community. This seems pretty clear with regards to the nature of the posts here.

And it's a sure bet that straight people see it the same way.

I have no problem with those that adhere to binary gender systems, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try to encourage them to EXAMINE this system when I become aware of numerous 'exceptions to the rule.'

I would just like to see the 'theory' made to fit the 'biology,' instead of the other way around.

Since it seems that the more extreme among us are vehemently defending their opinion by viciously attacking mine, I would have to say that it feels like a form of censorship.

And usually the person doing the censoring is on the shakier ground.

If you can't at least EXAMINE the possibility that gender may encompass more than two rigidly defined categories, then we will never be able to move forward as a community.

In a discussion I had with Eve Ensler (author of the 'Vagina Monologues,') she said that any time you have a system of binary absolutes, it is a system of control - divide and conquer.

She viewed it as integral to the oppression and violence that women experience daily.

Whenever you begin a statement with, "there are only two kinds of people...." you are setting up a divisive system of oppression.

Because it usually devolves into an 'Us and Them" type system of oppression.

By not allowing the broader community to even EXAMINE this issue, you become one of the oppressors.

Hopefully the more open-minded among us will actually EXAMINE for the first time how the current model of gender negatively impacts their life, regardless of all the separatist vitriol, and social inertia in evidence.

So I guess if my intention was to open a dialog, I guess I have succeeded - even if I was surprised by the direction of the resistance.


Why would you expect the final word on a blog entry open to comments?

Some points to ponder. If you go to women's space as something other than a woman, why would you expect they would not have a problem with that? My personal experience and that of many women like myself is that if you go to women's space as a woman you almost all the time welcome.

If you insist on deconstructing gender haven't you actually given up a claim to a place in the binary? When you deconstruct your own gender, you have created a third category for your membership, one that arguably has no claim on women's space as a result.

The women's space issue usually revolves around two issues, those who come as trans something try to sidetrack everything to trans issues and thus violate the spirit of having women's space by this alone. The other issue is that all too often this insistence of membership in women's space is not because of an interest in women's issues as much as it is seeking validation. Actual women do not need their womanhood validated, I certainly don't. If a separatist group defines me out of their space, I accept that and do not try to invade it. Amazingly enough that alone usually results in an "exception" being made for me. Funny how mutual respect works isn't it? The most vocal of the TG crowd don't even respect the womanhood of those they insist are part of their artifical construct, women of corrected history. This has been on open display here at Bilerico for years now.

I guess ignorance is bliss for some.

I prefer to analyze my surroundings and was taught to question everything - not to just 'accept it on faith,' like a religion.

How many of these women who make an exception for you in women's space, would consider you for a potential partner? Especially in lesbian space where there s a focus on finding a partner.

I would suspect few to none - so the veneer of acceptance wears pretty thin sometimes.

Although I must say that in the past 5 years I have seen an improvement, but it is still a pervasive issue.

You seem to be quite determined to examine women of history, but are less interested in accepting their examination of you.

I prefer to analyze my surroundings and was taught to question everything - not to just 'accept it on faith,' like a religion

There is one thing you do accept "on faith,' like a religion,": your identity.

Actually, I don't accept my identity 'on faith.'

Maybe you do, and that would explain your clinging to the gender binary as religiously as you do.

My Identity and self definition comes as a result of 43 years of introspection and self examination.

Since it seems that the more extreme among us are vehemently defending their opinion by viciously attacking mine, I would have to say that it feels like a form of censorship

How could any argument I, or any commenter make be censorship of you? You're the one who has a post on TBP; I'm, what was it you called me, "the more extreme among us."

The examination of gender is something I do quite frequently, its just that I don't start from the premise you do: that transsexual people--in particular women of corrective history--are, or should, by our very nature, be deconstructing gender.

If you wish to claim you're doing this, fine, but when you include me, other women of history, and, as demonstrated by the gay men who have posted comments to this thread, also them, then you have gone beyond simple observations about your own life, to

a system of control - divide and conquer


all the separatist vitriol

When you stoop to this kind of name-calling, in lieu of your call for examination you have become what you accuse me of.

There are ways of opening dialogue and there are ways; when you require, a priori, the exclusion of the very gender examination you call for--the way gender privilege affects those of us who transition male to female, just as it does cis females (you called this a quagmire)--what is actually left for you to claim examination of?

I can't say that you have been too successful at opening a dialog either.

In fact much of your diatribe against me and my original post has probably served to alienate the larger GLBQ community more than it as helped to 'open a dialog,' as I have hoped.

Yes, I have a post on TBP, because I was coming at Gender Bias from a different angle, by viewing it as a UNIVERSAL problem that affects more than just gender variant people.

As for not addressing 'privilege' in my original piece, that was not the focus of the piece, any more than an article about football would be expected to refer to baseball.

I had hoped to open a dialog, and fully expected 'privilege' to be addressed within this dialog.

And it has - ad nauseam.

So I was at least successful in opening a dialog - a BIG one.

Maybe now that we are running out of hairs to split, we can concentrate on a dialog with the larger LGBTQ and Straight communities?


I can't say that you have been too successful at opening a dialog [sic] either.

Actually, there has been quite the dialogue here, 180 comments and counting. Because few of us agree with you, your premises or your arguments, you seek to disallow our contribution--and portray yourself as something of a martyr.

I take it you're quite familiar with "the larger GLBQ community" and know what it thinks--though, again, what has been represented here ("daily experiments in LGBTQ"), is no more accepting of your position than, what did you call it, something like this small part of that community?

Are you proposing to be the spokesperson for your conflation of paths 1) and 2) for the "dialog [sic] with the larger LGBTQ and Straight communities?

Let's take a vote on how many who have posted to your blog will elect you to this position.

Actually there were quite a few private messages of support from people who were too afraid of posting publicly because they felt they would be attacked.

Not a good space for an open dialog.

This, as has been pointed out it seems endlessly, is an open forum.

No less a person than Alex Blaise has declared this is not a safe space; he and Bil determined this is the best way to have, well, the kind of dialogue that has gone on, started by your post, Rachel.

I make no apology for being direct, nor for using all the rhetorical devices available to me.

I quite understand, from years of posting in various places, that no matter how delicate one might be, to challenge the existential beliefs of others is usually taken to be personal insults--regardless whether there is no name-calling, and real arguments are offered, especially if persistent.

Why you would not expect that including people in your argument without their concurrence, and explicitly against their wishes wouldn't lead to challenges. . . ?

timberwraith made quite an interesting argument regarding a template that has oppressed many LGBT persons. But then, what you have done, Rachel, is create your own template which oppresses me.

And ALL the others who have so declared.

Julia Serano has written about some of these things; I encourage you to read her.

How long have you been posting to sites like this, or to blogs?

Unless you bar membership to all but those who agree with everything you declare, especially your oppression of others, why would you expect other than what has happened?

I can understand why some might not want to publicly express their oppression of, well, me, and others.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the reason TBP is not a safe space. Maybe, this is the reason why strong challenges are permitted, even welcomed. Usually. Though I, too, have been criticized many times before. But I remain within the terms of use--maybe you would like to report my comments?

Nevertheless, I still believe the argument you have ineffectively offered is the position of TBP. Maybe, if you had presented it more effectively you would have precluded some of the challenges that were made throughout.

"Not a good space for an open dialog [sic]" you say.

It seems the only kind of dialogue you would permit, if it were in your power, would be one with formal rules of exclusion--including just about everything I have posted, and that of many, many others. There would be none of the dissension that so distresses you and those who wish to remain unknown.

And you would remain safe in the illusion of your imperfect and ineffective argument.

And TBP would be such a boring place. But that is the result of only allowing those who agree with you to speak.

Vitriol, I don't think so. Strong argumentation, absolutely.

It seems, sadly, for all the evidence and argument offered you, you've not changed your mind, certainly not with regard to transsexual people--maybe we are too much like you for you to permit us to be different from you at all. It seems all you have concluded is we're such mean people who won't allow you to oppress us.

Sadder still, you have, thus, wasted this entire opportunity.

You said:

"The examination of gender is something I do quite frequently, its just that I don't start from the premise you do: that transsexual people--in particular women of corrective history--are, or should, by our very nature, be deconstructing gender."

And I hope that they do - but that does not mean that they are the ONLY ones entitled to deconstruct gender.

Your assertion that they are is the root of the miscommunication between us.

Our opinions are not mutually exclusive -one does not automatically invalidate the other.

To assert this as strongly as you have - with the inference that my theory is the incorrect one - smacks of privilege, oppression and bias.

that does not mean that they [women of corrective history] are the ONLY ones entitled to deconstruct gender.

Again, you demonstrate precisely the prejudice, the privilege, that prevents you even to see what it is I have actually written in this comment--and all the others.

Women of corrective history do NOT seek to deconstruct gender--and we certainly do NOT claim the only entitlement to do so.

This is complete and utter nonsense.

Rather, it is you who claim to do this not only for yourself, and all those who may share your belief, but also for those who do not.

This projection of your bias is quite distasteful--and here is my diatribe against you:

Until you can actually read what is written, and understand arguments presented, well, it confirms that dialogue is no more possible with you than with some broken recording.

"I said:

"That is very easy to understand you hold a worldview that is a form of biological fatalism that reduces people to bits of reproductive meat"

In response to:

"Trans men are not male according to the definition of male. Trans women are not female according to the definition of female. These terms and concepts come to us from the biological disciplines""

Since when does discussing maleness and femaleness mean the same thing as reducing people to "bits of reproductive meat?" I see comments about biological sex in that statement; I see nothing about how sex relates to or defines them as humans.

"And then I continued with:

"And then try to disguise this fact with discussions about social constructs etc."

in response to:

"They are not just some opinions of mine, nor do they play much of a part of my worldview""

I don't understand what is unclear about this. I was discussing biological concepts. Biology as a scientific discipline is distinct from my perspective. Just because I bring up terms and concepts from biology, doesn't mean that they are a part of my worldview; it merely means that I'm talking to someone about biology. Are you aware that people sometimes talk about ideas, regardless of whether or not they hold the ideas themselves?

""Seeing as how I never posted anything stating that reproductive organs define human beings, you're asking the wrong person."

You were talking about "Biological sex" (Same difference) which is a euphemism for "Genitals and meat""

This idea exists in your head, not mine. If you took the time to read my comments, you'd see that I've stated a couple of times now that I don't think that "biological sex" is the same this as genitals. The really big point you are missing, though, is that I never stated or implied that sex, or any sort of organs, define humans with regard to anything but biological sex and organs. That's biological sex, which is a conceptualization dictated by biologists, not by iconoclass. Nowhere on this thread have I stated or implied anything about humanity in general, its definition, or its categorization at all.

"You could also try understanding the viewpoints of others such as transsexual folks who are being told by you that they are their "Biological sex" well how do you determine that?"

Biology, maybe? Tell me, what else would someone base a determination of biological sex on, if not biology? If it's not based on biology, then it isn't "biological" sex, now is it?

"Because when they argue their case you just dismiss it don't you."

Prove it.

Since the rest of your ridiculous comment rests on these misunderstandings, more assumptions, and is full of juvenile blathering, I'll decline to address it.

Hello Iconoclass

I could not make this up:

You said :)

---------------
"Because when they argue their case you just dismiss it don't you."

Prove it.

Since the rest of your ridiculous comment rests on these misunderstandings, more assumptions, and is full of juvenile blathering, I'll decline to address it"
---------------

Consider my point proven. :)

I am sorry I am falling about laughing right now :) you have cheered me up today. I don't mean that in a sarcastic way either.

"Biology, maybe? Tell me, what else would someone base a determination of biological sex on, if not biology? If it's not based on biology, then it isn't "biological" sex, now is it?"

I see,

"That's biological sex, which is a conceptualization dictated by biologists, not by iconoclass. Nowhere on this thread have I stated or implied anything about humanity in general, its definition, or its categorization at all."

Well as a geneticist I could take the time to explain that. Chromosomes are now pretty redundant as sex markets meaningless thanks to recent insights into the way certain genes (In the autosomes) interact, it seems "Biological sex" is certainly not fixed at birth (I could have told you that anyway having 5 alpha myself). As someone who knows the biology of sex differentiation I find your dismissal of some of the comments made by the transsexual folks here, about the biology somewhat lacking. And as a trained biologist I can assure you I have never dictated anything of the sort.

As for making assumptions and misunderstanding, I am afraid you fail to understand other people posting here. You strip them of their legitimacy by insisting the surgery they underwent did nothing. I think they have a very different opinion and they are the ones living with what they have decided and are comfortable with that. Who are you to tell them they are wrong? Or what gives you the right to tell them they are not who they are? And yes you may consider this to be an assumption or "juvenile blathering" but I get the feeling that you would be quite comfortable with an intersex child going under the scalpel. Simply by virtue of your arbitrary views about single sex spaces. (It is up to you to prove that my assumption on that specific point is wrong)

If instead of dodging the discussion and resorting to predictably dismissive remarks you could take the time to answer my questions it would help:

1: where do intersex people fit into this?
2: do you really believe that the sort of society you advocate involving single sex spaces is not responsible for the non consented to surgery inflicted on intersex children.

These are not a form of "juvenile blathering" but legitimate questions, which your failure to answer only proves my point further.

Merry Christmas :)

Sophie

Jerame -- I am very old. I have had sex with women and vaginas in my youth. I have no aversion no revulsion nor misogyny nor hate of women's voices nor fear of transmen nor anything you are trying to label me with. I cannot believe that after fighting the Right Wing for 40 years to establish that my sexual choices and boner responses are as legit and human as theirs are that you are trying to tell me that my desire is the result of bigotry and woman hating. THAT is exactly what the right wing is saying about all cismale-cismale penis penis sex! The Gender Left is now the Religious Right! I have had sex with transmen, women, vaginas, groups sex with men and women as well as sport fucking with thousands of men over 40 years as have most of my peers and friends. We chose or defaulted or decided or celebrated our Kinsey 6 -- our love of versatile nude all male penis and balls and the rest of men -- and have fought for this. I cannot beleive that you are so politically correct that you are demanding enforced inclusivity sex! Watch Flaming Creatues, the Cockettes, rad faeries, panpoly bi sex clubs -- all have a mix of genitals and genders and the people involved loved it. Some of us, find our sexual locus in the cis male penis man sex world of gay sex spaces (pre-Genderqueer = all men). The labels were meaningless -- gay now means whatever people want it to mean -- so in these male-only sex spaces -- all nude, all male, all cis, all penised -- it was HEAVEN ON EARTH for those of us who live/love like this. How dare you mock my desire. How dare you conflate your one experience to demonstrate bigotry when none exists.

Question to gay transmen: According to Jerame, YOU are bigots for labelling yourself in a way that could diminish your bisexuality -- your response to vaginas, penises, men and women. Do you ONLY have sex with "men" and if so why -- why label yourself in such a way that limits your sexual desire pool? And Jerame, why do you label yourself "gay" -- why do you not have sex with women? Why? You try to paint me and men like me as something negative for living our desire yet you hypocritically do the same thing in your own way (which is fine -- the desire not the hypocrisy!).

this whole topic is INSANE -- fighting for one's boner and desire in the face of militant gender policing. Why label anyone -- anyone on this blog who is not having sex with every gender, genital, person on the planet (curly hair is the same as any of these things -- rejecting any of them for any reason is tantamount to rejecting black people for sex).

Gender Queer LIES about desire because desire never fits politics. Some people will always be left out. Why can you not accept that reality?

I don't expect anyone to answer my questions -- I do expect more personalization and psychological/political imposition of isms onto me because you do not like what I say.

David, I think you misread my statement. All I'm trying to say is that if everything ELSE is there, why let a vagina stop you from having a good time? I think it's closed minded to find someone attractive, but that attraction completely dies when you find out that they have a vagina. It seems so arbitrary and shallow to me.

Yes, you have a right to your desires and preferences. No one is arguing that.

I'm just saying you're discounting someone's sexuality because of the flesh between their legs. That's NOT all that's sexy about a person and shouldn't be THE determining factor between sex or no sex.

The rest of your response is so ridiculously outside of what I was saying, I'm not going to dignify it.

You said:

"...this whole topic is INSANE"

"Gender Queer LIES about desire because desire never fits politics. Some people will always be left out. Why can you not accept that reality?"

--

Not at all. You are completely entitled to label yourself a gay man, and state with absolute certainty - "That doesn't turn me on."

What the gender-queer politics is stating is that an F2M who does not have a penis, but is exclusively attracted to men is ALSO a gay male because their identity is not based on your desire.

But desire can be separate from identity, and I think that this is one of the sources of the rift between Gay/Lez and trans.

It seems to me that many G/L people base their identity on the object desire, but that is only half of the equation, their own gender is the other half of the equation.

I think this is at the heart of the primary rift between the GLB and T communities, because many can not see gender disconnected from genitalia.

And understandably so, because they seem to arrive at their identity through a path of "i am male because I have a penis, and I am attracted someone else who is male because they have a penis, so I must be GAY."

Throughout this, your own gender is never put in question, and why should it be? You are dealing an issue of attraction.

My identity (male) + your identity (male) = gay.
My identity (male) + your identity (female) = straight.

but it gets messy when dealing with trans people - especially if you are using their genitalia as the sole determinator of their gender and identity.

My identity (male) + your identity (trans) = ??????

Focusing solely on genitalia to determine identity is to miss the whole point of gender politics, which is more about what's between your ears than what's between your legs.

Gender politics is trying to enable people to see that the formation of identity may not be related to genitalia at all.

If you state absolutely that "this does not turn me on," then that's totally cool. It is understandable how you can be hot for a guy, but completely turned off by their possessing a vagina - and you are totally allowed to feel that way.

Just like you might be hot for a guy, and completely turned off by the fact that he is a Meth addict.

The problem comes in when someone says that the object of their attraction 'cant be a gay guy' because they possess a vagina - or do not posses a penis.

Because they can be a gay guy, and they have every right to define themselves as such. To suggest otherwise disregards the identity of the other person, and imposes your values and beliefs on them - which is a form of oppression.

I'm not slamming you because you desire your partner to have a penis - no one should. I doubt that you would be attracted to me, even though I have a penis, maybe because you are not attracted to breasts, or you like your partners to be hairy and muscular.

Trans theory and politics is more about trying to uncouple desire and genitalia from the formation of identity.

If you are able to do this, then things get a whole lot simpler:

A man is a man whether or not he has a penis - (same goes for women) because that is how he identifies.

This same man is gay or straight based on who he is attracted to (men or women) regardless of his genital configuration.

Whether you are attracted to them is a completely different matter. But it still does not impact their identity.

...although if this man has a non-standard genital configuration - it may cause you to ask some uncomfortable questions about the nature of your attraction, but it still does not automatically invalidate your identity as a 'gay male.'

That is why I identify as a 'trans-lesbian.' My attraction to women does not define my womanhood, it only contributes to defining my lesbianism.

Just as your attraction does not define your identity as a male, although it contributes to your identification as 'gay.'

I sincerely hope I helped clarify this. This is exactly the dialog I had hoped to start when I wrote my original post.

Hello David

"This whole topic is INSANE"

I have felt that since the 1970's.

"-- fighting for one's boner and desire in the face of militant gender policing. Why label anyone -- anyone on this blog who is not having sex with every gender, genital, person on the planet (curly hair is the same as any of these things -- rejecting any of them for any reason is tantamount to rejecting black people for sex)."

I think for some people it is about being able to be who they are. I have fighting to have what I was born with (nothing) protected from mad surgeons unitl I can choose what I want and yes debates like this do seem to fly all over the place leaving some of us feeling tired and angry.

My issue with single sex spaces is how they tend to permeate into wider society resulting in arbitrary gender policing. toilets are often used as an excuse to surgically mess with intersex children, wouldn't additional neutral toilets be more ethical and less painful?

I would not call you a misogynist because you are a gay guy, that would be like the women only crowd calling post operative transsexual women "Men seeking to prey on women" such assertions make no sense. but there are many simply asking to be recognized as legitimate human beings and treated as such. It's simple for me, a Transsexual man is a man a transsexual woman is a woman, (that is they end up as the sex they are) not what they were born with) it makes life easier. You are not a misogynist you are a born man who happens to be gay, (From what you are saying) again nice and simple :) None of you are "Trangenderqueerbutchlesbiamosexual social constructs", you are human beings. :)


Unfortunatley some (Such as iconoclass) have to split hairs to infinity.

I gotta say I'm shocked to see this statement:

"Also, how do you know you can't have a sexual reaction to a vagina? Have you tried?"

Perhaps I'm too sensitive but this sounds just like something a straight person would tell a gay man. I believe the idea that "you can't knock it til you try it" when it comes to sex is very offensive.

I have NEVER been physically attracted to women, and I don't think it's shady or prejudiced to say I simply have no desire to have a "sampling" of vagina to confirm my gayness.

Nobody seems to suggest that straight allies experiment with gay sex to "be sure."

I think you are being too sensitive and a bit too narrow as well. I'm not talking about women as that's not what this discussion is about. Specifically, I'm talking about transmen - you know, men who happen to have vaginas.

My point, as I've said above to another person, is that if all other things are attractive - you like his face, he has great hair, you like his arms, his legs and you think he's cute - why on earth would the flesh between his legs stop you in your tracks.

A penis is not the determining factor of whether or not someone is a man. A penis is not necessary to have a good time sexually.

That is all.

A penis is not necessary to have a good time sexually. Jerame said

FOR YOU!!!! FOR YOU!!!! Who made you God? Do you actually hear what you are saying? You are imposing YOUR desire locus onto other people. Would you tell a lesbian to just TRY women with cocks? Try it and see the response here. Yet you insult me by doing the same. A penis is not a lump of irrelevent flesh to many of us (men AND women BTW!). Your ideology negates our sexual reality. Is that your idea of liberation? What a sick and mean little world view if it is. You need to grow up and get a lot more experience of the real sexual world, young man. You're not Universe Ruler -- yet.

Anthony in Nashville | December 25, 2009 10:14 AM

Jerame said:

"A penis is not necessary to have a good time sexually."

I guess I am just not that evolved, because a penis is central to any sexual activity I am going to willingly have.

Granted, I have not been in a close enough relationship with a transman where sex was a viable option. I know some folks sing the praises of strap-ons but in my mind that is not the real thing.

In the scenario you described -- where "everything else was there" -- I would expect the individual to let me know well before the bedroom what they were working with so I could decide if I was willing to "go there."

Bedroom surprises are NOT cool, in my book.

He didn't say anything about bedroom surprises. Most trans people disclose well before it gets that far because doing otherwise is dangerous (and I only even say "most" out of caution; I've never heard of anyone playing a surprise like that in real life). The "deceptive suprise tranny" idea is just a meme that some cis people pass around to dehumanize us, kind of like the "gays rape children to convert them" thing that conservatives like to bandy about.

Sophia -- ironically only woman and trans people respond to my questions. "Gay men" are their usual duplicitous selves -- saying one thing about their actual sex in public (the cleansed version for inclusive consumption) and the private reality of their boners, jerk off sessions and sexual desire realities. I find the prissiness of some of the new young gay men to be shocking to me. They partner tightly, label carefully and constantly speak in the general about ALL GAY MEN. Alex Blaze critizes me for being old and then attributes all kinds of negative traits to old gay men -- a shoddy tactic to obfuscate the actual issue. Are there are cis men out there whose sexual desire has landed on the X position of cis male loving cis male loving penises and manness togather -- without bigotry about transmen just no BONER over their different anatomy (the SAME different anatomy that makes many label themselves "gay"). There is a shame about actual sex narratives that was once liberation and is now taboo for fear that one's authentic desire might "exclude somebody for something". GenderQueer Paradigms hope to make all people panpoly bi -- but most people -- for any reason including their right to chose -- are NOT this way and are happy being desire focused instead of desire fluid. Pissing in the wind here I'm afraid -- just like talking to fundamentalist Christians about desire! But thanks. Sophia for trying to understand.

Not at all.

GenderQueer paradigms try to establish identity independent of genitals and desire.

Who I am is different from who I like.

This component of identity is only looking at "am I male or am I female,"

Once you establish that, then you can determine "am I gay or straight," by looking at attraction.

Many cis-gendered people have a hard time understanding this because they have never questioned their own gender - or needed to - and therefore only look at their desire in relation to their partner's genital configuration.

Even Jeramie misses the point a bit, although he does seem to be fluid enough to go for an F2M - but that does not make him 'less gay.' That just means that for him, identity is a more important component to a partner than the possession of a penis.

If we look at this solely from the perspective of desire, then what if you desire to be a "woman who is attracted to women" even though you posses a penis, and others have already defined you as male?

(I know the doctor that birthed me didn't consider my desires when I was labeled 'male.')

For a more detailed explanation, please refer to a much longer comment I made on your previous thread.

Thank you all for making this a very interesting week.

What a debate!

Anyway Happy Holidays to everyone!!

(even to those with whom I disagree.)

The Bilerico message is clearly declared in the post that begins these threads, in the various threads, and in Rachel's non-responses to my, and other, comments.

The message is a universal statement of deconstructing gender; that all gay and lesbian people do this; that transgender people this; and transsexual people do this, must do this.

There is no permitted challenge to this message--as Rachel has repeatedly demonstrated in these threads--people are recruited regardless of their beliefs, their arguments, their actual existential status.

This is nothing more, nor anything less, that an exercise of privilege and oppression.

It is also a demonstration of hubris so grotesque, so appalling, that it is on a level with the very evil that some cis people do towards us.

There is no compelling evidence to counter this in Rachel's responses.

On the contrary, every non-response, every wilful misreading of comments posted, arguments made--and dismissed as involved--simply shows the colonization of minorities.

The shamelessness of those who make these arguments, those who recognize and promote these arguments is, sadly, not beyond belief, but, given the imperialism of the gay/lesbian/transgender dogma, and long history, is simply part and parcel of our lives as women of corrective history.

There is no seasonal present here. Just the same old, same old.

The only wonder is that time after time, only the same message is determined to come through. That, unlike the hope in Tobi's Proposed Changes: Structural Inequities on Bilerico, nothing has, or will change.

Jessica,

Frankly, it is my right to deconstruct gender if I want to, just as it is my right to form an identity that I am comfortable with.

You were using faulty logic in your reasoning, and I demonstrated specifically why it was faulty. Before you condemn my comments, you should re-read some of your posts.

Just because you can not come up with a compelling argument and force me to change my tune, does not mean that my premise or subsequent comments are completely flawed.

I knocked holes in your arguments, so now as a last resort, you are simply resorting to a sweeping condemnation, and labeling me evil.

I assert that my deconstruction of gender in no way diminishes your identity or state of being.

Frankly, I can admit when I am wrong, and I have done so repeatedly in various threads in this same discussion, when presented with a sound, solid argument as to why I was incorrect.

You have not provided me with one. You have attacked me repeatedly with many comments that I did not feel even warranted an answer.

And now that I have specifically proved WHY your logic was faulty - repeatedly - you feel that being in the same group as me (LGBT) somehow redefines and diminishes your identity.

(...good thing we're not in the same room, since then my mere existence would surely be a grave threat to you.)

You basically want to control and refuse to allow me to deconstruct gender. Something I feel needs to be done, because it will make me a more informed person and I have the right to do that.

Yet you label me EVIL for it?? Sounds like your running out of arguments.

It seems to me your own Hubris and Audacity far outshine mine.

So don't talk to me about privilege while your dogma is squishing my karma.

Merry Christmas.

As for the argument I didn't answer - which I did - about your "path 1 and Path 2."

I will answer it again for your convenience, since you were unable to figure this out from the original post:

They both transgress gender, and they both suffer consequences for it, maybe not to the same degree - but it is still there.

Many crossdressers lose their wives, jobs and other relationships upon discovery - maybe it's just a subtle, disapproving look amybe it's more 'severe.'.

It's still gender bias - no matter how you slice it.

My main premise was that Gay and Lesbians face gender bias as well - and it has little to do with women of operative history.

So I viewed many of your comments as an attempt to hijack the discussion into more trans infighting. Something you managed to do very effectively.

So until you are ready to grow and expand your perception, the it will only be the same old, same old around here - at least for any discussion you are involved in.

Transsexual people are not crossdressers.

I guess, unlike the gay male contributors, I do not deserve an apology for, how did you put it, "hijacking" these comments. BTW, I have a gender and a sex.

It must, I guess, be easier to acknowledge difference when it is so completely different--or maybe it is just that that was something you wanted to leave. But as far as I'm concerned, and all the women who have posted here, we're far too close to what you want, but not quite; our existence, self-recognition, and argumentation you take to threaten your status and your identity.

The only way transsexual women transgress gender norms, as you have claimed in response to me, is if you believe they are still male.

I have argued that appearances can be deceiving and that, early in transition, transsexual women might well appear to be crossdressers, but are not given the trajectory of our lives.

As has been argued above from another direction, your line of argumentation is unlikely to encourage any sort of coalition, that is, common working together for common goals of people with quite different identities, conditions, lives, struggles, if you treat them as simply some sort of mirror image of yourself--we are not!

This single policed identity is, certainly in my experience in Canada, the hallmark of the gay and lesbian movement, which requires ALL participants to be gay.

You require all of us to be gender transgressors; you have even demanded that transsexual people--by our very nature--be so.

This is incorrect.

This will only generate hostility among us.

This will only generate frustration in you.

Look Dieks,

I want to apologize for being so antagonistic towards you. You really didn't deserve it. I hope you can put my over-reaction in the context of some of the other attacks I was facing.

You weren't "Burning me at the Stake," but some others were, and so I hope you can understand the external context of my post.

I guess I deserve it. I did stick my neck out.

I did hope to open a dialog with the larger GLBTQ audience, and avoid the trans infighting. I guess I screwed the pooch on that one. (since we're talking about sex.)

I can accept that I both suffer from, and subject others to misogyny, because I was trained to be male despite my female brain. And as you might imagine - it's a brave new world for me. I have to survive in women's space, without any of the training that you take for granted, because it's already second nature for you.

It is something I am trying to correct. So please educate me. I would like to know how and why I tromped all over lesbian B/F space, so that I do not repeat the error.

I would appreciate it if you would clear up my misconceptions about the lesbian community, so that I can understand your space. And hopefully, through this dialog, you will learn a bit about mine.

But I would really like to put any animosity behind us, and open a real dialog, with plain language, and hopefully without the infighting.

It's the only way I will learn.

One thing I have learned already, is that I should have used the term Gender Bias in my original piece instead of one of the gendered alternatives (misogyny, misandry.)

As you can see, this theory of mine is evolving, and will probably continue to evolve until my death, because it is how I make sense of the world.

So please educate me so that I am not laboring under false assumptions about the Lesbian community.

Hello RachelD

I know what you mean about an evolving concept especially in the minefield of gender politics which emerged from what you and others here understand to be the gender binary. I regard is in a slightly different light (The two sex system).

Various attempts to deconstruct that particular monster has as you can see resulted in the deconstruction of individuals and in such a way as to simply re-enforce the two sex system. (The opposite of what was intended).

Some rely on the two sex system to survive, however some (like me) see it as a harsh dictatorship. unfortunately it is so ingrained into the human condition (We are a dimorphic species) many will fight to defend it at some point. Others will simply transcend it.

Your existence as an individual does not undermine anyone, nor does David's just because he has his personal preferences. Iconoclass and Dieks probably defend some aspect of it (Single sex spaces etc) because for them that part is a paradoxical refuge from the insanity if it (When second wave feminism emerged it was at a time when women were treated like shit, they had to speak up) the transsexual folks simply want to define their place within it (And this isn't wrong, we all have to at some point) and people like me (Often intersex people) want it to be called to account for what it did to us. I think it is the injustice of the two sex system that needs to be challenged, then the superficial sides of it (The gender binary) will probably change as everyone rethinks it.

Have a happy holiday season, Christmas or yule RachelD and everyone else here :)

Sophie

Thanks Sophie,

The mere existence of Intersex people such as yourself call into question the very notion of the binary gender system.

I don't have to deconstruct it, there are several biological disciplines that are currently in the process of doing it.

And without the gender politics.

India and Pakistan have also recently officially recognized their gender variant communities as a "Third Sex" (Their words, not mine.)

So it is happening regardless of what I say.

As Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just stand there."

Hello RachelD

I know what you mean about an evolving concept especially in the minefield of gender politics which emerged from what you and others here understand to be the gender binary. I regard is in a slightly different light (The two sex system).

Various attempts to deconstruct that particular monster has as you can see resulted in the deconstruction of individuals and in such a way as to simply re-enforce the two sex system. (The opposite of what was intended).

Some rely on the two sex system to survive, however some (like me) see it as a harsh dictatorship. unfortunately it is so ingrained into the human condition (We are a dimorphic species) many will fight to defend it at some point. Others will simply transcend it.

Your existence as an individual does not undermine anyone, nor does David's just because he has his personal preferences. Iconoclass and Dieks probably defend some aspect of it (Single sex spaces etc) because for them that part is a paradoxical refuge from the insanity if it (When second wave feminism emerged it was at a time when women were treated like shit, they had to speak up) the transsexual folks simply want to define their place within it (And this isn't wrong, we all have to at some point) and people like me (Often intersex people) want it to be called to account for what it did to us. I think it is the injustice of the two sex system that needs to be challenged, then the superficial sides of it (The gender binary) will probably change as everyone rethinks it.

Have a happy holiday season, Christmas or yule RachelD and everyone else here :)

Sophie

I have come a bit late to this discussion, but I thought it interesting that the thesis of this post has similarities to my 2007 article in the Journal of Lesbian Studies: "The Lesbian Community and FTMs: Détente in the Butch/FTM Borderlands," which you can access here. There is a rich body of academic literature on the subject.

Here's the abstract: In 1998, Dr. Jacob Hale wrote about a “borderland" between butch lesbian identity and FTM masculinity, suggesting a “demilitarized zone”. While the intervening years have brought no “demilitarized zone”, the border may not have a long future. Converging trends in identity among the younger generation in their teens and twenties suggest this, such as changing meanings of ‘lesbian’ and ‘FTM’, blending of sexuality and gender, and understanding these as personal, rather than identity, differences. The socio-historical circumstances that gave power to anti-trans feminist attitudes and trans rejection of lesbian identity are disappearing. This is not to say that we are ‘post-lesbian’ or ‘post-transsexual’, but the tension between identities, the need to distinguish clearly between them, and the arguments about who is ‘really’ lesbian or ‘really’ FTM may be of supreme unimportance to the next generation. Time will tell.

Gee Jillian,

While you weren't looking, a whole new generation of rad-les-separatists has sprung up. Judging by the blogs there are more of them than the originals.

Sorry to tell you this.

I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at some of what I have seen here.

The universal gender deconstructist crowd cannot understand why their belief system is not just accepted by everyone. Those who try to respond with the realities of their own lives are "illogical" spinning the theory into some sort of Spock-like "truth".

Here's the truth. Some people will not respond sexually to something outside the binary. Many lesbians and gay men do not get "hot" or aroused at all by a feminine penis or a masculine vagina...period. No amount of wishful thinking will ever change this because it is an honest sexual orientation response. And while some never will, others can and do. That is also reality. Gender deconstructionist theories will not change this. "Education" will not change this. Wishful thinking will not change this.

Uncorrected trans people are highly invested in trying to do so but it takes on a religious fervor in the process and ironically they then say everyone else is illogical when it doesn't work. Reality is tossed out the window for their theories. Creationism vs. Evolution.

This all is no more logical than the typical comment made about bi-sexual women in lesbian circles (not a universal but often heard) "I cannot have a relationship with her, she might leave me for a man!" which implies, if she leaves for a man that is somehow worse than leaving for another woman....duh, she left you is actually the issue, not for who. The who is political not relational.

The transgender construct is a religious belief with the same immunity to actual logic or rational thinking or even facts as any dogma

Radical Bitch -- Amen to you!!! A voice of sanity in the TRUTH POLICE zone. Listen to this statement by Rachel D to me:

"Focusing solely on genitalia to determine identity is to miss the whole point of gender politics, which is more about what's between your ears than what's between your legs."

She then "allows" me to my right to my own desire formaation (again like Jerame, playing God seems to be catching amongst bilerico gender cops!). This statement by Rachel is the essence of Gender Theory Believers. It is the ANTITHESIS of other people who do not live by the Gender Theory Belief Structure. It is a fine theory and applies to many transgendered and queer identified people but NOT TO EVERYONE. Can these people hear themselves?!?! Telling a homosexual man to "try the vagine", the "penis is just a flesh lump so get over it", "desire for penis over vagina is like preferring curly hair or worse like being a racist and hating blacks".

Do you not realize that these statements -- while bolstering the ego structures of some trans people are DESTROYING any possible dialogue with people who you are trying to ally with? You are driving us away with statements that mock us with their unbelievable naivete or tunnel vision or ideological rigidity or worse totalitarian dictates of what desire should and should not be.

You are doing the precise thing the Right Wing has done to us all this time and you do not see it because you are so sure of your correctness.

Anyway, enough of this. It is a holiday and I plan to watch Guy Debord dvds while eathing hash cookies on my day off. Enjoy dictating and policing other people's desire. The Christians are dying off so someone has to take on this anti-homosexual, anti-heterosexual sex role.

Hello David

"Can these people hear themselves?!?! Telling a homosexual man to "try the vagine", the "penis is just a flesh lump so get over it", "desire for penis over vagina is like preferring curly hair or worse like being a racist and hating blacks".

Sounds to me like some people are reducing you to genitalia when looked at this way, telling you what genitalia you should "Try out".

This is why I find gender politics so confusing, people mean one thing but often mean the opposite.

No one has the right to tell you how you should feel sexually. And no one has the right to grant or deny permission for how you feel.

David,

I agree that plenty of folks here are out of line, but I hope you believe I've been more respectful than that. Can you please not lump my analogy in with them? Or at least understand the point behind my bringing it up?

I am not insinuating that the two situations are the same, or that your sexual response is like being racist. Hell, I even acknowledged that the person in my example is not being racist, at least on a conscious level. The entire point of bringing it up was to demonstrate a situation where physiological response had been influenced by oppressive societal messages about a minority community to demonstrate that just because something is a physiological sexual response doesn't mean it can't be influenced by such messages. If you're going to dismiss or criticize my argument, at least do it on point.

I can't help but notice how insulted you get when your desire for cock in a partner is compared to anything else (curly hair, race, etc) as if it is meant to make your desire less legitimate, but speaking only for myself, that's not what I aim to do. From my perspective, patterns of attraction can be based on many things. Myself, I'm not attracted at all to straight folks and I'm not very likely to be attracted to someone who's not a feminist. If I compare that to someone's gender/sex-based sexual orientation, it's not because I aim to associate your sexual response with other less legitimate sexual responses, but because I see those patterns of attraction as being just as legitimate.

Just because hair is less of a significant attractant then genitals to you, does not mean that attraction based on hair is universally less valid or that there aren't some people who's attractions are based more in hair then in gender/sex. Some folks primary markers of attraction are sex and gender and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. But some folks primary markers of attraction are other things, and I am saying such people exist and deserve to be seen as just as legitimate.

David -

First off, I never suggested you 'try a vagina.'

NOT AT ALL. I was hoping you would look beyond you penis though.

And how am I suggesting your not 'allowed' to disagree with me.

You have a gender, no?

From what you have posted here, I suppose your gender is male, yes?

I really want to understand how you define yourself as gay without taking into account your gender, or the gender of your partner?

Regardless of whether it's a binary system or not.

Frankly I supported your assertion of your desire.

Others may not have, but I would appreciate it if you would please re-read what I have posted to you before attacking me for what others have said to you.

I suppose your gender is male

Actually, male is sex; masculine or man is gender.

This lack of clarity in basic notions no longer surprises me. This conflation of sex and gender is one of the reasons why transgender people cannot/will not understand what transsexual people are actually saying--as we've seen throughout.

Didn't you encourage me to take a course in logic somewhere in these comments? How can you make a coherent argument, let alone one that actually reaches beyond its solipsistic self to the actual world when you've abandoned fundamental definitions?

Hi Rachel. Thanks for braving the roiling waters of this blog to post your writing.

Watching people from different corners of the queer universe lobbing grenades at each other has been saddening. It's a shame that in venues like The Bilerico Project we are often fighting with each other when the biggest threat to all of us comes from folks who do not fall within the queer alphabet.

Society has a distinct template that it expects us to fit into. It expects all of us to grow up to be women and men who will eventually enter into heterosexual relationships. The template contains expectations that women and men will relate to each other in certain ways. The template also has expectations about who and what men and women are. If you don't fit into this template—for whatever reason—you will be pressured to fit, regardless of what feels natural to you. That pressure comes in myriad forms and it comes from countless directions.

The widespread expectation that people fit into this template has little respect for individual needs. It doesn't care if you are a little girl who loves football and wants to grow up to play on a football team. It doesn't care if you are a teen who has just found that your heart beats at a fever pitch when you are near someone of the same sex. It doesn't care if you are a man who has loved his husband dearly for decades now, and you have both raised, happy successful children. It doesn't even care if you identify as straight and you are a beautiful, girly transsexual woman or a rugged, handsome transsexual man, for your history still remains. We are all expected to fit into the template. There are no waivers. There are no exemptions. If we refuse, there will be consequences. If we are too obvious or too extreme in our attempts to live beyond the strictures of the template, violence is often the consequence.

Whatever language we prefer to employ, whatever politics we choose to embrace, whatever personal philosophies we are guided by, most of us here at The Bilerico Project violate the conditions set down by the template.

We can pretend that the template doesn't exist. We can argue that we remain unbound by these conditions. We can shout to the heavens that we are not natural allies. We can expound upon the ways that our differences make us adversaries rather than comrades in a shared struggle. However, that's not going to help much when a non-transgender, straight person who thinks the template is the only natural way of being decides to assault us with their ideologies, their political power, or a nine millimeter pistol.

Broken bones, mangled viscera, and spilled blood look remarkably the same, regardless of the body in question. We can argue about how the next person is a delusional fool with retrograde philosophies, but the person pulling the trigger in a dark alleyway doesn’t give a shit, one way or another. So, perhaps it’s time to bury the hatchet and find common ground? Or shall we continue to expound upon how the other person is a misguided, nasty little oaf?

Happy holidays, y’all. Peace and good will to all folk. You know the drill.

Coalitions require the mutual respect of each other's realities and lives.

Timberwralth, you seem utterly immune to understanding this rather simple concept. Invoking common enemies who aren't as cruel as alleged allies is never ever ever going to cut the mustard. Not when invoking it always comes with "if you would only jettison your identity, your sexual responses, your orientation, your gender to embrace my world view and mine alone. Those who embrace the transgender religion are among the worst here and we have witnessed on this thread and others gay men protesting the exact same appropriation under an umbrella as this crowd has done to transsexual women for a decade. Lesbian women have also objected on the same grounds....it is not us who are blowing apart alliances, it is those who insist it's my way or you're a bigot, transphobe, self loathing and all the other assorted nonsense that greets any attempt to challeng the religion of transgender.

Perhaps after 15 years of trying to communicate this simple observation, some of the G's, L's and B's are now getting this. I hold out no hope the T's ever will.....

In my time, I've seen people from all sides of the queer alphabet being disrespectful toward other parts of the queer alphabet. No side can truly claim innocence. This isn't a "T thing," or an "L thing" or a "G thing" or a "B thing." Everyone's side has contributed to the big, stinky pile of poo we are currently wading around in.

Your sentiments are ironic, considering that the current mess at Bilerico started with a prejudiced article written by a gay man. In spite of that article and many disrespectful words penned by the "G" part of the alphabet, I refuse to see gay men as my adversaries. Nor do I see lesbians or bisexuals as my adversaries, in spite of reams of negative verbiage in other venues. I know that each of those letters contains a wide variety of people with widely varying perspectives. Consequently, I think it is misguided to write off all of the people represented by one of those letters because some choose to engage in disrespect.

I have no doubt that some people will continue to fight and bicker with each other. *shrug* I am one person. I know that my words will fall upon many deaf ears. In some ways, I’m not even speaking to them. I’m speaking to those who are angry over this mess, but have a desire to move past all of this. There is more than enough common ground, if we choose to recognize it. We aren't always going to see eye to eye, but it helps a lot to recognize what we share. It also helps to keep in mind that we share our humanness, as well. No one’s perfect. We’ve all got our strengths and our weaknesses.

Last, but certainly not least, I believe that separatism is counter-productive in the face of an extremely active, well-moneyed, well-organized, violent group of adversaries who represent deeply ingrained and widespread prejudices. After witnessing decades of hateful actions conducted by that quarter of society, I find it strange to argue that any single letter in the queer alphabet has collectively engaged in a level of cruelty approaching that of our shared adversaries. Again, can we stop arguing that the folks in some other part of the alphabet soup are evil shits? That goes for everyone: B, G, T, L, I, Q, A, and so on.

Supposedly, this is the season of peace and good will. Even though I’m not Christian, I still wish people would take this to heart.

"Your sentiments are ironic, considering that the current mess at Bilerico started with a prejudiced article written by a gay man. In spite of that article and many disrespectful words penned by the "G" part of the alphabet, I refuse to see gay men as my adversaries."

I sincerely hope I am misunderstanding what you said in in response to my comment. I am not a gay man and just because I agree with a couple of gay men and their justified responses to co opting their identity does not erase my womanhood. Inexcusable considering my comments have my pic with them.

And as I have stated umpteen times here, I've suffered far far more threats and damage to my life from transgenders than I ever have from "our common enemies".

No. I am not saying you are a gay man. Using that logic, if you are a man, then I must be man, too since I'm also a woman who has been through hormones, surgery, etc. Why would I argue that? Why would you think that? You know from past interactions that I'm a transsexual woman.

I'm also aware that you identify somewhere on the bisexual part of the spectrum of sexual orientation. I'm somewhere on the bi/lesbian side of the spectrum. It would be pretty stupid of me to imply that you are a gay man. If I were to disrespect you with that accusation, I would be disrespecting my own sexual orientation as well, since I feel some degree of attraction to men.

And, for the record, I'm well aware that you do not identify with the T in the queer alphabet. Nevertheless, our histories both include transsexality, so if I make negative accusations about your identity as a woman, those accusations apply equally to myself, even if I identify with the T and you do not.

My point is that your response to me seems to be placing the root of this ongoing conflict at the feet of people who identify with the T in the queer alphabet. This most recent conflict and it's associated fallout at TBP was precipitated by Ronald Gold, who is a gay man. His post undermined the identities of people who have gone through transition, hormones, surgery, etc. Herein lies the irony of your statements regarding trans people. Ronald Gold's statements positioned both you and me as targets, but you have chosen to paint people who identify as T as the culprits in the current conflict at TBP.

Also, I've engaged with you before, RB, and I know that interacting with you is most likely going to go nowhere. You are far from innocent when it comes to undermining others' identities. I do my best to respect other people's sense of self, while trying to acknowlege the ways in which we are connected. I'm fully aware that this is not the spirit in which you operate.

I'm not a gay man either - I am a transgender woman, and I wrote the original piece.

And after our discussion here I would have to agree that transpeople (regardless of 'op-status) tend to be our own worst enemies.

I had hoped to rise above that, but no such luck.

I'm not a gay man, I'm a trans-woman.

But I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of what you said.

Thank you for your support.

I feel like a broken record when I suggest that we find a common ground.

Common ground is just that, common.

You have determined that common means what you declare it to be--and if some do not agree with you they are "our own worst enemies," they "hijack" your agenda, they spew "vitriol."

If you refuse to recognize those, of great diversity, who do NOT accept being dictated to by you, well, your project, as laudable as if might be, just doesn't get off the ground.

And if, in the face of this principled opposition, you insist you are still the spokesperson for your common ground, what validity have you?


Much of what I see is a resistance to finding a common ground, and an insistence that no common ground will be found.

In that environment, the will be no common ground.


Much of what I see is a resistance to finding a common ground, and an insistence that no common ground will be found.

In that environment, the will be no common ground.

In a true dialogue, you cannot predetermine the result. And if you do, it isn't dialogue, its pantomime.

You've taken to focus on me, rather than David, Sophie or Radical Bitch. Maybe, just maybe Radical Bitch and I could be termed the radical trans faction, as you've termed it, but David and Sophie certainly cannot--unless you believe everyone on these comments are radical trans.

Which is why Sophie and I have asked the question below.

What you have called resistance, and characterized in much more unpleasant terms, is simple the effort to find a common ground that is truly common.

Not something you dictate.

I know you that you identify as a transgender woman, Rachel. As I mentioned above, I was referring to Ronald Gold and his now deleted article.

i think there is a difference between fighting a common enemy and being co-opted for the causes of others. If there is going to be mutual respect how about mutual understanding? As "intersex" is classed under "Transgender and intersex" (huh?) does this mean that intersex people speak for intersex people or transgender people speak for intersex people. Can I as an intersex individual write an article here? Or is it just "The right sort of people". I don't hate anyone nor do I fell the need to attack others, but I do feel at time the Bilerico project has others speaking about my issues and I feel unable to say anything about it.

Is this the same for other people as well? Could this be one of the things that are proving to be divisive?

Sophie

i think there is a difference between fighting a common enemy and being co-opted for the causes of others.

Agreed.

Personally, I've tried to steered clear of making arguments that lump intersex people with trans people, as I know that's a point of contention between the two groups. Each group of people faces differing responses from society and each group has differing needs. I know that there are transgender people who gloss over the differences and lump intersex and transgender issues together and that's a problem.

Can I as an intersex individual write an article here? Or is it just "The right sort of people". I don't hate anyone nor do I fell the need to attack others, but I do feel at time the Bilerico project has others speaking about my issues and I feel unable to say anything about it.

I agree that the voices of intersex people are currently unrepresented at venues such as The Bilerico Project and that this needs to be rectified. This oversight is reflected by the common usage of the four-letter moniker, "LGBT"—a problem which I am also quite guilty of. I think that yours is a perfectly ligitimate complaint and needs to be openly explored and corrected.

When I posted my call for a ceasefire, what I am responding to is a sentiment that I've seen pop up over and over again and can be summarized as:

You are far too different from me. Your very being is alien in nature and incompatible with my identity/politics/world view. Your association with my people makes me look bad. Now, please get away from me and my corner of society. Your continued presense is an offence and ultimately represents a source of oppression.

My post was actually a response to reading days upon days of anger-filled exchanges at Bilerico, some of which I've participated in. On some level, anyone in the alphabet can say this to someone else who is in another part of the alphabet. I've seen this happen between the L and the G, the LG and the B, and the LGB and the T. To a lesser extent, I've seen it happen between the I and the LGBT. (I'm guessing that I've seen it happen far less because the LGBT largely ignores issues faced by the I and it's also a part of my privilege as a person who is not intersex to ignore these issues.)

When this happens in a very public way—such as the Ronald Gold article and the associated fall-out—the resulting anger can drive wedges between even the most well meaning of allies. I'm hoping that we can move past this, as the fighting has gone on for so long.

Even so, I want to make it clear that I'm not saying you don't have a right to be angry. We largely give lip service to intersex issues, if we speak of them at all.

Sophie -- BINGO! You win the prize. People in a self-formed coalition speaking for others they have lumped into the coalition with them IS one of the problems. As a homosexual male, my own identity, behaviour, politics and even DESIRE is being written FOR ME. Jerame and Alex Blaze both parrotted the Manifesto -- my personal desire = bigotry and ignorance because it is not aligned to their political world view on gender and transmen with vaginas. This is Stalinist, Cultural Revolutionary MADNESS to someone who has spent 40 years fighting Stalinism and Cultural Revolutionary impositions. But bilerico IS the propoganda central for the Gender Paradigm and the forced inclusivity of LBGTQIQetc. It never worked and it never will.

And more importantly, it does not have to. It serves no purpose. Someone said the blood of all victims if red. To coalition then must include every group who is oppressed by hate crimes -- and include them in the alphabet letter. This is ridiculous for expedient political and legal ends thus groups separate into smaller issues to get laws passed etc. No other coalition is so bloated with unrelated peoples that it can no longer ever speak let alone act because it so poorly represents so many people subsumed (against their will) into the group (the Borg?). There seems more attachment to the concept of LBGTQ unity than to efficacy of strategies and political actions that can actually better any of these peoples' lives.

Some history: Formerly "natural" coalitions that seemed the logical place for gays have proven not to be -- the Left Wing threw out the gays. The Men's Movement threw out the gay men. The Feminist Movement threw out the lesbians. And so on. Yet in many other countries beside the Fundamentalist Dictatorship of the USA, gays and lesbians have the same full rights as any other citizens. We are no longer fighting a state enemy. We simple deal with the human issue of people not liking other people for whatever reason. So the LGBTQ coalition served no purpose when the rights were achieved in other places. What purpose does it serve now other than to brainwash young people whose personal choices are being mitigated and shaped by other peoples' definitions of what is LBGTQ Proper (cis male homos MUST have sex with transmen with vaginas is the new Dictat that many in the older generation of gay men refuse apparently out of racist-like bigotry).

Far from being personal "attacks" or not "christmas like niceness" of kumbaya we must get along or they will get us all -- these attitudes are preposterous and counterproductive. This very discourse that is questioning intellectually and experientially and strategically the functionality (let alone the absurdity!) of the Gender Paradigm as a tool for some gay, lesbian, transexual and intersexed peoples' continued political struggles and issues. Ron Gold was burned at the stake for his article. Out of his ashes, the pheonix of authentic political clarity might arise and allow those who have drunk the koolade to understand that many of us simply have moved beyond the decaying corpse of the LBGTQI "community".

The voices of myself (gay), Dieks (lesbian), Jessica (transexual) and Radical Bitch (intersexed/transexual) have clearly and intelligently here presented a 101 summary of the state of "the experiment of LBGTQ" and shown that we are not and will not be members of something which has collapsed from its own self-righteous absolutism. As our discourse spreads (though it is silenced by the gender police in examples others can provide), we ALL will benefit. The reverse cannot be said of the queer status quo.

Maybe I can surmise my original premise in as few words as possible:

We all have a gender - whether it is male, female, or other.

My original premise is based on the theory that homophobia, and the resulting discrimination is also a form of gender bias.

Maybe a far subtler form of gender bias than transphobia - but gender bias nonetheless.

This is because it is a form of bias that is based on the genders of the people involved - regardless of their actual identities.

Maybe I deserve to be vilified for my imprecise language, but I would really like to discuss this, especially if we could get past the "my oppression is worse than your oppression" retoric that has dominated this discussion.

For your convenience, the definition of gender from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/GENDER

I'm using it in the context of definition 2b.

--

Main Entry: 1gen·der
Pronunciation: \?jen-d?r\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gendre, from Anglo-French genre, gendre, from Latin gener-, genus birth, race, kind, gender — more at kin
Date: 14th century
1 a : a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass c : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass
2 a : sex b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

Your original premise was more along the lines of transgender and transsexual people transgress gender. More than that, they must transgress gender.

You can see no difference between a MTF transgender person and a MTF transsexual person. You refuse to acknowledge there could possibly be a difference between what I earlier termed path 1) and path 2).

Your argument has been so faulty you have had to restate it several times. Your erasure of transsexual people, especially transsexual women has been complete.

You claim the most vile things have been done to you; I would argue little can compete in vileness with the erasure of the lives, struggles, needs and even existence of persons--which you so blithely do.

As long as you attempt to co-opt those who do not share your life, struggle, needs your argument will fail.

Until you recognize the separate existence of those who do not share your life and needs, common ground is nothing more than the same old imposition of identity.

There again you misunderstood my original post - and I blame my own imprecise language. Hopefully we have all moved on.

What I though I said was this:

Gay and Lesbian people transgress gender boundaries through their relationships, and are subject to a similar gender bias as trans-people of any operative status or orientation.

Obviously this was not clear, if you are still trying to tell me what I said.

What is your response to my last comment? You did not address that at all.

"
We all have a gender - whether it is male, female, or other.
My original premise is based on the theory that homophobia, and the resulting discrimination is also a form of gender bias.
Maybe a far subtler form of gender bias than transphobia - but gender bias nonetheless.
This is because it is a form of bias that is based on the genders of the people involved - regardless of their actual identities.
"
--

I would like to hear your response to my simplified theory, since it is the same theory stated in a much clearer manner.

(If you re-read my original post with my last comment in mind, hopefully you can see this was the original intent?)

Or are you out to just crucify me now? If so, I will concede that this is a lost cause, and stop posting here.

Please note that "Similar," does not mean "the same."

As in TG folks are similar to TS Folks. This means that they resemble each other to a degree, but are not "the same."

Bullpucky - I acknowledged the difference between TG and TS long ago - in a much earlier post. Trad them again, and you will see.

But that is not the conversation I was trying to have - I've had that conversation over and over, and really did not want to have it again.

I was trying to have a conversation about how are the different LGBTQ components SIMILAR. ( Not THE SAME - SIMILAR)

And I was trying to have a conversation about how are we different from NON-LGBTQ people. (After Obama's out, we will face a much harsher political climate.)

And I was trying to have a conversation about how to find a common ground between the LGBTQ so that we can take on the non-queer society with SOLIDARITY.

THAT is what I have been trying to do ALL along, but I did not succeed and it saddens me, because it is my own fault because I did not correctly engage my detractors.

( The title to this piece when I submitted it was simply "SOLIDARITY." The "Transmisogeny & Faggots" was added by the Bilerico editorial staff.)

So pat yourself on the back for hijacking my agenda, co-opting it and transforming it into YOUR agenda, and diluting my original message to the point where most of the intended audience has been alienated by the hatred expressed here.

Especially so, because the intended audience was NOT the TG community nor the TS community.

I'm not going to bother with this anymore. I'm starting to think it's a lost cause, and am going to return to my primary medium of film to deliver my message.

At least the critics are nicer.

I would say that you lost a valuable voice here at TBP, but I can see that my voice is not valued. And I can't see how it ever will be after this ridiculous exchange.

Hey there, Rachel.

I'm sorry to hear that we'll be loosing you as a contributor. It's understandable, given the lion's den that you've walked into, but I'm still sad to hear it.

I think there is a harsh underlying reality operating here. When people have been kicked around by so many others from the youngest of years onward, the ability to trust others is one of the first things to dissolve. Put another way, it becomes extraordinarily easy to see other people as your enemy when you've been treated like shit by so many people for so long. Under these conditions, it becomes a lot easier to trust only those people who are a part of your immediate group and in some cases, even that is extraordinarily difficult. Ironically, the prejudice that we have faced from childhood onward leaves us in a frame of mind where we have great difficulty trusting those who are too different from us.

Consequently, building solidarity is a bit like herding cats... angry, abused, frightened, feral cats. It's not easy. The process can quickly descend into a blinding mass of flying fur and claws. On the internet, where people have the ability to strike out with little personal consequence, this phenomena is more readily expressed.

Sadly, our isolation from each other serves as a mechanism in making all of us more easily exploitable.

However, if we are willing to look past our pain and abuse, stare into the eyes of another, and see our own eyes staring back, then perhaps... just perhaps, we can begin to move past the walls of armor we have erected around ourselves.

"Ironically, the prejudice that we have faced from childhood onward leaves us in a frame of mind where we have great difficulty trusting those who are too different from us."

Which is REALLY ironic, since this prejudice and abuse in childhood is EXACTLY what I sought to address.

Universal Gender Bias, and the often violent enforcement of strict gender norms from birth, affecting everyone perceived as 'different,' and the resulting pain and scars is EXACTLY what I sought to address.

I would think we ALL have these common experiences - regardless of our personal identity.

But the conversation got hijacked by the radical trans contingent.

Hello Rachel, David and Timberwraith.

Rachel said:

"I was trying to have a conversation about how are the different LGBTQ components SIMILAR. ( Not THE SAME - SIMILAR"

and:

"We all have a gender - whether it is male, female, or other.
My original premise is based on the theory that homophobia, and the resulting discrimination is also a form of gender bias."

There are very strong similarities in the oppression and yes the motivations for the bigotry have a common root. But people are different in very specific ways. A good example would be the literature published by a UK organization who are basically a support group for cross dressing folks. Often it contains sexualised narratives about "Forced feminization".

An intersex person like me who actually fights against things like non consented to sexing surgery and conditioning would look at such literature as the very antithesis of what they stand for. This is one example of where "Similarity" becomes "Opposite". This is why I believe it would be very difficult for one group to speak for another. I would not go around saying that cross dressing folks are evil or threaten my existence, but at the same time I could not hope to feel understood by organizations like the Beaumont society, and I doubt very much that any of their membership would feel as if OII, or the AISSG (Intersex support groups) would understand them.

Rachel I have no intenention of crucifying you, I see your point but see other things that make it difficult to translate it into a collective policy.

David, I don't regard you as having "Racist like bigotry". I have read what you have written and never saw you saying you say you hated F to M folks, and I am sure you have many friends who do not have the physical charateristics that interest you. And that in itself proves that those calling you a "Racist like bigot" cannot understand that friendships are not often sexual relationships. They are failing to see you as an entire human being. If they describe you as a mature gay guy using very stereotypical terms then they are being more prejudiced. It is the reason I usually tend to keep a distance from gender politics. It is based on notions of people as stereotypical templates rather than human beings.

You are right Timberwraith, I don't understand the whole "You are different thus a threat to me" mentality some come out with. I don't see the Beaumont society as a threat, unless of course they decided to claim expertise in intersex issues. unfortunately some do claim expertise when they don't understand.

I think the "Alphabet" model does have this negative side which results in such savage arguments. i suspect if people understood each other and respected each other's "Issue space" (For want of a better expression) then they would get on a lot better. As it stands the anger between different people is intense, sadly.

hopefully people will understand each other one day :)

Sophia,

I appreciate your sentiments, but a miscommunication in here is demonstrating to me why this conversation isn't being productive. I was the one that brought up race, but not as a way to say David's behavior is "racist like." I wrote a comment above clarifying that, search for "like being racist" to see the context. Searching for racism and racist I don't see any other references to David except the ones he makes himself

I have the feeling that people are so wrapped up in their own defensiveness, that several folks are skimming the comments, seeing a few words that appear to represent their fears, and then responding to those fears without checking gleaning the actual meaning of those words.

The fact that David is still clinging to having been "accused" of "racist like bigotry" after my explanation and has stopped engaging with me makes me very pessimistic about any further productive conversation, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's representative of the pattern this entire conversation has taken.

It's also quite frustrating to spend half an hour on a rational response, logically detailing the issue, then see the person I was addressing respond to the two or three inflammatory commenters without addressing me or my argument. It's like folks are pushing for a fight and don't want to actually discuss the issues.

To simply use the term transgendered as an umbrella, and refuse to use the terms transgender and transsexual, has already predetermined the results of any argument which is so framed.

How can there be any conceptual difference when there is only one concept permitted, and that concept is based solely in gender? And a refusal to acknowledge any other aspect of our lives?

This is not a trivial circumstance in which some persons merely think about themselves; the use of the term transgendered mixes the very apples and oranges Rachel alleged I was doing.

Apparently, people cannot see the difference between a man who crossdresses from time to time and a woman who seeks corrective surgery.

I have just read about a transgender teenager who caused a great concern in the high school washroom. From the article, it is not made clear whether the teenager is someone who dresses as a cheerleader for events, and retains male sex in all other times, or has transitioned to female in her entire life.

When people, like Rachel, use the conflating term transgendered they give the impression they are talking about a man who wears dresses, not someone who has a medical condition called transsexuality.

This is not common cause, this is imposed identity.

If transsexual is meant, why is there a prohibition from saying it? When we mean gay we say gay; why don't we say another word that means something else?

I have argued the problem with the post is not its imprecise language, as faulty as it is in this regard; I argue there is a conceptual imprecision, a complete inability--whether intentional or naive I haven't decided--to differentiate between the concepts transgender and transsexual.

As David has clearly pointed out, this is in the gender paradigm that is the stock in trade of TBP.

It is much easier for transgendered people to acknowledge a difference with gay and lesbian people--and apologize to them--than it is to do either with transsexual people. Because to conceptualize this difference would, for what reason I don't know, threaten their existence.

Why do they need to recruit our lives to bolster theirs?

To challenge this hijacking of our lives is name-called. It is called hijacking of the conflation agenda, when it is the conflation agenda which is the hijacking of the lives of others.

Use different terms for different things.

This is the fundamental logic that is foreign to this post. Its erasure of lives is quite real, non-trivial, and creates danger.

None of which can ever be acknowledged by those who persist in using the conflated term transgendered.

Hello Jessica

Well as an umbrella term "Transgender" will never really work, I know there is a considerable difference between transsexual folks and and people who cross dress. I first became aware of this ghettoizing when some years ago GLAAD wrote a "Media guide" In which they stated that "Cross Dressing, Transsexualism and Intersexulity are all a subset of transgender"
Wwhen I found myself objecting to this, I also found a lot of transsexual folks felt similarly annoyed about this arbitrary lumping of people into political ghettoes with generic terms like "Transgender". The only people who didn't question this were the politically active cross dressing folks.

I have since then come across people who insisted that everyone be called "Transgender" and then claiming I am a bigot for disagreeing with them. I am not because I don't feel hostility towards those who use "Transgender" as a self definition. I just feel the political lobbyists are wildly missing the point. It is usually bigots who make such wild generalizations, these people claimed that lumping all under a one size fits all definition was a good thing, I could not and cannot see how, different people face different things.


Like you I disagree with the transgender lobbyists, the ghettoizing they seem keen on does not work, as history has often shown.

Well, I suppose that depends on what circles you travel in. The bulk of the people who I've seen use the word transgender as an umbrella term are transsexuals—myself included. From what I've seen, if any group has a right to claim that their cause has been co-opted, it's cross dressers. I say that because, in my experience, the loudest, most open voices representing the moniker transgender seem to be transsexuals.

Again, it depends on what circles you run in, because our perceptions are obviously quite different.

Besides that, there's an unspoken matter that folks seem to be ignoring: there is no solid border dividing transsexuals from cross dressers. Many transsexuals start out identifying as CD and then move on to identify as transsexual. Hence, there is an intersection between the two groups of people. I know that makes some people uncomfortable as hell, but that's reality, like it or not.

How far do we take this, I wonder? The L, G, and B all have their own needs and yet, they all get crunched together under an acronym "LGB" and the moniker "queer." Even so, there are a whole lot of folk to don't neatly fit into those three letters. For instance, I can't count the number of self-identified lesbians I've known who wound up dating men later in their lives (including myself). So much for the surgical precision of labels.

That's the craptastic drawback to devising categories to represent people. Human beings are a messy lot. The boarders of those categories will inevitably run through the middle of someone's life. As the old adage goes, life usually comes in shades of gray rather than black and white. Categories are an artificial linguistic construct that human beings use to approximate the real world, but at the end of the day, the real world can never be fully contained by these constructs. Never.

Categories aren't real. People are. That's a big reason behind why I err on the side of inclusiveness rather than separatism. Plus, it really sucks to be stuck in the borderlands between two groups of people, while having both groups tell you that you're an impostor and you don't belong. Not fun at all.

Borders and definitions are in a constant state of flux.

Iran used to be called Persia, and they are redefining their boarders as we speak.

Same with Israel and Palestine.

Yet we easily forget the history involved. Very important history for those involved.

I just hope no one pulls out an PRG in here.

That's an interesting observation, timberwraith.

In Ottawa since the beginning, in all three of Toronto's annual and in Vancouver, TDOR is called, not transgender, but Trans Day of Remembrance--an reasonably acceptable umbrella term.

Though last year, a Canadian transgender activist had the Ottawa event removed from the remembering list. Curiously, this person made no complaint for the previous 5 years, not was there a complaint, and erasure, of all the Toronto events, nor of the Vancouver event.

The transsexual people I know, admittedly anecdotal, call themselves, well, transsexual. The same in Toronto. And in Vancouver.

In fact, most of the Toronto events and programs, posted to the Rainbow Health Network list, quite comfortably and routinely use both words: transgender and transsexual.

Now, long after sexual orientation has been added to the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, all provincial and territorial human rights codes, and Chapter 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms--and the gay and lesbian activists and their organizations have gone home--we now, on our own, with true allies, are working to add gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Member of Parliament who has sponsored the private member's bill that will do this, for about five years now, has always used both terms: transsexual and transgender.

I was once told that, to use both terms is to silence transgender people in a way that just to use the term, transgender alone, doesn't silence, or even erase transsexual people.

This is, on its face, irrational.

And maybe this is all just anecdotal, but I would argue from this evidence that in Canada, the vast majority of transsexual people actually do call themselves transsexual.

This must seem a surprise to those who maintain that transsexual people are transgender. I will defend the right of individual transsexual people to identify as transgender, as I will defend the right of cissexual people to also so identify.

But this in no diminishes the fact that transsexual does not equal transgender. Logic requires that different things are, well, different.

I've been wondering today if there is something about marginalization that requires many, including some transsexuals, to call themselves by another identity/category. I believe this is irrational--just think about, say, gay people who call themselves by another identity/category, say, transgender

This is absurd, isn't it.

Jessica said:

"When people, like Rachel, use the conflating term transgendered they give the impression they are talking about a man who wears dresses, not someone who has a medical condition called transsexuality."

If I apply the same absolutism you did, you are essentially calling me a "Man in a Dress" because I have not had surgery, and to this I say SCREW YOU.

Who are you to define my identity as a TG!! YOU don't identify as TG, and therefore have no right to define ME.

Here again you fail to see the vast grey area between cross-dressers and women of post-op experience. So really, who is erasing lives in their rhetoric?

--

Did you guys ever hear of the theory of "crabs in a barrel?"

I just heard it last night, and I believe it is extremely relevant to this discussion:

The LGBTQI..ETC community is like a barrel full of crabs.

We did not put ourselves in the barrel, someone else did.

But we are in the barrel none the less.

Instead of working together to free ourselves from the barrel, we are climbing all over ourselves to get out, in our individual attempts at freedom.

By doing so, we prevent each other from making ANY progress in our escape because we keep pulling each other off the walls of the barrel.

The fisherman doesn't even have to put a lid on the barrel, because the crabs to his work for him.

We are all in the same barrel, but rather than talk about the barrel, and how to free ourselves from it, or even the nature of the fisherman who put us there, we are cutting each other down in our individual bids for freedom.

--

And of course, I fully expect Jessica to harp on how I used "guys" as an objectionable umbrella term in my opening sentence, while ignoring the real meat of the issue.

Naturally, it is her right to deconstruct this colloquialism, but does it help accomplish main objective of escaping from the barrel, or is it used as another divisive tool to secure her own individual freedom, at the expense of those around her?

If you want to talk about a binary, then how about this one:

There are two types of people - those who say "it can be done," and who eventually do it, and those who say "it can't be done," and who cut down everyone who tries.

(Naturally we are ignoring everyone who's reality does not fit either of these two paradigms - but seems standard operating procedure around here.)

I think it's clear which side of this particular binary system I fall on. And I'm pretty clear which side that Jessica falls on. I agree that there is a big difference between us Jessica; one that has nothing at all to do with gender or being a CD, TG, TS, IS, GLB, Queer or even "op-status."

--

I knew by posting my original piece that I wasn't going to please everyone - I said so in my opening paragraph.

But I guess for some, having an argument is far more important that actually accomplishing anything.

I wish to express my deepest appreciation to who expressed their support for my arguments, both publicly and privately.

At least I can take some small comfort that I have reached a few people with my ideas, and not everyone has been alienated by the vitriol.

I wish I could say the same for myself.

Y'all have a nice life. I have to get back to mine now.

Happy Holidays.

If I apply the same absolutism you did, you are essentially calling me a "Man in a Dress" because I have not had surgery, and to this I say SCREW YOU.

No, I am not. If I did, I would say it clearly. I am making a statement about my concerns with the conflation of transsexual with transgender, as I detail throughout my comments to your opinion piece.

Your defensiveness leads you to do the very thing I've been accused of, routinely, being out of line.

This comment is both abusive and contains a slur and violates the terms of use. And the repeated personalizing of your comments is offensive and is not appreciated.

When arguments fail, there is a temptation to do this--but it reflects badly on the argument attempted and the person attempting the argument.

Jes said: "No, I am not. If I did, I would say it clearly."

that's a relief. I was beginning to wonder whether or not you IDd as TS before your surgery, or you only felt you were entitled to that moniker once you had your post-operative experience.

" I am making a statement about my concerns with the conflation of transsexual with transgender, as I detail throughout my comments to your opinion piece."

My contention through out is that this particular conflation was not really germane to the central point of my opinion piece, or the discussion that I was trying to open, and I more or less said that from the beginning.

If you want to debate that issue, I encourage you to write your own opinion piece, and submit it to Bil for publication on TBP, as I did.

I was trying to focus on, and give a name to a common oppression that we ALL face - and I said that from the beginning..

On the positive side, this discussion had enabled me to find that name: "Gender Bias." It is a far more accurate than "trans-misogeny," which seems a very loaded term.

"All gender variant people are transgender, be that CD, TS or IS."

Sophie's focus on this quote from the individual of the Beaumont Society is important.

I have a simple question for you, Rachel, and anyone else who cares to answer.

Do you believe, along with this quoted person, that with him, a crossdresser, that transsexual people and intersex people are also gender variant?

I should add, not what you declare others might or might not believe, but what you believe.

If you want to debate that issue, I encourage you to write your own opinion piece, and submit it to Bil for publication on TBP, as I did.

As you and Tobi--albeit more indirectly and less offensively than you--and Bil some months ago have pointed out, I'm part of the radical trans faction, not a believer in the gender paradigm you've been promoting--and possibly now a "third sex" paradigm.

My perspective is not one to be permitted in an article on TBP--even if I wanted to.

I find it ironic that someone with 34 comments in this thread alone feels their perspective isn't welcome here. I know I've seen you comment on other threads too. Seems like a rather silly argument to say your perspective isn't welcome as you're arguing that perspective for 4 days running. Just sayin'.

I just don't get people who argue their perspective isn't welcome here. It may not currently be represented or not represented to your liking, but ALL perspectives are welcome here.

Please reread my comment:

My perspective is not one to be permitted in an article on TBP--even if I wanted to.

My reference was to an article at the top of this page, not comments somewhere in the bottom.

It is clear from many comments on these threads, those closer to the top than I will ever be have already discounted mine--as well as several others.

Please read Rachel's comment below; yours might just be a bit premature.


I take it you agree with the rest of my post then.

You have no opinion about my analogy about the LGBT community is like crabs in a barrel.

You don't want to address this because you have no problem with it?

I guess you are only in it for the argument then.

You will always find something to gripe about, won't you?

As my dad said, "never wrestle with a pig - you both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

So I'm not going to engage with you any more, since almost all of your comments and your agenda seem to have little relevance to my central theme, and are diametrically opposed to consensus building.

Have you forgotten, this is also Sophie's question.

And this just might be a foundation for common ground.

Tobi -- relax and stop personalizing every word here. Also the author Rachel should take a deep breath as well. A discourse is a DISCUSSION and even if it is heated, it is not an assault ("crucified"! what a statement!).

I have stopped posting because there is nothing more to say on any topic here. All I have to say I have said. In a nutshell, there are two "sides": Those who have a TRUTH which they are trying to convince the other "sides" is THE GOSPEL TRUTH (Gender Paragidm). And the other "side" (myself included -- speaking another language obviously) are merely telling our lived narratives and opinions (the personal is political) which lies OUTSIDE OF YOUR TRUTH.

Trying to talk someone into your world view is not "dialogue". It is evangelism. And in that tone, I believe the only reason some of us "heretics" here are allowed to print our (insert insult here) comments is because it is a holiday and most of the bilerico regulars are away. I wait for them to return and purge all gender trangressive heresy and queer cult sedition from this thread so that your GENDER TRUTH GOSPEL can continue to spread like fishers of men throughout the pagan queer lands.

Also all these messages are crashing my browser! Remember that trying to convince is NOT DIALOGUE. Is NOT COMMNUITY. It's the same old same old in a new outfit only some are too young to know it (like when a teen announcing in 2009 that they want to turn you on to the truth and it's Mao's little red book -- Arthur Koestler mindfuck, anyone?). Tobi, you are very passionate about your cause. But you also seem very young. Perhaps more life experience with a far wider range of possible peoples might mitigate the zeal and personalization of rejection of your queer evangelism. Many of the others here are lost causes I fear.

Despite this, I think this was the most real and open exchange and presentation of othered viewpoint on gender and queer I have ever seen on bilerico. Maybe Ron Gold died at the stake for something after all.

Over and Out.

Trying to talk someone into your world view is not "dialogue". It is evangelism.

This, I believe is a matter of degree. Any dialog containing differing view points is bound to contain arguments intended to convince.

Each post and comment on TBP is an attempt to convince someone of something.

But you are right, this thread has deteriorated into evangelism at points, and it's probably too late for me to pull it back.

And I consider it my own fault for failing to properly communicate with my critics.

For what It's worth, I actually agreed with some (not all) of Ron Gold's ideas in his original post, though I can see why his way of expressing them caused an uproar.

As far as 'othered viewpoint' goes - my central point from the beginning was that we have all been 'othered' by the non-queer Heterosexual community.

I was repeatedly trying to focus on that, rather than how we 'other' each other.

But I was unable to maintain that focus, and that is my own failure.

David said;

"Tobi, you are very passionate about your cause. But you also seem very young. Perhaps more life experience with a far wider range of possible peoples might mitigate the zeal and personalization of rejection of your queer evangelism. Many of the others here are lost causes I fear."

We might be here today, but they young are the future of our movement, and their passion, it's fuel.

We can either help to steer them onto the right track, or we can ignore them and let them fend for themselves.

In which case, we deserve what we get in our old age.

Would it be fair if I dismissed Ronald Gold as being past his prime and consequently, clinging to antiquated ideas that should have faded away decades ago? That would seem to be an attempt to dismiss a person's opinion based purely upon ageism, would it not?

I guarantee that there are a range of ages at TBP who fall on many different sides of the same issue. I'm 41 and rarely find myself in disagreement with Tobi's words and I've read her writing for quite a while now. I'm neither old, nor young. I suppose that you could say that I'm a sad, immature woman stuck in the idealism of her youth... but again, that would be dismissing my ideas based upon age rather than addressing my ideas.

I remember being the youngest in a family full of people who were racist, antisemitic, anti-gay, and anti anyone who wasn't a member of white bread America. When I was in my late teens, I challenged them on their prejudices and I was informed that I was too young and inexperienced to understand their positions. I knew they were dead wrong and consequently, I learned an important lesson: wisdom has no age.

So, can we keep age out of this, and simply address the ideas in question? I'm sure we've all got tidbits of wisdom to share and blind spots as well, regardless of when we were born.

Excellent comment.

If we can actually open a real dialog, then my 'blind spots' will be filled in by other's wisdom.

Most of what I've seen here is a bunch of people shouting, "You've got Blind Spots! You've got Bling spots!!

Well... Duh!!

Or, "My Blind spots are better than yours."

(Kind of futile approach, don't you think?)

David,

Again you are responding to what you fear I am saying rather then what I'm actually saying. I won't dismiss the possibility of that text only communication without emotional tones may contribute to this.

I'm not trying to convert you and have no zeal on that part. The one thing that got me a bit riled was your continued insistence to misinterpret my words and your refusal to acknowledge my clarifications.

I'm not feeling attacked or "crucified." I don't care if you don't adopt my "dogma," and I appreciate having it challenged so I can rethink the values I hold.

But I don't appreciate this kind of half-engagement where you cease addressing anything I bring up, pretend I said things that I didn't, ignore my protestations and attempts to clarify what I said, and finally dismiss me on account of my age as if my input has no value. I'll have you know that I have more experience on LGBT issues than many folks twice my age and I'd ask that you judge me based on my experience and how I engage you rather then the experience you are guessing I might or might not have.

I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BILERICO PUBLISHING SOMETHING THAT READS "I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH FAGGOTS." WOULD YOU PUBLISH "I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH NIGGERS?"


We are all trying to rise above our individual biases here.

How exactly is this comment germane to this discussion?

Oh - because one of my source pieces clued me into the reality of violence and abuse towards children who would one day grow up to identify as Gay men?

If you can look at the content, rather than the very flawed title of the "faggots" piece (or my own), you may be able to relate to the discussion we are trying to open on these threads.

The language is not perfect, and I am guilty of expressing my own biases in flawed examples of my theory about universal gender bias, but we're trying.

Hello Timberwraith

You said:

"Well, I suppose that depends on what circles you travel in. The bulk of the people who I've seen use the word transgender as an umbrella term are transsexuals—myself included."

Most the transsexual folk I know are quite hostile to the term "Transgender" but as you say we may be talking to different people and I can accept that. I am only going by what others say of themselves and yes different people hold different opinions.

My only issue is being described as such myself. I don't see my issues as gender issues, sure I ask much about gender but what I have is a mis managed health problem I would like people to understand as such.

I hope you will be able to understand that this is not some form of hostility, just a statment about the non specific nature of the word "Transgender" in a wider social context. To call me transgender is to give people room for assumptions about me that can be problematic.

As an intersex activist I have to deal with specifics, like 20 or so conditions that result in being diagnosed as "intersex" (Which is actually a less than helpful umbrella term itself along with DSD and Hermaphrodite). I am OK using intersex as a term but I have to be specific. If I had to work in the wider definition of Transgender, it would be almost impossible. Form alliances sure, I think people need to but redefining entire groups of people does not help understanding. All it does for me is force me to say even more and focus on yet more detail that actually distracts from what I am trying to say. This is why I avoid gender politics. but don't think this is me sayIng "You are evil etc etc" i just think there is a time when imprecise definition can become arbitrary labelling.

Sophia, part of the problem communicating with some here who claim most transsexuals have no problem with transgender as an umbrella is those saying this are using the re-defined version of transsexual which apparently to them means anyone who transitioned socially rather than the precise meaning that required new prefixes like "classic" or such...just to reclaim the actual meaning.

For them I would suggest, using their logic, that the word that best fits anyone who lives as the gender opposite their physical sex with no intention to correct their physical sex is ......

transvestite,. It's precise meaning fits them perfectly......physical males who dress and act like women and if they object given this, they are bigots, transphobic and suffer degrees of internal self-loathing not to mention elitists who think they are better than the average Tri-Ess member.

I'll bet some will now scream bloody blue murder.

The fact is, I've been around a while and in face to face conversations with well over 200 post corrected women, every single one without exception found the transgender umbrella personally offensive, every single one. I suspect the post corrected part makes the difference.

Hi RB.

"The fact is, I've been around a while and in face to face conversations with well over 200 post corrected women, every single one without exception found the transgender umbrella personally offensive, every single one."

Yes this is what I hear a lot, Isn't Tri-Ess the US equivalent of the Beaumont society, I have fallen foul of someone from that group before for saying Intersex cannot also be defined as Transgender, (This was in the middle of an argument about TS being called TG) and she said:

"You are transgender because that is how society sees all gender variant people, CD, TS or IS now accept it! only GGs can be called real women"

I found that a bit harsh, and told her so. Not that it actually made any difference to her.

Hmmm. Lets see, by your definition—as I've gleaned from several threads in which you have posted and your blog—I think I'm eligible for the official membership card for being transsexual:

-took hormones
-had surgery
-identifies firmly on one side of binary (woman)
-never identified as a cross-dresser
-finds that being female is an indelible part of her spiritual and emotional being

Now, to quote myself from up-thread:

Well, I suppose that depends on what circles you travel in. The bulk of the people who I've seen use the word transgender as an umbrella term are transsexuals—myself included. From what I've seen, if any group has a right to claim that their cause has been co-opted, it's cross dressers. I say that because, in my experience, the loudest, most open voices representing the moniker transgender seem to be transsexuals.

Again, it depends on what circles you run in, because our perceptions are obviously quite different.

*shrug* I know I'm one person, but there you have it.

If you use the term transgender to refer to yourself, you clearly are not firmly part of the binary or woman identified.


I see what you are saying - and maybe this gets lost in the technical language surrounding the TG/TS dichotomy.

Please let me know if I understand you correctly:

If a trans-person subscribes to the gender binary, they will have surgery to conform their genitals, and therefore will be defined as TS.

If they do not have the surgery, then they can not possibly be women, because they have not, or will not 'corrected' their genitalia - for whatever reason..

Because you assertion is that gender = sex = genitals.

Unless I am mistaken, this relies on some pretty big assumptions:

1 - the only system which contains women is a binary gender system. (I don't see how this can be true, since certain polynesian islands who's traditional society has up to 5 genders, and still has a category called 'women.')

2. - the reason someone undergoes corrective surgery is to conform to social expectations rather than to fix a fundamental mismatch between the map of their body inside their brain, and their external physical genitalia.

3. - someone who can not meet the financial, or biological requirements to complete surgery will never truly identify as a 'woman,' and will always be labeled as a TG.

--

Well, from where I sit, the main reason for a post-op TS to fully support the binary gender system, is because they see it as the only way they will ever be considered 'women,' by larger society - simply due to lack of boxes to put you in.

But many post-op's that I have talked to have revealed to me that once they actually disclose their history, they seem to be valued less by their cis-gendered partners.

This is because they are thrown back into the pre-op TS (or TG) category against their will - and that would piss anyone off.

So in reality, only completely Stealth post-op TS's are the only ones who can approach truly being seen as women by the outside world - regardless of whether the gender system is binary or not.

Any other option leaves you open to being classified as 'gender variant.'

If you're stealth, you're stealth because no one knows your history. You're living in a house of cards where even one tiny revelation of your past can bring it crashing down.

I suspect that belief in the gender binary is also a 'house of cards,' where your history can betray you, and have you labeled as a 'man' by outside society. (Personally, I would much rather be labeled a 'TG' than a 'man,' because a TG is not a 'man.')

Either way, all of these people are seeking an to define themselves so that they can clearly present a coherent identity to validate themselves to the outside world and relate in a manner that makes them most comfortable.

Unfortunately, negotiating this validation seems to often come at the expense of our nearest allies, and sometimes even members of our own group.

I would love to see a world where one's value was not diminished because of the stigma attached to one's gender (or sexual) variance or history.

But I suspect that is a long way off, because it would require accepting gender variance as inherent to the human condition - something that a binary gender system prevents.

As it stands now, the creation of DSD as a diagnostic tool seems poised to shoehorn all gender (or sexual) variance into one of two currently approved heteronormative categories of gender.

For me this is a very dangerous concept that will deeply impact many, many segments of society far beyond those of transexual, or IS experience.

And what is deeply troubling is that the term 'DSD' has been widely adopted very, very quickly by many media outlets seeking to describe people with any kind of gender variant history, because TG/TS/IS just ain't cutting it.

As I said, I would much rather live in a society that readily accepted gender variance as inherent to the human condition.

I would think that the acknowledgment of a universal gender bias would be a start, but maybe someone has a better solution?

(It's certainly not DSD.)


Radical Bitch said:

If you use the term transgender to refer to yourself, you clearly are not firmly part of the binary or woman identified.

Uhhh... We've been through this before on another thread, RB. Let me refresh your memory with my response to you in that previous thread:

I don’t think you understand—or perhaps you do not wish to acknowledge—what the meaning of the term transgender really is. Transgender is not a third sex category. At it’s core, the term is about coalition. The term transgender embodies a coalition of many people of many different gender identities, many different forms of gender expression, and many different forms of bodily expression. It includes people like myself who identify firmly on one side of the gender binary. It also includes people who identify as existing at both ends of the binary simultaneously, people who identify as existing somewhere between the two ends of the binary, or people who identify as existing nowhere on the binary at all. What we all have in common is that our existence violates society’s common understanding of what male and female, woman and man, or boy and girl mean. This violation of the norm leaves us in a position of less power than those who exist within society’s common understanding of gender and sex. That is, we who fall under the umbrella term transgender share common roots of oppression. Outside of that single common circumstance, our personas and ways of being are as varied as the wind.

So, essentially, this grouping of people can contain transsexuals as a subset. There is no requirement that someone live outside of the binary. Both transsexual men and transsexual women are included. I explained this to you in back in September and what happened? You ignored it. Instead, you continue to insist that anyone who identifies as transgender can't legitimately identify as a woman (or presumably, a man).

Let's consult Wiktionary for a definition of transgender:

transgender (plural transgenders) 1. A person who thinks that the gender assigned to them at birth is not a correct or complete description of what they feel; a catch-all term that includes transvestites, transsexuals, cross-dressers and others. 2. A person whose gender may be different than that assigned at birth, but are comfortable with their birth physical sex. 3. (euphemism) A transsexual person. 4. The state of being any of such kinds of person.

It's easy enough to find the common definition of transgender. Similar definitions are used widely. You are not arguing in good faith, for you know damned well what the definition of transgender entails. Instead, you choose to define it however the hell you wish.

Let's be blunt. Because of who I choose to exist in coalition with, I don't fit into your political and philosophical views. Consequently, you feel justified in misgendering me as "not firmly part of the binary" and not "woman identified." Quite frankly, your behavior is despicable.

I'll repeat my reply to you, from the other thread:

OK, so you think I disqualify myself as a woman because I have the grace to see the bigger picture, search out the connections that exist between people, and stand in solidarity with non-operative, non-binary, and non-transsexual folk. You think I fail as a woman because I choose to look beyond the scope of my own selfish interests and work with those who are different from me.

This reminds me of the older adults in my childhood who would call white people who supported civil rights "n***** lovers." This reminds me of how homophobes used call into question the sexual orientation of anyone who defended gay rights. This reminds me of how the masculinity of men who defend feminism is inevitably called into question.

Your tactics are time worn and familiar.

Hello timberwraith

Well I have not defined you in any way and I don't have the right to.

But from what I have read you do seem to say that people who don't see themselves as "Transgender" somehow should?

Why would this be and what purpose does that serve? I am asking this not using it as a rhetorical question)

I will admit I am openly critical of the politics that insist this should be the case. but as I have said before (Such as the Beaumont Society's literature and how an intersex person would find it hurtful.) The differences between people can be so profound that defining them under a single category can cause the sort of angry feelings (And exchanges) we see here.

What do you think of what the individual from Tri-Ess saying that "All gender variant people are transgender, be that CD, TS or IS."

I found that very hard to accept and still do.

But from what I have read you do seem to say that people who don't see themselves as "Transgender" somehow should?

Nope. I see the term transgender as signifying a coalition between different kinds of people who recognize a common struggle. If you don't want to be a part of a coalition, there's no requirement that you do so. One's politics and philosophies are their own business.

To clarify, I certainly have my own opinions regarding the strategy and politics of the situation and I won't deny that I think it's far better for people to work together when there is a shared source of oppression. As I said in other places at Bilerico, I don't think separatism is a good solution in situations such as these. I understand that some trans people disagree with this, but disagreement is the nature of political discourse. Ultimately, you assess a situation, make a judgement, and do what you think is right. Not everyone is going to like that course of action.

I will say this: I have little respect for a person who chooses a course of separatism because they hold prejudice against another oppressed group or because they fear the stigma of being associated with another oppressed group.

I am not a Christian. That is a fact of my life.
Saying so does not make me anti-Christian, ashamed of being associated with them and so forth.

You insist on reading meanings into simple statements of a person's life into something it simply isn't. If you are doing so deliberately you are being deliberately dishonest. If it's an honest mistake, you are being ignorant.

I've never seen gender variant defined as a subset of transgender. Rather, I've seen gender variant defined as a very, very broad category that includes transgender as a subset as well as many other subgroups.

I don't personally include intersex people under the term transgender and the commonly understood definition of transgender does not include intersex people either. If a great number of intersex people pushed to broaden the scope of transgender to include intersex, I wouldn't be opposed to it. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. However, that's up to y'all to decide.

Question, tw, if you see gender variant

defined as a very, very broad category that includes transgender as a subset as well as many other subgroups

then you obviously see transsexual people as "gender variant" also.

This is a proposition that seems at the base of the argument made here, and elsewhere, and, for you, apparently, the necessary foundation for coalition and common political cause, in this case, a common identity.

Coalition, as I believe the common understanding is, does not assume the common identity of those who choose to participate, rather, it calls for the explicit agreement of participants on certain common ideas or goals, not an agenda imposed by some who declare theirs is the correct identity, and police this identity in others.

I believe most people here will agree that, in crossdressing, transgender people are expressing a gender variant from their sex.

So, do you believe that transsexual people, such as yourself, do the same thing? If not, how are transsexual people, such as yourself, gender variant?

Trying to tease this out, I wonder if you mean, and maybe others mean, that taking hormones, having, certainly seeking surgery, is a gender expression variant with our natural sex, which, to be variant must, of course, be male?

Help me to understand this.

If there is a common identity, well, then there is no need for discussion, it is all given in the identity. If the common identity is gender variance, then, the gender must be variant to something.

If transsexual people are gender variant, then, their gender must be variant to something.

The term transgender does not imply a common identity. It includes people from widely varying identities. The key is that people who fall under that moniker (transsexuals, CDs, bigender people, genderqueer people, etc.) all exist outside of "the person in the street's" estimation of what a woman or man should be.

For example, even if a transsexual woman has had surgery, taken hormones and is quite feminine—which might, in theory, make her compliant with society's expectation of what a woman should be—"the person in the street" is likely to see her as an aberration and a fake, upon discovering her past.

As I said in another thread, the view of many people who bear prejudice against trans people can be summarized as such:

The common understanding of sex and gender is that they are one and the same, they are established at birth, and they are immutable. If you are born with a penis, you are inescapably male and are destined to grow into a man. If you are raised properly, you will embrace your natural, born masculinity, and take your place in society as a man. If you are born with a vagina, you are female and are destined to grow into a woman. If you are raised properly, you will embrace your natural, born femininity. If you violate this understanding in any way, there is no established place for you in polite society. At best, you are an aberration who will be uncomfortably tolerated. At worst, you are an unspeakable freak who is to be hidden away, ostracized, and possibly sentenced to poverty or death.

This attitude winds up serving as a common source of hatred and ill treatment toward many people of differing identities. In this sense, you could say that transsexual people are gender variant because their ways of being—regardless of how gendernormative the subject is when one tosses aside common prejudices—violates the common person's understanding of sex and gender.

The best analogy I can think of is to point out that the term "people of color" in the US includes a great variety of people who have different cultures, different histories, and widely varying physical features. This moniker can include people of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, African, and Native origin. These groups of people can not be said to share a universal identity. That's pretty much impossible. However, they do face a strong degree of prejudice because they are often visually identifiable as being of non-European descent. The term "poeple of color" exists because there has been a long standing history of prejudice in the US against anyone who is of non-European heritage. Hence, we have a term that includes many different kinds of people who face a common source of oppression.

It's not about sharing a common identity. It's based upon the fact that the same assholes who would beat up, fire, or ostracize one group of people will also beat up, fire, or ostracize a different group of people and they will do so coming from the same basis of hatred. Simply put, we have a common adversary and under that shared threat, we have an opportunity to join together as allies.

Obviously, there are quite few people who don't see the significance in the fact that we share a common adversary or simply don't believe that we share a common adversary. That's certainly their right, even if I think it's not the best way to go about doing things.

If it doesn't imply common identity, it shouldn't be an issue if we all split off and go our separate ways.

Actually, transgender does imply a common identity--and the refusal to hear any dissension. Perversely, it has taken the perspective, not of any of ourselves, like women or people of colour, but of those who do not accept.

Maybe you and Rachel think this a productive way to proceed--but there has been little acceptance of it in these comments.

The common understanding of sex and gender is that they are one and the same, they are established at birth, and they are immutable.

You certainly have the right to declare everyone equates sex and gender, but this is based on nothing more than your opinion. I would argue, however, while this is a definite stream in intellectual and ordinary thought and conversation it is as much a result of several decades of feminist, queer and, of course, transgender theory, proselytizing and recruiting of many unwilling participants as of any natural understanding. Most people I know can easily grasp the difference between primary and secondary sexual characteristics on the one hand, and the meaning people pour into them.

Sophie made an excellent point in describing the ways in which you feel driven to recruit people to fight against the evil ones all around us.

I don't understand why their unifying perspective has become yours; why the power of your life, and mine, and all the others who have spoken in these comments, are trivialized and dismissed by you.

Maybe your life is so empty you need this unifying power of unaccepting others to give it meaning. It has been very clear that this is not something the rest of us feel.

"As an intersex activist I have to deal with specifics, like 20 or so conditions that result in being diagnosed as "intersex" (Which is actually a less than helpful umbrella term itself along with DSD and Hermaphrodite). I am OK using intersex as a term but I have to be specific."

I agree with you on what you said.

From my individual perspective, I would contend that 'intersex' would be a far better umbrella term for transgender or ts.

Since the term 'intersex' already covers 20 or so conditions, why not include two or three more - TG/TS/TV.

Recent discoveries in the disciplines of several biological sciences seems to indicate that this would not be entirely inaccurate.

Now, before anyone gets up in arms about my trying to co-opt the 'intersex' movement, I do very clearly realize that being diagnosed with an specific intersex condition at birth has all kinds of ramifications that are quite different from those who are diagnosed as TS later in life.

But if two TG and TS were two distinct categories under the intersex unbrella, along with Alpha-5 reductase, Mosaicism, Turner's Syndrome, and a host of other conditions, it seems to me like it would be less stigmatizing, and certainly less polarizing within the TG/TS community.

The big problem with the term 'transgender,' is that it's meaning changed in the early to mid '90s and was co-opted and used as an umbrella term by a community outside of the trans-community.

Those of us old enough to remember the original meaning get very offended by this, while those younger members of the community who grew up without the historical context of the word, ask 'what's the big deal?'

And this is where the problem starts...

I would say that IF the entire T spectrum gets unwillingly thrown under the intersex umbrella by Biological science or some other entity, we will have to work very hard to maintain objectivity while undergoing such a transformation.

DSD, is another matter entirely. This is a very dangerous concept, steeped in the gender binary, that has the ability to encompass every letter of the LGBTQI community, label it as a disorder, and force treatment.

For those of you who missed it - this would include Gay/Lesbian people as well.

From a strictly heterosexual standpoint, G/L behaviour could easily be viewed as a 'disorder of sexual development,' and could subject many to 'reparative therapy,' or other subtle forms of eugenics, in order to eliminate any variation in the binary gender system..

In the context of universal gender bias, this is really where the danger of the gender binary exists.

It will be very interesting to see what the consequences will be of India and Pakistan's official recognition of a 'third sex,' and if it will be as dangerous as Jessica claims.

I contend that it is no more dangerous than the current system, which resulted in over 200 murders, based on gender bias, this year.

You will not engage with me, but you continue to invoke my name. . . . ?

To take as common ground the attitude of others is not something other marginalized populations have done.

People of colour did not--and they changed the world.

Women did not--and they changed the world.

Do you believe none of us can change the world?

Do you believe you're a "third sex"?

I've been told that about the time Judith Butler published Gender Trouble lesbians, for a time, considered themselves a "third sex." We now from comments in these threads they do not now consider themselves this.

Why?

Because it might be demeaning? Because it might be marginalizing? Because it might be incorrect?

This comes right back to the question Sophie raises--and with which I concur.

Is this to be the new paradigm?

Please don't include me in it; I have no more interest in it than lesbians do.

I was responding to Sophie, not you, and I didn't invoke you're name - at least not in this comment.

Frankly I don't know what number my sex is - I think there are WAY more than three.

That may never make me a 'woman,' but it certainly does not make me a 'man' either.

So what am I? That's not for you to say.

Nor does it support your binary gender hypothesis - them's the breaks.

J said -

"Is this to be the new paradigm?
Please don't include me in it; I have no more interest in it than lesbians do."

You've made that abundantly clear.

So rather than try to scuttle the discussion, why not sit back, and let those of us who view ourselves as different than you, converse on the issue.

I'm interested in hearing more than just your opinion here, Jessica.

Oops, sorry about invoking your name.


Hello Rachel

You said:

"From my individual perspective, I would contend that 'intersex' would be a far better umbrella term for transgender or ts.

Since the term 'intersex' already covers 20 or so conditions, why not include two or three more - TG/TS/TV."

Because many of the hard won legal rights you have would be taken from you within a week.

"But if two TG and TS were two distinct categories under the intersex unbrella, along with Alpha-5 reductase, Mosaicism, Turner's Syndrome, and a host of other conditions, it seems to me like it would be less stigmatizing, and certainly less polarizing within the TG/TS community."

Despite what you may have been told by gender politics, it does not work like that, trust me it doesnt, in the UK pretty much anyone can apply for a "Gender recognition certificate" unless of course if they are intersex, then they simply cannot. What society calls you upon diagnosis, you are stuck with. The reason many intersex activists get angry about all this is because we are all at the bottom of the pile when it comes to any new legislation we are seldom consulted. I would not wish "Intersex" or "DSD" on anyone here. You are stigmatized from the day you are born. Seriously it is not what you think it is.

I do know what you mean about "Transgender" and the history of it (Associated mainly with Virginia Prince) and as an umbrella term it is destructive, but "Intersex" would be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I could not go into full detail here because there would be so much to say, simply because intersex people have been misrepresented in the past (By ISNA who many rejected in 2007) and because we seldom get heard.

Umbrella terms are not the way forward, and each term if applied as a general term has bad consequences. Trust me on this.

Thank you for clarifying this Sophie. That's exactly why I asked.

Actual Gender 101.
Lets start with established fact:
Gender identity is hardwired into the human brain during fetal development--fact, well establish fact. The socialized model rested on a single case by John Money proven to be a fraud. Scientific studies have established with with nothing on the other side remaining.

Human central nervous systems come in two basic types, female and male. While there is some very scant evidence to a rare middle development, this is also established scientifically about as clear as thing fall when you drop them if they are heavier than air.

Human sexual orientation comes in three types. Same sex attraction, opposite sex attraction and either sex attraction.

All of these are hardwired, neurological reality. All these develop in close time proximaty to each other in neo-natal development so sometimes we get interesting combinations but most of the time they are independant of each other.

Transsexuality is a birth condition where the primary overt sexual development of the body is opposite that of the central nervous system. Many of us now call this "classic transsexuality" to make this clear in the face of some trying very very hard to use identity politics to redefine it into an identity. It is not an identity and one should not identify as a transsexual any more than one would identify as a broken arm if you had that happen to you. The condition transsexuality has a cure that is almost 100% effective, changing the body, which is malleable, to match the neurology, which isn't.

This is all well established scientific fact.

Now someone can have the treatment for a condition they do not actually have, this does not magically then give them that condition (with the interesting exception that a regretor surgically became a victim of transsexuality by changing their body and then realizing they made a mistake)

Now on to Rachel: Rachel begins telling us she is a lesbian and a non op transsexual. What this means apparently is Rachel is sexually oriented towards women and has and wishes to kept a genitaled male body. Rachel then goes on to tell us she is neither a man or a woman.

Therefore, simple logic tells us that Rachel cannot be a lesbian, which requires a female bodied, female identified person attracted to women. A male bodied (genitaila minimum) person attracted to women is a heterosexual by definition. Rachel is not a lesbian.

Rachel wishes to keep male genitals. The manner in which transsexuality (the neurological medical condition now distinguished by the prefix "classic" to avoid the identity politic nonsense) is diagnosed at present is the absolute drive to put the mind and body in congruence. Rachel does not have this drive. Rachel is not a transsexual.

I cannot define what Rachel is, but I am more than capable of defining what she isn't by her own words.

Timberwraith is another story. This one uses self reference as authority. (that you stated something does not make it so), identity politics to justify classifying others (you are a republican or democrat because I say so) while trying to take advantage of the confusion sowed by the viscose nature of identity politics which change meaning to suit the individual's agenda on the fly.

Having transsexual corrective surgery does not "make" one a transsexual any more than putting a cast on a non broken limb makes you a victim of a broken limb. Since TW jumps back and forth using this confusion it is difficult to say whether or not TW actually had and treated transsexuality.

Actually RB, you are mistaken in the assumption that I want to keep male genitals.

I have a distinctly different relationship to my genitalia than most other people I know.

Because I've had to deeply examine my psyche, much of it from a transexual (not transgendered) space, I almost view the tissue down their as source material for it's ultimate configuration.

And my understanding of self has evolved through the process of transition.

I actually agree 1000% about gender being hardwired.

As far as my understanding of my biology goes, there is a fundamental mismatch between the map of my body that resides in my somatosensory cortex, and the physical structures of my external genitalia.

I find this to be as accurate a description as I have seen, and is extremely consistent with my actual experience with my physical body.

History of Rachel 101:

From my earliest memories I felt that I was a girl, I closely identified with the girls around me, and that is how I thought I was going to grow up.

When I was around 10 or eleven, I finally found out that girls had a different genital construction that I did, and I was completely crushed to realize I was not going to be female as an adult.

Then I saw a photo of a naked TS and it was a revelation. My first thought was - "so there is hope for me." This was at least 10 years before the internet was up and running, so information was scarce.

I read every word on the subject in my local and college library.

Within a year of graduation, living in New York, at age 22, I was pursuing transition, I was a regular at Edelweiss and we asking the women there to recommend a good doctor so I could start HRT.

Than a once in a lifetime career opportunity came my way, coupled with the realization that I would have a more successful transition if I were financially independent, I took the business opportunity, delayed my transition, and moved to England.

All the while going through the splurge and purge cycles of a closeted trans person, while socially insulating myself and self medicating with pot.

Then I met a special woman - I have always been deeply attracted to women - and if guys 'did it' for me, I would have known about it.

I was under the mistaken belief that the GID was as a result of loneliness - but it turned out the reverse was true the loneliness was due to my social isolation to hide my GID.

We married, (Early '90s, and I came out to her beforehand) and she forced me to stop self medicating. Three years later, I had to deal with my issue, and got help at the LA Gender Center.

My marriage ended when I went full time, but we're still like sisters.

All of this time, I subscribed to the binary gender paradigm. I knew I was not male, and that left one other choice in that rigid system.

When I went through therapy to prepare to start HRT and come out to everyone, I was told that transition is a process, not an event, and to focus on my social transition before I worry about SRS.

As a result, I decided to take an incremental and minimally invasive approach to my therapy and treatment. I decided that I would only go as far as I had to, in order to quell the dysphoria relating to my gender.

Then something funny happened on the way to womanhood.

I had a VERY volatile and somewhat abusive relationship with a lesbian woman - maybe technically bi because she had dated a guy or two more than 20 years before she met me, but she had dated women exclusively for a very long time before we got together.

During one of our knock-down-drag-outs, she made it harshly clear that I could never be completely female because of my history.

Not because of my genitals, but because of my personality, and the training I had received early in life.

I realized at that point that it would be impossible to figure out which parts of me are male and which are female, because the nature/nurture dichotomy was so mixed up.

I also realized around this time, that no matter what operations I chose to have, my history would always betray me, and prevent me from being seen as completely female.

The only people who see me as 100% female are new acquaintances. Sometimes even close friends forget that I have a trans history, but once I tell people, I do sense a shift in their perception and behaviour.

It was about this time that I was reading about advances in biological research and tried to figure out how it impacted my transition in order to determine what I really wanted out of life.

My initial determination was that I love women, they do it for me, and since I don't need to accommodate a male, why should I reconfigure my genitalia.

I figured that presentation was what you did to affect how others saw and treated you, but SRS was something you did for yourself, and how you saw yourself.

So as my dysphoria increased again, I decided to take an incremental approach to SRS, as I did with transition, and tried to figure out which parts of my mental map were screwed up, and which were not.

I determined that most of my discomfort came from lack of a vagina, not from possessing the equivalent of a really big clit - and I always hated having a scrotum, and the tissue could be incorporated into the.

Besides, I figured that giant clitoris would not be that be a big drawback as a lesbian.

So I approached my therapist about having a neo-vagina created without altering my giant clit.

She said it sounded reasonable, and would write me a letter if I could find a willing surgeon.

And that's where I'm at right now. I've only approached a few surgeons, but they were so invested in binary gender, (or afraid of lawsuits) that they either freaked at the notion, or insisted that I would be happier with full SRS.

Kind of ironic that if I walked into my doctor, and asked him to remove a leg mostly to conform to a social norm, even though I would need a prostheic, odds are I would be refused - yet this is exactly what they are telling me to do about my 'big clit,' Have it removed (converted) and use a prosthetic (dildo).

Maybe they're right - I wouldn't have to worry about 'penile dysfunction,' but I'm sure that there are other side effects, like frequent Urinary Tract Infections that some of my post-op friends have suffered from.

But I'm in a catch-22 situation because I haven't even been able to get a straight answer with regards to what is even possible surgically, and I'm afraid of alienating the remaining handful of surgeons who I feel are qualified to do the job.

My next step is to go back to my therapist, and ask her to make contact for me, if she's willing. I'm going to get some form of corrective surgery, regardless of where I have to go to get it.

So I have come to the realization that no matter how I identify, I will always be identified as something other than male or female.

So I don't know what that makes me, but trying to describe it with with a mix and match approach within a binary gender system is problematic for me, because I find the language inadequate to describe my experience.

And I find being socially dissected (in order to determine which parts of me are male and which are female) to be extremely distasteful and humiliating.

You are right - I don't identify as a woman anymore, but I don't Identify as a male either - I consider myself a mix of both.

Maybe I will be labeled an Autogynophile by some, but I reject and despise that paradigm.

And I certainly don't see myself as a non-op anymore, since I'm currently deeply considering some form of corrective genital surgery. (Despite the fact that I did call myself non-op, out of convenience and habit, at the start of these threads, it is really an out-dated self definition )

So I'm pre-op, but a pre-op what? I don't know. It probably puts me in the TS camp - though I'll bet there are quite a few that would be offended by my inclusion.

But I hope it explains my problem with tiny boxes - because others keep trying to stuff me back into the 'male' one, which is something I know that I am not.

A male is very unlikely to consider any kind of genital surgery for a second, let alone contemplate the type of surgery that I am for as long as I have, or go through genital electrolysis, as I have started to do.

If I ultimately can't get the surgery I want, I've pretty much decided to go for full SRS.

I don't truly know what the drawbacks would be for a multi - gendered system I'm trying to figure that out -but would hope that I would not be consistently defined by others as 'male.'

All I know for sure is that I don't fit to well in a world with only two genders - but that's the way it is.

"Having transsexual corrective surgery does not "make" one a transsexual any more than putting a cast on a non broken limb makes you a victim of a broken limb."

Very true - but there are some breaks which are not as obvious, and only require a splint - but they are broken bones, none the less, and need to heal in the same manner.

It's no secret that RB and J define me as 'male' due only to my genitalia, and my disregard my actual identity is disregarded, because it doesn't easily fit their paradigm.

Binary gender by it's nature disenfranchises whole populations of people, and it appears, parts of people as well. Although I have to live with it, I really don't have to let it define me.

I'm sure I'll take heat for this - or accused of changing round the goalposts - but I'm not moving them far - one of my earliest comments stated:

"Frankly, if I could have surgery to have both a penis and a cooch, then I would. ( Still looking for an agreeable surgeon.)"

However, what I just described in this comment is as accurate as possible of a description of my GID experience, and I don't care whether that makes me a TG or a TS.

All I know for certain is that it does not make me a 'male,' and I refuse to be labeled as such.

Rachel, I was most precise and clear. I cannot define what you are, but I can define what you are not. You are not a lesbian, a woman or a transsexual. I never called you a man. And so you know, only one of the world class surgeons ever did the type of operation you talked about and he refused to ever do it again. You are basically SOL on that from anyone but a backroom hack.

My beef with you and TGs is simply this. You are not content to deconstruct your own gender but insist on the right to deconstruct and label others. That's it. In a nutshell. I do not oppose your basic human and civil rights, I believe they should be universal without restriction but I will fight to the death your "right" to define my identity, body or life. You would do unto others what was done to you and that violates every princple I hold dear. It makes a mockery of all I paid to be a woman without qualifiers and never will yield to you on that.

As for third sex categories, I suggest you read Marjorie Garber's Vested Interests. She understands the social implications quite well. I was educated in psychology, sociology and anthropology formally in college. Since college I became a historian as well. What happened to the hijra in India when the British came is what happens to third category groups in patriarchal societies without exception. It happens to the third sex members of the Amer-Indians as well and there are countless other examples from cultures that accepted this arrangement then became "westernized".

Sophia, I was also born intersexed myself, a tetra-gametic chimera or "true hermaphrodite" and damn near died several times in puberty because my labia were sewn shut at birth and I repeated suffered from blood poisoning. Because my "shamful" birth body was kept secret from me and subsequent doctors, no one had a clue what was happening to me then. At age thirty, when I was supposed to be getting an appendectomy I got a full hysterectomy instead without consent or discussion. I view doctors with absolute mistrust myself and have tried to learn enough medicine to use as self defense as a result when I must cross paths with them. In my case I consider I was surgically constructed into a transsexual at birth. I avoided Cheryl Chase's group like the plague.

Hi RB

I think I know you feel. with me it was 5 alpha and the surgery I endured as a child was messy. and it was pretty much the same, denial secrecy, claiming the obvious damage done by surgeons was something else, and then stuff being done without consent.

I found ISNA to be little more than a bunch of control freaks playing the same game the doctors and gender politicians do. Mind you they were doctors and gender politicians.

I find the transgender movement/politics impossible to get my head round because often they simply don't have any sense of how all this feels. As you rightly point out it is the sense of being deconstructed by social theories, which is probably made all the more painful when considering the antics of Dr. John Money. the message I have for the TG lobby is that I simply want to get on with my life. I have done nothing to attack them, I may have been critical but that is about it. I just find the TG way of doing things confusin and self contradictory.

Sophia, I was also born intersexed myself, a tetra-gametic chimera or "true hermaphrodite" and damn near died several times in puberty because my labia were sewn shut at birth and I repeated suffered from blood poisoning.

There are plenty of people who would say that you can't possibly be a woman or a man because you are intersex. I think that's wrong, as a person should be allowed to identify in whatever way makes sense to them.

Interestingly, you establish yourself as the sex and gender police and make these statements to people:

You are not a lesbian, a woman or a transsexual.
If you use the term transgender to refer to yourself, you clearly are not firmly part of the binary or woman identified.

Why should anyone respect your identity? Think that over a while. If you can't pay the basic respect of accepting how others define themselves, then you shouldn't expect others to respect your identity.

You are concerned that others are sullying your identity by employing the word transgender, but you constantly judge other people's identities as false. I may not agree with your politics and I may find it disappointing that you feel no common struggle with others outside of your narrow definition of transsexual, but I refuse to believe that you are anything other than a woman.

Yes, yes, I know. I'm not worthy of weighing in on this discussion because you suspect I'm not a real transsexual or a real woman. You choose to cast suspicion upon who I am because I embrace a shared political struggle with others who are different from me... because I dare share a common title in solidarity with others who are not recognized as transsexuals. In your mind, it's "guilt by association." So be it.

However, since you think that a person's identity is open to the scrutiny of others, then you should be willing to accept what you dish out. Ironically, to the average person in this world, neither of us are women. We're both freakish aberrations pretending to be something we are not. Personally, I don't give a shit what they say: we're both women. However, if you get to judge people's sex and gender identities, then shouldn't the opinions of millions of others matter, too?

Upon further consideration, it is a great relief that you reject the term transgender, for I'd rather not be associated with someone who behaves as you do.

Hello Timberwraith

"We're both freakish aberrations pretending to be something we are not. Personally, I don't give a shit what they say: we're both women. However, if you get to judge people's sex and gender identities, then shouldn't the opinions of millions of others matter, too?"

That does seem to be a common theme in your posts, that others will regard us all as "Freakish abberations" even more than they do now. I regard the people who would call me this as barbaric sadists who are the real aberrations.

I know you are saying same thing there, but stating it differently.

The thing is I know what some people think of me and think it is fair to say that RB has been on the recieving end as much as I have, I don't think either of us are really comfortable with being told to sign up to the transgender political system to get protection from the evil masses. We started our lives fighting it and continue to do so.

All the transgender politics seem to have done is make it more difficult. I really think you need to stop and question what the gender politics are really saying. The politics do read like they are saying: "Everyone hates you sign up to our political protection racket, we do good terms we guard your soul for peanuts but to get our premier protection service we want your soul!"

Sure fight a common enemy but don't let all this political stuff blind you and sell you something else.

Sophia,

I don't think either of us are really comfortable with being told to sign up to the transgender political system to get protection from the evil masses.

I never for a second advocated this.

My main assertion that we suffer from a 'universal gender bias' does not do this either, especially since I was trying to include all of humanity in this, even people who consider themselves 'straight' and tow the line regardless of this true inner feelings.

However, although I can never understand what it feels like to go through the forced medical procedures, I do understand that there is a vast difference in our experiences.

As you pointed out, including TS under the Intersex moniker is just as problematic as the DSD model.

But here again, any of these categories are subjected to universal gender bias - after all it is probably how the doctors justified their appalling behaviour in a narrowly defined system of gender and sexuality.

RB -

I will read 'Vested Interests,' thank you for the resource.

Now on to other stuff:

" It makes a mockery of all I paid to be a woman without qualifiers and never will yield to you on that."

I disagree, but this comment makes clear your significant 'investment' in womanhood and the gender binary. It also makes clear that many post-ops view this investment as a form of validation.

DIeks said it clearly when she said that cis-women don't need validation to consider themselves women - they just are.

Although I feel that I don't need external validation of my identity, neither do you, I am a bit envious of their innate confidence in their gender state.

Personally, from what I've seen written here, it doesn't seem that the surgery does much to validate you in your own mind, if it can be so easily invalidated by how I define myself, or my examinations of gender which is necessary in order to define myself.

"You are not a lesbian, a woman or a transsexual. I never called you a man."

Knowing that you subscribe to a rigid binary gender model, what definition of me is left? You're being hypocritical.

"
You are not content to deconstruct your own gender but insist on the right to deconstruct and label others."

How, specifically, do I do this??

More hypocrisy, since this has been done to me all over the place, yet I've continuously validated your assertion and freedom to define yourself as 100% female. You and J are the ones who continue label yourselves as TS and then slam every other gender variant category.

I think that once you have the surgery - you are completely female, period. Your transition is over. This is independent of how many other gender states there are, or how many you have to cross to get there.

How does this detract from your identity? It seems that I am more supportive to your rights to define yourself as a woman than you are.

I agree with what you said about the history of India and Pakistan - but I was referring to the recent official re-recognition of their 'third sex' populations.

"At age thirty, when I was supposed to be getting an appendectomy I got a full hysterectomy instead without consent or discussion."

I hope you sued the hell out of the doctor - but I think the real enemy here was the binary gender system in which he was invested. If there was room in society for your particular variation, I suspect this would not have happened.

You were forcibly "conformed" to his standard, and I understand why you are pissed off at this - I would be too.

But I think you are focusing on the wrong 'enemy,' when you vilify me in my own search for identity, and insist that it detracts from your life experience.

It's no secret that RB and J define me as 'male' due only to my genitalia, and my disregard my actual identity is disregarded, because it doesn't easily fit their paradigm.
You and J are the ones who continue label yourselves as TS and then slam every other gender variant category.

As interesting as it is to be mentioned with RB--why have you not the courage of your convictions and actually spell my name out full; what psychological condition does this manifest?--I will challenge your assertions; I know RB will challenge them on her part.

Frankly, I'm quite uninterested in your genitalia--nor have I discussed them at all. Nor have I labelled you as anything; I have challenged your theoretical positions and your imposition of them upon me.

It remains curious how you continue to reserve your most intense denunciations for RB and for me, while allowing other critics a pass.

All of this, as fascinating as it has been, is becoming rather boring.

I will now do what I have done throughout these comments, not label you, nor myself, nor discuss your genitalia, but point at your continuing inability to maintain anything close to the respect, coherence, or even relevance you constantly demand of others.

One of the things this discussion has confirmed, however, is the certainty I have in my life and how I live and who and what I am. I do thank you for this.

I know I'm not like you; you have betrayed the desperation that fuels your drive to recruit others so you will be able to relax into your convoluted theory--and life.

Your projection of a troubled person is just that--a projection. A projection upon those that are, in your mind, necessary for your own validation. And since I, for one, do not validate your life you must lash out to assure some certainty in your life.

This is sad.

Prof Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) provided an excellent example of the frustration of those who corrected intersexed or transsexed conditions with the TG gender theorists.

Alice tries to engage Humpty Dumpty in a conversation only to discover that the Egg redefines words to suit his point at the moment:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."

Any meaningful dialogue is rendered impossible when attempted with people who re-define words to suit themselves exactly the same as language becomes useless in a discussion between an exclusive English user with an exclusive Urdu one. Until a common language is established and agreed upon and kept to, no actual communication is possible.

All this illustrates why I express my frustration in trying to communicate with those who subscribe to the transgender identity religion as having fallen through the looking glass. I continue here in the hopes of communicating to those who aren't Transgenderians exactly what verbal slight of hand is being used by them. You will note, for example, having tried to re-establish an actual usable term for transsexuality as classic transsexuality (avoiding Benjamin's "real" as value ladened) the TGs attack the meaning of "classic" trying to deconstruct the meaning out it and thus remove the means of even discussing the concept!

Actually, I was looking at the privilege exhibited when one adopts a term like 'classic anything,' since it implies that those who are 'not classic' are somehow inferior.

consider your comment proof of my point....

Why you think that was proof of anything you just wrote boggles the rational mind.

Hi RB

This is the problem with the terms "Intersex" and "DSD" they don't legitimise or clarify any medical causality. They get you categorised as either a "Third sex" or "A socially awkward disorder" what some UK based groups do is work from a condition specific support network with a a condition such as AIS, and then say "Related conditions" such as 5 alpha which presents similarly at birth, often they will foster an unrepresented condition until they start up their own condition specific support groups.

"Intersex" as a term has also attracted the attention of the alphabet political concept "LGBT" becomes "LGBTI" then "LGBTIQ" and then "LGBTQ". (With "I" repackages as either transgender or queer) This process of assimilation was made possible by lumping conditions as different as AIS and CAH under some grand heading.

The reason most groups ended up using "intersex" was because we did come to an understanding of mutual respect. But there is an understandable reluctance in some areas to terms like "Intersex" and "DSD" along with older terms like "Hermaphrodite" (Which was seen as plainly insulting.)

So I am not saying that transsexualism as understood by Swaab et al is not a biological condition. It is recognized as such, what I am saying is that it would be damaging if say universal healthcare policies were adopted so that people with one condition end up being treated, medically as if they have another. I was misdiagnosed with PAIS and it turned out to be 5 alpha, but a lot of damage was done under the original diagnosis.

And after a life of being misdiagnosed or worse lied to, you end up being defined as a "Third sex" or "Awkward disorder" that is genericaly termed, it would strip you of all your individuality in the eyes of the medical profession and the law.

The problem seems to be the intense stigma attached to transsexualism, did you know that when ISNA were around they cynically used "We will deem you a transsexual if you don't conform" to keep everyone in line. I deliberately made a point of opposing that, this is how I stood out as an activist, I refused point blank to beat up on transsexual folks. I certainly do not deny that transsexualism is biological.

So please understand I am not contesting any biological basis for transsexualism. I am saying that as things are, umbrella terms have a very negative side.



"Related conditions"

Now there is a term that should be used more when discussing gender politics.

TS and TG are "Related conditions."

"The problem seems to be the intense stigma attached to transsexualism."

Exactly!! That is part of what I was trying to illustrate in my original post - the different ways the larger LGBQI try to distance themselves from the T.

In a microcosm within the T umbrella, there seems to be more of a stigma attached to those who do not conform, as opposed to those that do through SRS.

What has been exhibited clearly in these threads is the intense effort for the 'conformists' to distance themselves from the stigma of the 'non-conformists.'

It seems that this happens because although they are 'related conditions,' those outside of the T will lump everyone together for convenience - even though there will be a big difference in the experience of the different fragments of that community.

But it all has to do with gender bias, and forced conformity to rigid expectations of gender behaviour.

I will keep coming back to this point.

As has been demonstrated, umbrella terms are very flawed, but there is one that might work regardless of the number of genders in the system:

"Victims of Gender Bias."

The only way that this will not be an issue is in a mono-gendered system ( only one sex/gender), but how likely is that to occur?

Until then, I would hope that acceptance of gender/sex variations as a natural part of the biological process, would also help to reduce the stigma of gender/sex 'non-conformity.'


Hi Sophia :-)

You wrote:

So please understand I am not contesting any biological basis for transsexualism. I am saying that as things are, umbrella terms have a very negative side.

I could not agree more. I read a post in the comments section of another blog where the author said something to the effect that:

"...converting everything to the reductio ad absurdum of identity effectively bleaches the colors from the rainbow of human biology..."

The statement is hardly arguable. The entire concept started out as an enforced identity management program specifically intended to control and thus rectify and deny the biological rainbow of intersex embodiment.

Oddly enough, even now, when the entire pseudo-scientific construct is slowly falling into disrepute, there are those who cling to it.

These are the proponents of transgenderism and they have based their entire ideology on the notion that identity theory was an immutable truth.

It was, of course, never that. Latterly the argument has morphed slightly, though it is still identity based.

Commonly Identity/gender theorists are enamored of the argument that their identity is somehow 'hard-wired'. Often the Reimer outcome is misused to support this claim. It doesn't, nor does the existence of classical transsexualism.

For that matter the fact that 30+ percent of so called pediatric gender assignments are rejected by the victims in adolescence or adulthood is not proof of either 'hard-wired' identity or any kind of genetic bias towards identity formation.

This because there is not so much as a mote of empirical evidence to prove these are or have ever been identity issues!

Identity and gender theorists cannot see the trees because of artificial identity forest they have spent years imagining into existence.

In this case an imperialistic TG/identity rubric that forecloses any possible discourse beyond itself is the greatest obstacle to more nuanced understanding that I can see anywhere, on any issue.

If that isn't a negative side then I don't know what is!

I have finally come to realize that this is really a struggle between 'conformists,' and 'non-conformists'

The struggle for force 'conformity' is older than time, and has little to do with gender... or music... or fashion... etc..

Until we can see that the struggles of the larger LGBTQI community in this exact same context there will be no progress.

The LGBTQI community are the 'non-conformists, and we are punished in many ways to enforce our 'conformity.'

This has nothing to do with individual identity, - in fact individual identity is the enemy of 'conformity.'

And that is the root cause of gender bias - or any bias for that matter. Even if it is only our history or biology that betrays our conformity.

So, as much as umbrella terms suck, I think that 'non-conformists' might be an indisputable one.

You are perfectly entitled to view it in this way, Rachel.

However, the struggle for power, the Master-Slave dialectic--at the basis of oppression theory--is a much more basic formulation.

Between mainstream society--which is, however, not as monolithic as that term suggests--and those who represent it, say, white, middle-class, middle age men, seek to dominate, even oppress those whom you describe as "non-conformist." I notice you include the "I" much against the wishes of Sophie and other Intersex people.

However, it does not end quite there.

Within populations--I do not believe there are "community(ies)" in the way so many LGBT people suggest--of LGBT people this struggle for dominance continues.

In fact, as Serano has pointed out, something quite interesting happens, "non-conformity" even "transgression" takes the place of the dominant conformity.

And this is the perspective you speak for.

Curiously, in this reversal, those of us do do not share your dominant conformity are subject to the oppression of your perspective; in fact, we are needed to validate your perspective, as has been made clear throughout. You are not the only one who speaks for it. By the way these things work, it has become oppressive of so many, as we have seen throughout these comments.

You are perfectly entitled to describe yourself as "non-conformist" and some of us as "conformist." But, as usual, you haven't taken your argument through to its logical conclusion.

A place like Los Angeles, even Toronto, is quite large enough so that you never have to even contact those who don't pay homage to the ideals you espouse. You should be wary these ideals aren't more than just your delusions.

so wait...

in order to make your point, you are non-consensually labeling all LGBTQI people as "non-conformist"?

that seems no better than non-consensually mis-gendering someone, telling a trans woman that they are (and will always be) male, or telling a trans man that they are (and will always be) female.

problematic theories are so frustrating... particularly when their prioritized over the diversity of real peoples' feelings and experiences!

(by the way, in common usage, doesn't "conform" or "non-conform" imply some sort of choice and intention...?)

Hello Rachel

unless you are a religious historian the term "non conformists" is again stigmatizing. I am not a non conformist in this sense I am an individual human being. If the Bilerico project want to list and lump forms of "non conformism" then they have the means to do that. But the "Transgender and intersex" heading that this discussion and article appears under illustrates one point, it is hierarchical and arrogant. Some posters like Iconoclass can appear and start telling those lower down in the LGBTIQ caste system (which is what it really is) what their place is.

I mention religious history for a reason, there were during the 19th and 20th centures a large number of "non conformist" religious traditions within mainly protestant christianity, they came about because often people would walk away from the hierarchical structures of their parent churches and found new ones.

You are probably witnessing the same here, the LGBTIQ movement is incredibly hierarchical and people are saying "Enough is enough" and going their separate ways. In that sense I am a non conformist, and proud of it. Why? well I will not have anyone from any LGBTIQ coalition telling me how to run my life or what they decide I am over an accident of birth.

In exactly the same way I will not be told by some dominant preacher that I was born an abomination due to some generational curse. When a creed or belief system becomes corrupt to the point of branding people things they are not. Then it is time to walk on. I am just a woman with 5 alpha nothing more and nothing less.

The entire queer community has gender issues - not just the transfolk. Gay and lesbian people have a big gender issue - otherwise the gender of the people they love would not be an issue.

When I say I'm a lesbian I mean I am a female person exclusively sexually attracted to female people. Therefore the gender of people I love is NOT an issue. The sex of people I am sexually attracted to is though. I am sexually attracted to people of a specific sex, not a gender.

And I love a lot of people of all sexes. And some animals.

Which boils down to trans women forever being male and never having vaginas regardless of how their organs are shaped and function as such, because they've got something inherently male to them, whether it's chromosomes or male energy or magic or whatever. Which apparently gives cis women the right to define them. Welcome to being a biological essentialist.

A vagina is a complex organ. It has glands that lubricate it, particularly when a woman is sexually aroused. It has a complex set of musculature which cause it to contract on orgasm. It is connected to the clitoris by a complicated nerve structure. It has a g spot. Here's a diagram.

http://www.scarleteen.com/sites/files/scarleteen/images/femaleinternalfix.jpg

If this is what people are seeking in the genitalia of their sexual partner surely that's their choice to make? And as far as I know surgeons cannot create a structure that 'functions' the same as this, even if the superficial appearance is similar.

You're talking to a brick wall, Florence. People who are invested in convincing themselves or others that men are women will pull all kinds of nonsense out of the air, and defend it until their last breath.

Well my position is clear iconoclass. Anyone at all is entitled to define themself as a lesbian. And I'm entitled to describe myself as a lesbian based on my own definition.

And if we disagree they should stop insisting I accept them as the same as myself. Because they're not if they're male and changing the definition of a word won't change that one bit. And if they don't have to accept my definition of lesbian, I don't have to accept their definition of lesbian. Simple.

But as you say I'm talking to a brick wall. Not dissimilar to the one Humpty Dumpty fell off.

"A word means whatever I want it to mean'

I agree in some part with the basic premise of this article in that we can see some forms of oppression traced to other forms of oppression, but I wonder where you get your assumptions about how FtMs are accepted in the lesbian and gay communities, respectively. You seem to assume that MtFs are hated by the LGB communities and FtMs are accepted.

It is true that there are lesbian communities who include FtMs, but they are not universally inclusive of us--not to mention those that are are implying an erasure of our identities. FtMs aren't lesbians, so to be "accepted" into a lesbian group is not acceptance, it's denial. Would you consider being allowed into a gay men's group "acceptance?" Considering you are not a man, let alone a gay one, I would think you wouldn't.

As far as gay men, you didn't outright say it but you do imply that there is an acceptance of same-sex-oriented FtMs in the gay male community which you proceed to rationalize with a convenient explanation as to why a gay man would date an FtM. Why do you think a gay man who desires to date me must automatically be grubbing for some shred of heteronormativity that only he knows about? The last gay man who expressed interest in me had a personal crisis because the fact that he'd gotten a crush on dickless wonder over here freaked him out. Most of the time I'm having gay guys announce to me that they'd never date me--whether I've expressed interest in them or not--just in case I had the nerve to think I had a chance.

I have absolutely no clue where you are getting these ideas unless you are wearing goggles that allow you to only see anti-MtF cissexism.

The defiance of sterotypical gender roles is the very thing that is the commonality in LGBT. Weather it is choice of partner, choice of dress, choice of vocation, choice of body or any of the all encompassing sterotypes definitions of human behaviour, we all defy gender sterotypes.

Many Blessing,

Jannie Anna-Lise