Antonia D'orsay

Sore Toes and "Angry Trannies"

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | February 09, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Arizona, Creating Change conference, Liberty and Justice for All, Phoenix, trans, transgender

Such a politically incorrect title for this post, but let's not let that detract from the article...

I'm often called an "Angry Tranny." I count among my friends some of the most vocal and verbally aggressive trans folks online. I don't hold back for the most part when I write, and I am not afraid to say things that are both unpopular and often unpleasant.

I do not take the high road, and I can and do wallow in the gutter of verbal disparagement of others.

My article yesterday here has sounded alarm bells among at least two Phoenix based activism organizations. I had the temerity to speak up and take them to task for not attending Creating Change. These two particular groups -- whom I won't name -- are not bad organizations, and the people who are part of them are not bad people. They have passion and desire and they seek social change and they want the credit for achieving it so bad that they will do damned near anything to get it.

And the title reflects what happens when you challenge them. It is, in the end, a microcosm of what it means to be an "angry tranny."

So let's look at what is involved in that, shall we?

First off, call me an angry tranny to my face without having laid the framework of getting to know me and allowing me to know you might just get you kneecapped. I may be wearing a dress most of the time, but kneecapping is a fine art and a skill that one never loses nor needs much in the way of an appropriate uniform to perform.

I am a transsexual, a woman who is, justifiably, angry over the history of the movement's treatment of trans folk. Like many of my contemporaries, I am very well aware of it, and I have suffered discrimination at the hands of LGB groups personally.

I am very much aware of the history of LGBT folks -- going back well over 170 years -- and I can see how the T has been erased from popular works, or, worse, literally taken over and turned into something not trans, but not cis either.

Online, there is an ever-shrinking minority of that sort of thinking. In a great part thanks to the efforts of literally hundreds of "angry trannies" before me and my contemporaries. We don't sit quietly, we don't use the tactics of gentle persuasion, and we certainly aren't followers of the non-aggression ideal.

We are loud, and obnoxious and, yes, very, very angry. We personalize attacks on our kith and kin as if they were attacks on ourselves, and we embrace all our passions and all our energy in our work.

And along the way we step on a lot of toes. Steel-toed boots aren't always effective against us, either -- we have a sharpness and a willingness to go into the places that are uncomfortable and painful and ugly that most people will never go. And we are able to go there because we have been there, almost uniformly.

What's worse is that we don't always agree, We aren't an organized lot, and we fight harshly among ourselves, but what unites us is that we do not back down from the erasure, the defamation, the overlooking, the privileged treatment, the ignorance, and the intentional and unintentional exclusion of trans people from the movement and from the work that all of us do.

When I joined Bilerico, some said that I sold out. That I was no longer part of that group of loud-mouthed annoyances that make sure that trans discussion is not about tone arguments and interpersonal politics.

Well, let me put it this way: in joining Bilerico, I was co-opted. They gave me a place to speak to trans issues. They know that things change when you have a responsibility to a wider readership, and that for me, it would most likely mean I wouldn't be as rough and tumble in the comments section as I have been known to be.

And to some extent, they are correct. I do have to be a little nicer. After all, they are family now. We've met and drank and talked and laughed and said terribly inappropriate things together.

Those who know me, though -- and they do now -- also know that my tongue is not reserved. That I will go after friends as quickly and as easily as enemies, and with the same vehemence. That my quest is not merely to correct when someone is wrong on the internet (which I admit to freely) but also to make sure that we are all heard, and that we all get that often elusive sense of equality and equity and liberty that is the birthright of all human beings.

(Hmm -- birthrights. There's an article that should scratch a bit.)

And the rare few who have seen me in truest form know that I am gentle with my allies, even when enraged, as what I give here is nothing compared to what I give those who would condemn or demean or defame or deny us what we seek.

My African descent kith -- and make no mistake, I am quite Black and quite Native and quite European-American and equally proud and fierce and claimant about all of them -- will know what I mean when I say that while I adopt a position closer to Malcolm than Martin -- that Mr. Little is more my speed than Mr. King -- I do so because there must be a voice like his.

And it must be heard, for there is no right way to do something, and sometimes an angry tranny needs to step on a few toes to remind people of that.


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Well spoken. It is the silent minority like me that needs to be roused at times by 'angry trannies' like you to get us out of our doldrums by stepping on a few toes now and then and saying the unpopular things.

I used to be one of you, but that was a few years ago before my circumstances changed and I became unemployed then disabled. At times the old fires do rise though, so I ain't dead yet.

Can you teach me the best method for using a cane to kneecap someone? ;)

Just above the main plate in a sharp, downward spiral. Canes are also great for their distractive potential thanks to the vulnerability and painfulness of a shin smack.

May I suggest to start by informing anyone, anywhere who calls you or any woman who is trans an "angry tranny" to STFU.

Well, at this point they usually say it out of eye or earshot, lol, but of that you can be assured that I will always have something more rough and tumble to say to those who call me an angry tranny.

Renee Thomas | February 9, 2010 2:09 PM

Toni,

Perhaps you should name names. How else do these organizations build common cause with all parts of the LGBT community unless you communicate your disappointment with how they may be missing the mark directly with them? Make clear your expectations - you know, talk. Pick up the phone -or perhaps Facebook? I know of at least one prominent Phoenix based LGBT organization that's waiting for your call and whose Chairperson and BOD is ready to listen carefully.

And for the record, I agree, addressing me with the T-word (which rings in my ears like the N-word) will in all likelihood get you backhanded.

Best,

Renee

Hi Renee :)

I did name names. In my last post.

This isn't an issue of individuals. I could -- and, in less national in scope places, almost certainly will -- call out individuals by name, but that's not the point here.

The point here is more or less an exploration of what I had as my status recently:

" if ya don't like what I have to say, then don't listen. We all have a choice: we can oppose, we can ally, or we can get out of the way. When it comes to me, watch the toes -- I'm no longer going to worry about stepping on them."

I'm labeled an angry tranny, and I'm the sort that says if you wanna give me such a nymic designation, then I'll gladly warrant it.

My last post was about how these orgs tend to be too insular, to provencial, and how that hurts them, and, by extension, us.

By the start of next week, I will have contacted all the Phoenix orgs that have established a historical pattern of wanting to work with other orgs in a spirit of mutual cooperation and be solution oriented, in order to take what I've learned and pass it on, as well as to make sure that next year I don't hear how bad Phoenix is, lol.

I've got a big mouth, admittedly -- and I plan to make sure that I live up to what I ask.

May I ask which org, btw? Because there is one that is anything *but* interested or ready, and most of us in the Phoenix scene are aware of the issues its leadership has.

The google ads which accompany this post are for "ladyboys" and "shemales."

Which makes me feel stabby enough to miss the point of the post.

So completely beyond inappropriate.

I got Pepsi and Toyota, but I understand your point. I'm wondering if Google and AdSense would be interested in adjusting under the hood so ads like those don't get paired with political commentary?

I am often not sure if it is my toes that are getting hurt or my head by impacting those walls. One thing I am pretty sure about however is that pain from getting stabbed in the back. I recalled that one from before I transitioned.

Renee Thomas | February 9, 2010 3:08 PM

Please contact me at Facebook and I'd be happy to share.

R

Count me as another "angry tranny" - although, I do prefer "opinionated tranny" ... but that's just me.

Bitch, works just fine for me.

'Well behaved transwomen rarely make history.'

Welcome to the club.

yo,while you're angry...
any thoughts on this new "AG" theory/craze suddenly popping up all over?
-j

http://ariablue.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/interim-post/

Well, for one, it's not new. For another, it's been so thoroughly debunked that anyone giving it time and effort and attention is really only furthering some personal agenda.

It's completely and utterly unsubstantiated, and it's two greatest proponents control the peer review and editorial process of the only publication it's ever been placed in. Citations of it outside that particular pub are, inevitably, doing so for the purpose of pointing out how absolutely wrong it is, and how it completely and utterly ignores the state and standards of the science of the day -- which is to be expected given that the person behind it conceived the notion a bit more than 20 years ago and is merely repeating the same mantra Raymond used in her late 1970's works that resulted in the removal of trans medical care from governmental systems.

So what I think of it professionally is that it's literally bad theory and personally that hey, ya know, whatever. Some people gotta make stuff up so they don't feel so stupid.

FurryCatHerder | February 10, 2010 2:39 PM

Enough people have agreed that AGP describes them and their motives that it can't just be written off as a =bad= theory. Dr. Lawrence says she had a sex change because of a sex-fueled compulsive-obsessive behavior, good on her. She has a bunch of followers who agree with her, good on them.

The only problem I've seen with AGP is that rather than =listen= to people who share none of the compulsive-obsessive and fetishistic behaviors of her and her followers, we're told that we're lying, ashamed, narcissistic, etc.

How about we look and see who's struggling so hard to be the center of attention, over-inflate their sense of self-importance, etc. and see if that person (Dr. Lawrence, hint-hint) perhaps fits the description of a narcissist better.

Not to pick, but I thought that the use of the word 'Tranny" or the plural variants had been banned by the GLAAD rules.

um, err *restrains self*

Well, let's just say that I happen to ascribe to a more updated set of rules regarding the, um, imposition of voluntary guidelines.

IOW, let's not go there lest I speak my mind in a manner that is best reserved for a different post.

The reason that I ask is that two friend of mine in Ireland did a great piece of music with the T word in it which by and large they would not be able to perform in this country without a protest occuring.

Here is the vid Toni--I happen to love it but then, they are friends of mine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH1nnqu1Ljk

Let me know what you think

Maura,

If it means anything... I don't like the title of this essay either and find it rather offensive but, in fairness to Toni, I suspect it was meant to be snarky, sarcastic and offensive.

My view of it is as a trans woman she gets to use "tranny" in an ironic sense (which she did) but I'm not crazy about it being used in a larger LGBT space where many people still try to use tranny in a way totally lacking in irony (or understanding what they're communicating with it). What particularly annoys me is when someone who isn't a trans women says with a straight face they're using the word in order to 'reclaim' it or how they can use it because they know trans people who identify that way. That's pure entitlement and appropriation and deserves to get something approaching whatever Toni says she does with kneecaps... only less violent please.

BTW - when dys speaks like that.....

Tiptoe slowly and silently away, then when you've reached a minimum safe distance, run like heck.

Dys and I use different tactics. Hers is more direct. Mine more annoying. I don't go away.

I just put the facts down, URLs, scientific papers. Many manage to ignore evidence and facts if they aren't in accordance with their beliefs. But it niggles at them.

Dys and I work very well together, we complement each other. There's room for more than one way of doing things, and the more the merrier.

. . .I am the madwoman of Cork
No one talks to me.

When I walk in the rain
The children throw stones at me
Old men persecute me
And women close their doors.
When I die
Believe me
They'll set me on fire.

I am the madwoman of Cork
I have no sense. . .
-Patrick Galvin via John Spillane

Where does GLAAD stand on narcisistershutyourmouth?

I don't know how imprudent my last remark was but I just couldn't bring myself to pair the word rage with the other one. I don't believe in those kind of stereotypes, they make me very angry.

I was worried that it was addressed at me, but I am not from Cork.

No it wasn't addressed to you. I guess it was a failed attempt at self deprecation. There are many references to Anne Lawrence's essay on Narcissistic Rage. I feel like I should wash my mouth out with soap when I use that expression.

Here's a quote from yesterday's post at Bilerico on the DSM:

"In a commentary article in ASB, Dr. Lawrence once again repeated personal speculation about sexual orientations of opponents of Bailey's book. Moreover, she diagnosed critics with "narcissistic disorders." Lawrence invoked a label of "narcissistic rage" to disparage, as further mental illness, the indignation expressed by transpeople in response to psychiatric stereotypes of sexual deviance."

http://www.bilerico.com/2008/10/the_burden_of_proof_the_politics_of_gend.php

Here's Lawrence's essay:

http://www.annelawrence.com/twr/shame_&_narcissistic_rage.pdf

It's infuriating :)

And as if we needed something new to be angry about--- Proposed DSM-V revisions to the GID and Transvestic Fetishism diagnoses by the American Psychiatric Association are posted at www.dsm5.org

Hey Kelley :D

I suspect we'll have some dueling statements coming out in the next couple days, lol.

Definitely some issues there, but I suspect that most of it will come down to the decisions of the individual therapists.

Pretty obvious Blanchard and Zucker got to do as they pleased in their section, but failed miserably in Peggy's, wouldn't you say?

And its no longer a disorder, and it finally reaches more of us more explicitly.

So now it will fall to the larger committee, and may I suggest we work towards killing the "duplicative effort" in paraphilias since it replicates an entirely different (and far better supported) classification?

I hope you don't feel coopted, toni. It's not like we said, "That dyssonance is annoying everyone in the comments - let's make her a contributor!"

Please, feel free to be angry on the front page. There's no rule against anger.

FurryCatHerder | February 10, 2010 3:23 PM

On to the main topic!

I'm all for being angry when it's productive and constructive. Since I tend to run in dyke circles more these days than trans circles, I'd just like to say that the problem isn't really uniformly across the "L", "B" and "G". Each of those groups has their own reason to trash trans-peeps, and each has their own way of doing it.

What I worry about is when "I'm Angry!" becomes about all one has to say or do.

Since you mention Malik El-Shabazz (I think it's only fitting to use the name he =chose= as his own, since we do so as well quite often -- you might also want to learn the meaning behind his name), be sure that you can fill those shoes of his if you're going to use his name to justify or explain your behavior. He wasn't just loud and angry, he was a source of inspiration to hundreds of millions of people. He as a lot more than an "Angry Negro", he was a force for change on this planet. And change the planet he very much did.

Be angry, if you have the stomach for it. But please, be effective as well.

Agreed -- anger without just cause is useless and troublesome, and while I'm angry, I have spent a lifetime as such and in that lifetime I have learned to channel it.

As for Mr. X, who discarded that name towards the end, I do not use him to *justify* my actions, merely to point out a difference and a variance twixt myself and others.

My actions are justified only by the achievements they support.

;)

FurryCatHerder | February 11, 2010 12:51 AM

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz discarded "Little" as a surname well before his death and adopted El-Shabazz as his surname in 1949. That's the name his wife Betty used, and the surname of his daughters.

And I'm not challenging you like, "name the accomplishments you've enabled or else!", but I am challenging you -- can people who don't know you through Bilerico say they did what they did because of you? And if so, do those positive accomplishments outweigh the negatives brought on by being angry at people who might have been turned to your cause by a different approach?

When I was much, much younger, and much angrier, all I know of Malcolm was what he taught while a leader of the Nation of Islam. When I was older, and because of my admiration for him and his ideals, I learned that he regretted much of what he'd done while in the NoI. You might want to study more about his life after leaving NoI.