Austen Crowder

Conflict 101: Identifying the Stakes

Filed By Austen Crowder | December 13, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: lesbian separatists, radical feminism, resolution, self-help, transgender

A link to a radical feminist's diatribe on "castrated men" appears a chat window. "This makes me sad," one of my sisters says, completely deadpan.

conflict.jpgThis doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that she posted this in response to my advice on stepping up and demanding to be treated like the woman she is. The article was her hamstring. It was her reason to be afraid.

This may seem remedial for some but it's important to revisit Conflict 101 from time to time. Conflicts about identity can get extremely heated; when one aims to erase an identity, or insist that a form of expression is against the will of God or the people, feelings are bound to be hurt. That's just how the game is played. In order to maintain our sanity we have to remind ourselves to identify the stakes of an argument. Since this whole "people are mean to trans folk" meme seems to be such a common theme in our world I figured it was best to post it here.

So some hater just spit in your cornflakes. What's at stake? The short answer is usually "not much at all."

If this is your first time dealing with an identity conflict: relax. Take a deep breath. Laugh. No matter what other people think they cannot offend you unless you let them. People stumble on this first step; they read the confused ramblings of a hater and whip themselves into anger, essentially handing power over their emotional well-being to an anonymous stranger. An identity conflict is often like a dirty knife fight, complete with ad hominem, name calling, and underhanded trolling tactics. It's not exactly a healthy debate.

My approach to conflict - persuasive essays in particular - begins with two questions:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do the parties get if they win?

These two questions save me a lot of heartache in the long run. In the case of the lesbian separatist attempting to protect her community from "castrated men," our first reaction is to get angry and attempt to convince her of the error of her ways. Fair enough. Before we get there, though, let's go through the questions.

Who is involved? Well, her name is Bev Jo, and her blogspot says she hails from California. That's all the more I know about her. From this position of limited exposure Bev Jo is taking on the entire transgender population with her post. She is spitting bile and vitrol behind the guise of pseudoanonymity - a definite warning flag. (Better to put effort into people who put their full names behind their words - they stand behind what they say enough to put their name on it, after all.)

What changes in your life if the Bev Jo wins the argument? The worst she could possibly do is withhold her approval. That's it. You'd be robbed of approval from a pseudoanonymous lesbian separatist. If you were to stroll down the right street in Oakland, California, at the right time, a lesbian separatist might give a dirty look and a sneer. Congratulations - you have a hater!

With those two questions answered I didn't see the article as distressing or offensive. I saw it as hilarious. I knew I couldn't convince her to see things in a fairer light, as somebody with the animus to write a scathing piece about another minority group isn't exactly looking for a discussion. With the stakes so low as to be nonexistent I could see the essay as a piece of comedy. A woman with nothing better to do writes a nasty, screeching diatribe against trans women, parroting the works of Janice Raymond down to the letter. I mean, come on! That's got comedy written all over it.

Most times it's best to treat these identity-erasing hit pieces like a freeroll poker game. We don't pay anything to get into the game, and we don't lose anything if minds don't change. Our example writer has nothing better to do than to screech about purportedly evil trans women. This is not a position based on logic, and no matter the emotional outcome nothing will change. In times like this the only winning move is not to play.

Of course, that's not to say that all conflicts are meaningless. There's a huge difference between, say, a sweeping argument on a small-time website and battling social conservative attempts to erase our identity. Trying to convince a stranger that we're really women is pretty petty, but having a "you're not really trans" talk with a family member is never easy, and has very real stakes in the form of being ostracized by the people who say they love you. Zany people making crazy assertions about the existence of LGBT people doesn't make our lives any better, granted, but it doesn't make our lives any worse, or any less meaningful. We should become pros at prioritizing the conflicts that actually matter.

For the rest, however, we simply have crazy folks devoting their time to writing ugly rants, often behind the mask of pseudoanonymity. (There's a name for this: trolling.) They can scream and holler but at the end of they day the worst a hater can do is not invite you to their Christmas party - which, quite frankly, you probably didn't want to attend anyway.

Ask the questions. Save yourself the stress. Learn to ignore the crazies. You'll live longer and happier, which is really the best form of revenge around.


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I do believe that while you raise some great points about things in general here, you either chose to ignore the context of the particular screed, or you were unfamiliar with the result of what was won.

Which has some minor importance in the context of the recent blow up surrounding that particular post (and the other one).

In this case, the screed is being used as a reason to deny the existence of trans women, and to deny the masculinity of trans men, all structured to support a position of not posting trans women's voices in a project meant to represent the voices of all women.

That said, the reason I generally haven't said much about any of that whole thing is that the project itself is, in my opinion, of little to no importance in the greater scheme of things, and that this was a calculated throwing the bird up in order to attract more attention to the particular project (which is why I'm not referencing the specifics).

Thanks for expanding upon the context. While I can see reason to be involved now the original situation was taken in an out-of-context manner. ("OMG people hate trans folk!")

Even in your response you identified the stakes of the conflict: it's a question of trans erasure, sure, but it's limited to a two-bit website that doesn't really have much pull to begin with. They don't want my contribution? Fine! I'll take my bat and ball somewhere else.

(Besides, any website that has to air out the dirty laundry of "Who should we allow to post?" in public has either a) made a major mistake and is doing damage control, or b) probably doomed to fail anyway.)

I agree with you about asking "what do we have to gain from this argument?" Have never heard of "Bev Jo" before although I'm positive she posts under other names because her leenngthy essay about Beth Elliott rings a bell and there aren't too many dinosaurs out there still obsessing over that ancient news.

The only thing positive I can see from what happened with "The Magazine Project" is that they've now clearly identified their agenda for their site and that is worth something. At first it sounded like a possibly open-minded publishing environment by young queer women which (naively?) gave space to a couple of uber-transphobes. It might have become a quoted site given legitimacy and cross-referenced by other blogs. Given their most recent statements they make it clear they're in total alignment with Bev Jo and "Dirtywhiteboi" which is good, because it sticks them in the narrow corner they share with a handful of other frothing-at-the-mouth haters. Better to know who they are but sad that it's being passed on to a new generation.

But I totally agree with you that endless efforts to engage in 'logic' or to come up with cogent arguments which rebut their diatribes are nothing more than rolling in the gutter with them and achieve nothing.

I personally am more upset by the anti-trans women lesbians who are given a lot of mainstream support, and how this attitude is pretty well accepted in the lesbian community, than with someone I never heard of before this post spewing hate. To me, that acceptance and attitude in the community are much more dangerous than any individual nutjob.

Gosh that was fun reading. Thanks for the link Austen. I think I'm glad that I don't know any of those people personally (on all sides of that discussion).

Oh, and then interestingly enough, I go from posting my comment here to AfterEllen, see a post on 'lesbian/ish calendars (http://www.afterellen.com/people/2010/12/five-lesbianish-calendars-youll-want-on-your-wall-in-2011), and the last one is called 'Boys of Original Plumbing', featuring "12 Months of Male Trans Models", with this commentary:

"Just because they’re born again men doesn’t mean the FTMs of Original Plumbing aren’t sexy Sapphic poster children. Presented in teen heartthrob fashion, each lad gets a stat sheet and a list of favorites just in case you need to know his favorite date spot."

I don't think you would ever see a '12 months of Female Trans Models' on AfterEllen, but you see plenty of transmasculine and trans men coverage.

I know, it's their site, they can put whatever they want on it, but it is pretty representative of lesbian sites in that trans men are celebrated adn trans women are ignored, or slammed in coverage of lesbians who hate trans women and softball questions on their stand against trans women that allow them to spin their hatred in a way that makes them look like innocent targets of ppl who support trans women inclusion (kinda like a lot of religous fundamentalists who agitate against gay ppl).

I enjoy a lot of aspects of the lesbian community, but Radical Bitch's testimony of her experiences aside, honestly I don't feel part of it, and don't try to participate in it much (esp in rl) because of the general 'otherness' assigned to trans women, which of course reaches its peak in open resentment and hostility.
It's sad and frustrating to me, because if you ask me out of the blue "Who are you?" my first response would likely be, "Um, just some lesbian chick..."

Things are what they are, though, and as Gina has pointed out a lot, ppl like me have it a million times better than most trans women. I am lucky to just have such a white middle-class issue as feeling a little left out. :)

Carol, another prime example of that was the 100 Hottest Butches list which initially included 5-7 self-ID trans guys. There was a huge kerfuffle about it and the list's editor removed most of them (but left a few on there she claims don't mind being called butches) and added a subhead and disclaimer to the list saying that not everyone might be butch ID'd. And what irks me is when trans-denying lesbians (just a part of that community) then use a global "queer" identity to justify these kinds of actions and act like 'oh, you're not queer-hip enough to understand this.' Interesting that "The Magazine Project" which initially said they were looking for trans contributors has since clarified by trans they meant FTMs and, perhaps, trans-IDing transmasculine people and not (as they put it) male transvestites. The more things change the more they stay the same. :-

Yes, I remember the that Butches list. I just accept that this is the way things are and enjoy what I can on these sites.

I did go read the post to which Amber linked, and saw the 'we are looking for trans writers,' but didn't go any further than to read the post and a few comments, which we true to form for what I expected. I didn't go on to find out that they meant FTM, but this is the exact position of these sorts of ppl: They act offended that anyone calls them anti-trans, say they have plenty of trans friends, and that trans ppl attend the Michigan Festival, and what they mean is trans men.

As I said above, I am much less bothered that an extreme group like this exists, because they *are* out on the fringe, and I can't imagine ever wanting to be a part of anything they are involved with. The bigger issue is the interalized, unackowledged discrimination by lesbian and women's communities in general (like the racism in most of this country, esp the South and a lot of the Midwest; I agree with Bil on this).

We see this in so many ways, big and small. The trans man b-ball player who is accepted on the team even though he says he is a guy, while you and I both know that if a trans women, with SRS and years on hormones, wanted to join that same team, the reaction would be very different. Or the acceptance of trans men at women's colleges, which at the same time won't allow trans women, again, no matter their surgery/HRT status.

I think the trans female spectrum is slowly creating spaces that show off our beauty. Sure, we're not as large a group as Lesbian Separatists, but we have started to find ourselves as a salient group.

For example, check out http://fuckyeahcutetranschicks.tumblr.com . A friend of mine created it as a response to the lack of trans female love on the internet right now and it's caught on like wildfire. Small steps, but since they started that blog many of the genderqueer/trans blogs on tumblr have started presenting more from the trans-feminine side of things.

Trans women do get the short end of the stick as far as representation is concerned, granted. But I think our only real recourse is to say "you know what? I'm taking my bat and ball somewhere else, thankyouverymuch."

(Though I now follow the Magazine Project in my RSS reader - it'll be good for laughs.)

I think wasn't clear with my point, or am misunderstanding yours... :)

Although if it works for others, that is fine with me, and I am happy for them, I am not really interested in trans-specific *anything* other than sites that help in making it in life as a trans person. Personally, I really have no more interest in glorification of trans women than I do trans men, genderqueer folks, or any of that.

I know 'how you are trans' is different for every single person. For example, Tobi very much identifies with being trans, and has said (perhaps in jest!) that if she had been born a girl, she would become a trans man. For me, on the other hand, being trans part of who I am like being old or having grown up in Kentucky. They are biological/historical facts, and are part of me and influence who I am and how I act at some level, but they aren't the parts of me that I value or develop.

So for me, the issue isn't 'these lesbian sites/mags/communities don't value and promote and actively include trans women', it is that they accept everyone born female, and reject everyone born male. To me, they are being just as disrespectful to the trans men as they are to trans women--they are identifying them according to what they were born as ratehr than who they are, just like they do with trans women.

I just wish they would treat trans women like any other women, instead of actively excluding them and supporting the hardcore lesbians like the ones on The Magazine Project, by supporting famous lesbians who sport the same hate as the ppl on TMP.

Wow, I went back and read the 'Trans are New Goths' and 'The Lesbian Divide' threads, and I agree that this site can be seen as humorous in its extreme surrealism. These are the extreme of the extreme, the pure of the pure here! Esp the 'Lesbian Divide' topic. All women are really lesbians, but the vast majority have been indoctrinated in maleness and are living in total delusion?

Omg...I think Kian should go read a bit and rethink the annoyance at the 'crazy' labels...

For the record, I think they are ridiculous as well, and definitely unreasonable. Actually, the words uneducated and ignorant come to mind when I read drivel like on that website.

How about we pick a word that actually describes them, rather than a catchall term like "crazy", which clearly means different things to different people.

No, I actually mean crazy. I don't know what their specific mental defect is, but they live in their own little piece of reality. Read 'The Lesbian Divide' and the comments to it.

Since such people are often the subject of legends a few centuries later perhaps we should reach into classical Greek history and call them Anactorians.
--> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anactoria

Looks like the same old lesbian-separatist bullshit to me. I've seen this before, I've heard it in queer bars, I've read it in other lesbian blogs and books, and I had a friend in college who believed this tripe. All of these people, as far as I know, are not currently locked away in a psych ward, nor do they seem any different than so-called "sane" people. I'm not saying that their ideas are sound or that they aren't hateful. I'm just saying that they aren't crazy and reducing this rhetoric to crazy talk does nothing to help bridge any divide or convince anyone who might be undecided.

As for diagnosing mental illness through writing, I don't think psychology has reached that level of accuracy yet. Nor do I ever think it will.

I agree with everything you said, but your conclusion "to ignore the crazies" pissed me off. These people are not crazy, they're willfully ignorant, hateful and bored. Real crazy people have better things to do with their time, like go to therapy and focus on positive things. There are better ways to say "ignore them" than label them crazy and tell us all to ignore them because they are crazy.

Sorry to anger you, but I believe that the word has evolved in language enough as to create two homonyms - crazy and crazies, the term for something that makes little sense and the people who spout it, respectively; and crazy and crazies, a derogatory term for the mentally ill. I try not to use it that often but in the context of this essay I think it fit in terms of "Woman with crazed, fanatical views."

Homonyns are words with different origins.

"Crazies" derives from the word "crazy", which has meanings that range from:
# brainsick: affected with madness or insanity; "a man who had gone mad"
# foolish; totally unsound; "a crazy scheme"; "half-baked ideas"; "a screwball proposal without a prayer of working"
# possessed by inordinate excitement; "the crowd went crazy"; "was crazy to try his new bicycle"
# bizarre or fantastic; "had a crazy dream"; "wore a crazy hat"
# someone deranged and possibly dangerous
# intensely enthusiastic about or preoccupied with; "crazy about cars and racing"; "he is potty about her".

So while you may be using the correct word to describe people who in your opinion are intensely enthusiastic, foolish, totally unsound and unreasonable, your instructions were to ignore anyone who is labeled crazy in any way. Unfortunately, anyone with a mental illness is labeled crazy, so you are for all intents and purposes, instructing people to ignore all of them too. Which, I guess, is all right, since that's pretty much what people do already (sarcasm). You'll only make them crazier and get more reason to ignore them. It's a crazy self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

[sorry for the derail]

The problem here, unfortunately, goes beyond the rantings of some anonymous internet hack. Many of the ideas she espouses are things I see in popular culture and that have been thrown in my face by people in my life. People like Bev Jo are often simply very extreme examples of common ideas. You are correct in saying that this person will probably not change her mind and that little is gained or lost in regards to changing her personal opinion. But in my mind that's not the point of challenging her. In public spaces, where a variety of people have access to what is said, debate has a wider audience than just the people who participate. Someone less willfully ignorant who would otherwise have had no information on the topic other than Bev Jo's ranting is exposed to alternate views.

That being said, people are not required to engage in such debates, and when it comes to talking to people like Bev Jo it's a good idea to gauge exactly how much of their bullshit you can reasonably take before going in.

"That being said, people are not required to engage in such debates, and when it comes to talking to people like Bev Jo it's a good idea to gauge exactly how much of their bullshit you can reasonably take before going in."

This is exactly my point, and "bullshit" is the right word. My friend had trouble understanding the difference between bullshit (which cannot remove her femininity) and worthwhile debate (which, again, can't remove her femininity). While I'm more than happy to have the discussion here I fully recognize that the piece is a hateful screed written by an obsessed woman. It is, in its own way, absolutely hilarious.

It's worthy of debate, yes. Many things are. However, I think that we need to practice compartmentalization as far as these toxic debates are concerned, less they leak into our daily lives. The thing this woman wants to impress, more than anything, is a hierarchy of worth in women. If we attempt to adhere to it, she wins.

Bev Jo cites the fact that her neighbor has noisy kids to prove that she's not really a woman. Because everyone knows that people who have a woman parent are never noisy! Seriously, that sort of argument is best reserved for explaining how the neighborhood was great until the Puerto Ricans showed up.

She also leaves a succession of comments without anyone responding to her. Something tells me that this particular person should be ignored.

Of course, I'm a man who's probably myself trying to infiltrate women's space so I should be ignored too.

Alex said:

"Of course, I'm a man who's probably myself trying to infiltrate women's space so I should be ignored too."

Well, at least you *admit* you are a man, unlike us 'castrated male trannies'...we are raping them just by showing up on the site, it seems... ;)

I loved the 'gunshots at Michigan Womyn's festival' thing. I am not saying it didn't happen, but I Googled it, and the only thing that came up besides unrelated things that had some of the individual words was her post.

The only thing worth commenting on Bev Jo's "MichFest" info is that she repeats the old urban myth of trans women showing their penises in the showers. The real story behind that was post-op trans man Anthony Barreto-Neto (who's also, btw, a former cop) attended MichFest (and I have my own issues with that... but he wanted to and they let him in). He asked if he could use the showers when others weren't using it and warned staff he was in there. The story instantly morphed into "penis in the showers" and even more quickly into "trans woman penis in the showers." These stories need to be corrected because they certainly do get Googled and repeated ad nauseum and repeated as fact.

Here's a link to the info: http://eminism.org/michigan/19990800-barretoneto.txt

Well, we wouldn't want a silly thing like the truth to ruin Bev Jo's point, now *would* we?

I must disagree. Real harm is being done here.

Example: The UK Equality Act 2010.

Gender reassignment: paragraph 28

749. This paragraph replaces a similar provision in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Example

A group counselling session is provided for female victims of sexual assault. The organisers do not allow transsexual people to attend as they judge that the clients who attend the group session are unlikely to do so if a male-to-female transsexual person was also there. This would be lawful.

...

Schedule 9: Work: exceptions

Part 1: Occupational requirements

A counsellor working with victims of rape might have to be a woman and not a transsexual person, even if she has a gender recognition certificate, in order to avoid causing them further distress.

So what does that mean? It means that there is one "protected" class where protection is explicitly removed, not granted. It means that a gender recognition certificate is not worth the paper it's printed on. Rather than being a recognition that they are of the target gender, it's a nullity, as the law states that they're not, not really. The provisions of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 that over-rode that 1975 act have now been repealed. There is a distinction between "women" and "transsexual persons with (or without) gender recognition certificates" now.

That is the kind of real harm that results when GLB-friendly legislators are lobbied by subsections of the "Gay Lobby", not merely not yo grant Trans people rights, but to remove existing ones.

To make a distinction between rape of cissexual women, and the lesser crime of sexual assault against trans women. And to classify all trans women in "stealth" as rapists if they engage in consensual sex.

As the newly installed co-editor of The Magazine Project wrote:

I have just been given admin access at the magazine....I deleted everything I thought I could get away with. I may have missed some, but as far as I know I deleted everything... stealth-trans rape apologism...insistence that women and trannies are the same...equating the sexual assaults that women sometimes commit with rape...comparing radfems with genocidal maniacs like Hitler...If I owned the magazine, trans would have no place there, same as my blog.
She got her wish in the end, personal friendship trumped principle.

Bev Jo, the author of "Castrated Men etc." wrote, regarding the TDOR:

They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.
Mere hyperbole, perhaps, in other contexts. Except threats are made too.
..they’re the ones who kept taking about violence and murder. But really, they should be careful about giving some angry women those ideas. I can’t imagine that every one of them hasn’t raped or molested a female at some point.
If a member the KKK warned "uppitty niggers" of making too much fuss about lynchings lest it give "angry white folks ideas", the threat would be no more direct.

In a recent "Violence Against Women" conference, a transphobic screed by this very same clique was posted in the women's loos. Saying they deserved everything they got. That their existence was in itself an act of violence, an act of rape, against all women.

While a minority view, it had considerable support from some of the speakers, who have great political influence amongst progressive politicians.

The UK Equality Act 2010 is one such result. So trans women who have been raped have nowhere to go. And to require that an employee of a counselling service for trans people be trans themselves would be illegal discrimination. A requirement that they not be trans though would arguably be quite legal.

It's not just another group of nutters calling for extermination of undesirables. They have power, within the GLB(t) movement.

I must disagree. Real harm is being done here.

Example: The UK Equality Act 2010.

Gender reassignment: paragraph 28

749. This paragraph replaces a similar provision in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Example

A group counselling session is provided for female victims of sexual assault. The organisers do not allow transsexual people to attend as they judge that the clients who attend the group session are unlikely to do so if a male-to-female transsexual person was also there. This would be lawful.

...

Schedule 9: Work: exceptions

Part 1: Occupational requirements

A counsellor working with victims of rape might have to be a woman and not a transsexual person, even if she has a gender recognition certificate, in order to avoid causing them further distress.

So what does that mean? It means that there is one "protected" class where protection is explicitly removed, not granted. It means that a gender recognition certificate is not worth the paper it's printed on. Rather than being a recognition that they are of the target gender, it's a nullity, as the law states that they're not, not really. The provisions of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 that over-rode that 1975 act have now been repealed. There is a distinction between "women" and "transsexual persons with (or without) gender recognition certificates" now.

That is the kind of real harm that results when GLB-friendly legislators are lobbied by subsections of the "Gay Lobby", not merely not yo grant Trans people rights, but to remove existing ones.

To make a distinction between rape of cissexual women, and the lesser crime of sexual assault against trans women. And to classify all trans women in "stealth" as rapists if they engage in consensual sex.

As the newly installed co-editor of The Magazine Project wrote:

I have just been given admin access at the magazine....I deleted everything I thought I could get away with. I may have missed some, but as far as I know I deleted everything... stealth-trans rape apologism...insistence that women and trannies are the same...equating the sexual assaults that women sometimes commit with rape...comparing radfems with genocidal maniacs like Hitler...If I owned the magazine, trans would have no place there, same as my blog.
She got her wish in the end, personal friendship trumped principle.

Bev Jo, the author of "Castrated Men etc." wrote, regarding the TDOR:

They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.
Mere hyperbole, perhaps, in other contexts. Except threats are made too.
..they’re the ones who kept taking about violence and murder. But really, they should be careful about giving some angry women those ideas. I can’t imagine that every one of them hasn’t raped or molested a female at some point.
If a member the KKK warned "uppitty niggers" of making too much fuss about lynchings lest it give "angry white folks ideas", the threat would be no more direct.

In a recent "Violence Against Women" conference, a transphobic screed by this very same clique was posted in the women's loos. Saying they deserved everything they got. That their existence was in itself an act of violence, an act of rape, against all women.

While a minority view, it had considerable support from some of the speakers, who have great political influence amongst progressive politicians.

The UK Equality Act 2010 is one such result. So trans women who have been raped have nowhere to go. And to require that an employee of a counselling service for trans people be trans themselves would be illegal discrimination. A requirement that they not be trans though would arguably be quite legal.

It's not just another group of nutters calling for extermination of undesirables. They have power, within the GLB(t) movement.

Power, I'll buy. But I think it's important that we compartmentalize the harm quotient to a place where it won't affect our personal affairs.

The woman in my example was allowing a pseudoanonymous blogger to take away her femininity. The whole "womanlier than thou" diatribe has been tossed at everybody from childless women to unwed mothers to women who elected for an abortion and... well, pretty much any Other we could imagine within the world of women. Some people just need to define themselves by rejecting what they aren't, and sometimes this definition is created with a side of angry phobia. Them's the breaks.

Worth comes from within - if we recognize this, the harm is entirely external. We go from being directly threatened to wielding power of our own. That was what I wanted to impress with this article - no matter how much these people screech, I'm still a woman to the people that matter. Nothing can change this. No matter what Bev Jo says, or what the government says, I am a woman because I say I'm a woman. There's power in this.

I work with a local trans rights association in Midwest America. We have a large, looming anti-LGBT lobbying group ready to crush anything we try to do. We have little power, but we exert influence in the margins by insisting on our self-worth.

Zoe,

The point I was originally trying to make was that the sort of trans-hate that TPM is pushing falls on fertile ground in lesbian circles.

You have shown how that can also happen in GL groups that have the political connections, and get passed on to well-meaning ppl in policy-making groups (I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that they are just doing what their 'GLBT' contacts recommend...and I am guessing those same policy makers get confused and then annoyed when the trans women hear what is happening and start to complain, so we are back to 'angry trannies' again).

My impression is that the vast majority of non-trans ppl are uncomfortable with trans ppl at some level, perhaps even without realizing it. To me, this is basis for the 'fertile ground' for the kind of stuff like you see on TMP.

I am not sure what the answer is to counter this other than to keep being who we are to society in general and waiting for attitudes to catch up a bit. Even at that, there will always be fearful, paranoid ppl who attack anyone not exactly like themselves (remember, the women on TMP are even attacking other women-born-women who have ever been with a man).

I personally don't see a lot of benefit in going to the sites of transphobes or homophobes or racists or misogynists or whatever and trying to educate them or confront them. These sorts of ppl are willfully ignorant and work hard to stay that way.

I feel that countering them on their sites just reinforces the way they already feel: "Castrated men who call themselves women are a threat to us, and look, we are right, they are coming to our well-meaning little 'real women' space and attacking us!"

Personally, I don't worry too much about that site, unlike Alex. The writing is so bad, the paranoria so over the top, that I don't think too many ppl are going to wonder in there and relate to them. These ppl more worry me out in the world, where Kian talks of knowing them, and you talk of them having influence in more mainstream rl settings. I feel this is where they have the most impact, and that keeping a presence of trans ppl to counter it is most important.

Thanks for sharing the link to your friend's tumblr Austen. It is a much needed site and sites like that need more exposure! Maybe an idea for a future article for Bilerico could be to compile a list of empowering websites for trans-women? I think that poor self esteem is a huge problem for many trans people but espeacially trans women and sharing sites like that one can only help.

Ames Says:December 2, 2010 at 3:36 am

“Perhaps we should start a National Center For Trans Rights and use it to work against the sexist objectives of the transgender movement… ‘National Center For Trans Rights calls for the cessation of surgical and psychiatric butchery of gender non-conforming individuals’, etc.”
Not a bad idea and no reason not to in the age of cheap web sites and free Facebook groups. How about the National Center for Gender Non-conformity – that would peel off any number of “queer” folks who are probably more and more likely to see that their belief in gender fluidity is not a natural fit with the butchery and cultural appropriation of the trans movement.

False-Flag ops, anyone? Care to bet that they won't set up a "tranny" website advocating pedophilia and rape as part of the "trans agenda"? One that will be seized on and used in political campaigns by the Religious Reich?

You must remember that it was Janice Raymond's report to the Federal Government that led to existing medical coverage for trans people being withdrawn in the early 80's.

It's one thing to gasbag on. That's what freedom of speech is all about. Actions speak louder than words. But they've acted before now, this is not all just talk in the Great American Tradition. They mean it, and have acted in the past.

All we can do is expose them to the public gaze. To stymie their plans for False Flag ops by publicising them before they put them into place.

Zoe, if I pretended to know as much about Australia as you pretend to know about The USA people would suspect I lived there.