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Pre-2008 Posts

Are Feminists Allowed to Be Partnered with Transmen and Transwomen?

I got myself entangled in a trainwreck discussion on the internet, the likes of which I know better than to allow myself  to be anywhere near.  When I make this particular mistake these days, it is usually because (1) I feel under some obligation, morally, ethically, as a feminist/anti-racist/anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist activist, or just personally,  to make my position known on some issue (as opposed to just feeling like commenting about something); (2) because I (naively, I know, but I’ve always been hard-headed like that) believe that some conflict has mostly to do with mixed-up or poor communication, and I, communicator that I am, might therefore be able to participate productively and usefully in the resolution of the conflict.  Both of these factors figured in to my unwise decision to enter into the trainwreck which is at issue.

I was the only radical feminist in the discussion who held the specific views as to transgender that I hold (and other things as well, but the issue was transgender).  I was hugely outnumbered, and not only outnumbered, but outnumbered by people who (1) don’t know what my views are; (2) think they do know; (3) haven’t evidenced they have even begun to think deeply around issues of transgender as they relate to  feminism and gender, in general, but who hold the erroneous belief that they have; (4) relentlessly mischaracterize and misunderstand my and other radical feminist views; (5) reject what I say out of hand before I can say it, most of the time and reassert all of the above instead of evidencing any interest in actually communicating.   So, that was a setup for disaster.  Hopefully, I am at least a bit closer to the day when I manage to stop myself before I throw myself under these trains the way I do at times. 

Anyway.  From time to time I am going to write about issues raised in that particular thread.  For today, I am going to begin with the sentence up there which is the title of this post:  “Are Feminists Allowed to Be Partnered with Transmen and Transwomen?”

The roots, the source, of much of the conflict which resulted in that trainwreck I’ve described are in evidence in that  question.  I could write a book about the problems with that question.  I am sure that over the years I have been writing on these topics, I have, in fact, written many books.  But for now I’m going to say a few things, somewhat succinctly, or maybe not.

(1)   Where, I would like to know,  is the feminist cabal, the feminist elite, the inner, powerful, circle, which is empowered or enfranchised to “allow” any woman, or man, or child, anywhere on the face of the earth, to do anything, or not?  Where is the feminist legislature, the feminist judiciary, the feminist executive branch, charged with deciding what people are or aren’t allowed to do, and then enforcing their views, imposing them on people?  Of course, those questions are rhetorical.  We all know there is no feminist cabal operating anywhere on the face of the earth.  We all know feminists don’t have any power to “allow” or not allow anybody to do anything at all, to tell anybody what to do, or what not to do.  And yet an otherwise intelligent and thoughtful feminist asked this particular question which is in this post title, evidencing, as have so many others I can’t even begin to count them over the years, a very strange underlying thesis or view that feminists somewhere, somehow, “allow” people to do certain things, or don’t allow them to, or tell them what to do, and what not to do.

What is it with this inability so many have in distinguishing between the having of, and the expressing of, a point of view, an opinion, as against occupying an actual position of power which would allow for imposing some point of view on the unwilling?  Expressing a point of view is just expressing a point of view.  My opinions are binding on no one.   Your opinions are binding on no one, if you are simply a feminist woman.  I command no one.  I wouldn’t command anyone if I could, because my feminist beliefs preclude it.  I don’t tell anyone what to do, not my children, not even my cats, dog, and sheep.   I am a noncoercive parent to both my children and my animals.  When I talk about what I believe about a thing, I am just talking about what I believe about a thing.  And that’s the way I hear what people say to me, too.   When someone tells me they believe XYZ about whatever, it doesn’t occur to me to worry that they might not “allow” me to believe or act differently from them based on their differing view.  Where does that kind of thinking even come from?

(2)  The question at issue, “Are Feminists Allowed to be Partnered with Transmen and Transwomen,” evidences an alarming lack of understanding of,  insight into, or knowledge of radical feminist community.  I have to wonder if lies about radical feminism aren’t being taught straight up, outright, by those who really do have authority to “allow” or to not “allow,” like, to some degree, teachers, professors, boards and committees of various kinds. 

On to answering the question:  One reason the radical feminist community is as exercised as it is in issues around transgender, one reason it has written voluminously about these issues,  is — hold onto your hats  — transgender individuals have always, always, always been among us in our radical feminist communities.  Always.  Going back to the early days of the Second Wave, and before that into the 50s and earlier, before anybody identified as a “radical feminist.”  They have been among us as friends, sisters, lovers, sex partners, mothers, fathers, and yes, as wives, and as husbands (although radical feminists generally oppose civil marriage).   Some transgender people have, from time to time, wittingly or unwittingly, deliberately or accidentally, been the source of very, very serious, and I do mean serious, difficulties and conflicts among us, and not because of theories, beliefs, hare-brained ideas about something or other.  Some have been the source of very serious difficulty and division among us because of their behaviors, their actions which harmed our communities or gave rise to events which caused harm to our communities.

In other words, radical feminists have not developed and honed our views around transgender issues in some maude-forsaken academented vacuum in which non-engaged, non-involved, non-transgender, talking heads sit around pontificating on about the lives and fates of those they have never met or engaged in real life, or loved, or, for that matter, hated.  Radical feminists have developed and honed our views around transgender together with transgender people, for better or for worse, often with tremendous difficulty, in the crucible of human connection and community.  My experience is, ask 10 radical feminists whether they’ve had an intimate relationship with a transgender person, 9 will say they have.  Ask 10 radical feminists whether they have been close friends with transgender persons at some point in time, 10 will say they have.  In the positions we take, we speak from our own lived experiences.  We have paid for the beliefs that we hold, too.  Sometimes we have paid very dearly, which is a post I am going to write one of these days.

Well, anyway.  If that question actually made any sense, the answer to it would be “yes, radical feminists, feminists, period, are ‘allowed’ to be partnered with transmen and transwomen.”  If the question made any sense,  another answer might be, “Not only are radical feminists, feminists, allowed to be partnered with transmen and transwomen, sometimes radical feminists ARE transmen and transwomen.”  You know?  But again, the question is nonsensical from a radical feminist perspective.

Our  theory, as radical feminists,  doesn’t lead our practice.  If it does, it has nothing to do with radical feminism.  What I mean by this is, radical feminists don’t tell women they ought to do this, that or the other thing because radical feminist theory requires or mandates it.  That’s not how radical feminism works or has ever worked.  For us, practice always leads theory.  We live out our lives, we talk about what we are living, we compare notes, we process, we make theory out of what we have experienced.   Always we recognize that we and all women know things with our lives, far beyond any theory that has ever yet been written by any woman.  And that being so, when push comes to shove, and it is time to act, or not, there is no such thing as any of us “allowing” any woman anything, or “not allowing” or anything like that.  It doesn’t work that way.   All of our talking and arguing and discussing, ranting, raving, screaming, blowing up, losing it, cursing, telling someone off, giving someone the piece of our mind we can’t afford to lose? That’s process if it takes place in radical feminist community.  At the end of the day, those of us who truly are committed to women and to one another will say some version of, huh, that was interesting, might take a while sometimes, we might be slow, but we’ll get there, and then we will move forward in our living out of our feminist lives, and in our making theory out of what we are living.  If someone sets herself up to be the arbiter of what is or is not to be allowed, others of us will come along in time to engage in a bit of healthy radfem smackdown (discursive only, of course).  And that is all to the good.   Because women have to live by their own lights, staying connected with other women who are also living by their own lights, making their own lives with their own hands, then making feminist theory out of the lives they are making for themselves.

If you (generic “you”) take it upon yourself to straighten out communities of women to which you do not belong,  at a bare minimum, you ought to have a clear understanding of what those women actually believe and of where their beliefs come from.  This is something any beginning student of international feminism, or anthropology, or archaeology, or sociology,  knows.  This is something plain, ordinary wise people know.  You don’t just barge into a community, a culture, which is unfamiliar to you, and start straightening out the ignorant peasants and heathen hordes with your infinitely more brilliant truths.  You watch.  You listen.  You show respect.  You ask questions.  You gain the trust of the community.  Most of the time, what you will find out is, the people you don’t understand, the people you don’t respect, those you find soooo ignorant and soooo backwards, and oh sooooo 70s or 60s or 50s or whatever?  They have sound,  brilliant,  tried and true, time-tested reasons, forged in the difficulties and challenges of real life,  for the things that they do and the beliefs that they hold.  It is no different for the radical feminist/lesbian separatist community.  No one has any right to present for the purpose of straightening any of us out, especially if you haven’t done your homework as to who we are and what our history is, as a community.  That’s part and parcel of the same imperialist/colonialist spirit you so despise in the patriarchs.  But if you do presume to straighten out a community of women, knowing nothing about who they are or what they believe, and they won’t allow it, and turn their backs on you– well, that’s sad.  But that is also what they are going to have to do, for the sake of their own mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical well-being.  Yes, these are hard words.  Sometimes, it’s time for hard words, and this is one of those times. 

Heart

**********

Note:  I am going to severely moderate this thread.  I will not have trainwrecks here around this issue.  I am letting everybody know,  if you comment, particularly if you are new to this blog, your comments will be moderated. – Heart

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Discussion

335 thoughts on “Are Feminists Allowed to Be Partnered with Transmen and Transwomen?

  1. Could you please link to the discussion you’re referring to? I have no idea what you’re referring to and I’d like a little context.

    Posted by Melinda Casino (Sour Duck) | December 29, 2006, 2:28 am
  2. Thank you. One of the comments that drove me most crazy when I responded to Anamata was that radical feminists would never be involved with a man or someone born a man. My strong feelings that transwomen should be included in women’s spaces comes from friends, allies, and, yes, lovers I have had that are transgendered. Here I am marked a handmaiden of the patriarchy by some for having relations with men and standing up for trans folk and radical by others for my belief in the complete overthrow of all dominance and submission paradigms. You said it better then I could. Feel free to edit this comment as you see fit, I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for explaining it better then I ever could.

    Posted by Burrow | December 29, 2006, 2:40 am
  3. Hi,

    I found your blog today and have very much appreciated what you’ve said here.

    Kita

    Posted by Kita Kazoo | December 29, 2006, 2:55 am
  4. Before I can read any further, why must the people who were discussing this be dismissed as a trainwreck?

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 29, 2006, 3:29 am
  5. ***the feminist cabal, the feminist elite, the inner, powerful, circle, which is empowered or enfranchised to “allow” any woman, or man, or child, anywhere on the face of the earth, to do anything, or not?***

    I always find that belief (that there is such a cabal) striking when it comes out of the mouth of a contemporary because it reminds me of something I read in Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology about “scholarship” surrounding the European witchcraze. The 16th century “genius” Jean Bodin was of the opinion “that there existed, not only in France, a complete organization of witches, immensely wealthy, of almost infinite potentialities, most cleverly captained, with centres and cells in every district, utilizing an espionage in every land, with high placed adherents at court, with humble servitors in the cottage.” It also sort of reminds me of some people who think that the world is run by a “Jewish cabal.” Purely delusional!

    Posted by Branjor | December 29, 2006, 3:35 am
  6. If someone sets herself up to be the arbiter of what is or is not to be allowed, others of us will come along in time to engage in a bit of healthy radfem smackdown (discursive only, of course).

    I think that is what was alleged. A body of people did set up who was allowed by not moderating. And although I understand how it would eventually be worked out according to a self policing body, it appears that for people who are acutely aware of being part of the not allowed or abused felt like it was not happening quick enough. Or when it was brought to the attention, it was treated with flippancy.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 29, 2006, 3:39 am
  7. Hi Heart. I read through the thread I believe you are referencing, just now. I can understand why your felt misunderstood. I disagree with you about some things, but I found your comments thoughtful, and not meanspirited. There are some really awful comments there, though. I’m still trying to figure out why it got so nasty.

    On a happier note, I recently got my first issue of “off our backs” and it’s really good!

    Posted by Ann Bartow | December 29, 2006, 4:52 am
  8. Melinda, sorry about the omission of a link, I was posting quickly from work and meant to link, but didn’t. The thread is here.

    Branjor, creepy, the conspiracy theories about “witches,” but the church did that, too, really, justified the burning times by insisting that powerful witches were pulling all sorts of cosmic strings.

    Burrow, hugs to you. :( {{{}}}

    I know there are radfems and lesbian separatists who have never partnered with transgendered persons– maybe I was too extreme there. There might be many more than 1 in 10 who have been with women only, ever. But every time I have this discussion with radfems/lesbian separatists, it feels like by far most of the women say something like, “I had a relationship with a transwoman and….” The thing is, we are outlaw womyn, we are outliers, marginalized, and as such radical feminists, lesbian separatists, transwomen, transmen– well, we find each other, encounter each other.

    chasingmoksha, I don’t mean to be dismissive in any way in describing the thread at issue as a trainwreck. Trainwrecks are very, very serious things. I have tremendous respect for their power. I’ve been really really hurt in trainwreck threads in the past and so I try to protect myself now. I meant no disrespect or dismissiveness, quite the opposite.

    I know you may feel that you and I disagree on things. That’s okay; I’m fine with us disagreeing. I still want to say, though, that you did not deserve to be treated the way you were treated in that thread. You worked very hard to communicate, to engage, to be clear in expressing your views. For this, you were shat upon, and it really, really sucked. I felt horrible for you and wished I were in some position to offer you support, but given the acrimony coming my way, anything I might have said on your behalf would have made things infinitely worse. I wish you and I could have the discussion I want to have with you. Maybe someday we can have it. For now, I want to say again that you didn’t deserve the treatment you received in that thread, and I hate it that you were subjected to that. I also deeply respect you for the hard work you put in to saying what you felt you needed to say.

    Ann Bartow, thanks. Whaddya mean you disagree with me about some things, you know I’m RIGHT. :P My thinking is, the truest thing spoken in that thread was spoken by bfp where she said that I was the stand in for 30 years of white radical feminists. Dang, do I have some posts to write about that! But I think she’s very correct, and I think the awful comments had to do with precisely what she said there.

    Yay, you subscribed to oob, glad you like it! I haven’t got mine yet. I love that publication. Damn right, it’s good and it’s been SO good for 35 years now, just continually a source of fine journalism. I’m so proud to be part of it.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 29, 2006, 7:07 am
  9. Don’t worry about it Heart. The sex positive crowd (which is being used loosely, because it is more like only a few people) had it out for me regardless of what I said or what side I sided with. I do not adhere to one doctrine specifically and some feel uncomfortable with that, they seem to need to put be in a box which is ironic since the whole point (I thought) was to get out of a box.

    I read about sex positive feminists and radical feminist using wiki. I know it is not the greatest source but I just want to make sure I am not getting something fundamentally wrong. There is a paragraph about radical feminisms that does not include a precursor such as “the neutrality of this is questioned” so I do not know for sure if it is a definite tenant of radical feminism or not, but I do strongly disagree, and that is the matriarchy wants to replace the patriarchy. I think that would contradict the whole premise of trying to eliminate dominance. One is no better than the other when it is forcing people to submit. I do know that the accusation in wiki could be the result of patriarchy attempting to demonize radical feminists, so I am taking that with a grain of salt.

    Nevertheless, my heart lies in powering over with POC issues as my focus. I have to try very hard not to put that before everything else, so I do not see why others do not strive for the same. Yet, I understand my personality type, and I am in fact as rational as I have been accused of.

    I often agree with BFP and BA because I do think they have a moral compass, and I may add myself (at the risk of sounding condescending. And by not listing others I am not eliminating them, I am simply focusing on the main people I read). People in general do not like hearing the results of the moral (I am not talking in a religious sense, but just in what is right) compass. However, regardless of how pessimistic or how history has shown, I cannot believe that the discourse (regardless of how stinging it can be) is invaluable. Therefore, I trudge on. Usually by myself, because I am usually attacked in some round about way, and can not remember ever having anyone come down on my side. Even though Nanette is always very very good to me, and I appreciate her immensely. But it is not about me, but on the other hand, I am still a person.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 29, 2006, 8:32 am
  10. thank you for posting this, heart. i can say that i’ve lost a few friends – trans friends mostly, and specifically m2f trans women friends – when they discovered that i was involved with our declaration/affirmation on the importance of woman only spaces. in that sense, part of “my” community of trans women have “not allowed” me to partner with radical feminists.

    i can totally relate to your feelings of aloneness in the thread in question. i can’t count the number of times i’ve been out numbered in discussions, especially by people who make assumptions about who and what i am and feel about the issues. times when i post on the mwmf boards, as one example.

    i really wish we could find some kind of neutral ground, in which a few representative of each community could feel comfortable in discussing the issues with each other.

    i’m so tired of fighting, and i’m so ready to work together toward our common goals.

    Posted by nexyjo | December 29, 2006, 8:44 am
  11. Deleted for the time being at author’s request.

    Posted by rich | December 29, 2006, 11:29 am
  12. Hi Heart, Loved the post and although I’ve not ventured into activism, I’m a dedicated feminist in the making and am learning a lot from your web site. I just wanted to point out one thing: that the overall picture is one of fundamentalism. You, of all people (and I kindly mean because of your history), should realize what fundamentalism means, even if exhibited in a supposedly enlightened context such as feminism. It’s that irresistible power-over model that whispers in people’s ears that they are divinely sanctioned to tell others what to do, because they perceive themselves to be right doctrinally. There are fundamentalists spouting “correct” doctrine in EVERY sphere of life: science, religion, and politics chiefly. I’ve found that blogging invites these sorts of people and to disagree is to invite wrath. You have clarified the chief points brilliantly. Thank you!

    Posted by Midwest Doubter | December 29, 2006, 12:32 pm
  13. What I would like to expand upon is the seemingly common practice of posters who have little or no real knowledge of feminism, radical feminism and the basic foundations of the same, posting within, regards to or referencing a feminist discussion, and immediately derailing a discussion or bad mouthing feminists with name calling and accusations. It does, at times, have the effect of ending any real discussion when a poster, one who thinks they know what feminism *is*, starts calling womyn bigots, (insert word)-phobes, haters, ignorant, anti-(insert word), and the list goes on. All of it is just name calling, baseless accusations, troll-like and a diversionary tactic without any value or substance to real discussion.

    There is then so much energy spent on the diversion, trying to educate the poster as to what feminism is. The real discussion is then, at times, lost in dealing with name-calling persons who troll with diversions, who want to stop and change any conversations that feminists may be having. Yet, every day, every week, a new poster hops into a feminist discussion, otherwise bashes feminist’s discussions and pulls the same ol crap. If any of those posters are reading this now, and it applies to you, do the reading and research that many people have asked you to do.

    If I were to post on a board where Fords were being discussed, and I had an opinion regarding how Jeeps are better, I damn well better know Fords inside and out before I enter any debate and start calling the Ford people names for the opinions they hold, without ever discussing and refusing to talk about the details of the foundation of their Ford opinions. How could I be anything but non-educated and bent on creating friction if I went to that Ford board and start name calling, and they reacted because, well obviously I haven’t even looked into the frame of a Ford, what drives the chassis, yet I am telling them just how ignorant and wrong *they* are, and that they should simply cease to exist as they are. They are reminded that they are going to be hounded by the likes of me forever, until they are gone, cease to exist or agree that Jeeps are better. All the while, I really don’t know anything about the basic foundation of Fords, but I may think I do, because someone told me something about what they think Fords are all about, so I jumped on the anti-Ford wagon.

    Same holds true for any person(s) who pass judgments on feminism, and radical feminists. There is more often than not a deep and severe lack of knowledge presented by those posters regarding the most basic foundations of feminisms. For cripes sake, read folks, get an education, listen and learn from those that do know and intimately understand what the elemental foundations are and then try out the waters, with an informed base. Come into the debate with an intelligent, informed position.

    Feminists are becoming very tired and savvy to this name calling tactic.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | December 29, 2006, 2:47 pm
  14. “Are there even enough trans-whomevers out there so every radical feminst can have at least one of her own?”

    estimates of the prevalence of transsexuals range from 1:30,000 in the 1994 dsm-iv, to 1:2500 (those who have sex reassignment surgery) by lynn conway, who uses the actual numbers of surgeries performed by the 5 or 10 top surgeons. there are also estimates that suggest only 1 in 10 trans women actually have surgery. even with the lower estimates, assuming the u.s. population is 300 million, there are 10,000 trans women in the u.s. who have had bottom surgery, assuming my math is correct.

    Posted by nexyjo | December 29, 2006, 3:23 pm
  15. The legal system in this (and probably every) country requires gender labels and enforces gender binaries, and that being so, I’ve always been inclined to let people decide for themselves which label to choose. Of course, that doesn’t solve very much, because even when they get to make it, people get stuck with their choice in negative ways later (for a example a person who chooses “female” and then wants to marry a woman). I know the issues raised here are well beyond legal ones, but that’s the piece I think about a lot. Opening marriage up to any two adults who want to marry might improve life for a lot of people.

    Another area of “overlap” is bathrooms. Many women need to sit to urinate, while many men do not, and many women wear more complicated and restrictive clothing than many men, so that on average women need more time to go to the bathroom than men do, leading to the long bathroom lines we have all experienced when men plan buildings and allocate inadequate bathroom facilities for “females.” Co-ed bathrooms would solve a lot of problems for women, and end one unnecessary system of binaries. Some really smart law profs have written about this, and I’d be happy to provide links and cites if anyone is interested. As an emprirical matter, co-ed bathrooms structured as a series of single rooms that each have a toilet and sink have worked really well in many contexts.

    Those are just two examples and I don’t want to go on forever. My point is that feminist problem solving around eliminating gendered legal strictures can sometimes benefit everyone, so for me, that’s a good place to focus.

    Posted by Ann Bartow | December 29, 2006, 4:54 pm
  16. Dang, there’s a lot to respond to!

    chasingmoksha, I think you totally nailed it when you said the sex positive crowd had it in for you. I wonder how much of what uppitybiscuit has described, when you get right down to it, amounts to a whole lot of people being pissed because radical feminists in all of our staggering might and power :P have challenged pornography, prostituting people, and specific sexual practices like blowjobs and SM. How did we arrive at this place in history where you can’t even challenge this stuff? We’re fricking surrounded by it all the time and suffocated by it, everywhere we look, in our e-mail boxes, on the newsstand at the grocery store, in the ads on Craig’s List and the Stranger, and you-name-it supposedly “alternative” newspaper, full to the brim, always with “escort” ads that are straight up ads for prostituted people, with doms and dungeons and so on. Heck, the Lesbian Resource Center schedule here doesn’t have regular meetings for feminists but last time I looked (which has admittedly been a while), there were all sorts of regularly scheduled SM “play parties!” So what the hell is up with the outrage over our simply challenging that stuff. I mean, take a look at the “Truth About Men” post here, which is always one of the most popular posts. THAT is the kind of sentiment towards women that is floating around amongst men looking for sex with women. Does anybody care about that? If you’re a feminist, why don’t you? I don’t understand. But once you start talking about porn, negatively, or SM, negatively, or blowjobs, negatively, you are SO in for it. You are going to get reamed a new one every time you show up in a discussion, no matter what the discussion is about. It’s like you did the forbidden thing which can never be forgiven, you raised the issue of the sacred holy blow job, or whatever.

    Re wikipedia’s definition of radical feminism– I haven’t looked at it, and I will, but it’s not correct to say that radical feminists want to replace the patriarchy with the matriarchy. That’s a common accusation against radfems, just as you say, but it isn’t true. Having said that, there’s a lot more to say about that. Radical feminists aren’t, again, a monolith. There also aren’t too many radical feminists who aren’t simultaneously other kinds of feminist. Not to mention, we’re all learning and changing our minds about things and trying out new positions and so forth. In general though, in general, radical feminism and feminists aren’t about any matriarchy. Some have a real aversion to even that word, or any kind of talk about that kind of thing. Many want to stay far, far away from discussions of motherhood, maternity, women’s connection with nature, women as nurturers, women’s “ways of knowing,” women’s spirituality, etc. At the same time, interestingly, some of this group are not anti-war or nonviolent. There have always been radical feminists who advocated for violence, at least for the sake of self-defense, and sometimes for the sake of revolution. It is really “cultural” feminists who are more interested in the idea of a matriarchal culture, or in historic matriarchal or matrilineal cultures, but cultural and radical feminisms are commonly confused. Having said all of that, it’s very possible to be both a cultural and a radical feminist. That’s how I self-define, as both a cultural and radical feminist (also as an anarchafeminist and an ecofeminist). An important difference between radical feminism and cultural feminism is in the understanding of biology, genetics, the idea that women and men are different more because of biology than because of how they are socialized. Here, I am a radical feminist, though not 100 percent, as some are. I believe that gender is socially constructed and imposed on people on the basis of their biology. But I also believe that women’s and men’s biology informs their experiences of gender construction in ways which are unavoidable. Which makes me not a 100 percent social constructionist.

    Feminists who are matriarchists are not proposing replacing patriarchy with a matriarchy in the sense of just replacing the men who dominate with women who dominate. Matriarchies, as the term is understood by those who are matriarchal, are noncoercive, consensus communities. It’s interesting, there are two bloggers, Morgaine and Athana, of The Goddess and Radical Goddess Theology, who commented about that very thing a couple of days ago. The term “matriARCHal” is really a misnomer, in that the matriarchies feminists envisioned aren’t “-archies” proper, in other words, it’s not the “rule of the mothers,” as patriarchy is the “rule of the fathers.” It’s a whole new paradigm. A good place to learn about this if you’re into the academic side of things is here, the International Academy of Modern Matriarchal Studies. But The Goddess and Radical Goddess Theology are good sources, too.

    It’s interesting, someone on bfp’s thread said they figured Twisty’s ideas came from Michfest. Not true. Based on what I’ve read, Twisty is not a Michfest kind of a person at all, really, as many radical feminists are not. Then again, from my experience, Michfest is what remains of radical feminist/lesbian separatist community in the United States, and it’s really all that remains of it in organized form, which is why it is so central and important to me and others. Anyway, I’m saying this because it’s an example of the way radical feminists differ, and yet we still hold certain distinctives in common, especially distinctives around the importance of eliminating gender and the importance of eliminating dominance heirarchies, what you’re referring to as “power over,” chasingmoksha.

    I have five biracial daughters: 31, 21, 19, 17, 15, and three biracial granddaughters (so far). I want them to live and grow up in a world in which they do not suffer on account of their race or their sex. What I know is, sexual violence is racialized violence, and racialized violence is sexualized violence. I don’t think these can be separated. But one thing I know: eliminate pornography, you eliminate that particular expression of racialized violence. Eliminate prostitution, you eliminate that expression of racialized violence. Eliminate SM and blowjobs and you eliminate any all of the connotations and enactments of power over and dominance hierarchies which end up reinforced by orgasms. To me, this is not rocket science. It is not difficult to understand– especially in that when we move beyond the old one-up/one-down paradigms in sexuality, when we reject the buying of some human beings for the pleasure of others, whether in pornography or via prostituting them, we must necessarily enter into a new time in history in which we experiment with liberatory sexual paradigms. Why is this so hard to grasp? I don’t want to go to fricking Michfest and see SM flyers on the Janes featuring a white woman dom and a black woman sub, as though this is just oh so hawt and progressive and transgressive. How in the fucking hell can it be? You’ve got to be kidding me– a white woman dom in a position of sexual, phyical power over with a black woman sub?! Screw THAT. (And I did, I ripped the damn things down and saved them in case I need to show someone what I mean. No way do I want my daughters exposed to that kind of thing as though sexuality can be bracketed off from everything else in one’s life; everywhere else you work for your own liberation as a woman of color, but in sexuality, you orgasm to signifiers of your subordination. Hell no.) But this is what “sex positive-ness” has given us, which is one example of why it is so aggravating the way radical feminism is cast as “racist”. THINK about things, would you? (Generic you, I know I’m preaching to the choir. I also know people are reading.)

    nexyjo, I hear you and have watched you stand alone many times, dissed by transpeople and feminists alike. It sucks. I’m right there with you– I’m sick sick sick to death of the fighting. I think the thing to do might be, as I’ve talked about before, to create a blog specifically for the petition, which, since you’ve mentioned it, might as well go there, it is here. I’ve dragged my feet on publicizing it for several reasons, one being, as you say, I’m just so done with fighting, and I know once it gets out there with wider visibility, I might have to. So, I procrastinate. But I’ve had the same thought you’ve had, that I’d like to see a few people discussing the issues with a few people. These free-for-alls are nothing but destructive. I also owe you an e-mail, and thanks for yours, it’s all good.

    Rich and Burrow– I missed whatever happened with Amananta that resulted in her post about her wife. Could you provide the link so I can see what happened and get the context for your comments?

    Uppitybiscuit, YES. I think it’s intentional, this coming in, all guns blazing anytime radical feminists are discussing something, to accuse, lie, attack, target, and so divert the discussion. Hell, it goes on when we’re not around, just this promulgation of nonsense into the blogosphere about what we supposedly believe/do whatever. Midwest doubter, YES to you, too, re fundamentalisms. What’s funny is, I get my past used against me when it makes a nice weapon (I know you aren’t doing that), and yet those who do that are often the fundie-est of all in their own ways!

    Ann Bartow, I completely support anybody being able to marry anybody if it’s marriage people want. So long as het people can marry, I think everybody should be able to. I don’t see that as a transgender issue, that’s just a civil rights/human rights issue as I think you’re saying there.

    I like the idea of bathrooms as series of single rooms with a toilet and sink, not only for the reasons you mention, but also to accommodate nursing mothers and women and men with children, so I think that’s a great idea. I agree with you that eliminating gendered legal strictures is in everyone’s best interests. By all means, post links to the articles you mention!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 29, 2006, 6:35 pm
  17. One more thought– Rich, I think the anger towards Twisty was that she didn’t moderate the Lipstick thread and so there was a lot of over-the-top stuff in there that it looked as though she approved or at least allowed. She later came in and said she hadn’t read it which didn’t go over so well. Then again, the thread immediately got derailed when someone came in early on to denounce Sheila Jeffreys for her views on transgender, which was off topic and a diversion. It was all downhill from there.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 29, 2006, 6:38 pm
  18. chasingmoksha

    You make the following comment adding that you are taking what the WP page on radical feminism says. You are right to do so. Much, if not all, of that page was written by pornography and prostitution positive men.

    I generally will not use WP as source for anything for two reasons: anyone can edit. Although it makes great pretense at being democratic and scholarly, it is not. Anyone can edit, and those who have the highest privileges there are very anti-feminist males.

    My second reason for seldom giving WP as resource is that it was founded on money Jimmy Wales raised with a pornography website named Bomis.

    Posted by Pony | December 29, 2006, 11:05 pm
  19. Sorry I neglected to put in chasingmoksha’s comment. And now also apologize for this tangent to the post focus. But I think it’s important because CM says she (and who knows how many others) read Wikipedia to learn about radical feminism.

    Chasingmoksha’s comment to which I respond:

    “There is a paragraph about radical feminisms that does not include a precursor such as “the neutrality of this is questioned” so I do not know for sure if it is a definite tenant of radical feminism or not, but I do strongly disagree, and that is the matriarchy wants to replace the patriarchy. I think that would contradict the whole premise of trying to eliminate dominance. One is no better than the other when it is forcing people to submit. I do know that the accusation in wiki could be the result of patriarchy attempting to demonize radical feminists, {grain of salt}. “

    Posted by Pony | December 29, 2006, 11:07 pm
  20. Tiny Cat Pants (such a great name for a blog!) has a great post, well worth reading, about all of this.

    I’m not delinking anybody because of this chapter of feminist blogosphere herstory. We’ll get through this. We’ll work it through and make amends and say sorry and whatever else. I am going to be updating my links, though, and I will be feeling horrible to have to delete “With My Nappy-Headed Ass,” whose blog is deleted now, and she’s not the only one who has deleted her blog. :(

    I read Tiny Cat Pants at Melinda Casino/Sour Duck’s place — thanks Melinda.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 6:48 am
  21. I posted this at Twisty’s “gone camping” thread, don’t know if it will make it so I’ll post here too:

    Before we all agree to murder the divine Luckynkl over some salty language, don’t forget this: that when men invade feminism they will marginalize issues having to do with being born with a uterus, IOW all the issues which Slade astutely listed: wartime rapes, peacetime rapes, multilation, welfare, abortion, birth control, all these will be secondary because they “privilege” being born with a uterus over the “underprivileged” position of deciding to pretend to be a woman.

    And to say that they “really are women” and that to question that is bigotry is—disemvowel me if you wish– Orwellian double-speak 2+2=5.

    Yes they are pretending, and to believe you’re something you’re not is insanity, and for others to enforce that insanity at the point of a retorical blade is also insanity.

    Why would patriarchs do it except to say that womanhood is frivilous?

    And that is the heart of what is so upsetting, isn’t it? To say MTF really aren’t women. That is the bigotry.

    And if that is true, and if Twisty can’t help us out here, this isn’t radical feminism, invocations of Solanis notwithstanding.

    So sad that another one folds like a polaroid camera.

    Posted by saltyC | December 30, 2006, 4:39 pm
  22. Hello, Heart. I came here from the discussion at Brownfemipower. Also good to see ChasingMoksha here and I’m glad you are still posting.

    First, I think I’m the person who brought up Michigan. It wasn’t in reference to Twisty, although I didn’t make that clear. It was a response to people saying, “I’m shocked! Shocked! This objection to transpolitics is coming from thin air and I simply don’t get how anyone can feel that way.” I wanted to say a bit of what you said here: there is a history and there has been a struggle and the politics of activist feminists are based on an amazing amount of thought, discussion and the long patient process of working for a better world.

    Uppity biscuit used a great metaphor: If I were to post on a board where Fords were being discussed, and I had an opinion regarding how Jeeps are better, I damn well better know Fords inside and out before I enter any debate and start calling the Ford people names for the opinions they hold….

    I disagree. There are places in which we allow people to come in and make ignorant statements and the internet is one of them. The best we can do is learn the proper methods to explain our disagreement in a way these “newbies” can hear them. Or we can ignore them. Or offer links to help educate them.

    Heart, I think I have a slightly different view of power than you as a result of my own experiences in women-only organizations. Empowerment is awesome and I’ve seen it work wonders. The problems I’ve experienced is when refusing to engage in action in order to avoid exercising power has caused significant harm. So I’m working toward some sort of balance: an ability to recognize when I have power and *must* use it and to learn to use it wisely and effectively, while recognizing my using power has serious consequences. OK, that wasn’t brief.

    Heart wrote: “What is it with this inability so many have in distinguishing between the having of, and the expressing of, a point of view, an opinion, as against occupying an actual position of power which would allow for imposing some point of view on the unwilling? Expressing a point of view is just expressing a point of view”

    And in comment #16 wrote: “But once you start talking about porn, negatively, or SM, negatively, or blowjobs, negatively, you are SO in for it.”

    Here’s where my own “newbie” question comes in. Neither radfems nor pro-prøn feminists are in positions of power over feminism. So why is a pro-prøn comment not “just expressing a point of view.” I am not referring to name calling. I saw a lot of name calling on the part of pony, Luckinlvl (sp?) and others as well as the “transphobic” name calling by people ignorant of our history.

    Heart wrote: But one thing I know: eliminate pornography, you eliminate that particular expression of racialized violence. Eliminate prostitution, you eliminate that expression of racialized violence. Eliminate SM and blowjobs and you eliminate any all of the connotations and enactments of power over and dominance hierarchies which end up reinforced by orgasms. To me, this is not rocket science.

    This goes back to my question from brownfemipower. I believe KH was saying exactly this, but in different language. Eliminate sexism and you eliminate ONLY one expression of violence. You still have to deal with other expressions of violence. I honestly don’t see the difference in her statement and yours. Is this another “newbie” question?

    Feel free to delete this post or edit it if I’ve gotten out of line here.

    Posted by Ravenmn | December 30, 2006, 4:47 pm
  23. Hey, Ravenm, good thoughts. I agree with you that power can be exercised in the refusal to exercise it (!) and that sometimes we find we have to exercise power *because* we are so averse to exercising it! That is not going to make any sense, I already know, to anybody who has not worked alongside people, in activist organizations and communities, in which there is a core commitment to consensus and the sharing of power and avoidance of power over. But for those of us who have a long history in such organizations, it is truly a can of worms, I hear you. If you stand aside, for example, and refuse to exercise power because of your aversion to power-over, those who have no such aversion (despite what they say!) will use power destructively. Now comes your dilemma: do you use power in response? For years and years I have been working to replace responding with the use of force or power with responding creatively, looking always for win-win solutions. But where people haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing power or considering how they wield it, or don’t, in their own lives, well, it becomes an impasse, because they don’t understand. Which is all to say, YES, I hear you!

    I think the pro-porn position in feminism is just a position, a view, a perspective, just like the anti-porn position is a position, a view, a perspective. The problem is that the pro-porn position rules right now. It is the position which has the power. Look around, porn is everywhere everywhere. The anti-porn position has only one thing: advocates. Women (and men) speaking their own truths in the hopes of gaining a hearing wherever a hearing might make a real difference.

    I think sexism, as I say, is racialized. I will get and post a quote that says this very well, or maybe a couple of quotes. Sexism is never JUST sexism; it is always stratified, hierarchicalized on the basis of race/class/who a person loves and so on. If we eliminate sexism we eliminate all of the stratifications which are part and parcel of the sexism, we eliminate the mechanisms by way of which the stratifications are maintained, reified, “made real.”

    I think it’s true that on the internet, people make ignorant statements, but I think it’s also true that as activists, feminists, we have to decide whether we’ll provide a venue, a forum for ignorance, you know? If we must explain and re-explain and re-explain to the ignorant, we won’t have time or energy for the work at hand. In particular, those who enjoy societal power and privilege — men, white people, het people, rich people — have to educate themselves and not further drain the resources of the marginalized by expecting to be educated and coddled and forgiven for their ignorance.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 5:19 pm
  24. I think the pro-porn position in feminism is just a position, a view, a perspective, just like the anti-porn position is a position, a view, a perspective. The problem is that the pro-porn position rules right now. It is the position which has the power. Look around, porn is everywhere everywhere. The anti-porn position has only one thing: advocates.

    Sorry to quote myself, but this is why the demonizing of radical feminists is so disturbing. We are called the censors and the fascists and the nazis and so on, just for speaking up! In other words, having pornography, prostitution, etc. all around us, accepted, legal, forced on us isn’t viewed as coercive. Pornographers aren’t understood to be the fascists and nazis censoring the anti-pornorgraphy view, even though they effectively DO act to censor us, in that they scream so loudly, our voices can barely be heard. Which is why it is a reversal to speak of radical feminism as though we are some power elite which can “allow” or disallow anything at all. In fact, the power elites have made sure to steamroll over everything we have to say about pornography, prostitution, etc.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 5:30 pm
  25. I am saddened to learn that both Black Amazon and Brownfemipower have closed their sites as a result of this discussion. That really sucks. I hope everyone will take a moment to let them know how much they will be missed.

    Pornographers aren’t understood to be the fascists and nazis

    OK, as a marxist, I recognize this attitude. Bosses aren’t generally understood as to be stealing our wages and destroying our communities. Living as a wage slave is not viewed as coercive. We’ve done a really piss poor job of explaining that to the world, in part because the bosses have power and control over the media, education, etc.

    I participate in the capitlist system and I enjoy earning money, having benefits and I even like what I do for a living. I don’t blame people who think the capitalist system is normal and enjoyable for not understanding something that is perfectly clear to me. Creating that alternative is gonna take a while and a lot more people than you and me to accomplish.

    I still don’t see how you read KH differently from me. It sounds as if you are replacing the word heirarchy with sexism and don’t recognize any forms of heirarchy that do not include sexism. Which isn’t true, because we just discussed how even in women-only space we have to deal with our power.

    Why use the word sexism if it is interchangeable with heirarchy?

    Posted by Ravenmn | December 30, 2006, 6:01 pm
  26. Ravenm, I think sexism is the foundational or central dominance heirarchy. I don’t think there are any forms of heirarchy that don’t include sexism, you’re right. I think the heirarchies which exist in woman-only spaces are artifacts of patriarchy, which would disappear once patriarchy, sexism, disappeared. We all cut our eye teeth on the heirarchy known as “sexism.” It’s all we know. That’s why gendering is evident even in lesbian relationships and in woman-only spaces.

    To be fair, I didn’t carefully read KH, just barely skimmed, didn’t like what I got on skimming. I’ll go take a look again at what was said.

    I hope and believe Black Amazon and BFP will be back. They have much to say, much to give, and if they stop blogging, they will be sorely missed.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 6:11 pm
  27. “And to say that they “really are women” and that to question that is bigotry is—disemvowel me if you wish– Orwellian double-speak 2+2=5.”

    the issue is not that some radical feminists do not believe m2f transsexuals are women. the issue is that some radical feminists call m2f transsexuals, as a group, “nutjobs”, worthy to be fitted in straight jackets in a psychiatric hospital, and are compared with serial killers.

    compare that type of language to the type of language that some men use to describe women as a group, and i believe you’ll understand what the uproar is about.

    Posted by nexyjo | December 30, 2006, 6:22 pm
  28. Very true, nexy. At the same time, one problem is, the type of language some men use to describe women as a group shows up all over the blogosphere — it’s even shown up at IBTP, I understand, though I haven’t personally seen it, given that I JUST figured out how to read comments threads there (have to use Firefox) — and there is rarely any outrage. For that matter, as salty said, and I said, too, horrific things happen to women at the hands of men and they don’t get *blogged* about anywhere, except here, and at Twisty’s and on radfem blogs. It’s like, oh well, another rape, another murder, more incest, more prostituting, more trafficking, more religious/sexual slavery, more mutilation at the hands of doctors and religious people, ho hum, same old same old. Everything gets blogged BUT what is actually happening to girls and women throughout the world every single day, or if these things do get blogged, they aren’t blogged about as crimes against women or war on women, they are framed differently such that the women disappear, become invisible. I think that’s what saltyc was getting at and I so see that as well.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 6:42 pm
  29. “horrific things happen to women at the hands of men and they don’t get *blogged* about anywhere, except here, and at Twisty’s and on radfem blogs.”

    yes, the very same radfem blogs that are calling out the bigotry of the aforementioned pronouncements regarding trans people. horrific things happen to both women and trans people, and the blogoshpere at large ignores them both, except at the places you mention. i believe the last thing either of our respective groups should do, is engage in the exact same types of behavior. it’s wrong when men do it, and it’s wrong when we do it.

    Posted by nexyjo | December 30, 2006, 7:28 pm
  30. Nexyjo: “the issue is not that some radical feminists do not believe m2f transsexuals are women. the issue is that some radical feminists call m2f transsexuals, as a group, “nutjobs”, worthy to be fitted in straight jackets in a psychiatric hospital, and are compared with serial killers.”

    Okay, I see now.

    I will be reevaluating my own motives. Thank you.

    Posted by saltyC | December 30, 2006, 10:02 pm
  31. I have looked and cannot find the comment(s) that compared transsexuals with serial killers.

    Posted by Pony | December 30, 2006, 10:13 pm
  32. pony, I might be wrong, because I never saw the film The Silence of the Lambs and don’t know what it’s about; I am something of a movie illiterate so far as a lot of the mainstream films go, I just don’t watch television and only rarely watch mainstream movies and NEVER watch violent films, horror films, slasher films, films with blood and gore. NEVER. I can’t bring myself to see or to hear, it is traumatic for me. But I think Silence is about a serial killer, and I think Lucky made reference to that movie. I honestly didn’t understand the point she was making; then again, I read through quickly and didn’t read every post carefully, but based on what others have said, it sounds like some think she was comparing transpeople with serial killers.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 30, 2006, 10:37 pm
  33. There was a character who was a serial killer who killed women because he was making a female suit for himself. He wanted to dress in women’s skin. As opposed to the “good” serial Killer Hannibal Lecter who helped catch him. Hannibal “merely” ate people.

    Heart, you and me both, I can’t stand those movies.

    Posted by saltyC | December 30, 2006, 10:52 pm
  34. The serial killer in that movie takes women’s skins to make his own skin to wear. That is the reference that has made people so angry. It is a bit extreme, as an argument against people changing their bodies to fit their gender. As a provocateur, Lucknkl, is very good. Sometimes, we need to be provoked, sometimes not so much. This has made alot of people think. It has also hurt alot of feelings. The theory that people should not have to change their bodies to be who they are is one I could agree with. However, in practice, people have to make their own life decisions which are not easy in this civilization. I did notice though that a few transgendered people met others in the same boat. To quote martha “This is a good thing”.
    I refuse to demonize Luckynkl. I also refuse to demonize transgendered people. This is not a virtuous self righteous position on my part. I do not know Luckynkl, nor any transgendered people. However, I do know demonization and what it does and how it operates. There is a difference between reacting and responding. Goodness Goddess, we have a long way to go.

    Posted by rhondda | December 30, 2006, 11:29 pm
  35. Ok. I have now found the comment you must be referring to.

    Luckynkl Dec 21st, 2006 at 12:45 am

    Lucky:
    Ever see “Silence of the Lambs?”

    antiprincess:
    wow. seriously? that’s the way it is for most (or even all) transgendered people?

    Lucky:
    Not if what you get out of the movie is that trans are psychopathic killers. That’s not what I’m talking. Trans aren’t any more likely to be psychopathic killers than their knuckle dragging brothers. What I’m talking about is the way men, whether they be trans or not, objectify women, fetishize female body parts, and reduce women and their body parts into things. Both hold anything that is authentically female in contempt.

    I must be extremely obtuse, but I don’t get here that she is saying transsexuals/transgendered persons are serial killers. Or the other. I’m just stunned. I’ve never seen the movie, but still, I don’t get that connotation. Lucky seems to extrapolate there to something much less, which is her opinion.

    Posted by Pony | December 30, 2006, 11:53 pm
  36. “horrific things happen to women at the hands of men and they don’t get *blogged* about anywhere, except here, and at Twisty’s and on radfem blogs.”

    First and foremost Brownfemipower has consistently written about violence against women and she is also active in Insight! with lots of linkages to women activists against violence. Since this post links directly to her site, I’m suprised and frankly saddened she isn’t even mentioned, considering this thread begins with a link to her site.

    Another consistent commenter is Pinko Feminist Hellcat. Pandagon has done a lot, too, although I’ve taken a break from her site since burqagate.

    Thanks for the discussion, Heart. I disagree that getting rid of the patriarchy will solve racism. Given that white women activists like me have such a shitty record of paying attention to anyone’s needs other than our own, I am leery of giving my own issue priority in the struggle for equality. There’s also the fact that benefitting any one oppressed group provides benefits to others. That’s my rocket science. Maybe you can challenge me on that.

    I am sorry you saw that thread as a “train wreck”. There were bad things but also a lot of valuable feedback. Little Light has agreed to continue the discussion at her place: http://takingsteps.blogspot.com/ Taking Steps.

    Rhondda, it boggles my mind to describe L’s comments at Twisty’s as the actions of a good “provocateur”. My understanding of the term is a person who shocks us into seeing an issue in a completely different light. L offered nothing but insults, as far as I remember.

    Posted by Ravenmn | December 30, 2006, 11:56 pm
  37. You are right Pony, but that is what people reacted to. It was emotional. Feelings were hurt and then it went from there to demonize Lucky. On and on.
    Then it went on to how Radical Feminists don’t understand people of colour, just like they don’t understand transgendered people. On and on and it was fed from there. On and on how white feminists never listen to others. On and on. It was like a whole bunch of people finally found someone to make the scapegoat and let loose their all their repressed feelings. Because you know it is very difficult to name the real oppressor. Horizontal violence, I think it is called.

    Posted by rhondda | December 31, 2006, 12:13 am
  38. Given that white women activists like me have such a shitty record of paying attention to anyone’s needs other than our own, I am leery of giving my own issue priority in the struggle for equality.

    I guess I don’t consider sexism white women’s “own issue”– I consider sexism everybody’s issue. Why would it not be? Am I misunderstanding, and you are referring to some other issue as your own issue?

    Since we’re talking about this, and I have it on my mind for other reasons, you know, I’m not situated as other white women are situated, and I haven’t been for 35 years. White women partnered with black men (in the U.S., and it isn’t the same for any other kind of biracial marriage because of the facts of American history) are not situated similarly with white women or any other women besides white women partnered with black men. We are the people who were forbidden to marry in most states, the last state making “miscegenation” legal in the late ’90s IIRC. We are race traitors. We have no community except each other, and we are a tiny number. We are hated, resented, distrusted, by *all* races of people internationally. We are targeted for specific forms of oppression, violence and subordination because we have transgressed the boundaries of race. That will remain true for us so long as we are partnered with black men and/or have children by them. My views as to sexism are necessarily, because of my own life experiences, always informed by my experiences of being marginalized because I am a race traitor. I don’t know why otherwise progressive, conscious people can’t get their arms around that, but my experience is, many cannot or will not– it’s too much a fly in the ointment. It wreaks havoc with certain kinds of intersectionality theories (and I’m not directing this at you ravenm, I’m frustrated right now and speaking out of deep frustration).

    You’re right that bfp has done a lot of blogging on violence against women and I should have included her in my earlier post. I’ve only started reading Pinko Feminist Hellcat recently and not very often, but I did blogroll her, and I will read her more. It’s never seemed to me that Pandagon blogged a lot about violence against women, but maybe I haven’t read at the right times.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 12:38 am
  39. I was part of that thread, Rhondda. I found it impossible to keep up and missed many comments. I’m still reading it!

    I am adamant that there is far more, FAR more misogyny and hate speech toward women, on other feminist blogs (save here, tho’ I haven’t read BF but twice) than any other. Even racism gets called out in the blogosphere, generally, certainly among feminists. But sexist misogynistic comments, just par for the course. It sickens me. Women last. Always, women last.

    Posted by Pony | December 31, 2006, 1:26 am
  40. “We are race traitors. We have no community except each other, and we are a tiny number. We are hated, resented, distrusted, by *all* races of people internationally. We are targeted for specific forms of oppression, violence and subordination because we have transgressed the boundaries of race. ”

    Aint that the truth.

    Here is just a tip of the iceberg that I deal with 24/7.

    “*My husband cannot possibly love me, he only wanted me because I am white. (to avenge slave masters, use me for upward mobility, secretly abuse me to get back at YT, etc etc etc)
    *I cannot possibly love my husband, I only wanted him for his big black dick. (Or I must be fat, bleached blonde, or could not get a white man, etc, etc etc).
    *Race is a social construct when it is race with a color, but I cannot be culturally black because I just cannot be, even though my whole world was black until I went out to work at 19, and I do not know most of white codes, not codes to discriminate anyway, because my existence is negated because I may get some privilege because I look white, yet no one subtracts the lost of privilege I do not get when I am with my bi-racial children and black husband or make choices that will not put me over them.
    *I have to constantly prove loyalty to my black m-i-l because her black (actually bi-racial) husband left their marriage after 18 years for a white woman.
    *Proving loyalty means I must not exercise my agency as a person. If I complain then it is my white supremacy wanting to run something.
    *I do not care about black women really, I just want their brothers and/or to steal black men from them.
    *Being the mother of half-black children is not as credulous as a mother of a quarter children with color because the starting point has me at 100% white and that mother at 50% white who then married white. Yet the one-drop rule constructed by whites is rallied against when ones wants to declare whatever identities he or she wants but embraced when excluded those white women with bi-racial children who want to steal black men for their big black dicks.
    *I should not complain about a WOC who think I should denounce all MOC including my husband and put their head on a stick in order to curry favor with some white feminists. If I protect him, I am not protecting him because I recognize that he is already systematically oppressed, I am protecting him because I am protecting my big black dick. Even though what has been failed to mentioned is that my husband has not taken on the stereotyped of the MOC who participates in violence, the very stereotype perpetuate by white supremacy. However, I should treat him as he does.
    *I just think I’m black. (is something wrong with that?)
    *I’m a wigger. Forget that wigger is racist because it is a play off of the N word and it implies that if whites encompass black culture they are inferior. Yet all of that is negated because if whites are culturally blacks it is not because blacks have a favorable culture that suits that individual it is because whites are just hell bent on appropriating every thing for themselves, even when they are two months old and are placed in that culture.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 31, 2006, 3:23 am
  41. Dear goddess, chasing moksha, thank you for posting that, horrible — and so goddamn true — as it all is. Just, thank you. I could kiss you right now.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 3:58 am
  42. Heh.

    I just think I’m black. (is something wrong with that?)

    My second husband used to say that all of my moles on my body were my “true color, trying to come out.”

    I bet you and I could come up with a list to end all lists. How about “driving while being white with mixed kids,” and getting stopped because you’re profiled as dealing drugs or being prostituted. How about getting fired when you show up at the company dinner and you didn’t announce to your coworkers that you were interracially married. How about you, the white wife, getting an apartment, and then when your family shows up, the landlord says, “oops, I didn’t realize we’d already rented it, sorry!” How about being asked stupid idiotic things like, “Why does someone like you marry BLACKS?” Or, being told stupid idiotic things like, “I really admire you for marrying BLACKS.” How about the way doctors and medical professionals treat you? How about the stupid things they do, like not recognizing the Mongolian spots on your baby’s tailbone and looking at you like you hit your child. How about writing on charts that your child is a “mulatto.” How about your own hopelesslessness and shame when you realize you don’t know how to do this and nobody gives a shit, you got yourself into it, stupid slut. How about the way your children and you get scrutinized for, for example, how you do your children’s hair, and the way people talk smack about you if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, even if you are doing your level best and really care and are trying to learn.

    Ah shit.

    Now I’m crying.

    I’m going to go to my “My Mother is White,” blog later on and post excerpts of James McBride’s book, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. McBride’s mom had 12 children; he was the eighth. When he was a baby, his dad, a black man, died. His mom then married another man who was half black, half Native, and had four more children. She was Hungarian and Jewish but would never admit to her kids she was white. She said she was “light-skinned.” Through sheer force of will she put all 12 of her children through college.

    You need this book, chasingmoksha, if you haven’t read it. You will spend days and hours crying over it.

    I’m going to go to my other blog later and post excerpts.

    Hugs.

    Sorry all, for this diversion.

    It’s especially poignant for me today because my second ex’s son from a former relationship, who is now 34, contacted me and my kids after 20 years of not knowing where he was or hearing from him. He’d been looking for us all this time. He e-mailed me, saying he remembered me as a “sweet and gentle woman.” His mom had moved away, to Hawaii. We’d lost touch. Now we are reunited and are going to e-mail. He already called today. It’s exciting, this new brother my kids all knew about, and two remember, who has come back into our lives. He lives in Holland with his girlfriend and is just about to be discharged from the Army. His mother has converted to Islam and is a Muslim now. I dunno. My life is full to the brim like this. I am a very rich woman and yet I feel so goddamn alone, even among feminists. Maybe especially among feminists around these particular issues.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 4:36 am
  43. Heart xxxooo

    Posted by Pony | December 31, 2006, 5:53 am
  44. Are Feminists Allowed to Be Partnered with Transmen and Transwomen?

    Are they allowed? They can date the man in the moon, the pope and George Bush if that’s what flops their mops. I’m not aware of any laws which prohibits feminists from partnering with transmen and transwomen or anyone that’s been imprisoned or fined for it. It’s none of my business who people choose to partner with. I mean, women partner with men all the time, even tho it’s not in their best interests to do so under patriarchy. All I can say is, live and learn.

    However, women that do choose to partner with card holding members of the patriarchy often tend to get torn in two between their love and loyalty to their partners and their own best self interests and that of their sisters. It’s been my experience, that 99 out of 100 times, women will choose to put the interests of their partners over that of themselves and their sisters. It’s really not all that surprising. Women are conditioned to put men, children, dogs, and groundhogs before themselves. EDITED

    As for the nonsense that I compared transpersons to serial killers, all I can say is, nah, it didn’t happen. I posted that comment of “Ever see the Silence of the Lambs” early one morning before I went to work. I was running late and didn’t have time to expand. When I came home 9 hours later and saw the way my comment had been misconstrued, I went out of my way to clarify what I meant by it so that there could be no doubt that I was not comparing transpersons to psychopathic killers. And I did so in my very next comment, which Pony has posted above.

    So do people just see what they want to see and disregard the rest? Apparently so when an agenda is being served.

    EDITED

    My youngest brother is schizophrenic and so is my closest cousin. My ex was a junkie with a $2,000 a week habit that also was delusional and prone to hallucinations. I have spent most of my life living with people that are delusional, prone to hallucinations, and dangerous. EDITED Why should I be polite about it? EDITED Which I personally find patronizing and less than truthful. Why would I do that? To make myself look better at their expense so people will think me oh so politically correct and swell? Even tho we both mean the same exact thing? It all just seems so hypocritical and less than truthful to me.

    Now, while I may be rude, rudeness is not the same as hate speech. Women do not have the power politically, economically, socially or culturally to oppress. And it’s just downright willfully ignorant to act as tho women do have such power.

    And what’s up with the double standard? Transpersons are supposedly all hip about gender, but the moment I step out of my gender role of being sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s not allowed? EDITED It’s the same old, same old. One set of rules for the boys and another set of rules for the girls.

    What I see is the same old white boy squatting mentality that’s been going on for centuries. White boys think the world is their oyster and they’ll squat where ever they damn well please, whether anyone likes it or not. And the more anyone protests, the more they will squat just to show you who’s in charge here. So when the Iraqis tell the white boys to leave, the white boys ignore them and say, I’ll squat here for as long as I damn well please and I’m not leaving till I’m damn good and ready, if I decide to leave at all. All the while calling them the terrorists. Ring a bell and sound familiar?

    So sad that another one folds like a polaroid camera.

    Yep, it did. I got banned. Score another one for the patriarchy.

    Oh well, it isn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

    EDITED
    It wasn’t my integrity and credibility that was impeached. I didn’t say anything that isn’t old hat. I haven’t changed my stance or views in years. So I have a pretty good idea that at least some were briefed on what to expect when they got there. Unknown names materializing en masse out of nowhere. And I didn’t disappoint them. I never do.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 31, 2006, 9:32 am
  45. “…and it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for ‘woman’ has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women.” (Monique Wittig, 1978)

    For Wittig, the category “women” exists only through their relation to the category “men”, and “women” without relation with “men” would cease to be “women”.

    So you Luckynkl are saying that your first thought, regardless of the condition you were in (hurrying out the house), to serial killers when thinking of transgender people should not be considered offensive? To many (including myself) it reveals a subconscious comparison. It is equivalent to avoiding accountability for what is said when one is drunk. The reason we have old wives (aren’t ‘wives’ as ‘women’ in patriarchal society deemed superior in anti-transgender circles?) tales is to teach us things like the truth comes out when someone is drunk, angry, rushed, etc. It is subconscious thought surfacing before the niceties of conscious thought translates it in a form that conceals the ugliness of that subconsciousness.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 31, 2006, 10:40 am
  46. Ignore the quoted parts, that was something I was working on and got pasted with the rest. Sorry.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 31, 2006, 11:07 am
  47. EDITED

    I really don’t give a damn what men do or do not find offensive. They sure as hell haven’t given a damn what women have or have not found offensive over the past 5 milleniums. Need I remind you that men are the oppressors, not women, and that they were the whole problem to begin with?

    “…and it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for ‘woman’ has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women.” (Monique Wittig, 1978)

    Lesbians are not women? This sure is news to me. I’m a lesbian and I sure as hell have been married, raped, impregnated and forced to bear children against my will.

    It’s not all in the mind, you see.

    For Wittig, the category “women” exists only through their relation to the category “men”, and “women” without relation with “men” would cease to be “women”.

    Actually, it’s the opposite way around. It is men who would cease to exist without women. If you’ll look closely at the word “women,” men are the sub-category. “Wo-man” meaning man is of the womb.

    Wittg was obviously not aware of the patriarchal reversal.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 31, 2006, 11:39 am
  48. Ignore the quoted parts, that was something I was working on and got pasted with the rest. Sorry.

    Sorry back. We cross posted.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 31, 2006, 11:42 am
  49. “regardless of the condition you were in (hurrying out the house), to serial killers when thinking of transgender people should not be considered offensive?”

    EEEEEEEARRRGGHHH!

    I used to be on the Ms Boards (catte), and I’ve had plenty of my own problems with Lucky, so I’m not biased towards her, but SHE DID NOT COMPARE TRANS TO SERIAL KILLERS! I’m not direct quoting because I don’t have permission, and the quote is right there in the thread but the entire basis of “OMG Hate Speech!” is inaccruate.

    But don’t let facts get in the way of your rightous indignation or anything.

    Posted by Miranda | December 31, 2006, 1:06 pm
  50. Lucky, I’ve edited your posts, in keeping with my intentions for this thread and this blog.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 2:16 pm
  51. “I posted that comment of “Ever see the Silence of the Lambs” early one morning before I went to work.”

    Miranda the above is admitted by Lucky. Whether she finished the thought or not, it was the first comparison that came to mind. That is the fundamental point.

    Lucky, I don’t know what men you are talking about. I am a biological and socially conditioned gender female/woman and I found the “Silence of the Lambs” disturbing. I am not attacking you. I am trying to get you to ask yourself why was it The Silence of the Lambs that you thought of first? Our minds tell us things.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 31, 2006, 3:04 pm
  52. Yes, I saw her statement, and I saw the original post where she made the comparison, and I also understood the context of that post, which is in the sentence preceding the Silence of the Lambs statement.

    Posted by Miranda | December 31, 2006, 4:00 pm
  53. ***I am trying to get you to ask yourself why was it The Silence of the Lambs that you thought of first? Our minds tell us things.***

    You mean you’re trying to get Lucky to come to the answer *you’ve* decided she should come to. Like a police interview in which they’ve already decided that the suspect is guilty so they just interview and interview him until they get what they want.

    Silence of the Lambs is the only movie in which a man literally sews female skins together to make a suit for himself.

    Posted by Branjor | December 31, 2006, 4:07 pm
  54. And what would you police about me if I said you and everyone like your existence is that of Medea on crack?

    Posted by chasingmoksha | December 31, 2006, 4:23 pm
  55. I need to have more understanding of your question chasingmoksha.

    Do you mean crack, as in body part?

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | December 31, 2006, 4:29 pm
  56. Well, here’s what I think. I think that invoking any sort of imagery having to do with a man sewing women’s skin into a suit for himself in a discussion of transgender issues is, best case, inflammatory and hurtful, even if the intention wasn’t to make a specific association between the two. I don’t think anybody’s interests are served by that association, no matter what the intention was.

    Again, I don’t want any sort of trainwreck precipitated here and so I am moderating closely. Please, everybody, say what you have to say in the least inflammatory, most thoughtful and light-, as opposed to heat-producing way possible.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 4:38 pm
  57. I would ask you to clarify that statement as I don’t really understand what *you* mean by it. By the interpretation *I* would make off the top of my head, I don’t really think that “Medea on crack” is very bad. Patriarchy has been so vicious and aggressive over the millenia, it might have taken (might *still* take) “Medea on crack” to beat it. Over the years, it might have merely saved a few million women’s lives. Thank you, I consider that a compliment.

    Posted by Branjor | December 31, 2006, 4:54 pm
  58. Oh no, now you’ve done it.

    Pony

    Posted by Medea On Crack | December 31, 2006, 5:42 pm
  59. There was a :)) there.

    Posted by Medea On Crack | December 31, 2006, 5:47 pm
  60. “Ah shit.

    Now I’m crying.”

    i’m crying with you. there are so many people in the world who judge others based on their own prejudice and bigotry. it’s terrible.

    i grew up in an affluent suburb of new york city. the town was (and still is, i believe) about 40% black and 60% white with a large jewish population. as a child, i had several friends that crossed each of those boundries. one especially close friend was black. he lived a few blocks from me, in the “white” section of town. literally, divided by the railroad tracks. while i was aware he was black, it never struck me that his color meant anything significant. until we reached junior high school, when the kids from each “side” of the town went to the same school. we stopped hanging out with each other, almost immediately. it wasn’t “allowed”.

    we grew up in ignorance, enjoying each others friendship. until our respective cultures stepped in, and taught us – forced us – to believe that our respective color meant something. we’d pass each other in the hallways at school, our eyes met, and that horrible unspoken understanding passed between us. i don’t remember ever speaking with him again. i guess neither of us had the courage to step outside the roles our society enforced. we were scared children, trying to fit in.

    right, there were no laws against us being friends, and people would claim that it didn’t make any difference what color we are. but laws don’t necessarily have to be “on the books” so to speak, and people lie. it did matter, and it still does.

    there’s no law that says i can’t remove my beard, grow my hair long, and surgically modify my gentials. but as soon as i did, i lost my job of 14 years, the only jobs i can find pay 1/4th of my previous one, my son refused to ever speak with me again, and men and women both see me as “other”, and treat me accordingly as soon as they know what i did. which is why now, i don’t speak of it to most people. i’m just a “normal” woman when they don’t know my history. i’m a “nutjob” when they do.

    heart, i don’t believe your post was a diversion at all. in fact, i’d argue it was extremely relevant.

    Posted by nexyjo | December 31, 2006, 5:55 pm
  61. ***I am trying to get you to ask yourself why was it The Silence of the Lambs that you thought of first? Our minds tell us things.***

    My trademarks are irony and hyperbole. I often use extremes that are way out there to drive my point home. I mean, you don’t think I actually believe that transpeople all have wells in their basement to keep women in and all have these little white dogs named “Precious,” do you?

    Men objectify women and fetishize female body parts. They covet what they see. Transsexuals do as well. During SRS, transpeople have body parts surgically removed and attached (or sewn on, if you will), so that they may appear to have the outer layer of “skin” of a woman, no? As if women are suits of clothes to try on. Nothing better illustrates this point than the extemism of “The Silence of the Lambs.” It drives the point home.

    Skin is just a boundary. It is there to protect what is underneath. To reduce women into being nothing more than an outer layer of skin is so insulting and offensive to women that I don’t know where to begin. Women are more than just the covers on books.

    This is the message I got when I first saw “Silence of the Lambs.” It is still the message I get when I watch the movie. It is about a man’s extreme objectification of women and the coveting of her skin so that he may pass as a woman. By doing so, he “changes” and “becomes” a woman in his mind. How does Buffalo Bill’s goal differ from that of transsexuals? The means may be different, but the goal is one and the same.

    ***Well, here’s what I think. I think that invoking any sort of imagery having to do with a man sewing women’s skin into a suit for himself in a discussion of transgender issues is, best case, inflammatory and hurtful, even if the intention wasn’t to make a specific association between the two.***

    Here’s what I think. I think transpeople objectify, fetishize and covet women and their skin in much the same way as men objectify, fetishize and covet women and their skin with pornography. Tho perhaps with different purposes in mind with what they want to do with those objectified parts.

    Just because men don’t all go out and act on their rape fantasies of women doesn’t make pornography any less insidious and harmful to women. By the same token, just because transsexuals don’t all go out and act like Buffalo Bill doesn’t make their fantasies and objectification of women any less insidious and harmful to women. Objectification is objectification and harmful to women.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 31, 2006, 6:31 pm
  62. CM thanks for your post, from one who was ‘collected’ by a European man who needed a native wife to complete his Jack London view of the north.

    Posted by Medea On Crack | December 31, 2006, 6:35 pm
  63. Ah, nexy, so sad, your son!!

    One of my daughters’ closest friends has two moms; her mom divorced her dad to be with a woman partner. There has been a lot of friction in their home because the partner so clearly favors the younger brother. We were talking and my daughter mentioned almost offhandedly that the partner had a son who lived in California. :”””( So sad! What is the story there? No wonder. So many people with so many sad things in their lives that nobody even knows about. :(

    It’s interesting the way marginalized kids find each other in high school, or just kids who know themselves to be different. One of my closest friends in high school was a guy. He was the only guy who stayed just my friend, didn’t make any move on me or whatever. Twenty years later I learned he was gay, ran a gay bar in Seattle. It made perfect sense to me, but so sad that this could not have been discussed openly back in the 60s. All three of my daughters who have gone to the local high school have quickly connected with, oh, gay and lesbian students, transgender students, students of color. Thank the goddess at least there is some freedom now for these students to be out and open about who they are, even “Gay-Straight” alliance clubs. This was unheard of when you and I were young, nexy.

    Well, thanks.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 6:38 pm
  64. Heart,

    I’m sorry. I just spoke for you on the Okay thread at Feministe.

    Please feel free to refute me here or there if I’ve misinterpreted what you’ve written.

    Bad blogging behavior. I should have written to you earlier. I should know better!

    Posted by gayle | December 31, 2006, 7:40 pm
  65. It’s interesting, I think I’ve gotten both harder with respect to transgender issues and softer and weenier at the same time. Maybe I’ve gotten more real. Maybe it’s all become more human to me than it ever was before because I know more transpeople than ever before. I think that’s the way it works maybe? I’m both more impatient and more accepting, I don’t know. I think I have a better b.s. detector than I had before, but that works both ways. I detect when there is b.s. and I detect when there isn’t.

    I think what you say, Lucky, about transpersons is undoubtedly true for some MTFs. I think it isn’t true for all transfolk. For example, it isn’t true for transpeople who never transition (some of whom I know pretty well now and have really come to appreciate, just good people). It isn’t true, I don’t think, for transmen, i.e., FTMs. It isn’t true for nexy.

    Some of us are so shell-shocked from our dealings with a few, really destructive, bent transwomen. We find it hard to open ourselves to the possibility that those destructive few are not representative.

    My belief is that for patriarchy to end, gender has to end. It’s really that simple. Whatever works to perpetuate gender is counterproductive in my mind, and so I have to take issue with a lot of what transpeople say and write. I just think, more gender is not going to get us closer to the destruction of patriarchy/male heterosupremacy. At the same time, I can’t hold transpeople responsible for what they want and feel they need; I can’t put that on them and say, “transpeople do XYZ.” I mean, fuck. I feel impulses in the direction of so many XYZ’s it isn’t even funny and I don’t hold myself responsible for all those, in the sense that I can change what I feel I want or need because I want to?

    I love what Andrea Dworkin wrote about this way back when that brilliant woman was in her 20s. She said that to feel as though you are inhabiting the wrong body is a medical emergency caused by patriarchy, and should be treated that way. Then feminists should work their asses off to bring gender to an end because it is gender, as conceived under patriarchy, as a subordinating mechanism, which is responsible for the medical emergency. It helps me to think about it that way. And it helps me to know transpeople who have been willing to pay attention to what I have to say and who have accepted me even when I said stupid things. I don’t know. Transpeople aren’t to blame for anything. They didn’t author or create this hideous world that forces us all into its mold. I just want to be sure we are focusing on the right kind of things, you know?

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 8:02 pm
  66. Okay, I steeled myself and went over there and looked. I did ONLY a “search” on “Gayle” though. :P

    Hey, speak for me any time, woman! (Or maybe you’re a man, in which case, man!) Thanks so much for having my back in there.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 31, 2006, 8:09 pm
  67. I’ve just found your blog today, Heart, and I admit this entry is a great example of why I decided to jump into the blogosphere for good; the discussion you’ve generated is also quite fascinating. Since it’s so late in the game, I don’t want to say overmuch, and I come from a very, very different place politically and theoretically from almost everyone here, as far as I can tell. (This is also the first time I’ve ventured a comment–I do so with more than a little nervousness).

    I like very much your “It’s interesting, I think . . .” post, and I think you’re on to something here when you point out that the larger idea, force, system of gender is what has to be eliminated. Probably I’d go about it a little differently. But the other way to think about that is to say that equality is equality. Self-actualization is self-actualization. Fundamentally what a lot of these arguments over liberation and rights boil down to is the ability for human beings to have positive, healthy relationships to themselves, and to others. There are a lot of things in this culture that interfere with that basic relation, and so we swoop down to the level of the trees (where most of us live, anyway) to try and fight our way forward, and we sometimes lose sight of the forest. Which is not to say–NEVER to say–that real oppression, exploitation, and violence don’t exist, or are less relevant, or anything of that sort. Just that how we conceive of these things makes an enormous difference to how we talk to each other about them, and what we chose to do in the world to create change.

    I’m going to have to think about this quite a lot, and I’m grateful for the stimulating (and as yet not too acrimonious) conversation. In my own experience, by the way, it has mattered much less the identity of partners I’ve had (and I’ve pretty much dated the entire spectrum, trans and non-trans, men and women and everything inbetween; my own identity is very much in flux although I’m fairly illegible as anything other than a normatively gendered female) and more how we understood our identities in relationship to one another. I think that’s one thing that sometimes gets left out of these conversations. Everyone has a specific understanding of themselves based on a whole constellation of experiences and feelings and sensations, and when we put ourselves in relationship to someone else, we start a process of negotiation that is always complicated, no matter what body parts we have or what labels we attach to them.

    Hm. I’ve probably said a little too much, but as I said I’m grateful for the chance to think about this with others; and I mean in every way to respect what’s come before and not be reductive or inflexible in any way (which is not a gesture of passivity, but one of openness).

    Lily

    Posted by lilypagnol | December 31, 2006, 10:17 pm
  68. Happy New Year Lilypagnol. I just wanted to say hello and welcome, in case no one shows up and you only hear echoes. Later…

    Posted by Medea On Crack | January 1, 2007, 12:21 am
  69. I want to give you Medea on Crack a Happy New Year’s shout out. And to add that it is my ideology that crack is a synthetic drug created by the heteropatriachalhegemonicphallicswingingwhitesupremacist to keep the oppressed from uprising.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 1, 2007, 1:02 am
  70. chasingmoksha: pretty much, woman. Pretty much. :D

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 1, 2007, 1:04 am
  71. Happy New Year CM. Would you feel better if I dropped this? I like the sound and the image, but I’m not welded to it.

    Posted by Medea On Crack | January 1, 2007, 1:37 am
  72. No, I’m flattered I garnered notice. It made me check my Greek Mythology to make sure I am using the allusion I wanted to use.

    I think a woman could be excused to use crack to get by (as my sister is doing right now) but I also think it is a cop out to forgo utilizing her personal agency to fight against oppressive forces. So embracing the crack or denouncing the crack, and how the crack came about as a tool and/or an escape I understand, —-and can find the humor in it as well.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 1, 2007, 2:19 am
  73. I wondered if you’d meant Medusa. But either tickles me.

    A very happy 2007 to you and your family CM.

    My best wishes for a peaceful and fruitful 2007 to you Heart and to all who post here.

    Posted by Medea on Crack | January 1, 2007, 5:08 am
  74. Happy New Year to you, my wimmin! Here’s to a 2007 in which we kick woman-hating, racist, lesbo/homophobic, classist, ableist, ass with regularity. :D

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 1, 2007, 6:37 am
  75. And more of where that came from!
    Happy 2007 x

    Posted by sparklematrix | January 1, 2007, 12:36 pm
  76. Have a great 2007 everyone.

    Thank you for all the great reading in the past, and I look forward to more in the future.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | January 1, 2007, 2:13 pm
  77. ReSISTERance posted some great thoughts on the topic du jour in the blogosphere, and especially this, which I haven’t thought about from quite this angle before:

    I don’t want to hurt transpeople any further than they have already been hurt under patriarchy- I know how it feels to be hurt by your gender, as does every woman who has been denied everything I mentioned before, as does every woman who has ever been raped, and known that her mother was also raped, and her mother, and her mother, all because of ‘gender’, femininity, sex roles; and as does every woman who sees she has never carried her own name, only the name of her husband, her father, her grandfather, and his grandfather. But I do feel that supporting the idea of transitioning from one gender to another is reformism of a dangerous kind and takes us in the opposite direction from what I want, which is total liberation from patriarchy and femininity .

    I am also continuously surprised at the way anti capitalist, and anti imperialist, and anti class, movements and groups are prepared to support the idea of transitioning between gender, at the expense of and usually whilst not even acknowleging, women’s liberation from patriarchy. Where is the class analysis of the trans movement? That precious class analysis of which the left boys are so fond is missing from this picture. As is the question of capitalism. What does ‘living as a woman’, under patriarchys definitions, entail? Embracing femininity is a consumption choice, whether taken by men or women – femininity is an artificial fantasy, forced on women as a reality, that requires the right look, and that costs money. Even for women of poverty, there is the necessary make-up, clothing, body, face and hair maintenance – I have had all forced on me at work in order to work. Femininity can be bought, and I think it demands to be bought, because no matter how “feminine” your walk, or your voice, or your laugh, it will not be enough on it’s own…

    So no one can tell me I don’t understand what it is like to be ‘gender dysphoric’. I struggle, and all other women struggle, and the agents of patriarchy and capitalism do its very best to force us to spend the little that most of us are able to earn to buy femininity. Anti capitalists must start to support women’s liberation from patriarchy, and that means acknowledging that femininity and masculinity must be expunged – not reformed, and not expanded – but completely and totally destroyed.

    Uppity Biscuit, talking about our same topic du jour, wonders what I always wonder: why is it that that one particular cadre which targets radical feminists/anti-pornography/anti-prostitution feminists every chance it gets, seems to fairly live for the opportunity to do so, so rarely offers any real or accurate feminist analysis of our actual position? It’s just clobber-clobber-bang-bang, as though that communicates anything. (It does work effectively as a poison, though, and maybe that’s all that matters to this particular crowd.) Like you say, uppity:

    How can any group of anti-feminist, anti-female persons expect to be taken seriously when over time they say nothing of substance? Pretty soon the persons, the roving gang of anti-feminists that frequent women’s sites and have a few pseudo feminists sites of their own will just be ignored all together, and then what will they do? It’s better that they just work on creating dialog right now, substance, thought out positions, analysis and hedge the bet that plenty are seeing through their game. If they wanna play with us in the future it’s best that they consider working towards formulating some theory and thoughts that have substance regarding how they are going to set the world on a balance, once they erase feminists, feminism and those uppity females.

    Along those lines, I think Chasing Moksha should get the “Cleverest Blogroll” award for the part of her blogroll which reads:

    Oppression Poseurs
    Attention|Lab
    Fetch Me My Attention”

    HAH! My first good laugh of the new year. :D

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 1, 2007, 6:59 pm
  78. OK, so now I have read through many of the threads related to this discussion – and also the threads related to a different discussion, on racism and mental illness, which got similarly heated (although not as large).

    It was exhausting. Am I too Pollyannaish, or what: I don’t really groove with Twisty, so I don’t go to that blog much. The people I groove with more, I read more. Not all of these people agree with each other. I do not agree 100% with everything they say. When I comment, I don’t do it for purposes of fighting, or being right … it’s usually because I want to ask something, or underline something, or point out some small thing, or compliment someone. Am I being too naive to think people on some of those threads are being a little too hairsplitting, a little too demanding, and a little too mean?

    Posted by profacero | January 1, 2007, 11:07 pm
  79. I can only speak for me: I was being too *loud*. But as for my opinion? Stet.

    Posted by Medea on Crack | January 1, 2007, 11:29 pm
  80. Of course, since I didn’t (as far as I remember) actually state my opinion of the *issue* (but rather of what was going on) no-one can claim to know my opinion.

    Posted by Medea on Crack | January 1, 2007, 11:34 pm
  81. Profacero, yes– the threads have been really, really mean, and really, really destructive, generating far and away, heat, not light. It wasn’t issues being addressed, by and large, it was good women being scapegoated. I remain hopeful that in addressing all of the collateral damage and clearing away the debris, good things might still come of what wasn’t at all a good thing.

    What was bad was, there was so little attempt being made, in most of these threads, at actually engaging or connecting, or the attempts which were made were so few that they were quickly lost or overlooked. I could have cried reading chasing moksha at various times, just for one example I could name. She did some really hard work trying to connect, build bridges, do damage control, and she got stabbed in the back for it. I got stabbed in the back, too, all over the place, out of sheer ugliness. It was that nasty scapegoating dynamic at work; I’ve seen it many times on the internet and it’s sick.

    I lost buttloads of respect in this debacle for feminist women I’ve always had respect for and liked, even though we were often at odds, even though we didn’t agree about much of anything. I also gained respect for good people who didn’t cave to the pressure to be assholes.

    Anyway, the worst thing that could happen would be for all the friends of friends of friends who are pissed to take on offenses, “enemy of my friend is my enemy” style. I’m not going to do that. But one News Year’s Resolution for me is, I’m not going to maintain any connection to those who, in this chapter of blogosphere history (1) showed themselves to be untrustworthy and dishonest; (2) stabbed me in the back because they could and for no other reasons; (3) refused to admit they were wrong, even when it was clear as the noses on their faces that part of the reason this all happened was, people had been popping off and going off about things they had no clue about ,and then when the clue finally presented itself, instead of doing the right thing, i.e., saying, “Oh shit, I fucked up, I didn’t understand,” they got really really dishonest, disingenuous, self-righteous and nasty, dug their heels in, and acted like shitheads. Really, very, very disturbing.

    All that is probably cryptic as hell and I don’t mean it to be or to be manipulative, but like you say, a lot has been said and it would take a very long post, and would make things worse, to be more specific than I’ve been. I wished like hell you’d been around, because I think you might have been able to do some good bridge building, profacero. You are good at that as most people are not.

    I’ve never been much a citizen of I Blame the Patriarchy, though I have respect for the way Twisty can nail certain things like nobody else, for her perseverance through horrendous health troubles, for her never-disappointing prose style, and for her courage in tackling issues she knew would get her hip deep in doo doo. All I can say is, as I think “Dead Inside” said, a lot of what has been said isn’t about me or about Twisty or others of us older white feminists ™. It’s about 30 years of anti-radical feminist/anti “white feminist” (whatever that even is) backlash and acrimony created and stoked mostly by white male patriarchal assholes or their fucking agents. What’s sad is how few people recognize how well and deeply they are being, and have been, played.

    Well, let them run their mouths. I’m runnin my business.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 12:14 am
  82. Hi There,

    Fetch Me My Attention, (too too too!) used to piss me off, then she gave me the giggles, now she just makes me drowsy. Post after post after post, etc., one after the other, (and EVERYWHERE) never saying anything at all. Do you think she gets paid by the word?

    Anyway, I came back to thank you for being so gracious about my jumping in on that thread. I fear I didn’t do very well but I’m also convinced Piny’s a lost cause, regardless. Too bad. I used to enjoy his writing very much. I don’t know if he’s actually changed or if I didn’t notice the ugly side before.

    Oh well, there are other blogs and other bloggers! And I’m sure the New Year will bring even more.

    One last little gossipy piece before I scoot: Too too too (!) took some pot shots at Stan Goff over on that thread—out of the blue, of course, and for no obvious reason. She announced how she hates, hates, hates radical feminist men “because they are so annoying.” She failed to mention the real reason why she hates him so much. I have no idea if Goff identifies himself as a radical feminist or not but I do know one thing for sure: He won’t let her and her various sock-puppets derail his threads. One or two comments get in and then– bye bye! HA! HA! How frustrating it must be to work so hard — so obsessively– at trolling only to be thwarted in the end! Damn those radical feminist men! How annoying!
    :)

    Happy New Year All!

    Posted by gayle | January 2, 2007, 12:20 am
  83. Hi There, I think I may have been eaten by moderation so I’m trying again. Pardon in advance if this turns into a double post.

    Fetch Me My Attention, (too too too!) used to piss me off, then she gave me the giggles, now she just makes me drowsy. Post after post after post, etc., one after the other, (and EVERYWHERE) never saying anything at all. Do you think she gets paid by the word?

    Anyway, I came back to thank you Heart for being so gracious about my jumping in on that thread. I fear I didn’t do very well but I’m also convinced Piny’s a lost cause, regardless. Too bad. I used to enjoy his writing very much. I don’t know if he’s actually changed or if I didn’t notice the ugly side before.

    Oh well, there are other blogs and other bloggers! And I’m sure the New Year will bring even more.

    One last little gossipy piece before I scoot: Too too too (!) took some pot shots at Stan Goff over on that thread—out of the blue, of course and for no obvious reason. She announced how she hates, hates, hates radical feminist men “because they are so annoying.” She failed to mention the real reason why she hates him so much. I have no idea if Goff identifies himself as a radical feminist or not but I do know one thing for sure: He won’t let her and her various sockpuppets derail his threads. They get one or two comments in and then– bye bye! HA! HA! How frustrating it must be to work so hard — so obsessively– at trolling only to be thwarted in the end! Damn those radical feminist men! How annoying!
    :)

    Happy New Year All!

    Posted by gayle | January 2, 2007, 12:24 am
  84. Hey, Gayle. :)

    One thing makes me feel bad. Very recently belledame and I had taken a couple very tentative steps in the direction of at least peaceful coexistence. Now that’s probably all fucked up beyond hope.

    Stan Goff is a great ally to radical feminists! He rocks. I’d have him and a few other men on my blogroll except I have a woman-only blogroll. But when it makes sense, I give them all props.

    As to piny, I gave up on him ages ago. He’s lost in his own vendettas and grudges, whatever. At some point, you just have to give it up, move forward.

    But hey, thanks for the good words, again. It takes courage to be the only one standing up for whoever’s blood is in the water, how well I know.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 12:28 am
  85. belledame’s latest gem: “Not all sexism is patriarchal.”

    Dear goddess.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 12:29 am
  86. Well, on those threads, I am constantly surprised to discover that progressive types and adults can still act like bitchy little kids, or be so clannish, or so much more interested in currying favor with what they see as fashionable than in being PEOPLE.

    Building bridges, yes, but this seems to have taken a huge amount of time and energy. Should we just have worked on our articles, or taken a bath, or something like this, I wonder?

    Posted by profacero | January 2, 2007, 12:57 am
  87. Yeah, we should have. Of course, then we’d be accused of not defending someone or another, or of being guilty of something or other by omission or who knows. In these things, nobody wins.

    You were lucky to be on vacation!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 1:00 am
  88. “I’d have him and a few other men on my blogroll except I have a woman-only blogroll.”

    So you’re saying that all the non-women out there are men? And you’ll take the males who will crash womanhood but refuse the males who won’t out of our respect for feminism? What kind of message does that send?And where are all the transpeople standing up for us when our identity, of manhood refusers or gender traitors, isn’t honored? What, they get their foot in the door and suddenly that sort of discrimination is OK because they get to do it too, pointing at other males and saying “lookout girls, there be a man! Gotta watch out for those types!” Someone needs to protest this site and its sexist blogroll policies (I’ll bet it even discriminates against non-blogs too); I’ll start a Camp. Of course, since you don’t really discriminate against males, well, all of them anyway, only the non-women ones, it’s really “genderist” of you. But whenever I say that, no one knows what what the hell I’m talking about. My life sucks.

    :p

    Posted by rich | January 2, 2007, 1:29 am
  89. :P

    Posted by Heart | January 2, 2007, 2:20 am
  90. See, you even get a really smiley. How fair is that!

    Posted by rich | January 2, 2007, 3:06 am
  91. Heart I do not want to derail or hog this thread but feel okay discussing a subject here that has been introduced here. I do feel like I was stabbed in the back. And I feel like I am betraying someone, I’m not sure who, but someone for commenting over here. However so far here I have been talked to like a person even when I know many do not agree with me. People will deny deny deny because they do not want to see their part, but I was demonized in that thread. I was demonized each time someone said, “what has gotten into Chasingmoksha,” as if I am now an ET because I am not just writing, “yeah down with ______________” (fill in the blank.) My biggest crime was not recognizing how by explaining what was first introduced by others I was insensitivity aiding to distract from the original topic. One would think that I was the first to go off topic how I was blame for taking it there. Maybe some did not say it specifically but by complimenting everyone for participating or by highlighting everyone else and omitting my name when I was the very one who said exactly what and at times before what someone else said is in fact isolating me for some reason. Only the people who did it can really tell why, but only after examine deep within them that it was done. Piny along with Belledame were willfully misconstruing what I said and at times jumping to conclusions that could not possibly be logical according to what I was saying. Then they latched on some KH as if he/she was the emperor with no clothing. Totally negating my existence, my value, my alliance. I did not know who KH was therefore it was fair for me to be suspicious. I comment where I comment all the time and had never saw a KH but I am to welcome a “stranger” into the discussion with open arms. How am I to know KH is not a stranger to whomever. I don’t do cult blogs and I am certainly not going to go to Lindsay’s blog, a blog that KH wanted to swing around like the “Origin of all Species” when earlier in the year Lindsay had refused to engage with WOC when she had concluded something (I do not remember now) outrageously about WOC.

    There was this need to find the statement that I made Tran phobia will no longer exist when power over is gone, wrong. Of course, I will declare here and now, ridding the world of power is not going to happen in this lifetime, it is not going to happen probably in the next three hundred years, but since we were discussing theory of ideology, I took it there. There is nothing fallacious about my statement. If all forms of power were to disappear off the face of the earth, then there would be no Tran phobia. There is Tran phobia because people fear the transgender will do something to them, power over them, as in rape them when they are in the bathroom or be more female than they are or try to have sex with them or whatever fuels Tran phobia. Phobias are fears, a fear that something will harm you. Most harm involves a powering over. If I have a phobia of spiders it is because I think the spider will “get “ me, bite me, render me helpless, dead, hence, the spider powers over me. How will such a fear exist if there is no longer a power structure? It is theoretically impossible. If it was in the “nature” (a social construct) for the transgender to rape it could no longer be in his/her nature, because that nature would not exist because that nature was only conditioned/conditional in accordance with the power structure. Name it whatever you want, patriarchy, imperialism, hegemony, using whatever tools one wants, racism, sexism, racializing sexism, and sexualizing racism, it will no longer exist because there will be no collective powering over, and there will be no personal powering over. It would not exist!

    This leads me to gasp at the incredible inability for people to not understand that KH can talk patriarchal, regardless of what sex he or she was born. Patriarchy is an ideology. In its literal form, the male is the patriarch, however, how can we not say that women (people born female) who submit to patriarchy (whether they are conditioned to or do not have the collective power) and preach the tenants of patriarchy not sound like a patriarch? She becomes a patriarch by proxy. Does she have to sound like a male (another societal definition) in order to fit the bill? It is splintering, the need to split hairs, etc. My mother gave me less food than my brothers did, my mother did not teach me self-preservation other than how to get a man by example. My mother is a patriarch by proxy! Granted she is a biological female conditioned and oppressed by patriarchy but as long as she works completely inside of patriarchy never trying to work out of that system in order to deconstruct it she is upholding patriarchy and is a patriarch. The same goes for imperialists, which as I can see is a big complaint that many have against white middle class feminists and negates the efforts of white feminists because they typically do not extend their focus onto imperialism. As in if the white feminist ignores the patriarch is an imperialist she by default becomes an imperialist by proxy through patriarchy.

    Nevertheless, what is often forgotten is we are all HUMAN! All with different schemas. I gave that disclaimer repeatedly, we all come from different schemas. Perhaps I need to define schema. Schema- “a mental codification of experience that includes a particular organized way of perceiving cognitively and responding to a complex situation or set of stimuli.” I restated this over and over, that we are all coming from different schemas, therefore we will not be at the same place with/in ideology as each other. One feminist may decide she will not ever have a relationship with another man because of where she is at or how much she is ready to construct/deconstruct patriarchy or even hegemony. Another feminist will live with a man but will chose to work on deconditioning him specifically. Another feminist will do all things phallic and act like a man (whatever that means) even though she will not see that she is doing so, thus working toward replacing a lack of power for power. The combinations are endless. And of course, I will not leave out the feminism subverts. Subverting meaning to RUIN something, i.e. feminism.

    I do not dispose of humans I consider to be my friends or allies because we disagree with ideology, by the way ideology is theory, and theory is ideology, if I leave them alone it is because they no longer treat me like a person.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 3:41 am
  92. All that is probably cryptic as hell

    Yup. It is.

    “Oppression Poseurs
    Attention|Lab
    Fetch Me My Attention”

    HAH! My first good laugh of the new year.

    But this isn’t. It’s petty.

    I’d like to respond to your response to me and I’ll do so on my own blog. I’ll let you know when I do.

    Posted by Ravenmn | January 2, 2007, 5:21 am
  93. Yep. To everything you said there, chasing moksha.

    I was having a hard time understanding why “power over” seemed to be such a hard-to-understand term over there. Maybe it was one of those things where people were trying too hard to understand something that is not that hard to understand, that can simply be taken at face value, like the way my kids sometimes will struggle over homework because they can’t let themselves believe the answer to some question or assignment would be *that easy,* they have to make it a thousand times more complicated than it is. “Power over” is just… power over? Some people exercising “power over” other people. I wanted to explain the origins of that phrase and get into all the history and so on, and then I thought to myself, why. Why the hell bother, you know? At some point when everything you say is being twisted or used against you, it makes no sense to engage any longer and provide more and more stuff that is just going to be thrown up in your face some kind of way.

    I think you’re exactly right: when there is no longer “power over,” dominance hierarchies of whatever kind, then there will no longer be transphobia or any phobia. I don’t think if we abandoned dominance hierarchies, “power over,” power would cease to exist. I think we would *share* power. We would exercise *power with*, which is the alternative, or an alternative to “power over,” which both feminism and the peace/nonviolence movements have theorized at great length.

    I just saw that no matter what you said, you were wrong, just like no matter what I said, I was wrong, or I didn’t answer this, or respond to this, always with the accusation that I was being “evasive,” even though it was 7 or 8 or 9 people to one me. At that point, again, there is no point. It felt to me like when I left the discussion, it was you who began to get what really was meant for me. It felt horrible to me and I felt awful for you.

    And as to leaving someone alone when they stop treating you like a human being, that’s a new year’s resolution for me. When people dehumanize me or are trying to harm me, I’m going to just leave them alone, disengage, go on about my business. Life’s too short. I’m too old for that kind of foolishness or waste of time.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 5:21 am
  94. Ravenmn, I would point out to you that you have not been on the receiving end of attacks by belledame and B/L the way I have (and probably chasing moksha has or she would not have arranged her blogroll that way.) For months and months and months now. Relentless attacks and denigration are serious, and to characterize my response to them as petty is to participate in their destructiveness. At some point, being attacked all the time, lied about, made the butt of stupid jokes, as those two have consistently done gets OLD. I’m no masochist. Most of the time, I’ll ignore it. Once in a while, I’m going to say something about it.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 5:25 am
  95. chasing moksha, you don’t have to answer this. But does all of this remind you of other times when you’ve been treated like shit because you’re a white woman who has partnered with black men and have biracial kids? Because that’s just what it feels like to me. I’m calling it out.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 5:30 am
  96. “But does all of this remind you of other times when you’ve been treated like shit because you’re a white woman who has partnered with black men and have biracial kids?”

    Yes it does, because I never get to be human within the dynamics that others set up for my relationship. The same way I feel it must be for POC, but I don’t get to say that (hence, get no allies) because I can never REALLY feel how someone else feels. Pettiness have been thrown at me, and now that I am petty I should be above it. Whatever. I need an outlet as well. Last night I went to Bitch|Lab’s site for the first time in a long time, perhaps since the time she allowed a woman, who I accused of talking like a man, try to tell me what to do with my MOC. And what did I find at her site? A non-apology apology. She was doing fine and the ice around my cold petty heart was melting until she negated the apology with talking shit about me. WTF? This is the type of rhetoric that my personal, my agency, will not tolerate. I do not have to be shit on. I do not get pay for any of this. No one is having my back or considering my feelings, no one is even emailing me in secret to show support or compassion. However, I am to be the big person and not deal with the petty with petty. Well, I am being petty, because I have been dismissed by pettiness. AKA. I’m HUMAN!

    As far as the black husband thing, what can I say, YES YES YES. What do people want? For me to be ashamed of my black husband? For us to be poor, or compensate by being stereotypical. I do not know. However, I know what I thought of after I wrote that other list, I thought of something else I have to deal with and that is not having guilt for not getting my ass kicked. That is a completely new one. See, I have been told that my black husband has the nerve not to kick my ass as he would kick a WOC’s ass. Whoa! My husband has no criminal record or complaint that I know of charging him with kicking a WOC’s ass. Now he must kick my ass, or he is guilty of treating me better than he would treat a WOC. Plus I should feel guilty that he treats me like a human and actually works on his conditioned patriarchy. And the fact that I even recognize or talk about this negates my person because it is not me talking, but my white supremacy, which is in turn making my husband, not kick my ass. Yet if he kicked my ass, I would get dismissed for allowing him to kick my ass or told that is what I get for stealing someone’s man, even though he was not attached to anyone.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 5:54 am
  97. “I don’t think if we abandoned dominance hierarchies, “power over,” power would cease to exist. I think we would *share* power. We would exercise *power with*, which is the alternative, or an alternative to “power over,” which both feminism and the peace/nonviolence movements have theorized at great length.”

    I have been rethinking this topic. Because if the goal is to eliminate power over something else will have to occur to keep order, if keeping order is necessary. But keeping order opens up the field for abuse.

    So like all ideologies, including any that I currently support, they are fluid and can change. Rigid is bad.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 6:05 am
  98. Yep, exactly. How FUCKED UP is that.

    Kind of like I’ve been told that because I’ve been honest about the way I’ve been battered by MOC, I’m “harming” women of color. But like you say, if I hadn’t been battered, it would have been because I was white. But if I’m battered, oops, don’t say a goddamn word you racist white feminist, you are perpetuating the mythology that men of color are violent. You should, like, appreciate all the reasons why that battering, abusive SOB James Brown for some reason gets a place of honor on a theoretically “radical feminist” blog. Even though he beat his wife within an inch of her life for 10 years. And other women. Went to jail for it. Sexually harrassed women who worked for him and got sued for it. Somehow, though, we bracket off our feminism and put it aside and honor a guy who, in fact, was a fucking violent abuser and EVERYBODY knew it, it was public knowledge. The hell.

    When the truth of the matter is, all the live-long day I write about how MEN, MEN, MEN — not men of color, all men — harm women, hurt women, are violent against women, because I am all about the women.

    As to what do people want of those of us who have married black men and have biracial kids, all I know is, that’s a really hellish place for a feminist woman to be. I have delineated all of the crap that happens to women like us, along the lines of my post up there somewhere, only to be told that that was racism against my KIDS, not me. Oh, fuck you. If I get fired, that’s discrimination against ME. If the fucking pig stops me, that’s discrimination against ME. If people say fucked up racist shit to me like I’m all about the big black cock, that’s discrimination against ME. Then I am told, all of this is meaningless, what matters is that I am white. Well, you know what? You tell me what white women, besides women like us, go through this shit? I will tell you NONE. 85 percent of white women, including all of these oh-so-appropriate white feminists, don’t even fucking KNOW any black people, much less are married to black men, mothers to biracial kids, family to black people. My suggestion to these people: STFU.

    Not feeling real good right now. At some point, it’s just fucking ENOUGH.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 6:09 am
  99. And too, elsewhere, I get told that I had white privilege married to black partners because I probably called the cops or went to DV shelters when I was beat up, and when I probably did that, I was probably treated better than WOC would have been. When in fact, as I responded, it is for that reason that though I was being raped and beaten, I never fucking called the cops. NEVER. Not one time did I call the cops. BECAUSE I knew what would happen if I did, me being white and my exes being black. Which of course hurt me when I divorced them because I had not created any record or documentation of having been abused, although I was regularly covered with bruises, cuts, from being beaten. I never went to a DV shelter either (though I called one once and found out the director was a friend of my now-ex’s!). That just gets ignored. No comment. The only time cops got called was when I got beaten publicly and random bystanders called when they saw what was happening.

    And beyond that: My Nappy Headed Ass is gone now from the blogosphere. But in her last few posts, she wrote of e-mails she got attacking her really viciously as a sellout and a tool because her husband was white. She tried to explain, she apologized, it was very clear how bad she felt, and then… she deleted her blog. Now she’s gone, and I loved her voice.

    Like I say, those of us who are race traitors? We have no community but what we can manage to create with people who are open hearted and willing to listen, pay attention, think outside of ideological straitjackets. Most of those people are going to be women. That’s my experience.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 6:20 am
  100. I am sorry Heart that it hurts. I survive with some Hindu philosophy, mostly the ideal that I asked for this life so I could work off Karma. And in my next life I may have it ten times worse than I have it now.

    I think I understand why a black man such as James Brown is admired, or looks as if he is admired, even though he has a history of violence toward women. His violence toward women does not negate his successes. I also see the preferential positioning that is what I was talking about so insensitively in the transphoblia tread, which is probably insensitive here as well since this is not the reason for the thread. However, I like to think, but I am sure this will be dismissed as justification, that discussions can morph and still be productive to some extent.

    Anyway, yes James Brown has a history of violence against women. Yet white men have disproportionately demonized black men. The best example is the rape myth. “Black men are rapists” is repeated through the media all the time. When in fact scores and scores of white men rape, including the white slave masters and how white imperialists go over to other countries and rape. So it seems to me that if WOC do not esteem MOC publicly it will be seen as an act of betrayal from MOC. In a way it is making MOC more important than WOC. It is the one reason I cannot get on board with the “Womanist” movement. Because I cannot do a religion that regardless of how one puts it, makes the man the supreme authority. How can Christianity be anything but patriarchy? I guess it is like knowing that my brother did something bad, but I am not going to allow anyone else to talk about him, but when we get home, I am going to talk about him. It sets up a dynamic that does not allow an outside criticism, which in turn sets up a dynamic that a person who wants to abuse can get away with their destructive desire. Why someone has become conditioned to be destructive is irrelevant when there is evidence that others under the same conditions are able to function without being destructive. In other words, white supremacy oppresses MOC, but that is no excuse for MOC to mistreat women of any color.

    Perhaps this is where our whiteness comes into play. We have loyalty to the people we love but are not willing to sacrifice that over our ideology if that loved one hurts us.

    Again, we are out of our place for discussing this. As being socially labeled white, we are responsible to deconstruct our own prejudices, but if we discuss our prejudices, we are being prejudice and are not valued or have the right to discuss it.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 6:39 am
  101. Re keeping order/abandoning dominance heirarchies: your view of this depends on your view of human nature. I think people could effectively, locally, share power and could run their own communities without using power over, but my own belief there is informed by my beliefs about human nature. I think that human beings have always been, and can continue to be, guided by altruism, feelings of compassion and caring.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 6:39 am
  102. Yeah, chasingmoksha, so true, to everything you said there. You know, my experience is, white men are more violent/abusive/sexually predatory than ANY men, anywhere. And yet my experiences are what they are. How am I true to myself, to women, if I don’t talk about them. When you get right down to it, I don’t even really care if you set James Brown or Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong, or whomever, up as some sort of heroes, despite their having abused the women in their lives, okay, whatever, yeah, they were abusers, men are, ESPECIALLY white men. Just don’t tell me to shut up when I talk about my own life, goddamn it! I’m no fool. I KNOW about loyalties to men. I know about wanting to honor men who have done well, despite all they have had to go through because they are black. I know about being loyal to your dad, your husband, your grandfather, your people. I know why you’re doing that. I understand. At the same time, I can’t lie about my own life. And also at the same time, just keep reading me. I’ll put everything in context over time. I am, after all, the mother of four men of color, who would never, I swear to the goddess on high, mistreat anyone, lay a hand on anyone, especially not a woman. I know that. And it’s for THAT reason, among others, that I’m not going to wave fricking abusers in their faces as heroes! It’s an INSULT to them, too! Dear goddess on high.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 6:50 am
  103. “Just don’t tell me to shut up when I talk about my own life, goddamn it! I’m no fool.”

    Yes I agree.

    “Re keeping order/abandoning dominance heirarchies: your view of this depends on your view of human nature. I think people could effectively, locally, share power and could run their own communities without using power over, but my own belief there is informed by my beliefs about human nature. I think that human beings have always been, and can continue to be, guided by altruism, feelings of compassion and caring.”

    You know you may be on to something here. Because where you think human beings have always been guided by altruism, I unfortunately think it is all about what a person can get for themselves. Which makes me a cynic I know. And explains a lot either way. I wish, and hope people are altruistic (is that a word) but I have little faith in most people’s egos. Which probably comes out in my feelings but not in my thought. Because in thought I attempt to use pure ideology, however, in feelings, I may be driven by my cynicism.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 7:07 am
  104. Really, does anybody think about this, how insulting it might be to conscious, nonviolent, black men/men of color, when people honor violent/abusive men of color? Why don’t people think deeply about these things.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 2, 2007, 7:08 am
  105. I do not think people think deeply about it really, if they did it would not pass muster.

    In a way it is a reflection of larger society. Look at the bad boys/girls of Hollywood. When they drink and drive, say something stupid or utterly offensive, in a year’s time they are getting an award to compensate and bring them back in the fold. Because there seems to be an obligation to make that person feel better about themselves even though they deserve to feel rotten because what he or she did was rotten. Granted not rotten forever, or rotten enough to kill themselves, but at least to an extent to learn that their behavior is unacceptable.

    However, if one ventured into that area someone will scream how people are moralizing and moralizing is bad because it makes people feel shame and guilt. Well duh! Shame and guilt is necessary if someone did something that is harmful to the good of humans and if shame and guilt will deter that behavior. And if that person will not stop hurting people on his or her own. Yet even shame and guilt has been utilized by say the patriarchs to make women feel miserable for asserting her own agency, hence, keeping her in place. So instead of analyzing the necessary aspects of shame and guilt and analyzing how shame and guilt has been used to abuse people, people just jump on the bandwagon that shame and guilt should be abolish, without thinking or demanding that the bad behavior that a person participated in is what should be abolished. Because no one should feel bad for doing bad because that may bring about change.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 7:35 am
  106. Here’s the thing, Chasing Moksha: I came across a comment by you that contained an evident (to me) category error. No big deal; either you were confused or you’d expressed yourself ambiguously or I (along with others) had seen ambiguity where there wasn’t any. With a normal minimum of thought & good will, it should’ve been easy enough to resolve, one way or another, as countless similar matters are every day.

    EDITED I included no ad hominem language, no personal abuse, no idle, invidious speculation about your sexuality or demographic characteristics, no Dolchstoss, nothing. I bear you no ill will, & I assume we’d agree – I know we agree – about a lot of things. I just disagreed with something you said. EDITED

    And so, EDITED you EDITED intuit that I’m a heterosexual male – not, as you now suggest, that I’m a mannish woman, but an actual man – EDITED And EDITEDyou accuse me of putting the interests of one group, trans people, ahead of all others. EDITED

    You say you don’t know me EDITED. Fine; I don’t know you. EDITED

    As for the substance, FWIW, I’m content to leave fair-minded readers – who I hope might EDITED “carefully read [me], [not] just barely skim[],” EDITED to form their own opinions. EDITED

    Note: Gratuitous insults, patronizing, condescending and inflammatory language and rhetoric edited out. That’s how trainwrecks get their start. If differences and conflicts are to be worked through here, respect must be in evidence. Heart

    Posted by KH | January 2, 2007, 8:50 am
  107. Heart,

    I am a new poster to your blog, but I have been reading it for a while and I have enjoyed and been educated by some of your posts.

    I do not understand, however, why you are allowing a direct comparison between transsexual persons and a psychotically deranged, fictional character who murders women in order to steal their skins to go unchallenged in this thread.

    It is a hateful comparison, serving only to hurt and demonize trans persons.

    Posted by beansa | January 2, 2007, 10:07 am
  108. I think people should have to read a thread before they comment.

    We live in a soceity that hates women and objectifies them. A society that is so saturated in its hatred and objectification of women that women have marked and targeted for rape, battery, prostitution, torture, enslavement and death and no one barely blinks an eye. It is not fictional for women, Beansa. It is reality for women. Why do you think the movie was such a big hit? This society gets off on the objectification and torture of women. It gets off on hearing women cry.

    Transpeople were not the victim in this movie. Any more than men are when they’re portrayed as psychotically, deranged characters in the million or so films out there. Women are the targets and the victims. Women are the ones being harmed. And the fact that transpeople and their supporters are identifying with this man in movie, instead of the women, speaks volumes.

    Jodie Foster puts on a superb performance in this movie. Wonder why no one is identifying with her, even tho she was nominated for the Academy Award?

    Posted by Luckynkl | January 2, 2007, 12:58 pm
  109. “…but I have been reading it…”

    well, obviously not so much, huh.

    Posted by rich | January 2, 2007, 1:47 pm
  110. P.S. The very title of “The Silence of the Lambs” got its title from Foster’s character. How as a child, she heard the crying of the lambs at slaughter time. And how she tried to rescue them, but she was just a child, and could not do so, and so the cries still haunted her. As an adult, she associates and equates women and their cries with the crying of the lambs, as they are both led to the slaughter.

    How do you get that transpeople are the victims here? Buffalo Bill is the one with power in the movie. So much so that even the Senator is pleading with him. And did we forget so fast about Hannibal Lector? Another powerful character in the movie. Who also is also a psychotic and deranged pyschopathic killer. Men are being portrayed as sexist pyschos and power and control freaks all over the landscape in the movie. Whether they be feminine or masculine. Whether they be high class, middle class or lower class. Whatever their gender or sexuality. Hannibal Lector, for example, had a taste for men. The movie more than hints that Hannibal is homosexual. The pyschiatrist in the movie, not to be confused with Hannibal, is also a power and control freak. As is Agent Jack Crawford, one of the so called good guys. Who puts Jodie Foster’s FBI character at risk and undermines her because of her sex in front of other police officers. And then we have the dude in the cell next to Hannibal, who is also deranged and masturabates and throws his business all over Jodie Foster. Literally. Which is what all these men in the movie pretty much metephorically are doing to all the women in the movie, throughout the movie.

    In the end. the women are heroic and triumph. By simply surviving, despite the blantant sexism, despite the wall of power of male opposition, despite being trapped in a pit, or blinded by darkness or any predicament men threw at them. If you could call women surviving a triumph.

    Posted by Luckynkl | January 2, 2007, 1:51 pm
  111. beansa, you must have missed what I said up thread a bit:

    womensspace Says:
    December 31st, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    Well, here’s what I think. I think that invoking any sort of imagery having to do with a man sewing women’s skin into a suit for himself in a discussion of transgender issues is, best case, inflammatory and hurtful, even if the intention wasn’t to make a specific association between the two. I don’t think anybody’s interests are served by that association, no matter what the intention was.

    Again, I don’t want any sort of trainwreck precipitated here and so I am moderating closely. Please, everybody, say what you have to say in the least inflammatory, most thoughtful and light-, as opposed to heat-producing way possible.

    Heart

    *****

    This is what I mean about these threads though. There is this rush to fault-finding without near enough careful reading.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 2, 2007, 2:13 pm
  112. Hey, chasingmoksha, re views of human nature, just last month I was going to blog about the results of a study on human altruism which suggests that instead of human survival being a “survival of the fittest” type of thing, it might actually have been about altruism. In other words, though science (patriarchal, very male, always), has attributed human survival to “the selfish gene” (Dawkins), maybe human beings actually have an “unselfish gene,” a gene for altruistic behaviors. Following is one report:

    ******

    Altruism — acting selflessly on behalf of someone else — may have a silver lining that’s woven through human history.

    A report in Science speculates that altruism evolved among human ancestors who cooperated by sharing scarce resources to survive in harsh conditions and warfare.

    Those sharing, caring practices likely had a personal cost — you’ve got less food for yourself if you share it with someone else — but they would have helped a group survive and grow closer.

    As a result, cooperation may have forged stronger groups that had a survival edge over greedier groups, according to the paper by Samuel Bowles, Ph.D.

    Bowles is a research professor and director of the behavioral sciences program at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and an economics professor at Italy’s University of Siena.

    Bowles hasn’t found an “altruism” gene.

    But he supports his theory with a complex series of calculations, based on genetics, climate, and populations from as long as thousands of years ago.

    Lots of question marks remain. No one knows exactly what went on among people that long ago, or whether their actions echo through our genes today.

    Bowles’ theory may explain “the stability” of altruism among people, “but whether it is sufficient to explain its origin is not yet clear,” notes editorialist Robert Boyd, Ph.D.

    Boyd works in the anthropology department of the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include “Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution”.

    “Bowles’ hypothesis is consistent with suggestions that people have innate, pro-social motivations, and that these feelings are elicited by cues of common group membership,” Boyd writes.

    “These are old questions, but important ones,” Boyd writes. “The kind of quantitative empirical work that Bowles has done will help answer them.”

    ——————————————————————————–

    SOURCES: Bowles, S. Science, Dec. 8, 2006; vol. 3144: pp. 1569-1572. Boyd, R. Science, Dec. 8, 2006; vol. 314: pp. 1555-1556. News release, Science.

    *****

    A really good feminist read on the way all the different feminisms are informed by different ideas about human nature is Alison Jaggar’s book Feminist Politics and Human Nature. IIRC, Jaggar focuses more specifically on how feminists apply ideas about human nature to men v. women, but still there is attention paid to how ideas about human nature have shaped different approaches to women’s liberation.

    Although my life experiences have made me cynical in the way you describe, I try to keep challenging that in myself, in part because I wonder how much that has been influenced by my Christian background which teaches that everybody is a “sinner” and “depraved” and nobody can do good, which leads to this whole paradigm and theory of how people need top-down, hierarchical control.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 2, 2007, 2:39 pm
  113. ***In the end. the women are heroic and triumph.***

    But not for long. The sequel has Agent Starling, against all her struggles and scruples, finally sitting down to a “meal” with Hannibal Lector. Jodie Foster refused to play the part in that movie.

    Posted by Branjor | January 2, 2007, 4:10 pm
  114. “Although my life experiences have made me cynical in the way you describe, I try to keep challenging that in myself, in part because I wonder how much that has been influenced by my Christian background which teaches that everybody is a “sinner” and “depraved” and nobody can do good, which leads to this whole paradigm and theory of how people need top-down, hierarchical control.”

    We have arrived at the same point yet starting from opposites, or at least quite different beginnings. I have never been conditioned to believe that everybody is a “sinner” and “depraved” and nobody can do good. Actually, somewhere, perhaps my internal compass that children like me resorted to when our external worlds were chaotic, told me everyone was good and kind until proven otherwise. Each time it was proven that people were/are not kind, it was a bigger shock than the time before, because there is always a naive belief on my part that it cannot possibly be how it actually is. The first time I read Blanche Dubois (a rape victim driven to insanity) line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” I cried violently without knowing why.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 2, 2007, 4:12 pm
  115. “Transpeople were not the victim in this movie.”

    i would disagree. this movie depicts yet another example of the stereotype of transpeople as criminally insane. because that’s the way we are always depicted. it’s only recently, in the past couple of years, that there have been one or two movies in which a transperson is shown as human.

    this movie contributes to the proclivity by the general public to think of criminals and insanity in the context of transpeople. just like in the original thread that started this trainwreck. the issue of transpeople was raised. and you brought up the movie. in many people’s minds, when they think of transsexuals, they think of this movie.

    yes, we live in a society that hates women and objectifies them. we also live in a society that hates transpeople and objectifies them, and depicts them as psychotic and deranged pyschopathic killers.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 2, 2007, 7:20 pm
  116. Heart,

    I did read the whole thread, and the comment you made to Luckynkl was made before she expounded and expanded on her analogous comparison, which you then left totally unchallenged. She IS making a direct comparison.

    Luckynkl,

    You didn’t answer any of my questions.

    Posted by beansa | January 2, 2007, 7:22 pm
  117. beansa, I will be responding as it makes sense to me to respond, in my own time, and in my own way. I’m not the only voice here. I am not only moderating here, I am also participating in the discussion, I am thinking about what I read, and I am contributing as I’m thinking and learning. I’m not policing the thread and I won’t be, other than to moderate out insults and disrespect. Neither will you or anyone else be policing the thread or telling women they have to respond at all, or when or as you think they should, or in the timing you think is appropriate. We will all be respecting one another, speaking respectfully to one another, and respecting each person’s decision to respond or not as she feels like it. My or anyone else’s not responding doesn’t mean anything but that I or anyone else didn’t respond right now. The end. One reason things got to this point in the first place was, radical feminist women’s views have in fact been relentlessly policed all over the internet, to the degree that nobody even knew what our views were, or the differences among us. Part of my letting the discussion unfold on its own is, I am allowing the differences amongst radical feminists and others in the discussion to be *read* and understood and considered, in part so that it begins to be understood that we diverge from one another. We have differences of opinion and we process those differences of opinion, and usually, we don’t change each other’s minds, but we might understand each other better. My style is not to jump in and clobber someone the first time she fails to spout a party line or as soon as someone says something I wouldn’t have said. I’m not letting anybody else do that in here either. Which is not to say I’m going to allow destructiveness in here, I will not. But I’m going to deal with things here in my own way, in a way which is woman-centered and respectful of feminist process and of all of the women here.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 7:33 pm
  118. I don’t believe I was name calling, but please correct me if I misremember, unless calling a person a man is name calling.

    Posted by Pony | January 2, 2007, 7:39 pm
  119. One of the things I would ask, if people are going to masticate on this, and accuse others of saying X, is that they read what someone says, not what someone else says they said. Thank you.

    Posted by Pony | January 2, 2007, 7:42 pm
  120. I am sorry, I am doing something else while posting, best now just do that but want to add: if you felt hated by my remarks, then that is the point and I want to say I will be more careful in the future, and also, that I do not hate you or any transperson. But if hate came across, then I must amend and apologize.

    I cannot monitor for some time now. Bye

    Posted by Pony | January 2, 2007, 7:46 pm
  121. I don’t know the context of your post, pony, so this may not apply, but I do think it’s an insult to call any person out of their name or stated identification. If someone clearly states that she is a woman or a man, in other words, then that should be sufficient; for the purposes of threads here, that person ought to be referred to as she or he has requested. If someone’s view is that transitioning or being transgendered, transition or no, does not change someone’s sex, then I ask that posters find ways to engage using words which do not require them to compromise their beliefs or to insult another person, i.e., they could use the person’s actual name instead of pronouns, as opposed to using a pronoun which would be perceived as an insult. The goal is communication and we can’t connect if we’re insulted and feel disrespected.

    Again, pony, I’ve never seen you call a transperson out of their name or identification, I’m just taking the opportunity your post provides to post this..

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 7:51 pm
  122. Heart,

    If George Bush tells me that he now considers himself a woman, must I then refer to him as “she”?

    Only on this blog? Or ever, anywhere?

    Just checking what kind of quicksand I’m walking on here.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 2, 2007, 8:15 pm
  123. Mary Sunshine, for the purposes of this blog, if George Bush says George Bush considers George Bush a woman, and someone disagrees, then what I would like to see here is George Bush called “George Bush”, as opposed to using pronouns which are incendiary in either direction, for either person.

    I know it’s tedious but it is a way to honor all the different perspectives in the hopes that dialog is at least possible.

    I don’t have any control over what anybody does outside of my blog or discussions I moderate. I think as radical feminists we have some very important things to say and I’m most interested in communicating what we have to say. Using words and language which is perceived as insulting keeps communication from happening, generates heat, not light.

    And yes, there are definitely other ways to look at all of this. Language can be used as a throw-down, politically speaking, because whomever defines has the power. For the sake of discussions like this, I would like to avoid rhetorical throw downs, even though in some kinds of venues and discussions, I see the value in them.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 8:32 pm
  124. Heart,

    “I’m not policing the thread and I won’t be, other than to moderate out insults and disrespect. ”

    I apologize. You see, I thought that comparing trans people to serial killers was an insult to trans people. That is why I was asking for clarification as to why you hadn’t moderated it out.

    Posted by beansa | January 2, 2007, 8:34 pm
  125. Note to beansa: I refer you to what I’ve already posted. We won’t know what I or everybody says until the end of the thread. If I don’t address something, I might have good reason for not addressing it. That will not mean I approve of everything that is in this thread. That will not mean I agree with everything. What it will mean is, I am making space for feminist discourse here– something that doesn’t happen in very many places on the internet or anywhere else.

    I’m not going to approve your last comment. It was policing, it was insulting, and you completely ignored my most recent response to you in your rush to assert the rightness of your own position. You may well be right. I might even agree with you. But here, I’m interested in feminist disussion, giving women a chance to say what they want to say. Feminist process. If you hang around and read, you might learn what that is and means.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 2, 2007, 8:48 pm
  126. Heart,

    No. I was apologizing. Seriously.

    I thought an insult was being made, and I was asking for clarification.

    You provided that clarification by saying you were going to let the comments stand so that different points of view could be expressed and considered.

    Why are you reading an insult into that?

    Posted by beansa | January 2, 2007, 9:36 pm
  127. Hi Heart,

    I’ve just been out for a walk and back, during which time I came to appreciate what you are trying to do here. I then read your reply to me. Thank you!

    I would never have the patience to try to do what you are trying to do. Plus, I guess I wouldn’t be motivated to do so.

    I know that you support woman-born-woman space, and that you chose your blog name to reflect your own feeling of the need for women’s voices not to be constantly shouted down and policed by male interests on “feminist” blogs.

    Recent events have definitely left me feeling paranoid and discouraged in that respect.

    You yourself have *definitely* had nothing to do with increasing my stress levels, and I don’t want to do that to yours.

    I wish you well.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 2, 2007, 9:40 pm
  128. Who has the power over the pronouns though: I think it’s highly interesting that in these circles, principally feminist ones or putatively feminist ones, that calling a “she a he” is considered infinitely meaner than calling a “he a she.” Most FTMs with blogs who throw down in all this trainwreck nonsense, they seldom get bent out of shape over being “she’d” as it often works in their favor: they get cut slack, their arguments aren’t as dismissable by feminists as other men’s, etc. In that situation, sometimes they have something to gain by being trans rather than man, full-stop.

    Furthermore, it’s AOK to “he” women born women: I mean, how many times has Lucky been called a man, or akin to a man, some sort of an oppressive beast, just for having a mouth on her? And that’s fair game, that kind of gender-swap: and it goes for all sorts of feminists, MacKinnon for daring to have a law degree and achieve things, Dworkin for writing more elegantly than all of her haters combined, just about anything can make a hated woman into a masculine agent.

    In Queer Theory, it’s often not the agency that makes one masculine, but how horrid and hate worthy you are.

    It’s ironic that the working theory is that radical feminists hate “men” when it’s so often it’s the former sons, brothers, and even fathers who are acting like to be called a man is akin to being called a “shit eating nazi rapist.” (leading to thoughts like, “How dare you call my wife a ‘he,’ she’s all sorts of special and wonderful and not at all like… well… THEM!”)

    While I guess I’m with you in the interest of staying neutral in our discourse, even if the effect is clunky to our ears (although many non-English languages don’t have the same issue with repetition), I do think that the “wrong pronoun as insult” phenomenon bears scrutiny because it’s so narrow and unlike other instances of “hate speech.”

    For example, when misogynist males call one of their male peers a “bitch,” I doubt feminist women would be concerned about how his *personal* gender identity was disrespected — likewise when ostensibly straight people are assaulted with homophobic terms or behavior. “Fuck off, I’m not one of THEM, I’m a red-blooded XYZ,” is generally not a progressive answer. Liberal circles say to take that sort of thing as a compliment and assume some sort of positive stereotype. So it is very narrow in scope, not just because trans (undefinable as it is) is such a peripheral thing, but because feminist women — myopically and unjustly — are seen as having that power to name, and it seems that the most stereotypical view of feminism is reflected in this fear of being named a man (aka rapist murdering scum).

    I think these complexities generally get overlooked.

    Posted by rich | January 2, 2007, 10:00 pm
  129. I will do what is least divisive Heart.

    Posted by Pony | January 2, 2007, 10:17 pm
  130. ***it’s only recently, in the past couple of years, that there have been one or two movies in which a transperson is shown as human.***

    I watched most of “The Gwen Araujo Story” (had to attend to my dog in the beginning of it). I cried when Gwen was murdered.

    Posted by Branjor | January 2, 2007, 11:54 pm
  131. Rich,

    Thanks for your post. I agree entirely.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 12:22 am
  132. This is a really good conversation, thank you. I especially appreciate rich’s satire. LOL.

    I’ve been wanting to say that while I think the mention of “silence of the lambs” in the context of this discussion was a bad choice–whether calculated to offend or not–while I often disagree with Lucky’s presentation, I almost always agree with her politics and appreciate her willingness to be out there stating her/our (so often unpopular) point of view.

    As far as movies go, it must be said that in mainstream films lesbians are ALSO almost always portrayed as criminals/murderers (Aileen Wuornos/Monster, the upcoming movie with Judi Dench, Bound) and to my knowledge there are NO mainstream films (or really any other film anywhere) portraying a lesbian feminist/radical feminist in a positive, sympathetic light as “TransAmerica” did a transwoman (don’t know if that’s the one you were thinking of, nexy).

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 3, 2007, 1:25 am
  133. Yea, just call him a she then. No need to go around offending folks by saying they can’t say what gender they are.

    Posted by shannon | January 3, 2007, 1:27 am
  134. Rich I agree with what I can understand, what I think you’re saying. I find your prose style there, difficult to follow.

    Posted by Pony | January 3, 2007, 1:28 am
  135. Pony, I hear you. I do not how else to reach you, but to post here. I read the other blogs too. You must remember that they are American. The Canadian experience is different and you are right. Metis women are at the bottom of the heap in Canada. Just look at how the women who were murdered in Vancouver have been depicted. Blacks in Canada are looked upon as exotic and whites feel so proud that they helped the slaves escape the states. However, that is changing as more people of colour come to Canada.
    Where I live it is the First Nations kids and the East Indian kids who fight. It seems to be a pattern that those most discriminated against fight each other and the whites stroke their chins. Take heart and take care.

    Posted by rhondda | January 3, 2007, 1:31 am
  136. “For example, when misogynist males call one of their male peers a “bitch,” I doubt feminist women would be concerned about how his *personal* gender identity was disrespected — likewise when ostensibly straight people are assaulted with homophobic terms or behavior. “

    Actually, that is an unfair assertion. I do not know what has been taught in gender studies courses years ago, but currently almost every aspect of gender that has been argued about here and in other places that I have read is discussed routinely.

    First I will say, in women spaces or women focused spaces I would suspect that women would “focus” on their issues directly and leave misogynist males to discuss their oppressive behaviors toward each other in their own circles.

    Nevertheless, the oppression that misogynist males create/cause for other misogynist males is often discussed and depicted as such because it contributes to the overall oppression. If a heterosexual male or even misogynist male (some may argue that they are one in the same)call each other a bitch, it reinforces the hierarchy of patriarchal assign value by implying that a bitch (a derogatory gender specific term traditionally aimed at females) is inferior (or weaker) than the targeted male.

    The overall underlining message in contemporary gender courses is oppression hurts everyone and therefore movements such as feminism does not just benefit women (used in the loosest sense) but men (used in the loosest sense) as well (in the end).

    The latest topic I know to be a very hot topic in “cisgendered” circles is how a stay at home father is expected to be the “stud” of the neighborhood for all the lonely SAHMs or is the loser male who could not cut it out in the “male” professional world.

    However, in women’s spaces it may not be seen as a priority because proportionally more women suffer from male inflicted misogyny than men, or at least suffer in a more severe, acute, and perpetuating way than the “boys will be boys” antics that have been traditionally embraced by males instead of denounced by them. The denunciation will only build momentum when more males get on board to do the denouncing. If females did the denouncing the male could be seen by other misogynist males as having his mommy fight his battles for him (hence, the misogyny collapses on the misogyny).

    If anyone had to places disclaimers to explain the omission of someone, dialogue would never begin. Yet just saying that will be concluded that white feminists only want to chalk everyone else other than them up as a paragraph. But in reality, compartmentalization must be utilized (with caution of course) or one’s focus will not be conveyed.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 1:55 am
  137. “I do not know what has been taught in gender studies courses years ago, but currently almost every aspect of gender that has been argued about here and in other places that I have read is discussed routinely.”

    That sounds a little harsh, but it is not directed at anyone in particularly.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 1:58 am
  138. They are my blood R. The very place you live. Shhh.

    Posted by Pony | January 3, 2007, 2:22 am
  139. We called it Women’s Studies CM.

    {cough}

    Posted by Pony | January 3, 2007, 2:27 am
  140. I appreciate everybody’s willingness to focus on actually discussing the issues. One reason, among many, that I’m being persnickety is, I know there is a lot of pent-up radfem frustration over our treatment in some venues and there might be a temptation to just let loose with some pieces of our mind it might not be wise to let fly, just out of aggravation, which would be unfortunate, I think.

    I’ve approved beansa’s recent posts, after all, since I misunderstood, I think, and thanks for your clarification, beansa. Also, while I’m talking about moderation, I’ve got the blog set to more stringent moderation standards than usual and I apologize for the frustration of possibly having to wait until I approve comments for those who normally wouldn’t have to wait.

    Re pronouns. I think it isn’t discussed often enough, the way words create worlds, the way, not so much the acts of defining and naming equal power but the way our own naming and defining gets acknowledged and respected or not. If we go back to the Civil Rights era, black people naming themselves was huge. While there was racist resistance, there was also a lot of support in the culture, just in general for black people naming themselves. Same thing with black people taking African names or becoming black Muslims; in general, these acts were very much respected other than among unapologetic racists.

    Feminists, and particularly lesbians, get roundly shat upon and laughed at societally, including among so-called “progressives” and even feminists, when we create language to define ourselves, our reality. Consider the response to words like “wimmin,” “womyn”, “womon,” and to the names womyn took for themselves in the 80s, in particular: “Chrystos,” “Elana Dykewomon,” “Woodwomon,” “Shekinah Mountainwater,” “Starhawk.” Consider responses to words like “gynergy,” “gynocentric” or to Mary Daly’s projects around naming. Consider the response to radical feminists use of profanity, i.e., “fuck” or even to the words “patriarchy” or “male heterosupremacy.” This is what I think about when I observe the progressive response to transpersons naming themselves and creating words for their own reality. My own observation is, these latter efforts are respected. More significantly in my mind, radical feminists pay for it if they do not honor these terms and words, even when our own words and terms are not similarly honored, and not only that, are laughed at or treated with derision.

    I think a good argument could be made that really we are sort of held hostage in some ways; we might get a hearing if we play by the rule that we use the words transpersons insist we use. The fact that this is *possible* speaks volumes. Has anybody ever participated in any discussion among feminists/progressives in which radical feminists/lesbian separatists had the power to similarly hold other groups hostage in this way, i.e., “Okay, we’ll listen to you, we’ll talk to you, but only if you use our spellings of ‘wimmin’ and honor the language we’ve created for ourselves and are using in this discussion.” No *way*. Instead our discussions get diverted and waylaid into discussions of how stupid our own naming projects are. Which again, to me, speaks volumes about how transpersons are respected and in general, treated, as compared with radical feminists/lesbians/woman-centered women.

    I don’t think we should be held hostage in this way. I think we should be able to say, as some of us do say and have said, “I think it is wrong-headed and not in the best interests of women to use terms like ‘cisgendered’ or ‘natal women’ or ‘women born women’.” But that is immediately perceived by so many self-identified progressives and feminsits as a throw-down and is called all kinds of phobic and bigoted, with no thought given to the reasons someone might feel that way.

    chasing moksha, I’m not sure I’m completely following you, but my experience is, while the radical feminist position on issues may be taught at the college level, it is generally taught as a feminism which is passe, racist, white, transphobic, and even lesbophobic, or it is conflated with cultural feminism, or it is described as manhating and violent, just as in the surrounding culture. One of my daughters, a college sophomore this year, had a helluva time in her “Gender Studies” course last year. Her prof was a transwoman and was black. (My daughter is biracial and is usually read as black or biracial. She is 19.) Early on in the class, her prof taught the class that radical feminists were all the host of uglies I just described and furthermore, that radical feminists were “violent.” My daughter challenged that straight up and got no hearing from the professor, just arguments, even when my daughter spoke articulately of radical feminism and gave articles, books, etc. to her prof. My daughter also had the bizarre, but as I understand, fairly common, college-level experience of joining a campus feminist group which described itself as “feminist,” only to find it comprised of transgender advocates and vegetarians who displayed zero knowledge of feminism. :/ So I don’t think what we’re talking about here gets covered in most gender studies classes, other than inaccurately and negatively. (And I agree, I think we need women’s studies classes, not “gender studies,” classes; I think we also need women’s studies bookshelves in bookstores rather than including feminist work under “gender studies.” Women aren’t liberated. It’s not a post-feminist age, women are not liberated, women are not free.)

    chasing moksha, as to the “white women think all they have to do is include a paragraph,” well, that’s another example of what happens when it’s one radical feminist attempting to dialog with seven, eight or nine anti-radfems. I think the entirety of someone’s work and writing in the end provides the context for individual posts or articles or whatever, and particularly on the internet. Where good will and the benefit of the doubt are lacking, though, my statement that I’m not going to add in a paragraph about imperialism and colonialism every time I talk about black male violence (which is along the lines of what I said, I think), and in particular not when I talk about my exes’ abuse, gets used against me, enlisted in the project of proving me to be arrogant or racist or whatever other nasty things. Given the amount of time I spend writing about imperialism, colonialism, racism, and so on, and have been for a good long time, I think it’s reasonable to expect that my views there should be understood as providing important context for anything else I write other places. But what I said in the heat of that trainwreck gets morphed into, “Heart thinks all she has to do is write a paragraph, look at her arrogance” and so on.

    As to transmen not seeming to be as bothered by being called “she” as transwomen are by being called “he,” my experience is a little different in that if it’s someone like piny, who is always angling for a fight, he would make an issue of it. He did at one time make a huge issue about my having referred to him as a “she,” not understanding — because I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to say anything — that I didn’t know how he identified at that point. I only knew that he was a transperson; I didn’t know at that time that he was a transman and my writing (this was probably a couple years ago at Alas) reflected that.

    All of which goes back to the whole thing about me, and Twisty and others being stand-ins for 30 years of radical feminists whom many have been taught to hate and despise. Lots of people are just cruisin to do some bruisin there, in my experience.

    I wanted to agree with you, Amy’s Brain Today, about the way lesbians and radical feminists are presented in mainstream media, as psychotic, murderous, killers or promiscuous floozies or predatory in some way. I mean, ARE there even any radical feminists presented in mainstream media anywhere? The closest I can think of is that horrible film Yawning Lion wrote about on her blog a while ago, “Wicker Man,” where a woman-only community burns some man up as a sacrifice, he’s screaming and it’s all gory and hideous, all the while the women are calmly explaining to the children that that’s the way it’s gotta be. JEEZ.

    I think feminists have always thought, no matter what kind of feminist they were, that the end of patriarchy would benefit all people, men, women, children (also earth, oceans, skies, animals). I think some feminists became woman-focused because of the way they were treated by the men who presented as allies, to wit, like shit. It became evident in doing the work that if the focus was going to be on what was beneficial to women, women were going to have to put women first, because wherever men were involved, women’s issues inevitably got short shrift.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 3:39 am
  141. Heart I think you made the case I was attempting to make. I felt that Rich was saying that men were not considered enough or sufficiently in gender discussions. I am saying according to my Gender Studies class, which was the blanket offer that semester for all female studies, because there were no specific “Women’s Studies”apart from“Women in Fiction” type classes men were well represented. In fact, gender, queer theory, transgender, etc was the center of the class the entire semester. It also dominated Literary Theory without giving equal billing to Colonialism and Race even though it was promised. So I guess I am saying that I am surprise that all the gender/transgender etc is not at least familiar to most.

    Whereas I do not remember a thing about “Radical Feminism” or if so, it was a bleep and probably as you say relegated or annihilated all together. I know we discussed how feminists sacrificed African Americans during the fight to get the women’s vote but in reality, I think I discussed that in African American Literature during the Washington/Dubois debate. In addition, I remember some lesbian bigotry in a movement, I think it was lesbians discriminating against any female who is not a lesbian. Actually, I can tell you our focus, it was Annamarie Jagose’s “Queer Theory,” Anne Fausto-Sterling’s “Sexing the Body,” a few films, The Teena Brandon Story, some small articles, and two novels, Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness” and Stone Butch Blues. If one is familiar with the above pieces one would know why I would be confused to learn that gender is not considered something widely taught or discussed.

    This could explain why I supposedly insulted some when I said that it seemed like transgender was jockeying for a preferential position in the fight for oppression. Because I was coming from the schema that they were/are more explored than others.

    Maybe it was just our university. If so, then what is with the media accusation that the “lesbians (and their ilk, i.e. anyone other than hetero) have taken over all the universities?”

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 4:47 am
  142. “…as “TransAmerica” did a transwoman (don’t know if that’s the one you were thinking of, nexy).”

    yes, that’s exactly the movie i was thinking about. though i’ll add, that while the situations in transamerica were more realistic that perhaps any other depiction of trans people in the media, they did not represent my experience. but i suppose that’s a topic for another post.

    regarding pronouns, i suppose i’m different than a lot of transwomen in that respect. i’ve never really seen myself as a specific gender, even when i was younger and before i transitioned. certainly, since i was born and raised male, i was socialized that way. but even today, i still can’t wrap my head around the idea that some people “feel” like they are a specific gender. i have no idea what that “feeling” might be like.

    as such, when people use male pronouns with respect to me (which only happens these days either on line or occasionally on the phone) i really don’t have a problem with it. i have nothing against men, and i certainly used to live as a man. i’d like to see gender neutral pronouns come into wide usage. though i suppose that just follows my belief that gender should be eliminated all together.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 3, 2007, 6:17 am
  143. chasing moksha: Whereas I do not remember a thing about “Radical Feminism” or if so, it was a bleep and probably as you say relegated or annihilated all together. I know we discussed how feminists sacrificed African Americans during the fight to get the women’s vote but in reality, I think I discussed that in African American Literature during the Washington/Dubois debate.

    Huh, how does this abject garbage pass as an education? Argh, this gets me fired up. In fact, the vote for women, white and black, was thrown under the truck by male abolitionists so that men could get the vote, both white and black, 60 or so years before any women got the vote, white or black. After decades of abolitionist work on the part of the suffragists, when the time came for abolitionists to support women getting the vote and the choice was between women or black freed male slaves, it was black freed male slaves who got the vote, no women, black or white, not for 70 years. And I bet you a million bucks you didn’t hear one of the most stirring, inspiring stories of American history, the story of the way white Southern women under the leadership of Jessie Daniel Ames joined with black Southern women (at their specific request and in fact, challenge) to end lynchings of black men, which lynchings they nearly single-handedly ended, white women working with black women that is.

    http://www.binghamton.edu/womhist/aswpl/doclist.htm

    This is the kind of thing that never gets taught, does it. Goddamnitalltohell.

    Obviously not yelling at you, chasing moksha! Just yelling into the universe.

    In addition, I remember some lesbian bigotry in a movement, I think it was lesbians discriminating against any female who is not a lesbian.

    Oh, for crying out loud. I’m not even up to going here tonight! Maybe tomorrow. Sometimes lesbians got pissed and let that be known, that’s true. No more often than het women got pissed! Jeezus.

    Actually, I can tell you our focus, it was Annamarie Jagose’s “Queer Theory,” Anne Fausto-Sterling’s “Sexing the Body,” a few films, The Teena Brandon Story, some small articles, and two novels, Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness” and Stone Butch Blues. If one is familiar with the above pieces one would know why I would be confused to learn that gender is not considered something widely taught or discussed.

    You know, all of that is all good, but what was the context? My experience is, the books/films you’re describing, at the college level, are never contextualized as part and parcel of women’s struggle for liberation and full humanity. It ends up understood as having to do with sexuality and “queer” and sex positive/sexual liberation stuff. There’s no or little focus on the feminist project — the specifically radical feminist project — of deconstructing heteronormativity and revisioning sexuality/sensuality/the erotic.

    This could explain why I supposedly insulted some when I said that it seemed like transgender was jockeying for a preferential position in the fight for oppression. Because I was coming from the schema that they were/are more exploited than others.

    Absolutely. That’s sure what I’ve seen in academia, in my daughters’ and young friends’ classes, and it’s what I hear from my friends in academia, professors, women’s studies women.

    Maybe it was just our university. If so, then what is with the media accusation that the “lesbians (and their ilk, i.e. anyone other than hetero) have taken over all the universities?”

    I wish!
    :/

    I think it’s preposterous that to learn about radical feminism, even after all of your women’s studies classes, chasing moksha, you had to look it up on wikipedia!

    Argh.

    Such great thoughts, nexy. Hell yeah. Let’s eliminate gender altogether, and with it all of the bullshit arguments about all the places gender is located — in the head, in the spirit, in the body, in the sex organs — when in fact, gender was conceived by a society intent on hierarchy and subordination. Like it’s so worthwhile to spend our time worried about pronouns.

    And we haven’t even talked yet about all the women (born women) who are constantly read as men and consistently called “he” and “sir” and all of that. Where the hell do they fit in? Who gives a shit about their aggravation about pronouns, especially when it happens in a public restroom and the person using the wrong pronoun is a security guard!

    I go every single day to the third-floor restroom in the 42-floor skyscraper I work in in Seattle. Almost every day, a maintenance worker comes in while I’m there. She’s a very cool looking woman about my age, German, with a thick accent, who I am very sure is read as a man every day of her life. We have great conversations, every morning we hook up. I can only wonder what stories about pronouns she would tell though, if anybody gave a shit, if anybody cared or listened.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 7:15 am
  144. “even after all of your women’s studies classes, chasing moksha, you had to look it up on wikipedia!”

    I’m sorry.

    I can only say that when people like me, poor white trash, scared to death that we are somewhere that we were told that we would never be, or will more than likely not succeed, or if/when we do we will forget where we came from, we forget to examine what we are missing, and what we are not studying in comparison to what we are not studying, and instead are caught up in the appreciation of what we do get to study. Or at least it was that way in my case.

    On that note, I think I will withdraw for a day or so.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 7:33 am
  145. Oh one more thing if you can combine comments:

    “It ends up understood as having to do with sexuality and “queer” and sex positive/sexual liberation stuff. There’s no or little focus on the feminist project — the specifically radical feminist project — of deconstructing heteronormativity and revisioning sexuality/sensuality/the erotic.”

    Yes that is exactly how I came away understanding it.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 7:38 am
  146. No, no, chasing moksha! I don’t think your looking up radical feminism on wikipedia is your fault! No way! I think you rock the house in that you looked it up on wikipedia! How the hell do any of us ever know what we’re not being taught?

    When I turned to feminism circa 1995 or 1996 or so, all I could find was Susie Bright, Camille Paglia, and the sex positive crowd. I thought, “huh, I guess since I last thought about feminism in the early 70s, women have discovered something I don’t know about, surely they know more than me!” Which marked my turn in the direction of being “sex pos.” Very dumb of me, but some good radfems talked to me, argued with me, and I said, “Hell yeah, that’s what I was looking for, that’s what I’m talkin about!” And since then, I’ve loved learning, loved catching up on all that I have missed.

    I didn’t grow up poor white trash, but being poor and with so many children, living in a double wide into which I managed to house those children, making it on amounts of money nobody ever thought someone with as many kids I had could make it on, being a race traitor? Well, it taught me about poverty and being white trash. I could write a whole lot about being white trash, trailer trash, about what that means to women like us. And how I know the “you won’t succeed stuff.” How often it is that that is all about, “I don’t want you to succeed,” for someone’s own sick reasons.

    Please don’t misunderstand all my rantings and ravings– none are directed towards you. Your gut is guiding you very very well, I think, just like my gut has guided me well, too. In spite of all we’ve been through, seen.

    In sisterhood and deep respect,

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 3, 2007, 7:41 am
  147. “Please don’t misunderstand all my rantings and ravings– none are directed towards you.”

    No, no, I don’t think that at all. I have heard the arguments about who is/isn’t taking over the universities in both directions (Horowitz), so I understand the frustration. I am just withdrawing for a day or so, because I need to.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | January 3, 2007, 7:58 am
  148. am a male language teacher in italian high school near caserta, italy.

    i would like to exchange e-mail with some of you.

    thanks. heartily,

    luigi

    Posted by luigi | January 3, 2007, 10:08 am
  149. Thanks Mary.

    I’m sorry Pony if I wasn’t super clear, I think the long and short of what I was saying is that there’s a political component to pronouns in feminist communities that is overlooked: it’s not just people getting offended over being called a “he” when they want to be a “she,” but because what they’ve decided, rightly or wrongly, “being a he” means in that community.

    So the perceived insult goes beyond the disrespect, real or not, in not having one’s identity honored on a binary basis (not to get confusing again, I just mean “man” or “woman” with no inherent meaning attached to them), but in the belief that the “disrespect” is a value judgment, impugning their character or even spirit, forever exiling them into something that they’d rather not be or be associated with. Or putting them in a hierarchy with other transpeople where there are winners and losers: those who get their identities accepted and those who don’t.

    And to put it more pointedly,

    Of course, they/we all win over women in the end: when enough of us rape and violate women (and their communities) enough times, those women will at least know us, have heard all our sob stories and tales of woe, they will see us as people deserving of love, maybe even as authentic women of a sort, too. It wasn’t your choice to know us, that’s something we forced on you, but somehow that feels more distant; and the more forceful others are, the mose women appreciate those of us who are nicer about it. I know I am guilty of this. All males, trans or not, are guilty of benefitting from rape culture in that way when it comes to feminist spaces, or even “women-only” spaces.

    “i’ve never really seen myself as a specific gender, even when i was younger and before i transitioned. certainly, since i was born and raised male, i was socialized that way. but even today, i still can’t wrap my head around the idea that some people “feel” like they are a specific gender. i have no idea what that “feeling” might be like.”

    Nexy, you were born male and were raised as a boy into a man: I know it’s mean to be a stickler on language, but being that many participants in this discussion have no choice but to be careful in their own speech lest they be savaged, it’s only fair to keep things on an even footing. The way you phrased it equates sex and gender and has a further political meaning, indicating that you somehow transitioned not into womanhood but femaleness. If that’s what you actually meant, fine, if not, that’s fine too, but either way, it’s not a meaning that should be sneaked in *sublimally*, which is how such rhetoric *often* functions.

    Secondly, I’m sure most people would say similar things. Maybe even every person on the planet could say such a thing. I could say that too. I probably have said it, probably more than once. But in this political climate, where Queer Theory has co-opted feminism, painting it as violent, regressive, and racist, the only people allowed to be authentically “post-gender” are people who are post sexual-reassignment-surgery. (Or those who have enough power and influence to surround themselves with a harem of sycophants, Andy Warhol style; “trans” really is a popularity contest when you get down to it.) Riki Wilchins can drop the Anne as a middle name and now claim to be Riki-Born-Riki, as if all the stupid essays about how as a kid ze saw some teenage girl in a sportsbra and was consumed with anger and jealousy that zir own body had betrayed zir and not developed thusly. No, those words never counted, even though that particular essay, the height of idiocy and narcissism, and hell, sexism, was the pretty much the sole body of reading done a year or so ago by a “punk” pro-feminist group called “Dudefest” that has been honored by Bitch Magazine and, I’ve heard, Off Our Backs as well.

    But for those of us who haven’t transitioned, who are increasingly seen as tacitly accepting our genders by virtue of our not transitioning, when we say we haven’t felt like this or that, it is seldom believed. (And with all the rhetoric of inherent “transness” flying around — where you’re not legitimately disatisfied with gender unless you threaten “Give me SRS or give me death!” — there leaves no room for what you might call “political transsexuals,” akin to the term from some avenues of lesbian feminism.) Nor when we say such things are they ascribed with the same authentic meaning as when it is said by those who have transitioned and are thus, like Tireseus in Greek epic, Gender Experts. We’re not allowed to be post-gender because there’s a monopoly of sorts on it. So hearing you say that is grating as when so many of us say that, not only are we not believed, it’s also incapable of getting us anywhere, even more so for women — which is probably why all too often they only bother to say such things when they are speaking up in defense of transwomen! (stuff like, “I can’t understand why they feel the need to be a woman like that, that’s beyond my experience, but because it’s so beyond my experience, there must be *something* real to it, and who the hell am *I* to argue against that?”)

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 12:33 pm
  150. Brilliant post, Rich.

    How do you feel about woman-born-woman space?

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 1:42 pm
  151. That’s a trick question: obviously what I feel shouldn’t matter. :P

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 1:49 pm
  152. Why shouldn’t it matter?

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 2:49 pm
  153. BTW, Rich, I did not write a “trick question”.

    I am honest, direct, and straightforward.

    Anyone can ask me any question that they like on this topic and in this thread, and I will be more than happy to answer them fully.

    I wish you well.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 3:13 pm
  154. Well, so far as I know Rich has always respected woman-only space.

    My thinking is, it probably isn’t useful for men to take a position with regard to woman only space, other than to respect it. If they take a position, they end up participating in divisions among women, which is kind of a cardinal sin for men in feminist communities.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 5:20 pm
  155. Maybe. I’m just thinking out loud…

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 5:20 pm
  156. I was just joking Mary, I didn’t intend to imply any motives to your question; but yeah, what Heart said.

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 5:35 pm
  157. OTOH, by saying “What Heart said,” I’d have replaced “men” with “males.” It’s not her fault though that I need to be a stickler on that: it’s other people who have painted me into the corner that necessitates always being clear in that regard. IOW, by agreeing with her, I didn’t say that I “identify as a man” or want that gender identity, etc., or antyhing that will help other males “other” me in their own quest for gender identity, whether they want to be men or women.

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 5:41 pm
  158. Huh. That’s interesting, Rich, something I haven’t thought about exactly that way and now I will for a bit. I have observed Uppity Biscuit using the word “males” in certain ways that seemed significant though– I am betting her thinking is along these lines, maybe.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 5:58 pm
  159. *rambling incoherency*

    See, this is why I HATE HATE HATE when books are made into movies. In the original book there is a long passage which makes it very clear that the psychiatrists who saw “Buffalo Bill” did not consider him to be a transsexual, just a severely disturbed person. They were emphatic that this not be used against transsexuals. This didn’t really get emphasized in the movie, as so many things are usually left out of movies which are made into books.
    Transsexual/gender women are much more likely to be the victims of fatal violence than the perpetrators.

    On interracial relationships – I have not been in any long term “black/white” relationship. But I had the “joyous” occasion to witness one time in New Orleans, an interracial couple I knew well get pulled over in their car with their two small children and nearly shot by police, on a busy French Quarter street in the middle of the afternoon. I had my own toddler in my arms and ducked down behind a metal bench when I saw the guns come out and then realized who was in the car and started screaming their names. I can never, ever forget this. Why did they get pulled over? They had an expired tag on their license plate. Nothing can ever convince me that the real reason they weren’t threatened with death by white police officers was because they were an interracial couple. It was so, so obvious.

    Rich – I really like your essays (if you are who I think you are) but I feel you are offbase in some ways with regards to your views on transfolk. There is, within the trans community, actually a lively and active debate on the topic of surgery. It is not a monolithic viewpoint (just as, clearly, there is no monolithic feminist position on transpersons). I think you do a disservice to your own self by not explorig this debate.

    On being feminist vs. caring for people in my life – I really don’t think I should be forced to choose. The personal is political, after all – if people insist that to avoid being a hypocrite, I should shun someone I love deeply who tries to never hurt someone, then I’ll be a hypocrite. I have a young son – should I, in the name of feminism, neglect him to fulfill my own selfish needs because I deserve to take care of myself and besides, he is male and thus will be privileged over me when he reached teenager/adulthood? Why then, yes I will be a “traitor” to feminism. Calls for any feminist to put “women” first, even before their own loved ones, in order to gain respect or credibility of some kind, I feel are very damaging and demoralizing. I am not going to put the needs of my radfem sisters before the needs of my own family, I do not think this is a reasonable, sane, or constructive ideal.
    And what, really, are the terrible “needs” of my trans wife that I am subjugating myself to? Calling her by her preferred name and pronoun? And this hurts you how? And this hurts me how? And this is a burden how?
    I really, really think the transgender movement and the feminist movement need to get over this ridiculous infighting – someone above called it “horizontal violence” and I entirely agree. Any knowledge of how transgendered women are treated in society shows they are at much at risk of violence and pornographic oppression as women born women. Men who are born men and continue to identify as men treat transwomen just like women – that is to say, they demean them, refuse to respect them, laugh at them, rape them, prostitute them, beat them up, and murder them in almost exactly the same way they do women who were born women and always identified as women. Manhood is a club, it seems, an exclusive club which confers privilege, and if you do not fit into the archetypal male role model, you are part of the larger social class of “women” and will be treated accordingly. This is all because of – you guessed it – the patriarchy – not machinations on the part of jealous little boys who just want boobies, as I see transwomen so demeaningly referred to sometimes.

    Posted by Amananta | January 3, 2007, 6:00 pm
  160. “The way you phrased it equates sex and gender and has a further political meaning, indicating that you somehow transitioned not into womanhood but femaleness. If that’s what you actually meant, fine, if not, that’s fine too, but either way, it’s not a meaning that should be sneaked in *sublimally*, which is how such rhetoric *often* functions.”

    sorry if my phrasing equates sex and gender. that was not my intended meaning. i’ve always seen “sex” as biological, in that the term refers to ones biological state, specifically in regard to reproductive function. that’s the traditional meaning anyway. and i’ve always seen “gender” as a social state. as far as i can tell, the terms refer to two entirely different states.

    “transition” is admittedly a clumsy word at best. unfortunately, it’s the only term i know of that describes my experience. before transition, i was seen by the world as a man. after transition, i am seen by the world as a woman. in reality, i am the same person, with a slightly different appearance. if you know of a better term that refers to this process, i’m open to it.

    clearly, i am different than a woman born woman. i’ve had different experiences both socially and physically than either of my sisters, for example. so i hesitate to use the term “woman” in reference to myself, especially in feminist communities. i’ve fathered a son, and no amount of physical changes on my part can change that historcial fact. i’ve lived a large portion of my life as a man.

    yet, socially i am treated as a woman. the people i interact with on a day-to-day basis see me as a woman, and i usually don’t speak about my past. and in the context of our legal system, i am female (as legal documents use the terms “male” and “female”, and not “man” or “woman”), and am legally married to a male. frankly, i believe i transitioned from a man to a transsexual, or transwoman, if i use the commonly accepted language.

    i suppose the fact that the term “transition” can refer to several different processes; social, physical, and legal as a few examples, it can cause quite a bit of confusion.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 3, 2007, 6:08 pm
  161. Hey, Amananta. I’ve been pulled over by cops just as you describe there when I was in the company of my exes. For no reason at all. Once my ex was searched, handcuffed and taken to jail (for nothing) and I was told to get out of the car and find my own way home — at night, in the dark, in a very isolated area in my heels because I was on my way home from work. I had been riding on the passenger side, wasn’t driving, and though I had a valid license, didn’t have it with me. Hence, I was told to get out and start walking. It was very scary, the kind of thing that could have blow up really quickly.

    I don’t know of any radical feminists who say feminists should put radical feminists before their family in order to have credibility or something like that. I do think that many, many women find themselves torn between their longings to serve women as a people and their loyalties to the men in their life: husband, boyfriend, sons, father, brothers, friends, and just their families, in general. My experience is, men do expect a lot lot lot from the women they love, who love them. They expect it without realizing the significance of what they expect and what it requires of women they love. My experience is that very very often — not always — but often, often, men are oblivious to all of the millions of ways the women in their life serve them, lay down our lives for them. Then, it’s feminism itself that can bring a woman to this crisis point, realizing how much she has given, how much she has lost, has had taken from her, for the love of the men in her life or because she’s had a family. And so she enters into a time of raging and anger, resentment, grief, mourning, for all she has given, all that has been taken from her. That’s a crossroads right there, and a lot of the time, it’s feminists looking in who recognize it as a crossroads, usually because they’ve traveled that way themselves, and so they sometimes encourage the woman to make big changes, take care of themselves, put themselves first. My experience and observation is, a lot of women want to do that, put themselves first, put women first, make changes. And usually, women can’t bring themselves to do any of the above. And then comes the new round of grief and heartache. Or women do make big changes, they do put women or themselves first, in small ways, in huge, life-changing ways, and then they are subjected to all of the hatreds which accompany their having defied societal expectations of women. We are not supposed to turn our backs on the men in our life. We are not supposed to leave our children, our families. We are not supposed to stop holding people’s worlds together, that’s our job, you know? We are not supposed to put ourselves and our needs first, ever. And especially not for women! For women? You’ve gotta be joking. You’d leave your family, your partner, your life, your security, your job, for women? Because women are not seen as important enough or as mattering enough to center one’s whole life around, to sacrifice anything at all for, even if the woman IS ourself! What? You’re going to put yourself and your needs first? I hope you get what’s comin’ to you b****. Tends to be the sentiment.

    I am saying, I don’t think radical feminists generally call for women to choose between family and politics. I haven’t seen that. I do think that families, loved ones, make demands on women which put them in the position of having to be the dutiful wife/mother/lover/partner/server/nurturer or of pursuing their own dreams, goals, politics. When that happens, it’s not radical feminists/feminists who are forcing any issue; it’s that the world expects a whole lot of of women, that we love our families first, before any sort of hare-brained notion that, say, we should put our selves first, let alone women first.

    I think there is horizontal violence and infighting in the feminist movement between transwomen/transmen and feminists, and I agree that it is hurtful. But I wouldn’t call the infighting ridiculous. There are important issues there which are serious as a heart attack, but which, I acknowledge, can appear to be petty to those outside of the immediate arena of conflict or negotiation. This is to say that I agree with you on one level and disagree, I guess, on others. I think an issue very central to feminism and to the liberation of women is, what about gender? What about it? Will it survive the destruction of patriarchy? Is it somehow innate/essential/immutable/biological/spiritual/genetic? Or is gender about dominance and subordination, pure and simple. The way we answer these questionsdirectly informs our feminist politics and the way we understand and analyze transgender issues. It’s not enough, I don’t think, politically speaking, to say feminists should just get over it that the whole world “believes” in gender and makes provision for it and enforces it, is coercive around it and so on. Why does the world believe in gender? Why does it make provision for gender and enforce it? Why is the world coercive around gender? Not so long ago the whole world believed women should be second class citizens, that we were born to be this, that it was in our biology, our genetics, our spirits, that it was the only way societies could survive, and so on. The world was wrong about this, and it was feminism that brought it to the world’s attention how wrong the world was and is about it. I think it’s wrong to mistreat or disrespect any human being for the ways he or she has made for himself/herself to make peace with all of the coercion around gender, whether it’s Britney Spears or transpeople or fashion models or fundamentalist Christians or married women or nuns or radical feminists or lesbian separatists or whatever. The horizontal violence becomes an issue where people confuse ideologies and human beings and mistreat human beings instead of challenging destructive ideologies.

    Well, a lot of this isn’t directed to you, amananta, but is more me, thinking out loud.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 6:29 pm
  162. Heart, I wanted to take a moment to honor you and the space you’ve created here.

    When the lipstick thread debacle began I helped myself to an extra-large cup of Shut the Fuck Up, because I don’t know enough to make any intelligent contribution. I was, and am dumb-struck by the fury on all sides. And disappointed, because I really wanted to understand the discussion, but the name-calling, cursing, banning, etc. rendered an actual examination of ideas impossible.

    Then I found this space. I am in awe of your ability to give everyone a voice while keeping in check the vituperation that kills discussion. That’s hard to do, and you do it beautifully. Thanks very much.

    (A disclaimer — I am not veravenom, I am the other vera who frequents IBTP and occasionally comments there. I’ve begun to read veravenom’s blog and I though I’d like to be given credit for her writing, I want to make sure I’m not. Lately I’ve been thinking I should change my name to “old vera.”)

    Posted by vera | January 3, 2007, 7:03 pm
  163. Heart,

    What an awesome, loving, brilliant, insightful radical feminist essay you have given us.

    I am blessed to know you.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 7:04 pm
  164. “I think you do a disservice to your own self by not explorig this debate.”

    See, it’s kind of insulting that you don’t think I know all about the debate; I’ve witnessed those kinds of debates up and down. Hell, those debates have been paddled over my backside! I’m kind of used to feeling insulted like that (so not to attack you personally), and I’m sure Heart is too: we’re the ones, in my biased enough opinion, who are being treated as monoliths! I am who you think I am and I know my shit. I know Heart knows her shit. We’re not arrivals on a turnip truck. Yet we’re treated that way in these discussions.

    I’m not entirely sure there’s any meaning to those debates besides the fact that males want to police womanhood, whether they do it from without or within: those debates, underneath the veneers of class and race that are applied (expense, effectiveness, politics of surgery), are all to often — if not invariably — really about males competing against each other to be the most authentic woman with the most authentic experiences. MTFs might start relating to women as their peers, but it’s well nigh impossible to stop seeing other males as their competitors/enemies; for all the talk about experiences women and transwomen share in common, no one seems to focus on the fact that women have to work hard to overcome their socialization that says that men aren’t the enemy. To us males that’s as natural as breathing.

    I also think that Mary Sunshine was quite apt in her quip about George Bush above: maybe he is trans in private and maybe that makes all of us, some of us, maybe even you, his oppressor — or at least existing in the same “horizontal strata.” It’s torture to be living a lie, after all. Think of his pain? (Then again, there’s a liberal website that catalogued some of his more flamboyant wrist gestures in order to mock him: those are people who are ostensibly supposed to be on our side, whatever side that might be called.)

    So no, I don’t think the horizontal hostility, crabs in a barrel, what have you, analogy applies, namely because this newly proposed plane is just so vast: If no male is so manly, so white, so christian, so heterosexual, so wealthy, as to be the Big-Bad-Boogeyman standing on top of the social-pyramid, then who the hell is responsible for anything? Who can step up to the plate and say, “I’m sorry, I’ll stop.” Who the fuck will even want to, since it’s so easy and so safe not to, when people who are identically situated to you can start calling you *their* oppressor once you’ve dared to own up to your shared position in society? No one can even see a horizon when any any straight white guy can decide he’s really a lesbian, just say so, no surgery needed, even, and look a black woman in the eye, call her his oppressor, and point to his “examine non-trans privilege” button.

    Also, it’s racist that white transwomen co-opt the experiences of violence and pornographic oppression that people of color primarily endure, often without recognition in their own communities as “trans,” yet they are posthumously labeled so every year by whites in their posh Night of Remembrance ceremonies. That’s similar to how white antifeminists use the death rates of minority men as evidence that all men are likewise oppressed vis-a-vis women.

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 7:05 pm
  165. Not to quote myself, but quoting myself:

    You’d leave your family, your partner, your life, your security, your job, for women? Because women are not seen as important enough or as mattering enough to center one’s whole life around, to sacrifice anything at all for,

    Of course, men are, always, and always have been called upon to center their lives around their careers and to be willing to die for their countries (which is framed as being about dying for their families). That’s part of the manhood codes: they are the people doing all the moving and shaking and fighting and defending in the world, women are supposed to support them in that and love them in that. Woe to the woman who says nope, not me.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 3, 2007, 7:06 pm
  166. No one can even see a horizon when any any straight white guy can decide he’s really a lesbian, just say so, no surgery needed, even, and look a black woman in the eye, call her his oppressor, and point to his “examine non-trans privilege” button.

    Yes.

    Importantly — important for me to say and be heard — this happens. It happens in real life, in real communities, like Michfest. Not long ago a transwoman I won’t name here went on basically an orgy of misogyny/racism/classism on the Michfest boards. The boards went down not long ago and none of the old posts are there anymore. Anyway this particular transwoman — in her 40s, transitioned 7 or 8 years ago, maybe 10 years, a professional person working for a Fortune 500 company and holding a position of prestige, white, a homeowner, divorced, with a child, identifying as a lesbian after transition (actually as bisexual) — went on an amazing tear, castigating everyone and anyone on the Fest boards as her oppressor, including black lesbian women and other lesbian women of color. This is a person who went to the Festival more than once, despite the policy. The hideous thing was, women were subjected to some amazing racism and classism from this person. The n*** word was used. The word “darky” was used. Poor people were called “stupid and lazy”. Single black mothers were referred to as having “14 children hanging onto them.” When black lesbian women called this out, this transwoman refused to stop. Just kept up the campaign of hatred, all the while proclaiming her status as oppressed, including by these lesbian women of color.

    If that were the only such occurrence it would be bad enough. But that occurrence, though egregious because of the length of the campaign (this person did finally get banned) is far from the only occurrence of its kind. I have to suggest that people think deeply about this. What does it mean that a man can live 30, 40 some years, go to college, buy a house, marry, have children, live with extraordinary levels of comparative privilege, then transition, and overnight radical feminists/lesbian separatists become her oppressor? Consider, deeply, as those of us affected in real life by this kind of thing, must consider, all of the ramifications of this particular outworking of beliefs about gender, societal coercion around gender.

    I have also seen, more than once, white transwomen co-opting “two spirit” ideas and other kinds of cultural phenomenon specific to indigenous people throughout the world. I have yet to see — ever — any of these transwomen (or transmen) called out on this particular form of white cultural imperalism although white feminists are regularly called out on their similar imperialism (from indigenous cultures, rasta (i.e., dreds)) and so on.

    Also, it’s racist that white transwomen co-opt the experiences of violence and pornographic oppression that people of color primarily endure, often without recognition in their own communities as “trans,” yet they are posthumously labeled so every year by whites in their posh Night of Remembrance ceremonies. That’s similar to how white antifeminists use the death rates of minority men as evidence that all men are likewise oppressed vis-a-vis women.

    Also very true.

    Mary Sunshine and vera, thanks! And welcome, “old vera” :). Much appreciated.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 7:54 pm
  167. Amananta, you make very good points, as usual.

    Posted by saltyC | January 3, 2007, 8:07 pm
  168. “Also, it’s racist that white transwomen co-opt the experiences of violence and pornographic oppression that people of color primarily endure…”

    i’m wondering what’s the “proper” way to process some of my experiences then. when a man i invited into my apartment for coffee a few years ago held me down and penitrated me while i was screaming “no” and “stop”, was i co-opting the experiences of violence and pornographic oppression that people of color primarily endure? when i was chased down, and verbally and physically assulted by a group of young white men while walking from my car to a club i used to frequent, was i co-opting then as well? when i was contacted via email by a “film producer” who told me i’d be able to make a lot of money, and get free electrolysis and breast implants, by “working for him, and that i’d never make it in the “real” world with a normal job, was that co-option?

    is the suggestion that members of my tribe – transwomen – should ignore all the violence and oppression that *we all* endure? how would you gather with your kin in an effort to heal and deal with your oppressors?

    Posted by nexyjo | January 3, 2007, 8:46 pm
  169. Nexy, not speaking for Rich now, but from my understanding of what he was talking about (and I might have misunderstood him, but I should say what I meant since I agreed with what I thought he was saying). What I understood him to be talking about was the targeting for violence of people of color in prostitution and pornography, people who are often not recognized as transpersons in their own communities and who don’t identify as transpersons, but who are then tokenized by white transgendered persons, even though white transpersons are not targeted for racialized sexual violence/sexualized racial violence. That’s the racism I thought he was alluding to. I didn’t think his comment was as to sexual violence qua sexual violence which I certainly think transpersons are subjected to and you, definitely endured and survived, dear god, but to racialized sexual violence of the type transpersons in communities of color are uniquely subjected to. I think all of those of us who have been raped, sexually assaulted, violated, ought to process those horrors with anyone we feel we can trust, whatever tribe we belong to. I didn’t get it that Rich was suggesting anything about violence against transpersons more generally, i.e., that transpersons can’t process it or talk about it (!!), but that he was talking more about the way racialized sexual violence gets co-opted by white transpersons who have not experienced racism.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 9:09 pm
  170. And again, as Rich said, this is similar to the way white anti-feminists will trot out statistics about “violence against men” to challenge the claims of feminism, without acknowledging or considering or admitting that it is far and away men of color who are experiencing the violence they are talking about, not white men.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 9:15 pm
  171. Yeah, talk about “monolithicizing” trans experiences: all trans people are not situated identically in being at risk of violence. Hell, there isn’t even a clear way to define who is or isn’t trans, and who counts and who doesn’t is always changing upon the given needs of various communities.

    For example, there’s was that sailor who was murdered for dating a transwoman (who then got quite famous and a Vagina Monologues billing, IIRC) who danced at a drag club. The gay community needed it to be homophobia, not transphobia, so they didn’t afford her trans status, in order to cast the murdered soldier as gay, not straight. OTOH, The Day of Remembrance people have included a six year old or some such child as a trans-victim, as if a child of those years could legitimately count. The fact is, we don’t know who is trans, as there’s no workable definition, or who is targeted by “anti-trans” violence to any reliable degree; for that matter, we also don’t know if males who transition are themselves any less violent than those who don’t transition, either, and if anything can be said about that.

    But the monolithicizing belief is that, well, we’d *like* to believe transwomen are less violent and are all equally oppressed compared to some monolithic block of M-E-N — whether she is a “shemale” performer in Mexico (who had her breast implants paid for by a pimp but will never be able to afford bottom surgery, keeping her forever in gender and legal limbo to be more easily exploited) or some professor at a New England university whose career takes off after she transitions, being all the more interesting and noteworthy than she was as a he.

    And in keeping with this monolithic diagramming, the violence that those persons who aren’t even afforded this Western vision of trans-status (and all the stuff about being gender outlaws and post-modernist warriors that white people get to play at), is used to present a strict spectrum of privilege that puts men on top, women in the middle, and trans on the bottom.

    That isn’t to say that Queer Theorists dismiss intersections of privilege, on the contrary, they can’t get enough of it, but when push comes to shove, it’s always women, the female kind, who are beholden to everyone else.

    And if that is pointed out, then, and only then, do they start making jokes about “The Oppression Olympics.”

    Posted by rich | January 3, 2007, 10:21 pm
  172. Wow!! Thanks again, Rich. :-)

    So much reality, so little time, eh?

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 3, 2007, 10:45 pm
  173. One problem is, transgender ideas become a mechanism by way of which, in actuality, males — members of that class born to relative power and privilege because of their sex — may vault themselves out of power and its associated privilege “methodologically,” by the act of “identifying” in certain ways. The next problem is that there is almost always intense objection on the part of progressives to any interrogation of or scrutiny around that mechanism. If a woman begins an analysis or critique, the fact of her status on the privilege spectrum as a possessor of “non-trans privilege” earns her accusations of “phobia” and “bigotry” and “hatred,” and “you can’t discuss transpersons’ lives because you aren’t a transperson,” which means an important discussion ends before it begins.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 3, 2007, 10:55 pm
  174. Heart,

    This is *exactly* what happened over on Twisty’s blog.

    Some of us weren’t buying into it, said so (without identifying the mechanism as you have done, in such an articulate manner), and then the folks who thrive on blog wars picked up on it and trashed her all over the blogosphere for allowing “hate speech”.

    You have nailed it right on!
    :-)

    I’m saving the text of this marvellous thread for future reference.

    The “feminist” academics would do well to read it, if they have any sincere interest in these issues, and not just a vested academic-success interest, IYKWIM.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 4, 2007, 12:03 am
  175. Heart, I have not been on the internet at all for some time. When I first saw Twisty had posted on Jeffreys, I knew what would happen. It wasn’t so hard to figure out. But I never would have predicted that things would go this far.

    I feel for Twisty, because the thoughts on transgender issues was pretty much the last thing I learned about in my own exposure to radical feminism, and as much as I look up to Twisty and like to think of her as a Big Radfem (like, say, you), I realize that isn’t really true to her experience or her beliefs.

    I also feel for her because she runs a very, very popular website. She reads blogs and she knows who else is popular and she admires their writing as they admire her, so I imagine it must be very, very hard for her to be as criticized as she has been. It’s simple to say that she’s “taking” the pro-trans “side” on this issue because she doesn’t want to lose her entire readership (and it’s really like 700 “pro” people to very few “anti”) although I suspect that is only half the case, the other being that it is a VERY HARD TOPIC for any feminist to discuss. I, too, would probably err on the side that consists of people that I admire, if I wasn’t totally sure about an issue myself.

    I made one comment on the Twisty thread — one. That was all I felt I needed to say, although let’s not lie, if I had been on the internet anytime at all recently, I probably would’ve said more. I won’t go to the other threads, like the one you speak of here. And I am going to try really, really hard to forget about this issue as far as non-private and non-personal areas go because I just think that’s probably best, for now anyway.

    Lastly, I just have to say this: I think Lucky was crass, but her crassness has been, if anything, encouraged by Twisty and her commenters in the past. She is blunt and no-nonsense and doesn’t hide behind rhetoric and niceties, and generally in Twisty’s threads, that is considered a good thing. It is entirely unfair, in my opinion, for Twisty to demonize her, and it is even more unfair for people to speak in terms of “bigotry” in the thread if all they really mean was her. It seems more like, Lucky used the words that no one else dared or wanted to use, and so her words are being applied to anyone who said anything even REMOTELY “anti-trans” in anyone’s opinion. The whole argument would fall apart if it were admitted it were just one person, and then if you focused on any of the OTHER “anti-trans” opinions, well, you’d just have to bring up old history, and opinions of the posters, based on OTHER arguments that have taken place online in the past and oh my god, that’s just the same old, same old, isn’t it?

    Posted by Edith | January 4, 2007, 1:02 am
  176. also, thought I would add this: what chasingmoksha says about gender studies courses is exactly my experience as well. It is also the experience of every one of my friends who has every taken a women’s studies or gender studies course at the university level. I have friends who have taken classes in women’s or gender studies at community colleges, public universities/colleges, and private universities and colleges. I have friends who went to schools all over the U.S., from the University of Hawaii at Manoa to Coe College in Iowa to University of California at Santa Cruz to Yale, and all these friends have taken such classes and they all have been taught exactly, EXACTLY what chasingmoksha describes. The villification of lesbian and radical feminism in the academy is very, very real. Make no mistake of that. This is exactly why I stopped being a women’s studies major and why when any youngish person tells me that they are/were a women’s or gender studies major, I unfortunately regard them with suspicion.

    Posted by Edith | January 4, 2007, 1:27 am
  177. My daughter has taken a number of gender studies classes at her college (Scripps). In fact, I have on my desk a book she’s recommended I read — Stone Butch Blues. This conversation is making me wonder what she has learned — and what she thinks. Guess I’d better read the book, and give her a call.

    Posted by vera | January 4, 2007, 2:17 am
  178. You may call Lucky’s comments crass and perhaps under less heat she would have rearranged her words, but not the reference, I think. Nor should she have. I hope writers who look at transgendering and radical feminism do NOT leave out Silence of the Lambs. That would be a mistake. Lucky was right to make the reference. Instead of crashing backwards through the wall in our hurry distance ourselves from her, we should thank her.

    Posted by Pony | January 4, 2007, 2:27 am
  179. funny, isnt it, because in the uk, either womens or gender studies is so rare and hard to find, that i am jealous of those of you who have the opportunity.

    Posted by v | January 4, 2007, 2:28 am
  180. I can’t speak for the reference itself, Pony, since I’ve never seen the movie. When I said “crass,” I did not mean to imply that I disagreed with Lucky or that she should’ve worded things differently (actually, I thought I mentioned that I admire her style, didn’t I?). But her style, I think, has a lot to do with how she was viewed by the other commenters. She’s quite right in mentioning that she was attacked in large part due to her communication style, something she’s mentioned here. I’m just basically saying, word, but in my own ridiculous style.

    Posted by Edith | January 4, 2007, 4:15 am
  181. Pony,

    Thanks for that. I’m with you 100%.

    It’s wonderful to see you posting here.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 4, 2007, 4:58 am
  182. Edith, I thought what you posted on the thread over at Twisty’s was great, I really appreciated it. I would have posted more there, too, but the thread got locked. I don’t know. I wish Twisty had handled things differently, but that’s easy for me to say. I know it can be hard to decide what to do when everything is so incendiary. I may be mistaken, but I think Twisty is fairly new to moderating threads with that level of traffic. I think things might have gotten really complicated, really quickly, and unfortunately, the easiest thing to do in the moment might have seemed to be to ban Lucky. And it’s sure not the first time that has happened. I was discussing this in a private venue which is basically comprised of a few radical feminist/lesbian separatist amazons, battle-axes, hags and crones, all identities we proudly embrace, of course, a sort of crones counsel. I was saying that Valerie Solanas would never survive the internet as a blogger, she’d be run out on a rail. Same for Mary Daly. That’s how f!#$^@!#$^&!^&!& up things are, from the perspective of radical feminism/lesbian separatism. We all agreed. It is so true. But feminism needs its outspoken, loudmouthed wimmen, you know? We need these wimmin.

    Vera, re Stone Butch Blues, I haven’t read it (it’s on my list), but one of the crones in the crones counsel, a pretty much life-long radical feminist/lesbian separatist, wrote this, which I thought was germane (I’ve edited it a bit because she posted it privately and I didn’t ask her permission to use it):

    Ya know, Leslie Feinberg used to be okay by me, when I read Stone Butch Blues, decades ago, even bought several copies, giving them as gifts. She was powerful in telling her story as a butch woman. Now, [she says she has] the metal disorder of gender dysphoria. [that's] okay, some people… suffer from this mental disorder. Regardless, [Feinberg] was okay and spoke deeply to lesbian issues… now, as a he [because Feinberg has transitioned and id's as a man] the Stone Butch Blues is translated as a transgender journey….[I guess] the rest of us were fooled when we though [Feinberg] was a woman, with struggles like us. Just another joke on us I guess. No such thing as a strong women, they’re all men now.

    Such a picture of the effect of queer/transgender ideologies/politics on the lesbian community, on the radical feminist/separatist communities.

    So true what you say, Edith, about the way all the ghosts of internet wars past become apparent in these debates, same as it ever was.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 5:45 am
  183. I’m feeling like, too, I need to get “Silence of the Lambs” and watch it. Not sure if I can stomach it, though.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 5:48 am
  184. From this point on, I’d like this thread to be woman only. Thanks.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 5:55 am
  185. I didn’t mean my comment as criticism of yours, Edith, but add on. Sorry it came off that way.

    Posted by Pony | January 4, 2007, 6:01 am
  186. Heart, thanks for this thread and for taking the time to moderate it. It’s given me the opportunity to learn some new things.

    Posted by Bea | January 4, 2007, 9:34 am
  187. No problem, Pony. And Heart, thanks, it does make you wonder about Solanas or Daly or hell, even Gloria Steinem, how they’d do on the internet nowadays.

    For the record, I read Stone Butch Blues a few years ago and found it very powerful. It was a great learning material for me. And although Leslie Feinberg did transition, in the book I do believe Feinberg discusses transitioning in terms more closely approximating the “third sex” category of transgenders. Makes sense, as “third sex” stuff is also heavily tied up in butch culture, or at least used to be. It does seem that more FTMs in my experience are willing to talk about the idea than MTFs, but I don’t want to make any generalizations about that.

    Posted by Edith | January 4, 2007, 9:50 am
  188. Beansea:
    You didn’t answer any of my questions.

    Probably because you didn’t ask me any.

    I think Lucky was crass, but her crassness has been, if anything, encouraged by Twisty and her commenters in the past.

    Oh, I’ve always been been incorrigible and considered rude, crude and socially unacceptable. Long before I ever set foot on IBTP. Ask anyone. I’m sure more than a few people here can vouch for that.

    Twisty is neither here nor there. She doesn’t have any influence on me and is not responsible for anything I say or do. I have a mind of my own and think for myself.

    Rich:
    I mean, how many times has Lucky been called a man, or akin to a man, some sort of an oppressive beast, just for having a mouth on her?

    Yeah, I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called a man or something akin to that. I’ve had trans tell me that they are more woman than I am. Or that I am the man and they are the woman. At least in cyberspace.

    IRL, I’ve had trans tell me I’m actually very genderless and unisex. While they pretend really, really hard not to notice the 4 daughters that have miraculously sprang from my body. No one knows why. It’s a complete mystery.

    I figure it this way. Rebecca West said, “I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat?” The new and improved version is: “I only know that I am called a man whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

    It’s really interesting when people online really do mistake me for being male. Not only under the name Lucky, but under my real name, which is unisex, and was given the boy’s spelling by my parents. People all but roll out the red carpet, give me the utmost respect, hang on my every word, and can’t gush over me and compliment me enough. However, once it’s discovered I’m a woman, I can’t say or do anything right and they’d burn me at the stake if they could.

    Men are aware of this. And as far as I know, brain transplants don’t come along with SRS. And so women are played like a game. Men know exactly what buttons to push and play. It’s very predictable. And then I and other radical feminists come along and ruin all the boys’ fun of making a downright mockery and fool of women. Which is, of course, why RFs must be eliminated. And why, in case you haven’t noticed, transpeople don’t try to run it by men.

    Posted by Luckynkl | January 4, 2007, 11:26 am
  189. Heart,

    Thanks for making this thread women-only. The “need to appease” is a burden truly lifted.

    ((( Lucky !!! ))) It’s *so* great to have you back.

    If there’s somewhere *you’re* not allowed to talk, then I know that *I’m” not allowed to talk there either.

    I’ve given up *entirely* on all “feminist” or “women’s” or even “lesbian” groups /blogs / etc except for this one and feministreprise (Amy’s Brain Today).

    I know that trans-identifiers and female transactivists will be welcome in all the others, and that I will be reviled.

    I know that if I say anything about women bonding together to serve male interests I will be viewed with hostiliy and suspicion, and generally ignored and shunned.

    I know that the imperative to love males (collectively) at all costs will be enforced 100%.

    I know that loyalty to the Female will never be expected, let alone required.

    Radfems and Seps are now outcasts.

    But we need to try to create *some* measure of visibility on the net, however fleeting, and however quickly expunged, to let young women know that there are actual living women who know and feel these things, who have at least not yet been silenced in our own minds.

    I have had a young woman contact me privately from Twisty’s blog to tell me how much she misses our voices over there, those of us who banned ourselves in solidarity with you. I have encouraged her to come to this blog.

    In radical feminist separatist strength,

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 4, 2007, 4:18 pm
  190. Mary, the thing is, I know lots of young radical feminists, including some with separatist sensibilities, even though they are het (there is such a thing, for those not in the know!) I just think they often feel too intimidated to speak up. Radical feminism rings, for a lot of young women, for obvious reasons, all we have to do is look around at the world they have to deal with every day to understand why. It rings for some young men, too, interestingly, and inspiringly, and for the same reasons. My own feeling is, the anti-rad fem, anti-separatist stuff has topped off and is on the decline. I think we are making a successful comeback and I feel really excited about it. Four of my daughters are committed radical feminists. Three are in college and are quite the movers and shakers; one works in the women’s resource center at her school and two head up the radical feminist group at the school they go to (a different one). The one who works at the women’s resource center entered college only nominally feminist but did, thank the goddess, have great women’s studies profs and in her courses actually read Mary Daly, Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, other radfems and became progressively committed to women’s issues. So I do feel hopeful despite what we see on the internet at times. A lot of what we see on the net is the result of the demonization of radical feminists Edith and chasing moksha talked about, and as that becomes obvious, they consider what we actually have to say, and some do change their minds. I feel hopeful about the popularity of my blog, too. I am averaging 5,000-9,000 views a day. One day I had almost 31,000 views (that was the Britney Spears saga, but still). So our views are getting out there, are circulating, unimpeded by trolls rampaging through. (Although I have in my moderation queue, unspammed, 25 sample troll posts from which I am going to excerpt to make a blog post about the guys (and a woman or two) who try to post here sometimes. Geez.)

    Transwomen, transmen, and transactivists are welcome here, and though sometimes threads are woman-only, men are welcome here, too as long as they are willing to post respectfully and not bulldoze over the women, which is what happens almost everywhere else, drowning out what we have to say and keeping us from talking about what we need to talk about.
    Very frustrating.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 5:14 pm
  191. Mary I think I need some def of exactly what separtism is, so I don’t step on more toes, if (those damn hooves). I am heterosexual. Will I say or do things that will make separatist feminists feel uncomfortable I ask myself? I’m trying to to make the transpersons here feel badly either, as much as I can. And does Heart want us (because I think I am your (“us”} using this as our meeting space? If I may say, I think we did this to Twisty, kind of assumed her blog was our meeting space, took it from her in a way, assuming.

    Heart?

    Posted by Pony | January 4, 2007, 5:28 pm
  192. I’m trying *not* to make the transpersons here feel badly either.

    Posted by Pony | January 4, 2007, 5:29 pm
  193. Well, I think everybody should just post away and not worry about it. If it ain’t broke, and it ain’t, so far as I can see, no need to fix it! My concern is, or one concern, is that the separatist voice be heard. Just heard. That place is made for it amongst all the other voices and that it doesn’t get steamrolled over, shouted down, and so on.

    Also, in making this part of the thread woman only, I do not mean to exclude nexy or keep her from responding to things she may want to respond to — feel free, nexy. I didn’t make the thread woman-only in order to specifically exclude Rich either– I thought what he said was good and useful, new angles to think about and consider. More, it seems like we’re in a processing kind of place right now that IME it’s better to make women only.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 5:51 pm
  194. One thing about Twisty, along the lines of what you said, Edith. Twisty is “that one kind of” radical feminist, heh heh. There are so many kinds of radical feminists, honestly, maybe as many kinds and styles as there are radical feminist women. I’ve known and know other radical feminists like Twisty. They focus very, very specifically on male dominance and gender issues and are particularly disgusted by anything religious and especially fundamentalism of any kind. All of the radfems I’ve met like this are lesbians and would call themselves, identify as, dykes. They are anti-racist, anti-classist, anti ableist and reasonably knowledgeable about other oppressions, but that’s not where their focus is. Their focus is very narrowly on gender issues and male dominance. It seems like they are kind of libertarian-like when it comes to economic issues, which, again, they don’t talk all that much about. They usually are not pacifists. Most of the women I’m thinking of who are as I’ve described own guns and can use them quite well and would use them if they needed to. There have always been radical feminists like this, going way back (and the ones I’m thinking about are at least Twisty’s age and going into their 60s and maybe older). I am freeze-dried hippie, crunchy granola, old school pacifist/nonviolence, old school peace/anti-war movement, and I think all of that stuff is totally consistent with radical feminism and so I get into it, all sorts of stuff. But I think there’s a real place and need for “that one kind of radical feminist” that Twisty is, and other women are, whose focus is strictly gender and male dominance. Some of us have to be all about that and I wish more were more about that.

    Just some thoughts.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 6:13 pm
  195. And then, I find an American/Canadian difference. Can’t be more specific sorry. But I think I am focussed on male dominance, and that’s what drew me to IBTP, blogger and community.

    Posted by Pony | January 4, 2007, 6:24 pm
  196. Just a quick shout from a relatively young (age-wise) radical feminist who tends to come here to learn and think more than comment. We’re definitely here; I know I’m not the only one. Through this thread I’ve come to recognize some of my own un-processed theory around the alliance of feminist and trans people, so as usual I am simply reading, and thinking. It’s the perfect place for it.

    Posted by Pramiti | January 4, 2007, 6:46 pm
  197. Pramiti,

    I like your post…I do the same at many feminist blogs. While its a good place to learn, it makes me sad to read things like this:

    Lucky wrote:

    Men objectify women and fetishize female body parts. They covet what they see. Transsexuals do as well. During SRS, transpeople have body parts surgically removed and attached (or sewn on, if you will), so that they may appear to have the outer layer of “skin” of a woman, no? As if women are suits of clothes to try on. Nothing better illustrates this point than the extemism of “The Silence of the Lambs.” It drives the point home.

    Maybe trans women are so loud because this is offensive to us as women. As in the women that we are. This is horrifying to me. It compares me to a killer. It paints me as anti woman. It calls me a “man.” Calling us men does not make us men. The medical evidence is that we are women (references on request). We face most of the same oppressions as nontrans women. We are not male underneath, as the killer in SOTL is. We do not do this to approprate women’s skin or anything else. And we do not harm women when we change our bodies. And when we do, we experience the world as women, not men in women’s skin.

    I transitioned because I was horrified that I was being treated as a man, not for “kicks” or exploitative reasons. If I wanted to exploit women, I would be better equipped to do so as a male bodied person, not as I am. I was raised feminist, and the idea of accruing unearned privilege for a body that I did not see was even mine. For all of the wonderful ideas that radfem has, it failed trans women miserably with the claim that trans is a disease of the patriarchy. It is an experience that you do not understand.

    Lucky, radical feminism has NOT been kind to trans women, period. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile for for radfem to recognise us as the women that we are. Rather than assume the conclusion that we are “really” male, find out who we really are. Don’t let noisy trans women stop you. They are offended at being held to male traits they never possessed, nothing more. Many of us have been s**t on by the women’s community in ways that would be worthy of a slasher flick like SOTL. Please don’t associate us with anti woman violence. To the many of us who have been victimised as women, it is horrifying beyond belief.

    Pramiti, good luck with your learning.

    Lyssa

    Posted by lyssa | January 4, 2007, 8:39 pm
  198. “Yeah, talk about “monolithicizing” trans experiences: all trans people are not situated identically in being at risk of violence”

    perhaps i missed the part where i said that all trans people were situated identically in being at risk of violence. if i did say, or imply that, i was wrong. from my own experience, i know that i was, and still am, as a trans woman, and as a woman, at risk of experiencing violence, especially by men. i don’t know if i’m interested in measuring my level of risk, or even comparing that level with other people’s level. rather, i would prefer joining with other individuals, regardless of their risk, biology, social class, or any other factors, and working with them to reduce the level of violence *we all face*. to me, that’s the most important issue here. not splitting hairs over who is more oppressed than thou.

    regarding co-opting experience, i’m sorry if my transition and subsequent life experience coopts someone elses experience. that’s not my intention. and i’m totally open to other suggestions as to how i may make my life bearable while we work together to eliminate gender from society. my reality is however, that i have bills to pay, and my family depends on me to put food in their mouths. so please excuse me if i have to conform to some degree to society’s expectations of what a woman is, in order to get and hold down a job.

    the argument that i am coopting the experience of women makes me think of the rr’s arguement that gay marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage in general. i have yet to understand how a couple of gay men or women being married has any effect on the marriages of other people. just like i have yet to understand how by living my life in a manor that makes my life livable, effects any women here, or anywhere for that matter.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 4, 2007, 9:10 pm
  199. Lyssa, I do hear what you’re saying and I think I understand your response to what Lucky said there. As I said way up there somewhere, I think no matter what the reason was for talking about Silence of the Lambs, well, it couldn’t help but be offensive and hurtful. At the same time, I think Lucky has worked hard to explain what her actual thinking was there. Others in the thread have talked about the fact that the writer of the book, SOTL, never intended it to be about transgender people at all and was very concerned that the film would be made to be about transgender people, something that again, he didn’t intend and never wanted. SOTL was about a deranged, psychopathic male killer.

    For all of the wonderful ideas that radfem has, it failed trans women miserably with the claim that trans is a disease of the patriarchy. It is an experience that you do not understand.

    With respect and in peace, Lyssa, this is the kind of comment I would prefer not be posted to this thread. I think we’ve talked a lot about why. Radical feminism has never claimed that trans is a disease of the patriarchy. Radical feminism theorizes gender as all about subordination, about hierarchy, with the view that gender will not survive the destruction of patriarchy. Theories of gender which posit that gender is something that is in the head, in the spirit, in the genetics, that it is unavoidable, that it is just something people “know” that they are or “feel” that they have, radical feminists believe are theories which ultimately harm all people, both men and women, because they do not move us *beyond* gender as the subordinating mechanism it really is. To say this is to say that gender is a huge issue. The imposition of gender on human beings has hurt us — all of us, men and women, but women most of all. If gender is both real and true and something everybody “has”, then women are just doomed. Feminism is over. Might as well hang it all up.

    Telling us that being trans is something we don’t understand may or may not be true; one thing it for sure is is not helpful in a discussion thread. We could all say that being whomever we are is something others don’t understand and because of that, we should all be able to say whatever we want and no one should comment because no one understands. Then discussion would be impossible, you know?

    Lucky, radical feminism has NOT been kind to trans women, period

    This is not true. Radical feminism and feminists have been demonized and villainized both by transpersons and by those who have tokenized and used transpersons for their own anti-radfem or anti-feminist agendas, but what you say there simply isn’t true. All of us here could tell stories of the ways in which we have been harmed by transgender politics, individual transpersons, and so on. But it would be wrong, and bigoted, and hateful for us to say, as you’ve said to us, “transwomen have NOT been kind to radical feminists,” because that also would not be true. Some transwomen HAVE been kind to radical feminists and feminism, in all sorts of ways. Just as some radical feminists and as some expressions of radical feminism have been very, very kind to transwomen indeed. Again, this is the kind of statement which I really don’t want to have in this thread. You are participating in the demonizing and villainizing of a movement and women who do not deserve it, and I do not want that here.

    But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile for for radfem to recognise us as the women that we are. Rather than assume the conclusion that we are “really” male, find out who we really are.

    A very few radical feminists believe that transwomen are “really male.” Others, who believe gender is socially constructed from the ground, believe no such thing. Almost all radical feminists recognize transwomen as members of the class of human beings which is called “woman.”

    Many of us have been s**t on by the women’s community in ways that would be worthy of a slasher flick like SOTL.

    This again, is the kind of comment I do not want and will not allow in the future in this thread. It is untrue and is part of the demonizing and villainizing of radical feminism that I have described and which we have all seen and experienced. It is also totally lesbophobic. My own, and other women’s experience here is, we all know, and have known transwomen who have participated freely in and enjoyed women’s communities, sometimes for decades– even communities designed to be for women born women only. They make themselves part of the community anyway, and stay, and enjoy themselves. The idea that women’s communities have ever caused any harm to transwomen is lesbophobic, misogynist, radical-feminist-bashing fiction of the type, again, I will not tolerate here.

    Please don’t associate us with anti woman violence. To the many of us who have been victimised as women, it is horrifying beyond belief.

    Please do not associate any of us with any sort of violence. You know? None of us here has associated transwomen with anti-woman violence.

    I have approved this post because in my gut, I felt your intentions were good and you were attempting dialog in good faith. I also think you are used to discussions in which radical feminists may be freely and regularly clobbered, villainized, and hated and in which lesbophobia is allowed free rein and is encouraged and applauded and so you don’t even know how you sound. That’s not going to happen here.

    You are free to post, but please pay close attention to my response here. I will edit out any future comments, yours or others, which contain lesbophobic, misogynist commentary or which villainize or demonize radical feminists or radical feminism.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 9:10 pm
  200. I think we aren’t processing any more, we’re back to debating/discussing, so the thread is again open to all who want to post, men included.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 9:22 pm
  201. “A very few radical feminists believe that transwomen are “really male.” Others, who believe gender is socially constructed from the ground, believe no such thing. Almost all radical feminists recognize transwomen as members of the class of human beings which is called “woman.””

    Heart, this is the problem: Lyssa bullied you into saying something that I don’t think you mean, because what you said there is contrary to fact, as in indisputable, scientific fact –notwithstanding the furtive history of privileged non-intersexed persons co-opting the experience of the intersexed, who generally are against surgeries, in order to find access to surgeries to further their gendered quests.

    You are saying that women are a class of human beings who are not males. Not only is that conflating sex and gender, something Lyssa subliminally (maybe that’s stretching it, but it’s probably not far from the truth) pushed you into saying, you are actually saying that transwomen, who ARE factually male*, aren’t really women. Which is the opposite of your intention there.

    Furthermore, the things that Lyssa said, about how she’s not male, as if to be male would be the worst thing in the world, in other words, that creepy dude skinning people is male and she’s definitely not like HIM, but males are, is hate speech — at least according to Lyssa, provided it’s aimed HER way. But it’s ok for her to aim it other ways? That’s silly.

    Treating her “like a man” would be the biggest insult in the world? Oh god, getting paid at least a third more, having a shot a congress or the presidency, entry into the Augusta golf club, don’t give her — well, anything a lot of feminist women would like to have a legitimate shot at. But you know what: it’s somehow AOK for male trans to treat other males “like men?” What if they don’t want to be men, either, but respect feminist women enough not to barge in on their space, their culture, their gender? But no, transwomen get free reign to treat them like the serial killer stitching the skin suit?

    *As much as many transfolk complain about binary government forms that use sex and gender as synonyms (or hell, there’s even a petition against Livejournal to have a third gender), when those government forms equate sex and gender, sometimes they find it to their advantage and amusement. When a form says “Gender: male / female,” as some driver’s licenses do, it’s just too good to be true. Bonus!

    And why is it, do you think, that Queer Theorists have just co-opted the use of “male privilege” from feminists without changing it to “masculine privilege” or “man privilege?” That would be more in line with their interests, right? Not necessarily, as Lyssa has proved, here.

    Posted by rich | January 4, 2007, 9:46 pm
  202. Rich, huh. Well, here’s what I believe. I believe that people are classed and called “male” or “female” for the purposes of subordinating the females on the basis of their physical bodies. In other words, if there were no gender, if no patriarchal medical/science/religious institutions existed to pronounce, when a child was born, “A-HA, this child has a penis, therefore he is male,” (which means he is eligible for certain things), or “A-HA, this child has labia and beneath that, a vagina, and therefore she is female,” (which means she is ineligible for those same things), then it wouldn’t matter what body parts anybody was born with. There wouldn’t be “boy” (meaning what it means) or “girl” meaning what it means, imposed on the basis of “male” and “female”. Once a transwoman transitions (in whatever way) and experiences life as a woman, she ends up classed with the ineligible. In that sense, I include her, and other radical feminists include her, as a woman. Those who are classed with women and treated as women, I count as members of the class. I do not believe transwomen are “female,” and that may be where we are seeing things differently. Nor do I believe transmen are “male.” I think that “woman” and “man” are about gender, and “male” and “female” are about sex, even though “male” and “female” are also subordinating categories; the difference, to me, between “female” and “woman” is that female is the biological basis for the imposition of “woman” as a subordinating social category. I.e., the categories “man” and “woman” will not survive the destruction of patriarchy, but “male” and “female” will survive it, even though they will be artifacts of patriarchy. Over time, absent the imposition of “woman” and “man” as subordinating gender categories, “male” and “female” would exist in the same way tall, short, fat, thin, strong, weak, old, young, exist, as categories based on physical realities but not any more sociologically or politically subordinating, by the fact of their existence, than any others.

    you are actually saying that transwomen, who ARE factually male*, aren’t really women.

    I think transwomen were born male and are then classed as women when they transition, although that doesn’t change the facts of their having been born male.

    Now, maybe I am really missing something in what you’re saying, but the above is what I believe. I think. But hey, anybody should feel free to tell me they think I’m missing there.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 10:08 pm
  203. Here is a problem though.

    When I talk about women’s space, I mean female space. When I talk about the right women have to our own spaces, I am talking about females. My reason for using the word “woman” is political; I do not want the word “woman” to be stolen from women, to be co-opted. So I don’t use modifiers like “women born women,” or “female born” or “bio women” unless I absolutely have to in order to be understood in a discussion. While I do include transwomen as women for the purposes of the fight for human and civil rights which all women are engaged in, I *also* reserve the right, as a woman, to self-define, to be the definer of the words which pertain to me, including “woman.” For example, in the petition, I distinguished between “women” and “transwomen,” women being female-born, but including all under the category of “women” as a class.

    Also, some transwomen do not identify as women, but they also don’t identify as men. They identify as transwomen, or “women born trans.” Those women I would also include as part of the class known as women, but distinguished from females or women as I understand the term by the words or prefixes modifying the word “women.”

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 10:20 pm
  204. In other words, I think I am saying, I try to use the word “woman,” meaning female-born, as the default. If there are going to be modifiers or prefixes, they should be attached to words which identify those who were not born female.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 10:24 pm
  205. See, I agree with most of that (although I don’t think that short, tall, fat are all currently apolitical things, and I don’t think you do either, obviously, I’m just putting that reminder out there), but I think it’s important to be clear that transwomen are in fact male, are inescapably male, because otherwise essentialism takes over: what Lyssa said was essentialist. Males are icky and gross and dangerous and Lyssa, by virtue of not being icky and gross and dangerous, isn’t male, was never male, is in fact the opposite of male.

    And notice that it was at exactly that juncture that feminism was finally included in her speech, how she was raised feminist, saw a feminist once in some dark alley on a tuesday, and didn’t want to accrue privilege — not because privilege itself is wrong, but because the privilege would be inconsistant with her self image! How selfless and giving, right?

    But yeah, it’s exactly at the moment when this male-phobia/self-hatred takes over that feminism *finally* enters into the mix, when the word is dropped into the conversation: it’s used as the proof why males and men and whatevers are bad, even though the reason behind the impetus for that, the need to see that badness, has absolutely *nothing* to do with feminist goals. It’s just essentialist fantasy about sugar and spice vs. puppy dog tails but it depends upon the stereotype that feminists, especially radical feminists, are all “man haters.” You’re just convenient for that. And when you’re inconvenient, by not accepting them as female or women, full-stop, that’s when the shit starts flying.

    Contrary to that, why should transpeople get to be essentialist when feminist females are forbidden to even tread down that road? What if there were a “rape gene” inherent to the Y-Chromasome. Not saying that I believe there is, but what if there were? Would females have say, well, transwomen aren’t really male, because, well, they say so, they no longer have that penis that semi-reliably, probably more often than not reliably, works in lieu of a genetic test at birth?

    This IS the specific mechanism for escaping responsibility for privilege that you spoke of; this is how it is rhetorically accomplished, through the constant confusion of sex and gender, by saying one thing when you know the truth of another, pushing and prodding until you get the answer you want, making them say the one thing you want to hear. And, though I could be wrong, as always, it’s what I saw transpiring in the interchange between you and Lyssa.

    “When I talk about women’s space, I mean female space.”

    And may you be blessed with that. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you achieve that, shutting the hell up included. But that’s *not* what you turned this thread into when you kicked me out of it either, so that’s why, ultimately, I’m curious about your terminology here.

    Posted by rich | January 4, 2007, 10:58 pm
  206. What if they don’t want to be men, either, but respect feminist women enough not to barge in on their space, their culture, their gender?

    Very good point. What if they are just conscientious objectors to gender? In the same way feminist women are. In the case of views like those Lyssa has expressed, those who are beholden to gender (transpersons) actually end up privileged over those conscientiously objecting to gender.

    And all of this is why at the heart of it everything is what we make of gender. Either gender is something we are conscientious objectors to or it is something we can’t escape. If we can’t escape it, then what’s the point of feminism? Dominance/Subordination/Heirarchy are inevitable, on a micro level, on the macro level.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 11:08 pm
  207. See, I agree with most of that (although I don’t think that short, tall, fat are all currently apolitical things, and I don’t think you do either, obviously, I’m just putting that reminder out there)

    Exactly. That’s why I said being male or female would be no more sociologically or politically subordinating than shortness, tallness, etc. I do think there are experiences specific to maleness and femaleness which have ramifications which would have to be sociologically/politically negotiated in a post-patriarchal world, like pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and so on. I think the same is true for fat/thin, tall/short. There would be issues to be considered politically, socially, there, but absent gender, the issues would be much different. That was the point I was making.

    but I think it’s important to be clear that transwomen are in fact male, are inescapably male, because otherwise essentialism takes over: what Lyssa said was essentialist. Males are icky and gross and dangerous and Lyssa, by virtue of not being icky and gross and dangerous, isn’t male, was never male, is in fact the opposite of male.

    Well, under male heterosupremacy, being male born or female born are the foundation for the social construction which follows, that’s all I was getting at, and the experiences of those born male are going to be different from the experiences of those born female. There’s hope in that, because if the constructors can be changed, then manhood and womanhood as coercive stereotypes are not inevitable, and being born male does not have to equal growing up to be a patriarch, and being born female does not have to equal growing up under the thumb of the patriarchs. There’s also reality and truth there: the lives of men and women are unavoidably affected by the fact of their sex at birth. If that isn’t acknowledged, then women’s claim to our own spaces, communities, movements end up contested and there is no foundation upon which to build our own resistance to the ways our rights to our spaces are contested.

    And may you be blessed with that. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you achieve that, shutting the hell up included. But that’s *not* what you turned this thread into when you kicked me out of it either, so that’s why, ultimately, I’m curious about your terminology here.

    I think that I look more pragmatically at the facts of transwomen’s existence, acknowledging that they share many experiences in common with women that men don’t share– even if they are men who are conscientious objectors to gender. I am recognizing a more overarching category or class of human beings as women without forgetting or dismissing the realities of being born female. I turned it into a discussion between those who are classed under the broader category, “women.” But yeah, very much a can of worms. I won’t argue with you there, for all sorts of reasons.

    Heart

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 11:33 pm
  208. “even if they are men who are conscientious objectors to gender. ”

    They’d be males, not men then! :P Or not necessarily anyway. Whatever, just have a good night! :)

    Posted by rich | January 4, 2007, 11:43 pm
  209. I combined my last two posts before the one just above this one.

    Honestly, though, calling transwomen “males” feels wrong to me, feels sort of like the way I was recently classed with all of the big amorphous lump of white women in certain ways, as though my lived experiences over many years of being targeted for racism and punished as a race traitor mean nothing. It’s all very telling, too. If a male-born person transitions, and especially passes well, is read as a woman, then her experience is going to be a bajillion degrees from the experience of a garden variety regular man under male heterosupremacy. She’s going to be targeted for sexism as women are in all the various ways, PLUS she’s going to be targeted for transphobia because she has transitioned, is a transperson. I relate to that experience. My experience, having been interracially married over 24 years, bearing and raising nine biracial children, means having been targeted because I am a race traitor (partnered with a black person and mother to biracial children) and also experiencing indirectly or directly, in material ways, in some cases the racism my family members face. So my experience is not the same experience as the experience of a garden variety white woman under white supremacy. What’s interesting is, the same people who will happily run me out on a rail for suggesting that my experience is what it is, will quickly embrace anyone born male who identifies as a transwoman. No analysis, no critique, not even asking any questions. Even if I provide all sorts of specific details about my lived experience, I may well still be dismissed as an arrogant “white supremacist,” by the same person who views someone identifying as a transwoman as a member of an oppressed minority, regardless the actual events of that transwoman’s life.

    Well, all this stuff figures in to how I think about these things. I’m white. But I don’t have the lived experiences of 90 percent of white people. Just as a transwoman may have been born male but she doesn’t have the lived experiences of 90 percent of those born male. I don’t appreciate the facts of my life and herstory being erased and being included in the category “arrogant white supremacist,” and so I can imagine transwomen don’t appreciate the facts of their life and herstory being erased and being included under the category “male supremacist.”

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 4, 2007, 11:56 pm
  210. One point of uncertainty I’ve always struggled with on this issue is how our (radfems and transpersons) alliance can work when we appear to have differing agendas, period. Radfems work to deconstruct/ eradicate gender, and all the inequality & judgements that come with it. While the transwoman’s goal appears to be to embody gender by embodying the sex. Yes, we remark that gender and sex are very different things. But if the sexes aren’t separated so distinctly through the gender roles, the socialization, then the difference would be… the physical sex. With the descriptions of male vs. man, female vs. woman, unless I’m misunderstanding, doesn’t this present a difficulty when trying to mesh the radfem and transwoman’s goal?

    Radfems, being committed as we are to *every woman’s story* and their right to *tell* that storry, to define it in her own terms, is I think the basis beneath radfem’s acceptance of transwoman’s inclusion into their ranks. They are woman, they have a story, we will listen to it. But is the assumption that because they tell a similar story of oppression that they have the same end-game goals correct?

    I simply wonder? If this question is a derailing, please disregard. I will eventually come to a conclusion myself, anyway.

    I realize I said I was quietly thinking. But the last two posts finally allowed me to vocalize something I’d been wondering about.

    Posted by Pramiti | January 5, 2007, 12:15 am
  211. Pramiti, everything you say there is good and perceptive. I would answer by saying that in my experience, transpersons’ goal is not always or necessarily to embody a certain sex or gender. Sometimes transpersons also want to see an end to gender. But they also feel a need to live a reasonably happy life. Sort of like, my goal as a feminist is an end to gender, but I find it very difficult to not want to do certain gendered things, so I still do them sometimes (like diet, or put the needs of my family ahead of my own, etc.) I think alliances can be forged between transwomen and transmen and radical feminists especially where we all *do* want an end to gender, or for the specific goal of ending sexism. Where we have big problems is where transpersons insist that gender is, that it is real and true, it is something they or other people “have” or “know” or whatever. Because that is really at odds with our own view that gender is about subordination.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 5, 2007, 12:28 am
  212. “Honestly, though, calling transwomen “males” feels wrong to me”

    And why the hell would I want to be called that, either, if it feels so wrong for you to say it about someone, if it’s something that can inherently be “wrong?”

    Why would anyone want to be called that, lumped thusly, or purposefully admit to it, knowing that their individual experiences will be gleefully denied by others, others who probably aren’t that different from yourself or are even more deserving of the “lumping?” You’d have to be an idiot to volunteer for that.

    Which is why being a profeminist is a profoundly idiotic thing to do. Which is exactly why it’s the right thing to do.

    But damn me if I’m going to let another male “other” me to her or his own benefit — that certainly doesn’t “feel” right to me! So yeah, I agree wholeheartedly with this:

    “those who are beholden to gender (transpersons) actually end up privileged over those conscientiously objecting to gender.”

    Posted by rich | January 5, 2007, 12:36 am
  213. ***Honestly, though, calling transwomen “males” feels wrong to me, feels sort of like the way I was recently classed with all of the big amorphous lump of white women in certain ways, as though my lived experiences over many years of being targeted for racism and punished as a race traitor mean nothing.***

    But this is only “wrong” if you demonize males and white women. If one’s experience is a bajillion degrees from the “garden variety” male or white woman experience, it is *still* a male or white woman’s experience *if experienced by a male or a white woman*. This is because there is nothing about oppression that is *inherently* a female or a woman of color experience only. They key word here is inherently.

    Posted by Branjor | January 5, 2007, 12:48 am
  214. That should have been “the key word…”

    Posted by Branjor | January 5, 2007, 12:52 am
  215. It still came out wrong. Change the next to the last sentence to “This is because there is nothing about oppression that is *inherently* a female or a woman or man of color experience.”

    Posted by Branjor | January 5, 2007, 1:21 am
  216. Rich, I totally see your point. It sounds in your ears as though, when transwomen are upset over being called male, they are saying, “I am nothing like YOU,” you creepy creature with man cooties (and that is what sometimes they ARE saying, namely you know who, but others as well, we’ve heard things like that many times, for sure, far too often). Which is really fucking shitty, no argument. It erases your experience as a conscientious objector to gender, for one thing. As you say, it’s essentialist for another thing.

    I don’t think being a profeminist man is idiotic– I think it’s in every man’s best interest. And also, of course, it’s the right thing to do and be. I think your contributions to this thread have been really great, thought-provoking. You’ve given me lots to think about– it’s been a while since I’ve discussed all of this outside of certain very narrow venues where I don’t get this kind of exercise. That is to say, how much do we really NEED the insights of men who are conscientious objectors, and not the disingenuous, cloying, bowing and scraping kinds of insights, but the down and dirty kinds of insights you have provided. Yours is a valid and very much missing perspective.

    Branjor, when I switch my blog to my own server you’ll be able to edit your posts, maybe. I hope!

    January 5th, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Me, Heart: Honestly, though, calling transwomen “males” feels wrong to me, feels sort of like the way I was recently classed with all of the big amorphous lump of white women in certain ways, as though my lived experiences over many years of being targeted for racism and punished as a race traitor mean nothing.

    But this is only “wrong” if you demonize males and white women.

    Just processing here, so don’t hold me to any of this, I might process through it and into some new position, I don’t care if people call me white or describe me as white. I am white. I do care if they compare me with white supremacists or “arrogant white women”, because that feels like an attempt to erase my lived experience, make it invisible, (in the same way patriarchy always does to women, erases our experiences as women, so it’s also a triggering experience, brings up a lot of stuff). I think being called male if you’re a transwoman, or a man, does the same thing– erases the lived experiences of transwomen, and in particular the way they are brutalized by males *as* transwomen, similarly to the way calling me a “white supremacist” erases the way I have been brutalized by white supremacists. White people are not normally brutalized by white people for reasons of racism. Only if they’re race traitors are they brutalized in this way. But now that I’m thinking about this, males ARE regularly brutalized by other males for being gender traitors, even if they aren’t transwomen. Which lends more credence to what Rich has been saying. And going deeper, all of us are brutalized, including those of us who are white, by institutionalized, systemic racism which punishes dissent and nonconformity, as all of us are brutalized, including men, by systemic, institutionalized sexism, which punishes dissent and nonconformity.

    If one’s experience is a bajillion degrees from the “garden variety” male or white woman experience, it is *still* a male or white woman’s experience *if experienced by a male or a white woman*. This is because there is nothing about oppression that is *inherently* a female or a woman or man of color experience.”

    They key word here is inherently

    Yeah, I agree. I think my experience *is* a white woman’s experience and wouldn’t say that it wasn’t. But it’s not a white supremacist’s experience. I think transwomen’s experience is still the experience of a person born male, but it is also the experience of someone read as a woman. It doesn’t make sense to me to frame it in any other way. I would not say that any transwoman had never been male. Transwomen have all been male, for some number of years. But I think they have experiences as transwomen that set them apart from others who are male. To me, it doesn’t make sense not to say that or acknowledge that.

    Processing out loud here, though, again, I might change my mind.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 5, 2007, 4:22 am
  217. “I think being called male if you’re a transwoman, or a man, does the same thing– erases the lived experiences of transwomen, and in particular the way they are brutalized by males *as* transwomen, similarly to the way calling me a “white supremacist” erases the way I have been brutalized by white supremacists.”

    almost all of the transwomen i know take issue with being called male or a man. many will argue that they were never male or men. a few have even gone as far as to fabricate alternate historical “realities”. i think you know one example of whom i’m talking about here, and she’s not the only one i know. many crossdressers i know create what amounts to an alternate persona, and speak of themselves in the third person when they are in their “other” role. all of these situations have cause confusion for me, at least in my own context.

    i’ve always had trouble separating my life before transition to my life after. i am the same person, and always will be. and while i’ve certainly changed the class in which others identify me, i really haven’t changed, any more than anyone else changes over the course of their life.

    so in that respect, i’d also agree with rich. my experience of moving through the world as a woman is a male experience. though as in heart’s observation, calling myself “male” feels somehow wrong. of course, i’m wary in calling myself female as well. that also feels somehow wrong. “transwoman” feels better than either, i’d say.

    also unlike at least 50% of transwomen i know, i don’t hate or deminize men. my husband, best friend, lover, and soulmate is a man. so when i come across cases, especially on line, in which men are demonized or subjected to what i consider hate speech, i’ll call the speaker out on it.

    also unlike many transwomen who have found a home in lesbian spaces, i am most comfortable in venues that cater to gay men. there are virtually no trans spaces, save a few support groups, and many gay bars, clubs, and other gathering places tolerate transwomen. many host “drag shows” at the very least. and much as some transwomen hate to admit it, drag performers are part of the “trans” umbrella. i, at least, see them as members of the same clan to which i belong.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 5, 2007, 5:35 am
  218. Saying that someone is a male is not analogous to saying that they are a white supremacist. The analogous thing would be to call them a male supremacist. If having experiences a bajillion degrees different from most white women does not mean you are not a white woman, then having experiences a bajillion degrees different from most males does not mean that a transwoman is not a male. This is true regardless of how she is “read.” Anyway, without being untrue to anyone’s lived experiences in THE SLIGHTEST DEGREE, we really need to restore some integrity to this process of “identification.”

    Posted by Branjor | January 5, 2007, 12:09 pm
  219. Branjor, yeah, I’ve been thinking about all this and I’ve figured out where things are going sideways for me.

    Saying that someone is a male is not analogous to saying that they are a white supremacist.

    Right. To be male is not necessarily to be a man.

    The analogous thing would be to call them a male supremacist. If having experiences a bajillion degrees different from most white women does not mean you are not a white woman, then having experiences a bajillion degrees different from most males does not mean that a transwoman is not a male.

    Yes, this is true. A transwoman is not a man, but she is still, as Rich put it, “factually male.” Where the comparison between gender and race breaks down, or one place is, maleness and femaleness are biological facts (in a way that “man” and “woman” are not, they are gendered categories). But whiteness is not a biological fact. White isn’t a race. White is purely and simply a structure of domination embedded in our social relations and institutions and practices. In that sense, to be white IS to be a white supremacist, by definition, in a way that to be biologically male is not to be a male supremacist by definition (though being a “man” is).

    What I am really getting to in a lot of what I am saying is that it is possible to give up gender privilege and race privilege by acts, decisions, small and large. To be male doesn’t mean being a man, which was the whole point of John Stoltenberg’s Refusing to Be a Man. Manhood as a structure of domination has to be deconstructed. To be white in a white supremacist culture is to participate in white supremacy regardless. But it is possible to give up race privilege via acts and decisions, small and large, and in fact, that’s how the dominance category “white” or “whiteness” is deconstructed. But those are two different discussions.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 5, 2007, 1:27 pm
  220. Anyway, without being untrue to anyone’s lived experiences in THE SLIGHTEST DEGREE, we really need to restore some integrity to this process of “identification.”

    TRUE!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 1:29 pm
  221. As always, Branjor said it far better than I.

    And really, if you think about it, when you say that transwomen aren’t male, not any more, barely ever, really, it’s stating that transwomen NEED misogyny: that they need males, those nasty males anyway, those men, to other them.

    Because when I say that transwomen are male it means that they’re part of “my tribe,” my people, people like ME that I’m responsible for — both in keeping them out of harm’s way and in preventing them from harming others — I’m doing the opposite of that “othering,” I’m focusing on our shared experiences, our shared humanity. But that’s not good enough, that’s wrong, bigoted, transphobic, because I’m supposed to say that they’re not like me, that they’re aliens with experiences I cannot fathom?

    I could transition tomorrow. I could demand everyone in this thread start referring to me by different pronouns. I could intentionally stop using correct punctuation to make myself look more fey (AKA, grow up, Nexy, you’re not bell hooks, you’re closer to e.e. cummings: all the other women in this thread work hard to have their writing taken seriously!)

    Except that the current orthodoxy that demands “SRS or Death” believes that only males with that gnostic spark of inherent transness would ever dare, could ever be capable of such a thing; all that nonsense about “No, a real man wouldn’t wear a skirt to crash Michfest, wouldn’t be caught D-E-A-D doing that, and if he did, it would just prove he’s really one of us, how hot is THAT!” Hell, even Christian colleges have male-cheerleaders during powder-puff football games, where they get to exude every gay stereotype they’ve ever picked up on, something I’ve had a chance to witness recently: and yet we have liberal, progressive types, usually young women, arguing that a skirt would kill a male if he didn’t have that essential trans-gene. A gene that all of the males they seem to know and like and love in their real, personal lives, just happen to conveniently have?

    Maleness or femaleness, nor gender, aren’t aspects of popularity, nor are they a sentimental sentimentality built out of like or love. Of course, it currently seems like that is true when anyone who rejects gender, truly, is as hated and as unpopular as they are!

    “That is to say, how much do we really NEED the insights of men who are conscientious objectors,”

    There you go saying that “men” word again. :P I’m very clear in not using the word “men” when describing my work, my audience, or even myself. That’s to protect myself in some ways, and also to say that all males are my intended audience, intended participants, and that includes transwomen. Yeah, a lot of pro-feminists are men, inescapably men, because it’s fairly rewarding to be a profeminist as a man: the more privilege you have, the more you can do for women, after all, which leads to even more privilege. Bob Jensen and his nubile groupies comes to mind. Or Stan Goff and his secretary, I mean wife, whose career is evidently (though I could be wrong) making sure HE gets scheduled correctly as a speaker on feminism — how ironic is that? Certainly, I am read as a man, even though I’m clear in my writing that I don’t identify as such, speaking to the issue of how other humans are currently using the word “identify.” I don’t have any incentive, like these older pro-feminists, the one’s that count, the one’s that even get promoters in this very thread [!], to go out and *call* myself a man. Nor do I have that same incentive to play at chivalry with transwomen, to freely allow them to treat me as a man while they demand me to treat them as a women, when treating anyone as a gender goes against everything that progressives ostensibly believe in. (That chivalry dynamic has taken over punk/anarchist culture, defining that Dudefest I spoke of above.)

    In fact, even Stan Goff, who is of the utmost sensible persuasions when it comes to the trans-issue, has bought into the absolute shit that NOMAS is peddling these days, the idea of “masculinities,” a fancy, academic-like way to say that some males are privileged over others in our society, as if it’s some novel discovery, hot off the presses — as if patriarchy has ever, for one fucking second, hidden that fact! So now you have essay after essay, or expensive talks by highly paid speakers, almost middle-aged white men (with a few black men, too), all good fathers, about “building sustainable masculinities for the future” as if that’s the direction we need to be headed. And of course this is all under the watchful eye of GenderPAC and its cognates, ever policing the subject.

    Posted by rich | January 5, 2007, 1:53 pm
  222. Because when I say that transwomen are male it means that they’re part of “my tribe,” my people, people like ME that I’m responsible for — both in keeping them out of harm’s way and in preventing them from harming others — I’m doing the opposite of that “othering,” I’m focusing on our shared experiences, our shared humanity. But that’s not good enough, that’s wrong, bigoted, transphobic, because I’m supposed to say that they’re not like me, that they’re aliens with experiences I cannot fathom?

    This is great. Really.

    “That is to say, how much do we really NEED the insights of men who are conscientious objectors,”

    There you go saying that “men” word again.

    Duly noted. :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 2:04 pm
  223. Rich

    I could intentionally stop using correct punctuation to make myself look more fey (AKA, grow up, Nexy, you’re not bell hooks, you’re closer to e.e. cummings: all the other women in this thread work hard to have their writing taken seriously!)

    i also type mostly without capitals. i’m not trying to be bell hooks. it’s part laziness and part rebellion against fascist punctuation standards ;)

    sorry to disrupt the discussion with this, but i do think it’s unfair and irrelevant to criticise someones style of writing, whether that be their mood-style, their punctuation, their spelling, whatever. and i also think that mocking a persons writing style, just as mocking their spoken accent, is a silencing technique. i have too many dyslexic friends who avoid writing altogether, and my own spoken accent makes me very uncomfortable to speak in public.

    anyway, not meaning to have a go, but simply to ask people to think a little bit before criticising or mocking someones writing style, please.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 2:33 pm
  224. Yeah, I agree, Rich. Tone it down a notch, bitte.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 5, 2007, 2:39 pm
  225. If you read a ton of essays on sites like XY Online (a profeminist website, although not always a very thoughtful one, IMO), a good number of them have been written without capital letters in an attempt of some sort not to be macho, to be less of a man, when it really serves no such purpose; in fact, males can generally be as sloppy as they please and not have it detract from their message. Females, not so much obviously. Which is why bell hooks is NOT Edward Estlin Cummings. But it’s not some apolitical, petty thing that I just pulled from my backside; it’s a pattern I’ve witnessed over and over again (Brenda, anyone?) and I do think it’s meaningful. Maybe I am just being a jackass, but please don’t assume that such things are always trivialities, either, because they’re not.

    For example, if we can say picking on someone’s poor grammar or spelling is a classist act, first, remember that the ruling class, men, are by far the LEAST literate gender; why should wealth be the only “class” we are cognizant of? I mean, we live in a world where people can have white or black “voices,” that people can supposedly identify as such from blocks away, where transwomen take courses, expensive courses, to “talk like women.” To many males, men, transwomen, and otherwise, avoiding capitals does have a sense of “talking like women,” being less formal, less serious and — most importantly — less powerful.

    And just to be clear on this, I’ve gone back and capitalized my name in the form-field, too, something I should have done some time ago! In fact, I’ve been informed by a women of color that “Rich” itself doesn’t give adequate warning of my sex or gender or both to non English speakers and I need to be careful of that, too. OTOH, there’s enough Richards out there already that generally being, notoriously being [!], “That Rich,” is often good enough. But not always.

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 3:15 pm
  226. As an addendum to that, there’s been all sorts of newspaper articles about how instant messaging and text messaging on phones (and the shortcuts people use when communicating thusly) are ruining “our daughters” and their ability to spell and communicate effectively. No one’s been worried about “our sons,” because they’re not all resigned to pink collar jobs from birth, the same way.

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 3:29 pm
  227. No don’t tone it down Rich. I do have an aphasia, and it manifests as dyslexia and I am not interested in having my very real embarrassing and life altering disability MOCKED by people who are lazy, or donning an affectation. I try as hard as I can to be who I used to , and still don’t cut it. How do I view someone who does this by choice? ASK ME!!

    Posted by Pony | January 5, 2007, 5:43 pm
  228. Hey, Rich, yes yes and yes.
    :-)

    You’re the first male that I have ever met that agrees with me on this stuff. It really astounds me that you have thought all this through, and have taken the time and trouble to record it publicly.

    Because of the *immense* credibility gap between males and females on this planet, I keep your witness as gold coin in my pocket for future debates. hehehe … If I’m lucky enough that they are debates and not all out gang-ups and smackdowns.

    AFAIAC, you have earned this old separatist’s “safe passage”.
    :-)

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 5, 2007, 5:53 pm
  229. Huh, Rich, I’d definitely never thought of any of what you just wrote there about the use of language/punctuation, even though language and writing are my whole life, basically. Very interesting.

    I don’t know about Brenda, though– it seems way too over the top to be intentional! As does a certain other person I won’t name at times, and especially lately!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 6:07 pm
  230. True Rich. I was focussed on the accessibility, readibility, communicating aspect (If no one can read or understand you, you’ve wasted your time and you are not communicating your message, and don’t think I don’t know it when that happens to my messages). The other thing is; would you (Americans) go to a foreign country and just demand that you be allowed to speak your language all the time, and everyone cater to you on that? Oh wait….

    Posted by Pony | January 5, 2007, 6:14 pm
  231. i see. of course, no one really knows what kind of mental disorders i suffer from, or really anything about my life, except for what i post here and on my blog and message boards. and it’s assumed that i don’t use caps because i’m lazy or want to be fey.

    for all you know, my keyboard is broken and i can’t afford a new one. but it’s better to make assumptions about me and my motivations, because that makes it easier to demonize me.

    Posted by nexyjo | January 5, 2007, 6:43 pm
  232. Edited.
    Heart said way, way, way up above:

    “Also, in making this part of the thread woman only, I do not mean to exclude nexy or keep her from responding to things she may want to respond to — feel free, nexy. I didn’t make the thread woman-only in order to specifically exclude Rich either”

    Heart, look how you used capitals in naming there. Multiple times. I certainly noticed it when you did it! All of this stuff pushes and prods on a subliminal level. People do this stuff and you end up mirroring their self image: and somehow I end up looking, by way of comparison, like some dude on a bus taking up three seats with his legs spread wide (and notice how the capital appeared right after “women-only.” But yeah, that’s the mind trick.

    Edited

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 7:00 pm
  233. Well, i’m not a man. My spelling has always been pretty good, but i’ve never really understood much about punctuation beyond commas and full stops. I think it is both faster to type and to read lower case sentences, as long as they have the spaces and the full stops.

    In any case, I didn’t intend to derail this thread, which I’ve been reading with interest. Seeing as some people find my writing offensive in style, I won’t comment any further. I can understand Pony’s point about finding it difficult to read, but then I find it difficult to write. I’m sorry for my lack of education, but I’m not going to kick myself over my shitty punctuation any more than I’m gonna spend any more years kicking myself over my dumbass country bumpkin accent.

    I really don’t like the idea of starting a fight over this, so hopefully we can agree to disagree. I’ll carry on writing in lower case, and I guess some people will ignore my posts. I can deal with that.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 7:01 pm
  234. That’s very manipulative. I’m out of here.

    Posted by Pony | January 5, 2007, 7:02 pm
  235. Heart said:

    I think transwomen’s experience is still the experience of a person born male, but it is also the experience of someone read as a woman. It doesn’t make sense to me to frame it in any other way.

    Well said! That’s what I meant when I talked about being distressed about being called male/man. All the ‘male is bad stuff was said by others, not me’. Having my experience erased is what is so offensive, not male-ness or man-ness.

    And oh, I refuse to edit my history for ANYONE, nexyjo. I WAS born male. My skeleton still holds that legacy. My memories hold the memories of being treated like a man. But that should not be used to erase my experiences as a woman. Nor should my experiences as a woman be used to erase my experiences as a man. When I am called a ‘man,’ half of me is cut off. That’s what is so upsetting.

    Heart, Thank you for having me here and trusting my intentions. I need to apologise to anyone I have bullied. I was innapropriate in that post. It will not happen again.

    There are a lot of goood thoughts here. If you will have me, I’d like to stay for a bit.

    Thanks,
    Lyssa

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 7:02 pm
  236. I think it’s time for my speech about giving the benefit of the doubt and erring on the side of thinking the best about everybody. While what you said about language and punctuation is interesting, Rich, and worth considering, I think it would have been better, especially in a thread like this, for you to just say what you’ve said there just straight up, without first suggesting nexy fit into the categories you’ve described. pony, I think it’s fine for you or anybody to say, if you are having trouble following someone’s posts, just that, i.e., “Would you mind using capital letters? I’m having trouble following.” That gives the person the benefit of the doubt and gives nexy (or anybody else) opportunity to respond.

    nexyjo and Denise in the other thread, who is new here, are very much outnumbered, and that’s a really uncomfortable place to be. Been there many times. I very much appreciate their willingness to participate here though they are very much outnumbered. To me, it means they are taking some big risks. I don’t want them to regret having taken those risks. Rich, you are, of course, also outnumbered, but you have the benefit of going back a long ways with many of the posters here, something nexy doesn’t have in quite the same way.

    So if everybody could, again, give the benefit of the doubt, read generously, err on the side of believing the best about people, then this discussion has a better chance of staying on track. I will continue to moderate and will try to read everything carefully and not let things slip by.

    Thanks to everybody.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:02 pm
  237. pony– it might not be manipulative. I know what you’re saying, but again, just hope you will be willing to read generously and that everybody will also read what you have to say generously. Once someone is accused of something, well, the accusation is out there. Anything they say, really, from that point on has a good chance of coming across wrong.

    Please?

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:06 pm
  238. Just to be clear, I’m saying that you were subliminally pushed into capitalizing or not capitalizing in that paragraph, based on how we presented ourselves. If you perform in different ways, you can provoke different reactions, even though those performances don’t always signify anything real, politically, and it’s far easier to provoke women into giving you the response you’re seeking, than men.

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 7:07 pm
  239. I wouldn’t criticize V/Resisterance for the way she chooses to write, I respect her choice in that regard. I just want to state that up front.

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 7:11 pm
  240. Rich, the reason I didn’t capitalize the “n” in “nexy” and did capitalize the “R” in Rich is because nexy doesn’t capitalize her screen name, and in my mind, I’ve thought you did, although you say you haven’t, but I’ve always thought of your name as capitalized. That’s how I envision it in my mind. Branjor and I just had this discussion in another venue the other day– for some reason I have also been writing her name uncapitalized–that’s just how I see it in my mind, and I’ve always thought that was from some boards, somewhere, where she didn’t capitalize it. Anyway, I told her from now on, Branjor it is, not branjor. (And she wasn’t mad at me, she was just sayin.)

    I try to write people’s screen names exactly as they do, because online there’s meaning there. We all know there are people who deliberately misspell other people’s screen names just to be assholes, or whatever. If I do foul up accidentally, I correct my error. I think that kind of respect is important. Bottom line, I really don’t have any idea why someone spells their name as they do or why they capitalize or don’t. I think what you posted there about that is useful and interesting to think about, but I’m not going to start spelling people’s names differently from the way they spell them. It’s just a matter of courtesy for me.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:15 pm
  241. Ok. At this point it’s impossible to have this discussion, I think.

    I can just imagine Jefferson signing the Declaration of Independence “tommie jefferson” though.
    ;)

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 7:23 pm
  242. It’s complicated, too, when you’ve been posting on boards together through a bazillion different boards/blogs, because people change the spellings of their names sometimes, and capitalization, and so on, but you might remember the first name they used, the way they spelled it then.

    I do hear what you’re saying about capitalization and being subliminally pushed and so on, Rich. (Although I’m thinking now of the most difficult online transpersons ever and they both capitalized the first letter of their names and both had TWO names and so two capital letters!) Here’s the way my mind works: couldn’t not capitalizing a name also possibly mean you want to not be intimidating? You want to be respectful? You are evidencing humility, respect, discretion given the realities of potentially tense or sensitive discussions? I think that is a reason people might not capitalize, especially people who are concerned about the effect of their online presence in various communities. From what I’ve seen, nexy has always evidenced respect for women’s communities she’s participated in. That strikes me as as likely a reason for not capitalizing as any.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:27 pm
  243. Well, that’s true re thomas jefferson. :P I think this is the kind of discussion that, you’re right, we should have some other time. I don’t want everybody to be all self-conscious now and think, oh no, better capitalize, change the spelling of my name, or looking at everybody’s names and being suspicious! ARGH! The capitalization discussion can be had on another day.

    We’ll all be thinking about this from now on, on some level, I think, it’s not going to go away. I know I’ll be thinking about it. Nevertheless, I want to return to reading generously, giving the benefit of the doubt now. Let people capitalize or not, spell or not, and do the very best they can to communicate their ideas in a way that everybody can understand, including people with disabilities.

    Thanks.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:32 pm
  244. Sounds good.

    Posted by RICH, Potential Rapist | January 5, 2007, 7:39 pm
  245. Heart said:

    Here’s the way my mind works: couldn’t not capitalizing a name also possibly mean you want to not be intimidating?

    That is why I write “lyssa.” I sometimes come off as really intense and try to compensate for it.

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 7:40 pm
  246. At this point it’s impossible to have this discussion, I think

    but, you know, it’s one i’d like to have in the future, because it’s quite fascinating really.

    Heart, i’m sorry for derailing.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 7:43 pm
  247. Well, we can have the discussion if everybody wants to. Maybe I’m being too schitzy.

    I’m going to approve Rich’s latest post which is really very interesting, but also could be triggering. But it does definitely make an interesting point.

    Forewarned is forearmed.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:45 pm
  248. i don’t get it, what’s the point?

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 7:49 pm
  249. I don’t get it, either.

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 7:51 pm
  250. Well– unless Rich posts again, I can’t say for sure what his point was. But I’m reading him to be saying that to post with a male name is the equivalent of what he posted there in the minds of many feminists — all males are to be viewed as potential rapists — and that in order to maneuver his way into a discussion, he might change his name. Not use capitals. Use a gender neutral name. All of which would not change the fact that Rich is male.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:52 pm
  251. I think I get it now…He was trying to underscore what he said when he posted:

    Just to be clear, I’m saying that you were subliminally pushed into capitalizing or not capitalizing in that paragraph, based on how we presented ourselves. If you perform in different ways, you can provoke different reactions, even though those performances don’t always signify anything real, politically, and it’s far easier to provoke women into giving you the response you’re seeking, than men.

    Heart, what would be his purpose in doing so?

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 7:57 pm
  252. In other words, it might illuminate the subtle or even subliminal manipulation he’s been talking about. Someone wants in to women’s spaces, they are male, they want to find a way in in which they will be trusted and accepted by women in the space, and so they use a less threatening or intimidating screen name. That wouldn’t make them, necessarily, not a threat to women, of course. That might just make them a threat to women who figured out how to use an acceptable and safe-sounding screen name.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, you know where there are a lot of posters who, you can’t tell if they are men or women? At Twisty’s place. That always bothers me, because I do think someone’s sex, in feminist discussions, matters.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 7:58 pm
  253. Oops…I meant to write:

    …and that in order to maneuver his way into a discussion…

    Heart, what would be his purpose in doing so?

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 7:59 pm
  254. Now that I’m thinking about it, you know where there are a lot of posters who, you can’t tell if they are men or women? At Twisty’s place. That always bothers me, because I do think someone’s sex, in feminist discussions, matters.

    It does in many discussions. I have posted elsewhere when the person’s true sex came out later…and it would have definitely changed what I had posted.

    Am I welcome here? I really stepped on some folks toes earlier…

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 8:03 pm
  255. lyssa, you mean what would be a man’s purpose in maneuvering his way into a feminist discussion? Dang! Men’s purposes are legion! They maneuver their way in in order to divert discussions, subvert them, gain women’s trust and then turn some women against other women in a million really creative ways that I have seen over and over through the years. They might have anti-feminist or anti-radical-feminist agendas they are working and want to be kind of stealth about it and so they have names that lull women into complacency (think Ampersand). They might want to maneuver their way in in order to hook up with a feminist and get laid. (Think… oh never mind. :::rage:::) They might just not like the idea of women’s spaces and want to squat in them because they can. Men on the internet in the context of women’s spaces can be hobbits is tricksy.

    I think another point Rich is making is, because he is male, he is NOT doing that. He’s being very up front about the fact of his being male, even though he is deliberately and consciously “male” as opposed to a man. He’s not taking the liberty of using lower case letters, even though he works hard to be profeminist and an ally to women.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 8:05 pm
  256. Heart: Exactly.

    Lyssa (whose post I didn’t read until later) and I both presented diferent coping strategies with different political meanings. And, ironically, the one that gives women the least information to protect themselves is the one that is privileged.

    I swore that I’d never make t-shirts for my magazine, I mean, does anyone ever buy those things, but if I did, I’d make them say “Potential R%#@&*” — I’d have to credit someone at Genderberg for the idea though. Unfortunately, maybe males could even co-opt that message and make it amusing, trendy, exciting, we’re tricky like that. :(

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 8:06 pm
  257. Huh. Very interesting, all of it.

    Lyssa, you are welcome here as far as I’m concerned. :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 8:10 pm
  258. Lyssa, you mean what would …

    Sorry. I meant Rich’s purpose. Men do all of those things. I know that.

    Men on the internet in the context of women’s spaces can be hobbits is tricksy.

    That’s why I am honest. The fact that I am a transwoman is as relevant as being male in discussing gender, etc. This way, I don’t get lumped in with men who do those things by default.

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 8:12 pm
  259. hang on – both on and offline I get called “v”. It’s short for my nickname which also gets mistaken for a mans name. It never occurred to me that any other women might be intimidated or suspicious of me because of it. I like it partly because it keeps me a little bit anonymous, and I want to keep anonymity atm, from family etc, although I am moving slowly away from that. But now I’m in a bind – I feel like I need my anonymity in order to write honestly about myself, but at the same time I may be making other women uncomfortable. What’s the answer to this, I put up a photo or something?

    Thing is – if I was a guy and I wanted to get into womens space online, i wouldnt have an ambiguous name, I’d go with Claire, or Rachel, or something.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 8:16 pm
  260. “That’s why I am honest. The fact that I am a transwoman is as relevant as being male in discussing gender, etc. This way, I don’t get lumped in with men who do those things by default.”

    This is not honesty. It’s conditional honesty: “accept me and anyone trans-identified as safe and not like THEM, those evil-by-default people, or I’ll call you out, guns blazing, as my oppressor.” Which you initially did here.

    When you say you want to make yourself less intimidating, it’s for your own benefit, putting your needs and desires before that of women. That’s not feminist. Unless, of course, you think that your womanhood counts before everyone else’s.

    Also, what you just said does not make this a safe place for me, either. I certainly endeavor not to do things by default.

    Posted by Rich | January 5, 2007, 8:21 pm
  261. Yeah, v, thinking like this is new to me, too. I guess “Heart” could be a man’s name, for that matter. The thing is, it’s easy to find out that you are a woman– just click on the link! And you would say straight up, I am pretty sure, early in any discussion that yuo are a woman. People who aren’t trying to hide anything, don’t try to hide anything! But there are a LOT of people on Twisty’s blog that I can’t tell whether they are men and women and they seem to want to keep it that way.

    One person over there in a thread today said something like, “What does it matter if I am a man? I could transition today and identify as a woman.” He was making a joke, but he also was making a point. And all of that figures into this discussion. Someone can come onto the internet, present over at Attention/Lab or other venues as a transwoman, and wa-la, instant support and protection from the violent radical feminist hordes of bigots, haters, and -phobes. All sorts of progressives will immediately have these persons’ backs against… lesbian separatists. Radical feminists. Dianics (a woman-born-woman only goddess religion). Woman-centered women. Woman only organizations. That’s not really even an exaggeration. I’ve seen that happen over and over again.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 8:22 pm
  262. Personally, I find it difficult to deal with seeing the word ‘rape’ when i’m out and about. not on feminist blogs, because obviously it’s one of the things we’re concerned with. I would hate to see anyone wearing a ‘PR’ shirt.

    There was an awful program here a while ago, I think it was called ‘nathan barley’, it was supposed to be a comedy taking the piss out of young media types. Anyway – they all worked at this magazine and the title of it was “sugaRAPE”. Exactly like that. And it triggered me, seeing it on screen, on a huge poster, but it was all done as part of the joke, i mean it was supposed to be a blow against political correctness. But it actually made me feel sick.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 8:23 pm
  263. Dang, I think I need to get some lunch. I typed in the name of your blog at first, v, instead of your name!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 8:23 pm
  264. …I put up a photo or something?

    I have done this…usually with a link to my math dept. webpage. I feel the onus is on me to demonstrate who I am when in women’s spaces.

    I can see the need for anonymity that you have, v. I’m still nervous about expressing myself online for many reasons. Mostly, I try to give women as much info as I think is safe and let them decide. My approach is a compromise.

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 8:25 pm
  265. Yeah, I agree, v. The word “rape” is really triggering to me, too, even when it’s part of a feminist action. Really, the only place I want to see that word is on feminist blogs or in feminist writing/work. Or in news stories, of course. Otherwise, it brings up way too many things.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 8:25 pm
  266. Someone can come onto the internet, present over at Attention/Lab or other venues as a transwoman, and wa-la, instant support and protection from the violent radical feminist hordes of bigots, haters, and -phobes

    Had this really happened? My experience (elsewhere) has been the opposite. Announcing oneself as a transwoman has RARELY gotten me anything positive!

    Posted by lyssa | January 5, 2007, 8:29 pm
  267. I hope Pony comes back into this discussion. I am trying to make sentences properly, and I didn’t intend to make her leave. I don’t have any way of contacting her but if you do, Heart, then please pass on my apology for being shirty. I was actually feeling shirty with Rich and not Pony but intention is irrelevant when someone is hurt. And I think I’ve got over my mild annoyance at Rich too :)

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 8:46 pm
  268. V no harm done. I really was saying I was not online, but also signaling end of derailment, did not want to derail the thread further. Maybe we can discuss that issue some other time, other place. It’s not about me. Really.

    Posted by Pony | January 5, 2007, 10:57 pm
  269. Cool. Sorry for being a numpty.

    Posted by v | January 5, 2007, 11:04 pm
  270. “numpty.” :D

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 11:09 pm
  271. Never mind, not worth it. Sorry, I’ve deleted it! It was pretty much off topic anyway.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 5, 2007, 11:25 pm
  272. I think the regs over at IBTP know who is a man. They are regulars and id themselves in casual ways, to do with fatherhood or something. But when they don’t it’s not hard. I suspected a couple and called it there. I suspected Rich was a man, when I first met Rich. But I wasn’t going to ask. It’s the cohones.

    Posted by Pony | January 6, 2007, 12:02 am
  273. “I would hate to see anyone wearing a ‘PR’ shirt.”

    OK, noted. I think the idea behind it, just to explain, is that all the pro-feminist messages out there basically say, similar to when transwomen act like they aren’t male, “I’m great, I’m not like *those* guys, love me, fuck me, worship me, you better let me into the clubhouse or you’re just proving that you deserve patriarchy, if you can’t tell the difference between me and them.”

    For example, there’s a shirt worn by many (including that guy Pallindrome, a more private example that Heart will understand), that goes “Men of Quality Respect Women’s Equality” or something like that. Well, that’s the ethic that organizations like Men Can Stop Rape are using: you don’t respect women because it’s a bloody obvious thing to do, but because you want to be a Real Man and now, unlike yesterday, Real Men respect women, don’t rape, etc., and unlike those bad fake men who do rape, you get to be a Real Man for your trouble of “behaving yourself.” And Michael Kimmel and all the pro-feminists out there sign off on that for paychecks. (There’s also a racial component to this in that part of the belief, often, usually, created and signed off on by white men, is that black men have had their masculinity damaged and they need to have it restored in order to match white men in being men, but that’s another thread.)

    “Potential R.” is the one message, perhaps the only possible message, that doesn’t work on that paradigm. It doesn’t say, “I’m great.” It says, “I’m a threat, you don’t know me, and even if you think you do I’m male and in a patriarchy that means something.”

    It’s not a perfect idea. If a man is big, alpha-male type material, good looking, or always wears the shirt when accompanied by a female it’s obvious he’s fucking, then yeah, even that message can become a point of vanity.

    Also, as you say, it would probably be triggering to many women. OTOH, a lot of women, taught only to fear strangers in dark alleys, might see it as a wake-up call, too. As I said before: look how easily being suspicious of other males comes to male transwomen, how that’s like breathing to them, and yet how many female women are afraid of feminism, completely terrified of it, lest they fall into man-hating?

    Something else to consider about lower case print: remember when Ms. Magazine (FMA) put out the “This is what a feminist looks like” shirts? Well, there was also a radical feminist shirt, except the “radical feminist” was written out in dainty cursive, and it was on a pink, and only pink, “babydoll” shirt that only women with a very specific body type could wear. Wouldn’t want that message to ever be, in any circumstance, intimidating, right?

    Posted by Rich | January 7, 2007, 12:58 pm
  274. Hi Rich,

    Years and years ago I used to have a T-shirt that said “The Future Is Female”.

    A guy could wear that without seeming to be intimidating.

    Maybe the back could read “Parthenogenisis Now!”
    :-)

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 7, 2007, 5:11 pm
  275. “A guy could wear that without seeming to be intimidating.”

    Yeah, I’ll probably be able to wear it into Michfest, myself, in another 10 years…
    :(

    Posted by Rich | January 7, 2007, 5:26 pm
  276. Hi Pony,

    Yeah, that’s horrifying, eh? :-(

    The parthenogenisis that I was referring to is the 1970′s utopian separatist fantasy of women living in all-female colonies that reproduce through spontaneous ovum self-fertilization. The offspring are necessarily all female, and the process itself is entirely organic, free of any technology whatsoever.

    These days, fantasies are running towards robot and monster wars, violent conquests, etc. Well, it’s something for the boys to identify with, eh, and that’s the whole purpose of “civilization”.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 7, 2007, 7:37 pm
  277. There is indeed that aspect, and many ‘independent feminists’ who go along with it.

    Posted by Pony | January 7, 2007, 7:42 pm
  278. I strongly support transgender rights yet I also strongly feel that transgender is not the same as born female or born male, and maybe sometimes transwomen’s inclusion in women-only spaces is not appropriate. I’m stuck in the position of wanting to support transwomen/ transmen yet knowing that some individual transwomen (like my ex) use their trans status to pass the buck on oppressing women. It’s really confusing. I’m ticked about the way my ex treated me and got away with it, using “I’m so oppressed! How could you accuse me of that!” For her, it’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    How does a radical feminist support the rights of a transwoman who dresses like a stripper, expects her partner to not mind her stereotyped portrayal/ expectations of women, and exploits/abuses her younger and less economically priviledged partner? Holy confusing, batman. I want her to work out her issues and continue with SRS if that’s what she really needs, but honestly I wonder if there isn’t a huge secondary gain from the ‘support network’ of trans groups, regardless of gender expression? Come out as transgendered, and you will be instantly qualified (by at least a core group). BUT, if you have been socialized to be a sexist, abusive man, you’re going to be a sexist, abusive transwoman/ trans-lesbian. We all have the right to interpret our own gender, but when our interpretation puts women in a skewed position, that’s not OK.

    Another transgendered friend that I have wants to tell me that her experiences related to desiring or not desiring children are just the same as mine. Well, her experiences may be different from a heterosexual, birth-gendered male, but they don’t automatically equal or negate mine. Again, if you have been socialized to believe that your opinions are worth more than women’s opinions whilst growing up, you’ll probably believe that your opinions are worth more than other women’s opinions after transition.

    I’m not trying to be offensive; I’m trying to ask or discuss how a woman can support transgendered rights while maintaining integrity because, darn it, if a person grows up with male privilege they may make assumptions about women that just aren’t acceptable.

    Posted by Harpy | January 8, 2007, 3:15 am
  279. Good post, Harpy.

    Posted by Pramiti | January 8, 2007, 3:34 am
  280. Rock on, Harpy.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 3:53 am
  281. Harpy says: “I’m trying to ask or discuss how a woman can support transgendered rights while maintaining integrity…”

    Short answer? If you’re a radical feminist, you can’t.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 8, 2007, 4:42 am
  282. Shouldn’t our decisions be responses to an individual’s behavior, not on our ideas about an entire group?

    For example, I have no problem sharing a restroom with “transwomen” as a group. I have a problem sharing a restroom with a few known transwomen that I don’t believe really respect women and ‘get it’. These individuals are creeps that I don’t want to be alone with.

    Posted by Harpy | January 8, 2007, 5:35 pm
  283. I hear you, Harpy, and that’s why I don’t really participate in any of these discussions about whether I would share bathrooms with a transwoman and so on. I share bathrooms with transwomen regularly because I work in downtown Seattle and regularly use a public restroom on the third floor of the building I work in. I also share those same bathrooms with nonconforming lesbian women. Seattle is second only to San Francisco as far as numbers of lesbians and I’m betting transpeople as well, but I don’t know about that latter. Members of *both groups* (and see, THIS is why this discussion always is so aggravating!) usually feel some anxiety in using the women’s restroom because they don’t know how some of the women in there are going to react. Hence, I usually go out of my way to be warm and friendly and to smile at them, so they aren’t afraid and know I’m a friend. One morning a very tall transwoman of color came into the bathroom, and I felt like crying she seemed so scared and basically *ran* into the stall to use the bathroom, then booked out, washed her hands without looking at *anybody* and basically just about ran out. I tried to catch her eye so she knew I was her friend, but she wasn’t taking any chances and I didn’t blame her.

    These kinds of situations I think we all experience, or, those of us regularly in urban areas anyway. The people I don’t want to be around in a bathroom are the people who use them intending their use of the bathroom to be a throw-down, intending to put women in our place, or to prove some point, behaving like jackasses or whatever, and I’ve only experienced anything like that once. But that’s also the main reason for all of the issues with Michfest. Many wimmin I deeply respect and admire disagree with me on this, and because I am a comparative newcomer to the Festival community, I will and do defer to their judgments on these issues, but from what I have seen, nobody at the Festival paid attention to whether some of the women who came to Fest over the years might have been transwomen, and the same for all sorts of primarily lesbian venues over the years. That’s what I meant when I said transwomen have always been among us– they have been. The problem has been a few creeps, but those few have often caused a LOT of problems for women. When it began to be apparent they were on a mission to cause problems, that was really their goal, and to gather as many others as they could to aid them in that effort, as Amy described so well in her post, that’s when women said *enough*.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 5:51 pm
  284. Right, Heart. I don’t doubt that there have always been “transwomen” (however that is defined and expressed) at Michigan, and other women’s venues. What I object to is the DEMAND that the official policy change, i.e., that Michigan (or any women’s/lesbian group) take a public “inclusive” stand against their own wishes and those of their constituents. I also object, as I said in my post, to the ideology of SOME trans activists that there can be no line drawn WRT “gender”–because that makes it impossible for women to define our own organizations in the way that makes sense to us, i.e., keeping out MEN. It’s becoming clearer to me that my problem is not with transwomen PER SE, but with a movement that refuses to acknowledge the oppression of women and our need for autonomous spaces to fight that–and that demonizes us when we stand up for ourselves.

    I also want to say that I think transsexual surgery and hormone treatments are a bad strategy for liberation–just as weight loss surgery, labiaplasty, breast implants, lip plumping, skin bleaching, eyelid “revision” etc. etc., aren’t going to end sexism/racism and get women free. So if surgery etc is considered a “transgender right” then no, I don’t support that, and I don’t think supporting it is compatible with feminism. (This is going back to Harpy’s previous comment, as I’m realizing my initial response might have seemed cryptic and curt.) I do, of course, support the same rights for transgender people that I support for everyone else–the right to bodily integrity, to a life of dignity, to food, shelter, clothing, meaningful work, loving relationships, and a voice in society. So to the extent that those are “transgender rights”–i.e., human rights–I don’t think supporting them is incompatible with feminism, at all. In fact it ought to be a big part of what feminism is about.

    The bathroom thing is a nonissue, to me. I think the idea put forward in “Toilet Training” about having separate single bathrooms–the way a lot of “handicapped” restrooms are currently set up–is an excellent solution, and as many others have said, would be more convenient for a whole host of folks–people with disabilities, parents with small kids, people who need to change clothes, etc. etc. Lesbians are CONSTANTLY being misread in bathrooms (and elsewhere), and while it’s upsetting and angering to some of us, BECAUSE we are women we ALSO understand the reaction and the very real fear of violence that it is based on. Until such time as public bathrooms are set up to make this issue disappear, I don’t think it’s such a burden to expect people to talk to each other–women who aren’t sure about someone can speak to them, to assess what’s actually going on, rather than freaking out without checking things out. And there are lots of things that transwomen can (and probably do) do to defuse the situation and assure women in restrooms that they are friendly and not a threat.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 8, 2007, 6:12 pm
  285. Thinking more about this, what actually happened was, people who had no clue what the situation was, what was going down, or what they were seeing, even, not transwomen, other people who fancy themselves to be “queer” and “progressive” and so on, stepped in to rescue the creeps from the evil wicked Michfest community, radical feminist/lesbian community, and so we’ve got the situation we have now, clueless people on an anti-radfem/anti-lesbian-feminist tear who have no real idea even what the issue are, yet don’t mind giving us all pieces of their mind they clearly can’t afford to lose, and this is particularly true of people like Ampersand. Someone more clueless about these issues would be hard to find, and yet he gleefully jumps in whenever he gets the chance to demonize those of us who really do know what’s going on. Newcomers to the issues hear the way we are demonized, believe it, and never really do read what’s true about anything. It’s disturbing. But we’ll turn it around, I guarantee. I know it.

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | January 8, 2007, 6:14 pm
  286. Yeah, Heart, we cross posted, but I have noticed this dynamic –new people coming into this discussion are going “oh, the bad radfems are being so mean! They must be wrong!” (I think in response to what happened at Twisty’s.) They have no idea of the whole history of this, or why some of us are so shell shocked (sorry for the military metaphor). For example, see nectarine’s recent post. I think, and hope, the work that’s being done here, and also what I’ve written, also Bea, V, and others, who are writing and discussing calmly, thoughtfully, and compassionately, will in the end prevail over those who have no real arguments but rely on emotional manipulation to make their empty points.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 8, 2007, 6:25 pm
  287. Yeah, Amy. The thing is, even that discussion about bathrooms and transwomen and difficulties around use of the bathroom: that right there is an erasure. It evidences no understanding of the fact that (1) this is not a transperson issue only, this has ALWAYS been a gender-nonconforming WOMAN issue, and so gender nonconforming women are highly exercised in the ups and downs, ins and outs, and yet it’s as though they don’t exist and never have, when they ALWAYS have, argh; (2) as women, we know when we’re safe and not safe. There, we are the experts. So long as we remain an oppressed group, we are the ones to decide who is going to share our bathroom/showering/bathing, other vulnerable spaces.

    What’s happening now is, there are those who are agitating for males to be at the Festival, meaning nontransitioned, male-bodied people who simply, for a day, a week, a month, “identify” as a woman or some variation of “gender queer” and figure on that basis, the Festival should welcome them. These are people whose belief it is that Michfest womyn are “oppressors” with “nontrans privilege.” Very telling, too– can any of us envision parading into a male-only conference or retreat and castigating all of the men as our “oppressors.” Hell no. We would not be safe. We would be in grave danger and everybody knows it, because, in fact, men ARE our oppressors. There are no such concerns for those who are male-bodied who want to come onto the land. They know they will be safe– and they will be. It’s we who will not be safe, as women, because women remain an oppressed group vis a vis males. There are men who, like Amp, say they “never identified as any gender,” and take the highly privileged privileged privileged position that they “don’t have to” identify in some way. But gender isn’t between the ears, gender is what is *done* to us from the time we are born. It’s not something we “choose,” it’s something that is inescapable for those of us born women. Anyway, men who spout off about not “identifying as any gender,” could easily easily, I believe, justify going to the Festival because they are as happy to “identify” as women as to “identify” as men and they figure attending is “deconstructing” gender. When in fact, Amp is a het man who would be attending Festival as a full bodied het man, I don’t care what his “identity” in his head is, it’s his *treatment* in the world from the day he was born that has made him a man. Anyway– it’s this kind of person who would destroy the Festival and it’s this kind of person to whom lesbian womyn, who created the Festival, whose Festival it is — and there’s none like it on th face of the earth — are saying no, we’re not having het men waltzing onto the land because they’re “identifying” as women today or because they fancy themselves to be “transcending” or “deconstructing” gender. Because *those are HET MEN* and they put women and girls on the land *at risk*,” number one, number two, as wimmin, *most of us do not feel safe around het men.* It’s creepy because the responses to this from this contingent are always some variation of “get over it.” Just like men have always been telling women they don’t give a shit if we’re scared of them, or why we are, that’s our problem and we should get over it.

    Back to bathrooms, for that matter, I’ve shared women’s bathrooms with men before who were caring for babies and needed to change their diapers. I don’t care about that; I totally get that.

    See that’s the thing: as women, we *do* know when we are safe and when we aren’t. And we also ARE safe to other people in a way men are not. We all know this.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 6:44 pm
  288. “Anyway, men who spout off about not “identifying as any gender,”

    Well, point of fact, transwomen say the same damn thing, some in this very thread.

    Also, I’m not sure the “full bodied” remarks are useful, because in one sense, they are transphobic (aka, transwomen are less than, um, bodied?), yet that’s the exact kind of transphobia that most transpeople can’t get enough of, because it proves that the surgery accomplished something. Surgery is a big deal and I’m not going to diminish the ramifications of it, but on the other hand, it’s also unneccessary to put males into completely separate bins, none having anything to do with any other, in order to make the argument that you’re making, because for a variety of reasons it tends to undercut that very argument. (Plus, I find it personally annoying, although that’s not a very compelling reason for you to stop, I realize!)

    Instead, I’d put the onus on males, all of them: the first thing that would happen if Michfest opened up to trans-whatevers, those whatevers would start discriminating against other males, calling them not woman enough, because if anyone could get in (which is what young female feminists seem to be arguing for, not transwomen), then getting in wouldn’t be much of an achievement.

    The ultimate passing contest would no longer exist. And they’d lament that.

    Even the ones who don’t go to fest but pop in on the message board (intended for female real-life fest-goers or those interested, only), whenever Lynne rapes another teenage girl, in order to pick up brownie points for being “good,” by way of comparison, would lament that. Even they’d lose something too.

    So the whole debate is pointless, not because there’s some slippery slope between good transwomen, salt of the earth types, and evil, lacivious “het men,” but because all are *equally* male in this patriarchy.

    I mean, jesus, if those male bloggers *actually believed* transwomen to be women, would they give a flying fuck about them?

    Posted by Rich | January 8, 2007, 7:12 pm
  289. I mean, geez. If anybody wonders whether women are safe in the presence of het men, they should read The Truth About Men blogpost here, where all of those liberal progressive harmless-looking dudes responded to a Craig’s List ad supposedly placed by a woman seeking an sm encounter. I don’t know about anybody else, but when I’m on wimmin’s land, I don’t want to encounter guys like this, however progressive or even “queer” they appear to be. The thing is, you can’t tell by looking at a man, what he’s thinking or what kind of man he is. He might be the kind of guy who attempted to post that horrifying comment I posted here, or some of the horrifying comments in my Peanut Gallery post. The reason for wimmin’s land is, wimmin need spaces where we don’t even think about that kind of thing, don’t have to, don’t have to give it any consideration at all. Spaces like that are healing and empowering for us.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 7:14 pm
  290. Mostly I agree with you, Rich, but I do think there are distinctions to be made; i.e., I think het men can be expected to be dangerous to women in ways gay men are not, which is a reason to modify “males” or “men” with “het” when discussing this. (Then again, gay men, by the traditional definition, are definitely not clamoring to go to Michfest.)

    I also don’t think the distinction I made was between “salt of the earth” type transwomen or “good transwomen” and “evil het men.” I don’t think this is about “good” and “bad” people in some sort of moral sense– that that is even the issue. The issue for wimmin is NOT males– any kind of males. The issue for wimmin is wanting and needing our own spaces. One reason for that is, het men *are*, in fact, a danger to us. Which doesn’t mean all women are safe, and which doesn’t mean some men or some transwomen aren’t safe. It means that as wimmin, womyn’s land has been safe in a way no other space has been outside of womyn’s land, even though transwomen have been part of it, including “full bodied” transwomen, in all likelihood. What I mean there, of course, is “male bodied.” I am really not that concerned about males at all wrt to Michfest. I’m concerned about the safety of women and girls, and about what is best for us.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 7:28 pm
  291. I wonder why gay men (by the traditional definition) never want to go to Michfest.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 7:58 pm
  292. I wasn’t making the point about Lynne; I think a whole host of people use Lynne’s vices to gain access to women only space, a new vision of a trans-inclusive women only space (your petition), and even access to *you*, personally. That’s how all males benefit from rape culture. I stand to benefit from Lynne’s behavior no matter what I do, no matter how sick I find it.

    To your post above that, though:

    I get all that (well, as much as I can reasonably hope to, at any rate): I’m speaking of very specific language patterns you use.

    “What I mean there, of course, is “male bodied.””

    All males are male bodied.

    Yeah, a male who was castrated in a detention camp in Serbia is a man and a reasonably well off male in America who pays a fuckton of money to another male in a surgery center to make him into a woman is a woman, but both are males and are equally male bodied.

    You wouldn’t go up to a war crime victim and call him not-male bodied, just as you wouldn’t go up to a female victim of FGM and call her not-female bodied. Same goes for females with hysterectomies or masectomies. Not just because it wouldn’t be polite because of their “identity,” but because it would be absurd and contrary to fact. Just because a transwoman claims she’d be better off dead than read as man (thank you, I’m here all day), or male, doesn’t mean you have to shy away from that. Because when you do shy away from that you’re falling into essentialism: a penis, not just according to patriarchy but now to feminism as well, makes a male but there’s no organ that could possibly make a person authentically female?

    (“besides a brain,” I know, yukyuk :P)

    Posted by Rich | January 8, 2007, 8:00 pm
  293. Hi Heart,

    I am concerned about the *ongoing* safety of women and girls. To me, that obviously requires that female-born-females (why do I have to keep using that phrase to make the meaning clear?) must *never* have our spaces encroached upon by having non-FBF’s allowed to enter them, once that space has been defined.

    It also means that those spaces must not be encroached upon ideologically by including MTF’s in the category of “women”.

    Allowing that ideological encroachment means that I can never trust another FBF’s assurance that I can relax in a so-called “women’s” space.

    The safety and survival of the Female on this planet rests, ultimately, not upon sparing the feelings of any particular “human” (trying not to be incendiary …), nor upon hair-splitting conceptual classifications, but upon the raising of the FemaleSurvival energy within the human female population by our intentionally disallowing our collective female consciousness and communication to be interrupted by non-females.

    I know that your blog is not a place for that to happen.

    But it may be a place where that notion may be put out there, and be seen by other females as having higher priority to at least one female, than are the fine points of whether a non-FBF is to be accepted as a “woman”.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 8, 2007, 8:18 pm
  294. I don’t really disagree with you, Rich, that’s just not the discussion I wanted to have when I was making my comment (don’t get me wrong, I think the point you’re making is interesting and is worth talking about, just that’s not what I was concerned about in the comment you’re responding to. )I wanted to say that people on the land in full possession of penises and testicles are a problem. That is true even as concerns female-bodied persons who have transitioned and now have penises, you know? While I am more sympathetic to their presence on the land than to males’ presence on the land, I still don’t think they belong there, because Michfest is only for wimmin, and they aren’t wimmin any more, don’t want to be. It seems like you want to talk about what a male body is, and want to get at the words I’m using, okay, I see that, but that really isn’t what I was concerned with in my comment. As Michfest wimmin, we have been straight up told that we should just get over the problems we have with, for example, seeing people walking around at the festival with penises, including het males, with male genitalia, but also transitioned females with male genitalia. That is a problem. It’s not the penises and genitalia qua penises and genitalia that are the problem, it’s what the people with penises and genitalia have done in the world, including to us, that is the problem, it’s what’s happened to us on their account. This is not some theoretical, hypothetical thing for us. In the world, people with penises and male genitals sexually assault and abuse and exploit women in gigantic numbers. The reverse is not true. And that is one of many reasons women need woman-only spaces. This is a problem even though in the past there likely were transwomen at Fest who came with male genitalia intact and so far as any of us could discern, it wasn’t a problem. The issue is respect for the sensibilities of women, you know? Even for the sensibilities of women who *are* essentialists. I think that women who are raving essentialists, heh heh, still have every right to demand woman-only space and to have that space respected. This is going to be true so long as it is people with penises and testes who, in gigantic numbers, are sexually abusing and assaulting women and girls in the world. To insist women suspend our fears and feelings of mistrust or concern because someone thinks what should be most important is their own agenda or strategy to transgress or transcend gender, which is what it amounts to, is to tell women our legitimate fears and concerns, born of our lived experiences, aren’t as important as the legitimate fears and concerns of males or men. And that’s what I was talking about.

    I mean, even just on a practical level (and that’s what I mean, this is not theoretical or abstract, to me, to other women). I brought my 8-year-old daughter to Michigan last year. She LOVED it, as did the three teenage daughters I brought along. They have brothers, they move in the world around men and boys, but they LOVED and NEED Michigan. All year, all their lives, I have to be careful, as a good mother, to teach my children about the dangers of men they do not know, and yet, what, at Michigan, I am supposed to encourage them to be just fine, even nude in the showers, with strangers, male-bodied persons, with penises, or female-bodied persons, for that matter, with penises? What sense does it make what I am communicating there, i.e., “You have to beware of men you don’t know, darlins, for these reasons, this is what they do sometimes,” but at Fest, never mind, just chill with naked strangers in full possession of penises, no problem? It makes no sense. More than that, it is very unsafe, for little girls and teenage girls and women as well, for that matter, to communicate to them that they really are safe in the presence of strangers with male bodies. Women aren’t safe around them as they are around females who are strangers. There is no getting around that, despite any exceptions anyone might raise.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 8:33 pm
  295. As to the petition, just to be clear, the petition was in defense of woman-born-woman only space. In other words, in that petition, transwomen and women born women agree to uphold one another’s need for spaces set aside for our own affinity groups. The petition does not advocate for a trans-inclusive Michigan– that wasn’t what it was about. It is confusing, because it was created alongside an article which explained the context, and I didn’t ultimately publish the article, but that would have gone a long way in clarifying the intent of the petition. I still intend to get the article published (in paper) so I haven’t put it up on the net anywhere. Of course, I could write a different article and explain it, but that’s another thing I have to write…

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 8:36 pm
  296. Mary Sunshine: I am concerned about the *ongoing* safety of women and girls. To me, that obviously requires that female-born-females (why do I have to keep using that phrase to make the meaning clear?) must *never* have our spaces encroached upon by having non-FBF’s allowed to enter them, once that space has been defined.

    It also means that those spaces must not be encroached upon ideologically by including MTF’s in the category of “women”.

    Allowing that ideological encroachment means that I can never trust another FBF’s assurance that I can relax in a so-called “women’s” space.

    Exactly. I agree.

    The safety and survival of the Female on this planet rests, ultimately, not upon sparing the feelings of any particular “human” (trying not to be incendiary …), nor upon hair-splitting conceptual classifications, but upon the raising of the FemaleSurvival energy within the human female population by our intentionally disallowing our collective female consciousness and communication to be interrupted by non-females.

    I know that your blog is not a place for that to happen.

    Well, it might be a place it can happen somewhat, you know? Maybe it can happen.

    But it may be a place where that notion may be put out there, and be seen by other females as having higher priority to at least one female, than are the fine points of whether a non-FBF is to be accepted as a “woman”.

    Exactly. When the fine points of whether a non-FBF, as you say, should be accepted as women, become of central concern, then the sensibilities of women-born-women once again matter less than the sensibilities of the male born. It’s up to us to get over ourselves and to defer to what those born male expect us to defer to. Same old same old. Same as it ever was.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 8:42 pm
  297. Mary Sunshine, I apologize for my interruptions; I know my criticism of Heart’s terminology is hardly a pressing issue, and this should be closer to the kind of space you envision.

    Neverthless, Heart, I’m not sure what you gain by throwing “male bodied” around as if it’s the best or only way to describe what it is you want to convey, when “male bodied” means such disparate things to various people under their various politics. As such, I’m only curious why you seemed so damned attached to conveying it thusly, especially since you’ve admitted that you feel guilty for ever thinking of transwomen as male, have point blank told a transwoman in this thread that she’s not male, etc. and etc. — all taken together it seems like a can of worms that you could avoid by using different, more specific, speech.

    But really, that’s the last from me on that.

    Posted by Rich | January 8, 2007, 9:22 pm
  298. I’m using the term “male bodied” mostly because I think it is a term most reading understand, despite the politicking and obfuscations around the term. When I use it, I mean those born male, those with male genitalia, and also those born female who are transmen, who now have male-genitalia. I don’t really have a problem, for example, with non-transitioned transmen on the land (although others I respect do, if they identify not as women but as men or transmen.) My problem is with those who are male bodied on the land, but I include in that male-bodied persons who have transitioned. Although they have had sexual reassignment surgery, I agree with you that they are still factually male (see, I do like that term. :)) But it still feels wrong to describe post-op transwomen as male. It may feel wrong to me because I am a sappy mellow weenie and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you’re right; bottom line, though, I think I’ve made myself pretty clear as to why I believe woman-only space is for those of us who were born female.

    I don’t think I said I felt guilty for ever thinking of transwomen as male. I said it felt wrong to me to describe transwomen as male, which is different.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 9:33 pm
  299. Those who have lied about, demonized, or attacked radical feminists/lesbian separatists, or women, in the past are not going to have posts to this thread approved. Those interested in links to other discussions of this issue can easily find them via a google search. This thread is not going to be diverted, destroyed, or turned into a trainwreck as I already stated in my original post.

    Thanks.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 8, 2007, 9:49 pm
  300. Rich: I agree with you on the male issue. IMHO, males are males. Full stop. However–three problems:
    1) If one is interested in finding some kind of compromise on the Michigan festival with the trans movement, one way to that seems to me to accept transwomen who are post-surgery. This may not be acceptable to the trans movement as an official policy (not to mention to many festies and advocates for women-only space), but in the interests of having the protests go away it is a compromise that I, personally, would consider. Not because I think transwomen aren’t males. I agree with you that they ARE males. But because I want this shit to END.
    2) Going back to an argument Char made aeons ago–transwomen DO become women insofar as, posttransition, they are TREATED as women by the culture. Because, if we’re saying that women are women as a result of our class position and our treatment (which result from our birth sex)–as opposed to saying, as many women, some lesbians, and some transpeople do, that “woman” is something essential to some individuals–then other people who are positioned similarly and have similar experiences (though not identical experiences, obviously, having not had girlhoods and having perhaps experienced varying portions of adulthood as males and men) also are, to that extent, women.
    3) If we accept that males ARE males, full stop, then we must accept that females ARE females, full stop–and how do we then exclude a postop transMAN from Michigan? Because I’m with Heart–I’d much rather share women’s space with a postop transwoman who is trying hard to fit into women’s culture than with a postop (or preop, for that matter) transMAN who has adopted the worst parts of masculinity in order to be “authentic.”

    So while I appreciate your emphasis on the POV that surgery does not change biological sex–an opinion I agree with–I think for the purposes of resolving this conflict, we have to consider the issue as more complex than that.

    Heart: People like Amp, the Seattle Craigslist guys, etc.–in other words, MEN who live as men for their entire lives except when they are trying to access our spaces–are EXACTLY the people I want to keep out of women’s space too, and that’s what I was referring to in my post when I said the trans movement’s demands of “no boundaries, everybody let in,” if accepted, would make it impossible for us to protect women’s and girls’ safety and autonomy in women’s spaces.

    Thanks again for your moderation of this discussion. It is wonderful to be able to talk about these issues calmly and thoughtfully without getting shat on.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 9, 2007, 12:02 am
  301. “Actually, somewhere, perhaps my internal compass that children like me resorted to when our external worlds were chaotic, told me everyone was good and kind until proven otherwise. Each time it was proven that people were/are not kind, it was a bigger shock than the time before, because there is always a naive belief on my part that it cannot possibly be how it actually is. The first time I read Blanche Dubois (a rape victim driven to insanity) line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” I cried violently without knowing why.”

    I realize this is OT now, but couldn’t find another way to tell chasingmoksha that I am touched by her statement. I hadn’t seen that interpretation of Blanche Dubois before. I’m also continually in trouble because I give people more than the benefit of a doubt and get screwed. That’s partly why I am reading and responding to this thread.
    —————————————————–

    “I don’t think I said I felt guilty for ever thinking of transwomen as male. I said it felt wrong to me to describe transwomen as male, which is different.”

    Some time ago, I was discussing this matter with a dear friend, who is struggling with whether he should transition. He asked me what he’d be after he transitioned, and I thought a while, and replied that he would be a male woman, but not a man. I think that “male” and “female” refers to chromosome/birth status but “man” or “woman” refers to how a person lives/ expresses.

    With that statement in mind, is a trans person more “man” or “woman” or more ‘worthy’ of inclusion in man- or woman-only spaces based on whether or not s/he passes? My ex certainly didn’t pass, and I’m not sure she wanted to. Another transgendered friend is constantly read as a man, but argues that she is completely a woman, and makes threatening declarations against rapists. I don’t feel she has a woman’s experience–she’s not likely to be raped if others think she’s a man. Therefore, her declarations tick me off. I have been raped, I am a small woman, and her situation is not the same as mine.

    It’s all about the respect, folks. Yes, transpeople experience oppression and hatred. Yes, they deserve to live their lives in a satisfying manner. No, the vulnerabilities of a large, non-passing transwoman are not the same as those of a small woman. They may be MORE acute at times–i.e., more likely to experience homophobic/transphobic violence than me, a somewhat feminine woman–but they are not the SAME.

    Posted by Harpy | January 9, 2007, 12:02 am
  302. Heart I am just reading, nodding, learning. And want to thank you for this, and all the posters. I want to thank Rich, who has thrown out things that hit my gut YES but I had not articulated it, nor can I.

    So much here. So much.

    Thank you Mary, Amy, Amy’s Brain today, yesterday and …

    Everyone.

    Posted by Pony | January 9, 2007, 12:40 am
  303. Yeah, pony– there’s lots of great stuff in this thread. Really, really good. Rich has some extremely important things to say. Transwomen really are a male issue, and Rich articulates the nuts and bolts of that really well.

    Melissa, you were on the Ms boards? Who were you? You should e-mail me. :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2007, 4:26 am
  304. Amy,

    Nothing will be “resolved” by allowing non-FBF’s into michfest. The unrelenting pressure will continue because it is, fundamentally, pressure to disallow FBFs to define our own space and to congregate together.

    FBF’s are not sitting at a bargaining table with non-FBFs. We are under no obligation whatsoever to allow any non-FBF’s into Michfest no matter what they say and no matter how long they keep saying it.

    This is a boundary-crashing situation that is happening in the patriarchy. Land is owned. The owners have made an invitation to certain people. Others are not invited.

    The continued pressure on the festival owners and attendees to include non-FBFs constitutes invasive hostility towards those women.

    No concessions whatsoever are called for.

    Previous attendance by non-FBF’s who lied to get in does *not* constitute any sort of basis for changing the original or current policies.

    A FBF who has had her body mutilated to resemble that of a male, and who herself now socially identifies as a male is not a person who should be allowed attendance at michfest. It’s a *women’s* festival, and they don’t want to be women, so how about they go to, oh, say, a *men’s* festival.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 9, 2007, 6:57 am
  305. can i ask, please – where is it that rich writes other than here? there’s no link, is it paper writing rather than online?

    Posted by v | January 9, 2007, 10:19 am
  306. Rich’s website is Adonis Mirror.
    :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2007, 12:02 pm
  307. thank you :)

    Posted by v | January 9, 2007, 12:13 pm
  308. Hey v, I didn’t see a way to contact you via your blog.

    I just wanted to say to you that I appreciate and honor your experiences, and that I value your participation and your words.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | January 9, 2007, 1:21 pm
  309. thank you uppitybiscuit, im getting there, slowly. i do resent that we are forced to ‘out’ ourselves in order to be taken seriously, in a way that others are not. it’s relevant to this discussion here, too, because although i would like to keep some womens space as wbw only, at the same time, i would never fucking dream of asking someone i suspected was a transwoman to “prove it”, and show their womanly credentials. just as, as uncomfortable as i am with people who claim to speak for “sex workers”, i dont think i could demand they state what, when and the how specifics of their own part in the “industry” before i take them seriously. i would like to make that demand but i respect women’s rights to keep that stuff private.

    however, i do think that we, as feminists, and especially as radical fems, are constantly harassed for our own credentials, even by other feminists. everyone wants to look up our skirts, as it were, before we’re ‘allowed’ to have an opinion or to speak out about anything, and it is such an unfair double standard. and when we do come ‘clean’ about our own history and experience, we’re invariably dismissed as “damaged”. and that really pisses me off. it’s the damned if we do damned if we dont thing.

    i havent put an email addy on my blog yet – i had intended to, so thanks for reminding me. and i need to echo all the thanks to heart for this space.
    in solidarity
    v

    Posted by v | January 9, 2007, 2:29 pm
  310. Heart, yeah, I was on Ms., but I doubt anyone would remember me even if I said who I was. I would email you, but I don’t seem to see an address. If you have access to mine, feel free to email me if you don’t want to post it.

    Sorry to derail; I’m following this thread with interest, and I do know at least some of the history around this issue. I’ll say this: I found the Ms. boards right around the same time a certain person was outed as having had SRS, and I went from, “I don’t get it; what’s the big deal?” to having a pretty deep understanding of the need for woman-only space, pretty quick, thanks to all of those threads.

    Posted by Melissa | January 9, 2007, 4:23 pm
  311. Mary Sunshine: I totally, completely respect and honor your uncompromising position. I have come from that position, and probably would still hold it, if it weren’t for my awareness of how this issue is tearing my community apart. I’m not talking now about the greater “queer” community, I’m talking about LESBIAN community. This issue comes up ALL THE TIME and there is so much bitterness and hurt feelings all around. It came up at a lesbian event I went to just the other night and I sat in silence listening to other women talking about how terrible it is that our society insists on people being male or female, when there’s this lovely boy in Texas or somewhere, that they saw on some documentary on PBS, who, says one of the women, “drapes clothes better than I do!” I mean, WTF, you know? What kind of cognitive dissonance, or complete lack of understanding of the relevant issues, does it take to say something like that? I’m isolated wherever I go as a radical feminist lesbian (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about) because I don’t dare broach my anti-porn, anti-prostitution, anti-SM, anti-”gender” politics for fear of being completely dismissed. And frankly, that kind of isolation and self-censorship is really, really exhausting. So, if that could end, then yes, I would be willing to compromise, not because it is demanded, or because it is necessarily even right, but because I’m TIRED and I want a place where I can be at home in my own community at least some of the time.

    That may well be a pipe dream. There may be no compromise possible, because the real demand may be that we not “exclude” anyone at all, including men, and I’m certainly not signing onto that.

    If others see other potential solutions to this problem I, for one, would love to hear about them.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | January 9, 2007, 4:41 pm
  312. Yeah, Melissa, we all got quite the laboratory on how much damage can be done when we are not allowed to define the boundaries of our own spaces, huh?

    I so hear you, Amy. The only reason I’m not completely isolated in my own beliefs is that my daughters share them, and my daughter-in-law, YAY!! This is one of the benefits of my large family. :) We can all spout off together and know we will be heard.

    But everywhere else, YEESH. I am usually far more uncompromising-sounding in my writing than I actually am in real life. Once in a while I pipe up and take the hits. Most of the time I cave. I did speak up fairly forcefully on the shuttle late one night at Fest last year. I was riding back to my tent after using the phone and it was probably the last shuttle. I was SHOT. At the end of the shuttle several women started talking loudly and animatedly about why they understand why transwomen might come to Fest. I heard myself speaking up and saying things like, “No, it is not understandable, it is very disrespectful,” and I don’t remember what else I said. But I usually have to be pretty aggravated to actually speak up in real life knowing I probably will take some hits. Although to their credit, these women were respectful and did listen to what I had to say, which was great.

    I think a lot of women who go to the Festival or other woman-only spaces or events feel guilty about it, and so they feel as though they have to make sure everybody knows they are not transphobic, they are nice people, and so on. When you engage them, sometimes they feel encouraged or supported (instead of like shit because people have been pounding on them for attending or calling them names or whatever). The fact is, gate crashing, as Mary Sunshine called it, is gate crashing. There is nothing to be sympathetic to, in that, anger is appropriate and not any-group-phobic. And I know I’m preaching to the choir here, this is just free fer nuttin. :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2007, 4:52 pm
  313. A shout out to V. I’ve been reading your blog and looked for a contact too.

    Posted by Pony | January 9, 2007, 5:54 pm
  314. v: however, i do think that we, as feminists, and especially as radical fems, are constantly harassed for our own credentials, even by other feminists. everyone wants to look up our skirts, as it were, before we’re ‘allowed’ to have an opinion or to speak out about anything, and it is such an unfair double standard. and when we do come ‘clean’ about our own history and experience, we’re invariably dismissed as “damaged”. and that really pisses me off. it’s the damned if we do damned if we dont thing.

    Ain’t that the truth, v. I’ve gotten two comments (spammed them) to my blog recently telling me that since it appears I am a lesbian, I have no right to say anything about issues related to het women.

    Omg, the irony.

    So, so, so true. People look for ANY reason to discredit us, ANY.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2007, 5:58 pm
  315. Oh, whoa, v. I see what people mean now, I went and read your blog entry for today. I am with uppity biscuit– I honor your experiences, your journey as a woman, and your courage and integrity.

    I see what you mean, too. Everybody wants to look up our skirts as radfems. It’s really risky, though, because once they get a look, they often are assholes about what they see, so we’ve stuck our necks out there only to feel a heavy boot on them. So we have to turn off comments. So we leave the blogosphere. So we decide we’re not radfems after all.

    Well, anyway, go you, v.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2007, 6:09 pm
  316. Hi Amy,

    I’ve been where you are.

    It’s like that mine cave-in that happened in Australia a year ago or so: trapped miles deep in bedrock, with a 10 cubit foot breathing space. Only, we’re not men, and there’s nobody tunneling in to find us.

    Do you know Fox? Sheila? They can talk to you about this stuff. Kya knows them, or how to get hold of them.

    We’ve been buried deep, but we’re still breathing.

    Someday Female Reality will come to light, even if it is now buried at the centre of the Earth.

    “When She Who moves, the Earth will turn over”.

    love,
    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 9, 2007, 6:31 pm
  317. So I identify myself as a heterosexual woman for those who think Heart has nothing to say to us. To me, Heart has a lot to say. All bloggers who are seriously examining this issue, you have a lot to say to me, however you identify.

    I’ve done this before, of course, my voice *as* a heterosexual woman is also dismissed and I know why. Women who are beyond child-bearing years, who are het, are invisible, and our voices are discounted on anything to do with sexuality, even by most other feminist.

    Not here.

    Posted by Pony | January 9, 2007, 8:27 pm
  318. Hey, I never saw these last posts. I love your posts, Mary Sunshine. They encourage me so much. Who are you, really? :) Rhetorical question of course, don’t answer that! But thank you for what you bring to every space you are part of, I appreciate it so much!

    Pony, my experience is, no matter what we do, for so many people, we’re damned if we do or don’t. No matter how we “identify” someone will find a way to impugn our credibility. The thing is, too, if we respond to these attacks, we find ourselves more and more tangled in the lines that held the bait that drew us in. I think it’s horrible for any woman to be put in a position in which she is defending anything or anyone, including herself, on the basis of who she loves. What woman-centered woman is going to want to say, “No, no, I’m not het!” (And end up with her butt kicked from here to the seventh level of heaven by people who will then accuse her of trashing het women.) Who wants to say, “No, no, I’m not a lesbian!” Now the accusations are that she is lesbophobic. The older I get, the more I like Adrienne Rich’s lesbian continuum, and yeah, I know all the problems and issues, but if all women were woman-centered, if all identified as lesbians, then lesbians wouldn’t be standing alone, taking the heat, with het women distancing themselves, het women wouldn’t be excoriated for being het women and sleeping with the enemy (what is a “het woman” anyway, to borrow from a great essay by CAM, “What is a White Woman Anyway?”), and the category “bisexuality” might well just go away, which I think would be a good thing. Then we could just ditch, GLBTQRSTUVWXYZ, and if you want to get a load of something, go read Amy’s post of yesterday on that topic.

    I love one of Sonia Johnson’s stories in one of her books, I think Going Out of Our Minds: The Metaphysics of Revolution. Johnson had always described herself as “hopelessly het.” She was the one who had been Mormon, married, four kids, and was excommunicated in the 80s for her pro-ERA work (after her husband divorced her and turned her in for a new model, a huge deal in the Mormon church, where unless your husband “calls you” after you’ve died, you don’t go to some level of heaven or another.) Anyway, Johnson met with Mary Daly after having sent her a copy of a book she had written, and I think it was, From Housewife to Heretic. Daly sat down in the booth across from Johnson in the restaurant where they met, slapped Johnson’s book down on the table, and said to her, “This is the most lesbian book I’ve ever read.” :D
    There’s the spirit– you know? The woman-centered spirit. The woman-loving spirit. Which is, in the end, what is the heart of being a lesbian. (And a feminist imo).

    I’m musing out loud of course, I know you wimmin know all of this.

    I really came to this thread to say, everybody should take a look at what is happening to Q grrl over at Alas in the transgender thread responsive to Amp’s attack on radical feminists. She is basically being clobbered, ganged up on, by transpersons, all but two of whom are white, all of whom either are men now, because they have transitioned (they are FTMs) or who lived most of their lives as men. The only person in there supporting Q-grrl was yet another MTF with a buttload of internalized self-loathing who is the most transphobic person I have ever encountered, yet who presents as a “radical feminist,” something this person is not, has never been, cannot speak to or for. This person is a gender essentialist from morning til night, from top to bottomus. Aside from this person, whose defense is no defense at all, who makes things worse, Q-grrl, a working class lesbian radical feminist, is getting trashed. By white men and white former men. Including men who are invoking *racism* against Q-grrl. White men trashing a lesbian feminist/radical feminist woman as though she is some kind of oppressor. I’ll never post to that blog again, or link to it, but if you read this, Q-grrl, I saw that, I felt you, I know how that feels, and I admire your courage.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 11, 2007, 10:46 pm
  319. I’ve made so many posts today, here and there, (can you tell I’m avoiding something?) but here’s one last one. Promise.

    These feminists who think you have nothing to say to het women, think that because for them, it’s all about the menz. It’s all about being as porny as you can be, in looks and action. If you’re het. It’s about looking under thirty, no matter what your age, and no matter what the cost to attain it. If you look porny, even if you’ve bought it or had it injected or implanted, you are considered worthy, to them. Take pole dancing classes any assinine creepy thing to prove you’re a ‘woman’. Anything less than an heroic effort in this regard for a child bearing age women is tantamount to hating men. Or being a lesbian. And there’s a huge gong bell that goes off when I say, I am here to say, that at 64 I am a sexual creature. Eeeeuuuu, they all just went, collectively. They really think sexuality is something that is bought, worn, or implanted.

    I don’t have any studies for this, so I have to use me. An N of 1. I know I’m right. Sexuality is life long. It is not tethered to some pornified idea, or smutty, or bad, or nudge nudge wink wink, or dirty old men, or on a time-clock that ends when wrinkles start. It’s not unseemly, either, even for their grandmothers. That’s was being sexee is. Not flinging your Dow implants around a pole.

    Posted by Pony | January 12, 2007, 3:50 am
  320. Rock on, pony. And no promises that this is your last post! Post away, pretty soon you’ll be ready to do whatever you’re avoiding :). I sure know that feeling of posting instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing, like writing something that has a deadline, which is what I do ALL of the time, argh.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 12, 2007, 5:14 am
  321. I’m sorry that’s happening to her but I won’t click on Alas.

    Posted by Pony | January 12, 2007, 8:59 am
  322. Oops, pushed the button too soon.

    Congratulations to everyone for your comments on transwomen and their relationship to lesbian feminist cultural networks.

    I particulary loved Heart’s comments…wise, compassionate and nuanced.

    This is a wonderful site of feminist and lesbian commentary that I really miss. It was hard to find you women, but miracles on the Internet do happen. I found you through the Shekinah Mountainwater obituaries.

    I think one of the main issues of lesbian feminist and feminist space is how respectful the immigrants are when they come to the country. I tend to think of transgender the way I do naturalized American citizens, for example. People from other lands might speak English with an accent, but the most successful immigrants really respect this country.

    I think it’s important for transwomen to really respect and learn about the culture of lesbians and become fluent in lesbian feminism. This respect and knowledge would go a long way toward mediating this conflict.

    Otherwise, if space is violated, and women’s views are being made fun of, then this makes me think that the male mind has not quite assimilated to its “new body country” yet.

    Just a thought. Are FTM transgendered persons active in gay male spiritual groups or organizations? I never hear gay men even talk about this stuff the way lesbians do.

    Anyway, great to be here. I love this, and keep up the good work!

    In Sisterhood,
    Satsuma

    Posted by Satsuma | October 24, 2007, 7:02 am
  323. You’ve highlighted the major falseness in MTF transgenderism. It’s about men’s rights, no matter what body parts have been removed or what clothing they wear.

    Posted by Sis | October 24, 2007, 2:54 pm
  324. Hi everyone.

    I guess since I am Janie come lately to this conversation, and have never been to Michigan Women’s Music Festival, I wonder who makes the policy at Michigan.

    Somehow I heard that the policy of only allowing women born women attending had been changed. So this presents a very tricky problem. If transgender MTF can attend, how is this determined? Do women have to take the word of someone that they have already transitioned? What would prevent all men from claiming to be transgender whether they really are or not?

    And how were women guarded during the festival in the past? Did rapes occur on the land in the past?

    I think what may be at issue here is the ignorance younger women have of feminism and radical feminism overall. If they really knew how rare this women’s space truly is worldwide, perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick to give up their power to exclude. I know I dislike open groups and the whole concept of LGBT, because lesbians get more short changed than ever.

    If you look at the budget of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, you’ll see $8,000,000 fundraisers for AIDS. Now how many lesbians do you know who get AIDS? A very convenient way of keeping money away from lesbian women in my opinion.

    So we lesbian feminists need to be clear about our territory, and we need to be more united in protecting it. We need to understand that feminism doesn’t exist in “gay” centers or in the lesbian community at large in Los Angeles precisely because we gave up our spaces, and what few spaces exist lesbians don’t attend or contribute to. Lesbian bars aren’t actively supported so the owners are then forced to have transgender nights to keep the business going. Lesbians who rarely go to the bar in question then get angry at this. A lesbian coffee house just sold out to a male owner, again, because lesbians stopped really supporting the coffee house.

    This is why Mary Daly points out erasure, as one of the seven deadly sins of the fathers. Women collude in erasure by not honoring the past, and also by not supporting lesbian spaces.

    Michigan is just one example of this assault, and we can handle this if we really want to. We must be clear at to what’s at stake here. If radical feminists run Michigan then that committee sets the rules, and we should be very clear about our rules.

    Posted by Satsuma | October 25, 2007, 5:26 pm
  325. Hey, Satsuma. :)

    I’m glad you’re here.

    The decisions about Michfest, bottom line, are made by Lisa Vogel. That is, when push comes to shove and a decision has to be made, LV is the one to make the decision. She owns the land. The worker community makes many of the decisions (I think there are something like 600 workers every year at Fest who set everything up, run everything, keep everything going and tear it all down when Fest is over. Sob.) Festies participate to some degree in making the decisions, via the feedbacks and letters we send to Lisa, to the Festival office after each Festival where we say what we really liked, what we didn’t like, etc., about that year’s Fest.

    You probably thought the policy had changed because a bogus press release went out immediately after Fest 2006. It had “Hart, MI” as the location which was confusing, it was sent to universities and GLBT organizations throughout the country, and the claim was that since an “out transwoman” had bought a ticket, the policy had changed. There was reference made to e-mails/correspondence between LV and the person who wrote the bogus press release, but that correspondence was never produced. Immediately after the bogus press release went out, Lisa Vogel/Michfest set the record straight by issuing another press release which said the first one was bogus, the policy had not changed, nothing had changed.

    Fest operates on an honor system. Everybody knows it is to be for female persons only. Transwomen have violated the expectations of the Festival and Festies and have attended anyway. Festies know who they are. Some have a long history of defunct, destructive behavior and female persons steer clear of them, though they show up year after year. Others are recognizable because they lead pro-trans workshops on the land and are obviously transwomen. There’s nothing any of us can do about this except be very clear that we support the expectation that only females will attend the Festival. Nobody has to prove she is female-born to attend. Having said all of that, most people are not so hardcore committed to disrupting the Festival that they will give up one-two weeks of their life to travel to Hart, MI, pay for Fest, etc. It’s expensive, you have to love staying out in the woods, in tents, using Janes (outhouses) showering outside in the open, vegetarian food, no cell phones, no computers. Its camping. I think one reason Fest has stayed female-only is, it *does* take a lot of dedication to get there every year, and only those of us who dearly value female-only space determine that whatever it takes, we’re going to be there.

    Also, Festival is an amazing experience. There’s honestly nothing like it, anywhere. That has an effect on the transwomen and pro-trans people who attend. When they see what it is, what it’s about, they soften, they realize what women are talking about, they realize it’s not the way they thought it was or were told it was. The best evidence for the significance and value of the Festival is the Festival itself. People go looking for a fight and don’t find one because it’s all beautiful, amazing wimmin, there to connect again this year, caring, loving, kind, generous. It’s honestly a really magical experience, and some who have gone intending to be disruptive have felt that and lost their enthusiasm for their project. Some. Not all.

    Women have always been safe on the land. It’s the safest place on earth for female persons, honestly. Any time of the day or night you are safe to walk the paths and trails. No woman has been raped on the land, that I have ever heard of or know of. You can be sure, given the interest in discrediting the Festival, had their been rapes/assaults, anything like that, it would be shouted from the rooftops. Having said all of that, there is a corner of the land where women do engage in SM. I have never been there, have never seen it, you have to know where it is and specifically go there in order to find it. I am going to leave it at that. All of us here know what SM is about.

    I think every woman and girl should go, at least once, to the Festival.

    I blogged about the bogus press release. If you do a search, the title of my post was something like, “Michfest sets the record straight.”

    Sure glad you’re here, Satsuma. :)

    Posted by womensspace | October 25, 2007, 8:40 pm
  326. Thank you so much for your wonderful explanation about what really happened with the woman born woman policy at the festival. I’m sorry you had to reexplain yet again, and now that I’ve found this site, I’ll be keeping up better.

    I’ve always longed to go to Michigan and perhaps 2008 will be the year! It was a huge inspiration to my Japanese lesbian separatist sisters many many years ago, and we’d all sit around the campfires and listen to them tell about Michigan. I treasure these stories of Shangri-la of lesbians.

    This whole issue of transgender is a difficult one, and I think a lot of it has to do with younger women getting bored with the bow wows (in the Castro this is what younger gay men called older men– I know it sounds awful but I love dogs so much that I couldn’t resist appropriating the term affectionately for myself) so they are all enthrauled with LGBT or GLBT or bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

    If you look on Facebook.com under the “Female Feminist Pope” blog site, you’ll be shocked at what men have to say about feminism, even though the site is labeled feminism!

    So this site is a goddess send, and so needed.

    You know, sometimes you forget how much you love your feminist sisters, and then you find a gem like this place, and failing to remember…. you invent… well you know who I’m quoting here.

    Even in Los Angeles, there is a surprising lack of feminist consciousness among lesbians. It’s very very weird, because womanhatred has been in such high gear.

    We even had transwomen leading lesbian discussion groups, instead of creating a new joint group and preserving lesbian space. Don’t get me wrong. I really love almost all the transwomen I personally know, but I can see clearly that they can’t help themselves. Unintentionally, they will dominate and take over things. You’ll lose Michigan. They don’t know they have male born privilege, and without meaning to, they’ll take advantage of this.

    It would be very hard to unlearn this. I believe the value of transgender is for it to speak about itself — a kind of male and female combined. The medical establishment is really making a lot of money on these operations. And it is strange that transwomen would be so peristent in thinking they are entitled to the rarified atmosphere of women’s sacred land.

    We have a fragile lesbian feminist culture, and it could easily be destroyed, the way new creatures imported to a new country could tip the ecology the wrong way.

    But our young lesbians here don’t see this. I’ve noticed that young lesbians like to shock and provolk, and maybe this is due to the mainstreaming of lesbian life. Maybe we all need to go to Michigan in 2008! Long live lesbian/feminist land!!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 25, 2007, 11:33 pm
  327. We even had transwomen leading lesbian discussion groups, instead of creating a new joint group and preserving lesbian space. Don’t get me wrong. I really love almost all the transwomen I personally know, but I can see clearly that they can’t help themselves. Unintentionally, they will dominate and take over things. You’ll lose Michigan. They don’t know they have male born privilege, and without meaning to, they’ll take advantage of this.

    It would be very hard to unlearn this.

    This is sure my experience, Satsuma. It’s a dangerous thing to be forthright about, but it is, in fact, the way it goes. Even at the Festival. The past couple of years transwomen have been leading workshops which were anti-policy workshops. So:

    (1) They were on the land where they weren’t supposed to be;
    (2) Facilitating/leading workshops on the land where they weren’t supposed to be;
    (3) Openly advocating against the policy.

    Not to mention being around the land, barging in on women’s private discussions, and so on. These *are* manifestations of privilege. There are thousands of women who have attended Michfest who would not feel comfortable leading workshops although they have so much to share, and yet transwomen do not miss a beat in stepping up to facilitate workshops on women’s land.

    In discussions it is the same thing. Transwomen say they are a small minority, an insignificant number, and yet my experience is, they invariably dominate wherever they are in radical feminist/lesbian separatist spaces, minority or no. A friend recently described going to a conference for women tarot readers, being very excited, and then learning the featured speaker — all attention on this person — was a transwoman. I was part of a goddess spirituality list, and the facilitator had good things to say and was quite knowledgeable, but I started picking up on certain things, at times there was that familiar hammering effect in response to certain issues, and then I learned that the facilitator of the list was also a transwoman. A friend told me she had performed recently at a lesbian conference which which had become open to transwomen. Out of 300 total in attendance, approximately 20 were transwomen, and the event was very different from what it had been in the past, very much altered. I haven’t even mentioned some of the defunct experiences with transwomen that most of us on this blog have had experience with, some really difficult experiences with scary individuals. All this stuff starts adding up after a while. If we add it up and take note of it, that doesn’t make us “transphobes,” that makes us observant and aware. Yet we get clobbered as transphobes because this is a small number, a minority, insignificant and, I guess, we shouldn’t talk about our experiences. And yet, my experience is my experience. The insignificant, small minority, has, can, and often does dominate the majority of female persons when we are all together. I believe mostly, as you say, that’s unintentional on the part of transwomen. But intentional or not, female persons are affected. I could add on the requisite, I’m not saying ALL yada yada but why, that is a foregone conclusion, an a priori. Of course not all people do anything at all. But our experiences do matter, and my and other women’s experience is in gatherings of female persons and transwomen, usually, transwomen dominate, if not immediately, in short order.

    Posted by womensspace | October 26, 2007, 12:17 am
  328. Thank you Womanspace for your very thoughtful response to my post.

    I’ve become very concerned of late about the legacy of radical feminism. We have such a small toe hold on herstory right now, and this lengthy debate about transwomen and Michigan represents our response to attempted colonization by people who don’t know or don’t care that they are doing this.

    I really feel this is often completely unintentional. Just as most racism on the part of whites is unconscious. Michigan is about women’s most radical notion of a separatist country. It is something that is a symbol of our success and power.

    Small groups of people do dominate and control — England dominated and controlled India, for example. If you read Deepak Chopra’s life story, he presents a very complex personal view of how English culture and colonialism affected his career choices and his father’s life.

    So transwomen need to know about colonialism, and women born women have to be clear about their space.

    If people abuse power or use unearned power wrecklessly, this reveals the igorance of patriarchal conditioning as surely as white privilege reveals ignorance as well.

    One thing I learned as a white woman, was to shut my damn mouth if I was respectfully invited to attend women of color events. Yes, I sat still and listened, and became peaceful. I waited for women near me to talk to me, and I didn’t ask pesky questions of the panelists. This just seemed like a way to be well mannered in other people’s intellectual homes.

    It seems to me that banning Bitch from the Boston Dyke March, or banning anyone from performing or showing a lesbian movie is a sign of very bad things to come.

    Women as a group are the majority in this country, and yet we are still ruled by male colonizers. It is very hard for most women to even perceive this colonization. They don’t know that they’re having no input in events, they don’t know that they are not even unconsenting in an oppression that is hard to name.

    I don’t know what transphobia means. The idea of gender diversity is not new to me. In fact, as a radical lesbian feminist, I have little interest in “conforming” to anything. I simply try to use the different languages and dialects to talk to people. I can use white male speak as a courtesy to men, just as I would try to greet someone in their native language if I had the ability to do it. But courtesy and manners are different from being “forced” to use white male speak all day long.

    Transwomen are unaware of sexism, because in their desire to be transformed medically into female forms, they can’t imagine a female world women have lived in.

    I’ve never seen colonists back down. Britain still has yet to come to terms with its colonial past. People of color everywhere have to constantly deal with white ignorance. I never see the oppressor classes ever care to integrate, they just have to dominate. That’s what white people do to people of color, and people of color had to really fight back, or we still wouldn’t be giving a damn. I respect those who rise up, and that’s the only way change happens. Men will never give an inch until women take a mile. Transgender women will dominate lesbian groups, and weak lesbians will let this happen. It will and does happen. Own up to this! Admit this.
    People of color hate the sleazy denials of racism, I hate men saying “oh I respect women,” I hate that bologna!

    So lesbians must not let any lesbian singers or artists get banned anywhere. Lesbians are getting cowed once again by these damnable party lines. In Los Angeles, butch lesbians have to put up with this glamour girl L-Word yuck. A power butch is really picked on by the cowardly new generation of lesbians. They don’t see their minds corrupted by Hollywood, the sexual sewer that is gay male “culture” — they don’t know the dangers, and they are know-it-all enough to never want to ask!

    Michigan is just the symbol of this, the represenation of this.
    I can tell you quite plainly that as a white person, I can never escape white privilege. As an aggressive and very strong woman, I don’t even experience the timid world most straight women are stuck in. Although I can be the best ally I can be, I am still aware that my presense in a women of color place, will change the reality, just as surely as bringing T.V. cameras into a courtroom will transform justice into show biz.

    I know this. I often feel a wistful sadness about all this division, but I know white people. I know my species, and so I try the gentle route, the caring route, and this caring connects me to the women of the world. I found racism to be such an important problem, that I left my native country to live as a racial minority in another land. You have to be on the receiving end of racism to really get it.

    Transwomen might not really know what sexism is. They don’t seem very interested in this question at all. For them, it might not be an issue at all.

    Transwomen have a lovely way of loving women. I find this quality quite touching. This is not meant as an attack on them. But they really have to realize they are following the script writ large by dominator models that were bred into their very DNA. Sometimes, I think it is a compliment to the civility of women’s life, that these brave pioneers choose to want to become “women by courtesy”– the transgender women in “The Ruins of Isis.” Marion Zimmer Bradley’s visionary work. They are a part of us, and our sincere interactions and dialogues can be profound. They can choose to reveal the secrets of patriarchy, and become the secret agents who have literally lived behind enemy lines. I would hope that transwomen would create workshops to share, and I would also hope that they’d honor private property and people’s spaces.

    We can meet on neutral ground. Only when our honored women prove themselves worthy to be the new person, and only when the colonialism is recognized and renounced should they be allowed into our city of many mansions.

    To be the very essense of a woman among women is to have this civility, this kindness. You don’t crash the gates; gate crashing is what men do! You are not men anymore, and you’d think that this irony would not be lost on transgender nation today.

    How will we all deal with this? Who will be honest enough to admit that we are dealing with new issues of new colonialism in women’s spaces today? Are the Indians British-phobic? Are the Native Americans white phobic in wanting to keep their lands? Is the Nation of Islam white hating for wanting a separatist male movement? Do lesbian separatists hate men?
    We hate the dominators, we hate the boorish behavior, and the sexual tyranny and pornography, but we most certainly don’t hate men. Well sometimes I do! I have to struggle not to hate; it comes easily to me. But most of the time, I am a rather thoughtful intellectual type.

    These arguments are sophisticated and complex. I don’t see transwomen outside the academy really making much effort to get at these truths. They mostly hate radical feminism, and always want to undermine this philosophy. They hate it because it is a powerful weapon of freedom for women and lesbian women.

    The sad truth is that transpeople I think are being manipulated by the “bait” of LGBT — what the movement wants is free troops for battle. So the new recruits show up, sign up and get to work. Ever notice the proliferation of “professional queers.” We’ve lost our grass roots can do spirit and traded it in for a government funded gay and lesbian center, for example. The leaders hang out at the Human Rights Champaign fund “dinners” spending untold thousands on these events, and meanwhile lesbians don’t have regular events they can own and plan for.

    I can’t help but think that gay men are behind the GLBT coalition, as a way to derail lesbian power. I know I know, don’t throw me in the X-File conspiracy bin yet… this is not conscious. I believe that for every female to male person, there are ten male to female people coming out of medical technology right now. What does this mean?

    Recently at a lesbian health conference, we had a measely three women volunteers setting up tables and getting the place ready. Transwomen were on time, and two of the five volunteers were transwomen. I even had to endure one clueless MTF actually ostentatiously applying make-up at the check in table. I could see how this behavior was making the women entering the place very nervous. You wouldn’t do this at any event if you had any manners at all. This was a hostile act by someone cleverly trying to diss me. You’d do that in a restroom or at home. You’d focus on welcoming and serving the women arriving.

    This kind of weird socially off behavior happens all the time.
    Lesbians may not even see this coming, but we back down again and again. Where was the lesbian legion of honor showing up to protest Mary Daly’s firing at Boston College? Where is our praetorian guard? Where are the lesbian warriors who will literally “arrest” and “deport” the transwomen who blatantly violate Michigan rules? Who throws the bums out?

    I’ve seen abusive lesbians come to lesbian drop-in groups and attempt to get away with their garbage, and not once do the assembled women take charge. I’ve had to be the bad cop and kick them out, because the cowards were just going to sit and take this. I’m not kidding. Lesbians have really become timid and apathetic; they are ignorant these days of the truth of Mary Daly’s observation that combining lesbianism and feminism is akin to the discovery of fire! Who even reads Daly if you’re under the age of 40?

    But the bottom line is, do we as lesbian feminists show up? Why would a transwoman be the one to teach a feminist class? Why would a church have a woman’s service, and then only transwomen showed for it, and lesbians came and left. It was all too much for them. Who leaves? Who stays?

    We imagine that power dynamics will work themselves out. Well I can tell you I see little change in men in America after decades of feminist activism. All I see is their seething anger at our progress, and this anger is behind the right wing agenda, believe me. If the dummies can get women to go back into “female roles” yet again, women will fall for the con.

    Will lesbians be strong enough to say no to the colonists. A dozen dykes patrolling Michigan should have removed the transgender women. And their anti-policy seminar should have not been allowed. We need to get tough sometimes. I know I have to be very tough with men when they make sexist comments. My enemies know that hot coffee could fly in their face, for example. They know they can’t get away with sexism around me period. The pain and suffering to them will be great, and I have no concern about what people think of me, and that really scares them.

    So yes, police Michigan, yes, challenge neo-colonialism in all its forms, and see what happens.

    The truth is, lesbian volunteer energy is at an all time low in Los Angeles. I’ve never encountered so much ignorance and shocking apathy among the next generation of lesbians as I have in this city.

    So my sisters, we have this incredible power called lesbian feminist theory. It was a gift given to us by the great ones. If you have the courage to access its mighty power, you will become healthy, wealthy and wise beyond your imagination.

    Your imagination will soar, and you will fall in love with this universe. It is a think of such staggering beauty that I must be careful in its presense. Lesbian feminism is my deepest religious experience. So perhaps I see transwomen as people who could truly take this theory and add to it, and respect it.

    Michigan, from all who tell me about it, fuels and renews the spirit of lesbian nation year after year! Be awake, be powerful in sisterhood, and be optimistic that yes, we are on the right track.

    But we can’t be distracted and detracted from our goals. We can’t be afraid of being called names — first “lesbian” was what men used to scare us, and now it’s “transphobia.” Whatever it is, it is still male supremacy in all its clever disguises.

    To become a woman is to truly renounce male privilege, but this is very difficult. How do you do it? I respect transwomen in their spiritual quest as a people, but I will not tolerate colonialism. I love Shakespeare but that does not mean I love the empire. I adore William Blake but that doesn’t mean you smash Hindu sculptures under the British Raj.

    Well, this is a lengthy post. This is such an urgent concern for Lesbian Nation. Our proud lesbian feminist brilliance needs to be put to good use, and we need to exit from LGBT, and gain our self-respect again. Until we have won our territory, we have little time to wrandle over peace treaties or compromises or coalitions that drain us of our power.

    Bring me my bow of burning gold, bring me my arrows of desire, bring me my spear oh clouds unfold, bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight nor shall the sword sleep in my hand til we have built Jerusalem on Lesbian Nation’s green and pleasant land!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 26, 2007, 10:12 pm
  329. “Some have been the source of very serious difficulty and division among us because of their behaviors, their actions which harmed our communities or gave rise to events which caused harm to our communities.”

    Hello,

    Are you able to elaborate and provide specific examples of certain ‘behaviours’ of trans people that have harmed any community?

    I would really appreciate this. I have no problem with the statement, it is simply out of interest. I have had a few uncomfortable experiences with some rad feminists and I’d like to further understand this situation.

    Thanks.

    Jez

    Posted by Jez | January 9, 2008, 1:39 am
  330. Jez, have you read through this thread? I have not in ages but if I recall correctly some of the answer to your question is in this thread. I will take a look later, and if your question is not answered, I will answer.

    Or maybe women reading here will respond and I won’t have to.

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2008, 5:01 am
  331. The most common ways that transpersons harm women and women’s communities:

    1. insisting that the political definition of “woman” must include being born male and raised as a boy, thereby tromping all over women’s ability to consciousness-raise over the specific ways that we are treated from birth and the fact that it is *that treatment* and the social meaning attached to it (not some inborn flaw) that makes us “other”, makes us “less-than”, makes us class-woman.

    2. insisting that elective genital surgery, artificial hormones, and other body modification treatments are therapeutic and medically necessary because making one’s body look more stereotypically feminine (developing a bust and a structure resembling a vagina only in the sense that it is now “fuckable”) is a psychologically humane treatment for a flawed body. Radical feminists don’t accept this rhetoric about unfeminine bodies being flawed and in need of pyscho-physical medical intervention from women, but are supposed to nod and smile when males claim it is necessary. Broad social acceptance of the idea that SRS and hormone therapies are necessary and humane actively hurts women and women’s community.

    Those two very basic issues that radical feminists have with the behavior of some transsexuals and with transsexual theory may not have explicitly made it to the thread, so there you are. Nevertheless, I agree with Heart that you ought to read the whole thing, long as it is, to see if your question is answered. I think that if you do so you will get an accurate sense of the troubles some behaviors and theories present to women’s space and radical feminist movement.

    Posted by funnie | January 9, 2008, 2:10 pm
  332. That was great funnie!

    One reason I don’t *even* feel like talking in this thread is, stuff in this thread been lied about from the top to bottomus of the internet, just straight up lies. Somewhere in here, someone brought up the Silence of the Lambs. Nobody here was comparing transpersons with psychotic killers, and the context makes that clear. One woman who is married to a transwoman and who is definitely no transphobe spoke up to say that. Do the people who like to lie their asses off 24/7 about us give a rip about that clarification? Hell no. Argh, I get tired and agitated just barely letting it creep into the corners of my mind.

    Continuing from your great comment, funnie, because radical feminists have held, defended, and acted on the views you listed there, transpersons and their apologists have:

    * Sued our struggling and marginalized organizations (like Vancouver Rape Relief), tying them up in litigation for years at times, talking about organizations which are private, which raise their own meager funds and which serve women on shoestring budgets;
    * Sued small resource centers and similar organizations, ditto above;
    * Boycotted the work/art/performances of marginalized women, including lesbians and women of color and called for increasing and ongoing boycotts;
    * Circulated reams of false information;
    * Attacked people in unconscionable ways;
    * Closed down several once-thriving internet boards/venues via not only ongoing attacks but really messed up, defunct, behavior, prodigious amounts of it

    There are many stories I could relate about acts of individual transpersons which have caused harm in our communities. I think some of those stories are in this thread. I don’t know if I’ll say any more, though, than I have. There are just way too many dishonest, and even dangerous persons on the internet. (And no, I am not saying transpersons are any more or less dishonest or dangerous than any persons.)

    Posted by womensspace | January 9, 2008, 4:27 pm
  333. Yeah – I didn’t pay much attention to this thread the first time around or the attacks stemming from it, but I know enough to find the whole thing just gross.

    I think the bottom line is that trans-theory-apologists just really *need* to be reactionaries – they *need* their opponents to be intolerant, because if radical feminists can’t be portrayed as superpowerful tyrant-like bigots, they can’t really be opposed by allegedly fair-minded pro-woman liberals.

    Sweeping aside all of the bigot/tolerance sidetrack in order to focus exclusively on

    what women ARE
    (a primarily socially-constructed oppressed class, not some illuminati-like exclusive club of power)

    and what women NEED
    (freedom…from the stereotypical femininity box, from various body-type=identity canards, and other restrictive, oppressive forces, such as the antilesbian, antiwoman insistence that if we love women and are made miserable by femininity, we might not actually BE women – or that maybe we just need a little surgical/cosmetic tweaking in order to be proper women)

    …just absolutely undermines basic trans theory. And people who don’t get that yet, who haven’t really thought what they’re advocating through *from women’s perspective* find themselves beginning to make very nasty-sounding arguments on behalf of trans theory the minute they stop using the “bigot” defense. And when they hear what they’re saying, they become uncertain and irritated, and retreat quickly into needing women to be the enemy, needing women to be the powerful force to fight against, and most especially (in the most classic of reversals) needing radical feminists to be the ones creating and enforcing excruciating gender stereotypes.

    It’s honestly just too much for me to bother with, most of the time. :( I think that’s unfortunate, because I think a lot of well-meaning people, especially young women, do defend trans theory because they want to oppose bigotry and prejudice and sexism…and those things ARE faced by transpersons of whatever sex and gender.

    But, not from radical feminist theory.

    Posted by funnie | January 9, 2008, 6:34 pm

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