Mandolin, in all sincerity and good faith, what you have written on Alas, directing it towards me, has nothing to do with anything I believe, have said, or have thought, for that matter, here or anywhere else. Neither I nor anybody here is responsible for what Sally C on I Blame the Patriarchy might have said sometime about transgender issues. I have no idea who that is, where she might be coming from politically or ideologically, or anything else. She is (presumably) someone on IBTP, posting to IBTP, where I rarely read, and even more rarely post. Given recent events, anybody over there might have posted anything at all and called their position “radical feminist”! I have nothing to do with that, little interest in commenting about it, and even less interest in going over there trying to get up to speed on what people I don’t know might be posting about issues raised over there to which I’ve been paying no attention. That has precisely zero to do with me. I’m trying to figure out why you have responded to me by quoting an unknown (to me) commenter on a blog that, again, has nothing to do with me.
My observation is, you consistently believe what people say about radical feminists and our views about transgender over at Alas and presumably, elsewhere. What these folks say about our views is wrong, pure and simple. Amp is wrong about our views, about my views, he always has been, for all the years I’ve interacted with him, going on seven years now. He consistently makes references to, or argues with, positions I and other radical feminists do not hold as though we do hold them. I don’t know what that particular blind spot is about. I am, however, going to give Amp the (undeserved, because he has demonstrated himself to be untrustworthy and no ally to women) benefit of the doubt that so far as transgender issues go, he is incapable of comprehending what our viewpoint actually is and responding to what we actually say and write, for whatever reason. He’s got some blind spot there. Any time I’ve observed him attempting to engage the issues, that blind spot is apparent front and center.
I have been careful to set forth my own position at length here on my blog. I’m not going to respond to a post which, again, has nothing to do with what I’ve ever said or what I’ve ever believed. Honestly, it’s absurd. You, Mandolin, start off with a long tirade about the fact that some women don’t bleed. This is supposed to be relevant to any of the issues around transgender precisely how? This is relevant to anything I’ve ever written precisely how? This is completely irrelevant to any woman-centered approach to issues around transgender, so far as I am concerned. You then go on to, at length, attack “transphobia” and “bigotry” with all of these impassioned appeals, which again, have nothing to do with anything I have ever said, or thought. That is your right, I guess, whatever. But all I can say in response is, you are not responding to my own arguments or position.
It’s so strange to me that Amp and others think Amp’s cartoon is somehow illustrative or hard-hitting or something like that. Not long ago I blogged fairly passionately — because I am passionate about it — about a situation in which lesbian, gay and transgender Christians, were arrested. And what were they arrested for doing? For daring to ask for dialogue with the officials and students of a Christian university, the President of which happens to be one of the people who participated in forcing me out of business when I was a Christian 13 years ago now. These young people, as it turns out, were arrested by the huge numbers of police called in to “protect” this President’s college, for nonviolent civil disobedience of the most honorable kind: approaching oppressive, powerful, institutions and officials peaceably, asking for respectful dialog around the issues, and being willing to be jailed, if necessary, if, in the course of speaking their own truth, all of the powers of a lesbophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and sexist culture and society were brought to bear against them, as in this case, they were. This was political activism of the highest and most respectable, and most, in the end, powerful kind.
I’d like to see Amp applying himself similarly to the actual issues and confronting those who possess the power to subordinate and oppress. I’d like to see Amp evidencing he’s given a little more thought, especially, to where the loci of power are, to who the actual enemies (as opposed to the easy targets) are. I see people with views like Amp regularly confronting, not white, affluent, men who head oppressive institutions and organizations, not white religious persons, fundamentalists, people with money and influence who actually have the power to oppress any of us, all of us. I see Amp, and people with views like Amp, specifically targeting female persons: radical feminists, and more specifically, targeting lesbian separatists, a group with, for all intents and purposes, very little societal power, money, or influence. I see people who comment to Alas, and people like Amp, transgender people, lining up to applaud when a lesbian artist, who cannot manage to come up with $400 for a week at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, where her own film is going to be shown, able to torpedo the showing of that film all over the country, ensuring her ongoing silencing (and impoverishment). I see Amp and people like Amp lining up to applaud transgender persons bringing lawsuits against privately owned, respected, decades-old lesbian rape shelters with minuscule budgets for the most petty and specious reasons imaginable, tying lesbian separatist, radical feminist women up in litigation for years, by the time it’s all over, costing women hundreds of thousands of dollars which could have gone to the work of helping the victims of rape, and in some instances, closing down our struggling organizations. I see transgender persons forcing dyke musicians out of dyke marches. I see transgender persons denying the use of “GLBT” facilities to lesbians and radical feminists who are attempting to raise money to help poor women get to Michigan for a week of healing and encouragement. I see, in other words, an ongoing effort underway, led mostly by males, to bully, intimidate and silence a small, marginalized, disenfranchised number of activist females, most of them lesbian. Amp participates in that. He applauds that. In large part that is because, like so many on Alas, he apparently is so awash in his own male privilege he cannot even hear or comprehend what radical feminists, in fact, have to say about these issues. Apparently all that matters to him is, he doesn’t feel like the speed with which he is able to accomplish a certain set of goals is satisfactory. Or, he doesn’t like it when women argue with him. So, as legions of men before him have done, he attacks female persons.
Tell you what it isn’t female persons who are keeping transgender persons off of college campuses, out of universities, out of churches, the military, out of their homes, for that matter. It’s not a female boot that is on the neck of transgender persons. It’s a white, patriarchal male boot, the same boot that is solidly applied to our own neck, as radical feminists and lesbian separatists, for that matter, as females, period. Beyond that, it’s not feminist women, barring the doors to, or causing any difficulties for, transgender persons. We aren’t suing transgendered organizations or persons, protesting their gatherings, boycotting their entertainers and artists (even though we deeply, deeply, quite often, disagree with their goals and acts.) It’s transgender persons and their supporters, barring the doors to, and causing ongoing, sometimes severe, difficulties for, the most marginalized group of female persons imaginable.
I think Amp ought to be applying himself to creating some cartoons which accurately reflect, and challenge, the actual locus of the power to oppress and subordinate and the organizations which institutionalize that oppression and subordination. Radical feminists, lesbian separatists do not have that kind of power and we never have. That power belongs to white, heterosexual men, the kind of men the activists I referred to earlier correctly identified and challenged in ways which are breathtaking, and which, I believe, in the end, will bring about true and lasting change which will inspire and lift us all into a better place. Nobody with a heart can watch the video I posted in my post about Soulforce and not be moved by it. This kind of work has my 100 percent, unequivocal support.
But no, we’ve got Amp busy drawing cartoons which compare radical feminists to fundies, har de har, what a novel approach. That is trite, that is old, that is irrelevant, that addresses none of the actual issues, it is a cheap shot which satisfies itself, again, with the tickle for a nickle.
This is all I have to say on this issue. I have been very careful here on my blog to carefully elucidate my own position. In response, Amp, and the commenters on his blog, and now you, Mandolin, respond to everything except what I’ve actually written. To me, again, that spells “blind spot,” best case scenario. Worst case scenario, it is sexist bullying and intimidation of the most reprehensible kind. I’m not accusing you, Mandolin, of sexist bullyinjg and intimidation, I’m accusing Amp, and all men who think and behave as Amp behaves.
Beyond this post, I have no further comment, and I am closing comments. Enough female energy has already been expended on this issue here, for the time being. I have said all I have to say about this. If you are actually interested in my position as to transgender, do a search on that category here on my blog, or read some of the links above.