A Gender Critical Response to: A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

A wonderfully written response to the horribly written and erroneous “Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism.”

Take a few minutes to read the whole thing, as she makes a lot of great points. -BBB

Sex matters.

This is my response to the reactionary and misguided “A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism” (The Statement) posted at FeministsFightingTransphobia.wordpress.com.

We can all agree, I think, that people’s actual lives are more important than theoretical abstractions– including those related to “identity.” This is precisely why, as feminists, we demand acknowledgement for the lived realities and material conditions of women’s lives, including the social mechanics of sex-and-gender-assignment that ultimately give rise to women’s oppression. But beyond this, there are a truly alarming number of misrepresentations, inconsistencies, and logical errors in The Statement. I will address many of them below.

First things first, I want to point out that characterizing gender critical feminists as “transphobic feminists” remains unsupported where “transphobia” is not defined. Repeated use of this term to demonize a certain kind of political speech or political actor is clearly intended to be insulting rather than instructive; it serves as a…

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18 comments on “A Gender Critical Response to: A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

  1. oopster74 says:

    I read the whole thing (the original article which this linked blog criticises), and thought it was a well thought out and deliberately inclusive statement. I’ve only read the first paragraph of the critique, but I’m sorry to say it already uses the same language as anything else certain radical feminst groups use to dismiss anything trans related.

    Please, read the original article without any preconceptions, and you’ll hopefully see that it is not trying to harm anyone, but is trying to be a positive and inclusive piece of writing.

  2. mixelleleigh says:

    When I defined tran*phobic as the fear of tran*, I was ranted at and told it meant discrimination, oppression et cetera. And then got politely kicked out of the discussion group by the admin.

    The comment:
    Mixelle Garcia (September 15, 2013): Transphobia means the fear of trans*, I don’t think we are afraid of them, except for some that threaten violence.

    Mixelle, I found the generalization you gave to be problematic towards individuals in the group. I understand there are separatists groups on facebook who exchange Radical Feminism theory, but since this is an open group to many diverse feminisms and beliefs, I would encourage for you to participate in those groups if you hold a certain belief of all trans identified individuals.
    ——————————

  3. BigBooButch says:

    You want me to go back and re-read the original statement when you just admitted to only reading the first paragraph of Elizabeth’s response before dismissing it in its entirety?

    The Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism does harm people. It harms women.

  4. oopster74 says:

    Transphobia, or being transphobic, is the trans equivalent of racism. Yes, there will be some violent trans people, and we call those people “assholes” & ” idiots”, and every group of people have them. We don’t however, judge the whole bunch by a few bad apples. Think of the people in radical feminism you could call bad apples to see this for yourself.

  5. oopster74 says:

    Ok, I apologise if I dismissed the blog entry and I’ll read it fully later today (it’s 6.30am here and I’ve not had the best nights sleep so far), but please understand that from my point of view, it’s just appears to be more of the same anti-trans bs that I’ve seen far too much of.

  6. BigBooButch says:

    To be honest, from my point of view, most of what I read in the Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism is the same anti-radfem and anti-woman bs that I have also seen far too much of over the past few years.

    As to transphobia, it is used far too often today. I see it used in every single disagreement between trans folk and, well, pretty much anyone else. Disagreeing with someone does not make that person transphobic. Pointing out the reality of biology is not transphobic. Females wanting to share a space with other females without the presence of male genitalia is not transphobic. Having a different viewpoint does not make one transphobic. The more the word is used incorrectly or haphazardly, the less meaning it has over all; and frankly, it has pretty much lost all meaning to me.

  7. oopster74 says:

    I’m glad I read your reply in my email, as the formatting of it here is virtually impossible to read on my iPhone (not your fault, I blame Apple).

    I understand you on some points, but, women only spaces should include or be open to transsexual women. What anyone has in their underwear is no ones business but that person and who they choose to share it with, so say in a social setting where you’re sat in a group drinking coffee and just chatting, why exclude transwomen? I understand about changing rooms and pre-op transwomen being awkward, but accommodations can be made. Personally, I’ve never liked getting changed in front of anyone, and probably never will.

    And yes, stating biology is not transphobic in itself, but how you state it could be.

    I’m not saying that as a transwoman, I experience any more or any less sexism on a daily basis, but when I first transitioned, I possibly noticed it more because of the change, but I grew up around strong women. All the women in the area I lived were the kind of people who wouldn’t take shit from anyone, so when I see some women that do and have, that’s what I don’t or can’t understand (but everyone is different).

    If I was to use the N word now, would that make me a racist? It might do, it all depends on the context or content (is it?). I’m not a racist, but I have used racist language when I was younger and didn’t know any better. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I don’t, even if I might still sing along to songs that include the N word in the car ( shouldn’t I have a problem with that???).

  8. mixelleleigh says:

    Stop mansplaining!

  9. oopster74 says:

    Stop using that word when you can’t think of a sensible reply. I’m not a man, don’t consider myself to be a man, no matter what anything else thinks of me, so am not guilty of “mansplaining”. I can however be sarcastic or patronising if you really want, but what would that actually achieve for anyone.

  10. BigBooButch says:

    I can’t continue to go ’round and ’round with you so this will be it for me.

    Because you are someone who refuses to understand that sometimes, women, females, need to be in spaces with other females who have the same shared experiences of having been born and raised women in a sexist, misogynistic patriarchal society. Men, males are everywhere. There is no place that we can go to escape from them, save for these private spaces; and for someone who was born and raised a male in this society to tell us that we should or we have to include him because he is in a dress or because he “IDs” as a woman or even because he is on hormones and has had surgery to turn his penis into a vagina, that is his male privilege talking.

    Even if a man is seen by society as a woman and no longer has any outward male privilege, he was born and raised into a society where he is king. From birth, men have more advantages, they are taught that their opinions matter, they are taught that women are weaker, they are taught they they (men) are the rulers of the universe. Putting on a dress or taking hormones and having surgery doesn’t change the attitudes with which they were raised from birth.

    So, for many many trans, there is still no respect for women or women’s issues, still no acceptance that some women would like to have their own spaces away from people who were born and raised men in this patriarchal society, still no acceptance that a woman’s experience can matter and it is not all about him. Some of these people who were born and raised men insist, no demand on being included in every aspect of women’s lives, whether they belong there or not. For lesbians, this even includes our beds, since we are called transphobic if we do not want to have sex with someone who has a penis, but “IDs” as a woman.

    These are things you do not wish to understand because you were raised in a society that put you first all of your life, so how dare we not put you first now? How dare we have an opinion that is not one of which you approve? How dare we have meeting spaces where you are not welcomed? Contrary to what you all keep saying over and over and over again, it isn’t what you have in your underwear that is the issue (except for lesbians who are told we are bigots for not having sex with you), it is the attitudes that were instilled in you since birth. That internal male privilege does not go away with hormones, surgeries, different clothing, or even because you are treated poorly if you are now seen as a woman.

    As I have heard so many before me say: do the work. It is not our job to ignore your privilege and continue to make everything in this world about you just because you “ID” as a woman (which is what the feminists did in that statement). It is your job to see, understand, and combat those privileges you still hold inside you; those attitudes to which you have become so accustomed, you cannot even fathom a world where you are not central focus.

  11. BigBooButch says:

    Women are the focus here, oppster. In this blog, no man gets to tell a woman what to say or how to behave. This will be your only warning.

  12. oopster74 says:

    Assuming I have privilege because of the sex I was born, IS relying on stereotypes. Why don’t you get to know the person I am, before judging me based on stereotypes?

  13. BigBooButch says:

    Male privilege is not a stereotype. The very fact that you would even suggest that tells me that you have not examined your own privilege.

    Do the work, or leave my blog. It really is that simple.

  14. Sarah Davis says:

    ok, I’ll reword what I said. You are assuming that I had “male privilege” because I was born male and raised as such, without questioning anything else about my upbringing, and making sweeping statements about me, without even knowing me. Would you be upset or offended if I made sweeping statements about you? Of course you would, and rightly so. I don’t know enough about you to say anything about you. Pretty much all I know about you is your username on this blog.

    I’ll leave your blog if you want me to, as me defending myself being me is taking away from the point of this blog entry anyway, but transsexual men and women are not the enemy, I wish you realise that. We are as normal and boring and mundane as anyone else is, and not some part of a conspiracy to keep women down.

    Mixelle – I meant to add to you that you shouldn’t have been thrown out of that group for what you said, and was simply trying to explain what transphobia is, no offence was ever intended and if you took any, then I’m sorry.

  15. BigBooButch says:

    You are not “defending yourself,” you are denying your own male privilege. Even if society were to see you and treat you as a woman, that internalized male privilege and attitude is still there; as evidenced by the fact that you keep pressing even after a woman has told you to stop and move on or leave the blog.

    No one, at least no one in this blog, has said that trans are the enemy; but when males push their way into our spaces, co-opt our words, experiences, and lives (like the transwoman who talked about having symptoms of menstruation), when they demand that we pay attention to them, demand to respect them when they do not do the same, and even when they demand access into our beds and sex lives, they become something we have to deal with on a daily basis.

    We have to take focus off of ourselves, our lives, and our issues to deal with them and their lives and issues. We have to deal with threats of violence, rape, and even death. Instead of focusing on ourselves and other women, we are forced to focus on trans, just as in this blog, we have been forced to deal with you and your issues.

    No, you are not defending yourself, you just want us to stop what we’re doing and pay attention to you so you can tell us what we are supposed to think and believe.

    Consider your invitation to this blog revoked.

  16. Sarah Davis says:

    Dear oopster74. Kindly pick a new name. The one you picked is already taken by me – an actual born and raised female – and I don’t want to have to share it with someone who’s views are diametrically opposed to mine.

    You can at least only post under your WordPress account and not your Facebook one.

    Thanks for your consideration (I hope!)

  17. Sarah Davis says:

    Oh, I just saw that his invitation has been revoked. Yay! I hope I’m not mistaken for him.

  18. BigBooButch says:

    I will admit that when I first saw your name, I thought, “Seriously? He came back? Do these filters even work?” lol

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