Since starting this blog, I have tried to make a concerted effort to both be clear in my writing and to not slip into a defensive posture when I see the extreme responses to what I have written here. That being said, I can’t, for the life of me, understand how anyone could read these entries in my blog and come away with the belief that I wish transgenders didn’t exist or, worse, that I wish for them to be exterminated. A friend of mine posited that people can’t read through what hurts them; and I suppose I can see how that might be a part of it.
I mean, it is clear that a lot of the people who are angry with me truly believe that gender and sex are the same thing, that gender is innate, assigned at birth, and is based on one’s genitals. So when you honestly toss biology and science out of the window and believe with all of your heart that gender and sex are the same thing, I can see how someone telling you that gender is not innate, it is not assigned at birth, and it is not the same as sex could be considered hateful, transphobic, and hostile; but I still don’t understand the extermination thing.
Part of me would really love to sit down with the teenage girl who read my Gender is not “Assigned” at Birth post and decided I was a hateful transphobe who wanted all trans people to disappear. It’s hard though, because I remember being that age, just figuring things out, not just for myself, but figuring out where I belonged in the world; and let me tell you, I knew everything! Right now, she and I are, metaphorically, sitting on opposite sides of the planet and she is positive that she is right. But in a few years, she will probably look back on threads like that one and realize how hypocritical it was to tell a couple of lesbians that they can’t define transphobia or radical feminism while she was defining both transphobia and radical feminism. She may look back and see that simply pointing out that biology not only exists, but is important and that gender is the wool pulled over all of our eyes was not the same as wishing people dead. It would be kinda neat to meet future her to see what she has discovered along this path that she is on today.
But to be honest, what troubled me more than a few queers and transgenders being upset or a young woman misunderstanding my words was the straight, white man who not only spoke up as if he was both gay and transgender, he also tried to force the woman who posted a link to my Transgenders: I’m Rejectin’ Your Deflections post to remove my post. Incidentally, she also ran the page to which he and over 10,000 others belonged, so this was a woman who saw dozens of things on the ‘net each day and would share them on her page. In other words, she was quite capable of making the decision as to whether or not something belonged on her page.
But this man hounded her for several posts. First, he simply didn’t like my post, then he decided I was mocking, then he decided I wanted to exterminate people and therefore, my post should not be on that page. The owner of the page kept telling him that while she may not agree with everything I said, she agreed with the part of my post that she quoted and since so many women and lesbians are being silenced more and more these days, she decided it was important to allow every women to get her point of view across. He argued with her a little more, saying that either I was silencing “transwoman” with my post or that the page owner was silencing “transwoman” by posting it and allowing it to stand, not sure; but after she had one more go with the I am not going to silence any women thing, he finally backed down and took his leave.
I posted about this because I find this phenomenon happening more and more and it is fascinating to watch it unfold. Here was a man, someone who described himself as a straight, white male and someone who most liberal “feminists” would consider a darling to their cause. His page had all kinds of feminist postings on it and he even had an open letter to his old college, condemning them for not being more open and accepting of LGBT students and faculty.
So he seemed to be saying and doing all the “right” things, until a woman posted something with which he did not agree. Then the male privilege he had hidden away so beautifully came roaring back with a vengeance. To be honest, I don’t even think he realized (or even now, realizes) what he was doing: trying to force one woman to silence another because he didn’t like what she had to say. That is what happens when men are allowed to be involved in, and even in charge of, feminism. They decide what is or is not good for women, not to mention gay people, transgenders, people of color, etc.
Anyway, as fascinating as both of those individuals were to watch, I am digressing from my point, which is that I have never once stated or insinuated that I wish for transgenders to disappear or be exterminated. What I –have– posited and what I –do– believe that if we as a society could do away with gender and get rid of sexual stereotypes, there would really be no need for someone to “feel” they are the opposite sex and follow up that feeling with hormones and surgeries. But that is not the same as wishing people dead. I have said, more than once, that I support laws that protect anyone and everyone from discrimination and violence, provided those laws do not also damage one group in its efforts to protect another group; which is why the new laws in CA are problematic: they give one group preferential “protection” over another, but that’s another post.
See, the problem with transgenderism is it addresses a symptom of a larger problem without ever allowing anyone to discuss the larger problem, lest they be deemed transphobic.
I saw an article the other day about how toy catalogs in another country are no longer going to have girls playing with things like Barbies and boys playing with things like cars and trains. Instead, they were going to switch it up by having the boys playing with the Barbies and the girls playing with the trains. Can you imagine? If this kind of thing were to take off and more and more countries and companies decided to smash the sexual stereotypes of girls play with these toys and wear these clothes while boys play with these toys and wear these clothes, there wouldn’t even be a NEED for transgenderism!
If the little boy who liked to carry around a purse had, instead of being suspended, was accepted simply for being a little boy who likes to carry a purse, what would that say to hundreds of thousands of other little boys who wanted to carry a purse or little girls who wanted to wear ties and baseball caps? Instead of little girls and boys declaring that they are the opposite sex because they enjoy the toys, clothes, etc usually deemed appropriate for the opposite sex, they would just be little girls and boys. There would be no need for hormones or hormone blockers or surgeries to “correct” something that wasn’t wrong with them to begin with because societal norms would no longer dictate the sexual stereotypes and accompanying gender norms.
These kids would then grow up to be healthy adults who could dress in clothes, have hobbies, and love people that society has deemed only appropriate for the opposite sex without the stigma they have now. We could all just be our individual selves without having to adhere to strict social gender norms based on sexual stereotypes and no one would be discriminated against, beaten, raped, or killed for it. It won’t be easy. All it takes is watching a sitcom on TV to see that the stereotypes of men do this and women do this still exist, not to mention all of the homophobia tossed about when two guys touch and one of them flips out; but can you imagine what kind of world we would have if we could do it? If we could abolish gender and smash sexual stereotypes?
Now that is the kind of society I hope for: not one where transgenders are exterminated, one where there is no need for transgenderism to begin with.
dear sister, you are proud and brave and i am so grateful that you continue to speak the truth. no one of any conscience wants our trans* brothers and sisters to live anything less than happy peaceful lives. it is the precisely because radfems want peace for all that we advocate for the abolition of gender outright. perhaps one day people will understand. in the meantime, i stand with you as your adoring sister.
Thank you very much for the comment. I appreciate the support.
My guess is that this is partly because the idea of being born that way is more validating and does not involve the threat of “conversion”, which is of course the argument gays and lesbians have used to legitimize their orientation, whereas if it’s seen as some kind of choice, the right is more likely to see it as deviant and beat people up.
The other part is a kind of accusation of virtual homicide if you don’t believe in someone’s perceived identity, which always sounds like a mental disorder involving an ego structure that needs constant external validation.
The radical feminist stance is no, we do not want anyone beating anyone up, and that we would like people with disordered ego structures to get whatever help they need with that.
Well, the narcissism is a big part of it as well but I was trying to make this a “me” post where I don’t throw everything back on the other people (and I am not saying you are doing that either).
But yes, the “born this way” attitude among transgenders is one of the biggest misconceptions of their whole ideology. We are each born as a specific sex and it is society that thrusts gender upon us, shoving the conditioning and socialization down our throats. So we are not “born wrong,” we are “raised” or conditioned incorrectly.
Also, I agree with what you have said about radical feminists. I have yet to meet a radical feminist who wants or wishes harm on any transgender or transsexual.
A lot of the debate centers around concerns over privacy. When one construes sexual orientation as a private matter between consenting adults, and trying to regulate such as being intrusive, the origins of orientation become irrelevant in this context.
When one applies this to the transgender debate, what we get is a situation where both trans and non-trans people feel their rights to privacy are not being accommodated. This is coupled with the need to belong to a group that humans, as a tribal species, tend to display.
I can understand trans people feeling angry and hurt by not having that reliably, which is why they came up with “cis privilege.” But the origins of their identification are not irrelevant, because of this conflict over privacy. The emphasis on being able to “pass” is, in this sense, about privacy. The interest in transgendering adolescents is an extension of this, as someone transgendered before going through puberty will “pass” much more easily, and at least to some extent be socialized differently.
So they are looking at all this as continuing to refine solutions to their problems with not having a kind of privacy and guaranteed group-identity access, while radical feminists are saying “no, you don’t have to do any of this, you’re fine the way you are.” They do not feel fine the way they are. That’s why they’re angry.
Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
Yep exactly…a world where anybody can be as “fluid” as they like but I as a big butch Dyke am not discriminated against or harassed for rejecting femininity and feminine things, not discriminated against for being a Lesbian, a woman, or a large woman. Where I never had to fear sexual or physical violence at the hands of men or lack of opportunities because of same or female judgement from hetero females because I AM Butch and Lesbian. And where girls and boys can have a variety of interests including playing ice hockey, baseball or any other sport or endeavor without limitation and boys not made fun of because they dont want to and would rather be in ballet, play an instrument, or cook. Excellent post BBB. –In Sisterhood, FEISTYAMAZON