Here’s the thing. We all have our own filters, be they the filter of white privilege, class privilege, male privilege, living as an oppressed POC or, especially, WOC, female, male, gay, straight, bi, etc. The list goes on and on because there are as many filters through which to view the world as there are people in the world.
So I see the comments, the tweets, the discussions, and the arguments about my blog and the posts contained therein. I also see the accusations: transphobe, extremist, vile, vitriol; and those are just a few from the last couple of days.
I have been on-line for a number of years and I have learned that words are very very important. I try very hard to choose my words carefully and while sometimes I leave out the word, “some” when speaking about a group of people, such as trans women, I have never used the word, “all” when speaking about any group of people. If someone reading my blog sees the word, “all,” then that is their own filters through which they are viewing my blog and I cannot (a) be accountable for that or (b) find my way to being offended by it.
I think it says a lot about the reader who sees, “all trans women” or “all bisexuals” or “all” anything in my blog and then gets so angry that they must argue and spew forth accusations like transphobia, hatred, extremist, etc. It is very telling to me to see these kinds of responses to my blog. It tells me that (a) these people see themselves in the mirror I am holding up and this bothers them to the point of wanting to smash said mirror, and/or it tells me that (b) they are so conditioned by the patriarchy and the binary system of being that they cannot fathom a different way, a different system, and anything that contradicts what they have been conditioned to believe must be destroyed.
So let me lay it out for you, dear reader. I am not a transphobe. I do not hate trans people. I do not believe anyone should face discrimination, beatings, or death simply for being who they are. What I do “hate” is that this patriarchal binary system that is currently in place in our society makes some people think their only option is transgenderism. Because let’s be clear, transgenderism is a strict adherence of the binary system. It is not non-conforming, it is conforming to such a degree that drugs and surgery are needed in order to complete the necessary steps to conform absolutely to what society expects to see.
See, instead of letting girls and women be whomever they choose to be, they are being encouraged and conditioned to believe they are boys and men. That tomboy down the street? Her parents, her school, and the media has convinced her she is a boy. Instead of boys and men being allowed to be whomever they want to be, even if that means going through life wearing dresses and make-up, they are conditioned to believe they have to transition into a facsimile of a woman. That little boy who likes to wear mommy’s dresses? His parents, his school, and the media have convinced him that he should be a girl. That is what this patriarchal binary system has created: the need to be one or the other and to never deviate from either unless you are “switching” from one to the other.
But in reality, there is no “switching.” Sex is not gender is not sex. Sex is biology. With few exceptions, human beings are born either female or male. Girls and women are female children and female adults, respectively; just as boys and men are male children and male adults, respectively. This is basic science, biology 101. No matter how many drugs or how many surgeries, females cannot become males and males cannot become females; therefore women cannot become men and men cannot become women.
The very idea that a person has to be one or the other, female or male, is insulting and damaging to the gay community. Lesbians everywhere, this butch included, are non-conforming to the binary. So many different lesbians, refusing to adhere to the binary and thumbing their nose at the patriarchy as they, as we live as woman on our own terms. There are also gay men everywhere who do not conform to the binary, we see this with gay men who are deemed by society to be feminine and we also see this with drag queens, just to name two.
For transgenders to claim that they are “two-spirits” is insulting to the gay Native Americans who actually are two spirits. For them to claim that they are the ones who are non-conforming to the binary is insulting to hundreds of thousands of lesbians and gay men over generations who spent their entire lives not conforming to society’s rules and expectations. For transgenders to also re-write history so that drag queens and butches of the past suddenly become trans women and trans men, respectively erases our identities and our very histories. If I “hate” anything at all, reader, I “hate” that and will fight against it with every fiber of my being.
What I also “hate” is that a great majority of trans women want to co-opt women’s spaces, women’s words, and yes, women’s bodies. Whether certain feminists wish to believe lesbians or not, this is our lived and shared reality. The “cotton ceiling” exists and it is an affront to lesbians everywhere. Lesbians are shamed and guilted into having sex with male-bodied people who call themselves women and are told that if they do not comply, they are bigots for not accepting trans women as women.
Trans women’s whole state of being rests on how they are perceived. When that is threatened by lesbians who, by the very definition of a lesbian, do not wish to have sex with men, these trans women become so enraged at the very thought that we are denying them that they threaten us with rape, bodily harm, and even death at (a) being “misgendered,” and (b) our refusal to see past their penis and their being male long enough to have sex with them. This is not conjecture or rhetoric. This is reality. This is the “cotton ceiling.”
As a side note for those who do not know and who do not care to use Google, the “cotton ceiling” is a phrase that was created to describe the barrier trans women face when trying to date and have sex with lesbians. See, our panties are that barrier and the “cotton ceiling” represents the attitude that we simply need to be “educated” to accept trans women as women and then we will be willing to date and have sex with them. The very concept is so misogynistic and supports a rape culture that is so prevalent not just in this country, but world wide.
I do understand that even after having read this post, some will still insist that since I do not see trans women as women, then I am a transphobe and filled with hate. That is simply not true. What I am is someone who can see past the rhetoric, past the conditioning so ingrained in all of us, and see that while sex is a biological constant, gender is a social construct that can change with each person who tries to define what it is.
I also understand, and have been subjected to, men who do not even bother to read the entirety of my posts, but still have so much to tell me about what I am thinking and feeling, what I mean, and why I am such a bigot. These are men who feel so entitled, they don’t even feel they need to be informed before dressing a woman down for her words that they didn’t even be bothered to read. This does not hurt my feelings, I simply cannot and do not take these men seriously.
And, for the record, I do not hate men, not even the men who call me names and threaten me and my sisters with rape, violence, and death. What I do “hate” is that because of male privilege, men feel so entitled as to think they can take over women’s spaces, take over women’s words, and take over women’s bodies. Do “all” men feel this way? Maybe. Maybe not. But I can tell you that ALL men are conditioned from birth. ALL men are instilled with male privilege and even if society may see them as women based on their dress and actions in strict adherence to the binary, they still hold those privileged attitudes within themselves. It is that privilege that makes them believe that there is no space they cannot be in, no words they cannot co-opt, and no woman they cannot have.
That is what I “hate.”