Political and Born This Way Lesbians – Why The Battle?

Last night, I found and was reading a post on Facebook from several days ago that was a discussion between several women who identified either as political lesbians or born this way lesbians.

First, some quick definitions so we all know where we’re at on this:

A lesbian is an adult female who is attracted to other women physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and intimately. There are no penises on lesbians or in lesbian relationships (so no men or males).

A born this way lesbian is a lesbian who feels she was born gay, that being a lesbian was not a choice for her.

A political lesbian is a little trickier, because there is more than one definition. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a political lesbian was a heterosexual woman who was tired of men personally and politically, so she became celibate and called herself a lesbian. But she was a lesbian in name only for political reasons.

A few years ago, the definition morphed into a woman who came to her lesbianism through her politics, but she was a lesbian in every way.

Now, the definition of a political lesbian is that a woman chooses to be gay because of her politics. Through her work in politics and activism, she realized that heterosexuality was a learned behavior to further oppress women and instead of continuing in that, she decided to make the conscious decision to become a lesbian, but she is a lesbian in every way. Quite a few political lesbians under this definition are late in life lesbians, becoming so after one or several relationships with men and maybe even some children.

I think that covers it. I am sure that if I am wrong on any point that someone will come along and correct me (well, except for the definition of a lesbian)!

Anyway, on to my post. As I was saying, I observed a post between some born this way and political lesbians and almost all of them were being respectful of each other and not arguing against each other’s beliefs, simply arguing for their own beliefs. It was a nice discussion. At first.

Then came a couple of political lesbians who so strongly believed that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are choices that women make, they were convinced that they were right, they were convinced that born this way lesbians were not only wrong, but ignorant for holding their beliefs.

Of course, what I failed to talk about when I was laying out definitions of both born this way lesbians and political lesbians is that neither can prove that they are right or that the other is wrong. These are feelings, you see, beliefs based on how women feel. So while one can believe strongly that they are right, they cannot prove that they are right because, well, it’s kind of like religion: they have faith that they are who they are based on their internal feelings as women and lesbians.

So I was kind of shocked to be reading this, not only the part about the political lesbians thinking they were right and born this way lesbians were ignorant, but the blatant disrespect from these couple of political lesbians toward the born this way lesbians was something I have seen, but that I had hoped we were passed by now.

It was like watching the bad parts of religion, the “my religion is the only right religion and you all are going to hell!” kind of thing; and it was very, very sad to watch.

It made me wonder why we battle so much over this. Why aren’t we just a bunch of lesbians who believe that we arrived at lesbianism in different ways, but that we were all here now and working together?

Based on some of what the one or two disrespectful political lesbians said in that thread, I suppose they would say that by believing one is born a lesbian, one must also submit that others are born straight women and if a woman is born straight then she is born into a life of sub servitude and sex, whether she likes it or not, whether it is painful or not, whether she wants it or not. So by believing one is born a lesbian instead of it being a choice that one makes, one is then buying into and supporting women’s oppression.

That seems kind of harsh, doesn’t it? That because a woman believes she was born a lesbian, she is supporting, ignorantly, women’s oppression?

I don’t believe that for one second. As you may remember from the last post that I did on this subject, I a one of the lesbians who considers herself born a lesbian. I didn’t make the choice to become a lesbian, it was not my choice. It was not my choice to be bullied, bashed, and harassed for being who I am. It was not my choice to be left out in the civil rights department simply because I love women. It was not my choice to not be able to get married simply because I was born a lesbian. Knowing all that we know, I find it difficult that ANY woman would choose this. Even later in life lesbians. I believe they were born lesbians, but they were just in denial for a while and now they are realizing their true selves.

BUT, even though I believe all of that, I still respect political lesbians enough to support them as lesbians, as sisters. I am of the “live and let live” model when it comes to other lesbians. So, I support political lesbian’s right to not only believe whatever they wish, but to also express those beliefs. I support their fight against women’s oppression in any way they can fight it; because, after all, isn’t that what we are ALL fighting for here?

Remember that, sisters. Because yes, we may have come to lesbianism in different ways, on different paths, but we are both discriminated against. We are both denied rights. We are both harassed. We are both bashed. We are both beaten. We are both killed. For being lesbian women. And as lesbian women, we are both fighting for the same thing: to end women’s oppression by liberating women from men and this patriarchy.

Let’s end this battle, sisters!

Advertisements

Musings of the Misunderstood Dyke

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.

Transgenders: I’m Rejectin’ Your Deflections

Here’s the thing. People who have no support for their argument deflect in an effort to keep you from realizing they have no valid argument. It’s very common and even more so on-line where people feel incredibly and increasingly confident in arguing for or against something of which they know very little. When they are backed into a corner, they lash out and deflect.

We women see it all the time. Transgenders have created words that are then used as slurs in an effort to deflect and silence. Say that a transwoman isn’t a woman and we are called bigots and transphobes; or the made up words, “cissexist” or “transmisogynist.” Admit that we are not trans and we become cis scum. Hell, I don’t even have to do either of those things, all I have to do is write about lesbophobia and I become an “exterminatist.”

 

frockdoctrineuk_10-28-13

 

The deflections happen all the time. A woman puts forth the very logical notion of biology 101 and states that a male can never become a female or vice versa and the first thing she hears is “Bigot!” and/or “Transphobe!” Those are deflections. Using those words in an effort to silence and shame the woman putting forth her own opinions and ideas when there is no real argument against what she is saying.

There is also the classic, “well what about intersex people?!?!” This is, of course, a red herring. Talking about gender and biology and saying that females are females and males are males when suddenly someone screams about intersex people. That is bringing up something that had nothing to do with the topic at hand. Intersex people are not transgender, so to bring them up when speaking about transgenderism is a way to deflect the conversation.

As for my being called an “exterminatist,” that is a special kind of deflection and it happens all the time when women like me speak up about the problems surrounding transgenderism. It’s called a strawman argument and it is when my words, thoughts, and ideas are misrepresented, then exaggerated and put forth as real.

Take, for instance, the female transgender who re-blogged my “Let’s Talk About Lesbophobia” post and commented with:

“How do you reason with someone who believes that mtf women transition just to victimize other women, and ftm men transition because of internalized misogyny and to obtain male privilege?”

Now, anyone who has read “Let’s Talk About Lesbophobia” or any of my blog posts would know that the above assertion is a complete fabrication. Not only did I not say those things in my lesbophobia post, I haven’t said any of those things in any of my posts. But instead of arguing against my lesbophobia post, hell, instead of actually reading my lesbophobia post, this person decided to just put forth some extreme statements and incorrectly attribute them to me in an effort to discredit and silence me, as well as deflect from the fact that they had no valid argument.

Going back to the “exterminatist” comment, since I have never said anything about wanting to exterminate transgenders and have, in fact stated the opposite (that I support laws that protect all people from discrimination and violence), then the person who called me that was clearly deflecting by misrepresenting my thoughts and views and painting me as someone who wants other people dead.

An even better example of a strawman argument would be from this blog: “Radical Feminism is a Danger to Women.”

When I first read this blog post, I thought this person was transgender. They were so passionate on speaking about transgenderism and what it’s like to be transgender, that the logical conclusion was that they themselves were trans. But when I looked at some other posts, I saw that they describe themselves as a “cisgendered lesbian,” which we all know is just the convoluted way of saying “lesbian.”

This person not only acts like they are an authority on everything trans related, they also claim to be an authority on radical feminists, or radfems; except they got everything about radfems wrong. I am pretty sure it was intentional and done with malice; trying to deflect and hide the fact that this person has no real argument against radfems except to say, “omg they’re SO bad!11!!”

Radfems don’t hate men. They put women first. Notice the distinction? Radfems are not so rooted in males and male supremacy that everything needs to be framed according to men. The framing is around women. Women, women’s issues, women’s health, women’s safety: all top priorities for radfems. Radfems also don’t want to oppress men. This, again, frames things around men. What radfems really want is to liberate women and deconstruct the patriarchy. Again, see the distinction? It isn’t about men, it is about women. Putting forth the idea that radfems center everything around men is a deflection, a strawman argument. Not to mention how derailing the title of the blog post is; since radfems put women first, they cannot and are not a “danger to women.”

So Rayne, in an effort to shame and silence radfems while also discrediting them, created this very long post that has fallacy after fallacy after fallacy because they could not come up with an actual argument against radical feminism, which is, simply: to liberate women. I mean, seriously, regardless of your politics, your class, your race, your sexual orientation, etc., how can you argue with that?

Rayne could not; and it was easier to just make stuff up and pass it off as truth like they worked for Fox news or something. Of course, Rayne also deflected when arguing with @TerriStrange about male violence. Rayne wanted to frame it as violence against women while Terri wanted to frame it as male violence. Calling it violence against women puts everything on women when it comes to the violence done against them; but framing it as male violence puts the responsibility where it belongs: on men.

Instead of an actual argument against saying one over the other, Rayne decided to deflect the conversation by insinuating that lesbian on lesbian violence was so prevalent that to call male violence what it is (male violence) is to make domestic violence between women invisible. But when the vast majority of violence against women, against homosexuals, against children, and yes, against transgenders and transsexuals is perpetrated by men, calling it male violence is not only appropriate, it is necessary to keep the focus where it belongs.

Using a small percentage of male rape victims (most of whom are raped by other men, btw) and a small percentage of woman on woman violence to deflect from the very real and credible threat against women (men) is what the patriarchy wants. Like it is saying, here, keep looking at what my left hand is doing while my right hand kills off your sisters systematically.

Deflection. Don’t let it derail you from the very valid points you are making, dear reader. Remember: the next time you are having a discussion or an argument with a transgender or a trans ally (who also claims to be a feminist) and they deflect by using a strawman argument, violent threats and name calling, a red herring, or any other tactic, don’t get sucked into their derail. Walk away.

 We have a long road and a hard fight ahead of us, so save your sanity. Walk away.

RE-BLOG — Feminists are not responsible for educating men

This is a re-blog from http://feministcurrent.com

I actually just ran into this situation yesterday while dealing with several (at least 5-6) men on Twitter who decided to jump into a conversation I was having with two other women. They started out mansplaining and demanding us to show proof of violence towards men but after a while, they, and consequently more friends of theirs, just started trolling, trying to exact responses out of me by calling me a “sick fuck” (several times, actually, that was his favorite phrase for me) for suggesting male violence occurs and that women should be able to have safe and private women-only spaces, such as women’s bathrooms, dressing rooms, showers, etc. I was even accused of beating my children when I suggested that little girls didn’t belong in the men’s bathroom.

These are men who are completely and utterly filled with their own male privilege. These are men who will always stick up for men (even trans “women”) before they will ever hear or take a woman seriously. These are men who had several women talking to them about the reasons needed for private female-only space and all they could do was demand proof and demand to be educated.

Unfortunately, these are also the same men who would never read, much less listen to a blog post like the one I am re-blogging below. But, hopefully, a few women may see it and they might start to feel differently about “well meaning men” who butt into their conversations and lives in order to demand some basic education because they refuse to do the work themselves.

I will add 3 snippets of it here to my blog and link to it at the bottom so you can go read the rest and view the comments, adding your own to the author, should you wish to do so. it’s a good read. I sincerely recommend it.

-BBB

 

—–

 

Feminists are not responsible for educating men

As a vocal feminist with many intelligent, lovely male friends, I’m often met with indignance when I choose not to engage with them about feminism. Surely if I reallycared about changing our culture of discrimination and inequality, I should be trying to educate men? Isn’t that an activist’s job? Shouldn’t feminists be grateful when men want to bounce questions off us, because it shows that they are at least trying to understand?

It’s both exhausting and diversionary being expected to hash out the basics with men who haven’t bothered to think about their own privilege before. Men are not entitled to expect feminists to educate them. Real change will only happen when men accept that the burden of education is on them, not on women.

……….

It goes without saying that there is nothing wrong with having basic questions about feminism. Unpacking something as complex and insidious as patriarchy, particularly when it requires an examination of your own privilege, isn’t easy. Where it becomes problematic is when you are so confident that your questions are SUPER! IMPORTANT! that you try and co-opt feminist discussions to have them heard.

To borrow the analogy of another woman:

It’s as if you have walked into a postgraduate mathematics seminar, yelling: “Hey, how can you even use imaginary numbers anyway if they’re not real?” When someone rather distractedly points you to a first-year text-book in the corner, you leaf through the first couple of pages half-heartedly for a few seconds and say:  “I don’t agree with some of the definitions in here – and anyway you haven’t answered my question. Doesn’t anyone want to have a discussion with me?!!”

……….

To paraphrase Audre Lorde:

When people of colour are expected to educate white people as to their humanity, when women are expected to educate men, lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world, the oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions.

If you are in a group that has the structural advantage of wages, safety, health and education – when you’ve basically already won the life lottery just by showing up – it is your responsibility to educate yourself. And really, don’t tell women to be nice. We’re angry. We have every reason to be. Frankly, you should be too.

—–

Read the whole post here: http://feministcurrent.com/8098/feminists-are-not-responsible-for-educating-men/