Is Being Gender Critical and Butch Mutually Exclusive?

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a long time now. Can one consider herself butch, aka, a masculine woman while also being critical of gender? It’s a question I have been thinking about for several months and now is the time for me to put my thoughts down on paper, so to speak, and figure this thing out for myself. Some of you will, of course, disagree and that is cool, but I would be willing to bet that there are a lot more of us out there than we think.

I’ve been an out lesbian for half my life now (over 20 years) and I didn’t consider myself butch (or “a” butch, ymmv) until almost 10 years later. It took me a long, long time to come to the realization that butches were women, we didn’t wish to be men, we were women who just happened to be masculine. Once I came to that realization, I was able to accept my true self: a gender non-conforming, masculine woman, or more simply, a butch lesbian; or even more simply: a butch.

It’s hard to be a butch in this world. Don’t worry, I am not about to play the oppression Olympics here, I completely understand that there is enough discrimination to go around and there are hard times for all of us. But let’s be honest here, I cannot speak for femmes, straight women (even the butch ones), gay men, straight men, or lesbians who are neither butch or femme because I am none of those things. So I will stick to what I know: being a butch lesbian in this patriarchal society.

Before I continue, I wanted to put out there that even though I am not speaking about femme’s experiences here, I welcome their input about this post or their own experiences; especially the anonymous femme who briefly talked with me about the hierarchy of femmes and butches in my last post (Who Gets To Decide What “Lesbian” Means?). I hope she sees this post so she can come back to leave her thoughts on the issue.

So let’s dig in to this complicated subject matter, shall we?

As I was saying before I digressed a bit, being a butch lesbian in this patriarchal world is tough. We have almost no “in real life” role models, very few, if any in the media, and when I was a young dyke, there were even fewer than there are now if you can imagine that. Because this society believes that men own masculinity (and women own femininity), we butches have therefore had no choice but to model ourselves after the men in our lives and go by how the media presents men; and this is nothing if not problematic. Because of this society, because the patriarchy frowns on women wearing “men’s” clothing (and vice versa), and because there are almost no butches in the media, these are two very big reasons why a lot of straight and even gay people assume we all want to emulate, if not actually be men.

The lack of butch role models and having to use men or the media’s idea of men as our guides (well, I don’t, but I did when I was younger because I didn’t know any different and I see it more and more in these young butches today) presents other problems. For those unfamiliar with on-line butch-femme communities, there is a clear hierarchy of “butchness” or masculinity and it discriminates against butches who do not identify as male and it especially celebrates the female transgender, or the trans “man.” In this hierarchy, there are the levels of butchness that I mentioned, such as soft butch, butch, hard butch, male identified butch, and trans “man.” Usually we butches who know what sex is and celebrate the women that we are, are set low on that totem pole, somewhere around soft butch.

You see, even in the (on-line) butch-femme world, a lot of people are conditioned into the patriarchy just enough to believe the bullshit that men/males own masculinity and women/females own femininity, that females cannot be masculine, and that to be masculine, one must either be male identified or they must transition into some facsimile of a man, aka the trans “man.” So even in the butch-femme (on-line) world, female, and therefore feminine is “less than” and most people do not consider a butch to be masculine if she doesn’t deny biology and instead accepts and even celebrates that she is also female. In the comments of my last post, I said this maligned treatment comes from femmes, but I meant some femmes, not all; and to be honest, quite a few male identified butches and trans “men” feel this way as well, that female is less than; or more appropriately, that feminine is less than masculine. Like I said, a lot of this comes from the male identified butches and trans “men,” but it can also come from femmes as well. There are quite a few femmes out there these days who clearly want straight men without actually having to date straight men. They like the analogy that butch = man, that they can have only PIV sex, that they use male pronouns, etc. It is quite frustrating, to say the least. As I said, not all femmes are like this, but more and more of them are coming out of the woodwork as sex becomes more and more conflated with gender and the binary, as dictated by the patriarchy, wins out above all else.

To be fair, I don’t have to be a femme to see this coming from the other side of things as well; but even more than the hierarchy of femme, I also see things like how so many butches expect femmes to be like straight women and how a lot of them even toss femmes aside in favor of straight women. I also see the masculine and feminine stereotypes of the heterosexual world playing out in that a lot of both butches and femmes expect the butches to be the dominant ones, or the “tops,” to borrow a BDSM term and they expect the femmes to be the submissive ones or the “bottoms.” This is problematic in so many ways because it relies on society’s assumptions that feminine is always and only for women while masculine is always and only for men, so the above butches and femmes assume the woman (feminine) is always supposed to submit to the man (masculine). That is unbelievably sexist and it is almost always internalized, born of the conditioning we face being born and raised female in this society; and the sickest part, for me, is that all of that sexism is coming from and pointed towards females, women. So because there are not a lot, if any, butch and femme role models, we end up falling into the traps of our own conditioning by believing the bullshit of the binary, by seeing feminine as women and women as feminine, as well as masculine as men and men as masculine. That, dear reader, is where the idea of male identified butches and trans “men” come from: that blind loyalty to the binary and the patriarchy that conditioned us so very well.

I have always held the notion that transgenderism is a fad, a way of being a special snowflake, of distinguishing yourself from the “norm” so that you can be considered “cool.” It’s exactly like the on-line BDSM fad of several years ago in the butch-femme world (the straight and gay men’s world as well, but again, I cannot speak of what I don’t know). Suddenly, there were daddies, babygirls, masters, and mistresses all over the butch-femme on-line communities. Why? Again, it was a way to be different and special, to separate yourself from the “norm” and appear to be “cool.” Transgenderism is the same thing: a fad. I have said before and I will say it again: if society would stop with the preconceived notion that females or women own femininity and males or men own masculinity and instead allowed people to express themselves in any way that they wish, dress as they wish, wear make-up or not, have long, short, or no hair, walk, talk, and act as they wish, all regardless of their sex, then there would be no need for transgenderism and no need to “transition” into anything.

Masculine and feminine, like gender, are socially constructed, but I don’t view them as genders. Masculine and feminine are simply descriptors that do not belong to either sex. This means that that men can be feminine and that there is nothing wrong with that. On the flip side, women can be masculine and there is also nothing wrong with that.

So with that, I think I have come to the end of it, dear reader. It started as a question in my head: whether or not I could consider myself a butch lesbian and gender critical at the same time. While I consider myself a lesbian essentialist, I do not consider myself a butch essentialist. I may have been born a lesbian and was quite the dyke for a long time, but I found butch through exploration and an ultimate discovery of who I was (and am) as a woman.

I was chatting with a friend the other day (at least, I would like to be able to call her a friend) and she said that for her, “lesbian” is a “descriptor that others can understand.” I liked the way that sounded. Oh not for lesbian, but for butch and masculine. For me, butch has always meant and will always mean, masculine woman, but in this society, people get confused by putting those two words together, masculine and woman, so I say butch.

In that context, butch is a descriptor that others can understand, to varying degrees, of course. Like I said, there is the fad of being male identified and/or transgender, neither of which are actually butches, but the premise is the same. I use butch, not as a gender or an identity, but as a descriptor to signify to the world that while I am masculine, I was, am still now, and always will be a woman. I am a masculine woman, a butch.

So the answer is: yes, I can be critical of gender and be a butch lesbian at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.

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Humorous or Sexist?

sexism-at-work

Is this harmless humor or sexism at work?

While this isn’t just about shaving, of course, since we can also see how the woman is portrayed as: alone & living with her cat, not dressed, no make-up, eating pie, seemingly depressed, etc., the major focus is on her very hairy legs and that is what I am going to write about in this post.

Quickly, for reference, I found this on imgur (http://imgur.com/gallery/5viGqt2) and I’d like to note that, as of the writing of this post, it has 5003 ratings with only 153 dislikes, giving it 4850 likes. 97% of the people who rated this pic liked it; and reading through the comments, one can become disheartened at how “liked” this pic really is and how women, especially single women, are really viewed in this society.

Women shaving is a huge thing in our patriarchal society. We are conditioned from a young age to believe that women’s legs, armpits, and now even pubic areas should be completely haven clean. To do otherwise, we are taught, is to be unclean, not hygienic, gross, ugly, etc.

I noticed how it has gotten worse since the 1970s when there was a shift in the porn industry from women who were natural with their pubic hair to women who have virtually or completely no pubic hair. The porn industry decided, and society has followed suit, that the way women should look is completely hairless. It has not only become the norm and what is expected, boys and men, and even a lot of girls and women find pubic hair on a woman a turn-off and “gross.”

Men, on the other hand are expected to be naturally hairy in all places. In fact, the only time I ever hear a negative thing about men and their body hair is when it is on their backs. Or when/if they are being teased for having no or shaving their chest hair; but the reason for that is because it makes them seem womanly, which in this society, is a bad, bad insult for a man because women are considered weak and less than.

But this post isn’t about men, so back to women and our body hair.

I remember, vividly, walking out to go play a softball game when I was a junior in high school and as I stopped to pull up my knee pads and adjust my socks, a teammate stopped and noticed the stubble on my legs (I hadn’t shaved in a week or so). She made a disapproving sound and asked me, quite loudly, “Ugh – don’t you believe in good hygiene??” in an effort to shame and humiliate me.

I decided that day that I was not going to shave anything on my body ever again. I didn’t need or want the approval of men or anyone else and I didn’t see the difference in hygiene when it came to women vs. men shaving their bodies. I also didn’t need or want a pre-pubescent body, which is basically what this amounts to: women’s bodies appearing as pre-pubescent as possible because that is what men, in general, want: young, thin, hairless, child-like women; and in this society, that is not only OK, it is celebrated. Older men are constantly coupling with younger women and no one seems to bat an eye, but Demi Moore dates a man half her age and it becomes headline news.

But I digress…..

Of course, over the next few years of my life, I occasionally shaved; again, in this society, women are expected to, shamed into, and sometimes even coerced into wearing dresses: in college when my friends wanted to “make me over” and get me ready for a frat party (good god, how boring those were!), when I was a bride’s maid at a wedding, etc. But as I reached my early 20s, the decision to never shave again became cemented into my mind and I made it a permanent thing: I would never again shave my legs, armpits, pubic, or other areas of my body ever again.

I have wavered in my decision over the years. How could I not? I am still a woman and I have been conditioned to believe certain things about my body just as other women have (that’s what’s known as: shared girlhood). Add to my own conditioning, the conditioning of the women around me, even other lesbians, who think it is gross or “man-like” for me not to shave and I have, at times, felt ashamed and as though I should shave every damn inch of my body so that I, too, could be accepted by everyone in this society.

But I never did. The decision to never shave again hit me that day in high school when I was a 17 year old kid, humiliated for not keeping my legs hair-free enough to please a bully on my softball team. The decision was strengthened once I realized who I really was and that I not only didn’t want men, I didn’t care what they thought about me.

Make no mistake, dear reader, girls are taught from a young age that they must be clean shaven, dressed in a feminine manner, have on make-up, etc. All to cater to the male gaze. I know some of you are shaking your heads and thinking to yourselves, “No way, I do those things for me, because they make me feel good about myself!” or “I do those things because I like to do them. I like wearing pretty dresses, high heels, make-up, and keeping clean shaven on all parts of my body!”

But the hard part about sexism is owning the fact that the reason why you “like” to do those things is because you were taught to like those things through conditioning. We are all taught as girls to behave in certain ways and to do certain things in an effort to please men; and growing up thinking that we like dresses, high heels (which are damaging to the feet and legs, btw), make-up, and yes, even shaving are things we like to do just means that our conditioning is complete (sorry, that sounded like the Emperor from Star Wars in my head and I couldn’t resist typing it that way).

Oh, I am not saying that women everywhere should throw out their make-up, razors, and high heels (well actually, yes on the high heels), but I am suggesting that we each take a few moments to actually think about the whys behind our doing those things. Own the real reason and start (or continue) to see the conditioning that we, as women have gone through and continue to go through thanks to the media and especially thanks to the porn industry.

 Just like with white and male privilege, the first step to dismantling our conditioning is to first recognize it, then call it out and see it for what it is: men oppressing women.

Shared Girlhood Is Important

Here’s the thing. Shared girlhood is so damned important!

I saw this brilliant hashtag pop up on Twitter a few weeks ago: #sharedgirlhood; and holy hell, did it start up a shit storm from the men out there who call themselves women. Women everywhere know why this happened: men and their male privilege believe that they own everything, including women and all that we hold dear. So when a group of women get together and start talking about what it meant to grow up girls in a patriarchal society, these men and their narcissistic points of view went, well, insane.

See, we live in a society where boys are taught that (a) girls and women belong to them and (b) they can be anything they want. Two examples:

1. Rape Culture. Yes, we keep hearing these words and then so many of us tune out because we are still taught that rape is the woman’s fault or only strangers hiding in the bushes rape women, etc. But in reality, we are teaching our boys that they can have any girl or woman they want, any way that they want, and by any means they may deem necessary. Take all of the boys in high school who drug girls or get them so drunk they pass out so that these boys can then do whatever they want with the girls, sexually or otherwise. Then when they are caught or she tries to press charges, the boys are protected and the girls are demonized. This teaches boys and men that girls and women not only belong to them, but that we are also expendable, made to be used by them and tossed aside like trash.

2. I saw a video on YouTube the other day where a young man was so intent on becoming something called Super Saiyan and he believed that if he wanted it enough and believed hard enough, then he could become a Super Saiyan. He then had some sort of mental breakdown because he started making fists, throwing his arms out, and screaming. Then at the end, he claimed to have achieved his desire of becoming a Super Saiyan. After watching in disbelief, I had to Google Super Saiyan to see what it was he believed himself to have become and it is a cartoon character. I am not joking. This kid believed he could and did become a part of a race in a cartoon world that are all powerful beings.

If that is not the best example of the trans community, I really don’t know what is. To be so completely engrossed in your own delusion that you believe you can make your body transform from one thing into another, when all the laws of physics and science say otherwise is a very powerful delusion fueled by something clearly broken deep down inside of that person.

In reality, being trans is role-playing. It is like life is a game and they are live action role-playing their way through it. When a person dresses up in an animal costume and believes he is that animal, we all laugh and say that he needs help. When a person gets so addicted to on-line role-playing games like WOW and they begin to believe they ARE that character on the computer monitor, we all laugh and say that they need help.

But when a man pretends to be a woman on-line, as, I have found, is so often the case, as so many of them live their off-line lives as the men they are and only claim to be women on-line; or even dresses up in a dress, a bad wig, some female hormones, and make-up clearly done by someone who has only known women through porn movies, we celebrate that as him being his true self?

What’s sometimes worse for me, as a butch lesbian, is watching other butch lesbians and even the young, confused straight girls who want to escape their lives, putting on “men’s” clothes, cutting their hair, strapping down their breasts (or worse, having them removed completely), stuffing silicone down their pants, and pumping their bodies full of toxic hormones in an attempt to simulate some sort of manhood that only they see when they look in the mirror. What the rest of us see is entirely different and while I have sympathy for these women, I can’t help but wonder what it is that is so broken inside of them that they decided to do this to themselves.

Logically, with women who attempt to become some facsimile of male or men, the answer is pretty clear: growing up girls in the patriarchy, we all learn that boys and men are superior. Of course, it isn’t true, but that is what is shoved down our throats on a daily basis for the entirety of our lives. Breaking away from that conditioning is an everyday struggle. But imagine being one of those young women, seeing everyday how boys are treated better than you are, given more and better opportunities, offered more respect, responsibility, and even love. Wouldn’t it make sense that some of these young women would decide to try to become men in order to escape what this society has decided what their destiny is: lower pay, little to no respect, bodies that are not their own, fear of being raped or killed and not being able to stop it, considered less than on every scale imaginable. Thinking about it in that way, it can sort of make sense how some girls and women would want to jump ship and live their lives as men, doesn’t it?

Men, of course, have different reasons: almost 90% of the men claiming to be women do so because of a sexual fetish. They get off on wearing “women’s” clothing, make-up, wigs, and taking hormones; and don’t get me started on how arousing it is for them to “pass” as women, even if it is barely or badly passing, as is often the case. To have other men desire them as women, to have other women acknowledge them as women, it is all so arousing for these men that are sometimes considered sexual deviants; and let’s not forget all of the men trying to break through the cotton ceiling by trying to shame lesbians into finally having sex with them.

But instead of calling it out, instead of expressing our revulsion at the very notion that these men are getting off on pretending to be and being acknowledged as women, many women celebrate and embrace them, instead shunning those of us who see the truth and try to point it out to them. We have become so “PC” about everything, haven’t we? We don’t want to offend anyone in any way and that is something we can never win because no matter which way we turn as a society, someone will be offended by what is said or done.

Look at young girls, like me, who preferred “boy’s” clothes and toys to “girl’s” clothes and toys. In today’s society, my parents would have assumed I was trans and I would have been put on hormone blockers to keep my breasts from forming and from menstruating. Instead of teaching me and all little girls like me that little girls can wear whatever the hell they want and play with what and whomever they want, the natural inclination now is to change the child instead of changing society.

Instead of teaching boys that it is ok to wear dresses and play with dolls, we shame them into thinking they are somehow less than. Why? because in this society, girls and women are less than, so if a little boy wants to dress in clothing or play with toys society has decided are just for girls, then clearly, that little boy is less than in society’s eyes. Instead of teaching little girls that they can wear, play with, and be anything they want, we shame them into thinking they are freaks or worse, lesbians, which even for all of our advancements, is still a dirty word and an insult.

It isn’t the children and their behavior that needs to be changed, it is society that needs to be changed. Our ideas and attitudes on sex and gender have become so convoluted that I am amazed anyone can rise above the crazy and actually love themselves for themselves.

Shared girlhood IS important, dear reader. It is important for all of us to acknowledge that race, color, religion, class, etc. aside, we women, we females all shared some common histories as girls being born  into and raised in a patriarchal society. We cannot deny those commonalities. We cannot allow men to take those commonalities away from us. We cannot tiptoe around the fact that men have male privilege and men dominate this society in which we live.

We were born girls in a society that favors boys and we have to stop denying that that fact has made a difference in how we were raised, how we see ourselves, and how we see each other. This is why women/female only spaces are so important. Even the most well intentioned male/man will still dominate the conversation and the direction in which it goes. We need to support each other, support our choices, support female-only spaces, support our decisions, support how we choose to live our lives. Because, honestly, this is what men want. To keep women fighting against each other so that they can remain in control. We are more than half of the population of the earth, we bare children, we are the heart of every society and yet we continue to be oppressed by men.

 At what point will you stop supporting men in every single thing they do, even the insane, even the deviant, even when it also harms women? What will you do to help change this society?

 

Gender Is Not “Assigned” At Birth

Here’s the thing. It is a very serious problem when women, feminists, radfems, the media, etc., or a combination of any of the above use the phrase, “the gender they were assigned at birth.” Why? because it is incorrect wording that, when used repeatedly gains notability and with more use, it gains credibility as people see it as a true statement when, honestly, it is not. Gender is not something that is “assigned” to infants at birth. It’s not a seat assignment that someone gives you when they look between your legs and either see a vulva or a penis. That would be sex. Once again, people are confusing sex with gender.

Nothing is “assigned” to anyone at birth. Sex is determined at birth when the person delivering the baby sees its genitals and declares, “It’s a girl/boy!”; and before some joker wants to come in screaming about intersex people, that is a red herring and we all know it. Intersex people are not trans are not intersex people. Stop trying to muddy the waters. The above determination of sex is not gender being assigned to that child like it is a homework assignment or something. Determination of a child’s sex at birth is basic biology 101 and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gender.

The sooner people can stop confusing sex with gender the better; and the sooner people can stop using the phrase, “gender assigned at birth,” the better because then we can all start discussing what gender really is and how harmful it is to women.

Gender is a social construct; and it arrives through socialization. True, this socialization may start just after birth when the child’s parents or the nurses at the hospital or who ever decides to dress little boys in blue and little girls in pink so that people know what sex the child is; because in our society, sex is a class and there is a clear hierarchy, with women being on the bottom and men on the top. The sooner the little boys and little girls are discovered and differentiated, the clearer their future will be to the people around them. But that is not the same thing as being “assigned a gender” and having that child (or adult) suddenly and magically “know” what it is like to be a girl or a boy (or a woman or man).

Gender through socialization happens over a period of time; and this is what women mean when they speak about having shared experiences that are different from men who are born and raised boys then decide later that they wish to declare themselves to be women. When we say this, we are not saying that we all share the same upbringing. Obviously, women of color have different experiences than white women, women brought up in a poor household have different experiences than women brought up in wealthy households, etc.; but the fact that we were all born as little girls and then raised in this patriarchal society is our shared experience.

This next part is hard to describe. I honestly thought it was obvious until I started seeing so many male transgenders (aka “MtFs,” which is a misnomer, since males cannot become females) talk about how they know what it was like to be raised as girls, since they “felt” like girls. This was mind boggling to me and reeked of their own male privilege. How arrogant of men to sit there, as the oppressive class, and dictate to women, the oppressed class, what it is like to be women! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and reading.

As women, we all know what it is like to be born and raised as little girls in this society. It is something that, unless you are a woman, is difficult to describe or understand; and sometimes, the socialization of women is so complete, some women don’t even see it. This is why so many women in today’s “feminism” are so pro-male, why they are ok with so many men taking over feminism, why they are ok with men in the government restricting women’s access to healthcare, and why they are ok with men who role play as women co-opt our experiences, our words, even our very private spaces. We women are socialized or conditioned to put men first, always. Men have no idea what it is like to be conditioned to apologize before asking a question, or apologize for asserting yourself and creating boundaries, or to take up as little space as possible. These are just some of the things women are taught since birth; and I don’t mean taught like consciously in school, I mean a deep subconscious conditioning beginning from infancy and continuing into adulthood.

Side note: before a male transgender tries to speak up about how he does know about those things because he is trans or about how women don’t know about this, that, or the other because they are “cis,” try stopping for a moment and actually listening to a woman instead of making this about you. That is what men do.

Now see, any of the transgenders who actually kept reading my post instead of just stopping after the first paragraph when I said that sex is not gender, just stopped reading. It is impossible for men to magically know what it is like to be a woman, just as it is impossible for women to let go of all of their lifetime of socialization and know what it is like to be a man. Sure, I get treated differently sometimes when someone thinks I am a man vs. when they realize I am a woman, but this isn’t the same as being born a boy and raised as male with all the privilege that goes along with it in a society dominated by the male class.

But male transgenders actually believe that putting on a dress and/or taking some hormones negates everything they have been taught while living as boys and men and they suddenly “know” what it is like to be women. Forget all of the male privilege that has been shoved down their throats for years, they don’t see that that is what makes them think they are allowed to have access to everything and that if they say something is true, then god damnit, it’s true.

And there is where we come to it: how gender harms women. Let me relate a story really quickly. I was reading a blog post of a male trans on Tumblr. This guy was, as he put it, “presenting in women’s clothes” while out with some friends bar hopping. They decided to go to a mostly straight bar in a mostly gay neighborhood and while he was there, he took off his top (he was wearing something leather underneath) and security told him to put it back on.

The interesting thing at this point of the blog is that the man honestly thought he was passing as a woman. He mentioned in his blog how he wasn’t sure if or how security could make any determination that he was trans, so he didn’t think it was about him being trans at that point. He posted a picture of himself at the bar that night and there is no question in anyone’s mind but his own that he is a man dressed in what society has deemed “women’s” clothing.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine a delusion so powerful that what you see in the mirror is the complete opposite of what the rest of the world sees, but you are so determined in your delusion that you dare anyone to contradict you? It’s like people with an eating disorder who look in the mirror and see a very fat person staring back at them but the rest of the world sees the reality: an unbelievably, unhealthy skinny person who is killing themselves. This is how some of these male trans are. In their delusion, they look in the mirror and see a beautiful feminine woman, while the rest of the world sees the reality of what is actually there: a man in what society deems as “women’s” clothing.

Anyway, I digress. Nearing the end of the evening, he decides to use the bathroom before heading home. Now, this bar did everything right: they had a women’s bathroom, a men’s bathroom, and a unisex bathroom. This is the best compromise for male and female transgenders who feel they should not have to use the bathrooms of their own sex out of fear, while also allowing the women in the establishment the privacy and respect they should be given, as well as keeping female transgenders safe from being attacked in the men’s bathroom.

But instead of using the unisex bathroom, this person who was, clearly, a man, decided it was his right to use the women’s bathroom; and when he did so, he was confronted (rightfully) by security. He held his ground and he sat down on the floor of the women’s bathroom and called the police, claiming that he feared for his life. The police were confused as to (a) why he called them and (b) why he was in the women’s restroom. He asked to be escorted out of the bar safely and they did just that. He is currently in the process of making complaints to any lawyer or legal entity he can in an effort to “change” things at this bar, because the compromise of a unisex bathroom wasn’t enough for this guy. He “said” he was a woman so that should be good enough for the rest of the world and damn any woman who wants any kind of privacy or safety of their own.

When you make laws based on something as ambiguous as gender and the law makes it clear that if someone states they are such&such, then they must be recognized as such&such, regardless of the reality of the situation, you open the door to all sorts of privacy and safety issues for women. A male transgender who is, by definition, pre-op and most likely not living as a woman full time should never be allowed into women’s private spaces; but because sex has been overlooked for the sake of gender, women are, yet again, getting thrown under the bus for the sake of men.

If this man had actually be raised as a girl and socialized to live as a woman, he would never have inserted himself into another person’s space like that and then demanded that he be allowed to stay or else he would sue. If he had actually been a woman or even if he had been someone who respected women, he would have known how nervous and uncomfortable women would be in an enclosed private space like that with a male-bodied person and he would have used the unisex bathroom.

For men like this, it is all or nothing. he either gets his way every single time or else people are being transphobic and must be sued or arrested or, if they are radfems, they should be beaten, raped, or killed for their horrible offense of knowing, seeing, the truth.

Sex is not gender, ladies and gentlemen. Sex is a class and women are at the bottom of that class, dominated by men in a patriarchal society that will always put men first. Gender is a social construct that is taught to all of us through socialization and it re-enforces sex stereotypes in an effort to keep the female class on the bottom of the heap.

My hope is that more women stop choking on the kool-aid these men are shoving down their throats and wake up to see that we are the equivalent of the human batteries in the Matrix. We are sold a bill of goods from the moment we hit this world and waking up out of that coma is not only hard, for some women it is almost impossible. But more and more of us are waking up everyday and realizing that sex matters. Our sex matters; and giving up our rights for the sake of men is not something we should be blindly accepting, it is something we should be fighting against tooth and fucking nail.

The Truth About Why Transgenders Are Really Angry At Women Like Me

I touched on this briefly in my post before last: how so many of the responses, discussions, complaints, and trolling that I have read concerning my post, “Another Sister Lost to the Madness” were so interesting to me because of all of the misconceptions surrounding me and my posts, what these individuals believe I am saying, how they are interpreting my posts, etc. When you write something and you have a very clear intent with that writing and you make every effort to make that intent clear to your reader, you can tell when someone isn’t really reading what you are writing, they are merely reading what they think you are saying based on their own mis- or preconceptions.

A lot of that has happened over the last week or so as the above mentioned post made its way to a few communities and web pages or female transgenders, which reminds me that I wanted to bring something up really quickly before it also gets pulled apart, misconstrued, etc. Since both FtM and MtF are misnomers, in that no female can magically turn into a male and conversely, no male can magically turn into a female, as both are biologically impossible; and since using the terms transman and transwoman seem to bring about the need of these individuals to “other” the rest of us by insisting on using the slur, “cis,” I have been looking for better descriptors when speaking about these individuals.

I have come to like the terms female transgenders for women who attempt to transition into some facsimile of “men” and male transgenders for men who attempt to transition into some facsimile of “women.” I also like the terms, F2Tg and M2Tg, which would mean female to transgender and male to transgender, respectively. Both have the same meaning, neither should be considered transphobic since they are more accurate depictions of what transgenders are actually doing with their bodies, and both sets of terms satisfy the need to move away from the idea that one’s biology can be somehow changed with medication and surgery.

So, after reading some of the comments, complaints, discussions, and trolling, I really feel that I must point out some things; and I will number them so I can make sure I cover everything I mean to cover:

(1) Just because I have an opinion that differs from yours, just because I point out the reality of biology and transitioning, and just because I bring up the homophobic and misogynistic parts of transgenderism, this does not equal hate speech and this is not transphobia. I am not advocating violence against transgenders, I am not trying to get transgenders fired, evicted, or jailed, I am not trying to bring laws about to make transgenderism illegal. Nothing about what I am saying is hate speech or transphobia and all that you do when you accuse me of that is prove that you have no actual valid points, so you must deflect, deflect, deflect.

(2) Along with the above, just because I have these opinions, this does not make me this or that poster under a different name. Believe it or not, a LOT of women hold these same opinions. Some of us cannot be vocal with their opinions because the trans trolls are so violent and so relentless in their harassment; some of us can only be anonymously vocal, voicing our opinions while trying to keep the violence from being directed at us; and some of us are out there for all the world to see and taking all the shit that comes with voicing these opinions.

Just because I share the same opinions as some other women, this does not make me these women; and to be honest, the fact that people seem to think that this is true and/or that it is ok to attribute these opinions to one women who has hundreds of sock puppets is frighteningly misogynistic because it assumes that we women cannot think for ourselves and that we are all not allowed to have supporting opinions. So whoever it is that you think I am, dear reader, odds are very good that I am not her; and honestly? Who I am shouldn’t even matter. The message is the same, regardless of who I am.

(3) Do you know that saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger”? That is part of what seems to be happening here. Of the angry transgenders that are reading my posts, instead of actually reading the whole of each post or instead of actually reading what I am saying, they are reading what they think I am saying. Or rather, they are reading what they want to hear so that their level of delusion and martyrdom can continue. So when I pointed out that a young woman is made to believe that because she dresses in male clothing and loves women and likes to tinker with cars or whatever else it is that society has deemed “man things,” then she feels she should transition, that isn’t me telling someone how to identify themselves and it isn’t me telling someone what clothes to wear or who to love, etc.

These readers are confusing me with this patriarchal society. It is society that tells little girls, “Oh, you can’t do that, only little boys can do that.” It is society that tells little boys, “Oh, you can’t do that, only little girls do that.” Carrying that forward then, transgenders go forth believing that, well, if I like to wear these clothes, do these things, love these people, then I must be the opposite sex trapped in this horrible body. I am not saying these things and making transgenders feel this way, society is.

What I am saying is: fuck the patriarchy and homophobia. Little girls should be allowed to wear what they want, roll around in the mud, play sports, play with “boys’ toys,” and dream about growing up to marry the princess and save her from the evil witch, all while still being little girls who aren’t conditioned to believe that the only way they can live these lives of which they dream is by “becoming” little boys.

What I am saying is fuck the patriarchy and homophobia. Little boys should be allowed to wear dresses and make-up and high heels, have tea parties, play with their Barbie Dream House, and dream about growing up and being rescued from the evil witch by their prince charming, all while still being little boys who aren’t conditioned to believe that the only way they can live these lives of which they dream is by “becoming” little girls.

It is society that convinces people that gender is innate and not a social construct designed to enforce sexual stereotypes that keep male/men/masculine above everything female/women/feminine. To give in to this conditioning doesn’t make you a non-conformist, it makes you the biggest sheep on the planet because you are helping the patriarchy to enforce these woman-hating sexual stereotypes called gender.

So while I understand being angry at someone showing you the truth, if you are going to be angry and disagree with me, disagree with me for the right reasons. Don’t disagree with me because you haven’t read what I said and just think you know what I am about to say. Don’t disagree with me because you have misunderstood what I said. Don’t disagree with me because I am pointing out that the patriarchy has sold you a bill of goods. I didn’t create the patriarchy, ladies and gentlemen, I didn’t tell you that you needed to transition in order to “feel whole.” You told yourself that because that is the kind of fucked up society in which we live. We have the kind of society that has taught you from birth that you cannot live the kind of life you want to live unless you are the opposite sex.

I am not the one judging you, dear transgender reader, I am not telling you how to identify yourself or even telling you how to live. That is the patriarchy telling you all of that. That is homophobia telling you all of that. That is male privilege telling you all of that. That is this male dominated society shoving all of its collective stereotypical bullshit down your throat while calling it gender identity so it can get you to swallow it without choking.

I am simply one of the many pointing it out to you. 

Let’s Talk About Lesbophobia

The word is considered a joke by many and is never really taken seriously. Why? Because (a) it concerns women and (b) it concerns women who have no need or desire for men, or their penises. I see a lot of people throw around words like bigot, homophobia, misogyny, and transphobia. Sometimes these words are being used correctly and there is some hatred going on where the words are being used. But most of the time, these words are being used as a silencing tactic to keep some women from speaking critically about things like transgenderism, the patriarchy, rape culture, misogyny, etc. Moreover, lesbophobia is rarely used and when it is, it is never taken seriously. So let’s talk about it for a minute because as much as men (including male transgenders) try to dismiss it and laugh it off, this is a real thing and it is silencing, harming, and even killing lesbians.

The responses to my post, “Another Sister Lost to the Madness” have been interesting for a variety of reasons. First, I need to make note that a LOT of misconceptions about me and my writing have surfaced; and while they didn’t start with this particular post, seeing the discussions and claims surrounding me and my intentions with this specific post are at the forefront of my mind tonight. I have seen people misread what I say, misrepresent what I write, and even claim that I am someone they know under another name. I will address these things in another post because, while they are important to discuss, what I discovered as I started writing this is that I have something else to talk about first.

I have noticed that with all of the comments, complaints, and down right trolling over my “Another Sister Lost to the Madness” post, for once, not ONE male transgender has commented, been upset about, or otherwise had any kind of reaction to one of my posts. Interesting, yes? This is important to notice and call out because it says something to me and it should say a lot to women everywhere, including those who wish to transition into some facsimile of a “man.” These men don’t care one iota about women, women’s rights, women’s needs, etc. Since that post was about female transgenders and not male transgenders, the men didn’t  so much as peep about it, because they are narcissists who only care about themselves and their needs, which means, sisters, that THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT WOMEN.

You should note that when I make a post about male transgenders, women come out to support them; straight women, bisexual women, female transgenders, even some misguided lesbians, all kinds of women come out in support of these poor, helpless men who just want to live their lives as “women.” Women support these men. Women stand up for these men. Women fight for these men. But when a post pops up that doesn’t directly concern them and instead focuses on female transgenders, where are the men? Oh yeah. They are over there –> trying to figure out how to make the “cotton ceiling” sound like a good thing so lesbians will finally have hot “lesbian” sex with them without pointing out how the whole idea just adds to the rape culture of our society that women have to deal with every single day.

The same thing happens in the gay community. Lesbians have gone out of our way to be supportive of, stand up with, and fight for our gay brothers. We were there at the Stonewall Riots. We were there during all of the AIDS walks and AIDS awareness projects. We have been there with them, side-by-side through every crisis, every equal rights march, every bashing, every death. But we and our wants, needs, rights, etc. are often ignored by gay men. If it’s not about them and their lives (read: penises), they don’t want to hear about it, much less be bothered to stand with us and fight for it.

When the world at large says the word, “gay,” they are almost always talking about men. When the media talks about gay slurs, you never hear them talking about the words “dyke” or “bulldyke,” only about the words “fag” or “faggot.” Whenever discussing gay rights, it is almost always about men, unless of course, they can parade an old lesbian couple around for the “cuteness” manipulation effect. When you read a gay magazine, there is almost always nothing about lesbians in it, unless it is making fun of us. Hell, when you check the inside cover to see who works at the magazine, the list is almost, if not all male, so is it any wonder they have no clue what it is like to be a lesbian today?

Unless it directly affects them and their lives (penises), men couldn’t care less about not just women, but especially lesbians. So it wasn’t really a shock for me to open up my email and see comment after comment made by “male identified butches” and female transgenders who were unhappy with (and mostly misreading) my post. By the way, as a side note, I even got some mail about trans butches. There is no such thing. You’re either trans or you’re butch but you don’t get to be both. Pick one and move on with your life and stop co-opting another person’s identity.

But does any of the above clue you in, dear sister readers? Do you ever wonder where the men are when it is time to discuss rape and rape culture (and note here that I am talking about men in the plural, as in the men of this male-dominated society; not one specific man)? Do you ever wonder where the men are when a lesbian or lesbian couple are bashed, raped, even killed? Do you ever wonder why popular culture focuses so heavily on gay men and if they decide to focus on a lesbian, she needs to be feminized so she doesn’t offend the male viewers? Do you ever notice that the gay magazines rarely cover anything relevant to you? Or how about the gay bars; ever wonder why they are so heavy with gay men and their hags and never really care about whether or not the lesbians even show up to have a drink there?

If you have never wondered about any of the above, I challenge you to do so now. Think about it. Think about all of the times lesbians have been pushed aside in this society as an anomaly or as women who just need a good man or some “good dick” to become better or “real” women. Think about all the slurs we endure day-in and day-out that no one even bats an eye at because they are so accepted. Think about all the times one of our sisters is bashed, raped, and/or killed and it barely makes a blip on the gay media, let alone the main stream media. Think about all the times your opinions and ideas are dismissed by both the gay and straight communities, only for you to find out later when a man or straight person has the same idea, and it is applauded.

While we are at it, we could be discussing why some of those angry female transgenders aren’t thinking about how dismissed they are. We keep hearing about male transgenders getting caught, literally, with their pants down in women’s restrooms, dressing rooms, showers, etc., and all anyone seems to care about are the poor men who just want to use the lady’s restroom and damn the women who don’t want to be in a close, private space, in the nude, with a naked man. But what about all of the female transgenders who get booted out of the male restrooms or worse, get the shit kicked out of them for daring to both look masculine and be in the men’s restroom? You don’t hear about female transgenders demanding to have their naked bodies in the men’s dressing room or shower with other men because hell, they are just one of the guys. True, this has more to do with male privilege than lesbophobia, it has to do with men feeling like they own every single space and are entitled to everything they can see; but it is all rooted in the same pile of bullshit: the patriarchy.

It all boils down to this: we lesbians are dismissed, we are ignored, we are laughed at and not taken seriously, we are even bashed, raped, and killed. Why? Because we all dare to be women who do not need or want men or their penises and that, sisters, is one of the most dangerous ways to live.

It’s time for women to start standing up for women.

Another Sister Lost To The Madness

I was at the store the other day when I heard one of the most heartbreaking things that a dyke can hear one of her sisters say. It was a convenience store, so when we all stood in line and were then waited on, we were all side-by-side facing the 2 clerks behind the counter. When I got up to the counter, this young butch dyke who was helping me was talking to a young gay man (customer) next to me. I would guess they were both around 20 years old. The young dyke was saying that she didn’t know how to tell her mom something, which being gay, made my ears perk because hey, we’ve all been there, right?

Then she says that her mom already knows she is a “lesbian” (she used air quotes there), but that she wasn’t a lesbian, she was “trans” and “wanted to live her life as a man;” and she didn’t know how to tell her mom this.

As I said, this was sincerely heartbreaking; to see and hear a young butch dyke talk about transitioning and living her life “as a man.” I wanted to reach across the counter and shake her like a mom who just caught her child running across the street without looking, consequently almost getting hit. It was sad to see this young woman, a sister to me in many ways, speak about transitioning; and I have to say, she didn’t seem happy about it either. She seemed resigned, like it was something she had to do, not something she wanted to do.

I wanted to tell her not to drink the trans kool-aid. I wanted to tell her that she didn’t have to take drugs or have surgeries and mutilate a perfectly healthy female body. I wanted to tell her to not give in to the binary and conform into societal demands. I wanted to tell her that it’s ok to be any kind of woman you want to be, patriarchy be damned.

I wanted to say all of that and more, because it sickens me to see the kind of pressure young women like this deal with on a daily basis. I dealt with it as well. I was so masculine looking, I was “passing” in high school, even with long hair. In my early 20s when I came out, people still thought I was a man, but it was made worse because I was a lesbian and to so many people, a masculine looking lesbian “wants to be a man.”

Forget that I didn’t want to be a man. Forget that I loved being a woman. Forget that I loved my body. Forget that I was ok with the non-conforming woman that I was. I received so much pressure to transition, I almost did. I figured I was supposed to transition, that it was something everyone expected me to do, so I should just do it.

I am thankful everyday that I decided against it.

But not every young lesbian is that lucky. So many of them feel so much pressure from society and from the trans community that they should transition, they end up making the biggest mistake of their young lives. Sometimes, that mistake is irreversible.

I was reading some comments yesterday from straight men and women and it was pretty astonishing to see not only how little they know about lesbians and trans people, but also how little they really actually care about lesbians. Here is this blog, created and written by a butch lesbian about her lived experiences and her opinions based on those lived experiences and these straight women and men were commenting about how there is no such pressure to conform, there is no such pressure to transition. Hell, they even commented on how harmless the cotton ceiling is and how it doesn’t attempt shame lesbians into having sex with men who call themselves women.

Instead of believing a woman who has lived these experiences and knows about them first hand, these straight people also drank the trans kool-aid and believed the rhetoric spewed forth by the trans community. Instead of listening to what I had to say about lesbians, butches, and trans people, these women and men decided that I was just another silly woman screaming about how awful the menz are and that they shouldn’t take me seriously.

So it shouldn’t be surprising to see young butch dykes out there who are subjected to the trans propaganda, feel like they should transition. It shouldn’t be surprising that young dykes out there who are confronted daily by a society that ignores, ridicules, and even tries to exterminate butch lesbians, feel like they should transition. I shouldn’t be surprising that young dykes out there who hear from the straight community all of the homophobic, lesbophobic, and misogynistic crap they say about lesbians and women, while praising trans for “being brave,” feel like they should transition.

It isn’t surprising to those of us who felt, and still feel that kind of pressure from the straight, trans, and sometimes even gay communities. but it is heartbreaking. When you are a woman who doesn’t conform to what society believes a woman should be and then you thumb your nose at society again by not conforming to the man they believe you should transition into because of how you look, dress, or act, life isn’t just hard, it can sometimes be down right unbearable.

Life as a non-conforming lesbian can be especially difficult when faced with women from your own group, such as other lesbians or feminists, who are so conditioned by the patriarchy that instead of celebrating the kind of non-conforming woman that you are, they also disbelieve your lived experiences, they also feel that you should just transition already, and they also put your needs as a woman on the back burner for the sake of men.

No, it isn’t surprising that this young woman was resigned to her fate. It isn’t surprising  that she was ready to stop being a lesbian and conform to what people everywhere shove down non-conforming women’s throats about transitioning. It isn’t surprising that she was ready to live life “as a man.” It’s heartbreaking, because I, like so many other women out there who refuse to conform to this patriarchal society’s demands, have been there; and sometimes, it’s just easier to go with the flow of those around you and do what is expected.

Someone on my Twitter joked about staging an intervention for this young woman; and I really wish we could. I wish a group of us could sit her down and tell her that she is beautiful and handsome and wonderful just the way she is, that she is part of a community filled with a rich and amazing history, that she is loved and cherished for the non-conforming woman that she is. Our intervention could even consist of women who I keep meeting through my blog, women who went through the transition stages in their attempts to become men and who, years later, regretted that decision and are on their way back to the women they always were.

I could tell her what I told myself so many years ago when faced with the pressure to transition: Fuck society. Fuck the patriarchy. Fuck conforming. I like the woman that I am and I refuse to become something I am not, nor would I ever want to be in order to satisfy the world’s misogynistic view of woman.