We Need To Come Together In Love & Support

So here’s the thing. We, as women, can disagree with each other and still support, like, and even love each other. I have been trying to be consistent with my blog and write in it at least once a week, but this last week or so has left me somewhat heartbroken, watching women on Facebook, Twitter, and different blogs argue over the debate of political lesbianism vs. lesbians who feel they were born that way.

I realize I sound a little kumbaya-ish or like a voice from the past asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” but this is pretty serious. Whether you consider yourself a lesbian who was born gay or whether you consider yourself a woman who came into being a lesbian through your politics, it doesn’t much matter to me. What matters to me is how we treat each other.

True, if one were to go by the older definition of a political lesbian, that is, a woman who is a celibate heterosexual who considers herself a lesbian just for the politics of it; and she is neither attracted to nor does she have sex with women, then that is unbelievably offensive in its appropriation of our lives and words as lesbians. But what I have been seeing over the past couple of weeks is that the older definition is used by few and the more recent definition of a political lesbian is a woman who discovered that she was a lesbian through her politics, through radical feminism. While I, personally, take serious issue with the former definition, I have no problem whatsoever with the latter.

But seriously, the vitriol on both sides is heartbreaking to watch. I have been seeing “born this way” (or b-t-w) lesbians speak poorly about political lesbians, I have seen political lesbians say some pretty terrible things about b-t-w lesbians, and in at least one case, I saw a woman try to out another woman’s pseudonym; and since I am also using a pseudonym, that last one concerns me greatly. It is completely disheartening to think that another woman might get angry with me when we disagree and try to out me all over the ‘net.

I also understand that these same arguments fly over other things like “gold star” lesbians vs. lesbians who came out later in life, lesbians who are for and against the butch-femme dynamic, and lesbians who are for or against BDSM. While I can understand how some women might feel about me identifying as a butch lesbian, it in no way would affect how I would treat those women, assuming of course that they are treating me with the same respect with which they themselves wish to be treated. The same goes for the “gold star” issue: since I have never had sex with a man, I suppose I would be considered a “gold star” lesbian, but I would never presume to deride my close friend (or any other lesbian) who figured things out after first getting married and having children. We are both lesbians, we are both feminists, we both put women first.

One would think that, instead of putting down women who feel they were born homosexuals or who believe they found lesbianism through their politics or who do or do not subscribe to the butch-femme dynamic or who are or are not “gold star” lesbians, that we would all just accept and support each other as we are and work together to fight the real threat to our and every other woman’s life on this planet: men.

Recently, a fellow lesbian got angry with me and cut all ties. Now, do I understand what the hell happened? Of course not, it came out of left field; but I support her right and her decision to not follow or speak to someone with whom she had a disagreement. Just as I love and support my family members who are conservatives; while I would fight tooth and nail against everything in which they believe, I support and love them as my family and as people who have the right to hold whatever beliefs they choose.

So know this: know that I support you all as my sisters. Regardless of how or when you came to be a lesbian (or if you even -are- a lesbian), regardless of whether or not I agree with everything you say (because I don’t, just as not all of you agree with everything I say), regardless of whether or not we “get along,” regardless of whether or not we even speak to each other, I put women first and you are all my sisters, so I support you all.

If I could ask one thing of all of you, it would be this: even if you disagree, even if you don’t even like each other, give one another all of your love and support. We cannot continue this fight against men, misogyny, the patriarchy when we are fighting each other.

 

 

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.