“Biological male”

It takes a lot for me to endorse a Twitter thread, mostly because if your message takes more than one tweet I think you should just get a blog. Still, Zinnia Jones has made an argument for why insistence on labeling trans women “biological males” has troubling ethical implications, aside from the overly reductionist interpretation of science.

(Click on the embedded tweet to view the thread).

-Shiv

Liberal transphobia

Sam Riedel has a good review of recent events which are representative of a broader pattern: Trans folk have a very uneasy alliance with left-leaning people in general, because left-leaning people in general haven’t shed the kyriarchy’s nasty habit of scapegoating us.

Much of my marching time was spent exhorting bystanders to cheer for trans rights. As we passed the iconic Stonewall Inn, I turned once again to my right and screamed “If you have rights because of trans women of color, make some fucking noise!” Hoots and cheers ensued, and we proceeded on our way.

Little did I know that less than two hours later, when #NoJusticeNoPrideactivists blocked the tail end of the parade to call attention to violence against trans women of color, deportations, and the ongoing corporatization of Pride, 12 of them would be arrested by the NYPD. As those same Pride bystanders — standing outside the bar where Black trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, “The Saint of Christopher Street,” resisted arrest and started a riotthat would change the world — watched the arrests, they cheered again. Not for the protesters, but for the police. Judging from photos, at least one of those arrested was a transfeminine person of color.

The message, though unintentional, was clear: The cisgender Left, those who claim to support trans people and our struggle for civil rights (and who make up the vast majority of those at NYC Pride), are quick to cheer our oppressors when that support becomes inconvenient. Bystanders were happy to acknowledge Pride’s sociopolitical roots as long as that acknowledgment was brief and didn’t get in the way of celebrating. As soon as political statements became an inconvenience, their support was swiftly withdrawn. Similar protests took place at other Pride events; D.C. attendees were quoted in the Washington Post yelling “Shame!” and “You’re going to ruin the parade!” to #NoJusticeNoPride activists.

I imagine this is what strategists feel like when one of their pieces is erratic and prone to flying off the chess board. I’ve certainly had to swallow a few bitter pills any time I dip my toe in to local anarchist organizing–the tendency to view any and all institutions as having no justifiable function results in some theories based on conspicuously thin evidence–and I’ve had anarchists rather bizarrely claim that I am victim to the Illuminati “BigPharma.” They don’t seem to understand that the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest ethical problems are related to patents, intellectual property, and ownership; how these concepts interact with distribution or lack thereof; and how that distribution is not being accorded to physical need. Instead, biochemistry and pharmacology as scientific disciplines are capitalist lies!11!!1

Okay, bro. I’ll be taking your eyeglasses now, since medical aides are all a profit-conspiracy.

Read more of Riedel’s review here.

-Shiv

A comprehensive review of objections to trans womanhood

I was actually starting to build up a list of arguments that are frequently used as a bludgeon to question the authenticity of trans women (and it’s always trans women) when Julia Serano published her comprehensive review of all that bullshit.

The “trans women refuse to acknowledge any distinction” fallacy

People who make the trans-women-aren’t-women case will often insist that there is a distinction between cis women and trans women, yet trans women refuse to acknowledge this distinction. I find such claims endlessly frustrating. I have never once in my life heard a trans woman claim that our experiences are 100 percent identical to those of cis women. Indeed, the very fact that we in the trans community describe people as being “transgender” and “cisgender” points to an acknowledgement of potential differences!

The problem isn’t that we (i.e., trans women) refuse to acknowledge any differences, but rather that the trans-women-aren’t-women crowd refuses to acknowledge our many similarities.

This has come up a few (just a few) times in my work.

Read the other forms of “real woman” gobbledegook here.

-Shiv

Intersex devbio, gender variance, and sex essentialists

Dr. Cary Costello has a piece up about the interactions between intersex folks, sex essentialist/trans exclusionary feminists, and gender variance.

It’s a nice piece because it demonstrates the impact of sex & gender assignment and how this procedure is generally undisturbed upon the discovery of intersex developmental biology–the intersex individual is often still given a binary sex assignment, and this generally remains true across the world. If the medical establishment ever pulls its head out of its ass and stops doing this to intersex newborns, trans feminism (including my own) will have to account for persons who are assigned intersex at birth or risk being obsolete, in addition to the very notions of “cis” and “trans” not mapping neatly onto intersex experiences.

[Read more…]

Anything but trans

Given that trans-antagonism still possesses enough social capital to be routinely published in mainstream media outlets, we ought to consider its influence on those questioning their gender identity. There is an entire sub-genre within the topic of “questioning” prompted by notably not-trans people that I’m calling the “anything but trans” narratives.

Questioning your gender? Take a shot of Pimozide. Results supporting this idea may be based on a single case study and not an actual sample, but anything to not be trans, right? (This is entering not even wrong territory–the WPATH recommends psychosis be “managed” before transitioning but no longer considers it an automatic exclusion from gender dysphoria).

Questioning your gender? Hey, this anonymous Tumblr survey circulated by TERFs says 20% of “detransitioners” actually had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder instead, they just fixated on gender. What a relief you’re not trans!

Questioning your gender? Hey, this “expert” says autistic people are disproportionately represented among gender dysphoric youth. You’re “just autistic,” and not trans. Whew!

Just Autism. Just OCD. Just a perception disorder. Just mommy issues. Just a sexual fetish. Just a phase. Just personal preference. Just PTSD. Just just just. On and on it goes, a never-ending refusal to actually listen to trans people in a desperate bid to find a cis explanation for a not-cis phenomenon.

[Read more…]

Transmisogyny is still misogyny

I think most feminists would do a double-take if they had received the endorsement of evangelicals, but not Meghan Murphy. Undeterred by the fact that the Conservatives have selected her to share the limelight alongside evangelical pastor Paul Dirks, Murphy has the privilege of taking her transmisogyny to a national stage as a “witness” for the Senate’s third reading of Bill C-16.

The sad part is that there are legitimate critiques of Bill C-16. Advocates pointed out (and I’ll admit I was a bit late to the party on this one) that trans women are already disproportionately targeted by police and are therefore more likely to be represented in prison–the same prisons that would house hate crime offenders for longer periods of time thanks to Bill C-16’s hate crime provisions. But that’s not the argument Conservatives or Murphy are making.

[Read more…]

Science says…

The National Organization for Marriage decided, for reasons unfathomable to me, that YouTube comment sections are precisely the sort of thing that ought to be spray-painted onto the side of a hideous orange bus to be toured around the country in the name of Science! Gawd! Biological reality! Privacy! Safety! “free speech.” I’ve wanted to write about this for a while and honestly, the one thing I was stuck on is that NOM didn’t really… argue… anything.

Their messaging is ridiculously scattershot, the sort of rambling I’d expect from a freshman who accidentally wrote the same essay for four different classes while nibbling on marijuana brownies. It’s utter nonsense from start to finish, a manic conspiracy theory scribbled in crayon on the back of a diner napkin. So for a while I didn’t even know where to start, until I figured that my complete bafflement at whatever the fuck they were trying to say was a good way to lead as any.

Content Notice for seven degrees of transantagonistic eliminationist bullshit:

[Read more…]