Louder for the TERFs in the back

I’ll signal boost the actual piece I want to share in a moment–I just want to focus on this one line of TERF fuckery so we can all appreciate it. I mean really stew in it, soak in it, like it’s a warm bath. This isn’t even artisinal TERF fuckery. This is gourmet TERF fuckery.

It is also worth pointing out that approximately two thirds of transgender people have reported undergoing some form of gender-confirming surgery, meaning that the majority of transwomen are in possession of a penis

You know, if I hadn’t seen it in the wild, I would have accused Heather McNamara of making shit up. But no. They are really this blinkered. This is the genuine article.

Without further ado:

Those of us who have been in the trans activism game for a while are familiar with the mental and linguistic gymnastics that TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) perform in order to justify transphobia while simultaneously pretending they’re not transphobic. One of their little terms, however, recently went relatively mainstream as blogger Claire from SisterOutrider leveled it at bestselling author (and one of my favorites), Roxane Gay. That term is “lesbophobia.”

If lesbophobia charges were in good faith and meant lesbian phobia where “phobia” is used in line with its colloquial meaning to describe aversion or hate, perhaps it would apply to these sorts of behaviors:

  • Exclusion of lesbians from events or social situations
  • Exclusion of lesbians from discourse on sexuality or gender
  • Preference of straight or bisexual women over lesbians
  • Insistence that lesbians are actually straight or bisexual and erasing their identities
  • Violence leveled at lesbians for being lesbian

These are the sorts of things to which we refer when we discuss homophobia, so naturally it would follow that “lesbophobia” being used in good faith would apply similarly, with the exception that the target was exclusively lesbians. Roxane Gay’s words, however, fit absolutely zero of those descriptions.

Read more here. Content notice for TERF nonsense and evangelist dog-whistles, because of course a TERF would use evangelist dog whistles without the slightest hint of irony.

I swear to Dog.

-Shiv

 

Let’s talk about trans suicide

Paris Lees is an anti-bullying campaigner, but because transgender and gender variant British children are such heavy targets for abuse (no doubt caused in part by the UK’s bizarre and steady exports of TERFism) she spends a lot of her time talking about trans issues. Last month she tackled the issue of self-harm and suicidal ideation in gender minority youth, and drew a direct line to the stigma caused by pundits playing kickball with trans lives on TV and radio.

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“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.

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