Transgender Day of Visibility? This I did not see coming

So, it’s Transgender Day of Visibility, a day I often do not particularly emphasize seeing as how my mirrors still work, but which I write about today only because this is a Visibility Day thing I did not see coming:

The Washington Blade, as both my readers likely know, is the hometown gay paper of Washington D.C. which just happens to have national relevance because of its hometown being the seat of the federal government of the USA. There are other sources of this news, of course, but FUCK THEM, SUPPORT YOUR GAY PAPER, OKAY?

The whole article is here. But for fun and because I am a tease, let’s read a small excerpt together, eh?

Biden also recognizes long-standing issues facing the transgender community, calling ongoing violence against transgender people “a stain on our nation’s conscience.”

“In spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” Biden writes. “Transgender Americans of all ages face high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination.”

I would write more, but some onion ninjas have apparently attacked my home.

 

llyris, daulnay, & Iran give us a lesson in correlation and causation: Part 2

And here we are, part 2 of our extravaganza. We’ll focus on daulnay’s comments for a bit. First I think it important to acknowledge that this is daulnay’s first comment in that thread:

This is an anecdote, and also data; an outlier data point that needs to be accounted for.
A member of my family, who I’ve known well their entire (20ish years) life, is transitioning (M->F). At age 6, they were drawn to female characters. Throughout childhood (and beyond) when they played computer games, they would make a female character. They strongly resisted coaching to conform to male stereotypes, like stiff-upper-lipping pain or putting up with discomfort. A few years after puberty, they became more and more depressed, then suicidal. They described feeling that the body they were in was wrong, and felt life was unbearable. After starting transition, the suicidal urges disappeared. They’re much happier, and planning to live a long life.
For her relatives, this lifts an immense dread. The family she sees day-to-day is very accepting, and she’s found a larger trans community online. Where there was despair, now there’s bright hope for the future.
This is what transition is about, not a ‘social contagion’ but fixing something fundamentally askew.

This comment is clearly a statement of support for PZ’s OP, and for trans* liberation in general. When daulnay later asserts being an ally to trans* people, there’s a reason for that. They do seem to be speaking up in favor of gender liberation and against ATR (Anti-Trans Reactionary) philosophies at least some of the time. But I’m not here to praise good daulnay comments, but to criticize the bad ones. Trans, genderqueer, non-binary: lend me your ears.

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llyris, daulnay, & Iran give us a lesson in correlation and causation: Part 1

So by placing this here, I’m guaranteeing that it will be missed by many, but again I have to say some things that feel inappropriate as a comment (lest they take up too much space) and also might risk being lost on the internet if I ever wanted to track them down again at a later date. So here we are, making an OP out of molehill, again.

The need to say these things arises out of a thread over on Pharyngula. It’s this one, if you couldn’t guess. While PZ’s OP is fine and most of the discussion is as well, a few things crashed together destructively. I think this is important to tackle because it is an example of how people who think of themselves as allies can get called out for good reasons, but the imprecision of everyday language makes it hard for anyone to get past the fact of calling out to actually learn any lessons from it. Trans folk may think that people aren’t honestly trying to be on their side (because, frankly, we’ve seen a lot of bad faith arguments and it can be hard to tell the difference between “bad faith deployment of misinformation” and “good faith repetition of misinformation”) when, yes, they are trying. People working to be allies may simply not understand the lessons on offer and conclude that some is – wait for it – being hysterical. They may even quit listening. And this too is not entirely outrageous since merely being trans doesn’t guarantee that one is a good or even reasonable source of information. Being trans doesn’t prevent someone from saying stupid shit about being trans or about cissexism.

But in this case there is a problem (or two), and a huge one (or two), with things embedded in the comments of Ilyris & daulnay, and I think this needs discussion.

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On Hasbro’s Potato Head Be It

Conservatives: Gender is all about the penis. If you were born with a penis, you’re a man. If not, you’re a woman. These are the inevitable facts about gender encoded in the laws of biology. You can’t change that by just calling yourself by a different name or using a different pronoun, and I won’t submit to your linguistic fascism, not even if you attempt to enforce it through cancel-culture economic terrorism!

Also Conservatives: This no-dick, extruded-plastic root vegetable is a man: how dare you disrespect him by removing his proper title? Next you’ll be calling this nutritious, starchy gentleman “it”! FOR SHAME. Call him “Mister” or I shall boycott your company forever!

 

 

Anti-Heresy Laws Still Suck

While there’s a lot to be getting on with this week in the USA (and, heck, around the world, what with the novel coronavirus & all), it’s interesting to note that some of the old authoritarian tactics condemned many times here on FtB still have not gone away. This time I want to mention Poland, where queer women publicly displayed (and probably created, though that’s something I’m not sure on) an altered version of a famous painting: the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.

Black Madonna of Czestochowa, an iconic painting of the Virgin Mary with great historical and cultural significance in Poland.

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Anti-Trans Activism is Anti-Feminst and Anti-Woman

So let’s start with saying straight up that I know nothing about Ireland. Never lived there, never visited there, and I’m pretty much less confident in my knowledge of what constitutes Irish experience than I am that Ireland’s plants are purple. But what happened in Ireland during the RepealThe8th movement to overturn Ireland’s lethal ban on abortion is important for everyone to know. So I’m gonna reprint the shit outta the words of someone who does know something about all this, The Slothmare Before Christmas, AKA @CaseyExplosion on Twitter.

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Rewatching Juno: Page’s Story Is One of the Most Important of 2020

As soon as I can find time today or tomorrow, I’ll be rewatching Juno & posting some more thoughts on the Elliot Page news from yesterday. But why am I rewatching Juno at all? Well the answer bears on another question raised in the comments to yesterday’s post by sonofrojblake:

He was in Inception and X-men. It baffles me a bit why this story leaves those off the headline almost everywhere I’ve seen it.

The Umbrella Academy reference is understandable as it is Page’s most recent (and still Netflix-current) work. But why Juno, instead of a much more well known film (or at least one higher-grossing)?

The answer, I believe, can be found in the fact that is that it is the best and best-known pro-choice film for at least a generation. Over the last decade trans persons’ struggle against invisibility and for access to services has gained the attention of abortion providers and others responsible for family planning & reproductive health services as well as organizations that advocate for reproductive rights. This attention is not insignificant. In 2018 during the campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional Amendment 8 which banned nearly all abortion in the country, one excuse for some feminists to oppose the movement fighting for the repeal of A8  was that the movement was too supportive of trans persons and the ballot language was written in a way that included trans persons. Fascist fuckfaces argued with apparent seriousness that granting equal abortion rights to trans persons with vaginas and uteruses who might get pregnant would be to permit the proverbial and unacceptable camel’s toe into the tent.

Despite well-publicized pregnancies of a few trans men, and the obvious biological fact that merely coming out as non-binary or trans masculine does not give a body the means to automatically shut that whole thing down, there are people who struggle with the idea that we might want reproductive rights for everyone, even when inconvenient for pithy rhetoric. These people aren’t necessary bad people because they haven’t necessarily consciously thought through what it means to privilege rhetoric over human lives, nor have they necessarily thought about trans people enough to even realize that this is what they’re doing. But when the lead actor in such a tremendously important movie exploring the complicated nature of, the interpersonal and social limitations on, and vital importance of reproductive self-determination comes out as something other than a woman it becomes impossible for honest persons to see Juno as applicable only to women.

Juno will not lose its resonance for cis women. Juno will not become unimportant to cis feminists or cis reproductive rights advocates. It can be and is still a powerful movie addressing issues with which many (if not most) cis women who have sex (or experience sexual assaults) involving sperm will struggle. A cis women doesn’t even need to become pregnant to experience these issues. She need only believe that she is pregnant or has a high chance of being pregnant. A late period, a false test, a test that appears false because of a spontaneous abortion which will never be known, any of those things can be enough.

But without changing anything in the movie itself, trans and non-binary persons capable of getting pregnant (or who believe they are capable of getting pregnant – infertility isn’t announced at birth) can now point to the movie Juno and say, “These are our issues too,” with new credibility. With a credibility, frankly, that can’t be denied by any honest person.

I’m happy for Page, really I am. But I didn’t write about Page’s coming out because this is some random celebrity who happens to share some experiences in common with me.

I wrote about, and will continue to write about, Elliot Page’s experience of trans life because the importance of a specific piece of Page’s work to feminism is now presenting a moment of choice to every feminist who has found Juno valuable in the past. Umbrella Academy can help identify who Page is to those who aren’t automatically familiar, but this isn’t a moment about an actor, and that’s why Inception and X-Men: Last Stand are irrelevant to the story.

This is a moment when feminists have the opportunity to become transfeminists, when feminists can decide again whether they seek reproductive privileges for some or reproductive rights for all.

It presents a moment when feminists may ask each other, “If we fight for abortion access only for those whose gender is acceptable, what, in the end, do we stand to win?”

That question is truly dangerous for those who believe that feminism is compatible with demanding conformance to a broader stereotype, or one’s choice of a few new stereotypes. Elliot Page’s announcement has the power to force a fundamental moment of dawning awareness, a moment in which one can hear one’s own brain sound a feminist :click:, a moment in which those of us feminists who reluctantly support (or fight against) trans inclusion finally understand that to do so means that they have, all unknowing, continued to believe that some stereotypes are acceptable, and that all rights are ultimately conditional on good gender.

What will we, as feminists, choose next when we hear that click?

That feminists now face such decisions is the real news, the important news, in Page’s Instagram announcement. And after 25 years of fighting for feminism-informed trans-advocacy and trans advocacy-informed feminism, I can’t tell you how exciting this moment has become.

Let’s see some change.

 

Next Elon Musk Wants To Ask About These So-Called “Nipples”

Gizmodo has decided to report on the startling and unexpected revelation that Elon Musk is a bit of an asshat. (h/t to Loose noodle poodle doodle over on Pharyngula.) This is not my typical beat here at Pervert Justice, but I was charmed by one anecdote – not by Musk’s behavior, but by that of an unnamed “girlfriend”. (Factcheck: almost certainly an adult.) Gizmodo puts this in a quote, but doesn’t clearly identify where the quote is coming from, so you’ll just have to settle for clicking through to Gizmodo if you’re the kind of person who wants to check my sources.

Anyway, the anecdote:

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It isn’t up to us to win

I first became politically active when the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance put a citizen’s initiative on the ballot to declare in law that “homosexuality” was “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse”. Measure 9 was itself an abomination, one that treated anti-discrimination laws as if they were discrimination against bigots, which was somehow supposed to be an unconscionable thing, what with how unfair that would be to the bigots.

Measure 9 lost. The OCA (which then featured Scott Lively as its highly visible 2nd in command) lost. But that doesn’t mean that queers “won”. We spent money and energy and made ourselves visible, made ourselves targets, so we could be attacked intensely for an election season in the hopes that sacrifice would make us safer after the election season. That isn’t victory. Honestly, it was a lot like being in abusive relationship, something I knew a lot about, and provoking abuse as the “walking on eggshells” phase of the relationship grated horribly on one’s nerves. Sometimes one’s fears of what abuse comes next are worse than the actual abuse when it occurs. I had to reasonably fear being killed by my abusive partner, but as it turns out, I was never murdered.

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