Wow.

I am not one to post un nuanced approval of any mass media work, but all I have to say about this interview excerpt is “Wow”.

 

 

This comment is not about the murders of MtF trans people

But I think you cissies can learn something from our experience.

The murders of MtF trans folk are very often rage-filled, with multiple stab wounds or gunshots, and these assaults preferentially target our breasts and our genitals. Our murderers wanted, as it were, to erase our transness along with our lives. They wanted to rid the world of transness. It’s a genocidal impulse made viscerally personal.

It is, of course, hideous enough that trans people have been subjected to such murders, but historically the media outlets reporting on those murders would deadname victims, would call us men in women’s clothing when our names weren’t to hand, and in other ways would work to portray us as anything but ourselves.

In short, our murderers attempted to erase us, and the media chose to complete the erasure. This wasn’t neutral reporting, news outlets were choosing to assist our murderers, even to the point of completing their genocidal work.

The United States and a number of other “Western democracies” are in crisis because would-be fascists are attacking democratic governance itself. To say, as Biden has, that such people are anti-democratic is to tell an obvious truth that the fascist-leaning themselves tell each other every day. The more outrageous and ambitious among them then pass that on to the rest of the US:

We do not trust elections

they say.

We will not tolerate the general rule of law, but we will use the law to attack our political opponents,

they say.

And in the face of these things, the media chooses to admonish the anti-fascists, the leftists, even the Democrats and other institutionalists for language that the media insists will sow distrust and spark violence.

Do not accept this narrative. Do not tolerate this narrative to be spread in your presence. The fascist and fascist leaning are working with vigor to blame their own division, hatred, and violence on anyone but themselves, and this media narrative does not report on fascist violence: it completes the fascists’ task of delegitimizing government and justifying its overthrow by any means necessary.

Apparent neutrality is not the same as actual neutrality, and the media have a particularly shameful history of adopting a guise of neutrality while forwarding the cause of violence.

When the authoritarian, anti-democratic mob assaulted the US seat of government on 6 January, 2021, it was with the intent of preventing democratic rule. When two thirds of House Republicans voted to oppose certification of the 2020 presidential election this seemingly separate event was another effort with the same goal: to end democratic rule. They may make noises of protest to dissociate themselves from the insurrection, but their own actions show them attempting to complete it.

Even now our media treat McCarthy and the other House Republicans who voted to oppose democracy as if they are correct to be offended when Biden calls out “extreme MAGA republicans” as anti-democratic and semi-fascist. Like the House Republicans on the night of 6 January, the reporters and commentators who accept and repeat this framing are not neutral: they are working to complete the fascists’ goal of delegitimizing the Democratic Party and of democracy itself.

What will you do to call the media to account? Will you be as outraged and as active as the trans people who protested the coverage of our murders? You should be.

Time is short. Choose to act.

that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough

So one of the things I have said about my activism in the past is that my job is to work myself out of a job. I want to end domestic & sexual violence generally, fully fund services for all victims who have been (and will be) harmed before we finally do away with D/SV, and along the way to end heterosexist barriers to sex and gender variant victims ability to access relevant services. I want many other things, too, but these are at the core of my activist career, if I can be said to have had one.

I have always maintained that as the world changes, I’ll be the wrong person to talk to about next steps, because I won’t have lived my life where that next step is the biggest problem. i won’t have felt the lack of that next step so acutely. I won’t be able to speak from personal experience about how that next step would have changed my life for the better b/c we’ve already taken so many steps that it’s hard for me to imagine **only** lacking that next step.

And in many ways, I’ve been successful. Where once I was a voice in the wilderness talking about the interrelation between cissexism, heterosexism, and sexism, and how the first two play a role in how even straight, cis women are treated by our governments and our service providers, now many people are talking about these things, often with a specificity that makes them far more expert in their area than I could ever be.

But in some ways, I have been frighteningly unsuccessful. While I primarily discussed access to gender segregated services for victims of trauma, harassment, and stalking, as early as 1998 I was asked a question about trans athletes in women’s sport. Not an expert in sports (my close friends will recognize this as hilarious overstatement of the scope of my knowledge), I fell back on how I had seen cissexism and heterosexism used to exclude even straight, cis women from the services with which I was more familiar.

It is inevitable, I told the audience in approximately these words, that efforts to exclude trans people from any social pursuit will end up harming cis women. The reason is that people will look for hints that reveal a participant to be the stereotype of the deceptive transsexual who lies about her past to conceal the tenuous validity of her womanhood. This presupposes, however, that trans people can get away with passing as non-trans at least for a time. Clues revealing secret transness, then, must be subtle, and because they must be subtle, they can be found in any number of women. As a result, the desire to communicate cisgender and cissexual state of being will result in women voluntarily curtailing any social expressions deemed too masculine. Women who do exceed the boundaries of feminine behavior and presentation will initially receive the worst consequences of gender policing that nominally targets trans people, but as the outliers are pressured to conform, the boundaries of femininity collapse. As a result, freedom for all women is eventually constricted. And though trans people will suffer from gender policing, and out trans people will be the individuals who suffer more than any other individuals, because the group of cis women is so much larger than the group of trans persons, when considering all suffering in total, cis women will surely suffer more than trans people from any increased gender policing of social activities. 

Thus, I argued, even if you hate trans people, you should advocate against gender policing that targets trans persons. The investigation and accusation and prosecution process will never harm only trans people.

Well, if all y’all cis people had listened to me 24 years ago, we could have saved ourselves a world of hurt. Unfortunately some of you are bigoted Mormons who just can’t comprehend the benefits of gender liberation. Or, perhaps, they embrace sexism, so the incidental sexism of cissexist persecutions seem a feature not a bug.

From the Deseret News:

After one competitor “outclassed” the rest of the field in a girls’ state-level competition last year, the parents of the competitors who placed second and third lodged a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association calling into question the winner’s gender.

Entirely unsurprising. Utah is one of the states that has legislated a system ostensibly banning k-12 trans students from participating in school sport save in categories open to their assigned gender at birth. What it actually does, however, is allow any random person to trigger a state investigation into the most private aspects of a child’s life. In the particular case here, the complaint was considered resolved through a thorough check of multiple records going back a decade or more, but more intrusive investigations, including medical ones, apparently are authorized by statute and cannot be said to be ruled out in the future.

And, of course, what’s compounding the horror here is that the excessive masculinity triggering the investigation wasn’t a tracheal prominence or tiny boobs. What triggered the investigation here was athletic excellence itself.

Given that the ostensible rationale for passing laws regulating trans children’s participation in school sports was to ensure that girls have a chance to experience being celebrated for their excellence, this punishment of excellence would seem to be proof that such laws not only fail to support and celebrate athletic girls, but rather punish them for their greatest successes, encouraging them to fail.

One might hope that this would cause some second thoughts, perhaps an effort to repeal this repellent and sexist regime. One would, of course, be mistaken. This is Utah, after all. Read and then weep over this most telling part of the Deseret News article:

Spatafore [David Spatafore, the UHSAA’s legislative representative] said the association has received other complaints, some that said “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough.”

The association took “every one of those complaints seriously. We followed up on all of those complaints with the school and the school system,” he said during an update on HB11, a ban on transgender girls from participating in female school sports, which was passed during the final hours of 2022 General Session.

And we come full circle. What I predicted 24 years ago has come to pass. Girls looking insufficiently feminine is now a complaint that the government takes “seriously”, and that the government then investigates.

I understand that women’s and girls’ athletic achievements are not sufficiently celebrated. And I understand that there’s fear that permitting trans children to participate in gender segregated sports in the manner that is most healthy for them, even if that means participating in sports originally conceived as being only for students of a different assigned sex at birth will inevitably mean a few celebrated wins for trans athletes that might otherwise have been wins for cis girls or cis women.

But giving the government the power to investigate deficient femininity, or to treat a woman or girl as an object of suspicion for her athletic excellence itself, does nothing to support cis girls or celebrate their achievements.

If you can’t oppose such laws because of their cissexism alone, oppose them for their sexist, for the power they give governments to crack down on anyone who violates gender norms even in so innocuous a manner as being a girl winning a medal in girls’ sports.

 

 

 

The Firing Squad

While not real yet, I’m not speaking of a metaphorical one. Prominent Mississippi Republican Robert Foster has called for the shooting deaths of anyone who “grooms” teenagers by encouraging them to believe that they can wear the clothing of the “opposite sex” and/or change sex. He has also called for the death penalty for anyone who tells others that “men can become women” or that locker rooms can be inclusive of both trans people and cis people at the same time.

He denies that he wants to kill trans people for being trans, he just wants to kill anyone who says a nice thing about trans people, ever. But this isn’t an attack on free speech rights, heavens no!

Foster … calls himself a “Man of Faith,” and a “Constitutional Conservative,”

He’s a constitutional conservative! Certainly the constitution says something about the government shooting people to death if you don’t like what they have to say!

Will any of the FREEZE PEACH squad show up to contest this assault on the First Amendment? Of course not. The First Amendment only applies when people criticize other people on twitter. Governments killing people because of their speech isn’t an idea to get alarmed about!

Lest you think I’m being alarmist, from the Mississippi Free Press:

“I said what I said,” he wrote, adding to what he had tweeted. “The law should be changed so that anyone trying to sexually groom children and/or advocating to put men pretending to be women in locker rooms and bathrooms with young women should receive the death penalty by firing squad.”

And all of this is from the last 36 hours. Expect more from Foster. And, of course, expect a lone wolf to kill some trans people or PFLAG members or random folks out for brunch at a queer-owned breakfast spot, because that’s how this works.

I’ve lived with a target on me since I was bashed in Portland in 1992, but now if you’ve ever said something nice about trans people you’re wearing the target as well.

Look out for each other. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

 

 

Quality of TERF-Adjacent Discourse

If you’re curious about the quality of the comments I do not let through, well, know that as a minnow in the giant blogging ocean, I don’t get too many bad ones. (Save for last summer when blogging about Portland. Hoo, boy! Got an increase in douchegabbers that month.)

Still, once a month or so, I get comments like this from an asshat who named his commenting account “robert paulson“:

tired of all the faggotry goin on these days

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Guy Fawkes: Good Activists and Social Change

So the first official entry in our Guy Fawkes series is from a great thread on Pharyngula about Beyoncé’s feminism. The whole thread is worth your time, but let’s pick up where beloved commenter chimera mentions

One of my favorite philosophers said something on the radio the other day that struck me. He said his favorite black civil rights leaders of the 60s were The Black Panthers because they had no pretension of being “good” (read: appropriate, upstanding, notable, conforming, respectable, moral, role model for your kids, and all that….). And that a person doesn’t have to be “good” (in that sense) to call for political change.

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How do you solve a problem like kathleenzielinski?

So, over on that Pharyngula thread that has sparked a week’s worth of posts here on Pervert Justice, the main instigator of the back and forth was a commenter named kathleenzielinski who tends to pop up in threads that are not about trans people and pose a very, very serious question about “Why do we take all these trans people seriously, with their rights and stuff, when they deserve rights of course but not the almighty excessive rights that these trans people are always demanding, like the right to grow their wheatgrass for juicing right in my shower under my bathroom skylight? Why are over 90% of trans people telling me that I can’t move wheatgrass out of my own way when I take a shower in my own bathroom just because the shower is where the daylight from the skylight hits?”

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Privilege, Deference, and Moral Certainty

GG has been discussing in other threads the concept of epistemic deference, focused on epistemic deference of members of empowered majorities with respect to members of disempowered minorities. As it happens, I’ve lectured on just this topic at Portland State University, the University of Vermont, and a couple other places. (University of Minnesota I think… but I’m not entirely sure, and it would have been my visit to the Minneapolis campus, if you’re wondering PZ: I’ve never been to Morris). I even spoke to it when speaking to a North American conference of human rights officials and boards. So I’ve been thinking about this problem for a LONG time. More than 20 years, certainly. As a result, I have at hand things I’ve written right here on FtB available to quote.

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kathleenzielinski’s “gay rights movement”

So, over on Pharyngula kathleenzielinski has been having a bit of a say. I will likely go into other things said by kathleenzielinski (and issues that they raise or raised) later. But for now, I want to talk about the Great kathleenzielinski Gay Rights Movement, which, she would like you to know, is much, much better than that icky trans rights movement to which she would like to compare her GRM:

I will say this: The gay rights movement moved as quickly as it did because we took the time to win over our opposition using their own language. Conservative arguments were made in favor of gay marriage and legal equality. Some of us even quoted the Bible. We didn’t demonize people whose real fault was that they didn’t understand us. We won them over.

The trans rights movement is, if we are to believe kathleenzielinski, both moving much more slowly than her cherished GRM and is also much less friendly and compassionate to the bigots who oppose trans rights than the gays were to the bigots who opposed gay rights.

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Ignoring abuse to focus on lexicography

Okay, this is turning into a thing.

So in the thread created to talk about the phenomenon where people announce on the internet that they’re too afraid to discuss issues central to (or sometimes merely implicating) trans persons’ human rights before immediately launching a conversation about their concerns about granting trans persons equal human rights, one new commenter, GG, decided to change the subject. Although I feel vexed that what I wrote seemed to be ignored in favor of the commenter’s preferred conversation, the comment and request for response were both respectful and, as it turns out, the issues that GG unknowingly raised are actually significant. So I decided to respond, but I’m not going to allow that thread to be derailed so I have created this new post to discuss what GG brought up. Let’s start with GG’s comment, which itself begins with a quote from a BBC news article:  

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