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.

 

Jerkfaces uncovered our feminist plan. Meet at the usual place to discuss secret next steps.

It seems that the communications security protocol flaws and lack of physical override/bypass or escape mechanisms we build into male chastity devices have been discovered. Look at how much the men now know:

The Cellmate, [an internet-connected male chastity device] produced by Chinese firm Qiui, is a cover that clamps on the base of the male genitals with a hardened steel ring, and does not have a physical key or manual override.

A security flaw in [the device] could allow hackers to remotely lock it — leaving users trapped, researchers have warned. … “An angle grinder or other suitable heavy tool would be required to cut the wearer free,” [British security firm Pen Test Partners said Tuesday].

The MRAs do not yet know it was engineered this way by scientists at NOW Labs. We must keep that information contained at all costs. In the meantime, get as many men fitted for Cellmates as soon as possible before masculine distrust sets in. Further updates on the secret channel.

 

 

Will You Fucking Stop With This Silver Lining Shit?

So many people are suddenly writing pieces about how overturning Planned Parenthood v Casey (which is, in fact, the controlling precedent on abortion now), queer marriage, and anti-discrimination laws are a losing strategy for the GOP to put a shiny, happy face on the transformation of SCOTUS.

NO. If you’re tempted to go with this reaction, stop it right the fuck now. We do not sit back and let the Republicans enact hostility and hatred. It’s not even that there’s no truth in the position. Yes, inevitably conservative families will see relatives die. Yes, the 80% of people that support the right to have an abortion in at least some cases do constitute a large majority. Yes, if the 33% who believe that abortion should be legal in most cases and the 24% who believe that it should be legal in at least some cases could truly hurt the GOP if they voted to repudiate the fuckers.

But the implied argument is this: Ireland voted in abortion restrictions with Amendment 8 in 1983, sure, but after 35 years, innumerable hardships, and an uncounted number of deaths Ireland got the sympathetic victim of its anti-abortion policies that allowed them to overturn the provisions in 2018. These things don’t last, they’re saying. We’ll have our Savita Halappanavar, they’re saying. That makes everything okay, they’re saying.

Jesus Fried Chicken, NO!

The fact that we will inevitably have our Savita Halappanavars is exactly what makes this NOT OKAY.

Yes, the GOP has been sowing the seeds of its own destruction for decades now.

Yes, the GOP enjoyed the freedom to vote for abortion restrictions that would never be enforceable, and thus used abortion bills to rally its base while the democratic base remained unenthused because democrats never bothered to stand up and fight, relying on the courts to do their work instead.

Yes, that means that individual GOP members of state legislatures are going to have to make more consequential decisions than they have in the past, they’re going to have to face a higher likelihood of accountability than they have in the past.

THAT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF WOMEN THE GOP WILL END INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.

IT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF TRANS FOLK WHOM THE GOP MIGHT KILL INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.*1

NONE OF THIS IS OKAY.

THERE IS NO SILVER LINING.

 


*1: I’m well aware that people of other genders may very well die too, but given the total numbers of deaths expected, I don’t feel as comfortable saying that people of other genders are guaranteed to die, whereas demographically the deaths of women are guaranteed.

Trump is Killing to Save Morality

You could just go read Wonkette who covers this well, but if you like, you can get a taste here:

Abortion is already illegal in Kenya, but Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), the organization that had previously been providing low-cost contraception to these women, is supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has refused to comply with Trump’s demands and stands to lose $100 million in funding as a result. Shockingly, no anti-choice organizations have stepped up to help provide that funding or those services.

Long story short, because these women are now unable to access contraception, they are getting pregnant with babies they cannot afford to have and are turning to illegal and dangerous abortion methods instead.

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Ireland’s Success and Catholicism’s Failure

Amendment 8 of the Irish constitution reads:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The people of Ireland voted on its repeal yesterday. Ireland’s The Journal reports:

The Yes result was almost unanimous across the country: 39 of Ireland’s 40 constituencies voted Yes, with only Donegal voting No by a margin of 51.87% to 48.13%.

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The Threats to Free Speech are From Right Wingers, Not From Trans* Advocacy

Trans* advocates do not advocate any new type of restriction on speech. They do sometimes argue that restrictions that already exist on speech when that speech targets specific types of groups should also apply when such speech targets trans* folks. This is not in any way stretching what limitation on the rights of free expression the constitutions of Canada or the US (or any other country) will tolerate. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t serious threats to free expression in the US and Canada today.

I’ve written previously about how changing “loser pays” presumptions in defamation lawsuits can impact the related freedoms of the press and personal expression (though focussing primarily on the impacts on press freedoms). But compromises around such details as when the plaintiff has to pay a press outlet’s legal costs aren’t the only constitutionally permissible actions that the governments of the US or Canada might take that would have an impact on free speech, and there are even other, likely impermissible actions that the government might still try to take.

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Pat Davis: Fuck the NRA

A city councilor running in 3rd place in the New Mexico first congressional district has created a commercial that actually sounds like someone upset about the extravagant gun violence in the United States. The first words Pat Davis speaks in his new ad?

Fuck the NRA.

He goes on to criticize the anti-regulation/anti-legislation position of the NRA on gun ownership, possession and use as being one cause of “dead children”.

Pro-lifers have always been odd to me. On the one hand, I find it difficult to believe that they see medical abortion as anything remotely comparable to murder or even euthanasia. After all, think about what that would really mean. Wouldn’t the people who believe that shun birthdays as points for celebration in favor of conception days? Wouldn’t they have funerals after miscarriages? Why do they put off naming a child until it’s born? And yet we don’t see that – or at least we don’t see that from even 10% of the people who claim they’re pro-life.

On the other hand, if they aren’t parroting something that only vaguely represents a tribal position rather than a genuine and specific personal belief, then the consistent thing to do really is to chain oneself to the doors of clinics, to hold die-ins at the Capitol Building, and generally use every non-violent means possible to preserve life. Do they do that? No. The extremists of the “pro-life” movement bomb clinics, throw acid, and commit murder. While I can understand the rationale behind killing one to save two (or more), it’s not a rationale that holds all life to be sacred, as they claim to do.

But as hard as it is to come to grips with the behavior of the self-named “pro-life movement”, the gun control movement is equally weird. I do believe the laxity of US gun laws results in deaths that would not otherwise have occurred. So why am I not doing everything I can to stop gun sales? Part of it is explained by relevant differences between the situation: if you believe abortion is murder, then you know where and when murders are going to be carried out. That’s not the same as gun control advocates who believe that lax gun laws are legislative negligence destined to result in deaths at various unknown times in various unknown places. But it’s still a little weird that there seems to be so little urgency in the rhetoric of proponents of stricter monitoring of guns sold and stricter regulation of what guns can be sold and to whom.

That’s why I welcome this ad. Yes, it may have taken a 3rd place primary candidate to make the ad, but the ad is positively drenched in an honest embrace of what it means to say that legislative gun control negligence is causing death.

Watch it for yourself, and remember to vote, wherever you live.

 

What is Glorification Anyway? Shannon Watkins Seems Unclear on a few Concepts

Wonkette brought my attention to an essay published by the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal. It was written by Shannon Watkins and has a whole bunch of things to say about how awful, awful, awful campus feminism is. Then it adds a few things about how hopeful it is that the situation is changing and that anti-feminist groups are on the rise. Yippee! The article itself can be found here. It is intriguingly titled “Campus Feminism: The Real War On Women.”

Stunningly, it fails to grasp the basic idea behind the labeling of “The War on Women”, which was that when certain policies are adopted – policies like instituting (or maintaining) abstinence-only sex “education” – more women die. If someone is advocating for policies that cause increased deaths (or that correlate with increased deaths and have at least a plausible mechanism for causation), labeling that advocacy part of a War on Women is metaphorical but has a reasonable underlying comparison between advocating the policy and promulgating a war: deaths result. However Watkins seems impervious to such points and presents no evidence that more women die when campus women’s and/or feminist centers are permitted to flourish or that more women die in a given jurisdiction when policies favored by those centers are enacted.

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