Pink News wants you to worry about TERFs

It’s a lovely Easter Sunday, the weather is beautiful, I’ve had a lovely day and eaten lovely food. Hopefully, whether you celebrate Easter or not, you are having a lovely day too.

Having finished all my festivities for the day, I started browsing through social media. I found this article, published today on Pink News, What is a TERF and why should you be worried? Apparently, the publication staff at Pink News thought that what people really needed on this lovely Sunday was a badly-written article about why we should hate feminists. Way to go, Pink News! <sarcasm>

The photo that goes with the article is a boot stepping on a rainbow flag, which I think is supposed to symbolize evil TERFs metaphorically stepping on the LBGT community. That’s a curious thing to imply, since a lot of femininsts who understand biology TERFs actually are lesbians and bisexual women, so are we stepping on ourselves? Also, although feminists as a group have nothing against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender nonconforming, and many of us are some of these things, there are lots of trans people who hate lesbians, and there’s even one trans person who thought the rainbow flag was so offensive that he burned one in protest. So I feel like, in reality, the boot stepping on the rainbow flag is more likely to be a trans person’s boot.

The author of the article, Meka Beresford, defines a TERF as a “transphobic bigot.” She believes that “Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism is a collective with a simple message of hate.” This is exactly what anti-feminists want you to think, but it isn’t true. Radical feminism is a well-developed political position based on an analysis of sex-based oppression and a call to action to end male supremacy and male violence. Radical feminists exist all over the world today, and we are working to protect existing rights for women and continuing to fight against male violence in many forms. What Beresford says here is deliberately oversimplified and misleading.

Radical feminists only “exclude” transwomen from female-only spaces on the basis that “gender identity” is a vague concept that allows any male to “identify as a woman,” without even taking any steps to transition, and in a world characterized by rampant male violence against women, it is not safe for us to include every male who claims to have a “gender identity” in spaces where women are vulnerable. It is prudent, not bigoted, to prevent harm to women.

Radical feminists as a group do not wish harm upon anyone who identifies as transgender, and although we annoy trans people on a regular basis by disagreeing with their ideology, we are not the ones perpetrating violence against them. The people who beat and murder trans people are men, and they’re not doing it because of radical feminist analysis, they’re doing is because of toxic masculinity, something that feminists are actually against. We are in favor of separate unisex washrooms to accommodate people who don’t feel they can use male or female washrooms, because we do want to accommodate trans people, just not in ways that can harm women.

“Some TERF’s, more radical than Murray or Adichie, entirely deny trans womanhood and label trans women as “self loathing gay men”. This is problematic at best, and at worst it is dangerous.”

That’s another curious statement. A small number of transwomen are feminine gay men, and if they hate their male bodies then they can logically be called “self-hating,” but if you ask any radfem who’s been following this trans thing closely, she’ll tell you that most transwomen are straight men with a fetish for cross-dressing (autogynephiles). This author, of course, didn’t do any research to find out what we are actually saying because she doesn’t care– the purpose of her article is to slander us and spread rumors about us, not to engage with our arguments in a sincere or productive way.

“Just like being gay, being transgender is not a choice – it is a reality, and it is very real.”

This statement isn’t meaningful unless we can agree on what “being transgender” means. Does it mean having gender dysphoria? Does it mean medically transitioning? Does it mean being born in a body that looks ambiguous? Does it mean feeling that you have a personal relationship to the concepts of masculinity and femininity? Because whether or not being trans is a “choice” is different in each of these situations. Not all people who identify as trans have gender dysphoria, and not all people with gender dysphoria will ever medically transition. Gender dysphoria can be dealt with in ways other than medical transition, and medical transition is a choice. You could probably argue that having gender dysphoria isn’t a choice, and you could make a really good case for that, although there are some people who are formally trans-identified but no longer dysphoric after finding ways to heal from their pain, and having gender dysphoria doesn’t automatically mean taking on a transgender identity.

Everyone has a personal relationship to masculinity and femininity– we all either relate to or reject different aspects of these social constructs, so if that’s what a “gender identity” is, then we all have a gender identity, so all of us are free to identify as trans if we want to. If trans is something we can all identify into, then how would we accommodate people who are trans? Accommodate everybody? Six million separate washrooms in every building to validate every possible gender identity in the world?

“TERF’s claim that trans women are rapists waiting to happen, that they have mental health issues and that fundamentally they are not women. This level of dehumanisation is morally wrong, and all too similar to the persecution that other minorities such as LGB people have faced in the past.”

This argument fails to consider how vague the concepts of gender identity and transgender are. I don’t think that all transwomen are rapists. There have been some transwomen convicted of rape though. I do think that all male humans are potential rapists because they have penises and benefit from male supremacy. Men are rarely convicted for rape, and so those who wish to rape are usually free to do so, and it’s impossible to predict ahead of time which men will rape. A lot of men who identify as transwomen these days behave exactly like MRAs in their entitlement to women’s love and attention and their belief that lesbians should be interested in dating them. You could argue that these sorts “aren’t really transwomen,” but with vague gender identity laws that are based on self-declaration, these MRA types are free to identify as transwomen and legally live ‘as women’ despite their hatred for actual human females.

The idea that it’s “dehumanising” to male humans to point out that they are statistically likely to be rapists is an MRA idea. It’s a statement that tells women to shut up about what we’ve learned about male violence against women through listening to survivors and through the anti-violence work we do, and instead cater to men’s desire to never be presented in a negative light.

“anybody can be a feminist but being exclusionary denies you that right.”

Actually no, feminism isn’t a movement to “include” everybody into everything, it’s a movement to end the sex-based oppression that female humans experience in a patriarchy. That’s why feminists have an interest in maintaining the ability to recognize biological sex as a way to identify humans. Feminism is exclusionary, it is about human females and it doesn’t include human males. Claiming that feminism needs to include men is like saying that the labor movement should include bosses and business owners.

“Trans women are women, so stop denying their existence. Trans women are women.”

What? Who’s denying their existence? Of course transwomen exist. No one is saying they don’t.

Hey, Pink News, why are you publishing poorly-researched, poorly-argued, feminist-bashing, disingenuous garbage? Is that because you’re a shitty publication with an anti-feminist agenda? Cool!

Introduction to Introduction to Marx

It’s a beautiful day and I have the day off from work! Hurrah! I have already gone for a long walk and enjoyed the sunshine, so now it’s time to tell you about the book I’ve been reading.

I started on “Marx for Beginners.” It’s a graphic (comic book) style book, which is nice. The author spends a long time at the beginning talking about the philosophers who came before Marx and who set the stage for his theories. In fact, it appears that about half the book is about the history of philosophy. The author obviously believes that Marx can only be understood by situating him in a historical context and by explaining how the field of philosophy developed into Marx’s dialectical materialism. (I still have zero comprehension of what this term means.)

So I have been reading about the history of philosophy. I’ll share with you some of the interesting things I’ve learned so far.

The author, Rius, says that all revolutions have a Marxist origin, (Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, etc) and that Marx is indirectly responsible for such things as social security, pensions, paid holidays, unions, and scholarships. (I am enjoying a paid holiday right now. Thank you Marx!) Rius calls the publication of the Communist Manifesto one of the most important events in human history.

Marx worked as a writer but barely earned any money and mostly lived in poverty. Some of his children died in childhood. The entire focus of his life was writing about philosophy and politics. He spent the last 25 years of his life writing Das Kapital and died at his desk at age 65.

When humans first started trying to explain natural phenomena, they invented gods and magic. Some people started “using all kinds of cheap tricks” to “pass themselves off as special delegates of the gods with fantastic powers” (p38) and those people were magicians and sorcerers. “This is the way gradually an ‘upper class’ was formed, or a ruling class and a lower, or ruled class, those who let themselves be exploited and those who led fools by the nose.” (p38)

That really got me thinking. Is that how class society really formed, from people claiming to be delegates of gods and fooling others into believing it, which led to them gaining power over others? I feel like this is probably hundreds of years of history condensed into a single sentence, but this is an interesting concept. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I’d research this, but honestly this book is all the information I need at the moment.

Even modern capitalism is the same sort of deal as this. Some people come up with an idea that they can use to earn a profit, and they put it into motion, and they earn a profit through a combination of taking natural resources from the Earth and claiming ownership over them, turning them into a “product” that sells for more than the price of production, (using other people’s labor), and using advertising to convince people they should purchase the product. Just like the magicians and sorcerers from long ago, they come up with an idea that will bring them some sort of gain and implement it, and even if it is unkind toward others they feel justified in doing so. Simply being clever enough to come up with the plan and implement it is enough to justify it. If others didn’t have the idea, too bad for them.

This is where I see the conflict is between left and right. The right feels that it is acceptable and natural that those who can profit from the exploitation of the earth and other people should do so. They feel that everyone should have the freedom to do this, and if some people don’t come up with a business idea that makes millions, that’s their problem, their poverty is their own fault and it’s not up to the rich to share anything. The left feels that the land and its resources belong equally to all of us, and no matter what idea anyone has, the fruits of human labor should be shared among us and we should produce for the greater good of the community rather than for some people’s personal gain.

I don’t think this conflict is a matter of someone being right or wrong in the sense that someone’s argument can be considered logically “correct.” It’s a matter of values. Some people value personal accomplishment and personal gain and some people value equality and sharing. I often get the impression that values are a personality trait—I think we’re born with them. I had no idea if I was “right” or “left” until I was old enough to vote, and that was the first time I even started thinking about politics. As soon as I found out what they meant I knew I was on the left. Obviously what’s important is solidifying social programs and eliminating poverty. What human endeavor could be more important than that?

Okay, another thing from the book I found interesting. There has always been a dichotomy in philosophy between “religion” and “science” or in other words “idealist” and “materialist.” As Rius explains, “idealism starts by assuming the existence of super-natural and divine forces.” and “materialism considers that there is nothing beyond natural things.” (p67).

For example, as author Rius explains, Plato believed that “True knowledge of things comes neither through perception nor reason, or that is, man cannot know truth by means of science but only through “inspiration” arriving from beyond. Man cannot know things on his own, but only by the ideas God gives him of things.” (p48)

Whereas Democritus, for example, explained reality like this: “Cosmic substance is made up of an infinite number of elements or particles physically invisible, indestructible and infinite, which vary in size and shape, and are in eternal motion.” (p49)

When you think of reality as physical objects and reject spiritual inspiration as a source of truth, that eliminates the divine right of kings. That, of course, shook up the world quite a bit.

I have just now gotten to the part of the book where it’s going to be all about Marx rather than the history of philosophy. I’ve learned that understanding Marx’s work is a lifelong process. I believe you could continue to get deeper into understanding it forever. Those lefty dudes who like to yell at each other on the Internet probably don’t understand this stuff as well as they think they do.

Now that I’ve digested this portion of the book, I’m closer to being able to articulate why transgenderism is not aligned with the left, even though people keep saying it is.

The right is aligned with the old idea of “divine right of kings.” The right still believe that those with money and power, however unethically they may have gotten it, have the right to rule over/exploit others. They believe in individual freedom and rights and don’t believe in the welfare state. The right is also traditionally religious—basing their view of reality on faith and the teachings of “God.”

The left is more aligned with atheism and materialism. The left believes in human rights and the greater good. We are against the ability of the rich and powerful to exploit the less powerful. We don’t think morals should come from religion.

Transgenderism is a belief system that takes the position that one’s inner identity is more real than the physical body. This philosophical position is aligned with the religious view that we get our knowledge of things from an inspiration from beyond, rather than from the material world. Transgender politics also promotes an individual’s right to do what is best for them, other people be damned. That’s why a single man who wants to identify as a woman can make a washroom gender-neutral, and too bad for all the women who wanted that washroom—they can just deal.

I don’t believe that a person’s inner identity replaces the physical aspects of their body, because I believe we get our knowledge of reality from our senses and from study of the physical world.

When I was debating a few trans people last year I very much felt like I was debating the nature of reality. We, in fact, were. We were engaging in a thousands-of-years-old debate about where human knowledge comes from—mystical inspiration or the study of the physical world.

I remain convinced that human knowledge comes from our five senses and from study of the physical world. There is no God, and I don’t “believe in” anything I can’t see with my own eyes. Any atheist should feel the same way. To be an atheist and to believe in the politics of transgenderism is a contradiction. What I’ve demonstrated above is that transgenderism is much more aligned with the right than the left, from a philosophical standpoint. When people call transgenderism “the far left” it sounds like nails scraping on a chalkboard to me.

So next I will be reading more about Marx himself, now that I’ve had a 60-page comic-book-style summary of thousands of years of philosophy. I’m looking forward to it!

Video: My Transgender Summer Camp

This is a documentary about an American summer camp for trans kids organized by a group of their parents. Three families that go to camp are interviewed, and some of the camp activities are shown. The kids are all boys who want to be girls. What I found very notable was the constant sex stereotypes on display. “Girls” are apparently anybody who likes pink and sparkly things.

In this post I will use whatever name is used most often for the child in the film and the pronouns that correspond to their biological sex.

The first parents who are interviewed are Sabrina and Chris. They have a son named Ryan who wants to be a girl. Sabrina, says:

“Around 2 years old, we started noticing that Ryan liked pink and sparkles, and we thought that was sort of strange.” Husband Chris is then quoted saying “After a few months, realizing this isn’t some phase, my wife started researching it online and discovered this whole community of parents with children that identified as transgender even at an early age.”

The film’s narrator says “At the age of 3, Ryan’s parents finally accepted that their child is transgender.”

Ryan says: “My family didn’t understand me, because one time my grandma got me a Spiderman and Batman shirt, and I’m like, I don’t want it, and she’s like “you like them,” I’m like “no I don’t.”

After this interview, I was shocked at the fact that these parents openly admitted to finding it strange that a boy would like pink and sparkles, and that they had decided to believe their male child was a “girl” when he was only 3. What an outrageous decision to make for a toddler! A child who has a vocabulary of 200 words cannot possibly “identify as transgender.” Such a young person cannot even understand the concept.

The scene changes to the family getting ready for camp. The film’s narrator says, “Unlike many boys their age, the transgender children attending camp like dressing up as princesses and getting makeovers.”

The family is shown in a store buying supplies for camp: glitter paint, princess tiaras, and feather boas.

Sabrina says, “We have half the families coming who are new, and half who are veteran. And they walk in and they see this table full of things that they feel comfortable with, that speaks to them.”

Sabrina is shown in the store again, buying “beads and fairy dust.”

Apparently, the things that “speak to” transgender MtF children are glitter, tiaras, boas, and beads. Those particular dollar store consumer products are what make them feel comfortable as human beings. I used to go to camp when I was a little girl, and strangely, I didn’t require any of these items.

When the next family is interviewed, an 11-year-old child with long hair is displaying his makeup collection. He says: “So this is my dressing table. This is all my makeup which I use on a daily basis. Just mascara, a small amount of eyeliner and a little bit of blush sometimes.”

He is then shown in a mirror brushing his hair. The narrator explains that he “began living as a girl at the age of 2.” This boy, named “Maxi,” apparently had a visible “alternative gender identity” according to his mom, right from a young age. Mom says that Maxi was distressed when he went to school because everything was separated by “gender” and he went to sleep at night praying to become a girl.

The family is shown eating breakfast, and the other kids in the family discuss how they deal with having a brother who is pretending to be a girl. His younger sister tells lies about him having a twin, and his older brother worries about bullying and rumours.

Maxi is interviewed in his bedroom, surrounded by stereotypical girls’ toys and wearing a dress with see-through black mesh in the middle. Between the revealing dress and the makeup at age 11 I’m shocked at the over-sexualization. It’s not appropriate for an 11-year-old girl to dress like that, so I’m not sure why a boy needs to either.

And what on Earth does it mean to be “living as a girl” at age 2? Does this mean his parents wrapped him in a pink blanket? A two-year-old can’t possibly “live as” anything other than a 2-year-old child. The only thing to change about a two-year-old’s life to make him a “girl” is to buy pink consumer products for him instead of blue ones. Apparently a child’s sex is determined by which marketing campaign most appeals to him.

The documentary moves to camp, and talks about how these young boys can “finally feel free.” The narrator says “At camp, the transgender children and their families can play as they wish. But it often seems to revolve around one thing—lipstick….” Cut to pictures of little boys putting on lipstick. The narrator continues, “The camp’s activities include swimming, dressing up, and arts and crafts, all building up to the big event at the end of the week, the fashion show.”

Another child is interviewed, 8-year-old “Lindsay,” who has made his own dress. Lindsay says “It might represent Katy Perry pretending to be Pocahontas because it’s unique.” Lindsay talks about loving to sing and perform. Video footage is shown of Lindsay as a toddler, announcing that he’s a girl. He obviously has feminine mannerisms as a part of his personality. The way he moves is what I would call “flamboyant.” I completely support the idea that human beings are born with a personality that includes a certain degree of masculinity or femininity, but this does not somehow erase or cancel out a person’s sex, and there is no such thing as your degree of femininity being wrong for your body. Anyone can have any personality.

The parents have an opportunity to talk among themselves while their kids are doing camp activities. They are shown sitting in a circle and discussing their fears about their kids. The health effects of medical transition, future sterility, and their kids’ suicidal thoughts are on their minds. They seem to want what’s best for their kids.

Maxi is on puberty blockers already. His family is paying $1000 per shot for them. His mom is shown injecting him and she seems upset about it, but she doesn’t feel like she has any choice. She says “At the end of the day I have a happy child.” Right after injecting him, Maxi says: “I have this dream of my husband like taking care of me and he’s like kissing me every second.”

Then his mother talks about his femininity “It’s not always about being fabulous and beautiful and sparkly and terrific for you, it’s about being nurturing and having that kind of receptive feminine energy.”

Maxi says “Yeah, if I only cared about being extremely girly and being sparkly and outfits and everything, then I would be a gay man. But there’s this feeling inside you that you can really tell for sure, saying like “girl, girl, girl, girl, this is you who are” you know?”

This is another interview that leaves me absolutely shocked. It’s clear that both Maxi and his mother know that he is gay. He openly admits that a boy who likes being girly will grow up to be a gay man. He has fantasies about his future husband. His very flimsy excuse for why he is not gay is because he has a “feeling inside” that he is a “girl.” He has internalized homophobia around being a feminine gay boy. His mother seems so well-intentioned but she is failing to help her son get over his internalized homophobia and instead is injecting him with extremely expensive puberty blockers so that he will grow up to be a feminized, sterilized gay man with underdeveloped genitals, rather than a regular, normally-developed man. She is doing this because her child insists upon it. Apparently, a preteen with internalized homophobia is more qualified to make major medical decisions that will have an effect on his whole life than a responsible adult who has done research about the likely outcomes. I used to make flimsy excuses for why I wasn’t gay, too. Don’t we all do that when we’re scared kids?

Maxi’s dad makes the incredibly ironic comment that it’s easier to come out as gay than to come out as trans. It’s obviously not easy to come out as gay, LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR GAY KID.

The most popular event of camp is the fashion show. They do their makeup and nails, put on fancy dresses, perform flamboyant poses on stage, and blow kisses to the crowd, while upbeat pop music plays. They are an adorable group of baby drag queens.

Even though the parents discuss their concerns about their kids’ future, and question whether they are doing the right thing, at no point is it ever mentioned that most kids with childhood gender dysphoria will desist and will turn out to be gay. There is a big, gay elephant in the room that is being erased from this picture. The parents seem concerned about their kids’ future fertility and their safety, (which they should be), but they never mention any concern about whether their kids might be happier as adults being regular gay men rather than surgically modified “women.” Is this because they are just not concerned about such a possibility or are they completely unaware of it because no gender specialist nor information package about transgenderism has ever told them? Either possibility is horrifying. There is a complete lack of concern about the possibility of children who will likely grow up to be happy gay adults being mistakenly puberty-blocked, sterilized, and permanently medically altered while they are still minors, just because it is popular these days to label a girly boy a “trans girl” and it’s forbidden to doubt this diagnosis.

I remember hearing an acquaintance remark that she knew her child was gay at age 3, and this seemed funny to me because how could a three-year-old possibly have any sexual attraction? But I think I know what she meant. Kids already have observable, unique personalities right from a young age, and their mannerisms are apparent even as toddlers. You can observe a boy’s feminine mannerisms at age 3 and guess that they indicate he will grow up to be gay. You won’t necessarily be correct, because it’s possible for someone straight or bisexual to have feminine mannerisms too. But my point is that parents used to look at their little girly boys and realize they were probably gay, and now they observe the same thing about their sons but instead label them “trans girls.” I have a suspicion that a lot of these parents actually know their sons are gay.

What I learned from watching this documentary is that the definition of a “girl” is “any child who likes pink and sparkly things, wears dresses, likes to put on lipstick, and wants to sing like Katy Perry while dancing with a feather boa.” Oh, and they have “receptive feminine energy.” (Could that comment possibly have been any more creepy coming from a mom?)

By this definition of “girl,” of course, a lot of actual females aren’t “girls.”

I also learned that today’s parents are so ridiculously, ludicrously, nauseatingly sexist that they think if their little boy likes pink and sparkly things, they need to drastically alter the course of his life because they cannot fathom that these are things that boys can like. For these sexist parents, it’s so unthinkable that their boy could put on a dress and sing a song as a boy, that they have to drive across the country to attend a special camp where everyone will pretend he’s a girl, to make it okay for him to wear a dress and sing a song.

I have a much better idea than all this. And my idea is so bloody simple that I can’t fathom why these parents can’t come up with it, too. My idea is: accept your son as he is. You have a little girly-boy baby drag queen, who will probably grow up to be gay, and that’s okay. When he likes pink and sparkly things, it’s no big deal. It’s fine. Let him dance and sing to Katy Perry. Let him dream about his future husband. Tell him it’s okay to be gay. When he says he’s a girl, tell him no, boys aren’t girls, but you can be any kind of boy you want to be. You can be a boy who likes princess tiaras and sewing your own dresses. We love you no matter what. Taking him to a camp to meet other girly boys is a fabulous idea, but don’t tell the kids they are really girls. Tell them it’s okay to be a boy like that, and that they’re not alone. Let them make friends with other boys who are like them. Help them grow into happy gay adults. Right in the goddamn DSM that’s what it says is the most likely outcome for these kids. (As long as they survive childhood without being sterilized, of course.)

Walking in through the front door

When I watched the documentary Gender Trouble : The Butches, one of the comments that stayed with me was the comment about being able to come through the front door. One woman mentioned that she was the kind of person who always had to sneak out the back door to avoid being seen, until one day she decided that she did not need to be hidden and she could walk out the front door. It was a turning point where she decided to no longer be ashamed. What she said was very brief, but it sent my imagination soaring.

I imagined an old-fashioned butch/femme couple. Let’s call them Margaret and Frankie. Margaret lives in the apartment on the second floor of a big house with neighbors downstairs. Her steady girlfriend Frankie comes over to visit all the time, but since Margaret is in the closet, she makes Frankie go around back and come in through the fire exit because she doesn’t want her neighbors to notice what kind of company she keeps. You see, although Margaret looks like any other woman, and no one knows she’s a lesbian until she tells them, Frankie looks very gay. It’s fine when people think Frankie is a man, but when they talk to her for a minute they realize she’s a woman, and that’s when the trouble happens.

Poor Margaret is just trying to protect herself. If she gets “outed” she could lose her job as a secretary and then she wouldn’t be able to make rent. She can’t move back in with her parents who kicked her out so what would happen to her then? She loves Frankie but just doesn’t want to take a chance. Frankie understands. It’s not easy for her either, obviously. She doesn’t get the luxury of being in the closet—her sexual orientation is written all over her whether she likes it or not. The guys at her factory job already know—most of them are over it, except for a couple of assholes who are insecure in their masculinity.

So Frankie comes over and they love each other. Sometimes, they put on a record and dance together in their living room, real slow. Margaret cooks delicious meals and Frankie helps her clean up after. Come morning, when Frankie leaves again, she sneaks out the back door.

This can’t continue forever. Margaret doesn’t want to spend her whole life making her lover come in through the back door. She can’t live this way, she hasn’t done anything wrong, Frankie hasn’t done anything wrong, they shouldn’t have to hide anything. Margaret knows she has to come out. She has to come out to her neighbors and to her coworkers. If anything bad is going to happen, it needs to just happen. No more worrying about “what might happen.” Just let it happen, and deal with it, so she can move on. So she can invite Frankie to move in with her, so they can be a regular couple.

One evening Margaret tells Frankie that she wants her to move in. She says she is ready now to take that step. She cries, because although she wants this, she is scared. Frankie accepts. She dries Margaret’s tears.

Margaret comes out to her neighbors, her coworkers, the rest of her extended family members, the ones who haven’t heard yet. One by one, not all on the same day. Only when she sees them and when the opportunity arises. Frankie moves in. Now they are “the lesbian couple upstairs.” Margaret’s femininity doesn’t hide her anymore, because everyone knows she is with Frankie.

Everything goes well. Frankie comes in through the front door now. She greets the neighbors. The neighbors are a little nervous at first, but they get to know Frankie’s good-natured personality, and they enjoy her company at barbecues. Margaret’s straight coworkers have questions for her. “If your girlfriend looks like a man, why aren’t you with a real man?” but she doesn’t lose her job. Eventually the uncomfortable questions turn into amusing comments “You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with a husband. Just last night, Jerry said to me…” and that’s when Margaret knows she has been accepted. They live happily ever after.

I wondered if I should write a short story around the theme of “coming through the front door.” Maybe I just did, sort of, but I mean a real short story, not just one where I summarize the plot, but one where it’s really turned into fiction. Sensory detail, dialogue, conflict, resolution, character development.

But this story seems old-fashioned to me. It sounds like the 1950s. Although it’s still illegal to be gay in some places in the world, I am somewhere safe. I’ve never had to invent a fake boyfriend, never had to have a “beard” come to an event with me and pretend to be my male lover. I’ve never had to lie about what I did on the weekend for fear of being “outed.” I was only in the closet when I was denying it to myself. I’ve never made a lover come in through the back door. I didn’t need to. So, I don’t want to write this short story. I don’t want to write the past. I’m celebrating the fact that that has never been my life. But I really love this theme, so, dear readers, do you have any stories of coming in through the back door or coming in through the front door, either literal or metaphorical? Please tell them!

New books!

My order of books came in, and I’m so excited! I’m having a book orgasm! I’m having multiple book orgasms! 😀

I’ve got two intro books on Marx, a used copy of the Communist Manifesto that a friend sent me (Thanks hun!), a short history of neoliberalism, Hannah Hart’s memoir, and two classics by Leslie Feinberg that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet! Next weekend is a four day weekend, so guess what I’ll be doing? READING!

I can’t wait. I want to read all of them first! 😀

An idiotic non-binary person misgenders their coworker

This amusing anecdote has been making the rounds. A site called “Ask A Manager” offers advice on how to deal with workplace issues. In one article, a non-binary person asks a question about how to deal with a person who has an issue with being called by gender neutral pronouns.

“I’m non-binary, and I have come out in both my work and my personal life. I started a full-time job after I finished college around the same time I began coming out. Everyone at work has been cool except for one person.

“Since I came out, I have been addressing people as gender-neutral [ze, hir, mx.] I do this because there are others who are non-binary like me, but they may not be out yet and I want to be respectful and make them feel safe. The one person from my work who is not cool with me being non-binary told me to address her using female pronouns. I’m not misgendering this person, I’m using gender-neutral pronouns, not incorrect ones. However, this person corrects me every time. No one else has corrected me or said anything. This person says they respect my pronouns (true) and I need to respect theirs. I thought this person was transgender and I didn’t want to offend or upset if this was the case, but when I asked they said are not, they are cisgendered.

I went to my team lead about this, but my team lead said this person is not doing anything wrong and just because they want to be addressed with female pronouns does not make them against non-binary people. I’m thinking of talking to my manager or going to HR if that doesn’t work. This person makes me uncomfortable. What should I say? When I talk to my manager, should I bring up the fact that others may also feel uncomfortable or should I only focus my own discomfort?”


Has anyone else noticed that the same people who shout “MISGENDERING IS LITERAL VIOLENCE” seem to take no issue at all with misgendering people who aren’t trans? They have no problem with calling woman-identified masculine lesbians “closeted trans men” and they have no problem calling all sorts of women “cis” even though we don’t identify with the feminine gender role that was assigned to us. But call a trans person by the correct pronouns for their sex and you are “LITERALLY KILLING” them.

This non-binary person is calling a woman by gender neutral pronouns even though she identifies as a woman and uses female pronouns. Why isn’t this “misgendering”? WTF.

Apparently, this isn’t a matter of a nonbinary person trying to punish a coworker for being a “TERF,” because this woman respects the nonbinary person’s pronouns. It’s the nonbinary person not respecting her pronouns. And the nonbinary person wants to go to human resources to get someone else in trouble for what THEY are doing.

It’s time for another Liz Lemon over-the-top eye roll.

Seriously, Autostraddle?

Autostraddle published another super-gross article that takes an element of women’s oppression and rebrands it as “empowering.” (Of course, there is no end of articles like this in the world—neoliberalism has been deliberately rebranding oppression as empowerment for at least three decades, for the purpose of destroying leftist movements and supporting capitalism.)

Anyway, this article is called “How My Dad’s Dirty Magazines Shaped My Queer Sexuality.”  Like most sex-pozzie articles on Autostraddle, this should have come with a damn trigger warning.

The author narrates how, as a young teen, she used to come home quickly after school to look through her dad’s magazines while she had an opportunity to be alone in the house. She started on motorcycle magazines with sexy women draped over the motorcycles like decorations, and then moved on to magazines with real nudity, then eventually moved on to Internet porn from there. She says she was about 13.

She thinks the whole experience was positive and empowering:

“More powerful than guilt, shame or feeling just plain ugly was the sense of empowerment I got from those magazines. I believe that sexual images of women are a positive thing. Porn and dirty magazines were a huge part of finding myself, taking ownership of my sexuality and seeing other women empowered by theirs. Looking through my dad’s dirty magazines was an integral part of my self-discovery as a queer woman.”

Does anyone else cringe when they hear the word empowerment, because of the ridiculous misuse of this word by third-wave sex-pozzies?

Being a passive object who is sexualized by other people is the exact opposite of empowerment. The people with the power are those who get to be seen as full human beings and who have the ability to reduce others to objects. One of the most important elements of third-wave sex-pozzie politics is the use of disingenuous claims that are so obviously untrue that one wonders how anyone can claim them with a straight face. The claim that black is white, up is down, freedom is slavery, submission is empowerment! Sorry, sex-pozzies, but this is a bald-faced lie, and you look totally silly saying it.

A lot of the things this writer describes happened to me, too. I used to also come home from school before anyone else in my family and relish the time I had alone to look at my own dad’s magazine stash. I also learned the joy of looking at naked women at the ripe age of 13. I also moved on to Internet porn eventually, having developed a taste for it. Like everyone else in the goddamn world, I learned to sexualize objectification, dominance and submission. How could I not—this stuff is everywhere. It’s in our own homes as we grow up.

The difference between this writer and me is that I became a radical feminist and she did not. She is continuing to sexualize objectification while I am writing against it. Here’s my take on why it’s not “empowering” to “discover your sexuality” while looking at your dad’s magazine stash.

First of all, your own sexuality is not what you see other people creating and publishing, your own sexuality is your own thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, and wants. You don’t learn about yourself by internalizing someone else’s idea of sexuality. The best way to learn about your own sexuality is to just interact with your peers in a normal way, and discover who strikes you as attractive and what you find yourself wanting to do with them. You also learn about your own sexuality by masturbating WITHOUT PORN and by thinking about things that naturally interest you.

Using porn is not discovering your sexuality, using porn is looking upon depictions of sexual abuse and learning to find it arousing. There are no depictions of healthy sexuality in commercial pornography. There is dominance and submission, and men are always dominant. Women are objects for consumption, we are painted with make-up, shaved, placed in submissive poses, and sold for entertainment. We are passive things being acted upon. Women’s sexuality is not being portrayed in porn. Men’s idea of what women should be is what’s portrayed in porn.

The girl who uses porn learns to think of herself and other girls as sexualized objects, and learns to identify with both the sexualized object and the oppressor at the same time. She learns to crave being sexualized and objectified because that’s what gives girls validation that they are worthy. She learns to identify with the male gaze and look upon other girls as objects for her use. When a “queer” girl discovers her sexuality through porn, she discovers a world of dominance and submission where she can play both parts, oppressor and oppressed, and where objectification is what makes sex sexy. This is all a process of grooming—it prepares her to be a sexual libertarian and to accept sexual abuse.

It took me several years to unlearn what I learned from porn, to see myself as a subject rather than an object, to understand that to objectify is to abuse, to really understand and feel that my worth as a person is not based on my ability to be a sex object, to separate my own real desires from what I learned to sexualize while viewing porn. The person who helped me the most with this was Gail Dines. Her Ted talk “Growing Up in a Pornified Culture” is incredibly valuable.

What the author of this article is remembering fondly and practically gushing about is something that is abusive and that she hasn’t been able to recognize as abuse. How strange it is to browse through Autostraddle, which is apparently a magazine for “queer women,” and find articles that sexualize the abuse of queer women. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt sick to my stomach after reading one of these articles because something negative in my life that I’ve worked to overcome is being presented as “empowering.”

Of course, I could just ignore Autostraddle entirely, but I read this stuff and write this stuff to “pay it forward”—I learned feminism from anonymous bloggers, and I’m doing the same for anyone else out there who needs it. Women need to know that there’s something more helpful out there than the stupid abusive bullshit that passes for “feminism” in sex-pozzie publications. Women deserve to be able to learn that being positive toward sex means being negative toward abuse. We deserve to learn to identify abuse, since our culture is constantly trying to confuse us by selling abuse as “empowerment.”

There is a vague, eerie suggestion of incest in the idea that girls can “learn their sexuality” from something their dad does. The fact that there is a long tradition of dads leaving porn around the house for their kids to find is a sign of how little anyone cares about sexual abuse. It’s totally normal for dads to groom their kids into abusive sexuality by leaving porn around. It’s totally normal because abuse is totally normal. This writer really should start thinking about the negative effects of dads showing their kids porn instead of waxing lyrically about it.

I hope that, now that people only use porn on the Internet, and every idiot knows how to delete their browsing history, this tradition will stop. But that’s hardly comforting considering that 11-year-olds have their own smart phones, and what they will be exposed to there is much worse than the pin-ups we used to look at.

This is the concluding paragraph from the article:

“In a time where queerness wasn’t as accepted, I’m thankful that I had an outlet (however pervy it was) to explore my identity. Dirty magazines and porn were a large part of my self-discovery and have positively influenced my sexuality as it is today. Even though identifying myself as queer when I was young seemed terrifying, seeing women unabashedly owning their sexuality taught me to be unashamed of sexuality. I missed a lot of shame and guilt surrounding sex, because I introduced myself to it so young. Being in tune with my sexuality, or even being in tune with my confusion — just simply letting myself feel and experience has led to me being a sexually empowered adult. I thank and honor the perverted 11-year-old I was; she created the proud queer woman and writer I am today.”

Nah, porn didn’t “positively influence” your sexuality. This whole article is a demonstration of the grooming you experienced, that you still have not been able to escape from. One of the primary things that helped me recognize my own grooming was the Ted Talk by Gail Dines that I posted above. She mentions that she has gone to prisons to interview convicted sex offenders, and they have told her that they hardly had to groom their victims at all, because the victims were already ready and accepting of sexual abuse. Victims are coming “pre-groomed” now, thanks to porn itself and also porn culture in general. The sex-pozzitive movement is a movement that gets people to accept porn, prostitution, dominance and submission—it’s a process of grooming. Anyone who wants to put an end to sexual abuse needs to name this, analyze it, and then stop it.

It seems so incredibly obvious that I can’t understand how even Autostraddle doesn’t see it. Women who love women shouldn’t be learning their sexuality from abusive men.