Let’s talk about who’s actually hateful and bigoted here

Well, folks, I am back from a lovely and relaxing trip and ready to address the stinking pile of horseshit that people crapped onto my blog while I was away.

I published a guest post by a woman who was harassed at the Vancouver Dyke March, and her harasser showed up in the comments to continue the harassment. It’s absolutely amazing to me that a harasser can get called out on his harassment and then decide that the appropriate response is to continue harassing. How messed up of a person do you have to be to think that’s a good idea?

Mr. Wanda Normous made a feeble attempt to claim that he hadn’t harassed anyone by reporting that he didn’t use a loud voice when talking to her. However, he admitted in his own words to engaging in the following behaviours:

  • “follow around to counter your hateful message until you took it out of the park with you”
  • “walk or stand immediately outside of your personal space with my terror breasts exposed.”
  • “I used two tools to evict you”

In these quotes, Mr. Normous has admitted to following a lesbian around and being in her personal space with the purpose of “evicting” her from the march. This is clear harassment and intimidation.

Let’s take a moment to discuss who is actually hateful and bigoted in this situation. There is a trans march and a dyke march. No lesbians are on record as saying they do not think there should be a trans march. No lesbians have attended a trans march to intimidate anybody. Lesbians have not tried to take over the board of directors of a trans march and kick out the trans people from the march. This is something that trans people are doing to the dyke march, and it’s happening only in that direction. It’s not going both ways.

Speaking for myself, I have been to a trans march. While I was there I just stood on the sidelines and watched. I did not lecture anyone about what they may or may not put on their sign. I did not select a person whose sign I believed was objectionable and follow them around in order to intimidate them. I do not believe I have the right to dictate to trans people what they put on their signs in their own march, nor do I have a right to harass anyone. I believe it’s acceptable for Pride festivals to include a trans march and for trans people to show their pride about being trans. I do not wish to stand in the way of this.

All the dyke marches in every city that holds them have been taken over by queer politics and are now hostile toward anyone who understands what a woman is and what a lesbian is. Comments from lesbians are deleted from Dyke March Facebook pages in every city and marchers hold signs that say things like “No TERFs” to make it clear that actual female homosexuals are not welcome there. The Dyke Marches now cater exclusively to men and bisexual women who agree with queer politics.

There is no logical reason why trans people need to be centered or even invited at all to a dyke march, since THERE IS A TRANS MARCH. A dyke march should center dykes.

What is happening here is that female homosexuals are being completely kicked out of Pride festivals; we cannot have our own march any more, we cannot even speak about our exclusion without being labelled bigots. It’s not just that trans people wanted their own march, which would have been fine, but they wanted every march to cater exclusively to them.

It is abundantly clear that the actual hatred and bigotry here is coming from trans people and is being directed at lesbians. Claims that lesbians are excluding trans people are complete reversals of the truth.

Speaking of lies, Wanda Normous wrote some real whoppers in the comments on my last post.

He has claimed that  “your desire to exterminate transwomen is plain” and that “you only care about hurting and excluding transwomen” and that “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.”

Neither I nor the writer of the guest post gave any indication that we wanted to “exterminate” transwomen. In order for this alleged “desire” to be “plain,” we would have had to express it. This claim is purely a product of Mr. Normous’s imagination. Just for the record, no, I do not wish to exterminate anyone.

Neither I nor the guest writer has an interest in hurting transwomen. As for exclusion, I do think that transwomen should be excluded from the dyke march, however I do not think they should be excluded from the trans march. It’s pretty basic logic that the dyke march is for dykes and the trans march is for trans people. Having a march for each group does not exclude anybody—holding a march for each group is actually inclusion. Questions: If transwomen should be included in the dyke march, then why even have separate marches? Why not just make it one big march? And if trans people should be included in the dyke march, does this also mean that dykes should be included in the trans march? Why or why not?

A sign that says “dyke power is female” does not exclude anybody. It’s true that dykes are female. Stating a simple and neutral fact is not exclusionary.

Last but not least, the third lie mentioned above was “you’re just deciding for folks whether or not they’re women.” Nope! We’re not. Nobody can decide who is a woman and who is not. You’re just born that way. Nature and biology determine whether you’re born male or female. Nobody can decide anything about it. People can’t assign a sex to a baby any more than they can assign fingers or toes to a baby. Women are identifying the difference between male and female, but we cannot possibly decide it from our desire or will—nobody can.

I want to particularly highlight the following phrase from Wanda Normous:

“USELESS FUCKING TERF GARBAGE”

This is hate speech directed toward lesbians. Although Mr. Normous is very concerned that lesbians should not be allowed to represent a uterus on a sign because that is allegedly “hate speech” against him, he has no problem with calling lesbians “useless fucking terf garbage.” It’s very, very clear that Mr. Normous has serious misogyny issues. A misogynist and homophobic man who harasses and intimidates lesbians has absolutely no business attending a dyke march and he should be considered an unsafe person and banned from the event.

In contrast, I am a trans-critical writer who makes an effort not to use unnecessarily antagonistic language when talking about trans people. I never use the slur “tranny” and I even refrain from using the words “mutilate” and “delusional.” I believe in giving people basic courtesy and respect, in order to show that I am engaging honestly with issues and not just trolling. For a transwoman to show up on my blog and use this sort of disrespectful language when I have used no such disrespectful language toward him is very telling. Once again, the hatred and bigotry in this situation are coming from trans people and directed at lesbians; it’s a one-way street.

I did notice that Mr. Normous intentionally “misgendered” me by referring to me with male signifiers. This did not harm me in any way, because using incorrect grammar in a sentence does not cause people harm. I found it mildly amusing, but it really didn’t matter at all. However, I have to note that according to trans ideology, misgendering is “violence,” and so according to Mr. Normous’s own political position, he has committed “violence” toward me. Funny how the “violence” of misgendering only matters when directed toward transwomen; when directed at lesbians it’s not a problem.

The last point I’m going to cover for tonight is this:

“your narrative that women are only as good as their reproductive organs”

This is not at all the narrative that feminists present. It is a bald-faced lie to claim this. It is patriarchy that positions women as only good for reproduction and PIV sex. The entire feminist movement has been based on women’s knowledge that we are more than just wives and mothers and that we can do anything we want. Our work has been based on allowing us to control our reproductive capacity so that we are not reduced to our biological functions and can enter the workforce as men’s equals. To name the female reproductive anatomy does not reduce women to just their reproductive anatomy. Similarly, if I identify that I have ten fingers, that does not reduce me to just fingers, and if I identify that I have two eyes, that does not reduce me to nothing but eyes. This attempt at an argument is beyond pathetic.

Over and over I have witnessed transwomen behaving with masculine socialization (entitlement, dominance, and aggression), making ridiculously misogynist and homophobic statements, engaging in misogynist and homophobic behaviours, and telling bald-faced lies about feminists. I am absolutely not impressed and as long as they behave this way I will not be a political ally toward them. Although I would theoretically support some parts of trans activism, such as gender-neutral toilets and the right to wear the clothing one wants to wear, I cannot ally with people who are this hateful toward my demographic.

Over and over, transwomen demonstrate, with their own words and behaviour, that they do not resemble women in the slightest, and that they are particularly dangerous men. Feminists hardly have to call attention to the fact that transwomen are male; they do it themselves.

Anti-lesbian harassment at Vancouver Dyke March

This is a guest post by Katherine Jeffcott who attended the Vancouver Dyke March on August 5, 2017. She says:

I thought I would share my account of the dyke march in Vancouver, including pictures. As you know, I’m big on making women central in my feminism. So, I made a sign which stated simply “dyke power is female”. Here is me with my sign:

Well, we were marching, when this trans woman who was obviously a volunteer or a marshal, came up to me and yelled at me. She said my sign was transmisogynistic (because it doesn’t include male anatomy). Essentially the uterus offended this person. So she yelled at me, but one of my sisters quickly came up and put her arm around me, indicating I wasn’t alone. I kept marching. Meanwhile I was surrounded by other awesome women with amazing signs. Like this:

And this:

We weren’t saying anything against trans, we were simply focusing on women. Interestingly enough when the parade ended and we were in the park, this same trans person followed us everywhere:

They removed their top and followed us in a pink speedo where ever we went. We didn’t say or do anything to provoke this person. All we did was talk about women and female anatomy. Eventually I felt freaked out enough that my partner came and picked me up. I literally had shaky palms and was sweating. I was nervous until I saw my sisters with their sign that said Trust In God: Grumpy Old Dykes. Then I felt at home.

But my question to you is, what about women? Why are we being intimidated in our own spaces? What is it about our anatomy that is not acceptable?

Primary school goes gender neutral for TV experiment

Now here’s a story!

From the Daily Mail:

“In a unique TV experiment, a class of seven-year-olds was taught to forget all the differences between the sexes. The BBC’s idea was to create a gender-neutral classroom of seven-year-olds for a TV documentary. What would happen, wondered producers, if all differences between boys and girls were removed over a six-week period? Could it change the way the children thought and close the gaps in their achievement levels?”

This experiment got some things right, but it also got some things wrong. The positive aspect is that stereotypes about men and women were challenged, and the children were taught that they can do much more than they realized.

“In a series of psychometric tests, Dr Abdelmoneim and his team discover that the girls have much lower self-esteem than the boys and are inclined to underestimate their abilities.”

“To challenge the pupils’ preconceptions about the jobs on offer to them, the TV crew brings in a male ballet dancer, a female mechanic, a male make-up artist and a female magician.

“The children seem shocked by the role-reversal, but soon the girls are poring over a car engine and the boys are practising pirouettes.”

It’s a good thing to teach kids that men don’t have to be strong and unfeeling all the time, and that women are more than just wives and mothers. The kids in this class learned that they can do anything they want regardless of their sex, which is a good thing.

However, due to an increasing confusion over the difference between gender and sex, and the unfortunate denial that biological sex even exists, which is caused by the trans cult, the school felt that making all the students use the same washroom was a part of creating a gender neutral environment.

Gender refers to the social expectations and stereotypes we place on men and women, but sex refers to the real biological differences that allow us to reproduce. It’s a good thing to abolish gender, since people need to be free from negative stereotypes and limiting expectations. However, it is both impossible and unnecessary to abolish sex differences. Even if we teach girls and boys that they can grow up to have any personality and occupation they want, the fact that boys have penises and girls have vaginas remains true, and we should not be trying to convince anyone otherwise.

The students did not enjoy using the same washroom, particularly the girls.

‘You’ve got to start going to the same toilet,’ he announces to the class. The response is unanimous and resounding. ‘No!’ cry the children but – undeterred – the programme-makers push on with the experiment.

Dr Abdelmoneim admitted last week: ‘The children didn’t like the toilet.’ He said the girls were particularly uncomfortable with the arrangement. ‘The girls were like, “Oh they [the boys] come out with their bits dangling out and they don’t wash their hands.” ’

Mr Andre admitted parents were equally unhappy, adding: ‘The head put the toilets back to normal when the film cameras left.’

This is really unfortunate. Making boys and girls use the same washroom does not challenge stereotypes about who girls and boys can be, it just makes them uncomfortable. We separate the sexes in washrooms for the safety and privacy of both sexes. Although boys this young won’t usually commit any serious sexual offences, they seem to have been showing off their parts to annoy the girls. This behavior is not something girls should be subjected to.

I read the comments under this article and it was full of right-wing commenters complaining that “the Left” and “Marxism” are causing the collapse of society and that without femininity and masculinity people will not know how to breed. They were also being racist against Muslims for some reason.

I am so embarrassed that this idiocy is associated with the left. I am a far-left Marxist and I do not agree with the denial of biological sex differences and the desegregation of private spaces. Denying reality is not progressive, it’s just plain stupid. Nobody is harmed by the accurate understanding of biology and the granting of safety and privacy to people using washrooms and locker rooms.

Plenty of women on the left know what is going wrong here. We know where the analysis and the policies of the trans/queer cult have gone wrong. We’ve written excellent essays on it and we’ve spoken at many events about it. However, we are not being listened to. We are slandered as “TERFs” whose views are outdated and bigoted and our voices are shut down.

The Left is shooting itself in the foot by not listening to the smart women among its ranks who can see the problems its creating. The right-wing backlash is coming, and it’s too bad nobody wants to prevent it by listening to reason and creating reasonable policies in the first place.

The roots of trans oppression

One of the reasons that Leslie Feinberg researched the history of trans people is to find out whether they have always been oppressed and why their oppression began. She discussed the historical examples she found of cross dressing or sex change in her book Transgender Warriors  and traced the rise of discrimination against such people. Page numbers in this post will refer to the book Transgender Warriors.

Feinberg searched for trans people in history by looking for any mention of cross-dressing or sex change in historical texts. She did find lots of mentions of cross-dressing, but I’m a bit skeptical about whether anything she found actually constitutes sex change.

Here’s an example of something I’m skeptical about. She quoted Deuteronomy as an example of early bigotry against male-to-female transgender expression. “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter the congregation of the Lord” (p 50). This quote displays bigotry toward men who have lost their genitals, but does this have anything to do with transgenderism? In early societies men could have lost their genitals due to illness or accidents. They were doing physical labor and didn’t have modern hospitals. I don’t think we can know whether the writer of Deuteronomy had male-to-female expression in mind while writing this, or whether feminine men in this time period ever removed their genitals for transgender reasons. I am always skeptical of modern people taking these historical texts and interpreting them in terms of our understanding of transgenderism today. It seems like that is likely to turn out inaccurate.

I don’t doubt that there have always been cross-dressers and people who have been different from what we normally expect from men and women. I also don’t doubt there have always been people born intersex. It’s the way modern people interpret these things that draws out my skepticism. I do agree with Feinberg on one important point here, and that is that patriarchal societies discriminate against cross dressers and people who have a different gender expression than expected.  I view this through a feminist lens and I would describe this as patriarchal systems enforcing rigid gender roles on people and punishing those who deviate from the norm in order to reinforce patriarchy.

In addition to using religious texts and historical accounts, she also drew from communist theory for her theory of the development of trans oppression. This means that she blames the class division and patriarchy for trans oppression, which comes pretty close to my own theories.

“The accumulation of wealth in the form of herds, agriculture, and trade led to deepening class divisions among the Hebrews, so no wonder the religious beliefs and laws began to reflect the interests of the small group who owned the wealth and their struggle to strengthen their control over the majority.” (p 50.)

The invention of private property led men to need control over their wealth and their wives and children and this also led to strict divisions between the sexes.

She draws on the work of Frederick Engels to describe the overthrow of communalism and the rise of private property.

“In every society in which human labor grew more productive with the use of improved tools and techniques, people stored up more than what they needed for immediate consumption. This surplus was the first accumulation of wealth. Generally, men, who had primarily been wild-game hunters, domesticated and herded large animals, which represents the first wealth. Men, therefore, were in charge of stockpiling this abundance: cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and the surplus of dried and smoked meats and hides, milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Prior to this surplus, tools, utensils, and other possessions were commonly owned within the matrilineal gens. As wealth accumulated in the male sphere of labor, the family structure began to change, and men began to pass on inheritance to their male heirs. Those who had large families and other advantages gathered and stored more surplus. These inequalities, small at first, became the basis of the enrichment of some male tribal members over the women and the tribe as a whole.” (p51-52.)

“Shackling a vast laboring class meant creating armies, police, courts, and prisons to enforce the ownership of private property. However, whips and chains alone couldn’t ensure the rule of the new wealthy elite. A tiny, parasitic class can’t live in luxury off the wealth of a vast, laboring class without keeping the majority divided and pitted against each other. This is where the necessity for bigotry began.

I found the origin of trans oppression at this intersection between the overthrow of mother-right and the rise of patriarchal class-divided societies. It is at this very nexus that edicts like Deuteronomy arose. Law, including religious law, codified class relations.” (p52)

She even names some points about the development of patriarchy that agree with radical feminism.

“Once property-owning males ascended to a superior social position, those categories could not be bridged or blurred without threatening those who owned and controlled this new wealth.” (p62)

“The heterosexual family, headed by the father, became a state dictate because it was the economic vehicle that ensured wealth would be passed on to sons.” (p62)

“Males who were viewed as “womanly” were an affront to the men in power.” (p62)

“Hatred and contempt for women partly accounts for the growing hostility of the ruling classes toward men they considered too feminine.” (p62)

While reading these chapters I found that Feinberg had described the rise of capitalist patriarchy and named that as the source of trans oppression. She gave considerable attention to the way the European Catholic Church eliminated matrilineal belief systems and communal living. These earlier cultures tended to accept and even celebrate cross-dressing and include it as a form of expression in cultural and spiritual ceremonies, but the Catholic Church, representing the interests of ruling class men, eliminated these cultures and outlawed cross-dressing in order to protect its own power. I agree with her about this, although I would use slightly different words to describe it.

In my own words, the rise of capitalist patriarchy led to the discrimination against people she describes as “trans” because it created a hierarchy between men and women and separated the sexes into distinct roles. This means that people who blurred the lines by taking on roles not allowed to them by capitalist patriarchy were subject to corrective violence. This corrective violence was done to protect the patriarchal system and the ruling classes—both the economic ruling class and the ruling sex class (men).

Feinberg doesn’t specifically name the enforcement of gender roles as a method of protecting patriarchy, although I think she did understand this, she just didn’t put it into focus. Rather than focusing on the female sex class she focused on all cross-dressers as a group. I think it’s a mistake to consider both males and females to be part of the same oppressed group, since this disappears the sex hierarchy. Both male and female cross dressers are discriminated against, but they still have different places in the hierarchy. Men are expected to take their place as head of the family, husband and father, while women are expected to take their place as domestic servant and breeder. Both groups aren’t subject to the same discrimination.

To repeat a quote that I mentioned above:

“A tiny, parasitic class can’t live in luxury off the wealth of a vast, laboring class without keeping the majority divided and pitted against each other. This is where the necessity for bigotry began.” (p52)

It looks like she saw bigotry against cross-dressers and gender variant people as a deliberate strategy by the ruling class to keep the working class fighting each other so that they wouldn’t overthrow their economic oppression. This is a decent theory, because the ruling class does indeed introduce social issues in order to distract the proletariat from forming class consciousness and working together to fight for their own class interests. We can still see this happening today. However, I see the bigotry against gender variant people as rooted in the need for sex hierarchy between men and women and the enforcement of cultural beliefs  about men and women that are used to protect that hierarchy.

It’s important that communists, particularly communist women, analyze oppression on the axis of biological sex as well as economic class. Just as we need to create class consciousness among the proletariat, we need to create class consciousness among women, and we need to see ourselves as a class of people with a common class interest. I think it was a mistake for Feinberg to focus on both male and female cross-dressers as a group, rather than identifying with her sex class. All women are harmed by the enforcement of gender roles coming from capitalist patriarchy, although that harm will look different depending on whether we conform or not to feminine gender expression.  Women whose political analysis doesn’t come from viewing the female sex class as a distinct group will ultimately create politics that don’t support women’s best interests.  For example, Feinberg was against Michfest, even though it was created with women like her in mind, because she considered her political allies to be cross-dressing males rather than the female sex-class. Of course, feminists need to also be cognizant that they are listening to butch women and not doing things to alienate them from the movement.

One of the biggest failures of the left is the failure to recognize sex-based oppression and that other forms of discrimination flow from it. I think Feinberg’s analysis came close to the truth but just stopped short before getting there.

Quote: passing is a product of oppression

I’m still reading Trans Gender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg. I’m working on a post about the roots of trans oppression, but it’s not ready yet. Tonight I’m sharing a quote that I thought was absolutely amazing. Check this out:

“We have not always been forced to pass, to go underground, in order to work and live. We have a right to live openly and proudly. When we are denied those rights, we are the ones who suffer that oppression. But when our lives are suppressed, everyone is denied an understanding of the rich diversity of sex and gender expression and experience that exist in human society.

I have lived as a man because I could not survive openly as a transgendered person. Yes, I am oppressed in this society, but I am not merely a product of oppression. That is a phrase that renders all our trans identities meaningless. Passing means having to hide your identity in fear, in order to live. Being forced to pass is a recent historical development.

It is passing that is a product of oppression.” (p88–89).

This is amazing because this is exactly what I think. It’s okay to be a masculine woman or a feminine man, but people don’t think it’s okay, because they’re bigots. So masculine women have to pretend to be literally male and feminine men have to pretend to be literally female so they will be safe from the bigots who think their gender has to align with their sex. Passing means making people think you literally are the sex that corresponds with your gender expression. Not passing means that people know your sex as well as your gender. If it was okay for anyone to present how they want, then there would be no need to pass. Interestingly, radical feminists do think that anyone should be able to present how they want. The bigots are those who maintain that everyone who is feminine is literally female and everyone who is masculine is literally male. Strangely enough, modern trans activists are promoting this bigoted position toward their own community. I keep waiting for them to notice that they are transphobic, but so far, no luck.

I keep saying that Leslie Feinberg only lived “as a man” because she couldn’t live as a masculine woman. The reasons she couldn’t live as a masculine woman are called sexism and homophobia. Here it is right in her own book: being forced to pass as something you are not is a product of oppression. How refreshing, and surprising, to hear this from a trans activist!

If trans people weren’t discriminated against, then they wouldn’t have to pretend to be literally the opposite sex in order to live their lives. They’d be able to accept both their sex and their gender expression and everyone else would accept it too. There would be no rules that only certain gender expressions go with certain bodies. So, along the path to trans liberation, we need to be honest about sex and gender, rather than trying to hide one or the other. It’s okay to admit that transwomen are biologically male and that transmen are biologically female. No harm done in speaking the truth. Humans come in all types, some of us don’t look the way men or women usually look, and that’s okay! It doesn’t need to be hidden. It’s not bigoted to know who people are and accept them as is.

Also: she talks about not being a product of oppression in the middle paragraph. What she means by that is that she was not “passing as a man” in order to escape women’s oppression, as some people suggested. She was born unusually masculine for a girl, and she didn’t manufacture this deliberately as a strategy to escape women’s oppression. Just in case anybody’s wondering about that paragraph.

Sometimes I very much agree with Feinberg on something, but then other times we disagree. Following this amazing quote she talked about how we can’t define ‘woman’ in any way because defining it would leave people out. *sigh* You can’t win ’em all.

Responding to a Reddit comment

Here is a lesbian who feels better while taking testosterone but doesn’t identify as a man, and she finds herself in between trans ideology and radical feminist ideology. On very rare occasions, I run into someone on the Internet in this situation. I think these people are interesting and I enjoy hearing from them.

Link to Reddit thread here.

Quote:

“Does gender crit ideology have a problem with people who choose to medically transition AND are able to acknowledge biology/stay out of spaces made for the opposite sex? I ask this question because I’d probably lean more towards this category of human. I am 100% aware that I’m a lesbian (biologically female interested in females), but have wanted to masculinize my body since learning it existed in 2007 (have also taken T previously). What I felt while on testosterone was relief from mental health issues I’ve never been able to feel relief from (and I’ve been treated with many psychiatric drugs, years and years of therapy, and tried multiple ‘alternative’ methods, generally involving healthy living/exercise).

“Since puberty hit, I developed debilitating panic disorder that I do believe was/is hormonally induced (in fact, the biochemical shit that happens during PMS absolutely narrows this down…increase in estrogen, decrease in GABA, and my genetics must hold the predisposition for this, many of my fam are PD diagnosed/have alcoholism and other issues trying to solve this). Not only this, but no other medical intervention has made me feel legitimately healthy. I’d never experienced the confidence, the physical strength, or the happiness that parallels what HRT gave to me for the few short months I was on it.

“My conflict came because I became critical of the trans ideology itself…mostly due to learning of ‘the cotton ceiling’ and being concerned about pediatric transitioners (and just how booming of a fad transition seems to have become). However, I’ve always been ‘misgendered’. I’m used to not knowing which pronoun someone will use, and no pronoun feels ‘preferred’ or ‘correct’ to me. The only ‘incorrect’ pronoun feels like ‘it’, because it’s dehumanizing.

“I guess I’m posting this because several days ago I came to a realization that I don’t have to ‘identify’ as anything to take something that helps my mental and physical well-being, helps me feel better about my appearance and the way I feel in my body (I felt more connected to my physical experience than I have since puberty hit). I almost feel torn between ideologies.

“I don’t completely agree with transgender or radical feminist ideology (who honestly can say they do agree 100% with anything). I already feel isolated, so feeling conflicts with very core aspects of two opposing ideologies has felt extra isolating, as if I cannot be fully honest in either group.

“I guess I’m wondering what thoughts are on people who decide to make this personal choice but also recognize the rights of others to organize in spaces that don’t necessarily fit us into that group. What are your opinions? Is it possible to transition without negatively impacting others? Also, it almost feels like damage control at this point…I feel like I hurt people in my life more being unhappy than when I feel good and confident in my body (which I’ve been trying to do, for the most part, without medical transition for the past 14 years). Those who respect the boundaries of others, understand that biology is really important in dating (I don’t really want to get with anyone who has a penis either) and political spaces specific to one sex….are we okay?

“Is there a way to transition (helping the mental health of oneself) without getting in the way of others? I very much feel like testosterone is the closest thing that I’ve ever had to treating the physical and emotional discomfort I experience as a GNC female day to day, and I’m beginning to realize that I can’t completely give up my happiness for others who only will accept me in very specific circumstances, but I also want to know what I can do, as someone who feels critical of some inherent identity ( I do think there are biological factors that may play a role in this degree of GNC lesbianism…I didn’t make some choice to be this way, it’s inherent, but transition is obviously is a choice), to sort of meet in the middle. Taking the concerns of both my own mental health and the ability of females to organize exclusively into consideration.

“Does this make sense? I’ve been a bit hesitant to post this. Very unsure of the response this will get and somewhat embarrassed to put this out there. But it hit me that there has to be someone else feeling like this somewhere. :/”

/end quote

Well, since you asked, I am gender critical and I think we would get along just fine. I have problems with transgender politics as they are currently playing out due to the removal of women’s rights and the constant lying about biology, among other things. So if someone is trans but not denying biology and not taking away women’s rights, then we’re cool.

I think you have a good attitude toward your situation, because you are accepting of yourself as a lesbian and accepting of your body. You are also respectful of people’s genital preferences when it comes to relationships.

I definitely think you can transition without getting in the way of others. There are some trans people who are trying to make the entire world bend to their ideas, and this is wrong. For example, there are trans men who give birth to babies and breastfeed but still want people to think of them as men, and they also want organizations that help women with birthing and breastfeeding to stop using the word “woman” when referring to the class of people who can give birth and breastfeed. This is absolutely ridiculous and this is an example of “getting in the way of others” while transitioning. If you are doing what’s right for you while staying in touch with reality and not trying to control other people’s accurate thoughts and language, then we’re cool.

I am pretty skeptical that taking artificial hormones is ever a good idea, but I can’t say that I understand everything about the effects of hormones in the body, and if someone can honestly say that artificial hormones are the only thing that can help them feel better, than I’m not stopping them. I do not advocate for eliminating the existence of artificial hormones.

I feel relief when I meet someone who takes hormones to feel better but still lives in reality. I am pretty chill about a woman with a deep voice and a beard who knows that she is biologically female and isn’t trying to get me to accept nonsense or lies. I would even advocate for gender neutral washrooms and removing the sex marker from driver’s licenses on her behalf, if that’s gonna help.

I am totally accepting of people who are different. The only things I won’t accept are misogyny and lies.

“Mutilation”

Last year I made a decision not to use the words “mutilation” or “delusional” when talking about trans people. That’s because detransitioners have been patiently explaining why these words are harmful. On a rare occasion I might call someone’s worldview “delusional” if they are being particularly ridiculous in the things they say, but I don’t make blanket statements that to be transgender is always a “delusion.” Gender dysphoria is clearly a real condition, and there are real feelings involved that are hard to explain, and people might not always make sense when trying to explain how they feel but it’s normal for feelings not to make sense. My feelings don’t always make sense either. (I do, however, expect people to make sense when they are laying out their political position.)

There are still lots of radfems and other trans critical folks who call people delusional and name their surgeries as mutilation. Here is an angry rant by Carey Callahan about it:

I’m a little bit in between two groups sometimes. I am a radical feminist but I don’t always like the way my sisters engage online. Sometimes I try to explain to them that when you yell at people that they’re delusional and mutilating themselves, that’s overly hostile and alienating language and it’s going to do nothing but make them hate feminists. Nobody on Earth says, “Oh, this person is saying really horrible stuff to me and my community, I think I will therefore do a whole bunch of reading to understand what their political position is in case it might benefit me.” Nope. They will just yell back or block you.

I believe that the radical feminist analysis of gender is excellent and helpful for everyone. That means I want to present it in an accessible way that people feel they can listen to. The last thing I want to do is alienate people from it.

There are a couple of problems with calling people who transition “mutilated.” One problem is that it’s unnecessarily hostile. As Carey points out in her video, women get mastectomies for all sorts of reasons besides gender presentation. Sometimes it’s for health reasons, such as getting breast reductions for large breasts that are causing back problems, or complete removal due to breast cancer. There are various surgeries performed for health reasons that will leave scars. It is never appropriate to call a surgical scar a mutilation because this is just straight-up rudeness toward the person. How do you expect someone to feel when you call them mutilated? The other problem with calling people who transition “mutilated” is that this hostile language is not being directed at people who make non-gender-related body modifications. There is no group of people who make a hobby out of finding women who have had Botox injections or breast enhancements and lamenting together about these “mutilations.” I expect that people who consider body modification mutilation probably find it mutilation in every case, but they are focusing their complaints on one kind of body modification. This really does make it look like they are simply being hostile toward transitioners.

While we’re on this subject, it’s also not okay to tell people who transition that they’re “betraying all women” or that they’re “breaking your heart.” Let’s talk first about “betraying all women.”

Feminism isn’t about controlling what personal choices women can make, it’s about making material changes in the world to end male supremacy and male violence against women, in order to liberate us from oppression. If it’s possible that women are “betraying all women” by making the wrong personal choices, then lots of women are “betraying all women” all the time, particularly those of us in rich countries. First world women buy clothes and electronics that were made in sweatshops by poor women, and some of our food is imported from poor countries and was grown by people not earning much money, many of them women. So if our personal choices mean we are “betraying all women,” then all the women in rich countries typing this phrase on their smart phones are also betraying all women. And any woman who wears makeup or high heels, who does anything to please men, who works in advertising selling harmful products to women, who does modelling or dieting or shoe shopping, are all betraying all women. I think the phrase “betraying all women” should be reserved only for women deliberating working politically to take away rights from women, but not for women who are doing what they need to do to survive in the world. If a female transitioner does political work to take away women’s rights, then she’s betraying all women with her political work, but she’s not inherently betraying all women just from the act of taking hormones. Someone could theoretically take hormones and also do political work on behalf of women.

It’s also not okay to tell people that their transition is breaking your heart. That’s because it’s never okay to go up to random people and tell them their personal choices are breaking your heart. You don’t go up to people who are wearing leather and say “Your choice to wear leather is breaking my heart” or go up to someone who got a weight-loss-related stomach surgery and say “Your surgery is breaking my heart.” Those decisions probably break some people’s hearts, but that’s still not something you say to them. So why is it okay to tell people who transition that their personal decision is breaking your heart? It’s not the responsibility of complete strangers to live their lives in a way that fixes your broken heart for you.

You might be asking yourself why I’m defending people’s right to make body modifications if I’m against body modifications. It’s a hard thing to explain, but I’ll try. I think that viewing your body as something that is wrong and that needs to be fixed is the wrong approach to take toward your body. I think that having a positive view of the natural body that you were born with is a blessing that you deserve, and you should work toward self-love and acceptance rather than trying to change yourself. The approach that if something is “wrong” then you should “fix” it may not ever bring you happiness, because you can always find something else that is wrong, and you could keep “fixing” yourself forever, without ever being satisfied. I also think that since surgery is risky and does constitute an injury to the body, it should be avoided whenever possible. However, I do believe in personal autonomy to the extent that if you really want to modify yourself, you have the right to do so. I may not agree with your decision, but it’s your body, not mine. I am not advocating for shutting down plastic surgery clinics or stopping people from having surgeries. What I think we should do is create a culture that values our natural bodies and that values human safety and dignity and that doesn’t ever cause body dissatisfaction in the first place, and I think that the widespread body hatred we see in society is a sign of a social problem. I don’t think we should advertise anything that people use to “perfect” themselves like makeup, diet products, plastic surgery of any sort, or weight-loss surgery. People are just fine the way they already are, and the advertisement of these things promotes body hatred and promotes the view that we need to “fix” ourselves.

We don’t need fixing. And we shouldn’t belittle people’s bodies, whether natural or modified.