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.

Identification papers

The following quote is the opening to chapter 8 of Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg:

“When I say I am a gender outlaw in modern society, it’s not rhetoric. I have been dragged out of bars by police who claimed I broke the law when I dressed myself that evening. I’ve heard the rap of a cop’s club on the stall door when I’ve used a public women’s toilet. And then there’s the question of my identity papers.

My driver’s license reads Male. The application form only offered me two choices: M or F. In this society, where women are assumed to be feminine and men are assumed to be masculine, my sex and gender expression appear to be at odds. But the very fact that I could be issued a license as a male demonstrates that many strangers “read me” as a man, rather than a masculine woman.

In almost thirty years of driving I’ve heard the whine of police sirens behind my car on only three occasions. But each time, a trooper sauntered up to my car window and demanded, “Your license and registration–sir.” Imagine the nightmare I’d face if I handed the trooper a license that says I am female. The alleged traffic infraction should be the issue, not my genitals. I shouldn’t have to prove my sex to any police officer who has stopped me for a moving violation, and my body should not be the focus of investigation. But in order to avoid these dangers, I broke the law when I filled out my driver’s license application. As a result, I could face a fine, a suspension of my license, and up to six months in jail merely for having put an M in the box marked sex (p.61).”

I feel sympathy for anyone in this situation. Feinberg was born a masculine girl, and was already passing as a man even before making any body modifications. After taking hormones and having top surgery she consistently passed as male. What to do about identification papers then?

I agree that when you are stopped for a traffic violation, the police officer should be concerned about your driving and not about your genitals. I think the primary issue here is the lack of understanding that not all men or women look the way we expect men or women to look, and I think that people need to be educated that some people look different and this is okay. However, I don’t think we should completely erase the reality of biological sex either—we should just be chill about the fact that someone’s presentation might not “match” their sex the way we expect it to. There are some situations in which it’s important to correctly identify someone’s sex—the most obvious example is in a medical situation—and I don’t think we need to pretend that biological sex literally doesn’t exist or is completely meaningless in order to keep someone safe. It’s better to acknowledge that sex and gender both exist, are both relevant, and can coexist in any combination, and that no one should suffer discrimination because of a physical difference.

I don’t agree with changing the sex designation on birth certificates. A birth certificate is a legal and historical document showing who was born and where. To change the historical record of your birth is fraudulent. However I see no reason why we need to have M or F on a driver’s license. We do this for identification purposes, but as long as there is other identification information on a driver’s license then they are still useful for that purpse. They tend to record height, date of birth, and eye colour, and they tend to have photos, and all that information should be enough to identify a person. I therefore agree with Feinberg that sex designation should be removed from driver’s licenses in order for gender ambiguous people to be safe in everyday situations.

I agree with Feinberg way more often that I agree with the current trans movement and that’s because she was way more likely to live in reality and talk about problems that really are problems. I agree with Feinberg on quite a lot of things, in fact. (It helps that we are both lesbian communists 😉 ).

Here is a modern situation where a transgender person was stopped for a driving infraction and I’m not on his side. Please do click on the link and watch the video provided.

Shelby Kendall is a late-in-life MtF transitioner who looks and sounds entirely male. He is absolutely nowhere near passing as female. He has a man’s body structure, male-pattern baldness, and a male-sounding voice. I don’t think anyone would ever guess he identifies as a “woman” until he told them so. When a police officer pulled him over for reckless driving (he appeared to be drag racing another vehicle), the officer correctly identified Kendall’s sex as male. The F mark on Kendall’s driver’s license seemed to him to be a mistake.

In our society where men are socialized to be aggressive and competitive, there are more men than women who drive recklessly and speed. That’s why insurance companies often charge men more for their insurance—they are statistically more likely to get in an accident. I’m not saying that reckless driving is a male trait—only that it is a part of the masculinity that men are socialized into. But here is another example of a MtF transitioner, (and there are so many of these examples,) where he displays typically masculine behavior while simultaneously claiming to have a “woman’s brain,” leading onlookers to call bullshit.

Anyway, the police officer is now in trouble for literally doing his job correctly, because Kendall has the legal right to have his nonsensical identity validated by police officers even while he is breaking the law. This is outrageous and stupid. Kendall was in no danger from the police officer correctly identifying him as male, since he is male and looks male. Having your subjective internal feelings validated by a police officer who is writing you a ticket for a driving infraction is not a reasonable expectation to have and it’s not something anyone can expect.

I agree that people whose presentation appears ambiguous or opposite of what is expected should be able to be safe, but I do not agree that people should be able to force everyone around them to pretend they appear in a way that they don’t. Nor do I agree that government documents should be falsified in order to validate people’s subjective identities. Entirely removing the sex designation from driver’s licenses would be a reasonable accommodation because it doesn’t involve lying, but putting a false sex designation is not acceptable.

I hope and expect that police officers witnessing this situation will be outraged about it. They should have nothing to fear from doing their jobs correctly. However, here’s what really worries me. The outrageous expectations that current trans activists have about the extent to which their fantasies have to be catered to by the people around them are going to cause a huge backlash, and that backlash is not going to be nuanced and grounded in a way that balances out the rights of GNC people to be safe while also staying in line with reality. It’s going to be a crazy tsunami of right-wing backlash against the whole LGBT community and many left-wing causes like support for minorities and women’s rights.

The right-wing website Life Site News had this to say about this article:

But today’s gay agenda requires lies. Lies that sodomy is healthy and/or an expression of love. Lies that two people of the same sex can be “married.” Lies that a man is a woman, or vice versa.

The religious, anti-feminist and anti-gay right wing, which is a powerful enough group to elect Donald Trump, thinks that straight men fantasizing they are women is a part of the “gay agenda.” It most certainly is not! The trans cult have their own agenda, and it’s not even about safety for GNC people anymore, it’s about complete capitulation to delusions, and the complete outlawing of common sense. Trans activists have created a huge mess that is going to actively harm gays, lesbians, bisexuals and regular GNC folks who just want to live their lives.

Trans activists have labelled feminists as “bigots” even though we support reasonable accommodations for GNC people and even though our own agenda is to eradicate the sex stereotypes that limit men and women, and to end male violence, which would help GNC people to live safely. They are stupidly shooting down their would-be allies, and hurting us all with their madness.

Planet Fitness court case update

You may remember that the court ruled in favor of the gym when Yvette Cormier first filed her lawsuit against Planet Fitness.

She is now taking her case to Michigan’s highest court.

From MLive.com:

“Planet Fitness transgender locker room case heads to Michigan Supreme Court

MIDLAND, MI — A Midland County woman who sued Planet Fitness for its transgender-friendly locker room policy is now taking her case to Michigan’s highest court. Yvette Cormier’s lawsuit is based on her seeing a transgender person in the locker room at the Planet Fitness in Midland on Feb. 28, 2015.

Midland County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Beale dismissed the lawsuit on Jan 4, 2016. Cormier’s attorney, David A. Kallman, appealed the judge’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals 24 days later. On June 1 this year, the Court of Appeals issued a ruling affirming Beale’s ruling. Kallman believes the Court of Appeals decision was not correct and filed for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 12.”

“We believe the Court of Appeals decision was erroneous because it stated that a business policy (Planet Fitness’ judgment free zone policy) itself could not be the basis for an Elliott-Larsen Act claim,” Kallman said in an email.

“Further, (Planet Fitness’) actions against Mrs. Cormier clearly violated her right to privacy by allowing a man in the women’s locker room/shower area and violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.”

I support Yvette Cormier and I believe she is fighting an important battle for all women. We have the right to privacy in washrooms and locker rooms and we should not be forced to share them with men.

This newspaper’s framing of the case as a woman having an issue with a “transgender-friendly locker room policy” hides the fact that the man in the locker room was not living as a transwoman and appeared unambiguously male. These locker room policies allow fully intact men into women’s locker rooms and are therefore not safe for women.

Gender Trender is still the only website that has published the full story on this, including details about the misogynist male fetishist who used the locker room that day.

“There have always been trans people”

I was reading a new article by Chris Hedges, which attempted to balance the views of trans activists with the views of women, by quoting both, and what I noticed is the quotes by trans activists contained a lot of blatant misinformation. One quote in particular I wanted to discuss:

“Being transgender is not a consumer identity pushed on us by a capitalist system,” Snow said. “Transgender people have existed long before capitalism and will continue to exist. Pushing the narrative that trans identities are simply a ‘consumer’ rather than an authentic identity only reinforces rigid standards of what it means to be female. Trans women are often dismissed, marginalized and attacked for failing to meet these rigid standards of what it means to be female. So-called ‘feminists’ who wish to label trans identities as being inauthentic are actually doing the patriarchy’s work of enforcing rigid standards and ideas of what it means to be female.”

The speaker is Misty Snow, an American transwoman, and he is responding to the accusation from feminists that transgender identities are being marketed to people.

I think if you are going to argue that transgender identity is not being sold to us by capitalism, your proof should necessarily involve demonstrating that there is no money involved in selling a transgender identity, that transgender identity is not being promoted, and that trans identity is an authentic human trait not related to culture. I predict you’d have trouble proving any of these premises.

Snow’s sentence “Pushing the narrative that trans identities are simply a ‘consumer’ rather than an authentic identity only reinforces rigid standards of what it means to be female” doesn’t make sense. Women are reporting that trans identities are being marketed because we can see the marketing, and reporting the marketing that we can see is not at all related to “reinforcing rigid standards” about femaleness. Feminists are in fact against rigid standards about what it means to be female, which anyone would understand if they read anything we write. This is another one of those thousands of instances of trans activists literally making shit up and projecting it onto feminists as if it’s the truth. I’m getting seriously tired of all the lying they do.

Reality TV shows such as this one and this one and this one promote transgenderism to the masses. Books, dolls, and more dolls, are being created to teach kids about being trans, endless news stories tell us the “brave” tales of trans people who come out after realizing they identify with the stereotypes assigned to the opposite sex, videos such as these and these specifically promote gender identities as something cool to have. Entire companies exist to sell transgender clothing and supplies, and of course all the doctors and surgeons and pharmaceutical companies are making money off of hormones and surgeries.

As a result of gender identity being marketed, the numbers of people wanting transgender body modifications are skyrocketing and new gender clinics are opening to keep up with demand. The purpose of marketing a product is to increase the number of people buying it. The marketing of gender identity has in fact increased the number of people wanting costly body modifications. I’m not sure how you’d set out to prove that this marketing and profiting is not happening.

Gay and lesbian identities have also been taken up by media, however, there is no profit to be made as a result of people being lesbian or gay, and you can’t increase the gay population by promoting it. Being gay doesn’t involve purchasing supplies or clothing, getting plastic surgery, or becoming lifelong medical patients, so there is no more money to be made from us than there is from the general population. Tell me this: when we started seeing gay characters on TV shows, did the number of gay people in society skyrocket at rates of “several hundred percent” as they have with gender identity? I have not seen that.

The reason you can increase the number of people identifying as transgender is partly because transgenderism is a socially-constructed identity and partly because the definition of transgender is so wide open that anyone can claim it. Transgender doesn’t just mean male-to-female transsexuals and female-to-male transsexuals anymore, it is a variety of different labels that mean whatever the person says they mean and any of which could involve body modifications if the person desires. It’s an identity buffet where new flavours can be invented any time and anyone can choose their choices, especially where they involve buying things.

Trans activists, like the one above, will argue that there have always been trans people and that being trans is an innate characteristic. When you are going to argue that, you first have to narrow down what you mean by “trans” and what characteristic, specifically, people are born with. In my post, What does it mean to be trans, I talked about the problems with defining trans people as “everyone who challenges the boundaries of sex and gender” because this could include almost everyone depending on what criteria you set. This definition in fact includes radical feminists under the definition of trans, something that is rather funny and ironic in this political climate. If you are going to talk about innate characteristics you’re going to have to define them as something a little more concrete than “feeling male” or “feeling female” because these concepts don’t hold any water since there is no specific way that males and females feel.

When your definition of who is trans is so broad it can include almost anyone, and when your alleged “innate” characteristics amount to nothing other than personality and feelings, then you can indeed claim that trans people have always existed, because as long as people have existed we have had our own unique personalities and feelings that don’t necessarily coincide with what society expects of men and women. However, it’s not a useful argument to define trans people as “everyone” and then say that “everyone” has always existed. Who, exactly, has always existed?

I have been reading Trans Gender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg and she included a lot of research into societies and cultures in which there were gender nonconforming people, with a focus on the fact that they were generally respected by their societies. The purpose of this exercise is to prove that there have always been trans people, and they haven’t always been hated as they are now. Some of the people discussed are Native American two-spirited people (and this is a large and varied group by the way), women who lived as men to fight in battle, (such as Joan of Arc), male-to-female priestesses and shamans across many countries, intersexual deities among African and Asian societies, and more.

I don’t doubt for a second that gender nonconforming people have always existed. The expectations and roles about how men and women should behave have never been applicable to all people. Nature always creates exceptions. However, the phenomenon of “trans kids” today who are being put on the dangerous drug Lupron because they are playing with toys marketed to the opposite sex is in no way comparable to cross-dressing shamans and warriors from ancient societies. There is no evidence of kids before the second half of the 20th century demanding to have their puberty blocked or else they will commit suicide. If it is comparable at all, it’s the opposite of the acceptance that GNC people used to have. Now, instead of accepting that some boys are girly and some girls are boyish, they are considered to have a medical defect which has to be corrected using an off-label and non-FDA approved drug that sterilizes them and has unknown long-term medical effects. I think that if GNC people were accepted today as the shamans and warriors were then, then parents would be delighted to have daughters who play with trucks and sons who play with dolls, and such kids would be celebrated as-is without the need for harmful medical intervention. In addition, the influx of misogynist heterosexual men into the modern “trans” movement shows how different the modern trans identity is from those early cross-dressers. When I consider that fake-antifa woman-hating white men like this are being compared to Native American two-spirit people, due to all being under the “trans umbrella,” I cringe. When I think of how autogynephiles who discover their love for dressing like a female porn star after masturbating endlessly to sissy porn can be compared to women like Joan of Arc who bravely fought in battle to save their countries, due to all being under the “trans umbrella,” I cringe. Comparing the early cross-dressing warriors and shamans and the two-spirit people to today’s modern Western trans phenomenon is an insult to those cultures.

One of the interesting things about Feinberg’s research into the history of GNC people is that they were often homosexual. She did name this fact when it came up, but she didn’t seem to place a lot of significance on it, preferring to call them trans rather than gay.

One of the quotes Feinberg included, which notably came from Gay American History by Ned Katz, was this:

“Strange country this,” a white man wrote in 1850 about the Crow nation of North America, “where males assume the dress and perform the duties of females, while women turn men and mate with their own sex!” (p22)

Feinberg also quoted a Spanish official who had this to say after going on an expedition across Panama:

“saw men dressed like women, learnt they were sodomites and threw the King and forty others to be eaten by his dogs” (p23)

Feinberg also tells of an occasion when she was invited to a gathering of two-spirit Native people in Minneapolis. She says:

“I laughed easily, relaxed with old friends and new ones. Some were feminine men or masculine women; all shared same-sex desire. (p26)”

(All page numbers refer to Trans Gender Warriors.)

What it looks like to me is that Feinberg found a lot of evidence of gays and lesbians, who have always existed, have often been GNC, and were respected in early societies. I’m disappointed that she placed so much emphasis on them being trans rather than being gay.

Same-sex desire is a real thing, and gender nonconformity going along with same-sex attraction is also a real thing. However, the way we conceptualize and name the identities of same-sex attracted people varies from culture to culture and from time period to time period. The words “gay” and “lesbian” are 20th century Western inventions, and interestingly, we are even seeing the Western conceptualization of same-sex attraction change right before our eyes, as many same-sex attracted young people today are identifying as trans, including nonbinary and genderqueer as well as trans men or trans women. I wouldn’t have a problem with language changing, as it’s not the labels that are important, except for this new way of thinking comes with a complete denial of biological sex, and a medicalization of the bodies of same-sex attracted people, which is unnecessary and nonsensical and which ends up hurting us in the long run.

We know that children diagnosed as having “gender dysphoria” by the modern Western medical establishment are more likely to grow into happy gay, lesbian and bisexual adults than persist in gender dysphoria. We also know that most kids who persist in gender dysphoria into adulthood are same-sex attracted, which has serious implications for what gender dysphoria really means. We also know that early examples of GNC people, as Feinberg documented, were often same-sex attracted.

The claim that “trans people have always existed” is made in a context in which people are conflating very different lived realities under one umbrella which obscures what is meant by the identity “trans” and in which people are deliberately hiding the fact that many of the people considered to be “trans” by trans activists are actually gay. Unfortunately, even trans activists who are themselves homosexual and otherwise appear to be in favor of gay rights often hide or minimize the fact that trans people are often gay. This results in gay people being hidden under another identity and medicalized so they no longer appear to be gay, which looks a lot like homophobia.

Getting back to the quote from the trans activist quoted above, he believes that feminists who are pro-gay and against traditional gender roles are “reinforcing patriarchy” because we do not believe that male humans can be considered female and because we have noted the promotion of a modern, medicalized trans identity that is being promoted by those who profit from it. He couldn’t be more wrong. Identifying the biological differences that human beings are born with and which allow us to reproduce does not enforce cultural standards of femininity or masculinity. However, the belief that boys who like pink and sparkly things are really girls, and that girls who play with trucks are really boys, does enforce cultural standards onto boys and girls. It is a patriarchal reversal that feminists who are against gender are the ones reinforcing gender, while those who worship gender are freeing us from it.

Here are some things that are demonstrably true: same-sex attraction has always existed, exceptions to cultural ideas about how men and women should behave have always existed, gay men appearing to be “feminine” and lesbians appearing to be “masculine” have always existed, we are born with a certain personality which normally cannot be changed, and it is patriarchy that reinforces rigid gender roles and compulsory heterosexuality.

Lesbian exclusion from Pride

I was excited to see an article on Feminist Current called On actual exclusivity at Pride because we need to talk about how lesbians have been effectively banned from Pride festivals everywhere. However, this article missed the main reason lesbians are banned from Pride and instead appeared to blame female transitioners for making other women feel unwelcome.

The main reason that lesbians are excluded from Pride is that Pride festivals have been taken over by queer theory and Dyke Marches now cater specifically to queer theorists rather than to lesbians. Dyke Marches everywhere explicitly state they are for “queer women,” not lesbians, and the designation “queer women” can include people of either sex and of any sexual orientation, as long as they feel they identify as “queer women.” According to queer theory, the most oppressed “lesbians” are men who identify as lesbians.

In reality, men who identify as “lesbians” are homophobic heterosexual men with no respect for women’s boundaries. Not only should they not be centered in Dyke Marches, they should be actively excluded and condemned for lesbophobia. Now that Dyke Marches primarily exist to validate the bullshit identities of homophobic men, it would be difficult for any lesbian to feel comfortable marching in one. Signs held up by marchers saying things like “No TERFs” and “We love dick” reinforce the message that this is not a place for lesbians.

The article on Feminist Current linked above didn’t talk about this; instead the author talked about feeling that lesbians are unwelcome at Pride simply by seeing a trans man dancing:

“The misogyny of trans politics is not new to me, but I had a moment of sickening clarity at Pride last year. After a long day and night of festivities, my partner and I were leaning on a table in a bar. There was a young lad dancing alone; when I looked closer I could see the tightly bound chest and the beginnings of a beard. This was a kid of about 18, who had been told that altering her body in this extreme way would somehow resolve the discomfort and self-hatred she experienced under patriarchy. This image was a visceral reminder that lesbians, as they are — as women with diverse female bodies, who love other women with diverse female bodies — were no longer welcome at Pride.”

I’m surprised that this was the example she chose to use as proof that lesbians have become unwelcome. It sounds as though she thinks that either the presence of female transitioners creates a hostile environment for women or that women are transitioning due to feeling unwelcome coming to Pride as lesbians. I’m guessing her intention was that the existence of lesbians who transition is a sign that lesbians don’t feel comfortable being lesbians, but this isn’t what I think comes across in what she wrote.

If I were to choose an image as a visceral reminder that lesbians are not welcome at Pride, I’d choose an image of a fully-intact male holding a sign saying “some dykes have dicks” or a man wearing a T-shirt that says “I punch TERFs.” I definitely wouldn’t choose an image of a female transitioner for this. I do not think that the presence of female transitioners at Pride is making lesbians unwelcome.

There are a couple of words in this article that indicate a feeling of scorn toward female transitioners. One of those words is “sickening” in the above paragraph. The other is her phrase “the mutilated and bound bodies of women.” I don’t think this is an appropriate way to talk about women who are suffering from a real condition (dysphoria) and who are attempting to deal with that in a way that makes sense to them. Although I don’t believe that body modification is an effective strategy to achieve good mental health, I also don’t agree with being scornful toward those who do. We need to be very clear as feminists that we are against systems of oppression but not the individuals who are caught in those systems.

I’d like to talk about the changes I would make to Pride festivals in order to make them more inclusive to lesbians. The primary change I would make if I were in charge is that I’d move away from the promotion of queer theory and capitalist advertising and toward a return to Pride marches as commemorations of the Stonewall riots. Pride marches these days are at least 50% advertising. All sorts of companies want to put their float in the parade, complete with corporate logos, mass-produced branded giveaway items, and hired models to dance for them. Many liberal institutions, such as political parties and unions, create professionally-printed signs with slogans bearing the latest politically-correct “queer” slogans, which sometimes don’t reflect what lesbians would actually want to say.

My ideal Pride parade would not allow corporate logos at all, and would discourage the throwing around of promotional products and other garbage, and the hiring of models to dance on floats. I think a pride parade should consist of a group of gays and lesbians who wish to commemorate the Stonewall Riots with homemade signs that represent their gratitude for those who fought for our rights. There should always be signs with the names of gays and lesbians who fought back against gay oppression and who died of homophobic violence. There should also be grassroots organizations for gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the parade to advertise their community services. Bisexuals who wish to march in pride parades should do so for the purpose of supporting same-sex attraction rather than emphasizing their opposite-sex relationships. I don’t think that bisexuals should be categorically excluded, but I think when they emphasize their opposite-sex relationships in Pride parades, they are being obnoxious and ignoring the purpose of the parade. I don’t think that the trans community as a distinct group belongs in Pride parades, because being trans is not a sexual orientation. There will naturally be butch women, effeminate men, and cross-dressing at a Pride march because that is the nature of some gays and lesbians. This is totally okay and welcome. Gays and lesbians who make body modifications but still identify as their birth sex and have a homosexual orientation should be welcome too, since they are gays and lesbians. However, inviting the trans community as a whole means inviting heterosexuals who identify into “queerness” by being “kinky” in bed or having green hair, and heterosexual men who disrespect lesbians by appropriating our name for themselves, and I don’t think such people belong in a Pride parade.

All that being said, I have no interest in either performing “genital checks” on anyone or demanding anyone “prove” their sexual orientation before marching. I just think it should be understood that a Pride parade is for gays and lesbians to commemorate the Stonewall riots and not an opportunity for everyone under the sun to celebrate whatever they think is cool about themselves.

Finally, in addition to banning corporate logos I would also ban the use of the word “TERF.” This word should be considered lesbophobic hate speech and therefore not welcome at a march that purports to include lesbians.

What Pride parades have turned into is a giant corporate-sponsored party celebrating watered-down liberal politics that is open to anyone except lesbians. As a Marxist-leaning lesbian, Pride is not for me at all. What Pride has turned into is a disgrace and an insult to lesbians.

I normally agree with everything posted on Feminist Current, but unfortunately this article fell short.

Gender dysphoria: innate or acquired?

When I read a study on 45 female-to-male transsexuals at the end of 2016, I concluded that gender dysphoria had to be caused by social factors. Since the vast majority of the participants were attracted to women and had homophobic attitudes, and two-thirds of them had also been abused as children, I decided that this couldn’t be a mere coincidence. If gender dysphoria tends to strike same-sex attracted women with internalized homophobia who have been abused, then clearly there are social factors involved in the development of dysphoria. As I said back in December:

“First of all, if gender dysphoria had nothing to do with internalized homophobia, then wouldn’t this condition randomly strike women in proportional amounts across all sexual orientations? Women in the general population are somewhere around 90% heterosexual. If gender dysphoria is a condition that strikes randomly, then wouldn’t the percentage of FtMs who are attracted to men be somewhere around 90%, keeping in line with the general population? Why is same-sex attraction so overrepresented among FtMs if people are just randomly born with dysphoria for no reason? In addition, a lot of the participants in this study had extremely homophobic attitudes. One third of participants did not act on their sexual attraction to women during adolescence, and common reasons given for this is that they did not think it was possible for two women to have sex, and that they believed homosexuality was wrong. Is this just a coincidence too? Women who are same-sex attracted and have negative attitudes toward homosexuality are overrepresented among FtMs for just no reason? I tell ya, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence to me. It feels a lot like homophobia.”

Since reading this study I have firmly believed that gender dysphoria is not innate, although I do think that the tendency to develop dysphoria could be innate, and it gets activated when living in a sexist and homophobic society.

The blog 4thWaveNow has been writing posts on the correlation between gender dysphoria and other conditions such as autism and giftedness. The interesting thing about autism and intelligence is that they are both innate. A commenter on 4thWaveNow, responding to my comment about gender dysporia being acquired rather than innate, gave me some interesting food for thought:

“I think it can definitely be innate, or at least an innate (with biological factors) tendency (possibly gender/sex dysphoria represents only one possible manifestation, though). Co-morbidity is common enough with neurological conditions/mental illness, with evidence for genetic factors. With autism and the concept of ‘gifted’ there’s significant overlap already, as Lisa discusses. To me the lack of randomness points towards it being innate/down to innate factors in some cases (autism is of course itself an innate factor), rather than the opposite.”

This is a really excellent observation, and it appears to prove me wrong. If gender dysphoria tends to correlate with the innate conditions of autism and giftedness, then that points to dysphoria being innate too. Even though there is no scientific proof of a “gay gene,” homosexuality too is widely held to be innate, in the sense that it’s stable over time and cannot be changed.

This week I have been pondering whether this new information changes my theories. I don’t think it entirely does though. If people with autism, giftedness, and non-heterosexual orientation have a higher chance of developing dysphoria, that still could be due to social factors. The common theme across these three different types of people is feeling different and not fitting in. People with autism have a hard time understanding social cues, people who are gifted have minds working on another level than other people, and gays and lesbians often don’t think or behave the way straight people do. All of these characteristics can cause alienation from one’s peer group, a feeling of being “wrong”, and intense discomfort.

We can’t state that gender dysphoria is an integral part of being autistic, gifted, or gay, since there are also people who are these things without dysphoria. If dysphoria came innately with these other characteristics, then all people who are autistic, gifted, or gay would be dysphoric. Instead they are just statistically more likely to be than the general population.

In my conclusion post on FtM Transsexuals In Society, I concluded the following:

“It seems reasonable to say that some people are more susceptible to developing gender dysphoria than others due to their innate personality, but it doesn’t follow that there is a one-size-fits all cure for that, and it doesn’t follow that body modification is inevitable.”

I still believe exactly this. It seems entirely plausible that some people have an innate tendency to develop dysphoria, and being autistic, gifted, traumatized, or gay can increase the likelihood that the dysphoria will activate. That’s because these characteristics can lead to feelings of discomfort, for different reasons according to the condition. When you have a tendency to feel discomfort, and something happens to make you uncomfortable, then you feel discomfort. However, just because someone feels uncomfortable with their body, it doesn’t follow that body modification is the only cure, or that they are literally the opposite sex. It makes more sense to follow the normal strategies that those with the above characteristics use to feel more comfortable, rather than rushing right into medical transition.