This is a response to a post by a self-hating transgender woman. This is me trying to explain reality to anyone who is interested in challenging TERFs, including self-hating transgender women. I refute the points made in this post, point by point.
This is my response to the lovely email I received which you will find here. I generally do not like ‘point-by-point’ replies so I broke my own rules. Anyway, this is me trying to explain myself to someone who is interested in and supportive of my challenging anti-feminist trans activists.
You mean anti-feminist trans activists like you?
Oh, and as this and the aforementioned post show, I have lovely friends.
I haven’t read the aforementioned post yet, but somehow considering the person you are, I find that hard to believe.
I never knew what a terf was and now I do.
I see that word as a way of dehumanising people„ usually women, so that hate can be thrown at them online and in real life. It gets banded about indiscriminately and has never really had a concrete, consistent meaning. Many of the people I tweet with have been called ‘TERF’s.
How so? TERF is a label that is applied to people (usually women) who attack trans women. I have never seen that term banded about indiscriminately and it has had a concrete consistent meaning. It means “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”, even though the people this term is applied to are not feminists by virtue of how they attack women.
If you don¹t mind me asking so I know I have a grip of the situation you¹re of the belief that trans gender folk shouldn¹t deny who they were before they transitioned?
Even though “who they were before they transitioned” wasn’t who they were. Transitioning is an act of becoming who you are.
I post these things because I value debate. Dogma is anathema to me. You are correct in your belief. Some other views I hold include:
Well, we’ll see how much you value debate.
– sex and gender are not equivalent;
Agreed, though what you’ve been saying and what you say in this post does contradict this point.
– sex is biological and immutable;
Not necessarily. If you’re saying that a sex is male or female, that is a value judgment and there are many spectrums by which sex is determined and judged.
– gender is a social construct, it does not exist outside of societal groups;
– transwomen are biologically male. I have no problem openly stating this to you or anyone else;
Not necessarily. Trans women are women.
– there is nothing inherently wrong with the latter statement, it is factual and morally neutral, it is not a value judgement;
Other than the fact that it is factually incorrect and misrepresents trans women. It is neither factual nor morally neutral. It is immoral and a value judgment.
– men and women are socialised differently, socialisation is based on sex and begins shortly after birth;
Yes, and I was socialized as a trans girl. I had the difficulties growing up that many trans girls have.
– women are a class who differ from men, who are also a class;
That’s a curious statement.
– women, as a class, are oppressed by men, as a class. The framework used for this oppression is known as gender;
Yes, women are oppressed by men, much like how trans people are oppressed by cis people.
By ‘class’, I mean a group having defining characteristics that are found within only that class. Physiologically men are different to women.
I remember this feminist chant, “biology is not destiny”… I guess you don’t believe that.
Oh, here we go. Another list of bullshit points that I am going to rebut.
– transwomen should not refer to themselves as women, the ‘trans’ prefix is important;
Why not? I am a woman and the trans* prefix is not important enough to be a prefix instead of an adjective. I’m not a whitewoman, I am a white woman. I am not a lesbianwoman, I am a lesbian woman. I am not a geekywoman, I am a geeky woman.
Being trans* does not contradict the fact that I am a woman.
– transwomen should not refer to themselves as lesbians, this is appropriation;
How do you figure? I am a woman who is attracted to other women, that is the definition of a lesbian. How is referring to myself as a lesbian “appropriation” when the term fits?
– it is wrong for transwomen to claim that lesbians who won’t have relationships with transwomen are bigoted;
Well, yes and no. I don’t think that anyone who refuses to have a relationship with me is bigoted. But to have a blanket refusal of all trans women is bigoted because people are different and to have such a blanket refusal for an entire category of people just makes no sense. What if that person meets a transgender woman they are attracted to?
I used to believe that people shouldn’t judge people on their appearance, size and other irrelevant things and even though I still believe that for all non-romantic scenarios, I believe that in a relationship, the most important questions are whether you can build a future with this person, do you enjoy their company and are you attracted to them?
– transwomen should not call women ‘TERF’s or call lesbians and gay men ‘cis’;
We don’t call all women TERFs. You seem to misunderstand the word, because TERF means “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist”. Even though these “feminists” are not feminists and work against everything feminism stands for, that’s what the term means. I am pretty sure it was invented to distinguish transmisogynistic women from those radical feminists who are not transmisogynistic.
We also don’t call all lesbians and gay men “cis”, and that shows your misunderstanding of that word as well. If you are born into a body that is congruent with who you are and you are given the privilege of being raised congruently with your correct gender identity, then you are cis. Not all cis people are gay, and not all gay people are cis.
For example, I am a lesbian and I sure as hell am not cis. Matt Kailey was a gay man and he wasn’t cis. So, I agree. trans women should not call women TERFs just for being women, because that’s a misuse of the term. And trans women should not call all lesbians and gay men “cis”, because again, that’s a misuse of the term.
– transwomen should be allied to women;
And we are. Granted, there are a few that aren’t, but that anomaly can be equated to the anomaly of cis women who work against women’s rights and interests (like Sarah Palin).
– transwomen should not make death and/or rape threats against feminists and lesbians;
I agree. Death and rape threats are an incredibly immature and have no place in a healthy discourse. I also think that death/rape threats made against feminists by trans women are rare, seeing as you’re probably including TERFs in there and TERFs are not feminists. However, with all of the lies that TERFs spread about transgender women, with all of the work they do to deny us basic human rights and with all the pseudoscience they use to paint us with a broad brush, do you not understand the anger that evinces?
Being a TERF that doesn’t get why transgender women (not to mention women in general) get angry at their constant libel of transgender women is like being a white supremacist that doesn’t get why the people in Ferguson are rioting.
– transwomen should be honest about their approach to gender.
Agreed. Everyone should.
I am AMAZED that all these points are to some degree contentious in the ‘trans community’.
You are? Are you also amazed that black people don’t like being treated like second-class citizens?
From what I can understand in my limited twitter stalking and seeing the convos etc, some trans folk deny the sex they were born
This is correct and I am emphatic they are wrong to assert this, it is factually incorrect.
I don’t deny it, I just refuse to let it be used as a red herring to misrepresent who I am. When I was a kid, I also wanted to live in California. People change.
and say it¹s their right as a trans gendered person to do so?
This too is correct, and I believe it is self-deception.
So, accepting yourself for who you are is “self-deception”?
Whereas you embrace the idea of the biology that you were born with
This is correct, it is what it is.
That is not correct.
but now consider yourself a transgendered person
I consider myself a transwoman. ‘Transgendered’ is a neologism that encompasses all sorts of things and is itself erasing of transwomen. So, I consider myself biologically male but socialise as female.
And I guess I consider myself a “trans woman”. You see, I see it as an adjective, not a replacement of the word woman. I am a trans woman, a white woman, an atheist woman, a woman who is attracted to other women (a lesbian) and a geek woman. These are all a part of me but I don’t think that any of this contradicts the fact that I am a woman.
“Transgendered” is not a word. You can’t “transgender” someone. You can misgender someone, but not transgender them. I don’t consider myself a biologically male, I see myself as a woman. I don’t like to muddy the waters with such irrelevant value judgments.
as a separate entity to the basic idea of man and woman? That is, do you believe there is man, woman and transgender?
No, that’s not quite correct: most people are (biologically) male or female. There are a small number of intersex people. Trans(gender) people are not a separate class in themselves, there is no class of trans (e.g. characteristics of being trans that are only found in people who are trans).
I have no issue with this statement. Well, apart from the fact that it erases those who ascribe to another gender or no gender at all.
That Sarah Brown woman fried my brain.
Me too. They made an attack on Women’s Aid which I find unacceptable, and anyway the misogynistic hate they spread is unjustifiable. As an aside, my daughter is at Uni in Cambridge and Brown was standing for election in the ward she lives in. My daughter is a complete left-wing ‘equality for all’ type and even she wouldn’t vote for Brown.
… Isn’t Sarah Brown a patron of Women’s Aid? Plus, what misogynistic hate do transgender women spread? I mean, I know there are self-hating transgender women, but if you judge all transgender women based on the actions and beliefs of those who are self-hating, you’d also have to judge all cis women based on the ones who are self-hating.
I find it sad that she isn¹t able to embrace who she is and wants to be categorised as woman.
So do I. Check this out
That’s kind of contradictory. You find it sad that “she isn’t able to embrace who she is”, yet she wants to be recognized as who she is?
I mean I get transitioning means that you are achieving the female form
It’s not quite like that, it’s about being comfortable with yourself. My form is not particularly female, also I have big feet.
My form is, simply because it is mine and I am a woman.
but as a group of people I find myself wondering why you can¹t celebrate the joy of who you are
Me too!!! The biggest struggle faced by every single human being in the world is coming to terms with who, and what they are.
I agree. Well, sort of. I don’t see telling myself a lie and claiming that I am male in any aspect (even though I am not) as “[celebrating] the joy of who you are”. But above, you tell women not to accept or celebrate who they are. You are telling lesbian transgender women not to accept who we are.
I think people like Sarah Brown could do with reading some of the French Feminist works. When I studied the likes of Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Cixious etc, it blew my mind. The idea of destroying everything and starting from scratch FUCK I felt desperately sad but it soon all sunk in and I got to grips with it.
I must check them out!
You and me both.
Again, I have no real say in this, but being impartial I would honestly love to see a new dawn of thinking for men, women and trans folk.
Well, you do have a say in these things because you are not unaffected: you are a woman. All women are affected and threatened by transgender. For example a real sticking point is used of sex-segregated facilities (the bathroom debate). We have separate facilities to protect women and to allow them to have privacy. Should men who are transgendered (men who dress as women) have access to these spaces? Does a man become a woman just because he says so?
That is not even remotely true. Cis women are not affected nor threatened by transgender women. They may feel threatened but without a reason to feel threatened by that specific transgender woman at that time, it is nothing more than the same ugly bigotry that has white people feel uncomfortable around people of other races.
Also, you’re wrong that “men who are transgendered” are “men who dress as women”. Those are called “cross dressers” or “transvestites”.
Finally, your question “Does a man become a woman just because he says so?” showcases one of the fundamental misunderstandings people have about being transgender. I am not a woman because I say so, I realized the fact that I am a woman because I tried living as a male and I couldn’t. I knew that I came out as trans twice while I was a minor (once when I was in grade 1 and the other when I was in middle school). I was sent to reparative therapy camps by my fundamentalist Christian parents. I had every possible incentive to continue to pretend to be a man but I could not take the stress of living a lie… many of my friends were fundamentalist Christians and I was raised in Texas.