If there is one thing that transgender people enjoy more than fighting with feminists, it’s fighting with each other. Aside from the ‘out group’ that comprises those of us who are secure enough to be able to publicly acknowledge that ‘trans women’ are male (or if that’s not enough apostasy for you, to openly acknowledge that ‘trans women’ are men) there is another group who are reviled, known as the ‘transtrender’.
Transgender/transtrender is a false distinction that this has been artificially created within transgenderism to result in an in/out group position that exists in order for one group to claim validity. Individuals who are nominally claimed to be allies to transgender people are being instrumentalised in reinforcing this distinction. I have significant concerns over the negative impact of this strategy.
a person who identifies as male or female but does not experience any gender dysphoria. It can also mean someone who identifies as male or female because they think it’s trendy/cool.
Note my emphasis, of the terms that are used to differentiate the ‘transtrender’ from ‘transgender’, effectively creating a claim to the validity of one over the other. Other definitions volunteered on the same page seek to emphasise this claimed difference, for example:
Theoretically, they should be easy to criticise because what they do trivialises the struggles of people who are actually transgender.
Transtrenders are incredibly disrespectful to real transgender people, making a mockery of what transgender people experience, invalidating the problems and hurt that real transgender people face, and turning these people’s identity into a fashion trend.
and this, which appears to have been written without any sense of irony whatsoever, given that the battle by men to claim ‘woman’ has now widened to ‘female’:
A person who adopts or appropriates the transgender label or identity, for political reasons.
The latter statements, which use the terms ‘trivialises’, ‘mockery’ and ‘appropriates’, tread that fine line that sometimes exists between utterly fucking hilarious and outright offensive; these little jewels are are indicative of the irony-free way that transgender people criticise those they perceive as ‘trenders in order to create a hierarchy of validity.
They do this seemingly oblivious to how hypocritical this makes them as members of a cultural movement that tells women, who have had a lifetime of the experience of being women, that their experiences as women are equal to those of men who have spent years reaping the privileges of being a man in a man’s world yet have now decided to become their ‘true self’.
Of course, this essay is not about the Urban Dictionary; these examples are here because they reflect what happens in the real world, ‘transtrenders’ are the whipping boys of the transgender community, a community whose umbrella is drawn so wide it is probably easier to work out who isn’t under the umbrella rather than who is. The inclusion of intersex hopelessly conflates the material reality of those conditions with the human made cultural construct of gender. Including Hijra, drag and eunuchs completely rewrites any cultural basis for the existence of these categories and is just another case of (mainly white, male) transgender culture musceling in on and opportunistically claiming any cultural practices that suit its purpose.
To suggest any feminine man or masculine woman is transgender really is an ambitious reach and doesn’t itself give anyone very far to deviate in behaviour or preferences without becoming ‘part of the club’: if we are going to ‘trans’ anyone who contravenes any aspect of societiety’s expectations of what it is to be a woman or a man, to paraphrase an immortal line: we are gonna need a bigger umbrella. And this is exactly what the transgender community have done in its need to be inclusive and celebrate the diversity of everything (except, of course, diversity of opinion) they have gone and shot themselves in the foot: in its need to acquire more and more political power, transgender activists have done to ‘transgender’ exactly what they do with every other word they attempt to seize control of, they have completely emptied this word of any meaning.
YouTuber Magdalen Berns makes some excellent points about this false distinction in this video, which itself distinguishes between transsexuals and transgender individuals, noting that transsexual involves dysphoria, drug therapy and, ultimately surgery: there is a real, material component to (post surgical) transsexualism.
As Berns observes the transgender umbrella is being used to subsume ‘transsexual’ as a useful description. This is, itself, potentially against the interests of transsexuals: it negates the established meaning behind what we are and replace it with an identity-based ‘opt-in’, and our surgeries and efforts to transition and assimilate are made meaningless.
Although I’m not going to argue that transsexual is more valid than transgender, we cannot after all really change sex and I cannot support surgical castration and inversion of the genitals just to claim a label, there is a meaning to ‘transsexual’ which is lost when replaced by ‘transgender’, simply because of the broadness with which the latter is both used and defined.
As Berns explains, the various definitions of ‘transgender’ lack any real meaning, but this doesn’t stop lobbying groups using this to further their own interests through the widening of the group they represent: we can thus make a reasoned argument that the claim to validity of transgender over transtrender is null because, as Berns concludes, by the definitions offered, whatever is a transgender person is can be taken to mean ‘any useful idiot’
In the quest for validity and the drawing of this false distinction, we have a situation that is exactly the same as in Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ (so many scenes from this film can be compared to the transgender zeitgeist): this really is ‘The People’s Front of Judea’ versus ‘The Judean People’s Front’.
The disdain, lateral violence even, that has been directed at those branded ‘transtrenders’, has spilled over to individuals and communities who aren’t even tangentially related to the transgender movement. These new recruits feel able to decry select targets as ‘fake’. See, for example, attacks on Riley J Dennis and Milo Stewart. In ‘Riley J Dennis is INSANE and hurts actual trans people‘, YouTuber MrRedsGaming lambasts Dennis using anti-feminist and homophobic rhetoric such as:
Most of the people who describe themselves as feminists these days are more anti-man than pro-equality… you don’t seem like you have gender dysphoria… it just seems like you are a kind of transtrender… you sound like a retard… people like Justin Riley Dennis lesbian fag-bag here actually do damage the trans community… find Riley and all these faggots online… I don’t feel bad for shitting on all these special snowflake faggots.
There’s plenty about Riley J Dennis to disagree with politically, but the response to political disagreement is political criticism, not homophobic rhetoric. There are many people who have disagreed with Dennis’s public statements about sexuality, gender and in particular whether dating preferences are discriminatory or genital preferences are transphobic and these criticisms can be constructively and intelligently argued.
Dialog like this is in itself important, because much of what Dennis argues for is exactly what lesbians and gay men have been fighting against since forever, that homosexuality is not a choice. Dennis’s pleading is a kinder, gentler more nuanced encouragement to bend one’s sexual orientation that is ultimately comparable to the objectives of conversion therapy, something else LGBT and other human rights groups have been fighting against for decades.
But, we don’t fight Dennis’s homophobia with more homophobia, and those who step in to do this are not doing LGBT people a favour.
The application of sexually coercive or openly sexist rhetoric merits strong criticism, here follows an actual quote from the ‘Suit Yourself’ video collaboration with the transgender YouTuber known as Persephone Sixty Six entitled ‘Do I need hormone replacement therapy‘ in which ‘SuitYourself’ speaks to Stewart (a female):
Of course, Milo, we can stop for a moment and appreciate how cute you look, because you look so fuckable sometimes, even though you’re trying to be a man, but you’re not; you’re a girl. And I’d bend you over, and make you scream like a girl. That’s for sure. Especially now you’re of age. And you should probably try that. Get yourself a real man. Get a real man in you. Become the woman. Hear you roar.
It should ring alarm bells that the ‘in group’ is leveraging support from outsiders in order to claim hierarchy over the ‘out group’. The nature of and way this support is expressed in homophobic or predatory sexist terms by rights should have the transgender community up in arms, except it won’t because, of course, significantly most transgender individuals are heterosexual males who likely have very limited experience of being on the receiving end of homophobia or sexism, and so cannot identify this language as being the language of the oppressor. This is a characteristic inherent to transgender individuals because of the etiology of their transgender identities.
The transgender movement has benefitted immensely from the widening of the meaning of ‘transgender’ (and consequentially the ‘T’ in LGBT) and this has opened up a contradiction that lies at the heart of the transgender movement because, at the same time within broader transgender culture, we see some individuals being considered a threat to the validity of the ‘transgender’ status as claimed, individuals who in reality have as much claim to ‘transgender’ as anyone else. Those individuals experience not just lateral violence directed from the in-group to the out-group, but also from individuals the transgender cause is recruiting and instrumentalising from outside their group, individuals who use sexist and homophobic rhetoric and demonstrate no empathy for or understanding of what either transgender or transsexual may be, or the challenges we face.
This is laterally and downward vertically directed and a dangerous hypocrisy of the very highest order. I published a piece last week that looked at Alex Drummond and Pippa Bunce, who respectively are the ‘trans woman who kept her beard’ and someone who likes ‘to be Phil one day and Pippa another, using different forms of dress and make-up to do so’; how can these individuals, who have institutional power in LGBT organisations, be ‘genuinely transgender’ (whatever that may mean) if Stewart and Dennis are not? What are the real differences here? This hierarchy of course, is a very risky strategy, because when the backlash against transgender materialises, which it will, guaranteed the outsiders will not stick around to fight the corner for whatever remains of the transgender rights movement.
When you examine those external to the movement who are, for now, on their side, and will in turn likely form the muscle of this backlash, it is apparent from their rhetoric that their sex and gender politics are far from progressive. This should be no surprise, because transgenderism is itself the antithesis of social progression. I am worried for what this means for women, homosexuals and especially younger people who are now identifying themselves as transgender. Decades of social progress and acceptance are in danger of being unravelled and replaced with old-fashioned sexism and homophobia. This is a huge leap backwards, and for the consequences of this, we as members of LGBT should, all of us, be afraid; be very afraid.