How many times do I have to say this?

Let me be clear about a few things: I believe that all people should be able to live in a way that feels authentic and healthy for them, providing they’re not hurting anyone (and I’m not talking about feelings, I’m talking about real, actual hurt). I believe that all human beings have the right to live in peace, to not be harmed or harassed for how they choose to spend their short tenure in this life. I believe firmly in choice. Human beings, on an individual level, have a right to their own autonomy. I also believe in the right to dissent. I believe that all people should be entitled to argue their point-of-view passionately, albeit civilly, without being shouted down, threatened or attacked.

That said, I do not believe that as individuals, moreover women, we ought to at any time eschew boundaries, abandon our principles, or stay silent in order to simply protect another’s feelings.

We have become a culture of “if it doesn’t feel good, ignore it.” We don’t like to engage in complex, weighty discourse because someone might feel uncomfortable. We don’t like to say “no” because someone might feel left out. And often, we don’t like to address reality because it may burst someone’s bubble of delusion, and leave them flailing in the murky waters of actuality.

In this climate of “feeling over fact” men often get a pass for making people uncomfortable, for saying “no,” or for calling out reality. The rules of the gender game inform us that when men do these things they are being “assertive,” “manly,” “acting on authority.” However, when women say “no,” when women name reality, when women make points that bruise tender feelings, we are seen, at best, as “unladylike” and, at worst, as monsters. Gender teaches us that women, by nature, are selfless, accommodating, and wholly malleable. When women are not these things, when women set boundaries, when women stand their ground, people flip the fuck out and try very hard to either a) demonize us or b) shout/threaten us into submission. This is nothing new at all.

In any case, today, I watched this exchange unfold on Twitter, where Lily Cade (a lesbian who makes pornography) explained that she would not shoot a sex scene with Drew Deveaux (a male who thinks he’s a lesbian and makes pornography) because she does not have sex with males. And then this happened:

cottonceiling

That I’m not a “fan” of pornography (that’s putting it lightly), is beside the point. The point is that here – right fucking here in motherfucking print – is the ENTIRE PROBLEM I have with MtT’s who think they’re lesbians. This kind of exchange is NOT limited to the world of pornstars/pornographers. This kind of exchange is happening in lesbian communities EVERYWHERE. These conversations are taking place and lesbians are being called “transphobic bigots” for not wanting to suck dick. MtT’s who think they’re lesbians are behaving as though lesbian refusal to fuck them is indicative of some grand prejudice, some human rights violation. Someone call Amnesty International! Lesbians won’t have sex with males!

When you press a woman about “why” she is not interested in engaging sexually with someone – whether that “someone” is a man, a woman, or a man who thinks he’s a woman – you are an active participant in rape culture. When you declare a woman a “bigot” for choosing not to have sex with someone, you are an active participant in rape culture.  When you claim a woman’s refusal to have sex with you “hurts you,” you are an active participant in rape culture.

Also, people who engage in these behaviors are male.

I’ve never noticed a pattern of straight women calling straight men names when the men won’t sleep with them. I’ve certainly never noticed a pattern of heterosexual women calling gay men “bigots” for not considering them as viable sexual partners. (And I’ve known PLENTY of straight women crushed out hopelessly on gay men.) Nor have I noticed a pattern of lesbians (the real kind) calling straight women “bigots” for preferring to sleep with men. (As ActualDykes nicely points out in the above exchange.)

This is male behavior. This is part of male entitlement. Males who think they’re lesbians can’t come right out and say, “lesbians must fuck me” (though this is, of course, what they mean), so they frame lesbian boundaries as a “phobia,” they frame lesbian existence as “bigotry.”

Yes I know (oh, how many times I’ve heard) some “queer women” date MtT’s. Fine. That’s great. But women who date males, even males in ladyface, are NOT lesbians. Heterosexual men, even those in ladyface, are NOT lesbians. How many fucking times do we have to go over this?

And now I’m going to get real.

Trigger Warning: Honesty.

What it comes down to is this: lesbians want nothing to do with heterosexual men who “feel like women.” We don’t want you in our spaces, and we definitely don’t want you in our beds. Many lesbians, because of their socialization as females, have politely allowed MtT’s to infiltrate their spaces. Many lesbians, because of their socialization as females, have lied through their fucking teeth when asked whether or not they’d consider dating MtT’s. Many lesbians have been all too nice (much to their own detriment), and spared your precious feelings, but I’m not interested in doing that anymore. Lesbians, real honest-to-god lesbians do not want males in our lesbian spaces, nor do we want males constantly sulking in our spaces, whimpering, “Why won’t you date trans women?” – dick or no dick, no matter; you’re male and we don’t fucking want you. How hard is that to understand?

Queer women may want to fuck you, and that’s fine. Enjoy. But “queer women” are not lesbians. Straight women are not lesbians. And once more, because it bears repeating, HETEROSEXUAL MALES ARE NOT LESBIANS.

Lay off the lesbians already. Don’t call us “bigots” for not being attracted to you. Don’t call us “bigots” for not “considering you” as sexual partners. I know your male socialization has convinced you otherwise, but we do not “owe it to you.” Lesbians are under absolutely no obligation to “reconsider the penis” or accept male bodied people as dating prospects. And this is not “denying your existence.” This is not “advocating violence against you.” This is just a little good old fashioned honesty that may hurt your feelings.

Christ, if every woman (or man for that matter) whose affections I rebuked accused me of “advocating violence against them” or “denying their existence” I’d feel like Mussolini. Conversely, if I accused every woman who rebuked my affections of “advocating violence against me” or “denying my existence,” I’d come off as a total fucking psychopath – and rightly so.

Bottom line: if someone doesn’t want to fuck you – whether you’re male, female or unicorn – that person is not a bigot. That person is not committing an act of violence. That person is not a “phobe” of any ilk. We are all entitled to our autonomy, even when it hurts other people’s feelings.

 

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10 thoughts on “How many times do I have to say this?

  1. Where to begin………..where to begin?

    Aside from the elite cadre of trans women (still never trans men apparently) who think they are entitled to go ANYWHERE because they were previously afforded that right, there are trans women who –

    Don’t want to FUCK anyone; figuratively or otherwise;

    Don’t realty want to date anyone;

    Have our own serious body/self image problems;

    Can barely accept that they ever had a penis (in my case that’s actually subject to debate) let alone FORCE someone to do ANYTHING with it (assuming that there is one there);

    Don’t want to HURT anyone; verbally, physically, emotionally OR environmentally;

    Also don’t think you should eschew your boundaries or any other control of your own environment;

    Don’t actually want to violate anyone’s space and would prefer to be accorded the same courtesy;

    Don’t believe that we are merely ‘tolerated’ by everyone (women/lesbians);

    Wish you would separate the chaff from the wheat.

    I got a question though…………

    Why will womyn (I use this as a sign of acknowledment not hostility) respect a woman who has ‘layed with men’ and bore children and then come to their own realizations and but will absolutely ignore the very possibility that not all trans women are entitlement rapists at heart? Why can’t womyn focus their anger on where it is most deserved?

    I make this point repeatedly and all I get is the same old rhetoric about how we are faux, flawed, and deluded human beings on a bad mission. Do you really believe that every single one of us is? Wasn’t it a mere 50 years ago that whites still thought that the only good (forgive me for this) *N* was a dead *N*? It also applied to Jews (I am one).

    I love and hate the honesty of some of these posts; painful to read as they are. The rawness of your emotions make me cringe at what many have gone through. I am actually aghast when my (alleged) peers cry that ‘if only they had been born female’ to which I observe that you have NO guarantee that you would get the same sweet privileged life. I used to have an analogy about predators and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving but I think I wore it out.

    And this is not about ‘My pain is greater than your pain’ either. I don’t discuss that with ANYONE and to me it is even more personal that you being violated and abused by predators and just plain evil spirited human beings.

    So WHEN exactly does the voice of reason take over; only to the point where a conversation can at least be started. Speaking for myself…..I already tried to take responsibility for the crimes of all humanity but was rejected and sent home. I keep hearing about how it would be great if there was some sort of meeting of the minds.

    WHEN?

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Of course I realize there are “exceptions.” There are always exceptions, but in order to critique, one must generalize. The loudest voices around this issue, sadly, are not reasoned and rational, as is your comment, and I wish that was not the case. I think a discussion — reasoned, rational — needs to be had. I also think trans people who understand what is happening here need to SPEAK OUT against it. What I, as a lesbian and a feminist, am most upset about in all of this is that women’s spaces are being utterly disrespected and women’s realities are being negated at the altar of Gender Worship. I am angry about this (as evidenced in my posts), and I feel completely justified in my anger. In any case, I appreciate the reasoned response, and naturally welcome discourse (provided it is coherent and civil) around these topics.

    2. “Wish you would separate the chaff from the wheat.”

      Are you kidding? That’s not women’s responsibility. It’s your movement, so how about YOU do it?

      1. Sorry Morag99, it’s not MY movement either. MY movement is the one, apparently almost alone, trying to get everyone; and I mean EVERYONE; to stop with the most extreme and hurtful rhetoric available. I don’t agree with trans women labeling all feminists TERFs (I don’t even like that word) any more than I enjoy watching certain ardent feminists label all trans women as men masquerading as women for malicious entertainment.

        That kind of thing doesn’t make me angry; it saddens me that there are people so infused with anger that they cannot see another human being as such under ANY circumstances. And yes………I know what’s at the core of the ‘ardent feminist movement’ and I get that this is a highly personal issue for some. But promoting hate speak and inciting to riot isn’t going to resolve anything between anyone and it certainly won’t help naïve trans women understand the core of it any more than it will help feminists understand that we are not all interlopers and insensitive and willful invaders of space.

        I have my own wounds and my own boundaries; the primary of which is that I don’t want extremists of any kind in MY environment. But that said, my mission is still to find a way to help everyone identify that trans women are not all crazy impostors any more than all ardent feminists are self-absorbed by hatred.

        I was brought up to believe that people are people; many different types occupy space in my life and it is very fulfilling and enriching. I am disturbed at the number of feminists who are willing to paint all male born humans with the same brushstroke as if no one can ever rise above their own circumstances (which we both know is bullshit).

        I cannot stop the tidal wave of negative reactions by trans women to the onslaught of hatefulness by some feminists any more than the feminist community can reign in the most passionate of you from hurling MORE hateful missives.

        So what do you suggest that I do to make any of this better?

    3. “Why will womyn (I use this as a sign of acknowledment not hostility) respect a woman who has ‘layed with men’ and bore children and then come to their own realizations”

      You are aware that some lesbians won’t sleep with bisexual women, right? And although bisexual women occasionally bemoan this fact (hey, everyone feels sad when their crushes turn them down) (but that’s for their friends to deal with, not the object of one’s affections and her friends) and accuse lesbians of bi-phobia, I’ve never seen one be as violent and threatening as I’ve seen transwomen be.

      “but will absolutely ignore the very possibility that not all trans women are entitlement rapists at heart?”

      Are you really saying #NotAllTranswomen? Do you think there’s a functional difference between a transwoman saying it and a man saying it? Can you not see how easy it is to hear “not all of us!” and then shrug our shoulders and say “looks like a dude, talks like a dude, just might be the kind of person I don’t want to sleep to with”?

      I get what you’re saying, I think. You want to have sex with a woman without expecting her to have sex with you back because you’re uncomfortable with your body being touched. If that works for you, okay. But a lot of women enjoy sexing up their partners. To expect that someone set aside both their own desire to touch their female partner’s body AND the fact that your male body turns them off woman is, again, entitled. And it’s a form of entitlement that is really only found in men.

      “Why can’t womyn focus their anger on where it is most deserved?”

      I’m curious why transwomen can’t do the same.

      Look, if you want transwomen to be included by other women, then you need to start talking to your transsisters about the threats of violence and accusations of bigotry. As it is, I’m often in the presence of transwomen and my shoulders go immediately around my ears because I’ve only met *one* who wasn’t a total self-righteous entitled jerk who made me feel threatened in the way that I usually only feel when I’m around men.

      1. Believe it or not, Binder, I am quite unpopular in the trans population in some quarters for that very reason. Aside from making the point that so many trans women don’t even know why they want to be there (aside from the faux validation thing) I have pointedly asked what they think they will discover about themselves if they aren’t even sure why they want to be there so badly.

        But it’s about more than Michigan, really. There are some ardent feminists who seem to delight in taunting trans women. At the same time, they also say they want a meeting of the minds. So which is it?

        *I* don’t go where I’m not wanted; anywhere on the planet. But I am also not a fanatic or zealot and much prefer outreach and moderation as my MOs.

        I’m not selling anyone on the idea of inclusion or exclusion; I’m trying to get EVERYONE to stop the hostile rhetoric.

  2. @AS.I.WAS.SAYING…….BY……DALMAX

    You write:

    “I make this point repeatedly and all I get is the same old rhetoric about how we are faux, flawed, and deluded human beings on a bad mission. Do you really believe that every single one of us is? Wasn’t it a mere 50 years ago that whites still thought that the only good (forgive me for this) *N* was a dead *N*?”

    Can you please explain to us how in the hell the situation of white transactivists today has anything at all in common with the situation of African-Americans under Jim Crow (i.e., 50 years ago)? I see this comparison being used constantly by white transactivists, and its very racist. There is no comparison between other people not seeing you as you see yourself and legally sanctioned, severe, widespread violence, discrimination, exclusion, psychological abuse and terrorism, which is what Jim Crow was about.

    Please read this about Jim Crow: http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm and then think about what you are doing by comparing white males’ hurt feelings and frustration at not being seen as you would like to be seen, to brutal, dehumanizing, systemic racial terrorism.

    Surely you can make your arguments without trivializing the very real racial oppression of Jim Crow.

  3. Because Maureen………it wasn’t about dead black people or white trans people; it was about advocating the social suppression of another social group in the greater landscape. And there ARE some pretty nasty things going around (and around and around and around) that just perpetuate the problem. I know that the perpetrator(s) are having fun at the expense of (overly?) sensitive trans women. I used to stir up the pot years ago in mixed support groups by greeting everyone with “how are you guys?”. But that wasn’t (too) malicious. This radicalized stuff is.

    One of my principal points is that no one in the LGBT population gets a fair shake, and I know what the hierarchy is. I’m not advocating that womyn in the feminist movement just arbitrarily open their arms and welcome every single crazy transgender that shows up but it WOULD be nice if (some of you?) there was a little less generalizing when it comes to trans women. Al it does is fan the flames and make it even more difficult for anyone to see common ground because one group is in a frenzy over some words while the other group is in a tizzy over other words.

    What exactly does any of that accomplish?

  4. “Why will womyn (I use this as a sign of acknowledment not hostility) respect a woman who has ‘layed with men’ and bore children and then come to their own realizations and but will absolutely ignore the very possibility that not all trans women are entitlement rapists at heart? Why can’t womyn focus their anger on where it is most deserved?”
    Yeah, darn, why can’t women focus their anger on other women instead of males?
    lmao this is soooo male a discourse, so precisely what trans/queer politics do ^^ and all patriarchy: divide, rule, and fuck.

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