Every other day, on this blog, I receive rational, impassioned arguments from dissenters who say things like “fuck you, you fucking fuck,” “burn in hell” and “die ignorant bitch.” For the most part, I flag these comments for spam. Sometimes, particularly if a woman has written it, I will let the hostile comment through. (I believe women deserve a platform, even if I disagree, even if she is calling me a “fucking fuck.”)
And at the end of the day, I get why this blog pisses some people off. I don’t say what I’m “supposed to” say. I refuse to validate the dominant culture’s position on gender. And where it pertains to gender, I adamantly reject the zeitgeist.
Since I was a teenager, I’ve advocated fiercely on behalf of women, gays and lesbians, and gender non-conforming people. To this day, I advocate on behalf of these groups. However, as a woman first, a lesbian second, I refuse to stand by and idly watch gender non-conforming males (also known as transwomen) drive their unique issues, like a gigantic steamroller, over women and our issues.
Do MtT’s face violence and discrimination? Yes. Do MtT’s endure prejudices? Yes. Is it abhorrent that MtT’s face violence and discrimination and prejudice? Of course. Do I support the rights of MtT’s to live a full and happy life free of any manner of harassment? Naturally.
Do I see MtT’s as fellow human beings deserving of compassion and respect? Absolutely.
Do I see MtT’s as women? No.
And here’s where we have a fundamental problem. As a “butch dyke,” I’m all for expressing one’s gender however one prefers. I do know what it’s like to be “set upon” for not conforming to gender norms. I do know what it’s like to be misgendered. And I do know what it’s like to wish I was someone else.
There was a time in my life when I was quite convinced it would be easier to be male, and that option – at least, medically – was on the table. (Thank the gods no one was encouraging me toward it.)
But then again, there was also a time, when I was ten, that I wished I was Amelia Earhart.
And later still there was that time when I thought I didn’t have cancer because I didn’t feel like I had it.
The thing is, our bodily realities suck. We never look the way we think we’re supposed to. Nothing is ever “quite right.” We’re “too fat” or “too thin.” We’re “too masculine” or “too feminine.”
None of this, of course, is grounded in any hard reality – rather it is a result of the messages society has so subtly delivered — we measure ourselves against illusions, and live our lives actively seeking to usurp our true selves.
Why we do this is still a mystery to me.
My point is that if you’re a male who feels compelled to take advantage of medical advancements and try out “being a lady,” if you’re a male who feels better presenting as a “woman,” that’s cool. I’m down with that. We’re all trying to figure our shit out.
However, if you’re going to take your pills, wear your makeup and then lay claim to women’s spaces, to womanhood itself, we’ve got a problem. I do not believe – and no amount of hostility will make me believe – that womanhood is something one “opts into.” I do not believe in “ladybrain” and I do not believe in “ladysoul.”
I do believe that gender is a social construct, and that some men have (understandably) conflated that construct with biology. I do believe our medical, psychological and pharmaceutical institutions have colluded with this belief for their own financial gain. I do believe many men have – perhaps unknowingly – fetishized women’s second-class status.
I know this position makes many people unhappy. I know this runs against the grain of what popular culture is selling us. I know this posits that gender and sex are not, in fact, one and the same – but they’re not.
The women’s movement, the shambles that’s left, needs to be about women. I can guarantee women, even the Rad Fems transactivists so despise, would support a true trans movement, one that didn’t insist on trampling over women, one that didn’t want to codify gender, one that respected women’s spaces.
Because we are not the same. My experience as a female is a far cry from that of a middle-aged man who started taking estrogen at 45 and had his dick inverted at fifty.
And that’s okay. We can be different. Different is good. But a boundary is being crossed when society is telling me I must accept a man as a female “because he says so.” Because my femaleness doesn’t work that way – I’m not a woman because I “feel” a particular way. I’m a female because I came out of my mother’s womb as a biological female and was from that moment forward subjected to all the bullshit (biological and otherwise) that comes with being born female. There is no “feeling” or “mental state” associated with it. Period. End of story.
And if you disagree with that last statement, then, yes, you are a misogynist.
So send me your angry comments about how I hate trans people, about how I should “die” for disagreeing with you. Surely, it won’t be anything I haven’t heard before – I’m female, after all.
As a gender non-conforming woman, I will speak out against anyone who attempts to legalize gender stereotypes; as a feminist, I will speak out against anyone who threatens women; as a feminist, I will speak out against anyone who tells women how to name their reality; as a feminist, I will speak out against anyone who attempts to invade women’s spaces – be it a bathroom or a music festival.
Other than that, we’re cool.