So apparently the blogger GallusMag has been “outed” by trans – ahem – “activists.” And apparently these trans “activists” are screaming all over the internet-sphere about what a victory this is for . . . for . . . uh, something? A victory for male hackers, I guess? I don’t fucking know.
What I do know is that the language around the alleged “outing” of GallusMag has been, not unsurprisingly, problematic and scary.
The people claiming responsibility for doxxing this blogger are all, notably, males who identify as female and as they share details of GallusMag’s alleged identity, home address, image they warn their minions “do not inflict violence.”
Can we take a moment to address the fact that women seldom (if ever), when confronted with an idea or public figure they dislike, have to be warned, “don’t be violent”? Christ, if I had a nickel for every time someone warned me to “not react violently,” I’d have . . . ZERO FUCKING NICKELS.
Because reacting violently to people who disagree with my perspective is male behavior.
Because being violently lesbophobic is male behavior.
And despite what lefty-fun-times rhetoric will tell you, knowing penis is male is NOT violence. Basic biology is NOT a hostile conceit. And your psychological hangups are not the fault of women who know how to think critically about gender.
Both men and men-who-identify-as-women love to blame women/lesbians/feminists for their drug abuse, their psychoses, their suicide rates. This is nothing new. This has been going on since the beginning of fucking time. To this day, men invoke the “she provoked me” defense in domestic violence and rape trials.
I don’t know much about the blogger GallusMag. I do know that she’s being wrongly, ridiculously accused of inflicting violence on males who want their reality to be other than what it is.
And, just as I learned to take responsibility for my shit and stop blaming my “mommy and daddy” for my neuroses, maybe males, even the ones who “feel like” women, should stop blaming dykes and radical feminists for their problems. Own your own shit. Be honest with yourself. Grow the fuck up.
How decidedly, refreshingly, female that would be.
* This piece was a joint effort with the unwaveringly brilliant Phonaesthetica.
Unsurprisingly, Dana McCallum, a MAN who identifies as a woman, was given a little slap on the wrist after pleading guilty to spousal abuse and rape. Most males, like McCallum, do not receive sentences that are in any way proportionate to the trauma inflicted upon their victims.
Also unsurprisingly, LGBT media outlets have been clumsily and desperately trying to lionize poor Dana McCallum as a troubled soul with a drinking problem, instead of naming him, accurately, for the abusive man he is despite the ladybrain/ladyface. “But she Tweeted in support of rape victims” one LGBT publication lamented. So? So that means what? He’s not a rapist? He’s not an abuser? Because he thumbed out 140 characters in support of abused women? The logic of the modern-day LGBT “movement” seldom approaches anything resembling a sane and rational thought.
Frankly, I am now firmly of the conviction that not only is the current LGBT movement anti-woman, but actively hostile toward women, particularly lesbians. As a dyke, as a feminist, I see nothing in the LGBT “world” that in any way benefits me (rather, I see much that is blatantly harmful to my existence).
What I see is a batshit insane assemblage of males wringing their hands and whining when women don’t speak and act in a way that conforms to their delusions.
But I digress. Back to McCallum. An incident like this, where a public figure like McCallum assaults his wife, illustrates precisely why words must mean things; why language – despite all queerifying to the contrary – matters, and why the linguistic tools we have been given as human beings have real world implications for women.
Because McCallum identifies as a woman, his male aggression is being contextualized as a women’s issue and has fostered some discussion of woman-on-woman violence in liberal publications. In a world where male aggression and violence is epidemic, where women, the whole globe over, are killed (by males) every fucking day (even as I write this blog post), and in a world where women are not allowed to name this problem, a discussion of woman-on-woman violence is patently absurd.
Sure, we can talk about violence on an individual level – some women are violent and some men are not violent – but that defeats the whole fucking purpose of addressing a problem that impacts a CLASS OF PEOPLE. The queer/trans/LBGTWHATEVERTHEFUCK loves their precious individuality, loves taking into account the myriad anomalies of each and every person and using those as evidence to contradict every socio-political (and biological) FACT in existence, but this kind of discourse is not productive. This kind of discourse does not lead to any sort of meaningful or beneficial change. This kind of discourse is the intellectual equivalent of running your brain through a goddamn wood chipper.
The Daily Beast, yesterday, published a marvelously stupid article in which the author (a woman) argues that McCallum’s abusiveness provides us with an opportunity to discuss “woman-on-woman violence.”
Let’s have a look-see, shall we?
What is surprising is that the alleged rapist is a well-regarded feminist and LGBT advocate, Dana McCallum, a transgender woman who was named by Business Insider as the fifth-most important LGBT person in the tech world.
- This is not “surprising.” It is not surprising that a male has risen high in the tech world ranks, given that the tech world (like virtually every professional corner of the economy) is dominated by males. And no, it is not surprising that the alleged rapist is a male. Males rape. They do that a lot.
Unfortunately, the relative silence around McCallum’s trial, let alone the issue of woman-on-woman rape and sexual assault, is deafening and disturbing. In researching for this article, I posted queries in multiple forums for female journalists for resources or recommended experts for female-on-female rape. I received only one response. I’ve seen only a handful of articles reporting on the McCallum case and they are generally absent of any criticism.
There’s so much in this little passage that makes me want to beat my head against a wall. 1) As a class, women do not rape. Period. End of story. If someone doesn’t want to have sex with us, we feel sad and go home and write about it in our journals. 2) Dana McCallum is male. 3) “I posted queries in multiple forums . . . I received only one response” – yeah, you know why, genius? BECAUSE WOMEN DON’T RAPE EACH OTHER. Are there outliers? Sure. But there are outliers for all sorts of things – some guy in Morocco can run a 3:43 mile; and it snowed eight inches in Tucson, AZ on Christmas Day, 1987 – but outliers do not negate reality. Outliers shouldn’t distract from the central mass of data, and in statistics, they don’t. In trans and misogynist politics, however, outliers become the North Star pointing us straight into disingenuous territory.
One popular trans/queer trope goes: “What about intersex? Huh? Huh? Huh?” – Yeah, a very small number of people born with ambiguous genitalia. That does not mean that female is a feeling in a man’s head, or that female is something you can buy – but the trans/queer circular logic jump has been made: Transwomen are women transwomen are women transwomen are women.
Consequently, because a man who “feels like a woman” rapes his wife, women have to be scrutinized and discussed as though they, too, are attackers. This insulting nonsense serves to arm MRAs and misogynists who say, “But women rape, toooo!” – thereby distracting from the central mass of data, which has always been mathematically clear: Rapists are men, not women.
THIS is the fuckery we are being sold by the trans/queer movement, ladies. THIS is why words actually do matter. If he is a woman (and he’s not) and he is a rapist (and he is) then in keeping with the gender-sick zeitgeist, you, my sisters, are now potential rapists because HE (pronouns, pronouns) raped his wife. Transwomen are women transwomen are women transwomen are women. Got that?
We are now going down this road. If we weren’t allowed to name the problem of male violence before, it’s going to be ever more difficult now that males can decide they feel like, and therefore are, females – while continuing definitively male behavior such as rape. I can assure you in the coming years we will see a proliferation of discussions around “woman on woman” rape and violence, not because females are running around raping and beating one another, but because males with super-special identities are doing it.
And it won’t matter, sisters, that we are not perpetrators. There will be no distinction made between our behavior and that of the men who buy accessories to parody us through their misogynist lens and call it “reality.” Does that sound harsh? Does that sound histrionic? Read the fucking Daily Beast article. Do a Google news search for this case. It’s already happening.
Oh, and this will also, no doubt, be positioned as a lesbian issue. Males who feel like ladies will be totally off the hook for their brutality, because women will have to accept the blame. Lesbians will have to shoulder the stigma of being “rampant abusers.”
The fact that there is pushback against discussing female-perpetuated assault, especially by women whom we hold up as progressive role models, is disturbing.
I KNOW, right?! It sucks that we never had an open, honest, culture-wide conversation about how Oprah beat on Steadman. Or about how Ellen is a serial rapist. Or about how Eleanor fucking Roosevelt was routinely clocking her admirers. Oh, that’s right, those things NEVER HAPPENED. Next.
This type of argument is based on fear—fear that when we admit that famous or powerful women can be aggressors, it will disempower other women, namely female victims of male domestic violence.
Yeah, you know what? Blaming women for male aggression does disempower women. Blaming lesbians for rape committed by males does erase the victims of male violence, and it does allow the real perpetrators to hide.
This is the current state of LGBT affairs: Dana McCallum – male, rapist, abuser – is a “well-regarded feminist and LGBT advocate” who gets to keep his high-status job, while women who dare to state that penis is male and that men rape are “bigots,” “transphobes” and “TERFS.”
Sisters, is this what’s to become of everything we’ve built? Is this the sad, twisted final chapter of the book of us, written out by Sappho and Jane Addams and Gertrude Stein and all those badass ladies in the WACS and on the Ladder? Did the Daughters of Bilitis envision being classed one day with rapists? Is this the harvest of our lobbying, our marches, our art and music; our coming-outs with trembling hands?
Is this the ending you want?
Super smart piece on the “gun frenzy.”
If you visit me in Arizona, I’ll collect you at the airport and tell you: Remember, you’re never more than a few dozen feet from a gun. People here keep guns in their homes, their cars, strapped to the insides of their boots. If we stop at the grocery store for popcorn, strawberries and beer (that’s what we’d have for dinner at my house) at least one man will be casually wearing a handgun on his belt. Twenty others will be carrying concealed weapons. You do not want to get into it with a stranger in this part of the country. He wants to cut in the checkout line? Let him.
Yesterday at work, a couple of ladies were happily discussing their personal arsenals.
“I have four guns right now,” one said. “The biggest one is Czechoslovakian, and I keep it right on my nightstand.”
I allowed as to how sleeping with a…
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The loudest voices in the trans movement remain those of trans women, and it is not coincidental that the primary concerns of these individuals center almost entirely around language control and reality control. (I.e. “You must not say” and “Instead you will say” and “I was never, even though I was”) . This insistence upon controlling language or re-working realities in order to cater to the special needs and whims of every fucking person is an astoundingly male concept, and to me, as a female, the endeavor is positively alien in its entitlement.
Which brings me to an atrocious Autostraddle (briefly lesbian publication) article I came across last week in which the author, Mari Brighe, argues that people must NEVER EVER acknowledge that trans women were ever male. (This variety of revisionist history is not uncommon in the trans/queer movement. See also this truly insipid piece from The Advocate.) The article is extremely long, and so, too, will be this post.
As I am wont, I have selected a few segments of the article, that I feel exemplify the type of damaging, misogynist rhetoric that so often comes from the trans/queer thought-and-word police, to comment upon.
Early in the tome, Brighe, to establish the case for never acknowledging that male-born people were ever, ever male, defers to GLAAD:
GLAAD explicitly informs journalists not to use the terms “biologically male,” “biologically female,” “genetically male,” “genetically female,” “born a man,” and “born a woman.”
1) What the fuck is GLAAD to tell journalists (or anyone for that matter) what they can and cannot say? 2) Is GLAAD now the arbiter of objective truth? 3) While not having to confront terms that hurt your feelings might make you feel better, removing said terms from public discourse does not mean that the facts have changed.
Then, the article gets personal:
I wasn’t born a boy, and I’ve never been a boy, and it’s like a knife to my heart every single time I hear that phrase.
Okay. I have empathy. There’s lots of things I’ve lived through that are like a knife to my heart to recall. There’s lots of things I’ve said and done that are like a knife to my heart to remember. I’m a human being who’s been around for nearly four decades, and there are knives aplenty that can be taken to my heart. And it sucks. But you know what? Our feelings don’t negate the facts of our lived histories. If we are to continue as a marginally rational, functional society, we cannot allow feelings to dictate what we will regard as “true.” The “this-makes-me-feel-bad-therefore-it-never-happened” is as delusional as it is untenable.
And this line, in which the author bemoans the fact that people continue to make publicly verifiable observations, I just plain liked (really, it may be my favorite sentence in the whole piece):
Despite all these people making it absolutely clear that this is something no one should do, IT JUST KEEPS HAPPENING.
I get this. I feel the same way about rape and child molestation and war mongering and, and, and – NEXT.
Later still, Brighe makes something “perfectly clear”:
I want to make a few things perfectly clear. Trans women are women. Period. End of story. We’re not “women who used to be men.” We’re not “men who identify as women.” We’re not “males who identify as women.” We’re not “men who became women.” WE ARE WOMEN.
Perhaps I’m dense, but no matter how many times I read this all-too-familiar assertion, it still doesn’t seem “perfectly clear” to me. I need someone to explain this. Trans women are women because . . . why? Because you state it IN NO UNCERTAIN CAPS? Because you’re full of male entitlement and feel that words must mean precisely what you want them to? Because gender profiteers (surgeons, pharmaceutical companies) benefit from this conviction? Because Autostraddle gives you a platform? I’m sorry, but the twains have yet to meet for me on this one.
Moving along . . .
Our past, present, and futures are ours to define and no one else’s. Even if we didn’t figure out that we were trans until well into our adult lives, it absolutely does not mean that we were ever boys and men.
This is very inspiring. Someone should put this on a poster with a mountain climber or an astronaut and find the nearest elementary school classroom to tack it up in.
However, while inspiring, it is, like all such platitudes, empty and meaningless. It is, like all motivational posters, intended to comfort and delude. And this is a big part of trans/queer politics – if you shout something long enough, if you insist upon something long enough, you make it true and real, despite any and all evidence to the contrary. This is not about making the world a more just and equitable place, this is about manipulating language, manipulating reality so that a delusion goes on unchallenged. This is about criminalizing basic observational skills when the observations do not fit the narrative the super-special individual has created for himself. This is not revolutionary. This is narcissism.
And on the subject of narcissism:
As much as I’ve talked about trans people and the trans community on the whole, we’re a pretty individualistic bunch, each with our ways of discussing ourselves and our journeys.
No. Fucking. Shit. (Also, guess what? We’re all “individuals.” That doesn’t mean reality has to bend to our individuality. Life doesn’t work that way. Grow the fuck up.)
Later still (I’m telling you, this article was INSANELY LONG), Brighe says that because Fallon Fox, who beats women for a living, says we shouldn’t acknowledge reality, then we better listen up. Brighe also waxes philosophic about biology – “What is it to be biologically male?” – and seriously, if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to open basic biology up for debate, let’s please invite the fucking Creationists to the table, because I’m sure they’d love to be a part of this conversation.
Then, what follows is, bar none, my “favorite” part of the whole article:
In the end, male and female are just boxes on a form checked by a doctor making a semi-educated guess.
“Semi-educated guess.” Riiiight. A semi-educated guess is what I did repeatedly on the Math portion of the GRE’s. A semi-educated guess is when I’m lost and approximate that I’m moving in an eastward direction. A semi-educated guess is NOT a doctor with years of medical experience being able to determine that a baby’s penis and testicles are male sex organs.
Moreover, as much as the idea might appeal to young people and gender obsessed males, “female” is not “just a box on a form.” To argue this is to trivialize women’s actual, lived realities.
The effort to redefine the meaning of “female/woman” involves a tremendous amount of debasement. The lives of women and girls must be reduced to “boxes on a form” or “feelings in a man’s head” or “mere identities that one can try on.”
However, the fact that I’m female – with female chromosomes, female medical issues, female physiology, and all the bullshit that comes with being a member of the female sex class is NOT the result of a “box on a fucking form.”
Identify however you like. Be yourself. Wear whatever makes you most comfortable. Adopt a new name. Grow your hair out. Get a neck tattoo. Trust me, no one gives a fuck. Enjoy your special life, but don’t foist your bullshit on women. Don’t demand that women tow some PoMo line about our female reality being “just a box on a form.” Don’t tell women that they must defer to organizations like GLAAD or violent misogynists like Fallon fucking Fox.
So why does this matter? Why even bother responding to this egregiously lengthy piece? First of all, because this way of thinking is becoming pervasive and it has real, tangible consequences for women.
Words must mean something. Civilization rests, in large part, on some modicum of consistency around what we collectively understand words to mean. This is important for a whole host of reasons. For a much more thorough, and smart, examination of this concept, I would recommend reading this post, which I posted some weeks back.
Just as words must mean something, I also contend that we must acknowledge real, lived histories as they actually happened (inasmuch as the human brain is capable of this). This is particularly important in a cultural clime that has become increasingly subjective, where our grasp on even the slightest semblance of reality is becoming ever more tenuous.
I am reminded of a quote by the writer Tim O’Brien: “That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.” There is a tendency, among us as a species, to revise our own narratives, to want to dwell in the “seeming-ness” (another O’Brien term) rather than the “reality.” This is what art is for — be it film, fiction, poetry, performance art. Art allows us to explore truths that are not manifest truths, and this is wonderful and necessary. However, to apply the “seeming-ness,” that art busies itself with, to histories and claim it as manifest truth (while appealing) is delusional and dangerous.
Within every one of us – artistic abilities notwithstanding – live a whole host of fictions, of truths that are not manifest. For example, when I was twenty, I briefly dated a man. What that period of time “means” or how I would define that experience, within the broader context of my life, means precious little when we are thinking of manifest truth. The manifest truth is I DATED A DUDE. That is part of my actual, lived history. And sure, I can lie about it to myself, to others. I can try to make the truth more palatable by convincing myself that momentary boyfriend was really a closeted trans lesbian (he totally liked poetry, had long hair, and enjoyed The Mary Tyler Moore show so . . . maybe?). I can reframe the situation all sorts of ways so that it better aligns with how I understand myself today, and I can insist that people who knew me then NEVER ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FACT, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
There must be a line between what we tell ourselves as individuals in order to feel better, and what we collectively understand to be true. Reworking history and language based on the particular and peculiar emotional needs of individuals can only beget (if it has not already begotten) a sort of intellectual anarchy in which we are unable to communicate, organize around, or critically think about issues that matter. (As far as females are concerned, this variety of intellectual chaos benefits the patriarchy – if we are confused, if we cannot speak, then we cannot challenge or subvert or even clearly see the systems that oppress us.)
As females, we must insist that language and histories are not revised in order to suit the needs of males – even those who feel like women. As lesbians, we must insist that language and histories are not manipulated in order to placate males who feel like lesbians. If we allow our histories, our ability to talk about ourselves, our experiences, our lives to be so far debased as to become entirely subjective, wholly interpretive like a white-washed plank hanging on an art gallery wall, then we are fucked. We are erased.