I really did not want to write about the Bruce Jenner thing . . . or transition, or second coming, or miracle . . . whatever you want to call it. Frankly, after I caught an eyeful of Jenner gussied and corseted, I just wanted to forget all about it for a whole host of reasons. Also, Bruce Jenner is a pig. Bruce Jenner is a wealthy, white Republican who has no doubt contributed money to political causes that harmed women and gays. I saw the Diane Sawyer interview – Bruce Jenner is a condescending asshole, and a fetishist, and I’m sorry if that hurts anyone’s feels. Also, Bruce Jenner recently killed someone with his car, but no one wants to talk about that because Bruce Jenner is a hero for buying tits, or something, I’m not sure . . .
I grew up in Illinois, a state where virtually all of our governors go to prison. (The joke is, Illinois: Where the Governor Makes Your License Plate.) When Governor George Ryan went to prison for selling truck driving licenses that resulted in the gruesome death of an entire family – mother, father, kids – many people moaned, “But he’s an old man. That’s so mean to send him to jail for the REST OF HIS LIFE. What about his wife? He’s old!” As if old people can’t be horrible people. Old people can be horrible, hateful humans. So can cancer patients. So can homos. So can trans women. Being elderly or sick or part of a marginalized group does (should) not absolve one of scrutiny. We like to forget this, because it makes it easier for us to then lack culpability for our own actions, because it allows us, as a culture, to cultivate cheap heroes – CAITLYN JENNER! SO HEROIC BECAUSE . . . he’s had everything handed to him, because he’s benefited an awful lot from that brave male privilege, that super courageous reality show where he pimped out his kids. And when our heroes are heroes for doing absolutely nothing, well then, by golly! We can be heroes, too! Shit. I’m a dyke and I got out of bed this morning: HERO! BRAVE! BADGE OF COURAGE WORTHY!
So, whatever. Fuck Bruce Jenner. This post isn’t even really about him. It’s about the New York Times.
I was shocked and delighted to see Elinor Burkett’s article in The Times. Like, you could have knocked me over with a genderqueer feather. I mean it. My jaw dropped. Because here, prominently, on this highly regarded site, was a woman being critical of the trans agenda, a woman saying fuck you to the idea that female is a feeling, is whatever men say it is, is chipped nail polish. I agreed with virtually every point Ms. Burkett made, and I felt relieved that here, in this mainstream publication, was reflected what so many women have been discussing in the shadows.
And I also worried about Ms. Burkett. I worried about the backlash she would receive, which for those who are openly critical of transgenderism includes slurs, no-platforming, and death threats. Asserting that female is more than a feeling can be a career destroyer, and worse.
Have you all read The Handmaid’s Tale? (If you haven’t, you should; if you have, you probably know where I’m heading.) I know it may seem like an easy correlative, but one thing that always strikes me when I think about that piece of speculative fiction, as it relates to the trans agenda, is how in Atwood’s imagined world, others (men) dictated how women could talk about themselves, moreover, others (men) dictated how women might remember their pasts. In Atwood’s dystopia, it was a manner of thought crime to remember that you had friends, had a husband, a lover, kids, a house, an education, that you KNEW things, because the only “reality” that should be real to a woman was the one that had been manufactured for her by men.
Women have penises. They always have.
Men can menstruate.
Bruce Jenner was never a man.
And if you don’t buy this? If you push back? If you so much as raise your lady eyebrows? You, sister, are fucked. You’ll be called a bigot. You’ll be threatened. You’ll be silenced. There’s a reason there’s a whole network of anonymous blogs, like mine, on this topic: women who dare speak their truth, who dare call bullshit on what male driven media, male driven gay orgs, male driven academia, male driven legislation is trying to force down our collective throats will be shunned, will be destroyed – and not because we’re “wrong,” but because we’re sinning against the gender God, we’re committing thought crimes, we’re not being “nice feminists,” we are refusing to make our philosophy, our worldview, all about what men need, what men want, what men make believe.
There’s a line the Trans Lobby likes to tow about women like me: we are a “fringe” group, a small, hateful minority. But you hear that deafening silence from lots of other women? You hear the nothing coming out of the mouths of so, so many other women? That’s not approval, brother. That’s fear. Women are, largely, silent on this issue not because they are in agreement, but because they are afraid – afraid of seeming “mean” or of being called bigots or of receiving death threats. Women, especially, have been bullied into silence on this issue. It’s not that women are buying what men are selling, it’s that they’re – rightfully – afraid to say they disagree.
Men are really fucking good, though, at deluding themselves into believing that omissions, silences, are affirmations. I think about a documentary my wife and I recently watched about men who buy wives from Russia. Most of these men could confidently say, “Oh, yeah. She loves me. She came all the way from another country to be with me.” They were able to ignore the fact that they fucking PAID for her airfare, and that she had no appealing options left as a woman in her home country (bride-trafficking is prostitution, and the women who sell themselves in this manner do so for the same reasons women sell themselves on highway off ramps), oh, and the men gave zero fucks that she didn’t speak a lick of English because who wants a broad that’s gonna run her mouth all the time, am I right, fellas? And these men could convince themselves that the women they purchased were there, in their shitty houses and apartments, out of love. It didn’t matter if it was true, they had become convinced because, “Well, she never said she DIDN’T love me.” Men are really fucking good at delusion.
Women are really good at discussing issues in the shadows. We’ve always had to do this, as a means of survival. I cannot tell you how many women sent me the Burkett article and said, “I wish I could share this more widely, but I don’t feel like being called a transphobe/bigot.” And the thing is, there was nothing violent or hateful about the article. The point of contention, according to the mainstream, to the sanctimonious liberal left, was that Burkett asserted that female was more than a feeling, that makeup did not a woman make, that female human beings have experiences that males will never know. That is all. And for that, Burkett has been roundly condemned. The observations in her article were rather innocuous, moreover they were once the very cornerstones of feminist thought and theory and praxis, and now they must be whispered in the dark, away from the ears of men and men who “feel like” women.
Think about that for a minute. Really fucking think about that. If you are female, you should be shuddering.
And then there are women, like the one who wrote an article recently for the Huffington Post in response to Burkett’s piece, who argue that transwomen understand sexism, misogynist suffering, the perils of gender MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE. Who argue, blindly, that transwomen are at greater risk of violence THAN ANYONE ELSE (and oh, god, I am fascinated by how invested, how interested the dominant culture has become in gendered violence now that males are claiming to suffer from it. We didn’t give a flying fuck when it was just female human beings – adults and children — who were being brutalized, raped, murdered on a daily basis, but now that it seemingly impacts males who feel like ladies, man-oh-man is it IMPORTANT. It’s so important, in fact, that because some transwomen – mostly of color, mostly those involved in prostitution – are victims of violence at the hands of men, we are not allowed to EVER critique the insane gender-obsession that is slowly, but surely, creating a world in which women have been dizzied out of knowing their own reality. I mean, it’s still perfectly acceptable for people to claim women who get raped shouldn’t “drink so much” or to call a woman who desires access to birth control a slut – Limbaugh still has a job and a hefty income, no? – or to imprison a woman for miscarrying, but heaven forbid we should EVER ask a fucking question about the trans/gender politics that erase female reality. That, we mustn’t do, because some trans women experience violence. Oh, and by the bye, despite what the media and the men who drive it would have you think, it’s not as though trans women are being murdered whilst reclining on their couches with a good book, catching a bus, or renting a RedBox outside of Walgreens. The vast majority of trans women who are murdered are involved in the sex trade, which is incredibly dangerous for anyone whether male, female, or ladybrained. Oh, and also, the people who kills trans women? They’re MEN.)
Another reason, or so we’re told, that we’re not allowed to be critical of what transgenderism peddles is that trans people KILL THEMSELVES. And when they kill themselves, it is not a result of mental illness, but rather the result of women. Women who disagree with gender theory MAKE trans people kill themselves. Hmmm. What does this sound like? Oh, right. Manipulative manspeak. “If you break up with me, I’ll kill myself.” “If you don’t do ____, then I’ll kill myself.” “Do you want me to kill myself? Because that’s what I’m gonna do.”
This is emotional abuse practiced almost exclusively by men.
Lesbians, especially, can see this bullshit for what it is. As my wife keenly observed, as lesbians our dealings with men are quite limited, so we’re like goldfish who’ve grown legs. We can walk out of the bowl. And when we get back in the bowl? We notice the water is really fucking cold, but the other fish, those who haven’t grown legs? They’re so used to the water temperature that they don’t notice, and they definitely don’t want to hear about how cold it is.
From the HuffPo article criticizing Burkett: As feminists, it is our job to consider each individual situation, take the criticism we believe is worthwhile to heart and try to do better the next time.
Just let that sink in for a moment, ladies. Really. Basically, what this author is arguing (and what liberal, mainstream feminism argues) is that as women, it is OUR DUTY to consider everyone’s feelings – like, on a tedious, myopic individual level – accept that we are always wrong, and promise to do better. As feminists, according to the mainstream majority, it is our job to CONSTANTLY APOLOGIZE for having thoughts, feelings, an intellect, eyes.
She also argued that women like Burkett are simply “afraid” and that they shouldn’t be afraid “because we say so.” And that’s always the line, isn’t it? A male is a woman because he SAYS SO. Feminism must center trans women because WE say so. You must not talk about your female biology because WE say so.
If “because we say so” isn’t patriarchal, paternal rhetoric designed to infantilize women, to shut women up, then I don’t know what is.
The Huffington Post article ends, I kid you not, with this: What is a woman? Whatever we decide. Now isn’t that a damn revelation.
Who is the “we”? I’d hazard the “we” this woman is speaking of is men and heterosexual women. Because it sure as shit ain’t the women I’ve been talking to. The women I know can see this misogynist ideology for what it is.
And no, HuffingtonPostLady, it’s not a “damn revelation” to say a woman is whatever men say they are. Actually, that’s the WHOLE FUCKING PROBLEM. Actually, that’s been happening since the beginning of time. I mean, is it a “damn revelation” that the Earth revolves around the sun? That corn grows from the ground? That dogs are descended from wolves? Men have been defining women since FOREVER, and while that’s been just peachy for men, that has never been any good for women. Take a break from SirLadyBrain’s Twitter feed and read a fucking book: Lorde, Rich, Dworkin, Frye – there’s a few names you can start with (and yes, I know, so second wave – well, you know what? Second Wave feminists actually managed to accomplish shit beyond shoving a pampered male Olympian into lingerie for a photo shoot).
Anyway, thank you Elinor Burkett for having the guts to use your platform to say something worthwhile. It was a breath of fresh air for lots, and lots of women, even if they continue to remain quiet on the subject for fear of retribution. Women know despite what the media, what the groupthink would have us believe, that this conversation has never been about “hating” trans people (this is a convenient trope used to silence dissent), but about ensuring that female human beings have the language we desperately need to discuss our own lives, our own realities. This conversation has never been about denying anyone their right to exist in a way that feels authentic, but rather women pushing back against a male led movement that seeks to define for us who we are, who we will be. This is about women wanting to use their own words, which we have had to fucking fight for, to talk about our lives. This is about female human beings refusing to allow male delusions to eviscerate our truths as women. This is about being fed the fuck up.
We might not all have Burkett’s platform, but women are having these conversations. We’re speaking about this, as we have always done, where men can’t hear us. And we’re talking a lot.
49 thoughts on “Thank you, Elinor Burkett”
Reblogged this on You think I just don't understand, but I don't believe you..
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
My thoughts exactly, thank you! A lot of my Facebook friends are talking about Jenner in closed feminist groups, but we don’t dare admit what we think on our Facebook wall for fear of the backlash. Women know that Bruce Jenner is not one of us. He’s a deadbeat dad and an autogynephile. He’s no hero. Hopefully he brings more people to Peak Trans.
I’m so glad to hear women are talking. Keep talking! And thanks for reading!
Yes! I am a lesbian feminist of the 2nd wave and my wife and I are also discussing this. She (my wife) was brave enough to facebook sentiments akin to this blog. I feel petrified to do so as I know people I really do love may de – friend me. I am effectively silenced and it feels dreadful. I have seen the trans issue tear lesbian and feminist groups apart, even end the life of a community center that females took 3 years to gain funds for. It was for women who had been abused and they didn’t want anything male (or had been male) on the premises. Well the men (ot those that were born men) got their way. Anyone who contributed to the center was called a name (hater etc) and publicly shunned. I thought, jeez, man got in their again with their agenda! If men want to identify as the glamor puss stereotype that we “women” are supposed to aspire to – tits and ass out etc..let them! I don’t know ONE of my female friends who vaguely resembles Cate Jender, it’s a tacky stereotype. It reminds me of people who say they have been reincarnated. They have always been Cleopatra or Napoleon in a past life, not a slave or a schmuck on the street. Same with trans women, they think being a woman is all tits, ass and Monroe pouts. All I hope for is that Jender is TREATED like a woman, let “her” have the whole experience – perhaps Bruce will come running back (like a girl of course) to male privilege.
I’m sorry to hear about the women’s center. Sadly, a byproduct of this bullshit has been the destruction of, desperately needed, women – only spaces. It’s truly tragic.
Trans Chauvinism is such a great phrase because this is how it makes me feel, battered and abused by a man. I get this really male aggressive feeling from those on the trans cheer squad. I don’t think they really know what it feels like to be a woman, if they did they would use their penetrating abusive maleness to hurt someone. I have decided to respond to any abuse such as being called a “TERF” to responding with “WHAM” – Woman hating angry male.
augustuscarmichael – yes it was such a pity about the center, it was in Sydney Australia, and called “The Lesbian Center”. It’s just another Michigan – I was so MAD, that festival is iconic. But of course we females are not allowed to have our spaces are we? I am so pissed off with 3rd wave feminism. If everything was sorted, then yes let’s let down our guard, but half the women of the world are still having their genitals cut out! The fight isn’t over, there’s no time for men feeling like us at the moment. Oh and I hope Cate Jender donates the $100 million from the new reality show to WOMEN’S causes, yes BRUCE, fucking birth control, abortion, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, domestic abuse, rape murder et al et al et al. Put his money where his silicone lips are. Ooh I am one angry TERF (Totally enlightened radical feminist)
Reblogged this on RaFeCaMe and commented:
I can not, for the life of me, choose only one bit to pull out of this to highlight. This entire article needs to be read.
Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
Right on Sister! And yes it was a good article! We must keep speaking our FEMALE truths to Power!!
I’m not silent. I’m totally down with criticizing Caitlyn Jenner for any number of awful things she did pre-transition or post-transition, and I think it’s fine to criticize the trans movement, too. It’s not always perfect. I would certainly agree we should center feminism on trans women, but i have yet to hear anyone suggest that and be taken seriously. And neither is feminism, for that matter. We can talk about that. That’s cool. But this post is just transphobic. It seems to deny the reality of trans individuals all together! It also comes with a heavy whiff of whorephobia. That is not cool. That is shitty. You should be ashamed of yourself. Regardless of what transpeople, men and women, know about misogyny, YOU should know about it, and know that trans people are victims of the patriarchy same as you. Learn some fecking compassion.
You say that you have yet to hear anyone seriously suggest feminism should center transwomen; well, I’d suggest you start by consulting the Google on that one.
As for the “whorephobia” — why? Because I suggested that prostitution is dangerous, is harmful to women? I know that’s not a popular belief among liberal feminists, who like to fight for men’s right to purchase sex, but the fact is, it is true that prostitution is dangerous. I’m sorry if that inconveniences you/alters your belief that prostitution is some fun little job that women can opt in and out of. (But in the real world? That’s just not the case.) Or did it offend you that I suggested that women who are purchased by men don’t actually love the men who have purchased them? Did that rupture all your Pretty Woman notions of prostitution? If so, that’s a good thing. No woman is empowered by prostitution, despite what the male-driven media will have you believe. Sorry, sister.
As for the accusation of transphobia — move along. My feminism centers female human beings. So, yes, that makes me transphobic in the eyes of liberal feminists/men. I value women and girls over identity politics, over men’s feelings, and that gives liberals the sads. I’m bored of the accusation. It’s meaningless. To quote Germaine Greer, “Women are 51% of the worlds population and I’ve got to worry about transphobia. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Arachnophobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”
And YOU should be “ashamed” of yourself for coming on to this blog and telling women that they should be embarrassed for acknowledging reality. Men, no matter how they alter their bodies, no matter how much makeup they apply or synthetic hormones they ingest, will never be female, and I’m not going to apologize for that. That’s reality. That’s life. You claim you are vocal on this issue in your real life? Well, I dare you to openly discuss the facts of your female existence and see what happens. The line you tow allows men who “feel like” women to define you, to dictate what your female reality is. If you’re comfortable with that, then fine. As for me, and many other women, we’re not comfortable with men telling us who we are.
Finally, women don’t owe it to the rest of the world to be compassionate, to be everyone’s mommy. Frankly, operating under that assumption has fucked us for far too many years.
Have a nice day!
omilyyours – when I hear things like “You should be ashamed of yourself….YOU should know about it, Learn some fecking compassion”, I get this creepy feeling about someone telling a woman what she should be, dictating to her how she should feel. Huh? It smacks of male privilege frankly. Why should women be more compassionate? I have compassion for all the schoolgirls kidnapped by ISIS, raped children, women who are killed for not obeying some religious law of some male patriarchal religion. Let MEN clean up their own backyard, women don’t have the POWER to change any of this in any significant way.
As for prostitution, well where do I start? I really HATE the notion that this empowers women, what rot! The very fact that it exists irks me to the bone. Women as commodities, yeah great let’s celebrate that.
Hypotaxis, just to say that I’ve grown legs and left the goldfish bowl and there are plenty of herterosexual women who have done the same and we are having those conversations; maybe not shouting it from the roof tops but we carry it around with us in our thoughts and in our relationships with other women and also our children.
Gallileo (one of my all time heroes) never gave in to the Roman Catholic Inquisition. The truth will out and history will remember those who advanced science and thinking, not those who tried to stifle free-thought and the dissemination of truth.
Thank you Elinor Burkett and thank you Hypotaxis.
Thank you for reading. Keep having those conversations!
BRAVO!!! Glad I found somewhere to vent my anger, because I am ANGRY. I worship no man and I’ll be damned if I have going to be silenced by them again. What does it “feel like” to be a woman? Well only those who grew up as female know this!!!! What does it feel like to grow up poor? I guess I should ask some privileged kid how it feels, because rich white republican men seem to do all the defining (and always have).
Your comparison to men buying wives overseas was brilliant.
I had never thoughtbof that..but purchasing a wife is slmost like a one time permanent form of prostitution. Does she get the money or the go between? Same with arranged marriages. No free will for the woman, often coming out of harrowing desperate circumstances to marry a man she has never met.
Women are FED UP and we are staking our lines and our boundaries and weaving our Webs together!!!
Mail order brides have to be married 3 years before they can divorce and retain citizenship, but only if hubby fills out all the forms correctly, no typos, with naturalization offices few and far between. One little typo and they can hold these women hostage indefinitely. I’ve seen it, it’s sick. If you know anyone in that situation, download the necessary forms for them, and help them practice, word for word, letter for letter, punctuation. Really p*ss*s off hubby when they sneak in the former without typos and gain their freedom
Awesome essay, as per usual. I was so overjoyed when I saw Elinor Burkett’s piece. And also, like you, shocked. I hope more women from all walks of life start to see this “movement” for what it is and PUSH BACK. Unfortunately it may take years to undo the legislation that allows males into female spaces. It drives me nuts that medical forms now say “Gender.” Remember the good old days when it said “Sex”? Sometimes I cross out “gender” and write “SEX.” It’s the little things.
A few years ago I was verbally harassed in front of my building a couple of times by the same man of color in lady clothes, a wig and heels. It was always on a Saturday. He said the most vile things to me, using the “p” word and calling me a bitch after I ignored him. (Not saying he was trans—who knows?) I didn’t know about this trans business until a couple of years ago, but now I see that particular harassment in a different light.
And can we all just collectively roll our eyes at “whorephobia?” I am so sick of Playboy liberals.
I too was relieved to see the NYT piece. I couldn’t quite articulate my gut feeling that Bruce Jenner manipulated his body to look what passes as a young woman IN BEVERLY HILLS (and other white, rich enclaves). It nagged at me that he decided to butt in line and not only call himself a woman, but call himself a woman of roughly the same age as me. Why didn’t he get the tits I see when I look in the mirror? Okay, I got it, he’s an athlete, he put the time in for a fit body, but why did he have to try and win the trans trophy for passing? I remember when trannies were “brave” because they had back alley surgeries that required constant upkeep and in the end, didn’t fool anyone. I think what pisses me off is that the discussion has become about whether or not we approve of extreme body modification. Why can’t we have a truly intellectual debate about gender? What about the possibility that we might be better off someday in the future when we evolve out of biological distinctions? Maybe there are more than two sexes? Maybe we’d be better off that way? Why can’t BJ just be considered a Transexual or Transgender and let that be that? Who knows, but I’d love to hear the debate. And I’m so glad you wrote this. I want this topic to be kept alive. Here’s my one, very naive question: if transgender murder occurs primarily among prostitutes and prostitution is a form of enslavement, aren’t transgendered people to be pitied and protected all the more? I don’t really follow your thinking that trans people who have sex for money should expect the hazards that come with their dangerous careers. Isn’t that victim blaming?
I think this whole issue is fascinating and I thank you for your post and for keeping feminism alive.
Just to clarify, I in no way condone or attempt to justify the bodily harm or murder of any human being. I am pointing out the fact that transwomen are murdered by men, and often the transwomen murdered by men are involved in prostitution. Men often murder prostitutes. Few cared about this issue until it was pointed out that it sometimes impacts men who identify as women. This is not victim blaming. This is merely a fact. Thanks for reading, and thinking critically on this.
This underground chi-chat is so like back in the 60’s when the female rebellion against the powers that be relied on zines, word of mouth and consciousness raising groups =. grassroots. And once the buzz became louder, once it began to get some traction(against all odds), the publishing houses couldn’t wait to ride the wave $$, and we were regaled with best seller after bestseller plus a swell of cheap pocketbooks everywhere side by side to the “Journey to Ixtlan.”…. I sense a new wave here to be surfed out in the bright lights, but who dares to that may?… For one thing, never since those days have I witnessed the hard core so engaged and moved and vocal about an issue… and forced underground… again.
What do we have here?… Or did the powers that be regrouped to trans into a formidable wall, an iron clad fortress, a PC ferocious backlash?
Right on! I have been ranting about this for awhile and my rantees are only recently learning about men erasing women through transgenderism and realizing what has been making me so mad. Fight back.
Thank you for writing, and thank you to the folks above who are reblogging. I’m on board with many of the points you’ve made here, though not all of them. But that’s okay. Doesn’t change a whit of my gratitude for your willingness to speak out. I, too, read Burkett’s piece and then promptly forwarded it to the folks with whom I’ve been having this same conversation, over and over, with a little variation here and there, but largely the same core concepts: expecting women to sit down and shut up because more important people are talking is a very… male… trait– esp. on the internet. Having been repeatedly blasted as a TERF (which really doesn’t apply in my case– see above re: ‘not all of them’) by recently-transitioned/-ing people to, functionally, shut me up… Doesn’t sit well.
We’ve come to call it “Casta’s Corollary” (to Godwin’s Law)– slinging/hauling out the term “TERF” (nearly always against a cis woman, straight, bi, lesbian, or otherwise) becomes hyperbole and the “argument” is forfeit.
I’ll keep ears out for the Trans Chauvinist phrase– our community has been referring to the Neo Trans Activist Movement (or Community; in part because a great many folks up-in-arms are only recently-declared, and unironically lambaste their trans predecessors for “doing it wrong,” etc.) or Trans Misogynist (separate and distinct from transmisogynist, the call-to-arms for the very folks who feel they’re being persecuted).
This is more zionist-illuminati bullshit, not unlike the “assimilation” and phony liberal agenda; “ready for Killary”.. Take a closer look and you’ll find it’s part of the ancient, all-pervasive war against biological females, and that means LESBIANS FIRST.
I don’t have time for an elaborate comment so I’m just gonna say thank you!
You’re right, women ARE discussing it in the shadows. Google brought me to another feminist blog that led me here. I’ve recently been thinking about everything liberal feminism is doing wrong and reading honest pieces is a breath of fresh air! The NYT piece was totally unexpected but so needed. I can’t have honest discussions publicly because of the hive mindset but I eventually get to talk about it with some female friends once there’s some slip-up that indicates deeper thoughts on the issue. It’s unbelievable how even between females we don’t dare to be upfront about it and wait for some kind of signal from the other. There are the women not saying anything but also the ones blatantly lying about their real feelings on trans people because some of us are lesbians/bi and feel like it’s forbidden to voice our concerns. I’ve been called many things that I had to google from trans activists, I had no idea how far the appropriation and female shaming went. The lesbian appropriation especially. I was mentioning that my wife is a biological woman to a trans online a few days ago (after the Jenner thing) and it didn’t require anything else for me to be called a “transmisogynist”, whatever that means in their delusional heads. I have never seen anything like that with their “male” counterparts, is it a thing? I don’t think men feel threatened by female born “men” in their locker rooms or that gay men are being actively shamed for not being attracted to the trans. I don’t see many female to male trans anyway.
It’s terrifying when you think about what your kids are going to endure for being taught to question and resist patriarchy AND the trans agenda now. Having two moms doesn’t seem so bad in comparison, and that’s saying something. I’m less worried by religious lunatics than I am by the trans police these days. Thank you for making some of us feel less alone!
You’re not alone. And thanks for reading!
And there are those of us who transition and are so acutely aware that we will never truly know what it is to be a woman in our day. We do our best to blend in, in the hopes of catching glimpse of our goal which is all about relating to people as a woman in society. There is absolute joy in simply having coffee and a conversation with another woman who does not know your history. Its natural, it flows it is true joy for me. Unfortunately–and its no one’s fault–but relationships with a women are rarely the same when they know. I feel sorry for Caitlyn because she does not “appear” to be on this journey, and even if she was, her notoriety would never allow her to attain it. Like any group within society, we are all different. The least vocal of us in this group are the many just trying to blend in and move on with their lives. If we achieve our goal you will never know about us.
Not to be harsh, but most of us can always tell trans.
I’m all too aware of that, but fortunately I have found a degree of acceptance/respect over the last 10 years in the Lesbian community that brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I’ve made life-long friends, been in weddings and sing in the women’s chorus. I have a pot-luck, holiday party for about 50 women that is going into its 11th year. And best of all, all I have to do is be myself . . .
I am glad for you, Gail Wiley. Thank you for writing here. You are brave.
Bruce is taking more HRT than any insurance plan would allow for a 65 year old woman–my plan sure wouldn’t pay for me to get that much cosmetic surgery.
Great piece! There’s one thing though – it’s ‘toe the line’, not ‘tow the line’. I’m a bit of a language pedant and it bugs me when obviously smart writers get that wrong. http://grammartips.homestead.com/toetheline.html
Thanks for your writing!
Hypotaxis, I posted the Elinor Burkitt article on my FB timeline yesterday. A perfectly wonderful discussion ensued. I’m in my late fifties, went to a women’s college, and I’m a Witch with a zillion gay and kinky friends. A lot of my contemporaries, my college and other older feminist friends, have felt totally silenced by the trans activists and their agenda. We aired our feelings on my FB timeline in a most satisfactory way. One trans friend has unfriended me over the discussion, and I’m sorry to see that, but a couple more trans friends are hanging in there.
The thing that saddened me the most about the discussion: I was told that having a civil discussion in which everyone was polite to each other (but also frank about their feelings) harmed one of my trans friends. A bunch of straight and bi and lesbian women were *harming* the trans person by having the discussion. That seems really wrong to me, and I said so. *NOT* having the discussion is where I see the harm coming. If we don’t talk about issues that are really bothering us, things never will improve.
I was in PR for many years, advocacy PR here in Washington, DC, on the Left, for a bunch of causes, candidates, and non-profits you would most definitely have heard of. I am not a stranger to controversy and I do not seek to avoid confrontation. I will not back down from this. We must not be silenced on this issue.
Once again, we are being told to sit back, shut up, and do as we’re told, because men say so. That won’t work for very long. The trans activists who espouse this line will not succeed long term with this media message. They are alienating potential allies big time, and they don’t seem to realize it, or perhaps they don’t care–that male privilege thing, dontcha know. It is clumsy from a PR perspective, since it does their movement harm. I hope that eventually that the trans activists, the trans movement, will be grown-up enough to work towards political ends in coalition with their natural allies. eyeroll.
Meanwhile, I fucking hate the *cis* thing and I’m not using it. One of the women I respect most in the world wrote the same thing during the discussion on my wall. Knowing her feelings—she’s a famous lesbian academic–empowered me further to ignore the detestable syllable. Succumbing to the stupid cis word is one step closer to buying the trans agenda, as far as I’m concerned. Since when do a tiny minority of anyone get to dictate terms to the rest of us? ugh.
Thank you for your essay here. love, blessings, empowerment to you. May you and yours thrive. Thank you.
Thank you for this. It’s always encouraging to know one is NOT the only one with these thoughts. And yes, I couldn’t agree more that the trans movement is alienating possible allies – big time. Keep talking about this, sister.
Caroline – I am your age. I sometimes feel the T community is very young, they remind me of emos. MY wife is 71 and was a member of the New York radical feminists in the 1970s. She calls the bullshit and doesn’t care, I love her so much! But I, like many other women of the 2nd wave feel silenced, I feel so angry that I would ALLOW myself to be silenced this way, just to save a few facebook friends. I am gaining the courage to say what I really think and be damned the consequences.
I do respect people’s opinion, I do respect their choices, but mine are not respected. I feel so weak about not just chiming in on all this, I would have done it in my twenties, but being nearly 60 I just don’t want the hassle of the argument, I want PEACE and TRANQUILITY!
I don’t know whether this T movement is just a generational thing, lack of reading a variety of books, lack of knowing HERstory. I would like to ask these T activists who their heroines are, as women we have heroines, we admire out feminist fore mothers (HAHA, spell check doesn’t recognize “foremothers”, but forefathers is OK) . Are there any herstorical (spell check wants me to change this to “historical”) women that T individuals admire? If they say they are women then surely they have female heroines?
No sadly, I don’t think so. From reading blogs, comments etc. I find most of the angry Ts are self absorbed, their politics is the politics of passing for women, that is their major concern.
I was reading a late outed M2T lamenting that lesbians did not want to go out on dates/have sex with them. It was all about the right to have access to lesbian bodies, the cotton ceiling crap. This individual said that there had been dates with other M2t individuals but it didn’t work out. This M2t wanted a “cis” lesbians. There was no commenting available but I thought to myself, yeah so do I, I am a lesbian and want a female bodied person. It speaks volumes that “lesbian” M2t want “cis” lesbians, not M2t “lesbians”.
I’m just popping in to say that I’m learning so much about this controversy and thank you for all the eloquent discussion. I don’t have much opportunity for F2F discourse about this. I’d like to connect with others on FB for more discussion. There is a thread on Quora, if you’re interested and I’ve been amazed at the level of aggression on the part of at least one trans advocates who demands that he is a woman because he says so. I don’t feel equipped to take him on alone, so I can provide a link if anyone cares to join in. At any rate, thank you again.
Thanks for reading!
I agree with your points and with the points made in The Washington Post article wholeheartedly. I think the discussion will evolve into, “Then what do we call people like Caitlyn Jenner?” The answer is really very clear to me after hearing the thoughts of my South Asian partner, who when seeing the Caitlyn Jenner magazine cover said, “I find this disgusting. Not because they’re transgender – I’m used to that. But because they’re trying to pass a 3rd gender person off as a woman. It’s just not true.” In South Asia, there is a designation of “3rd Gender” people, those who are not male or female, called Hijra. Sometimes these are born-hermaphrodites, eunuchs (by choice or by force) and transgenders and transexuals. They have their own rights struggles, of course, but also their own identity (even linguistic dialect!) separate from men and women. So instead of behaving as if we are the first culture to encounter this issue, let’s not try to “reinvent the wheel” and just adopt a notion of a 3rd gender similar to what has been in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc for hundreds of years. The notion would have to be tweaked to become Americanized, but it’d more respectful to women and more a reflection of the not-so-new-actually multi-gender reality.
BirdzLady – I did a study of Hijra in college a few years ago. The hijra are often feared as they are seen to have magical powers to curse. They traditionally give blessings at births and wedding, where they are paid. Sometimes they can be quite aggressive about being paid. Others are sex workers and entertainers, dances etc. The head Hijra will often castrate the new recruits, it’s VERY hierarchical. You mention they are “born-hermaphrodites, eunuchs (by choice or by force) and transgenders and transexual”, also they are just plain gay men. There are also numerous other examples of children being socialized as the opposite sex, several Pacific Island countries socialize a male child as female in there are too many boys in the family. It’s all about the socialization, they are “made” into girls – Fa’afafine. https://www.google.com/search?q=fa%27afafine&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
Thank you for your reply, Kismet! The fa’afafine are news to me, but it does not surprise me that many cultures have a concept of a “3rd gender,” each a little different from one another, like the ‘Muxes’ in southern Mexico. Looking at the link you provided shows me that, just like the notion of being man or woman changes a bit culture to culture, so will the notion of a 3rd gender. So an American 3rd gender will have to be distinctly American – or as my South Asian partner put it, “I’m not sure 3rd gender could work the same here. Could a parade of eunuchs dance into a maternity ward and have the American parents just give up their hermaphrodite child to be raised by them?”. No, of course not, and the suggestion was just humor, but I see the trans movement being established in American culture as we speak, & I hope it can occupy a social designation other than insisting on being fully male or female, which is bound to fail and create resentment from those they are suggesting to redefine (actual women). Sometimes introducing something under a completely new name will create more acceptance than completely changing the definition of an existing term, esp something so fundamental as ‘woman’. I believe some major authors have started advocating for a 3rd gender identity (Germany ‘sorta’ recognizes the 3rd gender) & I think it’s the sensible next step. (I don’t like the term ‘trans’ because it necessarily indicates that the ‘transition’ will be completed at some point, and then the person will now fully be a woman. Not true. Something entirely different and unique has been created, containing attributes of both).
Gender non conforming man suits me fine
I just wanted to rant (honestly, yell not just rant) about the horrible shit that some sick “authors” are doing. There are some books labeled as F/F but has a MTF in the lead character URGH! Came across this shit of a book (which I thankfully didn’t buy or read) written by a certain ‘Megan Derr’ who writes m/m erotica rubbish or some sort and has recently written a book called ‘The Broken Forest’. The summary goes like children and women are lost and killed and the village calls for a ‘huntress’ to save the day. This so called brave ‘huntress’ is a MTF. And the shitty author has the gall to write about a “relationship” between this MTF and another female character and has the gall to call it ’empowering women sapphic f/f theme’.
(try googling the review for this crap on goodreads for more brick wall punching worthy fury, because I was so furious as this horrific homophobic/lesbophobic garbage)
I just want to bazooka the shit out of all this vile, offensive as that do not respect women, our body and sexual orientation.
And it makes me even more sad that there are female authors out there who’d do something so cheap, offensive and utterly derogatory towards other women by writing such homophobic/lesbophobic garbage.
Not so long ago, opposition to sex role stereotyping was commonplace, at least in some circles. Now it has almost vanished – the surge of support for transgender rights has been exploited to eclipse the whole concept of sexual typecasting. Elinor Burkett’s article is one of the very rare public statements opposing sex role stereotyping. And as you say, she also notes the horrible silencing of people who remember different times.
Radfems seem to be the only force opposing this phenomenon. That is why I have come to this blog, as an old lefty hetero male. If this is not an appropriate forum for me to take part in, I’d be grateful for any helpful suggestions of where I might go to discuss these issues.
I reject gender identity ideology. Specifically, that hetereosexual men with a sexual fetish (autogynephiles) can have a feeling that they are a woman and gain entree to our sex-segregated spaces. These transwomen are just as violent as other men. They make death and rape threats to women online who question their totalitarian transcult.
Women do not have the Equal Rights Amendment. Women do not have constitutionally protected reproductive healthcare in all our communities.
How did 0.3% of the population – men with fetish and others with feelings – gain Exceptional Rights over women’s human rights?
As a survivor of multiple molestation and rapes by men in this lifetime I object to my rights to privacy and security being mocked.
People do not change sex.
Using surgery and chemicals to impersonate the opposite sex harms health and may not relieve the psychological issues of depression and history of child sex abuse most transgender report.
Transwomen are men. I resent men telling me what is a woman.