So where might the root of "WBW" rage be originating?
On an aside, I am starting to wonder about the “WBW” reactionary radfem trolling prevalent recently on Reddit, on specific blogs, and on discussion forums. Pattern for pattern, their behaviour across the internet(s) is spot-on with the right-wing politicians and religious figures (all, incidentally, cis men) who were renown for their constant and public lambasting of homosexuality — only to be found with “rent boys” or busted for soliciting public sex inside a washroom.
After listening to Camille Paglia, ardentrabid critic of trans people, who in this link subconsciously let loose something she probably didn’t intend, and after years of reading through what the “WBW” reactionary radfem folks say over and over again to such greater and greater rage from a seemingly bottomless well, I’m left with one strange and speculative conclusion: those essentialist folks — who may not be cis after all — wanted to transition to manhood or another trans masculinity ages ago but couldn’t, then didn’t, and in the future might not be able to as their river of time runs dry.
Shy of this, reactionary radfems have spent decades erecting their own masculinized, hegemonic, and patriarchal-ordered hierarchies under the guise of “womon-born-womon” at top, to the specific exclusion of trans women (and later, trans men) at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) — whereby that which hits closest at their bitter hearts is placed underneath the sole of dirty shoes. Cis butchness, meanwhile, is celebrated. But trans people — and trans women in particular — are that constant, knife-jabbing reminder of what these radfems themselves didn’t do (or simply weren’t allowed to do) for themselves long ago. They seem to be more obsessed with the hated penis than even cis and trans men could ever be.
These reactionary radfems look to the unquestionably patriarchal, cruel system governing access to trans care in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. They remember Janice Raymond’s scathing screed in 1979 against the patriarchy of trans medicine of that era and fought vigilantly against it and every person whose experiences were affected or changed by that cruel system. It is mercifully fading to irrelevance and obsolescence in 2011.
Overall, we’re not seeing many new reactionary radfems being brought into the fold of elders nowadays. I suspect this might be because queer people coming of age today are finding that they are better able to assert much greater agency over their bodies versus forty years ago. This is happening despite an omnipresent, cisnormative hegemony in both heteronormative and homonormative spaces (such as MWMF) which would still prefer never to see, hear, or speak of trans people — especially on “Their Land” of the MWMF. A lot of these queer bodies coming into their own today are not cis, thanks to solidly better research, better access to endocrine regimens, and to the emergence of the informed consent model of providing health care for trans people.
To read the MichFest forum postings (a note of warning: these remarks could easily trigger many of you) is to hear a few of the same folks (under sockpuppets elsewhere on the internets) say the same things over and over again. It’s like a stuck CD. They persistently pat one other on the back for enforcing womon-only law and order whilst saying to one another a kind of self-reassuring, “‘atta womon” morale-boosting praise to co-dependently quench any lingering doubt raging in each of their ageing, regretful, and now probably scornful hearts. Meanwhile, other cis womyn are increasingly finding themselves in the disquieting position of being forced to pick and choose what family of womonhood is valid. They are being forced to pick and choose by these reactionary radfems who run Their Land.
If this speculation above is anywhere remotely close to what’s genuinely going on deep inside these reactionary radfems, then I feel quite sad for them. If it is, then I give them my wholly humble heart (which, I apologize, lives in a transsexual body) and my sympathy, but I drizzle both of these with a lot of pathos for all the trans people (real, flesh-and-blood people) they have needlessly hurt for so long in a pained attempt just to push their own regret and (arguably valid) resentment away from themselves and onto others who have signified that which was denied to them.
I really hope I am shown just how utterly wrong this speculation is. After everything I’ve come to know, though, my gut instinct is beginning to feel otherwise.
"One student in my research group harassed another student in our group; the harasser was rewarded for his behavior, and the [trans] victim suffered. I think that’s unfair.
"I said as much to the three faculty members in the group. The responses I got ranged from silence to hostility."
* * *
"Since [he] had told me that it wasn’t his job to ensure that his students didn’t sexually harass their colleagues (or to express disapproval when they did), I had to make it my job to protect myself from being sexually harassed if I returned to the department."
”—EMOTIONAL LABOR DAY in three parts: one ||| two ||| three