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Note: this is a violent document. Gird yourself. Then be ready to feel some anger at its author, Janice Raymond. She now has a putative body count on her hands. [h/t @reinagossett, membership director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project]
In the early eighties, there was a report, written for the US Government, called Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery. This report argued that transition-related treatments were medically unnecessary. As a result, consideration of federal and state…
“…Janice Raymond cited Rich in the acknowledgments section of her 1979 book The Transsexual Empire, writing “Adrienne Rich has been a very special friend and critic. She has read the manuscript through all its stages and provided resources,…
I’m stunned by the otherwise trans supportive queer folks who are buying into the anti-trans arguments around the cotton ceiling. This is coming from a woman who wrote a letter to the UN asking that gender identity non-discrimination not be instated. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that she…
“This spectre of rape that cis lesbian “radfems” habitually raise, centered around the supposed inherent threat of the phallus, minimizes the appalling rates of physical and sexual violence committed against trans women, particularly trans women of color and sex workers. It also twists the picture of systemic violence to make it look like trans women are a huge, systemic threat to cis lesbians when in fact trans women as a group face incredible systemic barriers in almost every aspect of life.”—Queer Feminism (via transfeminism)
im a trans CAFAB gender fluid guy and i read your additions to the things to not do to trans* people list and was wondering about this one "DO NOT view or pay for pornography of trans* people (primarily trans* women) or exploit prostituted trans* people." I'm really new to the trans* community and trans* politics do you know of where i could learn more about this? i post a lot of porn, esp of trans* folks but i would like to stop if it is hurtful to trans* people. thanks
As this is a reblog, I can’t speak as the author of that directive (I think radtransfem might have added those).
Upon re-reading it, now that you’ve brought it to my attention, I read it with the specific lens of heteronormative trans porn — that is, the porn which is made principally for cis (but possibly trans, too) men who specifically seek out trans women in their porn — namely trans women who have not completed a genital surgery. This covers lot of the porn out there with trans people, but there are other kinds, including dyke porn featuring trans women — namely porn made by and for dykes, not “lesbian” porn made for men. Drew Deveaux comes to mind here.
There is also porn featuring trans men, too, and questions of agency there may have yet another nuance.
I think the best thing to do with respect to this is to get more involved with the conversation continuing right now in places like Tumblr and Twitter. I can’t really think of any places you might want to seek out first, since porn is mostly outside/beyond my oeuvre of experience or knowledge. You might be interested to follow @drewdeveaux and ask her some of these same questions with respect to radtransfem’s directive. She’d be much better to respond on this than I would.
For now, if you think what you’re posting puts a trans woman’s genitals on showcase, then you, as a CAFAB guy, might want to consider the implications which speak to how all sex work is survival sex work — some more voluntary than others.
I haven’t ever seen any kind of Guide For Cis People the way I’ve seen Notes For White People or Anti-Sexism For Men. I saw and liked stfuconfederates’s list regarding racism, so this is an attempt at a first draft for my fellow cis people. Comments and criticism definitely welcome, especially from trans* folks.
First: our whole fucking culture is alienating.
There are ways that I reinforce that which I can’t see ways to stop or avoid. By being cis in a cissupremacist culture we’re part of a massive system that delegitimises trans identities relentlessly until occasionally it looks up and points and laughs - pantomime dames, anyone? - and we can’t undo that by just no being transphobic. We have bodies it permits; our fucked up patriarchal culture might well spend hours policing them if we’re fat or women or not obviously straight, but for almost all of us, it doesn’t pretend we don’t exist except as fetish objects. If I question someone’s cissexist joke or correct someone who misgenders an acquaintance, I’m still not an ally. I’m just maybe waving back from where I’m walking along in step with a cisnormative culture where I can buy clothes and talk to strangers who’ll get my pronouns right and take time off dancing to chat with friends in the bathrooms.
That’s what we can’t fix. These might be easier:
1. Our alternative cultures could be less fucking alienating.
I don’t know any exclusively trans* spaces in real life. I know loads of queer and feminist and otherwise very carefully inclusive spaces, and many of those exclude trans* people. One of the ways we can help out is by asking those about that.
2. We can find ways not to fling gendered language at strangers
If you’ve managed to spend a day shopping or traveling or sorting out admin without being called sir or ma’am, I’m impressed. We can avoid gendering strangers, though! I use they as a default when people mention names I don’t know, unless a pronoun’s been mentioned. I say “hello, can I help you?” at work instead of “can I help you, ma’am?” or “sir”.
3. We can find ways not to fling gendered language at friends.
There are loads of other less overt ways language genders people who aren’t strangers, though: there’s loads of casual cissexism in idioms, in everyday phrases - sometimes I call people who aren’t dudes dude, and I’d try and remember that transfolk might mind that more than cis women. If we want to not be cissexist assholes, we should not just ask for pronoun preferences but do that and use that as a starting point and keep checking which kinds of words suit friends’ identities: do they prefer fem over femme as a label? do they see words like ‘guys’ or ‘[noun]master’ as dissonant applied to them?
4. We can respect trans* experiences.
Maybe some cis people are sometimes misgendered, but I haven’t been since I was a four-year-old tomboy with very short hair. I don’t know what that’s like. I don’t experience gender dysphoria. It’s a pretty normal conversation tactic when someone mentions something they’ve experienced to try and think of parallels from your own life, but a trans* person talks about discomfort they experience with their clothes or appearance or anysuch part of their gender presentation I’m being oppressive by going “oh yeah I get that too”. I don’t. I might have had similar individual interactions, but if so I’ve had them from a different perspective; I don’t need to offer a parallel to show I understand them, and actually don’t that is refusing to acknowledge that for them these things are part of an identity that doesn’t belong to me.
Thank you for starting this list. :)
Some things to add to it:
DO NOT use trans* bodies, lives and experiences to turn a profit, make your reputation or prove your theory. We are not your cash cow, research topic or feminist battleground.
DO NOT view or pay for pornography of trans* people (primarily trans* women) or exploit prostituted trans* people.
DO NOT consider yourself a better, more beautiful, purer, more legitimate person for being cis. You are not; we are all flesh.
DO NOT consider a sexual partner or prospective sexual partner more desirable or a more positive reflection on you for their being cis. By the way, they may not be cis anyway.
DO NOT attempt to structure trans* experience or theory. You are ignorant about us, and the consequences of that do not fall on you.
This is what our (trans)-revolution sounds like. We are done being hurt. We are ready to fend for ourselves and we are ready to begin to heal — whether we have the shoulders of cis people or trans men. Or not.
These are powerful words below. Print them and post them where you can read them every day. You’ll need the strength it gives.
We spear-headed the queer rights movement at Stonewall. And when you stole that from us and turned it into some white-washed, cis-washed, thing that the gay cis white men apparently did. Yet we didn’t complain.
We fought tooth and nail with cis women for a united cause….
From a question raised by @AustistLiam about cis people’s invasive probing of trans bodies in cis news media. A six-part Twitter response — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 — with a link to this cogent, must-read piece by Kinsey Hope follows.
Not one of you, even the people I am following (minus the trans folk, obviously) have avoided messing up on this. It is subtle, it is small and every time you do it you hammer the nails into our feet a little deeper.
Every time you equate penis with sexism, erasing those women…
I’m not questioning the writing of the piece, or directing it at trans women specifically. I’m questioning addressing trans people over and over by referring to their assigned gender.
Quite frankly because I’m trans, and I’m allowed to?
And, uhm, trans people are assigned a morphological sex at birth. Then it’s the institutional cisnormativity which takes that morphological sex and places us into a regimen of prescriptive socialization for what we call “gender”. tl;dr: there is no assigned gender, only assigned (morphological) sex and social placement based on that (coercive) assignment.
Do you really need to emphasize the coercively assigned gender this much in a piece? It seems like at least half of them could be dropped in favor of just “women.” It’s clear that you’re addressing trans women, why keep bringing up their birthday?
Because our bodies — the way cis people coercively assigned them a sex for us at birth and enforced them to adhere to a cisnormative order (of the gendered language for which that sex was supposed to comply) — are the wedge used to exclude us. Because there are trans women out there who may be doubting that today honours them, too.
A love letter to CAMAB women on this International Women's Day.
A love letter to all CAMAB women who were coerced into reading trans misogyny or simply doubted themselves when they woke up this morning:
Today is International Women’s Day 2012, and this is our day as CAMAB women as it is a day for all CAFAB women, too. We join and are joined together to face down oppression against our very many and varied existences.
As women, we know the same social, institutional, and legal harm. We know that men, misogyny, and kyriarchy place us where they want to, and sometimes that means violence against our community, our bodies, our hearts, our minds, and our spirits.
CAMAB women, you are powerful from within.
CAMAB women, you signify the vanguard in agency over one’s own body. What you affirm when you manage its morphology on your own terms works toward making all women have the same affirmation over their bodies without fear of it being pontificated, policed, or penalized by others — that the means to speak for what works best for your survival as a woman is not to be criminalized, sanctioned, or judged under any circumstance.
CAMAB women, you are fighting for equity in its most plain meaning because no one is going to give it to you (and certainly not at a love-disguised, trans execratory rally hidden up in the Midwest American woods).
CAMAB women, you are speaking to the autonomy over self, over being, and over personhood for all as a beautiful paean to social justice. Your resistance to control by others over you shines a beacon that not only are all people valid, but that all women are valid — that while feminism is the crazy notion that women are people, trans feminism is the crazy notion that women come in different containers.
CAMAB women, your tireless work of surviving, stabilizing, and trying to heal the hurt helps to improve the safety of all women — that those who will try to hurt us as women will begin to leave us be and respect the space we carve for ourselves as some women may indeed know skills, drilled into them under repression, which can defend every woman (and will make every man think twice before hurting another woman ever again).
CAMAB women, you are the kind face of dignity — before the face of misogyny generally and, because that isn’t enough, trans misogyny specifically (even sometimes from other CAFAB and CAMAB women). Because the root of all misogyny is a revulsion of the feminine on a body and in how one articulates that in this social world — both the masculine femininities as well as the feminine femininities (and all others throughout) on both the CAFAB bodies as well as the CAMAB ones, too.
CAMAB women, we are few and we have long been held away from one another by misogynist gatekeeping men and trans misogynist women alike. CAMAB women, we are few but we are surviving. CAMAB women, we may sometimes be shy but we are reaching out. CAMAB women, we may be abused, but we now strive to heal. CAMAB women, we are forcibly made to be alone, but we have the courage to begin to stand together. CAMAB women, we bring each other strength when we listen to and honour one another’s narratives. CAMAB women, we build respect for ourselves and for one another when we mobilize together.
CAMAB women, this trans revolution will not be streamed. CAMAB women, we are no less valid than anyone else. CAMAB women, we are trans enough and we are women enough.
This International Women’s Day, CAMAB women, is for you, because you are an unqualified woman, full-stop. No one will ever — ever — be able to rob that from you, try whatever abuses (even the sweet-laced ones in a purple drank) they may force onto you without your consent. The days of those abuses must now end. NOW. As women, let’s help make that happen.
Like, even from people that are fucking awesome about everything else.
It never seems to cross peoples minds to be inclusive towards trans women.
It never seems to cross peoples minds to acknowledge trans women.
It never seems to cross peoples minds that without inclusive and acknowledging…
So much of this. So many trans women out there are survivors of a world that doesn’t want them and that actively harm them. Even in the feminist movement and queer movements which should be our allies are we pushed to the margins or actively attacked.
And she lives in Toronto, Canada? Isn’t that, like, one of the most accepting cities on the continent for not only queer people, but also for immigrant communities, visible minorities, and the like? She might find more solace in, say, Amarillo, Texas.
Kidist Paulos Asrat watches Jeopardy, not knowing she’s about to be assaulted by homosexuality:
One of the contestants last night said something with “my husband” in his commentary. This contestant happens to be a man. It threw us all for a loop. Trebeck didn’t (couldn’t) react, since there is no time to ask detailed questions, and to do so would be “homophobic” in our brave new modern world. The TV crew couldn’t bleep it out since, like Trebek, they have to be as PC as possible. The audience, like me, was given unsolicited information about a controversial social arrangement during a normally pleasant evening show.
Because “my BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP” in the middle of a Jeopardy contestant’s introduction wouldn’t be disruptive or startling at all. That is not the kind of thing the seven-second delay is meant for, so it would give the impression that he had said something far worse than the mere fact that he’s married. It would leave everyone wondering what he said that was so terrible, it had to be bleeped out during Jeopardy of all things.
He’s just married, you ignorant wretch. So what if that’s a “controversial social arrangement” to you? Some people would say the same about single mothers and divorce. The rest of the world isn’t obliged to accommodate your prejudice. That’s your problem, and we don’t have to give your opinions any consideration when we simply go about our married, loving, normal lives.
“We need to set up an army. We’re going to have to fight them sooner or later. Better get used to that idea.”
Not to mention the hazards of interracial relationships:
For example, a large majority of Asian women are marrying white men and their children invariably end up associating more with their Asian background rather than their European one.
I said as much to another waitress at Fran’s. A group of white men and their Asian girlfriends were at the table next to me. I said to my white waitress: “Doesn’t it bother you when you see so many white men with Asian women? They are taking away your chances of having a husband and children.” The poor girl looked bewildered, but didn’t disagree with me.
Instead of writing my paper, I read this and got colicky with a trans person who is just “being honest (no hate!)” — the new no homo? — about how trans people who “live stealth” are being dishonest with cis people.