WARNING: VERY STRONG LANGUAGE AND POOR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR MAY FOLLOW
I have tried so hard to ignore this ridiculousness that has been plaguing the internet with regards to the Trans community these past months. This is down to several important things going on in my life that needed my attention far more than this bullshit that’s been flaring up. In most arguments, I can weigh up the pros and cons of every side and come to a common sense solution. What I have found, much to my absolute despair, is an argument that has degenerated into an almost theological debate. Both sides seem to be abandoning reason for Dogma and it is just so fucking stupid! The flashpoint appears to have a been a letter regarding the refusal of universities to allow anti-trans speakers to give presentations, due to pressure from the student bodies. This letter was signed by a number of people who carry a lot of weight in the academic and LGBT communities, leading to a sense of betrayal among many in the Trans community, and flaring up tensions between two sides in the social media war that continues to wage over it.
On the one side, we have those, mainly from the old-school feminist camp (although by no means a sizeable proportion of them) taking exception to the fact that Transwomen are recognised as women. Their weapons: Academic jargon and (according to Germaine Greer) stinky vaginas.
On the other side, we have militant Transwomen who try and deny certain biological factors exist within Transwomen. Their weapons: More academic Jargon and Tumblr.
Transmen are seemingly largely left out of the argument because we all know, acknowledging them is inconvenient for arguments on both sides.
The contest seems to be who can throw the most textbook quotes from Women’s Studies degrees at each other and it is making everyone look fucking ridiculous! At a time where the world is experiencing a backlash against the recent liberalisation in the west, the last thing we need are two groups who should be firm allies in the fight for equality, going to war with each other, essentially over the question over which of them is oppressing the other.
So here’s my two pence on the debate.
-Yes, Transwomen are born male. Of course we are. It may distress us beyond anything most people will every know to live with that fact, but it is true. It’s not like we’re xx chromosomed lifeforms that by some strange chance sprouted the wrong genitals in the womb. The disparity between one’s Gender Identity and the Gender role assigned at birth is not because of some freak mutation that turns a female body into a male one by accident. The issue is in the brain which develops to sense a disconnect between the body’s biological sex and the body the brain is expecting. Whether this is down to hormones or faulty neurological wiring or a combination of them both, the science isn’t clear, but we do not have to to bullshit the facts in order to try and seem more deserving of equal treatment and access to gender specific services.
-No, it is not acceptable to launch into scathing personal attacks upon people just because they disagree with you. Stand your ground, be firm, do not let them go unchallenged when they say hateful and abusive things, but for the love of cock stop acting like such utter fucking children when dealing with these people. I know it feels like a very personal attack on you for who you are, but be fucking better. Did Gandhi present himself as the epitomé of peacefulness and dignity in his resistance against the British Empire, or did he post angry notes everywhere about Winston Churchill’s mother? Did Rosa Parks lose her shit and start throwing stuff at white people? No she kept her dignity, and thus the dignity of those fighting for civil rights was enriched. There is a big difference between publicly criticising Mary Beard, for example, because she signed this letter, and sending her very personal, very hateful threats. Grow the fuck up! We’re not kids fighting for a later bedtime, we are adults trying to be taken seriously by a hostile establishment. Lives depend on this shit! Stop throwing away the legacy of those who came before and fought so hard to get us this far. I am ashamed to be associated with many of you over this.
-Yes, gender roles are ultimately bullshit, but to openly criticise those who switch gender roles and use the excuse that ‘Gender is a societal construct anyway’, is utterly negated by the fact that the target appears to be solely Transwomen, and not Cisgender (yes that IS a fucking word, deal with it) people who live in their assigned gender roles, thus enforcing the ‘societal construct’ far more than those of us who transcend it. In a world where adhering to a gender binary is absolutely essential to living a typical, safe(r) existence, to try and force those who identify as the opposite sex to how they were born to instead live as some kind of third gender that society isn’t designed to recognise is putting their lives, and the lives of those close to them, at severe risk. It is enormously hypocritical to deny the validity of our society’s engineered gender roles, and yet insist on imposing them upon people you don’t like!
-Yes, Male privilege is a thing. Any first year women’s studies major will explain it at great length, but you know what else is a thing? Cis-privilege! That Male privilege that we are so rubbing in your faces, evaporates faster than ethanol in the sahara as soon as we start to transition. If people don’t read us as Trans, then we face the same stigmas and burdens that all women face from the rest of society. If we are read as Trans, it’s hard sometimes to even get people to look upon us as a human being. I’m sorry, Trans-critical feminists of the world, I am well aware that women have been treated like shit for most of recorded history by their male oppressors, we experience that same prejudice as you do on a good day. On a bad one, we face something akin to a cornered mouse facing down a hyperactive cat. I know you once had the monopoly on claiming persecution, but I don’t want to burst any bubbles here… fuck, who am I kidding… YOU AREN’T THE ONLY PEOPLE BEING OPPRESSED! We are stronger together than apart. Lose the chip on your shoulder about Y-chromosomes.
-Yes, freedom of speech is important. Perhaps it is not right to ‘no-platform’ someone who wishes to visit your university and state that Transwomen do not deserve equal rights, and do not deserve what few rights we have managed to attain. But then those who protest that women should not be treated equal to men, along with white supremacists and holocaust deniers, are also ‘no-platformed’ by universities at the request of the student body to much less protest. To stand up and debate the rights of certain people to be treated and recognised equally should be seen as no different if it is based on physical sex, gender identity, sexuality, race, religion, cultural background. Don’t bitch and moan about one group getting to veto someone hostile to them, and not another. By all means stand up for free speech, but the love of pretend Jesus, be consistent and stand up for the Misogynists, the Anti-Semites, the Gay haters too… and also, isn’t it actually impossible to ‘No-Platform’ someone in this age of social media and online shenanigans? We live in an age where there is an outlet for every voice? Not letting someone speak in one place means they just pop up in another. It’s like a right-wing version of whack-a-mole for fuckssake!
-No, we are not oppressing anybody. You seem, as a group, incapable of separating the Y chromosome from a history laid down by billions of men who are mostly not alive today. Just because I have a Y chromosome, it doesn’t mean I am oppressing you. Because I use women’s toilet facilities and changing rooms, it does not mean that I am trying to strip away your rights, objectify you, sexually assault you or undermine your own identity as a woman. Having a piss or trying on an outfit isn’t a political statement, so stop trying to make it into one.
-No, I will not use male facilities for many reasons, gender identity not-withstanding. I also believe it is insulting to insist we use disabled facilities… an insult both to Transpeople and to the disabled, as able bodied Transpeople don’t require special facilities, just ones that aren’t full of genital obsessed small-minded old shitsacks. But let me break this down very simply so there is no misunderstanding. Throughout history, certain types of people have been banned from certain facilities and services because they have be viewed as less than people, or undesirable. Those things changed because those people refused to stand back and let themselves be denied equal treatment. So like it or not, I do not care, I will use the facilities that I feel most appropriate for me, and I shall use them for the purpose they are intended, and the law stands on my side because the government is advised on this matter by people who are far more knowledgable about Trans issues than you are.
Here is the problem. This old school wave of feminism began by fighting a patriarchal establishment. Now, decades later, those early feminists are part of the establishment. Women’s rights may still not be equal to men’s, but when your movement is a popular subject of university courses and you find it lauded in mainstream education and media then you can no longer consider yourself an outsider. It seems that some of the old guard want to keep the fight going and Transpeople are a very easy target, but you have to be on some seriously fucking trippy HRT to think that we are somehow looming over you from our position of great privilege with our genitals out, pissing on your human rights.
I don’t know a single Transwoman who would not wish to stand beside you and fly the flag for equality, diversity and tolerance. Instead you decide to fashion us into some enemy so you can cry ‘male oppression’ once more. You spend more time obsessing over our genitals than we do, and treat them like they are yours to judge and categorise. You feel that our value and our worth is not down to us, but to you. You feel that how we can and cannot express ourselves, where are and are not allowed to go, and what we may or may not call ourselves is not our right to decide, but yours. This small group of radical feminists seem unable to spot the irony that they are treating Transwomen in the ways that they criticise men for having having treated women in the past.
There is no way to combat so entrenched a hatred and prejudice within someone, only to limit its noxious effect by challenging it to prevent it spreading, and to use the laws that are on our side to prosecute hateful behaviour when we encounter it.
I am a feminist. I count many feminists among my friends. I will not tar them all with the same brush as a few who would do me harm just for not fitting into their parochial view of the world, I will not personally abuse or attack them. I will maintain the dignity of the cause of equality for everyone as much as I can. I hope that people don’t use that same brush to tar all Trans activists due to the behaviour of a very vocal band of gobby little Twatbags on the internet.
Right, that’s my piece said and both sides of the argument well and truly alienated. Now I’m going to fuck off and do something useful.