Category Archives: trans community

Does Feminism Need a Rebrand?

Straight off the bat, fist in the air and hollering like a macaque, I am a feminist. Of course I am a feminist. Gender equality is something we should be ashamed that we haven’t reached. As a species we have put twelve men on the moon, observed distant galaxies, cured diseases that were once thought fatal, and created ABBA, yet equal pay, equal corporate and political representation, and even not hacking a girl’s lady bits to pieces in some parts of the world STILL prove elusive.

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

That is what people are conditioned to hear whenever issues of equality and prejudice are brought up. The words “I am a Feminist” to many people is just giving them permission to tune you out, talk over you or repeat some ‘witty banter’ about women not knowing their place.

Indeed it is seemingly acceptable to sneer and ridicule, as if holding said beliefs are an open and aggressive challenge to the sneering party. There are three groups of people who it is deemed totally okay to heap scorn upon with no ‘legitimate’ objections.

Feminists – Environmentalists – Vegans

Yup, even we much scorned and oft mocked Transfolk are starting to get ‘normal’ people fighting our corner (keep it up guys, you’re stars!).

Now, I could bang on about how those big three labels are consciously and constantly discredited by a patriarchal, fossil fuel loving, steak chomping cabal of wealthy (mostly) men, who use their assets to influence media and politicians, but all people are conditioned to hear is:

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Since when were universal human equality, environmental preservation or just not eating animal products considered to be bizarre, far out political extremism?

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Okay, okay I’ve lost a lot of the readership by this point, so I won’t labour it.

The actual core message of Feminism in particular, is one that even most naysayers would agree with, but the word has been toxified. A grotesque stereotype has been carefully crafted and bandied about as if it were cold, hard fact. When a negative portrayal of something is so crafted for so long, it begins to self-perpetuate and those who spun it can sit back in their gentleman’s clubs, joke about all the women they have groped and then run for President.

We live in a world of brands, slogans and logos. If something cannot be summed up by a simple image or a brief tagline, it fails.

Conditioned Public: “Why do we have this problem?”

Brand A: “There are numerous causes for our current situation, not least of all is…

Conditioned Public: “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Conditioned Public: “Why do we have this problem?”

Brand B: *Shrugs* Brown people.

Conditioned Public “YAAAAAY!”

Ye get me bro?

Now, Feminists can be massive pricks. Believing in women’s equality does not automatically prevent you from being rude, aggressive, divisive, cruel or elitist. In the Venn diagram of “Pricks and Feminists” there is a little bit of a crossover.

feminist pricks

Yes, there are several high profile Feminists that seem to get an awful lot of media time because they outright despise Trans people (so much for your genitals not dictating your destiny eh?). There are those who would rather fight against the women that don’t adhere to their own narrow views of what is, and is not acceptable for a Feminist to be.

But what of the rest of the Feminists who stand in solidarity with their Trans kin, who embrace a woman’s right to choose her own form of self-expression, set her own standards of beauty and fashion… those who argue that it is no less oppressive to ban an item of women’s clothing, than it is to enforce its wearing? Because that is most of us, isn’t it?

Of course that pesky old hyper-male governed media only give coverage the to the divisive and hypocritical…

BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Okay, so we can’t go in with the complex ideas off the bat. It also doesn’t help that the letters ‘F.E.M’ get a whole other heap of scorn all to themselves when placed in that order. They have been made to mean ‘weak’, ‘contradictory’, ‘stupid’, ‘less than’… The whole language of being female, or even feminine has been toxified. Men suffer as a result of this too. The pressure to be emotionally distant, repressed, stoic, insensitive and unaffectionate creates an ‘ideal’ that one would have to be a narcissistic sociopath to live up to… and yes guys, since you’ve always been told that everything is really about you when it isn’t, this actually is, at least in part. I am glad that so many guys nowadays actually get this and proudly label themselves as feminists, but the status quo as ever pushes back against challenges with increased vigour and severity. Let’s push forward together.

I am no marketing genius of course (I couldn’t sell shit to a Dung Beetle), and I never sought to offer a solution to the whole ‘rebranding’ option, but in a world where short answers trump correct ones, I feel it is inevitable that we must come up with some way of approaching our argument that cannot be toxified and filtered out of debate.

Or, in other words…

BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Oh, just a side note. I spent waaaaay too long looking for an easy to use Venn Diagram generator online that didn’t require some kind of coding or payment for use so I gave up and did it in MS-Paint like a techno-illiterate from the late eighties (which I am). I’m not sure the gag was worth it, except that I really REALLY can’t stand Germaine Greer.

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Filed under Activism, Body Image, equality, feminism, Gender, gender roles, Inequality, trans community, trans issues, Transender, Transsexual

Boing Boing Boing

Hey everybody. First off… yeah, I haven’t blogged properly in ages. Sorry about that. My usual Winter funk started early, triggered by western society’s increasing resemblance to pretty much every dystopian science fiction future in every dystopian science fiction movie ever. As a result, I have been just drifting around in some kind of semi-fugue state, fueled by very strong painkillers and an immersion in the ‘grim darkness’ of the Warhammer 40,000 universe because, fuck it, it’s a brighter future than ours looks right now.

This is of course all hyperbolic for comedic effect, but what I wouldn’t give for a few power armoured, 9-foot tall warrior monks wandering around, purging would-be dictators with guns as big as a car.

Now, this post is more of a ‘She’s Baaaaaack’ thing (although consistency remains to be seen), rather than a scathing, withering yet amusing analysis of anything in particular. In all honesty, who needs satire when global events efficiently take the piss out of themselves? MRAs, the Alt-Right, ‘Alternative Facts’, ‘Fake News’, Rapey reality TV stars being elected President of the US, Brexit (Or how do we enact this thing without dry-fucking ourselves in the arse), some twat called Milo speaking in support of Paedophilia (he’s fallen a long way since he was in ‘The Tweenies’) and the Political Left in the UK refusing to get behind an actual Left Wing leader. All the while, our government has been systematically shagging the disabled and selling off the silverware… business as usual then.

However, yesterday I saw (without actually intending to, may I hasten to add) a 42 year old Transwoman in Brazil, dragged screaming from her home, begging for her life before being beaten to death in an alleyway. I shan’t link to it, it isn’t hard to find. This is the fifth reported Trans Murder from Brazil alone this year.

Now it’s easy to say “Oh well, Brazil is a backwards, Third-World Country.” Well it isn’t. It adopted equal marriage before we did, and supports Trans people with its public healthcare system. Poverty, Prejudice and Police corruption are prevalent in a large amount of countries we see through our Western perspective as ‘Developed’. Indeed, most of South America is coming on by leaps and bounds in terms of equality and social enlightenment from where they were a few dark decades ago.

No, this isn’t about Brazil. It is about all of us. It’s about everyone just laughing at the bigotted whilst they terrorise, intimidate, harass, assault and abuse the people who aren’t them.

People sit and laugh at Trump, but hate crimes have massively increased in the US, whilst he has personally signed away the rights of millions of US citizens. “Oh it’ll be interesting to see what he does…” are words one only hears from a straight, white, cisgender man (of course, not ALL straight, white, cisgender men 😉 ).

The Brexit Vote… guess what? A significant rise in hate crimes in the UK. I don’t really care what side of the fence you are on there, but the result gave a massive boost of self-righteousness to those whose idea of a good time is punching queers or battering brown people. So yeah, I’m now more likely to be attacked in the street. GO TEAM!

This oppressive fog of negativity has left me in a situation where I have a hard time motivating myself to chew through the restraints every morning. It is hard to see the goodness in the world right now, even though it is right there in so many of you. One of the things about strong pain medication is that everything looks so bleak, and yet so distant that you feel powerless to change anything (except pants… always change your pants. I cannot stress the importance of this enough).

But hey, every now and then someone puts a motivational poster up on Facebook so that makes it all okay, doesn’t it?

Ah well, at least the sun is shining. The bells of St Stephens are tolling and the primary school down the road is full of children screaming like someone’s chasing them with a chainsaw. Best of all, that hooty bastard Tawny Owl appears to have fucked off for the spring again so he can go and lure some other miserable bitch to the Underworld. Oh, and people are actively punching Nazis now, which is apparently something nobody thought of in the 1930s.

I fancy some toast.

I think I’ll go make some toast.

Peace out, love ya lots, and don’t forget to punch a Nazi.

Tamz

xXx

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Filed under Human Rights, LGBT, lgbt abuses, LGBT issues, LGBT rights, Trans, Trans abuse, Trans Activism, trans community, trans issues, Transender, Transgender, Transsexual, Uncategorized

I am considerably more #Transgender than YAO!!!!!

Moving on from my previous article concerning the way society expects Transmen and Transwomen to adhere strongly to typical gender norms, I would also like to address elements of the Transgender community and the divisions between them that also seek to dictate someone’s qualification as ‘Trans’. Some attitudes amongst the community itself can be pretty toxic and only serve to undermine each other and our credibility to society at large.

With the recent coming-out of Caitlyn Jenner, suddenly the Internet is awash with people, both within and outside the Trans spectrum weighing in on this debate.

  1. If you are Transgender, you have to have an opposite identity to your birth sex.

Nonesense! Trans is a spectrum. People who don’t fit into the ‘either/or’ norm still count as Trans and should be awarded the same courtesies and respect to their gender expression, whatever that may be. If your gender is more of a pendulum (A Gendulum perhaps?) you should not have your validity as part of the Trans community challenged.

  1. If you don’t transition young, you are not really Trans.

Twaddle! Our society has been, and in many areas, still is hostile towards LGBT people. It is within my not-that-substantial lifetime that LGBT people, Paedophiles and Rapists were openly treated as pretty much the same thing. The done thing was to prove how ‘normal’ you were by doing ‘normal’ things such as getting married and having a family and a career… all things you could lose by coming out. There is a romantic notion that if you are truly Trans than nothing will stop you, but Trans parents are still parents, and any good parent puts the welfare of their children before their own. With recent liberalisation of society, it is now seen as less shameful and less damaging to children and other family, and so therefore many of the obstacles that stopped people transitioning younger in life are not so obstructive.

  1. If you transition young, you are not really Trans.

Poppycock! Many people in the community write off the very young being able to transition, despite the fact that many people in the community insist they knew their Gender Identity at a very young age. It appears there must be a period of suffering before one can meet this group’s high standards.

  1. If you didn’t know from the age of two, then you are not truly Trans.

Absurd! Some of us knew right from the get go, some of us were a little older. Some of us didn’t know until puberty started pulling our body away from our brains, and some don’t figure it out until even later. That is called human diversity.

  1. If you are sexually active pre-op then you are not truly Trans.

This one is pretty insidious as it seems to be part of the actual psychiatric assessment of Trans people when considered for surgery. The idea that one is capable of sexual arousal, stimulation or even using their own genitals in the traditional way, yet having a different gender identity seems to be an unfathomable concept. It seems you are only allowed to hate your original genitals. Making do, but looking for an upgrade seemingly isn’t an option. Sex is a big part of forming romantic relationships, and some of us are happy to use what we have for our partners if it will satisfy them. Get over it.

  1. If you are ‘Non-Op’, then you are not truly Trans.

You know what? Some people find living in their desired Gender role enough. Some find themselves satisfied with their bodies with only HRT or other cosmetic procedures and don’t feel the need for genital reconstruction. Be happy for them! If someone can reach a state of contentment within their bodies without the need for extensive, dangerous surgery, good on them.

  1. Passing privilege doesn’t exist.

Oh it bloomin’ does! If you can walk down the street without anyone knowing you are Transgender, then you get a far easier time of it than if you were walking down the same street looking very obviously Transgender. You may experience sexism of course, but that’s another kettle of fishies. Abuse of Trans people is still an everyday occurrence for many. Physical assault is a very real and common threat, yet there are those who are fortunate enough not to experience these things because they present in their gender role very effectively. If you are Trans and don’t get abused or attacked for it, that is a privileged position. You do an injustice to those who suffer daily abuse to deny that difference.

  1. If you are attracted only to people of the same gender identity as you, then you are not truly Trans.

There appears to be a small, yet vocal subset of the Trans community that is rather rife with internalised homophobia. Accusations of living as the opposite sex merely to fetishise them are bandied about and utterly harmful. Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are both quite complex, and ultimately unrelated. (We wouldn’t have Gay cis-people if they were, would we?).

  1. Trying too hard means you are not truly Trans.

You get up early every day to do your make-up, hair, tweeze your eyebrows, shave your legs, paint your nails… You wear holdups, lacy underwear and impractical heels even to go to the shop. You’re obviously doing this to play dress-up. That’s not how REAL women act, where are your sweats and hoodie?

  1. Not trying hard enough means you are not truly Trans.

Why are you in sweats and a hoodie? Flipflops without a pedicure? Have you even brushed you hair? Did you even shave your face today? Are you actually making an effort with your voice? God! You can’t be Trans, you’re not taking it seriously!

EDIT 11. (Can’t believe I missed this one) Having kids before you transition means you are not truly Trans.

Like seriously? Trans people aren’t supposed to want children? Are we seen as so selfish that the human desire to reproduce is supposed to be alien?

Seriously guys, gals, miscellaneous and variants thereof, this snobbery needs to end. Let’s not bicker amongst ourselves because we have our own narratives and ways of expression. Yes, there are those among us that make us look bad… they who sell their story to tabloids or ‘Take a Break’ who sensationalise transition so much that it makes us all look like proper nobs. There are those within the Trans community who side with the TERF arguments that Transgender people do not really count as what their Gender Identity decrees and so undermine our fight to be recognised as such. There are big issues that face us… we are under attack by religious fundamentalists, certain radical feminists, hyper-masculinity, a toxic media and flagging comedians who know turning us into one big joke will get a cheap laugh.

Let’s not get bogged down trying to set the narrowest parameters we can for our own identities. It is ultimately, and very quickly, self-defeating.

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Filed under Caitlyn Jenner, passing, Privilege, Trans, Trans abuse, trans community, trans issues, Transgender, Transsexual