Trans Inclusion and Feminism

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Trans Inclusion and Feminism

Continued from here.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Infosaturated wrote:
 What we are all dancing around is the question: are people born with female body parts the same as people born with male body parts who think they should have been born with female body parts.  My answer is no, we are not the same.  Women only spaces were not created based on who gender identifies as a woman they were created for people born with female body parts.

....

Throughout history women have been discriminated against based on the body parts we were born with, not our gender-identity.  What we have in common is being born with female body parts.  Women are born with female body parts not created through cosmetic surgery and hormones.  Female body parts = female, male body parts = male.  Being born with both means being intersexed. It is the gender roles forced on us due to the body parts we are born with that are wrong. 

I'd like to continue this conversation, less about the issue that started it, the clinic in Vancouver, and more about the issue of trans identity and inclusion in women's spaces.

Stargazer

Many trans people prefer to be called the third gender. I think we should be listening to what they say, not what we impose upon them. They know they are not true females in the sense of being a born female. They know they are not men in the sense that they have or may have had a penis. So why not allow for a third gender option?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender

 

There is a lot more information is you use Google.

martin dufresne

If folks would prefer this discussion be limited to women, I'll support that and bow out.

Until then, two tropes I have difficulty accepting is "Trans are X. If you disagree, you're transphobic" (or whatever nasty bullying term one can come up with). With a group as diverse as transgendered folks (I alluded to the Feinberg definitiion of "all who have at some point not conformed to gender norms", this attempt at generalization ("Trans are X...") seems unrealistic. For instance, I am definitely transgender by that standard. Is it just a matter of uttering the word?

The second trope I disagree with is more tricky. It is the bridge between trans' sense of identity (whichever) and other communities alleged obligations to them. It seems to me there is a disconnect there, as if there could not be negotiations between groups, with both entitled, but merely subservience to whichever claims of identity, as equal to entitlement. If the latter, and if the main group doesn't bow to a minority opinion that would claim non-negotiable entitklement for trans, the space where to resolve the issue seems to be the courts, no? (So far, women who resist such claims by M-to-F trans have been vindicated by the tribunals.)

Just my .02 - and I am out of here if you prefer... or posting no more than once a day. These are issues I am really working on and I am much appreciative of the reference posted by Maysie: My Gender Workbook of which I've read all I could on-line.

 

Boze

Quote:
I'd like to continue this conversation, less about the issue that started it, the clinic in Vancouver, and more about the issue of trans identity and inclusion in women's spaces.

This might not be a conversation this board is capable of having.  This isn't even a conversation most people are capable of having.  If someone has a problem accepting trans people's identities - if anyone thinks cis women are entitled to cis women only space - they should KEEP IT TO THEMSELVES, at least on any board that pretends to be progressive.

 

Stargazer, you are absolutely correct, but most trans people do not identify as a third gender.

Maysie Maysie's picture

This is a very difficult issue for some cis-gendered people, myself included as I identified on the other thread. Trying to "get" a point of view that is nothing like anything a person has experienced is challenging, but not impossible to understand.

Boze, while I agree with you for the most part, I also feel that there can be some good to come from continuing the discussion. I'm off the boards for a few hours and will post more extensively when I return.

Stargazer

A person whose understanding of her/hir/his gender identification transcends society’s polarized gender system. OBGLTC believes that the dichotomized system of gender is limiting; therefore, OBGLTC encourages everyone to think outside and beyond this schema. THIRD GENDER Male-to-Third Gender (born in body of male, believe self to be another gender)* Female-to-Third Gender (born in body of female, believe self to be another gender)* * People who are third gender often prefer "transgender" to "third gender" * http://archive.uua.org/obgltc/resource/tg102.html From Transgender 102. I see that some prefer to be called third gender and others do not. Just a question - do you think men easily accept FTM people? I think, IMO, that men have a much much harder time in accepting trans people.

In fact, I do not believe they would ever allow a transgener to be part of their "men only" space. I would love to be proven wrong.

remind remind's picture

Well aren't you "just peachy" boze, after being banned from the feminist forum last year you come back pretending it never occured and feel you have a right to put your 2 cents in.

Fuck that, will not participate in a thread in the feminist forum as long as you are participating in it, it simply is not safe.

Boze

That makes me feel quite warm and fuzzy actually.  This thread is better without you in it.  If you think what I said is inappropriate then by all means, elaborate, or PM me if you have some specific problem with me, or else just take it to the mods.

Quote:
Just a question - do you think men easily accept FTM people? I think, IMO, that men have a much much harder time in accepting trans people.

In fact, I do not believe they would ever allow a transgener to be part of their "men only" space. I would love to be proven wrong.

Sweeping generalizations aside, you are probably right, and those men deserve to be called on it.

remind remind's picture

And my point stands, you have been banned from the feminist forum for over a year, for attacks upon feminists, yet you believe your privileged maleness allows you to do whatever the hell you want, irrespective of  said banning.

Kaspar Hauser

It might be worthwhile to consider the decision by the moderators on enmasse regarding the same topic on their forum. They asked all participants to abide by the following recommendations:

 

1. No defining trans people's realities for them.

2. Pay respect to and think about trans people's voices before you speak.

3. Take the time to educate yourself on a few very basic trans issues, particularly regarding social inequality, before you ask people to explain them.

4. Be respectful of all people who identify as women or men, regardless of birth gender, and ensure that all voices are heard in discussion.

5. Be able to disagree, but respectfully disagree, without putting down or insulting trans people in the forum.

 

remind remind's picture

!

Maysie Maysie's picture

I didn't know about Boze's ban from the feminist forum, but I would like to keep this thread as civil as possible, which means sticking with what people have said on the topic in this or the past linked thread. 

And Boze, if remind has said she's decided not to post here, please don't make comments like "This thread is better without you in it."

As for the ban, since Boze's voice has been respectful (except for that sentence I just quoted) I think it's fine to continue as we were.

Michael N, I saw those guidelines and think they're great. I'm happy to use them in this thread, giving full credit to the EnMassers who authored it. 

remind remind's picture

I want to register my complete disapproval of this!

Maysie Maysie's picture

As to the issue itself, I disagree with the biological arguments.

Women don't share a common experience "as women". What can be argued is we share a common experience due to sexism and misogyny. Cis-women who don't conform to rigid gender roles, which is probably most women on babble, are punished in smaller and larger ways (depending on the extent of the lack of conformity) by society, our families, our co-workers, etc.

The same goes for men, by the way.

I actually don't believe there are "common experiences" of sexism and misogyny except in very broad ways, since all of our identities as women are also grounded in our race locations, our class locations, our ability, sexual orientation, education, and other factors. The notion that "we are all women and suffer from sexism" is so wide to be effectively meaningless. And I say this to this audience, which has a clue about feminism, not a mainstream one.

Some women don't acknowledge that sexism exists, or that they've ever experienced sexism. Such women don't speak for me. Some women are "protected" from more severe forms of sexism through class privilege and other privileges.

"Women-only" space was created during a certain moment in North American history (not that it didn't happen elsewhere, I'm only familiar with the NA context). Women's centres, women's bookstores, women's shelters and other spaces were created by women, in defense against a hostile world that erased women's experiences.

Sadly, the world hasn't changed that much in the 30 or so years since the idea of separate women's spaces arose.

But, feminist ideas of oppression, intersectionality and multiple subject locations have changed. This is due to, I think, the few mini-revolutions within the feminist movement, mostly around inclusion issues. Lesbians and other queer-identified women fought to be included, and in fact fought to be counted as "real women". Poor women, women of colour, immigrant women, all have had struggles (some of them ongoing to the present) around inclusion. Many from all those groups gave up on fighting for inclusion and have created their own spaces. One could call this fractioning, but if there are service needs which aren't being provided, this takes precedence, imv, to some notion of standing together when that's not feasible or likely. 

An interesting point for me is that this discussion, as most discussions around trans issues, centers on transwomen. The bodies of transwomen are variously sexualized, exoticized and problematized and we here on babble have been no different. It's something worth thinking about which I'll continue to do.

Some random tales from my life and people I've known.

I worked in a women's space with a trans man, who I knew as a slightly butchy genderqueer non-gendered person with a female name. We worked together for a number of years, and he began taking hormones, eventually had breast surgery, and he changed a great deal. Physically. He was, and is, the same person, but this was his journey. He's a white man now, something that he really needed to come to terms with such as when he passes, how he's treated and what he responds to. He was queer-bashed about a year ago.

A few years ago I dated a transman for a few months. He was taking hormones but had not had surgery and wasn't planning to. He was a man of colour, and when I first met him identified as a butch lesbian. Transitioning and becoming a Black man had very different implications for him, compared with my co-worker.

I participated in the "Trans Inclusion 101" workshop that was offered to women's service organizations by the Trans programming at the 519 Community Centre. The program is no longer listed on their website, which is a shame. A transman and a transwoman did the training, and encouraged us to ask all our questions, that I would frame respectfully as dumb-ass, fairly non-informed and stunned. Including my questions. This was fine for the facilitators. It was 101 and it needed to get at all the basic issues, many of which have been touched on in the last thread, and every time we have a thread on this topic on babble. I learned tons. The biggest thing I learned is how little I know, and today, 4 years after that workshop I still have so much to learn.

Like most people, my struggles too have been with transwomen, and the idea that they had male privilege and didn't get what being a woman means, in all its sexist bullshit that we have to put up with everyday.

Tehanu in the EnMasse thread has listed some fabulous stories and links and resources which I strongly recommend people take a read.

Gender is fluid, for some people. Gender itself oppresses some people. This is separate from sexism and misogyny, which is oppression because of membership in an identified gender, not oppression because of lack of conformity to one of two narrowly defined genders.

For those of us who gender doesn't oppress, it's something we really need to think about, and open our minds to. I continue to struggle to do this, and use dumb-ass essentialist language all the time. It's not that we have to be "perfect" or anything, but we have to see where we've been, quite literally, brainwashed, about gender.

Final story. Gender matters. I do an exercise with myself sometimes, just walk down the street and look at people, and notice how much gender matters when I'm just looking at someone for 5 seconds. If I can't figure out the gender of the person immediately, I look some more, for cues, etc. It matters to me. It's completely fucked up that it matters to me, yet it does.

RosaL

Maysie wrote:

Gender is fluid, for some people. Gender itself oppresses some people. This is separate from sexism and misogyny, which is oppression because of membership in an identified gender, not oppression because of lack of conformity to one of two narrowly defined genders.

But surely oppression because of lack of conformity etc affects all of us. (Those who conform - and I am not one of them - are in some ways the most oppressed of all.) And are you calling this "gender itself"? I would call it "socially defined and enforced gender". It is this apparent conflation of "socially defined and enforced gender" with "gender itself" that disturbs me. 

Infosaturated

I did not get anyone banned anywhere.

I object to the "feminine essence narrative" as a definition of femaleness.  I'm no academic so I could be wrong but I do believe that the rejection of said narrative is pretty core to feminist thinking.  That is, no matter how positive the traits may be, women are not preprogrammed to behave in certain ways, like not be as good at math but be better in languages.  "Thinking like a female" is not biologically determined (IMO).  This is not a "non-progressive viewpoint".  The disagreement is being framed in such a way that if I disagree with the "feminine essence narrative" then I am imposing on trans people's right to self-identify.

I reject the premise that all trans-people agree with the feminine essence theory.  Apparently there are a few like Lynn Conway who have worked hard through lies and intimidation tactics to silence any trans-people who dare disagree with them.  How is that okay?

It is impossible to read this:

http://www.bioethics.northwestern.edu/faculty/work/dreger/controversy_tm...

and not acknowledge that trans people were bullied and frightened into silence.  I was disgusted at the treatment of trans people by other trans people. Lynn and her buddies appear to have trained at Bush's feet when it comes to tactics.  Surely all trans people have the right to be heard not just the ones that fall into the "feminine essence narrative" theory.

I reject the premise that:

if I disagree with the "feminine essence narrative"as proof of womanhood

- I am imposing on trans people's right to self-identify. 

- I am transphobic.

- I am non-progressive.

- I am mean and hurtful.

(IMO) Women and/or the courts cannot be forced to officially agree that having a "feminine essence" is an inherent identifiable component that defines what it is to be a woman or that it's the same as being born with female body parts.  

P.S.  To the list of rules, lets add "no defining women's realities for them".

 

 

 

 

Infosaturated

Maysie wrote:

As for the ban, since Boze's voice has been respectful (except for that sentence I just quoted) I think it's fine to continue as we were.

I don't agree that his voice has been respectful.  I don't think the following was at all respectful. I just decided not to engage.

How wonderful to see that after polluting a thread at another board, and getting a trans member to self-ban, Infosaturated has decided to come over here and make THIS board unsafe for trans people as well!  THAT'S JUST PEACHY!

The patriarchy sees and treats trans women as women.  Nobody cares if you do or not.  Nobody cares about your reservations or objections or prejudices.  KEEP THEM TO YOURSELF. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.  Repeat: cisgendered people DO NOT get to define transphobia and yes, you are exhibiting it.  "I'm not transphobic, but...." And now you are referencing J Michael Bailey??!?! Really???

 

Boze

Your posts are transphobic, and also mean and hurtful.  I am sure this is not intentional.  I am trying to be civil.  It's not easy.  Your posts have played a part in making at least one person feel silenced (enough to self-ban) at another community, it would be nice if the same didn't happen here.  You can have all the reservations you want, just keep them to yourself.  Just like a person can have all the reservations about whether a same-sex marriage is really a "marriage" or not, but nobody needs to hear about them here.  It's the same thing.  You don't own womanhood.  Trans women are not horning in on your identity.  And nobody said all trans people believed in any feminine essence theory.  Some trans people identify as a third gender.  Respect that.  Some trans women identify as women.  Respect that.  Please.

remind remind's picture

Infosaturated wrote:
  To the list of rules, lets add "no defining women's realities for them".

Exactly, I am not "cisgendered", I am a woman.

Boze

If you have a better way to describe people who are not trans when talking about trans issues, I'd like to hear it.  I'm sure you didn't mean to say that the opposite of trans is normal.

remind remind's picture

Infosaturated wrote:
I don't agree that his voice has been respectful.  I don't think the following was at all respectful. I just decided not to engage.

I agree on all points!

Maysie Maysie's picture

Michael Nenonen wrote:

1. No defining trans people's realities for them.

2. Pay respect to and think about trans people's voices before you speak.

3. Take the time to educate yourself on a few very basic trans issues, particularly regarding social inequality, before you ask people to explain them.

4. Be respectful of all people who identify as women or men, regardless of birth gender, and ensure that all voices are heard in discussion.

5. Be able to disagree, but respectfully disagree, without putting down or insulting trans people in the forum.

The groovy fabulous gorgeousness of these rules, is that we can substitute in "women", "POC", "Aboriginal people", "lower income/working class people", "people with disabilities" and the rules hold, and make sense. 

martin dufresne

The thing is that our realities are all interdependent and all informed by economic, social, and political realities. So no one can say, "This is my reality and you're not allowed to question it." I agree, though, about listening to people and about respect. But there's a moral imperative to question and debate, too.

 

Right. And any decision about common resources has to be based on acknowledging or negotiating common reality, leaving self-definition to selves.

 

RosaL

Maysie wrote:

The groovy fabulous gorgeousness of these rules, is that we can substitute in "women", "POC", "Aboriginal people", "lower income/working class people", "people with disabilities" and the rules hold, and make sense. 

 

I have one quibble: the stricture on "defining people's realities". Put that way, of course, the thing is objectionable. But almost all interesting debates concern "reality" and someone can always lay claim to it. (It's "my reality".) The thing is that our realities are all interdependent and all informed by economic, social, and political realities. So no one can say, "This is my reality and you're not allowed to question it." (A very liberal way of seeing things!) I agree, though, about listening to people and about respect. But there's a moral imperative to question and debate, too. 

 

addendum: I agree that when we discuss trans issues, trans people have a certain primacy. But what they have to say is still open to question and debate. I've posted some things on my own experience and people have listened to me very respectfully. That's good and I appreciate it. (I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!) But, nonetheless, what I have to say is not beyond question. And if I say something that has broad implications then I think it needs to be questioned. 

 

Infosaturated

Boze wrote:

If you have a better way to describe people who are not trans when talking about trans issues, I'd like to hear it.  I'm sure you didn't mean to say that the opposite of trans is normal.

Please quote where I said the opposite of trans is normal because I am pretty sure I haven't.

Ze

All the trans women I know, think of themselves as women, plain and simple. If you live 20 years as a man and then 30 as a woman, what are you? Have you experienced enough misogyny to be accepted as a "real women" by the gatekeepers? 

Trans men, well, they get ignored in all this. Does the category "women" include men born women? 

I'm reading along but won't be taking part in a feminist-forum discussion, other than this post. This isn't my space to mouth off in at length. I sure wish there was a dedicated trans-safe space though.

Infosaturated

Ze wrote:

 

All the trans women I know, think of themselves as women, plain and simple. If you live 20 years as a man and then 30 as a woman, what are you? Have you experienced enough misogyny to be accepted as a "real women" by the gatekeepers?

I totally respect their right to do so.  I don't think it has anything to do with defining whether or not they are "real" women.  Words shift in meaning all the time.  However, experiencing misogyny is not a prerequisite to being female.  There is only one prerequisite. Being born with female body parts.  Not being born with female body parts may well be a personal tragedy for trans women and far worse than the personal experiences of 99% of natal women.  I'd entertain the idea that intersexed people are worse off everyone else and the most likely to be murdered at birth. 

Ze wrote:
Trans men, well, they get ignored in all this. Does the category "women" include men born women?

It does to me especially if they still have female body parts.  However, if they themselves reject the designation I am not going to force it on them by labeling them as women and I would have to wonder why they would want to be in woman only spaces in general.  Where ever a dichotomy exists that forces trans gendered people to choose between two options than I support their choosing whichever they feel most comfortable with because we do live in a gendered society.

 

Ze wrote:
I'm reading along but won't be taking part in a feminist-forum discussion, this isn't my space to mouth off in at length. I sure wish there was a dedicated trans-safe space though.

As long as no one is trying to browbeat me I would be interested to try learn from whatever you have to say or to follow any links that you think would educate me or deepen my understanding. 

Infosaturated

I think I found the perfect explanation of the conflict between feminists and trans people.  It hinges on the nature of gender-identity.

 from "The Fallacy of the Myth of Gender" from http://www.gender.org.uk/conf/2000/elancane.htm

The totality of social adherence to the bi-polarised gender system has granted to the gender system the status of absolute; whereas the reality is that the gender system, as a social construct, can be dismantled as it was created.

The above is in accordance with feminist thinking.  Gender is not something we are born with, it is a social construct. 

I cannot agree with the argument that there are in existence a number of alternative unidentified genders, all just waiting in the wings to be discovered, because I do not accept that the identity has to be gendered, that is I do not accept that human beings have to be gendered as male, female or anything else in between or apart from. There are two accepted gendered roles which are appropriated according to the physicality and to state that one is neither male nor female but belonging of another gender (or more than one gender) is, I'm afraid, confusing the issue because the gendered status of the person is a socially accorded role and society has only appropriated validity to the gendered statuses of male and female.

I think the above is reflective of feminist thinking.  That is, gender is not inherent, it's not something we are born with.  It is a social construct.  It is one thing to welcome trans gendered people into womens spaces because they gender-identity as women, an entirely different thing to say that they are women because they gender-identify as such.  To agree with the latter is to agree that gender is not a social construct but something we are born with. 

The world health organization:

http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/index.html

"Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

“Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the great divide between trans people and feminists. 

Many trans activists are trying to redefine gender to be the equivalent of sex.  They are trying to claim that women's gender roles are inherent.  That is exactly what feminists have been fighting. 

http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/whatisfeminism.htm

Feminists, as a rule, assume that there are few if any inherent, unchangeable differences between men and women; only a lot of individual differences and variation. Patriarchalists claim the existence of many universal and immutable differences between men and women, seeking to understate, marginalize and suppress individual differences in an attempt to create two universal gender forms or essences that everybody must be squeezed into. In other words, Lamont's claim that most feminists are polylogists is wrong. Only a minority of feminists are polylogists; but virtually all patriarchalists are polylogists. They follow a schema of rationalizations starting with biological, immutable gender essences that are used to justify polylogist beliefs about men's and women's minds, and from there they move on to justify different treatment and expectations of girls and boys, women and men, pretending that gender roles are natural, inborn and immutable.

Trans women who claim that gender identity is inborn and core to being female are promoting what most feminists that I know think of as partriarchal thinking. 

Trying to force us to define ourselves as only one kind of woman, cis woman, is trying to force us to accept the theory that a woman can be born with "female gender identity" but without the physical sex characteristics. 

Trying to shame me into accepting that theory, or trying to guilt me into because I am "hurting their feelings" feels very much like patriarchal manipulation and coercion.  That is not something I expect to face in a feminist topic area of a progressive website. 

I am not "transphobic" for not agreeing with the premise that gender-identity is an inborn sex-dictated characteristic.  I believe that it is a social construct.

Kaspar Hauser

Here's a good article on transphobia in the women's movement:

http://www.queensu.ca/humanrights/tap/4womens.htm

 

 

And there's a nice piece on transphobia here: http://mypage.direct.ca/h/hrp/gendertr.html The site was created by trans activists, so I would hope that the definition it offers of transphobia would have as much moral weight as the definition of homophobia provided by gay activists.

 

 

"Transphobia takes countless forms. Transphobia may be expressed consciously or sub-consciously. Some examples include:

-the belief that a person is not a 'real woman' or a 'real man' if s/he is transgendered;
-the assumption that transgendered people are "sick" or incompetent or that they are psychologically unstable;
-the unwillingness to trust a transgendered person, because of that person's transgendered status;
-feelings of discomfort or disgust which prevent someone from dealing with a transgendered person as they would any other person - for example, a medical professional who is unwilling to locate resources relevant to their transgendered clients, and who, for lack of knowledge, are therefore unable to refer transgendered people to those much needed resources;
-when someone is unaware that s/he is dealing with a transgendered person, or doesn't bother to enquire when s/he suspects that the person with whom s/he is dealing is transgendered;
-when someone is aware of the transgendered status of the person with whom s/he is dealing, but continues to refer to the person in a way that is inconsistent with that person's presentation;
-when someone fails to rent an apartment, or to give a job or a promotion, or to provide a service to a transgendered person because of that person's transgendered status;
-when a transgendered person is excluded from activities, discussions or decisions because it is felt that that person doesn't 'fit in.'"

RosaL

What infosaturated is describing is not transphonia.So why not discuss the issues she raises?

But even if it were transphobia, it would be possible, surely, to argue against it. It would have no convincing rational or empirical basis. It would just be an emotional response. So, again, why can we not discuss the issues she raises? 

Kaspar Hauser

RosaL: I think that the first example given of transphobia in my previous post (the belief that a person is not a 'real woman' or a 'real man' if s/he is transgendered) fits the position espoused repeatedly by Infosaturated and remind on these boards.

Regarding menstruation: so a white American cis gendered woman in the top 0.001% wealth bracket has more in common with a black American cis gendered woman in the bottom 1%  wealth bracket than does a black trans woman in that wealth bracket because the former two have menstrual cycles while the third does not. I agree that the cis gendered women both know what it's like to menstruate, whereas the trans gendered woman does not, but so what? This strikes me as a rather arbitrary feature of their humanity to focus on...one that was chosen, perhaps, because it is the only distinguishing feature between cis gendered women and trans gendered women.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
"Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

“Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

Thank you for those definitions.

Within the framework of  genital assignment characteristics  and physiological differences,  resides the primary factor of menstruation, and how it impacts and forms the life of born girls/women. It is a shared fundamental experience between us all, that cannot be shared by those who are born male. It cannot be discounted, nor overlooked and trivialized as if it does not exist. Of all the differences there are between born woman, the experience of menstruation and ovulation are a significant shared commonality.

 

 

RosaL

Michael Nenonen wrote:

RosaL: I think that the first example given of transphobia in my previous post (the belief that a person is not a 'real woman' or a 'real man' if s/he is transgendered)
fits the position espoused repeatedly by Infosaturated and remind on these boards.

I don't seem to be communicating here. I guess I'll shut down the computer and go to bed. Frown 

martin dufresne

I see men browbeating women here with the "transphobia" insult, trying to force themselves in their space at Lu's Pharmacy and in this forum. I understand that they take their entitlement to do so in their claim that trans women are women and that woman-born women have no commonality that would allow them to resist men's and trans' pressure. That to me is enough to make me question that claim and to understand why we are not seeing the safe trans forum mentioned by Ze being set up.

I hope that Boze is out of here for good, because he sent an abusive personal message to one of us after being specifically asked not to ever contact her again.

 

remind remind's picture

Now that is funny, Michael,

ETA: If you are going to go down that trivializing route, what do you think Lynn Conway has in common with the marginalized and exploited women going to Lu's on the downtown eastside of Vancouver? Do ya think they are going to be wearing Prada or La Perla anytime soon? Hell, most can't even afford to buy their necessary monthly sanitary needs that you so arrogantly and wrongly dismiss as nothing.

Rosal you are communicating well.

martin dufresne

You have been reported.

Boze

I most certainly did not send an "abusive" message.  I said "Ok, whatever. Don't explain your hostility, derail threads instead."  And I left it at that.  Just because you respond to a polite PM with "please don't ever PM me again" doesn't entitle you to the last word.  Is that abuse?  If it is I apologize.  What do you have to do with it anyway?  Someone has a problem with me, okay, I'm willing to listen and talk it over.  We can do it via PM, or we can derail this thread if you like, but I'm trying not to do the latter.  The hostility of the member in question towards me is well-documented and I'd rather us resolve the issue, but if that's not possible, note that it wasn't me who started posting at her, but the other way around.  I'm happy to not waste my time ever talking to or about the member in question again.  I'm sorry if this comes off as hostile.  I'm trying to be civil, but what's happening here is that cis people are being called on their privilege and getting defensive about it.  Taking exception to "cis" terminology is an example of that.  If we can't use "cis," cis privilege is rendered invisible and trans people are othered.  Is this board a safe space for trans people or isn't it?

The "browbeating" thing:  Trans folk are being denigrated and excluded.  If they assert their rights they are accused of imposing their will on others and denying women the freedom to associate.  No, I do not think it is okay to have a women-only pharmacy that specificly excludes black women, or poor women, so why is it okay to have one that specifically excludes trans women?  "No dogs, no irish, no trans."  Also, "men" are not trying to force themselves into Lu's pharmacy.  Implying that trans women are men is transphobic.

Quote:
This is the great divide between trans people and feminists.

Many trans activists are trying to redefine gender to be the equivalent of sex. They are trying to claim that women's gender roles are inherent. That is exactly what feminists have been fighting.

If you say so. I don't see many trans activists trying to do this at all. That sex and gender are very separate is a core tenet of trans feminism.

Here is a good article:

[url=http://community.feministing.com/2009/04/transfeminismcisfeminism-why-c.... Why can't we be friends?[/url]

Infosaturated

Michael Nenonen wrote:
I think that the first example given of transphobia in my previous post (the belief that a person is not a 'real woman' or a 'real man' if s/he is transgendered) fits the position espoused repeatedly by Infosaturated and remind on these boards.

Yet to say someone is or isn't a "real" woman, one must define what a woman is to begin with.

From the website you quoted:

http://mypage.direct.ca/h/hrp/gendertr.html

The most important thing about gender is that its meaning is created by society: people are expected to behave and express themselves in certain ways that are consistent with the socially pre-determined gender role associated with their sex.

And yet as you noted the same site also states that transphobia includes - the belief that a person is not a "real woman" or a "real man" if s/he is transgendered;

Therefore this particular analysis is stating that:

 The definition of “woman” is a social construct consisting of a set group of behaviors which both transgendered people and female sex people can share.  Transgendered people are therefore just as much “real” women as female sex born people.

Feminists in general do not see “woman” as a social construct. The gender identity imposed on women is the social construct not women themselves. It’s not an inherent characteristic.  Reflecting the “woman” gender identity doesn’t make us women.  That is how the patriarchy defines us not ourselves.  I can think of little more insulting than being told that if I say I am a woman I am saying that I am my socially constructed and assigned gender identity.

If you say that a woman is someone who reflects the gender identity assigned to women, then yes, trans gendered women are “women”.

But in that case, places like the Michigan festival are not intended for “women”. It’s not for people who reflect the socially constructed gender identity of “women”.  If anything it exists to fight the socially constructed gender identity “woman”.   Being defined by this social construct is at the very root of feminism. The oppression of women is justified based on the idea that these behaviors are inherent and define us. 

It seems like without spelling it out, trans women want “woman” to mean anyone who thinks they are a woman but that makes the word completely meaningless. 

Going to read

Transfeminism/Cisfeminism: Why can't we be friends?

 

Boze

edit: nm

remind remind's picture

martin dufresne wrote:
I see men browbeating women here with the "transphobia" insult, trying to force themselves in their space at Lu's Pharmacy and in this forum. I understand that they take their entitlement to do so in their claim that trans women are women and that woman-born women have no commonality that would allow them to resist men's and trans' pressure.

Yes, it seems some want to; take away our consent to self identify,  re-label  and direct us according to their dictates, desires and perceptions, which is true patriarchial ideology and activity..this is where our differences also lie. As really, they do not want to listen to us, they want us to listen to them, inspite of some protests to the contrary across the net. And if we don't listen or bow before the pressure, we are viciously labelled, verbally attacked, hounded, lied about, and even taken to court, of course all in the name of solidarity.

 

 

remind remind's picture

Infosaturated wrote:
Feminists in general do not see “woman” as a social construct. The gender identity imposed on women is the social construct not women themselves. It’s not an inherent characteristic.  Reflecting the “woman” gender identity doesn’t make us women.  That is how the patriarchy defines us not ourselves.  I can think of little more insulting than being told that if I say I am a woman I am saying that I am my socially constructed and assigned gender identity.

Well put!

Tehanu

I don't want to create problems on babble when I'm almost completely over on enMasse. But I feel it's wrong to watch what's happening without speaking out.

Regardless of your personal feelings about trans people, and more specifically around trans women and feminism, can I ask if some you have even the slightest understanding of the amount of oppression trans people face? I am, frankly, shocked to see the lack of empathy that's being exhibited on two progressive boards.

For example:

[url=http://www.hrc.org/issues/1508.htm]How do transgender people suffer from discrimination?[/url]

Quote:
... one expert estimates that transgender individuals living in America today have a one in 12 chance of being murdered. In contrast, the average person has about a one in 18,000 chance of being murdered.

[url=http://www.outproud.org/article_suicide.html]Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Youth Suicide[/url] (comprehensive survey in the USA in 1993)

Quote:
Transsexuals may be at higher risk than homosexuals and much higher risk than the general population to suicidal behavior. Fifty-three percent of transsexuals surveyed had made suicide attempts.

I would expect progressive people to see this and be outraged.

But clearly some of you have little conception (and I have not got the personal experience, either, but at least I've bothered to educate myself a bit) of the incredible struggles that transsexual people face. Appallingly difficult struggles, in many if not most cases. Every story I have heard or read, no matter how positive the outcome, has been a major challenge. Even if family and friends and employers are completely on side, and that's a very big if, there's contending with the medical/psychological establishment, and there's contending with the rest of society. Society which judges and condemns. Fires without cause. Refuses health care coverage. Refuses housing. Denounces religiously. Takes children away. Causes people to live in constant fear. Beats. Rapes. Kills.

And excludes.

So of course many people who have transitioned live in stealth. And some people struggle painfully to keep their identity hidden or suppressed, because they will lose too much by transitioning.

I don't like hauling out the negative. Because I think trans people should be celebrated, not pitied. But it seems some basic reminders are needed.

Trans activists are speaking out, and fighting this oppression, and having the courage to identify themselves publicly, often at great personal risk.

What happens? They get attacked, including by progressive people, for being too loud and aggressive and pushy and demanding. Since when do we say activists fighting oppression are any of these things? We should be consumed with admiration for trans activists.

I am horrified that people are using feminism to further the exclusion of trans people. It feels that several people here are giving each other license to encourage each other to do so. Martin, I am a feminist and you do not speak for me, and this constant "as a man I'll step back," then interjecting yet again approach you've been taking is hardly pro-feminist. Remind, I have read a lot of your posts on babble, and you seem like a person who is normally very sensitive to issues of oppression, so I am surprised and disappointed. Infosaturated, you were engaged with a great deal of patience over on enMasse, but you kept escalating your attempts to define trans people's own experiences and identities in a negative way.

A number of people on both boards, including me, are interested in learning more, and discussing the issues respectfully, which is great and important. The three of you have clearly already made up your minds about this. I expect that trans people will survive without your approval, they've survived plenty of disapproval, and a discussion board probably isn't going to make much of a difference. But I am ashamed that cisgendered people (which is not an insult, by the way) on progressive boards are contributing to the alienation of trans people, rather than understanding our privilege, and enlisting ourselves as allies.

I have written extensively on enMasse about my feelings as a feminist about including trans women in woman-only space, so there's no point in repeating it. Other than to reiterate that I do not see how we have anything to lose, and I see that we have a great deal to gain, by including trans women in feminism and women's spaces.

Honestly, though, it seems the discussion needs to be made even more basic than discussing trans inclusion in feminism. As progressive people, we need to become aware of the oppression faced by trans people, get educated about trans issues, and get engaged in helping to fight trans people's oppression. And only after that should we consider ourselves even remotely entitled to quibble about semantics around trans identity.

Or, better yet, let's not quibble. For you and me it's semantics. For transsexuals, it's their lives.

And I'm ashamed that trans people are reading these threads and realizing that our two discussion boards are two more places where they may not be welcome. Hence the guidelines we posted on EM that Michael reposted here. Oh, yeah, those guidelines were almost exactly word for word those that were developed by woman members for the feminism forum. A bit ironic, eh? 

 

Infosaturated

Transfeminism/Cisfeminism: Why can't we be friends?

(by cisgender I mean people who identify with the gender identity they were assigned at birth).

It's not necessary for a natal woman to accept the gender identity assigned to women in order to be a woman.  One has nothing to do with the other. From a feminist perspective gender identities are false constructs that limit women not something that defines us.

However, a binary view of gender and lack of understanding of trans life experiences often leads to the exclusion of gender non-conformists from feminist analysis and to transphobic attitudes within feminist circles.

Just the opposite.  We reject the binary view of gender therefore "gender-identifying" as a woman has nothing to do with actually being one.  It's a false construct.

In patriarchal cultures the oppression of women through exclusion, marginalization, and violence is oppression of people who have failed to be men .

I don't agree.  It is not our failure to be men that resulted in our oppression anymore than blacks were oppressed for failing to be white.  It is the actions of men and of white people that oppress women and blacks among many other groups.

The idea of "ciswomen" and "transwomen" as categories of women reinforces the binary theory by adding more false binaries.

http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/index.html

"Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

“Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender

"cis" refers to the alignment of gender identity with physical gender.

I can't see any feminist agreeing that they are a cis woman.

http://community.feministing.com/2009/04/transfeminismcisfeminism-why-c....

And the trans community has a lot to offer feminists. We can bring an understanding of the gender binary that calls for the dismantling of a system generally viewed as natural, fundamental, and unquestionable, a system that is an essential tool of the patriarchy that feminism exists to oppose. But in order to do so we have to stop targeting each other, start listening to each other, and unite on the issues we share.

It doesn't seem like we are trying to dismantle the same system.  Feminists (IMO) see the gender-identity system as part of the partriarchal system and as a false dichotomy that oppresses women, something to be destroyed, not part of what defines or identifies us. 

 

remind remind's picture

Tehanu wrote:
Remind, I have read a lot of your posts on babble, and you seem like a person who is normally very sensitive to issues of oppression, so I am surprised and disappointed.

So nice of you to come over and share your disappoinment in me. :rolleyes:

Like I haven't heard that little guilt control trip before, in this patriarchial world, but admittedly it is usually from men and not feminists, nor even from other women who do not "self-identify" as feminists.

And frankly, I do not care, it is none of my business what you  think of me.

Seeing as how you are all into this cross board commentary, and with the imposition of en masse rules here,  I will say, having read all the posts at en masse,  that I completely agree with ALL Anne's commentary 100%. I know that a transgendered mtof has not experienced what I have experienced in life as a person born with a vagina, and all that goes with it. Just as I know that I have not experienced in life what it is like to be born and live with a penis and want a vagina. The reality is we are different and there is nothing wrong with that difference, nor with acknowleging it.

Being forced, or experiencing attempts to be forced, to ignore the very real and concrete differences is abuse and oppression. And it is my business, for my personal safety, as woman, to reject forced gender attributes, in part because I am physiologically different as a woman and thus my life experiences are different. And because I do not have to accept others view of what my self identifers, as a woman, are.

Our rights, as women,  to self determine, are based upon the acknowlegement that women, physiologically, are uniquely different than men. I know this to be true and care not if other persons refuse to acknowlege it,  but I do care when they want to suppress it and impose their gender descriptors upon me and interfere with my hard fought rights to self determine.

ETA: It is not semantics, for anyone, it is reality. It is just a different reality.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

As an anti-oppression educator I feel very strongly that talking, communicating and furthering dialogue is better than shutting discussions down.

Nobody has full and complete understandings, empathies for and levels of "getting it" for every type of oppression. My view, and my personal perspective, is that this is political work I personally agree to do, for the rest of my life, as part of my commitment to social justice and anti-oppression.

That's why I started this new thread when I closed the old one. 

Agreement is clearly not possible. And I don't even mean agreement on the issues, terminology, etc, but we can't even agree that oppression is going on, that oppression of trans people exists. 

I have no idea what the purpose of keeping this thread open would be, and am closing it. Why? Because as an anti-oppression educator and a moderator on babble, this discourse is beneath a progressive discussion board. 

Topic locked