On Radical Feminism and Transphobia Round Two

by Timms

Round Two!

Gladfem’s Reply – 

first i want to say, i do appreciate you sharing your views with me, although i do not agree with them. so i’ll respond to your article by taking a few points that i find to be, incorrect. But first I want to make a very important distinction.

Mainly, I want to say, that on tumblr gender is treated as a crazy wide spectrum that everyone must identify with on some level, and then choose a label from, such as “genderqueer” “agender” “cisgender” “transgender” and about a bazillion other variations, each with their own special set of pronouns, that you must ask every person for and memorize, lest you be called queerphobic/transphobic.

TUMBLR genderqueer theorists are absolutely bonkers and I would never treat someone in real life like I treat people on here, likewise, I highly doubt any of my transgender friends would walk up to me and say “I am a better woman than you, because trans* women are superior and more beautiful and try harder to be women.” And if they did, well then, yeah I would make fun of them for being absolutely idiotic. You know that I am blunt and say how I feel even if it isn’t the best choice.

Anyway, tumblr genderqueer people also seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of gender and sex, and VERY often assert to be female when really they are a transwoman, which is impossible. You can change your gender but never your sex (imo) but they also see gender as a spectrum instead of what it truly is, a hierarchy. Femininity is made of things that force you to be subordinate while masculinity is about power.

Hating trans people is not radical. Calling it trans-critical is not a defense of what radical feminists are doing, which is denying both that trans people exist and that they face a unique form of oppression due to their existence outside of established gender behavior.

i do not hate transpeople, and neither do most radical feminists i know. hating transpeople is not a requirement of being a radical feminist, although some do vehemently hate them, i feel that it is for good reasons. MtF transgenders specifically, constantly try to force themselves into female safe spaces, to the detriment of them women inside (often rape victims). Here is an article about transgender activists who sneak into michfest.

If you want to just skim it (the tone of the article is very argumentative) here are some key reasons trans* women are not welcome.

a trans woman’s detailed narrative about masturbating with her penis and cock ring is read aloud in a sex-for-one workshop for pre-orgasmic womyn, triggering the sexual trauma of one woman severely and upsetting and triggering several others.

a trans woman with a penis is seen nude at the shower by a woman born female and her four-year-old granddaughter

penis is seen at the WOC Burlesque show

a WHITE trans woman wears a “Trans Women Belong Here” t-shirt to the WOC Burlesque show, offending womyn of color with the proclamation thatshe belongs in WOC space

a trans woman, seemingly high, wanders into the Teen Tent, causing a pre-teen to be asked by the other teens there to leave for her own safety due to her pro-Fest boundary t-shirt

many female butches’sex and gender are questioned in the ONE place they used to be able to count on that NOT happening.

the stories of violation, trauma, and triggers on the Land as told by women born female are discounted and disbelieved

a wbw was harassed late at night by several trans women who followed her on the path and said things like “how does it feel to be the last one out late at night?” as the shone flashlights in her eyes.

As you can see, this is VERY inappropriate behavior especially by those who are considered activists campaigning for the ‘rights’ of transwomen to, apparently, harass and flash their ladydicks at children and rape victims, and question the validity of butch lesbian’s gender/sex because they do not perform femininity.

This is absolutely telling of MtF’s upbringing as privileged males who have been taught that they should be entitled to anything they want, and to take it by force.

There are countless other examples of transgender activists pulling these same stunts at other events for women born female, who face unique oppression as well. Including rallying to protest a memorial for the sexually-charged massacre of female engineers.

I do not deny that transgender people face unique oppression that i do not. HOWEVER this oppression is on the same axis (gender) that subordinates women so to say that we are privileged over them is laughable. Transgender people face male violence and exclusion from male power structures, because they are perceived as women. Either men trying to be women, or women who aren’t performing the roles of femininity as they should. Women cannot oppress transgender people as we do not hold the power to.

This is something very often argued about on tumblr, because tumblr genderqueers constantly fabricate statistics to ‘prove’ that they are the most oppressed, as if oppression was a contest. Just go through any libfem’s profile to see that they frequently list their types oppression on the sidebar (look up demisexual). When I was a libfem, I would often see a factually incorrect lists of the privileges ‘cis’-women have over transwomen.

And let me tell you, in my four to five years on this website, I have NEVER seen men attacked with as much vitriol and violence as the radical feminists on this site. You do not see these so called “activists” making lists of pedophiles, nazis, or racists, or even transphobic men. It is ALWAYS women, who seek to have woman-born-female only spaces, who are attacked.

This is why radical feminists here so frequently resort to violent rhetoric when dealing with tumblr genderqueers. Women born female face different challenges and deserve our own spaces. This is why we ‘exclude’ transgender people. Also, they exist? I’m not sure what you mean by that, unless you mean to say that we do not constantly validate their fabricated reality and rejection of simple biology. (sexual dimorphism)

Gender dysphoria is recognized by both psychologists and physicians as being impacted by genetics, brain composition and prenatal hormone exposure as well as societal and psychological factors.

Here is another tidbit about tumblr; they reject the notion that transgenderism is a mental illness, and villify those who do not. They are referred to as “truscum”.

I really want you to check out this blog, written by a friend of mine who is a detransitioned FtM. She gives us a perspective that is all too frequently swept under the rug.

Choice posts: (x)(x)(x)

She also has a series on helping a friend detransition, which gives us a good description of how she felt during her detransition.

Now as we agree that this is a medical condition, we should really think about how this condition is treated. Transgender people are often told that the only way they can ‘qualify’ for treatment is by hyperperforming the gender roles that are assigned to their opposite sex. Once they qualify, they are given dangerous hormones and subjected to irreversible surgery. There are usually no other options given. You either mutilate your body, or you stay with your assigned gender roles. To compare it to another type of body dysmorphia, you wouldn’t treat an anorexic with lyposuction. You wouldn’t encourage a small-chested, gender nonconforming woman to get breast implants or else she isn’t truly a woman. (and if you would you are a bad person, which i know you are a great person lol) It is my opinion that we should rethink how we treat body dysmorphia in transgender individuals and examine critically the medical industry’s role in gender transition.

To claim that it should be the other way around, that it is their brain that is the problem and needs to be fixed, is to force gender roles on trans people. This is the first contradiction, that those who call for an end to gender roles would take a reactionary stance and enforce them upon trans people

I do not understand how we are enforcing gender roles on transgender people, so if you could expand upon this I would appreciate it. I don’t really get how you can say that it is a mental illness and then turn around and say that it isn’t. Unless you are referring to the “male” and “female” brain, which has been debunked. (x)(x) Or perhaps you are referring to biological sex? Which, all of the plastic surgery in the world could not change.

The problem is not internal to trans people, it is a problem with society and their views and treatment of gender and those who do not conform.

I agree, and I also believe that much of it would be alleviated if not for socially-enforced gender roles.

As such, many trans activists fight to change society and I am proud to stand with them as a comrade.

I would hope that you do not stand with the ones who flash, harrass, threaten, and force their way into our spaces.

To exclude them and other groups from feminism as an ideology completely misses the point of feminism.

Here’s where I’m gonna come right out and say it; as a man I believe it is not your place to decide what feminism is, or who belongs in it. It isn’t your movement to define. I disagree with you here because from my experience, transgender activists seem to be fighting for the right to trample over ‘cis’ women. I would never speak out against someone who was advocating for a transwoman-only space, nor would i force my way into one and flash my vagina at a victim of female rape, and then threaten to bash their head in with a baseball bat.

The goal of feminism is for women to gain power so that they can fight oppression and improve the material reality of their lives.

Here is another point I very much disagree with and any other radfem I know would respond to the same way. We believe in the liberation of all women under the patriarchy, we do NOT believe in gaining power. So-called ‘empowerment’ by libfems is a sham and to gain power in a corrupt system requires throwing other women under the bus. We cannot win inside of a patriarchal society and intend to dismantle it, not to gain power within it.

This ideology intersects with many more in fighting oppression, and the struggle of trans people is an integral part of this fight.

Our ideologies often also intersect with Men’s Rights as well. MRAs seek to escape masculinity, just as we seek to abolish it. We do not agree on anything else and that’s why we are separate movements. ]

Ok, that was an extreme example. We intersect with the fight against racism, but as white people we should not and cannot go into the movement and tell them who to include, what they should be fighting against, and tell them that they HAVE to work with us to succeed. We might not agree with everything they say, but we must still stand and support them. It isn’t our place to tell them how to run their own movement.

Transgender people are welcome to their own movement and their own spaces where they can tackle their own issues, instead of tacking themselves onto feminism (which excludes FtMs) an derailing our issues, and even advocating the rape of one of our most vulnerable groups. (Check out ‘the cotton ceiling’, even the fucking name of the theory is rapey. Breaking through lesbian’s underwear, so revolutionary)

As it is I cannot stand with the activists who threaten me, belittle my experiences, create workshops teaching them how to rape my sisters, protest the memorials of massacred women, advocate to put serial rapists in women’s prisons (for the safety of the rapist, you know? never mind the women, many of whom are rape victims themselves)

The goal of feminism is not to be right and feel superior to the people around you, but to enact real social change.

Obviously, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna make fun of idiots who want to see me dead (check out the die cis scum tag!)

It is no coincidence that no modern organizations which engage in revolutionary practices hold these discriminatory beliefs about trans people.

Because society values males over females, even males who do not perform masculinity. Gay men aren’t necessarily gender-conforming and they also face unique experiences, and the effects of violent misogyny. Yet they are at the forefront of the LGBT movement, and this is also no coincidence. Lebianism is often tokenized and sexualized (“you’re a hypocrite if you masturbate to lesbian porn but don’t believe in same sex marriage!!” hmmm) even though lesbians are perceived as more “masculine”. because, even though society values masculinity, it still values males over females.

Plus this is just not true.

While there are more things I would like to talk about, these are the principal issues. I only bring these up because this behavior is actively hurtful and oppressive towards trans people.

And I hope that I have brought up some evidence that transgender rights activists also engage in hurtful, oppressive tactics against women. I am in no way saying that all transgender activists do, and I stand with the ones who do not, even though I may disagree with much of their theory.

If you look through my blog the people I generally responds to sarcastically are those who co-opt the word bitch, threaten my friends, or try to assert that they are more female than females.

This makes us consider them a threat and makes us feel unsafe in our own spaces, unsafe to voice our opinions openly, unsafe from being silenced, unsafe from male violence and entitlement.

The main problem that I have with transgender activists, is that they seek to destroy the definition of the word “woman” and to reduce it to nothing more than a feeling, to force themselves into spaces where they are unwelcome as they are raised as males and granted male privilege until they transition, and then recognized as women as if they have faced the same hurtles that we have for their entire lives (see the top grossing “female” director of all time, Lana Wachowski, who came out and transitioned AFTER the fact.) They seek to tack themselves onto a movement and derail all issues that aren’t about them, instead of creating their own.

The fact is that MtF and womyn face different struggles and this should be acknowledged instead of minimized before we can see eye to eye.

tl;dr responding to a friend’s post don’t even bother reading if you aren’t him lol

My response – 

Mainly, I want to say, that on tumblr gender is treated as a crazy wide spectrum that everyone must identify with on some level, and then choose a label from, such as “genderqueer” “agender” “cisgender” “transgender” and about a bazillion other variations, each with their own special set of pronouns, that you must ask every person for and memorize, lest you be called queerphobic/transphobic.

Identity politics have not produced a strategy or even a feasible path to liberation, and in this way are not useful tools both politically and theoretically. In the same way, the term “intersectionality” is also not very useful, as pointing out that forms of oppression intersect and overlap is obvious and fails to go beyond this to explain how and why they do. Even when claiming to do otherwise, these practices examine individual forms of oppression in an isolated fashion in an idealist and abstract manner detached from real material struggles. I agree with you here, the focus on identifying as x or y and the oppression competitions that accompany this are pointless.

What is useful that has come from this though is privilege theory, as it is a useful self-criticism tool to examine if maybe you are biased in your argument due to your unique background and the fact that you have not experienced what others have. This is something that I have to take into account all the time, since I’m pretty much as privileged as you can come. This does not make the theoretical points I’m making any less valid just because it is me saying them, it just means that I should take the time to understand that my experience is not universal (which feel free to call me out on if I try and claim this) before I open my mouth about something. This means, using a more material definition of intersection, that many women can and do have privilege due to their varying backgrounds in the same way men do. A white woman experiences certain privileges over people of color, both men and women. A bourgeois woman does not face the same struggles that a proletarian woman faces. In this same manner, people who present as the gender they are assigned do have an undeniable privilege in the fact that they do not have to face the social rejection, disphoria, hatred, economic hardships and abuse that are specific to people who are trans. This is not to say that women don’t struggle with these same issues, since they VERY much do, but that the oppression of transgender people is in addition to whatever privileges or oppression they face from how society views their gender and how they present. A trans man (defined by socially how they were accepted) would have privileges associated with being male, just as a trans woman would be treated as a woman by society and be faced with many of the same forms of oppression. Women can oppress transgender people (and vice versa) just as women can oppress other women through internalized misogyny, racism, ableism and the myriad of other forms of oppression.

I read all of the articles you linked, and many of the trans people mentioned are being abusive and wrong. Trans women should not engage in abusive behavior towards other women, and should understand that there is privilege associated with being socialized as a male growing up. These are specific examples of individuals who engaged in oppressive and illegal behavior and should not be taken to reflect on trans people as a whole. In doing so, you are using similar tactics to what racists use when they point out specific examples and statistics and claim that it is universal in the form of a stereotype.

In terms of the women born women spaces and inclusion, it’s pretty easy to see why things are not working out. Trans women view themselves as women and in turn feel like they belong in a convention for women that is fighting for the liberation of women. As you say, you reject the fact that they are women and consider this a fabricated reality and a rejection of simple biology (sexual dimorphism). This is what I mean to say when I said you claim that trans people don’t exist, by denying that their struggle with gender is real and saying that they are men in women’s clothes. You deny that someone can feel like they are born in the wrong body. Truthfully, I completely understand where you are coming from since it is consistent with your politics that women are a social group defined by their biology (XX chromosome). The conflict comes from the fact that this differs from the view held by trans people and others, which is that biological sex (XX, XY, various other combinations) determine sex and cannot be changed, but that gender is a social construct and gender identity is dependent on socialization and how you are accepted and viewed by society. If the world was post-gender and there was no more need for feminism, I don’t think trans people would be a problem in your eyes (please correct me if I’m wrong) since they would not be forced to conform to a gender identity that matched their biological sex in order to fit in to society.

There is obviously a lot of work that needs to be done to get to this point, so gender is still very much a real social construct. Since it is still real, trans people are expected to conform to the gender identity that matches their biological sex. When I say that gender disphoria is a mental health issue, I do not mean that being trans is a mental illness or a medical condition. The treatment is not to cure trans people of their feeling, but to help treat them in a way that they are able to function in day to day society and be happy. This is what I mean by it being a mental health issue. Hormone treatments and sexual reassignment surgery are methods to help trans people live happy lives. I don’t think your comparison with treating anorexia with liposuction is accurate, I think that it is more akin to treating depression with serotonin inhibitors to enable a person to function better in society. It doesn’t “cure” them, but they are happier and can function as a result of it. Similarly, it doesn’t work for all people, but that’s why people try alternate treatments until they find a combination that allows them to be comfortable.

I know you have a problem with trans women performing and in turn reinforcing gender roles. If someone thought the only way that they could be a woman was by having large breasts and pretending to like feminine things, I would tell them they are sexist and wrong for perpetuating a stereotype. This is different from feeling disillusioned with one’s gender, which is socially defined and forced on people. I don’t think this is the same as someone who wants to change their gender and can’t live with their current body. Since society is unaccepting of certain behavior by certain genders, forcing someone to remain the same gender is oppressive because you are telling them there is a set of gender roles that are appropriate for them, and the ones traditionally assigned to women are not appropriate for them. That is denying them the ability to live how they choose and is analogous to telling a woman she has to wear dresses or be submissive. You are telling them that how they feel is wrong, and that they do not understand themselves enough to know what is best for them. This is a chauvinist and condescending opinion and denies people their autonomy. The problem is with society, it is not a problem with trans people.

In regards to power, I think you are misrepresenting the point I was trying to make. I said that the goal of feminism is for women to gain power so that they can fight oppression and improve the material reality of their lives. You said that “we believe in the liberation of all women under the partriarchy, we do NOT believe in gaining power. So-called ‘empowerment’ by libfems is a sham and to gain power in a corrupt system requires throwing other women under the bus. We cannot win inside of a patriarchal society and intend to dismantle it, not to gain power within it.” How do you expect to be able to dismantle the patriarchy without any political, economic, social or physical power? By examining history you can come to see that all of the successful attempts at making concrete changes have involved establishing a base among the masses and growing their movement to the point that they could no longer be ignored. I do not mean the kind of power that liberals talk about when they mention empowerment in ways like “oh, porn is empowering to women because they are expressing sexuality”, which is bullshit. The power I’m talking about is the power that grows from the barrel of a gun so to say, that which threatens social structures and makes people listen to your demands. Strategically, radical feminists are militant but do not have a very wide base or as public a message as liberal feminists. To make real social change, you have to adopt a strategy that will defeat your opponent, which in this case is socially constructed gender roles and patriarchy (which is also a socially constructed system which evolved from material relations and the division of labor). I’m not telling you to win inside of the current system, which would be reformist. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a communist and also believe that it is ineffective to ask politely for change in a system as corrupt as ours.

The main problem that I have with transgender activists, is that they seek to destroy the definition of the word “woman” and to reduce it to nothing more than a feeling, to force themselves into spaces where they are unwelcome as they are raised as males and granted male privilege until they transition, and then recognized as women as if they have faced the same hurtles that we have for their entire lives (see the top grossing “female” director of all time, Lana Wachowski, who came out and transitioned AFTER the fact.) They seek to tack themselves onto a movement and derail all issues that aren’t about them, instead of creating their own.

The fact is that MtF and womyn face different struggles and this should be acknowledged instead of minimized before we can see eye to eye.

From this it seems like the problem is that some trans people are not acknowledging their own privilege from socialization, as well as Tumblr trans people being abusive in the conversations you point out. However, radical feminists can also be guilty of the same practices, ignoring privilege and being abusive towards trans people. I do not think that the behavior of these groups should be generalized to all trans people or radical feminists.

As an aside, thank you again for taking time to have this conversation with me. If you don’t mind, could you reblog this in its entirety so that people have a chance to see both what I wrote and your reply? I have approximately 9 followers, so nobody is going to see this unless you include it.

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