|cartoon is from here at PhotoBucket|
Given a recent non-exchange with Noah, a transgender-identified person who came here arrogantly posturing as THE spokesperson for a group (of which I'm a part) that has no central political strategy or position on what transgender means or is, I'd like to note that now is a particularly challenging time for Women's Liberation in part because of the Liberal Queer politics of alleged gender ambiguity.
Not only is Women's Liberation threatened, as it always has been, because of the on-going and unrelenting force, terror, propaganda, and crushing oppression coming down from the Religious Right and Secular (Less-Right) Liberals in the West, but due to intensely self-protective and utterly walled-in, well-bolstered patriarchal practices in quasi-Queer society. What with liberalism replacing radicalism as a general viewpoint on gender, all manner of pro-patriarchal theories and practices continue to hold radical theories and lives in an invasive vine-like vice-grip, choking the life out of radical lesbian feminist theories and practices of challenging heteropatriarchal atrocities, institutions, and values to the roots. The roots are thickening and swelling with the help of something called Dominant Queer Politics which looks a lot like what all the other movements for assimilation-without-transformation look like: "Same CRAP, Different Day".
We are dutifully instructed to ignore everything Sheila Jeffreys ever wrote because she's a transphobe. Never mind her book detailing all the ways Contemporary Western Queer culture is virulently anti-lesbian and anti-feminist. Who cares about lesbian rights any more? It's all Queer here all the time. Get used to it. There's no room for the Lesbians at the Queer Culture Inn unless you were assigned male at birth. Who the hell wants radical feminism, anyway? Not the rapists, pimps, and batterers. And now, not the Liberal Queer activists and their non-appointed spokespeople either.
So intensely defensive is a certain trans position among anti-lesbian anti-feminists, that no dialogue is possible--only evangelically self-righteous reprimanding and scolding of us poor ignorant queer folk as if the rest of us, trans or not, intergender or not, intersex or not, women or not, are just idiots in need of trans-Salvation.
I reject as pro-status quo and inhumane any politic that not only refuses respectful engagement--as determined by all parties, not just one--but that consistently refuses radical critique of its own premises, practices, campaigns, and values.
Anti-lesbianism has always been intense. I just never expected Queer community to become so virulently homophobic and lesbophobic, all in the name of the irresponsible and completely unaccountable dictates and directives of these self-appointed Grand Masters of All Matters Having To Do With Gender.
Liberal Queer Politics, including some expressions and manifestations of Trans Politics, has become just one more threat to Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist struggles by demanding that Women/Wimmin deny their own experiences and political location as people who are targeted, stigmatised, and injured from birth to death due to the political meaning imposed over and into their bodies. This is not biological determinism or essentialism--it is The Master's social-political theory-in-practice, enforced in interpersonal and institutional spaces, cyber and non-virtual. To be named and stigmatised as a wh*re from birth (meaning, to be raised as a girl who is raised to be a woman) is not an experience shared by anyone identified as male at birth. To be targeted disproportionately for forced intrusion into your genital area is not something people assigned male at birth have to contend with from day one and are assumed to exist to accommodate, welcome, want, and desire. "Women", from the radical feminist viewpoints I'm aware of, are a class of people who are required--upon penalty of death--to accommodate, appease, appeal to, appreciate, applaud, give access to, and approve of men, male supremacy, and anyone with structural male privileges for a portion or all of one's life. A sublime expression of male supremacist privilege is the entitlement to deny to women that you possess it. Some trans people who were raised with some male entitlements claim they too are women, using their male privilege to drill the point home.
To be so abused and devalued from birth to death, for being seen and treated as "not male" is indeed part of a very specific political process and form of oppression, of making human beings female, girl, and woman, by marking, mass marketing, and invading their bodies and terrorising their minds in some very specific ways.
Among trans bloggers there is, you will find, absolutely no agreement about whether being transgender is a biological condition or an entirely social-political one. There is no agreement about what intergender means; whether "transsexual" is a helpful or hurtful term; whether misogyny is rampant among prominent transgender activists. Nor is there an agreed upon process, ethic, or approach for how to resolve any of these matters through respectful discourse and accountable activism (accountable to radical feminist female-assigned-at-birth women/wimmin). What there is, is a kind of new bully in town: the pro-trans bully who is especially intimidating because they've claimed the right to exclusively tell the rest of us who is and is not a bigot, or a transphobe--including those of us who are transgender and intergender.
Among these self-appointed online spokespeople is Noah, who won't listen to anyone who doesn't first agree to check their own radical political views at the threshold, when it is this viewpoint that gets us to challenge heteropatriarchy in the first place. Radical feminism is many things--not one--and one of the things it is and always has been is self-interrogating. What you have when you organise around beliefs that cannot be challenged without being accused of being a bigot or an oppressor is this: a cultural cult of theory and practice. This cultish nature is revealed in the profoundly defensive posturing and reactionary vitriol that comes at anyone who dares challenge these few undemocratically positioned spokespeople. How wonderful for them they self-elect into a life term of being so arrogant and unaccountable to anyone else--especially those they structurally oppress, like female-assigned-at-birth lesbian feminists.
How convenient for dominant-class heteropatriarchs that a relatively new and marginalised while vocal group on the scene--these specific trans bloggers and activists (certainly not all trans bloggers and not all trans activists)--can challenge female-assigned-at-birth women to stop claiming to be "women"; can call any woman who doesn't identify as "cis" to be an anti-trans bigot; and who don't really ever seem to notice how incredibly elitist trans-specific lingo can be and is for most people. Most of us who speak English as a first language, or not, won't and can't even know what the fuck is being said because the terms have no set meaning, in good keeping with the shoddy, mis-appropriated pro-modern, post-modernist fashion that is used to argue the gender-fluidity of a system that is known for its utterly unfluid and stone-crushing effect on female-assigned-at-birth women's lives.
How extraordinarily privileged this group is showing themselves to be with no regard or respect for accountability at all. It's their way or the highway. And the highway is already bloodied with the roadkill of women's bodies maimed, murdered, and tossed out of the vehicle by men who won't ever be challenged by these elitist trans-spokespeople to call themselves "cis"; the male-assigned-at-birth men who stay men-without-prefix get a pass because the misogynistic target of these trans-spokespeople is women--radical feminist women, lesbian separatists, radical lesbian feminists--who govern no states, make no laws, rule no countries, control no institutions, own no media, lead no major religions, and dominate no social spaces except two that some trans people insist, demand, sue, and shove their way into, so as to gain access, regardless of how aggressive, hostile, violating, and triggering it is for the lesbian women who wish to only be with other lesbian women for a few days once a year at most.
The Politics of Patriarchal Liberalism and Individualism never stopped reigning, but now it also reigns in places in the West that once had a radical feminist presence. Say good-bye to all of that. With plenty of assistance from liberal academic programs (that don't do shit to end rape or racism, genocide or gynocide), pro-misogyny, woman-violating trans political practices rule, in the minds and behavior of far too many.
How arrogant, how white het male supremacist, these spokespeople present themselves as being, denying it while they put down everyone who has the unmitigated and anti-patriarchal gall to "disagree". So much for coalition-building across difference.
Noah, if you wish, go build your isolationist arc and collect upon it all those you deem worthy of speaking to you. It is clear you don't wish to be challenged at all. You've cast your lot with neoConservatives, neoLiberals, Libertarians, and Capitalists. Enjoy the party of your choice.
You're not my oppressor but you're also not my ally. I wish you well and support your human-rights-for-all-transgender-people campaign. But because you promote such anti-lesbian and anti-gay practices--denying us the right to claim people in our herstory and history, protesting the right of lesbian-identified women to congregate amongst themselves, please steer clear of this radical profeminist intergender gay blog's project to support the dismantling of the dual-gender hierarchy to below its foundation. Debris will be falling from above and the ground beneath you may be crumbling, if those of us engaged in this struggle have any success.
And Noah: the unicorns are gay and the leprechauns are lesbian. Lola was a gay man. Teena Brandon was a Lesbian woman. That's one view that is just as valid and unbigoted as any other. Find other people to misappropriate from Lesbian herstory and Gay history. You might start with those who self-identify as transgender: we are what we call ourselves--isn't that your politic?
Radical Feminist Lesbian women in the thousands and Radical Profeminist Gay males (intergender or not--all three of us--if that), will continue to wage our own struggles for liberation while you stubbornly remain unwilling to respect our methods of surviving sexually and socially, as the Lola's and Teena's of the world did and do. You're not working for our liberation when you add heaping portions of lesbophobia, misogyny, white male supremacy, heterosexism, and homophobia onto our lives. I cast my lot with radical lesbian feminists over 25 years ago and nothing you're promoting or anything about the way you're behaving is leading me to regret that decision. On the contrary, you've shown yourself to be a supreme patriarchy-protector among patriarchs who want you dead.
Make what you will of gender in your liberal and quasi-essentialist ways. You'll have plenty of support from the already reigning men, who despise you because you socially and liberally transgress the status quo, not because you seek to radically politically transform it.
|image is from here|