Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Reigning Men! And that's not all...

cartoon is from here at PhotoBucket
It's also reigning other male supremacists who are drowning out lesbian human rights and Women's Radical Liberation. The Self-Appointed Misogynistic Trans Spokespeople state that we must agree with them that "Woman" is not what radical feminist women know political womanhood to be.

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
P.S. Your comments are no longer welcome here. You've violated several of the comment policies as it is. Farewell sibling in the struggle. Bon voyage as you ride your elitist, anti-feminist arc. I wish you safe passage.


Owl Eyes said...

This was brilliant and 100% accurate. I have been having these thoughts swim in my mind without any idea of how to put them together. Now, i don't need to because you have done it perfectly.

This is something that is a HUGE problem facing feminists right now, particularly lesbian feminists. I've been told, too that since i read sheila jeffreys, i am also a 'transphobe'

No one wants to take any responsibility, no one wants to question anything out of the fear of being labeled 'transphobe'.

This reminds me of how the site runs, it always runs articles about white gay male oppression and NEVER about lesbian struggle or radical feminist politics. Everything they preach exists in a privileged bubble.

Thank you so much for this piece, I would love to link it on my blog in a post, would you mind if i did this?

Julian Real said...

Hi Owl Eyes,

By all means, please link to it on your blog.

I've seen that too--this re-prioritising of the rights of people with male privilege over the rights of people who never have had any.

This has really taken a while for me to articulate. It's been something that I've seen in so many places, in so many ways--the increasing marginalisation and systematic eradication of radical lesbian feminist authority and presence in queer and non-queer places.

Get this: someone I know who was lesbian, radical feminist, met someone who is liberal and trans, f-a-a-b, non-op, no hormones, prefers to be called by male pronouns, and so now this lesbian, who is involved with this trans person, doesn't feel like it's respectful to call herself a lesbian any more. Because now she's with someone female-bodied with no intention of ever being anything else, but because the female-bodied person insists on being referred to by male pronouns, the lesbian doesn't get to feel okay about being lesbian.

That's anti-lesbian, male supremacist and heterosexist of the trans person; the person ought to say, "I RESPECT YOU AND LOVE YOU AS A LESBIAN: THAT'S WHO YOU WERE WHEN I MET YOU." And, wouldn't you know it, the lesbian's politics have gone all queer/liberal, and she's now pro-porn, pro-prostitution, and pro-bdsm, because her partner is into those politics. Why is her partner into those politics? Because her partner came out as trans while adoring and idolising Patrick Califia, the white heterosexist male supremacist trans activist who promotes misogynistic, heterosexist violence and gross exploitation and degradation as being "pro-sex".

This pronoun dynamic also means that when the lesbian woman gets a phone call in a social space and it's her lover calling, out of deference for her partner's needs to be called "he", she says, "I'm going to speak with him inside; I'll be back in a few"--which socially invalidates her own lesbianism. This is her first really significant long-term relationship. She's never, ever been with men either, has only been with women, and is not attracted to men at all, and she doesn't even have permission from her partner to say, "I'm going to talk to *her* in the other room." Out of deference to the male-identified female-bodied person's wishes. Where's his deference to her, is my question?

Why does compulsory accommodation disproportionately and usually fall on the lesbians in queer community, and on f-a-a-b women, generally? I've rarely to never seen gay men accommodate to lesbians' wishes and needs, for example. What is the gendered politic at work when the person who is most male-identified is the person (or class of people) who usually gets their way?

Where have I seen this story a hundred thousand times before?

So apparently racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, anti-feminist white trans men are "cool", and promoting or defending Patrick is the ethical and socially responsible thing to do, while f-a-a-b radical feminist women who reject all manifestations of male privilege are scorned as transphobes and bigots. Yes, it's getting very clear. (Sheila Jeffreys hit that nail on the head.)

And, as you note, so many blogs now won't even promote lesbian separatism or radical feminism, because the gay boys and trans folks need to feel included and not rejected. What do too many lesbians and radical feminists get to feel? Yup: excluded and rejected. But who cares? They're only f-a-a-b wimmin, after all. They don't possess the status-giving, bow-to-the-master, male entitlements currently acted out so obnoxiously and oppressively by anyone who mans up.

Owl Eyes said...

The story of your friend is heartbreaking. I have heard of a lot of women who feel ashamed for being a lesbian, as Sheila Jeffreys points it out a lot in "unpacking queer politics" about how women are supposed to feel ashamed for woman-loving and not fitting into the heterosexual binary.

That's so sad...and it is blatantly anti-lesbian. That's also sad to hear that she is no pro-porn and pro-bdsm...

I agree with you, too with the statement about loving someone for who they are, she should be loved as a lesbian woman.

It saddens me that liberal queer theory is being put on such a pedestal while radical feminism is being gutted.

Also, Patrick Califia is an unknown to me, I think i'll check out a site on him now that you mention it. He sounds ridiculous.

Also, I was wondering, what is f-a-a-b?

I posted a blog and linked to this post, thank you for letting me post it...such a fantastic post.

Julian Real said...

Also, another sign the tide waters were turning in an anti-lesbian direction over the last ten to fifteen years was the number of places that replaced "LGBT" with "GLBT".

Never a good sign for lesbian feminists working to end patriarchy, when the gay boys come out in front and on top... again.


Well said Julian because yes indeed once again it is men, first second and oh yes last too! F-A-B radical feminist women? Forget it they are all a bunch of bigots and apparently should be eliminated because they are all transphobic (sic)! Sheila Jeffreys did indeed 'nail it on the head' and for which she has been yet again demonised and endured innumerable threats of violence.

Julian Real said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just hope enough people start resisting the male supremacist coercion coming at radical feminists from all directions, demonstrated by the few self-appointed "Gender" know-it-alls--currently located in two camps: het men's camp and transgender activists' camp.

When transgender activists demand that het men call themselves cisgendered as much as they demand it of feminist women, I'll take the challenge seriously as non-misogynistic. Until such time as that: it's misogynistic, antifeminist, and sexist too.

It's about time for them all--any antifeminists and misogynists--to be accountable for the harm they are doing to those who actually seek to end the gender hierarchy and its violence: centrally against women and girls by men and boys.

Julian Real said...

Hi Owl Eyes,

I found your comment in the spam box by mistake. I had no idea how it got there but now it is posted!

So in reply, finally, only two months later ...

The story of your friend is heartbreaking. I have heard of a lot of women who feel ashamed for being a lesbian, as Sheila Jeffreys points it out a lot in "unpacking queer politics" about how women are supposed to feel ashamed for woman-loving and not fitting into the heterosexual binary.

I think our community needs to track the many ways that lesbophobia and homophobia make other explanations and theories about who we are more socially acceptable, even if none of them come with a "get free from all violence" card.

Of particular note is this, for me: What does our chosen identity say or not say about the realities of white het male supremacy? What do they say about the political forces at work in shaping who we are and who we understand ourselves to be? How does queer identity challenge heteropatriarchy, exactly? Not that it should be incumbant on those of us who aren't heterosexual to be THE challengers of heterosexism, but we at least ought to know if there's lesbian and gay self-hatred layered into the dominant theories about who we are and why.

That's so sad...and it is blatantly anti-lesbian. That's also sad to hear that she is no pro-porn and pro-bdsm...

I find this entirely a consequence of adopting a liberal queer politic at a time when radical feminist political analysis of behavior and experience was not readily available.

I agree with you, too with the statement about loving someone for who they are, she should be loved as a lesbian woman.

I'll have to try and find out how this is resolving itself. I haven't had contact with them in a little while.

It saddens me that liberal queer theory is being put on such a pedestal while radical feminism is being gutted.

Exactly. And it's only because liberal queer theory dovetails with the political aims and ambitions of racist HATEropatriarchy.

Also, Patrick Califia is an unknown to me, I think i'll check out a site on him now that you mention it. He sounds ridiculous.

I'm not really sure what he's up to now. But he and John Preston used to be pretty big figures, role models, in the L-G community. Each one promoting the most white male supremacist sexualities that existed at the time.

Also, I was wondering, what is f-a-a-b?

Sorry about that: "female-assigned-at-birth", also written FAB.

I posted a blog and linked to this post, thank you for letting me post it...such a fantastic post.

You've very welcome! Thanks for making it more available to be read and discussed.