Posted on | January 14, 2014 | 86 Comments
Radical egalitarianism is a sort of philosophical insanity, premised as it is on the idea that everything is equal, even things that are fundamentally different. When you begin with an obvious falsehood as the premise of your argument, the conclusion will necessarily be madness.
Ten days ago, I brought you up-to-date about an emerging controversy on the extremist fringe. Radical feminists who wish to exclude trannies from their events are accused of “transphobia”:
RadFem 2013 was a conference in London, which resulted in a gigantic controversy because radical feminists insisted on excluding the “transgendered” from their female-only event, and one of the featured speakers, Australian lesbian feminist Professor Sheila Jeffreys, was about to publish a new book, Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism, that was deeply offensive to the “T” people represented in the LGBT acronym.
How crazy did that conflict become? At one point in April, the venue tried to cancel the event after discovering that “certain language was used and some statements were made about transgender people that would go against our equalities and diversity policy.” Another RadFem conference organizer, Cathy Brennan of Baltimore, was meanwhile all over Twitter announcing “transwomen are men” and comparing them to MRAs (men’s rights advocates).
Brennan’s outspoken hostility to “transwomen” — including those she calls “Pretendbians” — takes it to a whole new level of crazy:
Basically, Cathy Brennan is the Fred Phelps of radical lesbian feminists. Brennan’s message seems to be, “Feminism is for man-hating socialist homosexual perverts and we don’t want to associate with a bunch of surgically mutilated psychotic freaks.”
Gosh, it’s kind of hard to choose sides here, isn’t it?
One radical feminist (who evidently rejects capitalization as misogynistic oppression) offers this diatribe against “transwomen”:
whereas transwomen’s “problems” would not be solved if feminism succeeded — that means transwomens problems are male problems, and do not implicate male power or womens oppression by men, which are the kinds of problems feminists are interested in solving. post-patriarchy, transwomen would definitely not be let into female-only space, for example. and insofar as transwomen depend on global female oppression to define and maintain their identities, and depend on subjugated females on which to model their feminine behaviors, and insofar as born-women not coddling transwomen is a “problem” for transwomen, transwomens problems will actually be made worse when and if patriarchy falls, because they would not be able to express their gender properly, the entire concept — or the parts of which are dependent on female oppression — having been abolished. and because NO ONE would put up with their shit.
In the vocabulary of “gender studies” intellectuals, the prefix “cis-” has been popularized as the antonym of “trans-,” so that someone who is born female and identifies as such as is a “ciswoman.” That explanation is necessary to understanding — insofar as the rantings of a deranged lunatic can be understood by sane people — the romantic complaints of translesbian Julia Serano:
About two years ago, my ex and I split up after being together for nearly a decade. She was a cis queer woman who was supportive when I transitioned a few years into our relationship, and we were monogamous during the lion’s share of our time together. This meant that for the first time in a decade, I would be re-entering the dating scene. This could be somewhat disconcerting for any person, but there were a few compounding factors that made it especially . . . well, let’s say “interesting” . . . for me. First, this would be the first time that I would be dating people as a woman. Furthermore, while I had dated queer women before my transition, this would be my first time formally dating within the queer women’s community. On top of that, around this same time, after years of identifying as a lesbian, I came out as bisexual, so I also planned on dating men.
To clarify: Julia Serano was born a man. His/her ex-girlfriend is a lesbian “who was supportive when I transitioned,” but now they’re split and so the bisexual post-transition shemale is looking for love “within the queer women’s community.”
And you thought your love life was complicated, eh?
One trans woman friend told me about how she recently met a cis dyke, and they were really hitting it off, until she realized that this person was misreading her for a person on the trans masculine spectrum. When my friend told the cis dyke that she was in fact a trans woman, the cis dyke seemed to immediately lose interest.
Oops. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
On numerous occasions I have looked over the “w4w” [i.e., women for women] section of Craigslist, but it inevitably leaves me traumatized. There is so much trans hate speech on that site, and the very few ads that mention being open to trans are specifically looking for trans men or tranny bois, not trans women.
Isn’t that wonderful? After you get a sex-change operation, you’re allowed to describe romantic rejection as “hate speech”!
I also find it ironic that cis dykes — many of whom pride themselves on their progressive politics and subversive sexualities — tend to be far more conservative and conforming to our culture’s yuck-dating-a-trans-woman-is-gross mindset than their cis male counterparts, at least here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am also embarrassed as a queer for the fact that so many straight cis men have worked through, or are beginning to work through, their own issues regarding trans women, whereas most cis queer women refuse to even consider the possibility that they even have an issue.
In other words, if you are a lesbian who doesn’t date trannies, you have “issues” you need to “work through.”
Sexual attraction is a complex phenomenon, and of course there is lots of individual variation. I certainly do not expect every cis queer woman to swoon over me. And if it were only a small percentage of cis dykes who were not interested in trans women at all, I would write it off as simply a matter of personal preference. But this not a minor problem—it is systemic; it is a predominant sentiment in queer women’s communities. And when the overwhelming majority of cis dykes date and fuck cis women, but are not open to, or are even turned off by, the idea of dating or fucking trans women, how is that not transphobic? And to those cis women who claim a dyke identity, yet consider trans men, but not trans women, to be a part of your dating pool, let me ask you this: How are you not a hypocrite?
I did not write this piece to vent about my dating life. I go out on plenty of dates, and I’m having lots of super-fucking-awesome sex, just not with cis women at the moment. My purpose in writing this piece is to highlight how cis dykes’ unwillingness to consider trans women as legitimate partners translates directly into a lack of community for queer-identified trans women.
Stop the presses! Queer-identified trans women are suffering from “a lack of community”! And if you don’t agree that this is the most important issue in the world, you’re obviously a hater.
The good news? Even radical lesbian feminists can be haters now.
“All is proceeding as I have foreseen.”