Posted on | April 12, 2014 | 75 Comments
The ongoing conflict between radical feminists and transgender activists, which I first noticed in January and revisited last night in the context of the Dana McCallum rape case, has escaped the notice of mainstream liberal journalism. Liberals tacitly side with the transgenders in pretending that the radfems — a/k/a TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) — have no legitimate grievance.
What the TERFs perceive is that male-to-female transgenders are cynically seeking to usurp and co-opt the “feminist” label for their own advantage, thus shunting aside biological women and demoting them to second-class status within their own movement.
Of course, the instinctive conservative reaction to all this is to pop some popcorn and enjoy the schadenfreude. But the very fact that liberals want everybody to ignore this obscure conflict should be a clue that the conflict is, in fact, highly significant. Much like the Hugo Schwzyer “male feminist” controversy, which long raged on the margins of Gender Theory discussion before erupting into headlines, the TERF war against transfeminism (and vice-versa) tells us a lot about the problems of contemporary progressivism.
Let’s start with Cathy Brennan’s site Gender Identity Watch. Cathy Brennan is a radical lesbian feminist whose adamant defense of “female-only space” against transgender intrusion has made her a primary target of the anti-TERF campaign. Make no mistake: Brennan’s enemies are trying to destroy her, going so far as to petition the Southern Poverty Law Center to label her site a “hate group.”
Well, who is hating whom?
Brennan has chronicled some of the obscene, violent and threatening reactions she has received from transgenders and their allies, and why? Simply because Brennan won’t back down from her radical (“essentialist”) view that womanhood is a matter of biology and genetics, as opposed to the gender identity view that womanhood is a “social construct.” It doesn’t matter, for the sake of this discussion, whether you agree with Cathy Brennan, although I do. (“The science is settled!”)
Brennan probably hates my heteronormative patriarchal Christian conservative perspective even more than she hates the transfeminist gender identity crowd, but that’s OK: Cathy Brennan has a right to hate me, and her hate does me no harm.
Well, why can’t the trannies tolerate Brennan’s hate? Because it hurts their precious little feelings, that’s why!
The anti-Brennan crowd contains some of the most pathetic whiners imaginable, who insist that being called by their preferred label is so crucial to their identity that it’s an act of hate to use the wrong label.
Exhibit A? Charlie Hale, a British “genderqueer, kinky, polyamorous pan/bisexual” male who insists on the pronoun “they.” (No, I’m not kidding.) Hale wrote a guest column for a feminist blog calling for ostracism of anyone who associates with TERFs, a column which got a mocking rebuttal from a TERF blog here. When I say “mocking rebuttal,” I mean, they re-posted some of the photos Hale posted on Twitter:
Despite being male, Hale identifies as a “queer feminist” on Twitter, where he/”they” constantly whine(s) about “cishet male sexuality,” i.e., the way normal men have sex. Also, Hale is avidly pro-abortion, which is rather convenient in view of the fact that there is a near-zero possibility that Hale could ever be capable of making a woman pregnant, even if any woman were insane enough to wish to be impregnated by him. (Or, I should say, “them.”) Among his/”their” work is “An Introduction To Non-binary Transgender Identities,” which might just as easily be entitled, “How to Cooperate With Charlie’s Psychotic Delusions of Infinite Human Plasticity.”
What Hale’s “genderqueer” agenda boils down to is a desire to compel everybody to participate in his/”their” hallucinatory approach to sexual identity, an ongoing project of deconstruction: “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re hopelessly confused!” Neither male nor female, gay nor straight, “genderqueer” is sexuality as a multiple-choice exam in which the answer to every question is “none of the above.”
You may well ask, “How do people get that screwed-up in the head?” Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe they spent so much of their adolescence wacking off to hentai cartoons that it left them permanently incapable of relating to normal human sex. However, you may wish to read Charlie Hale’s account of his adolescence:
I love queer, nerdy, kinky sex — and it’s the only sex I’ve ever known. At 16, I had my first “proper” relationship: it lasted about 3 and a half years, all told, and we were each other’s first sexual partner. On top of the standard teen sex-related anxiety, we both had unresolved gender issues . . . that neither of us were aware of at the time. . . .
(Charlie’s teenage girlfriend became a “transman,” i.e., a female-t0-male transsexual. We need not wonder why.)
This made following the “normal” scripts of sex quite difficult: PIV sex was basically impossible and, frankly, didn’t interest me a massive amount. As well as getting very acquainted with using my hands and mouth, it turned out we both had kinky interests, too: we laid our hands on a few toys (as far as we could in our nervous, impoverished teenage state) and messed around, experimented, and tried to find out what it was that worked for us. . . .
(So, “PIV sex” — penis-in-vagina, normal sexual intercourse — “was basically impossible”? Let me tell you something, Charlie: Whenever there is a vagina in my vicinity, it’s always possible.)
Creativity is what I think defines queer, nerdy, kinky sex: the ability to experiment and — as is often essential in the case of trans people — improvise. The world outside of cisheteronormative sex is a wonderful one, but the social scripts surrounding sex are so strong that it doesn’t really come easily. . . .
(Pardon the unintentional double-entendre.)
While I had a very curious mind, and I’d had fantasies for years, the thing that really spurred us to experiment was the fact we couldn’t do what “all the other people” were doing. Our bodies and minds weren’t cooperative — due to things that, in hindsight, were probably caused by dysphoria — so we had to make our own way.
It wasn’t always rosy. Not following the ideas of sex that had been drilled into us was liberating but also challenging. Many times I remember my partner despairing, thinking that they weren’t “good enough,” because their genitals “didn’t work.”
Eh, you can read the rest of “Young Weirdos in Love,” if you wish. You get the point: Charlie spent three years in a dysfunctional relationship with a girlfriend whose vagina he never managed to penetrate with his penis, a failure he attributes in hindsight to “dysphoria,” probably because he doesn’t want to confess his own helpless sexual ineptitude. With his sour-grapes rationalization handy, however, he dismisses “cisheteronormative sex” with some intellectual jargon about “social scripts” that had been “drilled into us,” and congratulates himself on the wondrous “creativity” of “queer, nerdy, kinky sex,” as if normal male-female couplings are devoid of creativity.
This failed male, then, presumes to tell feminists they must banish from their conferences and publications — “no-platforming,” as it is called — anyone associated with radical feminists who refuse to accept transgenders as being the same as women. So if a feminist author participates in a “non-inclusive” (TERF) conference, then she must be blacklisted from other feminist conferences because, to quote Charlie Hale, “Inviting such speakers not only negatively impacts the climate of the movement, but actively makes marginalised people feel less safe and welcome in the event and the movement as a whole.”
And thereby — voila! — a man appoints himself the arbiter of who is acceptable within the Official Feminist Movement.
Does anyone think radical feminists are going to let themselves be bossed around by pathetic sissyboys like Charlie Hale?
Oh, hell, no.
— Actual Dykes (@ActualDykez) March 29, 2014
If hard-core Marxist lesbians wanted to be bossed around by men, they might as well just invite me to their conference — call it “The End of Feminism: Surrendering to the Patriarchy” — and then they could all take turns making me sandwiches.