Posted on | April 12, 2014 | 44 Comments
Well, this wasn’t a conversation I was planning to have today, but after some Twitter discussion on the Dana McCallum transgender lesbian rape story — it’s like the Rocky Horror Nightly News Show or something — the misunderstanding exceeded what could be accomplished in 140 characters or less. So I said, “I’ll blog it and get back to you, OK?”
Do I really care what a bunch of San Francisco liberals think about me? I do not. On the other hand, San Francisco liberals are never going to have Second Thoughts if they think that the alternative to their worldview is ignorant bigotry, so occasionally it is worthwhile to demonstrate that our bigotry is not ignorant, and perhaps not even “bigotry” at all. That is to say, one may have entirely logical reasons for disagreeing with liberals and, even if your reasons are emotional or sentimental, it may still be possible to persuade liberals, by means of an articulate discourse.
The accusation that male-to-female transgender Dana McCallum raped her lesbian (biologically female) spouse @MadMelvina is one of those stories that strikes at the intersection of multiple contemporary ideological crusades of the Left:
- Rape Culture — This is the idea, popularized by feminists, that rape is not an individual act perpetrated by criminals. Instead, we are told, rape is the result of social attitudes about sex. By this pretzel logic, the person who makes a sarcastic remark about rape is complicit in the crime, because such remarks represent a cultural attitude that makes rape possible.
- Anti-Homophobia — As fashionable causes go, fighting homophobia in 2014 is like being a Freedom Rider in 1963 or a draft-card-burning hippie peacenik in 1968. Liberals have convinced themselves that prejudice against gays and lesbians is an existential crisis, and anyone who doesn’t constantly denounce homophobia might as well go join Westboro Baptist Church.
- Radical Feminism — Little noticed by the mainstream media, hard-core radical feminism is staging a comeback. And these man-hating lesbian separatists are angry as hell about the attempt of some transgenders to include themselves in feminism. From the radical (“essentialist”) perspective, these XY-chromosome sex-changers are simply men — the Oppressive Patriarchy incarnate! — employing a particularly sneaky way of co-opting the Womyn’s Movement.
It should not be necessary for me to say that I think all of these people are crazy. But all crazies are not created equal and, as crazy as the radical man-hating lesbians may be, they at least have valid science on their side in saying that “female” is a biological category — genetically determined, rather than being a “social construct.”
Readers will recall the January item, “Feminists Accused of ‘Transphobia’: Competitive Victimhood Derby“:
So, 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). . . .
The Competitive Victimhood Derby is ultimately a zero-sum game, you see. There can only be one winner, and the transgender claim to equal victimhood is rejected by radical feminists, who view this as an attempt to usurp their own categorical claim.
It’s like a traffic jam on the Crazyville Road, where two politicized groups of wackjobs are compelled by the implicit logic of their arguments to fight each other for supremacy.
Strange as it is to say, however, I perceive in the RadFem position not only a basic scientific truth about who is a woman, but also an argument for the principle of free association.
What the RadFem organizers are saying is that transgenders wanting to attend their conference are like Nazis wanting to attend a synagogue or Klansmen wanting to attend an NAACP meeting. If the organizers of a feminist conference cannot decide who is invited (and who is not invited), whose essential liberty is being infringed?
Therefore, I accept that RadFems (who understandably do not want me and my oppressive patriarchal penis anywhere near their conference) also have the right to exclude XY-chromosome persons who present themselves as pseudo-females. And the only real argument that transgender “feminists” can make in response is that their exclusion from the RadFem conference hurts their feelings.
So what? Since when was it a civil-rights violation to hurt somebody’s feelings? Where do people get the idea that, if you call me a “hillbilly,” I can sue you for not calling me an “Appalachian-American”?
People do not have a “right” to high self-esteem!
OK, so when it was reported that Dana McCallum’s ex-wife had accused her of rape, a radical feminist rejected the categories:
Dana McCallum (@danadanger) is not a Lesbian who raped her wife. He is a man who raped his wife.
— Actual Dykes (@ActualDykez) April 11, 2014
Conservatives don’t usually find themselves nodding in agreement with angry radical dykes, but it’s difficult to deny the basic point here: If radical feminism is about advancing the interests of lesbians, then it is sort of an insult to radical feminists to label Dana McCallum’s (alleged) crime a “lesbian rape.” Such an inaccurate label wrongly shifts the blame from one group (transgenders) to another group (lesbians).
Radical dykes have feelings, too, you know.
Apparently, however, Dana McCallum’s (alleged) victim has an overpowering sympathy for the, uh, transgender community. (The alleged victim’s identity is not a secret, by the way: Anyone can figure out that @MadMelvina is @DanaDanger’s ex-wife.) The rhetoric about McCallum’s gender was upsetting to the alleged victim:
It’s so so awful, I don’t like all the anti-trans stuff. People referring to her as a “he” and a “man”, that’s not ok.
— Mel (@MadMelvina) April 11, 2014
Hmmmm. It certainly would have been the wise thing to bite my tongue and say nothing. But my innate propensity for irreverent sarcasm is sometimes just too strong to resist:
Less OK than rape? MT @MadMelvina anti-trans stuff. People referring to her as a "he" and a "man", that's not ok.
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) April 11, 2014
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) April 11, 2014
Was I trying to make a serious point here? Yes, because it would seem like to me that if a woman had been raped by a member of the transgender community, this event might cause her to have Second Thoughts about her sympathies. In fact, maybe this unfortunate experience would cause a victim and her friends to question their entire liberal worldview, which is based on the idea that moral virtue consists chiefly of striking poses of political sympathy toward Oppressed Minorities and Other Victims of Society.
Maybe — and hey, I’m just throwing this out there, OK? — it makes more sense to look at human beings as individuals, rather than as members of collective identity groups. Maybe people who chatter constantly about “critical thinking” could apply some skeptical curiosity to the liberal habit of categorizing people as either (a) Victims of Oppression or (b) Perpetrators of Oppression on the basis of group membership. Is it possible that some gay people, for example, have problems more important than “homophobia”? Yes, I think this is possible, and I even think that if you studied the situation carefully, you would find that the vast majority of homosexuals aren’t really Victims of Oppression at all.
Far be it from me either (a) to foment transphobic bigotry, or (b) to engage in slut-shaming and victim-blaming. However, I would hope that @MadMelvina‘s experience with @DanaDanger might inspire her to reconsider her apparent belief that all transgendered people are Victims of Oppression in every circumstance. After all, if @MadMelvina‘s allegations are true, then she is the Victim, and @DanaDanger is actually the Oppressor. And I will repeat what I said before:
Some people have a “rescuer” tendency that leads them to get involved with damaged personalities. So if McCallum’s ex fled one abusive situation, only to end up in another (allegedly) abusive situation, this is perhaps predictable.
One does not have to be a perfect victim in order to be a victim. When a teenage hoodlum gets gunned down by rival hoodlums, we are not “blaming the victim” (nor are we “pro-drive-by-shooting”) if we say that such crimes illustrate the danger of adolescents becoming involved in youth gang activity. By the same token, when a teenage girl is sexually assaulted after getting passed-out drunk at a party, we are not “pro-rape” for mentioning the role of alcohol in the crime.
Why? Well, a careful reading of Dana McCallum’s August 2013 speech to a high school LGBT group indicates that McCallum has a long history of mental illness. The careful reader with a background in psychology might see elements of pathological narcissism, impulsive behavior and “boundary issues” in McCallum’s story. Would someone like that be capable of sexual assault? Certainly, I think so.
But wait a minute: Aren’t the mentally ill also an Official Victim Group for whom liberals are required to feel sympathy?
And if the alleged rapist is a mentally ill transgender, doesn’t that double victimhood trump the rights of a mere woman?
The logic of the Competitive Victimhood Derby has led us to this strange place, where a rape victim fears transphobia more than she fears that other women may fall prey to similar crimes.
PSYCHO-TRANNY RAPE RAMPAGE
Women Savagely Assaulted by Sex-Crazed Shemales
Yeah, that’s a tabloid headline that would sell some newspapers. And as crazy as the news has been lately, who knows?
Maybe these musings won’t cause any San Francisco liberals to have Second Thoughts about their worldview, but I hope at least I’ve demonstrated that my bigotry isn’t entirely ignorant.
And perhaps it isn’t really bigotry at all. Think about it.