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Posts tagged ‘transactivist transphobia’

Guest: Transactivism Shames Me

This is a post by a friend of mine who wrote this and asked me to post it, as he has no blog of his own.

I’m a half-Mexican, gay, F2M living not to far from a major city in the southwest right now (it’s NOT in California though, so don’t think I’m from San Fran or some gods forsaken place like that), and I’ve been able to spend most of my life passing as male until recently when I became waaaaaay to poor to afford the rather expensive habit of passing. I’ve got more curves than a mountain road, and there’s not a binder on this green earth that can work for me, so unless I’m willing to spend the big bucks that I don’t have there’s no hope for me really. And than of course my boss is Mormon and Chinese so if I wanted to pass as male I’d have to find me a new job ASAP, and at 22 with only a GED in the middle of a recession the odds aren’t looking that great.

But of course you never hear these things from the Trans-Community, because right now it’s all about the cock; who has one, who wants one, and who wants to get rid of theirs. It’s all about passing, and how horrible is it to have/not to have a cock. Every time I go on to a message board or got to a trans-community type deal all I hear is cockcockcockcockcock. And Okay I would like one, and I won’t lie and say I’ve never pulled down my pants to pee expecting my little buddy to be there, and phntom penis issues are a huge thing for me, but if this is a community where’s the support and discussion that’s supposed to happen?

Instead what the Trans-Communtiy really means is Macho F2M’s blaming everything on T and “just being a guy LOL” to M2F’s playing the opression olympics with the same feminists who used to back their causes when they weren’t trying to force the non-issues. Yes I just blamed the M2F’s for their own stupidity, sue me you’ll get a dog brush, maybe the Husky mix it’s used on and that’s about my collective worth right there, since at $10 for the brush, and $70 for the dog those are the most expensive items I own.

I’m neither of those so the few times I’ve been to trans-only spaces in real life I’ve either felt uncomfortable due to everyone holding classist and mysoginistic ideologies, and insulting me for not (too young, well I’m not on T yet so I’m still thinking with my WOMAN Brain, etc…), or they’ve been all M2F and I was the one always getting questioned about EVERYTHING I did, basically it was like being a woman in a room of men.

And really that’s the problem with the trans-community, it’s been taken over by a bunch of bigots claiming opression, and how they’re opressed more than everyone, and how no one understands so anyone claimning to be opressed is a bigot. You’re a racist if you claim that Native American are more likely to be raped and/or beaten than an M2F, you’re a misandrist if you say that those raised as boys and men feel and act like they are allowed certain privileges because that’s what culture does to you, and you’re a ugly man hating lesbian feminist, who’s also a gender essentialist if you think that the gender dichotomy is socialized and not natural. EVERYONE IS A BIGOT BUT ME!!!!!

Now let’s not mention that it’s really rather gender essentialist to say things like “The women who took on men’s jobs during WWII were trans men.” or saying that you were born a specific gender and that you can never be anything but that gender and it must be either man or woman, exclude all the many other forms of gender and is thus gender essentialist. And then of course there’s the whole homophobia thing even though us transpeople love to invoke the LGBT community whenever we want to say how bad our oppression REALLY is. Oh and than there’s the fun fact that most M2F’s will call themselves feminists while saying all of this.

And a big gripe of mine as a transman is that everything boils down to the M2F’s and those who support them. the F2M’s that get a voice in the community agree with the M2F’s who we are supposed to believe form the bulk of the community. And really how can you doubt that M2F’s don’t form the entire Trans-Community when every message board and trans-group you go to is dominated by them and only a small minority are F2M’s, and they’re the only ones that go onto T.V. and talk about how scary it is to be a transwoman (because women never feel the same fear, the fear of a man raping and beating you is only for transwomen), and they’re the ones gay men and straight men gawk at and talk to? M2F’s are the ones that get the acceptance of the popular vote and they are the ones you have to brown nose to if you want to be accepted as liberal and progressive, and open minded.

But of course they are the oppressed ones. They are the ones who go to feminist blogs and tell these women they are wrong on the female experience and that they are the right ones, and that they are the ones who make the issues for the Trans-community. The Trans-Community is fighting for the right of M2F’s to go into women’s bathrooms so they can avoid being hurt by men, but the only advice they have to F2M’s is that they should pass better or use the women’s bathrooms. It’s the transwomen who are going around and telling me and other transmen that they couldn’t understand why we’d want to be men, and calling us misogynist if we say that “well duh that’s why you’re going through all this to be a girl”. It’s the M2F’s that the fun-fems use as a way to say women are women, and men are men, and this is empowering, and it’s the M2F’s who are soaking it up and strutting around like no raised woman female would for fear of someone harming them, or because women are meant to feel ashamed of feeling powerful, and because strutting and saying you’re righter than people who were FORCED to be women is privileged.

But of course all this makes me a transphobe, because saying woman hating things while being a transwoman isn’t transphobic, and talking down about trans people who don’t fit in isn’t transphobic, and fetishizing transexuality isn’t transphobic, but saying “you have some major issues and your shit is wack yo” is transphobic. It’s oppressive to tell people that they must change so as to not hurt others, and that being a raging asshole doesn’t make you right it just means you’re a acting like a dick. Sorry was it too soon?

All of the above and more is why I’m transsexual and refuse to be in the Trans-Community, because the Trans-Community makes me feel bad about being trans and I’m not enough of a culty to stick with a group that wants to destroy me and everyone in its path.

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The Erasure of Dicks

In about forty different ways.

Now for your daily dose of transactivist transphobia!

This time it’s “the majority of transphobic violence is committed against MTFs.”

It’s a general sentiment, but Julia Serano has actually written this in her book Whipping Girl (very closely paraphrased). And it is an unexplodey piece of shit.

This claim is bullshit because of two things: first, it’s unsubstantiated; and second, if you actually consider the actual way the world works, it’s very likely false. For simplicity’s sake (and honesty’s), I’m going to consider “violence” to be specifically physical violence, because even I know that having something shouted at you from a passing car is not nearly as traumatizing and intimidating as being physically attacked.

The first problem is self-explanatory; let’s focus on the second. Without any actual evidence, for example a survey that takes into account the relative time spent outside versus online, we don’t have any idea how often MTFs:FTMs are attacked—we don’t actually know how often either of them are attacked. Surveys are not very enlightening when it comes to the most vulnerable and abused, because they are the least likely to have the leisure and safety to fill one out.

And that’s part of the problem. From my observation, corroborated by the FTMs I’ve had the pleasure to meet, MTFs are by far the most prominent voices in the trans community. Put simply, FAAB men are not heard or counted as much or as loudly as their male-born counterparts.

This is not a trend isolated to the trans community. Reporting of eating disorders are similarly confused on a class and race basis: because of the way eating disorders are reported, they are incorrectly assumed to be largely specific to upper-middle class young white women. Here are the problems with assuming eating disorder reporting is correct:

1. Reports are gathered from medical and psychiatric authorities. Consider monetary and time expenditure, as well as cultural values and expectations (stigmatization, bootstraps fuckery, et cetera).

2. Eating disorders are often well-hidden until an extreme point; for example, Lierre Keith has gone more than twenty-nine years with an eating disorder without anyone recognizing what it was.

3. Those who are typically victimized by “authorities” are more likely to be suspicious of medical and psychiatric authorities, for good reason, and thus more likely to hide their eating disorders, if they go to aforementioned establishments at all.

4. The majority of eating disorders are not recognized and acknowledged; severe emaciation and/or constant self-induced vomiting is required for it to be seen as a “real” eating disorder.

5. Whether or not someone’s eating disorder qualifies as a “real” eating disorder is also highly dependent on sex, size, age, race/ethnicity and class.

That’s a lot of societal crap standing in the way of that nice, neat conclusion. Fact is, street kids—generally the poorest of the poor and marginalized so much that the word doesn’t even work to describe it—have eating disorders. All the time. All of the street kids I’ve met have eating disorders; the vast majority of the street kids Aslan has met (dude, Denver Five Points Area) also have eating disorders; almost none of them were white. I’ve got way more than enough evidence that the “profile” of people with eating disorders is worth less than the bananas I ate yesterday.

And even then, street kids have one more thing working against them—something that FAAB men do, too: they’re usually starving anyway, so any intentional starvation on their part is obscured and rendered as invisible as the lives of street kids generally are.

Same with FTMs, which the people crowing about how MTFs are the primary target of trans-related violence always miss: when violence is perpetrated against FTMs, how much of it is just violence against women? How much violence against FAAB men is identified as “merely” another woman killed, raped, beaten?

Certainly, that’s what their attackers mean it to be; it’s virtually certain that an FTM’s attacker is going to be MAAB, and even more certain that he is going to be viewing the violence as not against someone who is trans as it is a woman. Generally, MTFs get beaten, raped and killed for being “freaks” and “fags”; FTMs get beaten, raped and killed because they’re girls. The reality of violence is different for MTFs and FTMs, and it is exceedingly male-centric to deny these two things: first, that MTFs are more visible because of their at-birth assignment (that is to say, as male); second, that MTFs are not the standard by which transphobic violence can be measured.

We can see that to deny these things is patriarchal, also, because of the history of homophobic violence and the focus of the recent gay rights movements. When gay men are beaten or killed, it is horrific, although not so much for rape (since sexual violence is still a big no-no in the hot-to-trot social justice scene); when lesbians are beaten, killed and raped, it’s more of the same. The rape of lesbian women is so institutionalized, in fact, that we have a fucking name for it: “corrective rape.” And you can bet how widely-used that is—I found it via surfing a bunch of feminist blogs.

What about the New Jersey Four? What about the lesbians who have been subjected to male violence because they were lesbians? What about the lesbians who have been subjected to male violence because they were women? What’s the fucking difference between those two things? The life of women—people who are put into boxes labeled “women,” a fucking social reality—that landscape is covered with so much blood and violence that it becomes virtually meaningless. Violence against women is normal; as it is said, “the water we swim in and the air we breathe.” When an MTF actually goes beyond a refusal to see and avoid dealing with the privilege and behaviors she was socialized into from birth, when she reaches the point of being just a woman, when that woman experiences rape, battery, abuse, murder at the hands of men, she isn’t experiencing it because she’s trans. She’s experiencing it because she’s a woman. That’s what life means; that’s what the social reality of “woman” is.

And it is important too to ask the questions: Who is doing the beating? Who is doing the raping? Who is doing the abusing? Who is doing the murdering?

If transactivists are genuinely interested in stopping trans-related violence, then the answer to that question cannot be fudged. You can’t argue these words are beating, raping and murdering you. I am doing no such thing and, furthermore, no person who ever reads these words and agrees will be doing any of those things to you, either. Get over yourself. You either care about trans-related violence or you don’t. And if you want to stick the responsibility of violence to people who are not perpetrating actual violence against transfolk, then you don’t care about ending that violence at all.

FTMs are not given this extra-special kind of respect by the holders of power (that is to say, MAAB men as a social reality) because they want to be one of the guys or whatever. They’re still seen as women. When they get attacked, they get attacked because they’re seen as women. And their safety is exponentially more at risk, because they are traveling into the domain of those who are most likely to beat, rape and kill them. Invisibility is paramount. Invisibility is passing, and passing is safety.

But when you’re an MTF, and you’re exploiting that invisibility to argue that you’re the most specialest and oppressed, you’re just acting like everyone born with a dick is trained to act. Which is, well… a dick.

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