So, yeah, that was yesterday.
In the last post, which was really focused on the reasons for the conflict around the Radfem meetings, I also mentioned a bit about the length of time for this series of exchanges, and touched very breifly on some of the reasons why these fights happen in the first place.
Thanks to one of the current loudmouths, there is a link from a post a few years back that purports to say why Trans activism is inimical to Feminism. What it really means, though, is that trans activism and radical feminism as practiced by these relatively few people that lag behind are utterly oppositional. THere is great chance for dialog and shared experience and all that, but underneath it all there is the simple fact that radical feminism as practiced by these people means that trans people are fundamentally nuts, deluded, and morally/ethically undesirable.
But that isn’t where it ends. The US Trans community, as a whole, has a very strong, visceral reaction to certain people that are actie within this community of radical feminists because, again, of history and the way that Radical Feminism has consistently worked towards the destruction of trans lives.
Four names make that list, and one of them is someone who has passed on. Daly, Raymond, Bindel, and Jefferies.
Mary Daly was an amazing woman. A lot of trans folk won’t say that, because for us, the harm that her work did to the lives of trans women is pretty hardcore and hard to forgive. Nevertheless, she was an amazing woman, and it often surprises radical feminists when trans people say that. She contributed some of the most important works to the overall effort of Feminism, and affects pretty much every major movement today.
However, she was a professor and a thesis advisor — and some say a lover at one point — of Janice Raymond. There are only a handful of names that are can be mentioned in trans spaces that will cause people with an eye to history to became filled with rage. I don’t mean merely getting angry, I mean rage — the sort of furious and abiding rage that often blocks out otherwise reasonable commentary.
Ms. Raymond was the author of the thesis. IT was published after she earned her doctorate using it, and it was a runaway best seller by the standards usually applied.
That book caused several changes in the early 1980’s, by establishing a kind of thought about trans people that still exists in the overall culture today and by providing some people with the socially acceptable rationale for what happened: slowly but surely, gender clinics, coverage in state medicaid programs, and similar provisions to help and assist trans people get through transition were shut down. A new classification was added to the DSM, for the first time — transness became a disorder as a result of this book’s publication and influence.
Today, Raymond continues her work on behalf of women she sees fit to towrk on behalf of, predominantly the sex slave trafficking that goes on all over the world and even within the US.
When you see accusations leveled against trans people that their words hurt females, keep in mind that the words of this one woman set back science, social acceptance, and rights by at least ten years, and in some areas more.
About half of all the major transphobic arguments used are derivied, in some way shape or form, from that book. It was in that book that one can find the goal of morally mandating transness out of existence. It is a book that has few comparatives in terms of the pure and unadulterated harm it caused to an entire class of people.
It was used to defend the specific exclusion of trans folk from the ADA. It was used to change policies that were otherwise fairly favorable to trans people thos some of the more difficult to deal with ones today. While it may be hyperbole to say she is trans enemy number one, it is certainly not to say that she’s generally held as in the top five of the people who can be most directly related to the number of deaths of trans women in the US today.
The other two are more currently active women who speak out in a very harsh and negative way about trans women. They don’t care about being nice or getting along with other people in the world of feminism — there is rarely, if ever, any dogwhsitling about their views, and they are exceedingly unkind to trans people as a whole.
Raymond has refused to back away from her piece, which targeted a few trans women. Beth Elliot, who had to deal with far worse attacks in a far more hostile environment, was used as an example of how to pull stigma and shame from the dominant social discourse and apply it to trans people, thus creating a sense for the radical feminists that they had broad support.
The tactics haven’t changed. Intimidation, shame, efforts to shift the law in a way to minimize any kind of difference. The paper submitted to the UN, which invokes the requirement of surgery for anything, the use of “penis” as an immediate unmitigated damning factor, the general use of male and female in gendered ways (and denying that they still have strong connections to gender, as well as denying that they, themselves, are a social construct) — these are all things that have been done since the early 1970’s in small spaces and large ones to attack trans women.
Trans men are not immune to these attacks, but within the scope of this particular version of radical feminism (which is, in fact Conservative feminism, lacking the radical aspects that it once had and working against any sort of change to the current gendered structure of Patriarchy) they are “innocent victims” who were “not strong enough” to live their lives as women.
It also means that they are going to see everything through a faulty lens of sex, which is defined around the presence or absence of a penis, and they will ignore additional factors.
It is important to note that intersectionality came about because of radical feminism as it is practiced by these laggards. Radical Feminism is hostile to intersectionality, because it posits multiple possible sources for the reasons that women are oppressed within patriarchy, and in this fundamentalist view of radical feminism, that faults men less for the harm they do to women.
Key to this is that all females have the same experience. Current loudmouths will say that experience is in being female. This ignores that being female itself means different things in different cultures, in different social classes, and in different ethnic and racial segments. It homogenizes the existence of women into a single whole, and says that the solution is just this thing.
Today I got up and I am greeted by someone, once again, for the second time asserting a falsehood regarding cis privilege — that being cis is centered around the existence of males and females.
THis is an outright lie, but it is an example of the way that everything is lensed through the male-female dichotomy by this ideology. In radical feminist views, the only thing that matters is male over female.
Privilege discourse was also something that came out of the flaws in Radical feminism as practiced, and because of its value in describing the male female dichotomy, it was somewhat adopted, but it was altered in such a way that it becomes indistinguishable from sexism. In a radical feminist view point, there is nothing wrong with that lack of distinction.
Yet in the rest of feminism — about which this current generation generally has less than kind things to say and which they admit are more liberal than they are by calling them libfems — that distinction is important, because sexism is a system of active oppression.
Raymond’s work set tone towards trans women. Daly’s work set the tone regarding the ideas of uniform commonality and erasure of other cultures and experiences. Dworkin, whose works I have come to find highly revealing in the way that those aspects feed into the larger scheme of things, narrows the focus and keeps the ideology as singular as possible.
Bindel and Jeffries have been feeling as if they are under constant attack, and they posit themselves in a way that is then modeled by others. ”I am just trying to help women!” they say, while they actively (and generally less visibly) say the same things about other women that men say.
All of this is why when within the trans community, those trans people who allow their own internalized shame and stigma to drive them to say that they do not want to be associated with other kinds of trans people get into fights with the wider community, they always use the same basic arguments that radfems are using.
This is why. THe damage done by Raymond’s work held sway until the very late 1990’s. Today, they rely on people who are not generally considered friendly to trans people: Ray Blanchard, Michael Bailey, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Ken Zucker. Nearly every single one of whom picks up and uses the same core idea about trans people that was popularized by Raymond.
Nearly every major prejudiced argument used by any side in the battle came from Raymond’s work. The bathroom fight. The rationales for “coming back later for trans people”. Indeed, I’ll even tell you that the idea of it being about the LGB versus the T stems from the stuff that is based that long ago.
All of this is why trans people tend to lose their cool. Radical feminism as these people practice it is where we lay the greatest amount of social oppression, because it changed policies, it shut down organizing, it undermined communication, and it means to do it on purpose.
With malice aforethought.
The two communities are as opposite as any can be, with one of them fighting for its existnece, and the other trying to erase it.
This is why, when you see such stuff, trans people can get a little wild, a lot angry. When they show up in a space and say they are being “trans critical” (which is pretty much like lining up a bunch of men to speak about women’s issues) It is little different to us from having a cross burned on your lawn — it is meant to threaten, to intimidate, to silence, to erase.
With malice aforethought.
SO supporting these kinds of actions, is supporting people whose very ideology is inherently transphobic.
And that means think about it.