NBJC Presidential Midterm Report Card
September 8, 2011
What’s The Big Deal About Transgender Rights?
September 12, 2011

A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention*

Over the last year or so, I have read a number of blog entries and Facebook rants about the so-called “transsexual versus transgender” issue. For those who are unaware of this debate, it stems from a subset of transsexuals who feel that the transsexual community is not served well by being included under the transgender umbrella (some even go so far as to insist that there is a mutually-exclusive dichotomy between transsexual and transgender people). Along similar lines, these transsexuals also argue that inclusion under the LGBT umbrella does a disservice to the transsexual community, as it conflates two very different issues (i.e., sexual orientation and gender identity), and emboldens many cissexual LGB folks to appropriate trans identities and experiences, and to claim to speak on our behalf.

I have purposefully tried to avoid entering into this debate, primarily because many (albeit certainly not all) of the umbrella critiques that I have read invoke horrible stereotypes, and sometimes even hate speech, to help bolster their case. I have seen blatantly homophobic and biphobic remarks made by some anti-umbrella advocates. One post I saw described bisexuals as sexual predators who fetishize and prey upon transsexuals – this comment draws on a long history of monosexist stereotypes of bisexuals as “sex crazed” and desiring “anything that moves,” and it deeply offended me as a bisexual trans woman.

Along the same lines, anti-umbrella advocates often self-describe themselves as “real transsexuals” and dismiss those who support the transgender and LGBT umbrellas as being posers and mere fetishists. Some even cite Ray Blanchard’s sexualizing and scientifically incorrect theory of autogynephilia to make their point. It is one thing to disagree with another person’s views about whether or not transsexuals should seek inclusion under the transgender and LGBT umbrellas. But when people stoop to the level of sexualizing those they disagree with, or dismissing them as “fakes,” then they are engaging in name calling rather than intellectual debate, and I want absolutely no part of it.

So like I said, I have mostly avoided this debate because of the name calling, disparaging stereotypes and nonconsensual sexualization that are sometimes associated with it. But recently, I read a post where someone referred to me as being firmly in the “transsexual” (rather than “transgender”) camp. This was the second time that I had seen such a claim, and frankly, it surprised me. Granted, in my book Whipping Girl, I argued that the transsexual experience is different from other transgender trajectories, and I also decried the manner in which some cissexual gays and lesbians appropriate transsexual identities. But I never once advocated that transsexuals should completely split off from the transgender or LGBT communities. Rather, my intention was constructive criticism – I hoped to make those alliances more aware and respectful of transsexual voices and perspectives.

So, for the record, I am in the pro-umbrella camp, even though I acknowledge that sometimes umbrella politics are messy and less than equitable. In other words, I believe that the pros of umbrella politics outweigh the cons. But, of course, that is my opinion, and others may disagree. If we are going to have a serious discussion about this issue (i.e., one that does not sink into the abyss of sexualization, stereotypes and name calling), then it seems to me that there are at least three major issues that need to be addressed, but which have been largely absent from the debate thus far.

1) Activism requires alliances.

Anyone who has ever been an activist for any social justice issue can tell you that minority groups, on their own, are never able to fully achieve the positive change they seek in the world without first forming alliances with those who do not share their experience. This becomes even more crucial when the minority group in question is especially small. Even the most liberal of estimates suggest that transsexuals make up about 0.2% of the population; more conservative estimates suggest that we are far rarer than that. Therefore, it is simply not possible for us to challenge deeply entrenched and institutionalized societal cissexism/transphobia without enlisting cissexual allies.

One of the most constructive ways to build alliances is through umbrella groups, where several marginalized groups that share similar concerns band together to work on their shared issues. After all, there is strength in numbers. Transgender activism came about as a way bring together transsexuals with other gender-variant groups (e.g., crossdressers, intersex people, two-spirit people, genderqueers, butch women, femme men, etc.), not because we are “all the same,” but in order to fight together against a mutual problem we share: The way in which our society marginalizes all people who do not conform to gender norms. While not perfect, that coalition has positively impacted most of our lives. One could even make the case that none of us would even be here openly having this debate in a public forum if it were not for the last two decades of transgender activism.

Many transsexuals also feel that the LGBT umbrella is another useful alliance. After all, it is the common assumption that a person’s sex, gender and sexuality should all nicely and neatly align that lies at the root of the oppression that all of us face. Transsexuals who want to secede from the LGBT umbrella keep citing the fact that sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity. This may be true, but this point has nothing to do with the rationale behind why trans people were initially included in the umbrella – specifically, because LGBT individuals are all discriminated against for similar reasons (i.e., because, in one way or another, we challenge the assumption that sex, gender and sexuality should all be perfectly aligned). This is evident in the way that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are often targeted for discrimination for their gender nonconformity, and in the way that transsexuals are often targeted for discrimination because people fear that sleeping with us might “make them gay.” In other words, while sexual orientation and gender identity may be different things, homophobia and transphobia are very much intertwined.

That is the argument for transsexual inclusion under the transgender and LGBT umbrellas. Those transsexuals who oppose those umbrellas must answer this: If we secede from those alliances, then who should we ally with? What new umbrella groups should we form in order to collectively fight the marginalization we face?

To date, I have only ever seen one opponent of the transgender and LGBT umbrellas suggest an alternative alliance that transsexuals should work toward. That person is Vivianne Namaste, an amazing Canadian trans activist, writer and theorist who is sadly underappreciated here in the States. In her book Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions and Imperialism, she claims that transsexuals have not been well served by the transgender and LGBT alliances, and she argues that transsexuals should instead forge “alliances with advocates for the homeless, activists working for the decriminalization of prostitution, and those who work on prison reform and/or abolition.”

While I find her argument to be very reasonable, I have a sneaking suspicion that most anti-umbrella advocates posting on the web these days would not embrace such an alliance. Indeed, an underlying sentiment in a lot of their posts seems to be that in order for transsexuals to be considered “normal” or “desirable,” we must dissociate ourselves from the undesirable sexual deviants and fetishists that supposedly reside within the transgender and LGBT umbrellas. So it is hard for me to envision these same anti-umbrella advocates whose posts I have read suddenly deciding to join forces with sex worker, prison reform and homeless activists.

It is never in the interest of the powers-that-be to simply give some minority group equal rights or to treat them as fully legitimate individuals. Anyone who has spent any time doing front-line activism can tell you that, in order to create positive change for transsexuals in this world, we need to band together with other disadvantaged groups to fight for our mutual interests. If anti-umbrella advocates want to be taken seriously, then they must move beyond simply decrying the transgender and LGBT alliances, and instead propose serious alternative alliances that are both realistic and which will help us achieve our collective goals. Other than Namaste (who, as far as I can tell, has not been involved in the recent umbrella debates on the web), I have yet to see any such alternative offered from anti-umbrella advocates.

2) Transsexual is an umbrella too

Most of the critiques that I have read arguing that transsexuals should abandon the transgender and LGBT umbrellas seem not to take into account the fact that transsexual is an umbrella too! We are a disparate group of individuals who share one thing in common: We all identify and live as members of the sex other than the one we were assigned at birth. Other than that, we differ in almost every way. Some of us are conservative while others of us are liberal. Some of us are middle- or upper-class while others of us are poor. Some of us are white while others of us are people of color. Some of us are straight while others of us are queer. Some of us are vanilla while others of us are kinky. Some of us are out as transsexual while others of us are stealth. Some of us are able to “pass” or “blend in” as cissexual while others of us are not. Some of us are very feminine, or very masculine, while others of us are less conventional in our gender expression. Like the population as a whole, transsexuals are highly diverse, and we should respect that diversity within our own community.

Some of the anti-umbrella posts that I have read presume that transsexuals are one monolithic group, and that we *all* want out of the transgender and LGBT umbrellas, when this is clearly not the case. A lot of us prefer to work toward making these umbrellas function better for transsexuals, rather than abandoning them entirely.

Without a doubt, the most disturbing aspect of this debate is that some anti-umbrella advocates try to erase this diversity in perspectives and experiences in our community by arrogantly claiming that they are “real” transsexuals, and that those who take a pro-umbrella position must be “fake” transsexuals. As I alluded to in the beginning of this post, this “real”/”fake” distinction is often policed via homophobic remarks and blatant sexualization, although it is often times policed in other ways.

The most devious way in which this “real”/”fake” distinction is enforced is through a redefining of the word “transgender.” Anti-umbrella advocates often use the term transgender, not as an umbrella term that includes transsexuals and other gender-variant people (i.e., the traditional definition of transgender over the last two decades), but rather as a pejorative to describe people who are merely “gender benders,” “drag queens,” “crossdressed men,” “fetishists” and/or “queers.” In other words, this use of the word transgender implies that transgender-identified transsexuals are “fakes” – people who pretend to be transsexual, but who are actually something else entirely. This wordplay allows anti-umbrella advocates to outright dismiss any pro-umbrella sentiments on the grounds that the person voicing that opinion is merely “a transgender” rather than a “real transsexual.”

About two years ago, on a trans-related email list, I was having an argument with another trans woman about some unrelated issue. And suddenly, out of the blue, she suggested that I was not a “real transsexual” because I still had a penis (she mentioned being on my website, so I presume that she figured this out from viewing the video of me performing my spoken word piece “Cocky”). Even though I have pretty thick skin, the accusation that I must not be a “real transsexual” really got to me. It stung bad. Like most of us, I have had to deal with so much shit in my life, first as an isolated trans child, then later as an outspoken transsexual adult. And to have someone, in one swift comment, try to take that all away from me, to invalidate my identity and life experiences, felt like a violation. In writing my response to her, I found myself wanting to mention that, after many years of not being able to afford it, I was finally scheduled to have SRS later that year. But I quickly decided against it for three reasons: 1) it is nobody’s fucking business what I do with my body!, 2) it would simply reinforce the fucked up notion that one has to live up to other people’s stupid criteria – whether it be surgery, or a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, or “passability,” or heterosexuality, or conventional femininity – in order to be deemed a “real transsexual,” and 3) it really wouldn’t have mattered what I said. She was trying to discredit me, to make the argument we were having about me, rather than the subject we were initially arguing about. She would not be satisfied with merely voicing her side of the argument – she also wanted to delegitimize me because I disagreed with her.

People who wish to discredit those they disagree with, rather than engage in honest and serious debate with them, always seem to play the “real” card. This is why right-wing conservatives claim that Obama is not a “real American,” or that liberals are not “real patriots.” It is why people will claim that hip-hop, or rock-and-roll, or any other music they do not like, is not “real music.” And it is why any person who does not conform to conventional assumptions about sex, gender and sexuality – whether they be transsexual, transgender, LGB or feminist – will inevitably be accused of not being a “real” woman or man.

Transsexuals are people. And like people more generally, we differ with regard to our sexualities, our gender expressions, and our perspectives and opinions. Therefore, we must stop referring to this debate about umbrellas as the “transsexual versus transgender” debate, as that is a misnomer. This is a debate between transsexuals who support transsexual inclusion within the transgender and LGBT umbrellas and those who do not. And anyone who attempts to play the “real transsexual” card should be summarily dismissed, as they are merely engaging in name calling rather than serious debate.

3) What this debate is really about

When I hear anti-umbrella advocates claim that transsexuals don’t want anything to do with the LGB community, it always strikes me as odd given the fact that so many transsexuals are LGB- and/or queer-identified.

Most modern studies examining the prevalence of LGB orientation claim that less that 5% of the (predominantly cissexual) population identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. The numbers can get higher—up to 15% of the population—when same-sex attraction or experiences (rather than identity) are measured. In contrast, in virtually every survey and research study I have seen (and I’ve seen quite a few), the percentage of LGB-identified transsexuals is somewhere between 30% to 60%. About ten years ago, I was on a large email list that focused on MTF transitioning, and in a survey there, about one-third of the transsexual women identified as heterosexual, one-third as bisexual, and one-third as lesbian.

There are always problems with measuring the prevalence of sexual orientation, so I would not claim to know exactly how many transsexuals are LGBQ-identified. But I think it’s safe to say that the percentage is way higher among transsexuals than for the greater cissexual population, and that it may even approach or surpass the 50% mark.

On top of this, there are many heterosexually-oriented transsexuals who identify as queer, often because they spent their formative pre-transition years within the lesbian/gay/queer communities. For instance, many trans men who are exclusively attracted to women (and therefore heterosexual in orientation) nevertheless identify as queer and continue to participate in queer communities, usually because they were a part of those communities pre-transition and/or because they are partnered to, or have a preference for, queer-identified women. There are also some heterosexually-oriented trans women who spent their pre-transition years in the gay male community, although this admittedly seems to occur far less often than trans men who spend their pre-transition years in lesbian/dyke communities.

This last point may shed some light onto the proverbial “elephant in the room” in this whole umbrella debate: It is almost exclusively a trans woman phenomenon. Now, I am not saying that there aren’t any trans men out there who want to secede from the LGBT umbrella, but frankly, every single anti-umbrella post that I have read has been penned by a trans woman. Now, there may be a number of factors that contribute to this disparity, but I suspect that a major reason is the fact that, in both gay male communities and lesbian/dyke communities, masculinity is celebrated and femininity is dismissed. This generally leads to greater acceptance of transsexual men (who express themselves and/or are perceived as masculine), whereas transsexual women (who express themselves and/or are perceived as feminine) are often ignored or shunned.**

Many transsexual women I have talked to who explored dating in gay male circles during their pre-transition days have told me that they received very little interest from gay men because they were seen as too feminine. In contrast, pre-transition transsexual men do not typically have such a problem dating within lesbian/dyke communities, where butch and trans masculine gender expression are often celebrated.

Here is a thought experiment: Imagine gay men en masse warmly welcoming and celebrating heterosexually-oriented post-transition transsexual women into their communities. Sounds quite farcical, doesn’t it? And yet, heterosexually-oriented post-transition transsexual men are very much welcomed and celebrated in many contemporary queer women’s communities.

Given all this, I think that it might be useful to reframe this debate. Arguing that LGBT folks are inherently anti-transsexual (and therefore, transsexuals should secede from that umbrella) is patently untrue. While some LGBT individuals may express anti-transsexual sentiments, other LGBT folks downright embrace certain transsexuals. Instead, a more accurate description is as follows: Negative attitudes toward trans female and trans feminine individuals runs rampant throughout much of the cissexual queer community. As a result, many heterosexually-oriented trans women never feel welcome in, nor do they ever associate themselves with, the queer community (whereas heterosexually-oriented trans men often do). And queer-identified trans women typically have to work hard to be seen as legitimate members of the queer community (whereas queer-identified trans men are often celebrated within those same queer circles).

This leads to one final point: As a trans woman who has had to fight tooth and nail to try to get the greater cis queer women’s community to acknowledge and embrace their trans sisters, the idea of removing transsexuals from the LGBT umbrella greatly concerns me. If it were to happen, I believe that it would severely undermine the modest gains that queer-identified trans women have made thus far. So we are left with a dilemma: Heterosexual trans women don’t feel like they are a part of the queer community, and so they understandably want to remove transsexuality from the LGBT umbrella. Yet, if such a move were to occur, it would have a strong negative impact on queer-identified trans women who still to this day struggle to be acknowledged, accepted and appreciated within LGBT circles.

Reconciling this debate

Unfortunately, these umbrella debates have created rifts (or exacerbated previously existing rifts) between heterosexual and queer-identified trans women, and between transsexual women and non-transsexual transgender people on the trans female/feminine spectrum. I think that there are a few things we can do to reconcile these debates and heal the rifts that currently exist within our communities.

First, we should respect the diversity of identities, sexualities and life histories that exist among those of us on the trans female/feminine spectrums. We should recognize that many transsexual women have been, or currently are, crossdressers, drag performers, androgynous, butch, or genderqueer-identified—such life experiences do not make a person any less transsexual. Furthermore, cissexual women vary in their sexualities and identities, so we should expect transsexual women to vary in these respects too. Heterosexual transsexuals should stop trying to convince the world that all transsexuals are straight and want out of the LGBT umbrella. Similarly, queer-identified transsexuals sometimes play up the idea that transsexuality is inherently subversive and super-duper-queer in order to gain acceptance within queer circles (I should know, as did quite a bit of that during the first two years after my transition)—this erases the life experiences of our straight-identified trans sisters.

Second, rather than pitting trans female/feminine communities against one another, we should all stand together to challenge our shared problem: trans-misogyny within the greater cissexual LGBT community.

Finally, we should recognize that umbrellas exist, not because all of its members share the same identity, but rather because its members are marginalized in similar/related ways by society, and have formed an alliance to challenge the mutual problems they face. I believe that transgender and LGBT are useful alliances in this regard, but they need not be the only ones. I am a big proponent of creating alliances between cis and trans women to challenge the traditional sexism/misogyny we mutually face. Many people (including myself) think that transsexuals should ally ourselves with intersex activists, disability activists, and fat activists to challenge the cultural belief that certain bodies are “better,” more “natural,” or more valid than others. And Namaste’s suggestion that transsexuals should ally with other groups who have been criminalized by society (e.g., sex worker, prison reform and homeless activists) is another potentially productive one.

If the goal is forwarding transsexual and/or trans women’s rights and perspectives, then we should focus our energies on creating more and stronger alliances, rather than tearing down existing ones.

-julia

*note: I called this piece an “intervention” as a shout-out to Vivianne Namaste, who often uses that phrase to describe her own writings and activism.

**to be clear, I am not claiming that all trans women are feminine, or all trans men are masculine. But people do tend to perceive trans women as being feminine, or attempting to be feminine (even when we are not), and vice versa for trans men.

cross-posted from Whipping Girl

122 Comments

  1. WomanBornTS says:

    Your ignorance shows in assuming that all Transsexuals that wish no association with the LGBT are homophobic. Could it be that you are the one with the prejudice problem?

  2. WomanBornTS says:

    Seriously you helped to create all the infighting while claiming to be a seperatist. The truth comes out though in your posts and opposition to those of us who really wish no association with the LGBT. Funny thing is I think we scared you straight back into showing your true pro LGBT colors just like your showing them now. The LGBT will be lucky if its not sued into oblivion for adding Transsexuals without all of our consent. T

  3. WomanBornTS says:

    I have a problem with the ease at which you put Trans before women. I never identified as “Trans” I identified as female so there is no trans first it was female first. Yes I had to transition to become seen as a woman but the transition itself was only a result of having a cross sexed identity not the identity itself. Since I transitioned and I live in the world of women I put ending discrimination against all women first and see trans at best as a subgroup of that for people who aren’t 100% percent sure of the sex they identify as. You might take that as a snub or you might come to see being a woman first is the real bridge and allie builder. I am a member of 51% of the population why should I settle for the less than 5% the LGBT represents when by the discussion it should be quite obvious doesn’t represent me or respect my wishes and my individual rights as a U.S citizen?

  4. WomanBornTS says:

    Valerie I have flat out been told to shut the fuck up and just disappear cause that’s what straight transsexuals are supposed to do. Sorry but I think its time for some straight Transsexuals to stand up as role models for those kids being ran through the Transgender mill and being told their sexuality is open to be changed. Try telling a “Gay Identified” person their sexuality is malluable. Its time to be rid of transgender and its practice of reparitive therapy on those of us who are straight. We are now here and telling you to cut the shit out.

    • valeriekeefe says:

      I have no problem with the 23% of trans women who are straight. I have a problem with those among them, like yourself, aping heterosexist and cissexist tropes to get a gig.

      • WomanBornTS says:

        In the LGBT and Transgender movements there may be a 23% number but in the real world there is way more of us than that. So what you are pointing to is how Transgender negatively effects transsexual research by adding queer bias to it.

      • WomanBornTS says:

        Valerie within the GBLT and Transgender groups there is most definetely a heterophobic view. Also there is more than a few voices that will tell you know matter what you do you will always be your original listed birth sex. Remember the only way to call anyone transgender is to refer them back to that original listed birth sex even if they no longer are legally it. Also there are people that solely identify as Transgender and that are telling others its okay to refer to us as “Transgender children,” Transgender women,” and “Trans Women.’ Just exactly how is that not a violation of someones gender identity that simply identifies as the sex they live as? Transgender by its very nature violates the concept of respecting someones gender identity. It is also giving researchers the false belief that we all see ourselves as being gender queer. Read the work and words of Dr. Walter Bockting.As for your 23% of us are heterosexual that might be true if you only look at those who are willing to take part in Transgender research and Transgender groups but fail to count those who do not participate in them because they see it as discrimination against them by LGBT, Transgender groups and the practioneers that support it even though it should be seen as a clear cut ethics and civil rights violation by all of them.

  5. WomanBornTS says:

    If there truly is more than one way to be a Transsexual then surely there must be a way to be one that isn’t attached to the LGBT or the Transgender movements.

  6. WomanBornTS says:

    First how can I secede from a politically based movement I never gave my consent to be included in? No one is born Transgender they choose to be called it and aligned with it and they choose to violate the wishes of those of us who they never asked if we wanted to be a part of it. Isn’t it illegal to include everyone of a small minority into a political movement if not why shouldn’t it be? Also I’ve never heard of a non incorporated LGBT organization how is it right for corporations to claim private citizens as members without their consent? Why isn’t obvious to everyone that the LGBT in and off itself has now reached the point that it is a monopoly and monopolys are illegal in America. How is it even legal to teach Transgender in American schools with all this considered? Also considering all of this how are those that claim to practice Transgender healthcare not in serious violation of professional ethics and patients rights? Just because I’m Transsexual doesn’t mean I owe another Transsexual the time of day let alone the right to claim me in a political alliance with that person. The LGBT and Transgender movements are a joke that could care less about my individual rights or the rights of other Transsexuals all it cares about is building upon its incorporated queer branding. Its time to take transgender activists and those who’ve supported them to the woodshed of public opinion and the American court system and give them the long overdue spanking they deserve.

  7. Guest says:

    First how can I secede from a politically based movement I never gave my consent to be included in? No one is born Transgender they choose to be called it and aligned with it and they choose to violate the wishes of those of us who they never asked if we wanted to be a part of it. Isn’t it illegal to include everyone of a small minority into a political movement if not why shouldn’t it be? Also I’ve never heard of a non incorporated LGBT organization how is it right for corporations to claim private citizens as members without their consent? Why isn’t obvious to everyone that the LGBT in and off itself has now reached the point that it is a monopoly and monopolys are illegal in America. How is it even legal to teach Transgender in American schools with all this considered? Also considering all of this how are those that claim to practice Transgender healthcare not in serious violation of professional ethics? Just because I’m Transsexual doesn’t mean I owe another Transsexual the time of day let alone the right to claim me an a political alliance with that person. The LGBT is a joke that could care less about my individual rights or the rights of other Transsexuals all it cares about is building upon its incorporated queer branding. Its time to take transgender activists and those who’ve supported them to the woodshed of public opinion and give them the long overdue spanking they deserve.

  8. NONONO says:

    Transvestites have re-named themselves Transgender, a lot of them them are straight. Kicked out the Transsexuals who btw WERE the original ‘T’ in LGBT. It never stood for transgender. Always Transsexual. And appropriated Transsexual struggle by stealing the word Transphobic. This is Transvestites that have stole the word Transphobic. It is a JOKE. Now LGB people who SUPPORT the Transsexuals who were the original ‘T’ are called Transphobic by (very often straight) Transvestites, if they SUPPORT TRANSSEXUALS!!!!!

    You couldn’t make it up!!! Straight people GTF out of our LGBT community!!!!! Just GTF out and leave us alone. You are causing so much damage it is unbelieveable. We made political decisions in the 70’s & 80’s to not include you for this very reason we are seeing in 2012.

    I SUPPORT TRANSSEXUALS!!!!!!! I don’t support Transvestites in my community!! I’m therefore NOT TRANSPHOBIC AM I???

    Jesus Christ! Go AWAY!!!

    My heart goes out to transsexuals. It really does. They are a tiny minority being overridden by straight people!!!

  9. Suzan Cooke says:

    You know I’d be very happy if people would simply make the effort to say transsexual and transgender, use TG/TS and may be even LGBT/T.

    I’m tired of all the fighting

  10. Anonymous says:

    How does saying ‘we’re different’ equate to bigotry?.. Why are so many umbrella transgender folks incensed at the idea of transsexuals being different?.. Why is it so important to you that we all agree to identify the same?.. No one I’ve seen is saying one side is better than or worse, merely different. It takes more than shopping at the same store to create an alliance. 

  11. Oooooh I have an idea! Let’s lock all the homophobic anti-umbrella transsexuals in a room with all the transphobic separtist lesbians. It would be absolutely hilarious!!

    We all know what would happen, right? Both groups would be like, “hey, wait a minute. I’m a hateful bigot; you’re a hateful bigot. Maybe we’re not so different, after all! Let’s join together and form a united front of intolerance toward every human being who is not a rigid, paranoid misanthrope!”

  12. Anonymous says:

    Try. That. Non-Op. Logic. On. An. OB-GYN. Or. Any. Straight. Guy.

  13. Anonymous says:

    For MTF transsexuals, the answer would seem obvious – align with women’s groups. Aren’t ‘they’ who we claim to be?. Women face discrimination in the work force and in representation in media just as we do so how are ‘their’ issues not our own?.. That said, alignment is by no means exclusive. We can align with the GLBT community on some issues and with minorities on others as well, this isn’t a football team after all.

    • Shaed Greenwood says:

      Some of the separatists here seem like they would have been more comfortable in the women’s groups of the 60s, when lesbians were described as the “lavender menace,” than with modern incarnations of feminist/womanist activism.

  14. […] – By Jos Truitt On Monday, September 26th, 2011 With 0 Comments Julia Serano has a great piece over at The Transadvocate suggesting an intervention into the transgender vs. transsexual conflict. She does a fantastic job […]

  15. […] A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention […]

  16. Roman says:

    Living in a city where the number of transmen roughly equals 1 (me). And in a country where the transguys are almost all young , the dominant trans* voices are women. And they shout down one another, they shout down transguys, they shout down people of colour.
    And the defining point, to me, seems to be genitals. In a country with socialised medicine, where it’s moderately easier to get GRS, some transwomen who have had GRS hold themselves superior to transwomen who haven’t, and to transmen, for whom GRS is a less common because the results are so much less than ideal.

    I agree that GLB people can often be completely unwilling to support our causes, but as a gay transman, splitting off from the umbrella would leave me right at the bottom of the heap. As it is, I at least have the ultra-femme gay boys alongside me.

  17. I m late to this party, so I will just say I agree with all of Julia’s sentiments.  I have only one thing to add.

    Privilege.

    The people who argue for separatism tend to be transwomen of a privileged history.  Either they lived, reluctantly/dysphorically, with male (and white) privileges.  They want to regain some of that power by designating themselves leaders and delegitimizeing any who disagree with them. 

    As for your second point.  In my humble opinion, one reason acknowledging any…internal diversity…among us transsexual women does not happen relates to Blanchards theory. Or, rather the overreaction to it.  Proving him wrong has been interpreted as proving that all transsexuals are the same. 

  18. Anne says:

    ” So who are these women I wonder? these so called “real transsexuals” who are so up in arms to leave the umbrella of shame? I never seem to meet them in person in any circles I travel. ” ~Michelle Love

    Could that be because those women do not travel in YOUR circle of “trans” and are “traveling” else where? Oh!  BTW, another reason might be that they are NO LONGER “trans”iting anything other than perhaps, the globe. 

    ‘It seems they only speak such hateful speech on line… ” 

    Excuse me, but that is a very seriuously flawed, disingenuous and totally UNSUBSTANTIATED ACCUSATION that YOU are making.

    “If that is the case,…”  

    If WHAT is the case”  WHAT “case”???

    “.. it would seem their separation is complete. So what’s all the fuss. I assume they have not only fully transitioned very successfully, but they are also beautiful, happily married, and completely stealth. Or are they ?”   

    WELL…I AM, 🙂

    “If they are, did they ever come out to anyone in their transitions? ”

    I have, RARELY, and only under exreme duress.

    “…have they ever faced rejection?”   OF COURSE

    “…Were they ever homeless and hungry ?”  YES

    Does anybody know their pasts? ”  Only those that NEED to know

    “…do their husbands/boyfriends/lovers know what their identities used to be?” 

    No, but they do know that I have a “hisory”.

    “… How do they explain why they cant get pregnant?  EASY…I am waaayyy too old.
    “…What do they say when a simple back round check reveals their old name, gender marker, and possibly a photo or two ?”  NEVE HAPPENS

    “… None of us can outrun our pasts.”  So YOU say.

    “… You can decide to trade one closet for another, but what kind of life is that?” 

    Frst of all it is not a closet!!!  STOP makng BAD assumtions, and presumptions  about others and about things that you now so little about and from a PERSONALLY LIMITED PERSPECTIVE.

    “…For me the hero’s of the trans(fill in the blank) movement are people like Amanda Simpson, Julia Serano, Lynn Conway, Calpernia Addams, and Andrea James, to name a few. Women who live out and proud and UN ASHAMED of who they are and who their community is made up of.  Sorry kid, these TRANS “women” that you so admire are the ones stuck in their own personally defined and constructed,  “tranny ghetto”.  But more power to them.  They have defined their lives, and seem to be quite happy.  If it works for them, MAAAVELOUS! 

    It “just ain’t me,babe.”  It just simply is NOT who I am.  BTW, Michelle.  Have you ever heard of Ashely Love?  Any relation?  No?  Hmmm…I guess I should have known.  Sorry

    • “”Could that be because those women do not travel in YOUR circle of
      “trans” and are “traveling” else where? Oh!  BTW, another reason might
      be that they are NO LONGER “trans”iting anything other than perhaps, the
      globe. “”

      It might be, but I tend to doubt it. I travel the globe quite a bit myself.
      Probably more than you or anyone you know. I have so many frequent flyer miles that I flew myself 1st class round trip to Bangkok for my surgery. And I may do it again, just to annoy you!

      “”‘It seems they only speak such hateful speech on line… ” 
      Excuse me, but that is a very seriuously flawed, disingenuous and totally UNSUBSTANTIATED ACCUSATION that YOU are making.””

      First of all, why are you yelling? and secondly what I wrote is my experience.
      I don’t ever hear anyone trans or otherwise ever make these remarks to my face.  Would you like to volunteer ? I live in LA. Los Feliz to be exact. We could meet for a latte?

      “””…do their husbands/boyfriends/lovers know what their identities used to be?” 
      No, but they do know that I have a “hisory”.””

      a “history” ???  lol!!!!   why, because your old???  lol !!!
      don’t you mean a hysterectomy !!

      “””… None of us can outrun our pasts.”  So YOU say.””

      so say we all, but you did say you were old, so I guess most of your records were before computers.

      “”STOP makng BAD assumtions, and
      presumptions  about others and about things that you now so little
      about and from a PERSONALLY LIMITED PERSPECTIVE””

      you might want to consider taking your  own advise. THAT was one LONG
      incorrect assumption about me.

       “””…For me the hero’s of the trans(fill in the blank) movement are
      people like Amanda Simpson, Julia Serano, Lynn Conway, Calpernia Addams,
      and Andrea James, to name a few. Women who live out and proud and UN
      ASHAMED of who they are and who their community is made up of.  Sorry
      kid, these TRANS “women” that you so admire are the ones stuck in their
      own personally defined and constructed,  “tranny ghetto”.  But more
      power to them.  They have defined their lives, and seem to be quite
      happy.  If it works for them, MAAAVELOUS! “”

      “kid”??? , damn,.. you are old!
      and you think Amanda Simpson is in a ghetto? what do YOU do for a living ?
      also… that last quote from your post was really vile and degrading. but,,,, that is probably what you were going for wasn’t it ??

      “”It “just ain’t me,babe.”  It just simply is NOT who I am.  BTW,
      Michelle.  Have you ever heard of Ashely Love?  Any relation?  No? 
      Hmmm…I guess I should have known.  Sorry””

      ok… right there you just proved my first point. NO ONE has ever called me “babe” to my face. nor have they called me “kid” That’s so snarky and condescending.   and “MAAAVELOUS!” ???  who are you RUPAUL ??

      And lastly , No, I am not related to Ashely Love. Michelle Love is my DJ name. My real name is Sara Palin !

      well this has been fun,  write back soon. But maybe next time be more pithy.

      ttfn

  19. And I thought my biggest issue was gonna be dilating 3 times a day! now this ?? Some of the venom and vitriol I have read in the responses leaves my mouth hanging. But I submit onto you one more point and point of view:
     Their seems to be a real disgust in their rants against CD’s. Do they know what happens when a transsexual female is unable to transition or as a young person unable to live in their target gender? You fetishize femininity. Not just the clothes, but almost all aspects of it become erotisized when one is unable to transition. Those of us who are able to transition can pass through this phase quickly, but it is the ugly secret of many transsexuals. A secret we keep from everyone including ourselves. And as such it becomes the thing we hate both in ourselves and in others. Many female transsexuals that I have talked to including myself have spoken of going through several phases of discovery en route to full transition. Cross dressing, thinking we were gay, lesbian, straight, gender queer,two spirit, … you name it! But some of us seem to be so ashamed to admit that we were ever anything but absolutely sure we were female the whole time. And completely free of any sexually deviant (what ever that means!) thoughts or desires. We certainly never fantasized about …. well, anything! Except being healthy hetero normal women who just wanted to meet a nice guy and settle down. How boring !! and how antiquated too. It all sounds like the old days of what transsexuals had to do in the 60’s and such to qualify for SRS.   So who are these women I wonder? these so called “real transsexuals” who are so up in arms to leave the umbrella of shame? I never seem to meet them in person in any circles I travel. It seems they only speak such hateful speech on line. If that is the case, it would seem their separation is complete. So what’s all the fuss. I assume they have not only fully transitioned very successfully, but they are also beautiful, happily married, and completely stealth. Or are they ?  If they are, did they ever come out to anyone in their transitions? have they ever faced rejection? Were they ever homeless and hungry ? Does anybody know their pasts? do their husbands/boyfriends/lovers know what their identities used to be? How do they explain why they cant get pregnant?
    What do they say when a simple back round check reveals their old name, gender marker, and possibly a photo or two ? None of us can outrun our pasts. You can decide to trade one closet for another, but what kind of life is that? For me the hero’s of the trans(fill in the blank) movement are people like Amanda Simpson, Julia Serano, Lynn Conway, Calpernia Addams, and Andrea James, to name a few. Women who live out and proud and UN ASHAMED of who they are and who their community is made up of. These other ladies who insist on name calling, and ridicule are cowards. They represent no one except their own fragile egos and possibly their even more fragile gender identities. Pointing their fingers and their anger at all these other gender identities as if they are ruining “it” for them. They forget that “it” is not just for them. “IT” is the right to walk this earth and be free to self identify with dignity. And “it” belongs to everybody. Not just the beautiful, or the wealthy (lets face it, fully transitioning takes cash and lots of it!) or those of us lucky and opportunistic enough to both define and Hijack “normal”.
    And like Ms.Serano, I never hear any of these ladies ever offer an alternative to the unity they work so hard to tear down. And I think I know why… they don’t need one. Think about it,… they are done. They have transitioned and probably pass as cis-sexuals and don’t really have a fight infront of them. And dis owning the rest of the TG/TS etc community ensures their membership in the stealth club. As long as they are still connected to some 46 year old TS just starting electrolysis they will always be in danger of being outed themselves. For them, it’s not an umbrella, it’s a jail! So they would abandon those of you not lucky enough to be born under 5 foot 7, or with narrow shoulders, or cash!
    As for me, my surgeries entailed a lot of things. But one thing Dr. Suporn did not do was remove my spine! So I can’t turn my back so easily on my sisters. And if the LGB’s wanna unite and combine resources, Great!! I for one could use the help, as it would appear some of our own have gone missing.

  20. Thank
    you for explaining that to me. I have wrestled with this subject for
    years and I have been dying for any moral compass to help me figure it out
    and gain some clarity.

     And, …. once again, I totally agree with
    Ms.Serano.

  21. Julia Serano says:

    Postscript for my “TS-vs-TG-Intervention” piece

    So in the couple days since my blog entry A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention
    came out, I have spent a big chunk of my free time pouring over all the
    responses – both comments made on my own blog, plus all the comments
    that appeared when it was cross-posted on The Transadvocate
    and tagged on numerous Facebook threads. I knew I was writing about a
    hotly debated topic, so I am not *too* surprised that the piece
    generated interest (both positive and negative). But I am a bit
    overwhelmed by how many responses there actually were.

    While I
    have read all of the comments, I don’t have the time to reply to each
    comment individually since there have been so many. So here, I will
    respond more generally to sentiments that seem to have come up on more
    than one occasion. Occasionally I will cite or quote specific
    individuals, but other times I will discuss some of the
    sentiments/reactions more generally.

    Note: I am making this a
    separate post so that it can be linked to more easily, and so that
    people who follow me on Twitter, Facebook and NetworkedBlogs will be
    notified of this post. I will also paste it into the comments sections
    of my original blog entry and the Transadvocate blog entry.

    1)
    Many negative reactions to the piece stressed the ways in which cis gay
    and lesbian folks are dismissive of transsexuals. I certainly agree that
    such sentiments exist, and a lot of my previous writings (e.g., Whipping Girl, my “frustration” web page, and all blog posts tagged with “frustration”)
    discuss this. However, I completely disagree with the monolithic
    portrayal that all cis lesbian and gay folks are this way. Many cis
    lesbian and gay folks are sincerely informed about, and supportive of,
    transsexuals. If you have not met anyone who fits this description, it
    is probably because you are not active in gay/lesbian/queer spaces on a
    regular basis.

    2) Marlene (posting on my blog) brought up the
    history of how all people who currently identify as lesbian, gay,
    bisexual, transgender, transsexual, etc., were generally described by
    others, and often self-identified, as gay up until the 1970s. This is
    something that I did not discuss in my post, but which is obviously
    pertinent. So the idea that transsexuals, or transgender people, have
    nothing to do with LGB folks is ahistorical.

    3) Along similar
    lines, several replies reiterated that sexual orientation is totally
    different from gender identity in their attempts to separate the T from
    the LGB. I would encourage them to re-read this passage from my post:

    “Transsexuals
    who want to secede from the LGBT umbrella keep citing the fact that
    sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity. This may be
    true, but this point has nothing to do with the rationale behind why
    trans people were initially included in the umbrella – specifically,
    because LGBT individuals are all discriminated against for similar
    reasons (i.e., because, in one way or another, we challenge the
    assumption that sex, gender and sexuality should all be perfectly
    aligned). This is evident in the way that gays, lesbians and bisexuals
    are often targeted for discrimination for their gender nonconformity,
    and in the way that transsexuals are often targeted for discrimination
    because people fear that sleeping with us might “make them gay.” In
    other words, while sexual orientation and gender identity may be
    different things, homophobia and transphobia are very much intertwined.”

    4)
    Jonah (posting on my blog) brought up how umbrellas (e.g., transgender)
    can lead people to appropriate other groups (e.g., trans people
    appropriating intersex identities and experiences). Here was my
    response: “This is a legitimate concern, and I feel that it stems mostly
    from people confusing identities with umbrellas. People who understand
    umbrellas realize that they are in an alliance with other marginalized
    groups, but that they have no right to speak on behalf of those groups. I
    know several intersex folks who also identify as transgender. But I do
    not assume that I can speak on their behalf simply because I also
    identify as transgender. Just because you identify a particular way, or
    are included in the same umbrella as someone else, does not give you the
    right to speak on their behalf.”

    I would also add, the same is
    true for cis lesbian and gay folks who appropriate trans people’s
    identities and experiences. Being in an umbrella does not give one the
    right to appropriate other people’s identities or issues, and such
    instances should be challenged. Granted, this may happen quite often
    (e.g., G & L appropriation of T, trans folks appropriations of
    intersex), but it is not because of umbrellas per se, but because of a
    lack of understanding or respect for what umbrella alliances are really
    all about.

    5) dentedbluemercedes (posting on my blog) said: “you
    make the point that even “transsexual” is an umbrella. This is true.
    But the wider an umbrella is cast, the greater the erasure and the sense
    that any one narrative becomes misrepresentative.” This sentiment was echoed in an anonymous comment (posting on my blog): “arent
    we all groups of one essentially? All marginalized peoples should with
    varying degrees help one another…being identified in any group lessens
    our unique individuality.”

    Sometimes I refer to this as
    the Russian nested doll problem. Each of us is a unique individual with
    lots of issues that affect us personally (and also, lots of privileges
    that allow us to ignore other people’s problems). Each of us on our own
    is unable to make much of a dent in the system, so we ban together with
    other people to fix these problems – that is, we form umbrella groups.
    The smaller and more specific the umbrella group, the less in-fighting
    and the more focused the activism. This can be good. But there is
    drawback, in that the smaller the umbrella group, the less impact it
    will have on the world. Bigger umbrella groups have bigger impacts, but
    they also dilute out individual voices more, and tend to favor larger or
    more established subgroups over more marginalized subgroups. So which
    umbrellas should we choose?

    Well, I don’t think this is an
    either/or situation. I personally think the answer is to work on
    multiple levels at once. Sometimes I write about, and focus my activism
    on, transsexual issues. Other times, trans woman-specific issues. Still
    other times bisexual issues, or queer issues, or women’s issues. And so
    on. This is what I advocated at the end of my piece – that there are
    numerous alliances that we can create and/or strengthen.

    Some
    transsexuals may want to only focus their activism primarily on
    transsexual-specific issues. I think that is completely valid, and I
    encourage them to do so. But they should not discredit those of us who
    are working at the level of larger umbrellas (e.g., transgender or
    LGBT). And vice versa.

    One more thing that was implicit in my
    piece, but I want to say more explicitly here: One potential benefit of
    larger umbrellas is that (when working functionally rather than
    dysfunctionally) they tend to be less elitist or exclusive than smaller
    ones. They force us to recognize and challenge obstacles that may not
    affect us personally, but which affect other folks under our umbrella.
    While I may be transsexual, I feel that it is important for me as an
    ally to recognize and challenge obstacles faced by crossdressers, or
    genderqueers, or intersex folks, or cis gays and lesbians, even if they
    are not my issues per se. And as someone who is in favor of social
    justice more generally, I think that it is important for me to also
    challenge racism, classism, ableism, etc., both within my own community
    as well as in society more generally.

    6) Teagan (posting on the Transadvocate) said: “For
    what it’s worth, I do believe that Serano and others desire hetero TS
    women in there to legitimize the movement with the public.”

    I
    can’t speak for “others,” but I am comfortable with the fact that some
    hetero transsexuals do not identify as transgender or LGBT. I don’t
    think that transsexuals are some monolithic group that all share the
    same orientations or political views. I am comfortable stating publicly
    that some transsexuals are actively involved in transgender and LGBT
    alliances/umbrellas whereas others are not. In other words, I am not out
    to exploit/appropriate hetero-identified transsexuals.

    A
    question: do hetero-identified transsexuals exploit/appropriate
    transgender/queer/LGBQ-identified transsexuals when they argue that all
    transsexuals want out of the transgender or LGBT umbrellas? It’s kinda
    sorta the same thing, isn’t it? That’s why I believe we should embrace
    the fact that “transsexuals” are not a monolithic group. We differ on
    this, and other, issues. Our differences/diversity is an asset, not a
    drawback.

    7) Andrea (posting on the Transadvocate) said:

    There’s
    a serious issue being missed here: CONSENT. Women are individuals, not
    individual examples of a homogenous “identity group” called “women.”
    We cannot consent for each other. You can’t consent for anyone else but
    yourself, Julia. All a “Separatist” really is, is a woman who said
    “NO.” NO MEANS NO. It is not the beginning of a discussion, it is the
    end. There is no debate to be had. The “Separatists” aren’t preventing
    any woman from saying “YES,” for herself, if she wants to. It is the
    “Inclusionists” with their grabby umbrella that are ignoring consent
    issues and trying to remove the ability to say “NO.”

    Amber (posting on the Transadvocate) then replied “Yes
    brilliant. I say no to being raped by the transgender umbrella. I say
    no to someone making knowledge of my sexuality the price of admission. I
    say no to gays and lesbians presuming t0 speak for me.”

    So
    first, as a survivor of an attempted date rape myself, I must say that
    comparing pro-umbrella folks to rapists is beyond the pale. Having said
    that, the issue of consent is a legitimate point. For the record, I have
    never once advocated that all transsexuals *must* identify as
    transgender or LGBT. And I denounce anyone who insists that all
    transsexuals *must* identify as transgender or LGBT. At the same time,
    many anti-umbrella folks claim that transsexuals (uniformly) are not
    transgender, or that we are not LGBT, when many of us do identify these
    ways. So perhaps there is some non-consensuality on both sides of this
    debate?

    Hopefully, my above discussions about the difference
    between umbrellas and identities, and my Russian nested doll analogy,
    will help clarify my perspective on this. I will not force any
    transsexual person to identify as transgender or LGBT. But at the same
    time, I believe that my identity as a transgender- and LGBT-identified
    transsexual woman should also be respected. And when I (and others) talk
    about transsexual participation in transgender and LGBT
    alliances/umbrellas, it should not be seen as me forcing my identities
    onto you, but rather as my belief that there are commonalities worthy of
    forming alliances there. Conversely, if you want to focus primarily on
    transsexual-specific issues, I should (and do) respect that.

    I
    hate war metaphors, but here it goes: There are many fronts to every
    movement. You are focusing on one front (i.e., transsexual issues),
    whereas I and other transgender- or LGBT-identified transsexuals are
    focusing on other fronts. We are on the same “team,” but tackling
    different issues. And when people exploit or appropriate transsexual
    identities, we should stand together to challenge that, whether they be
    LGBT, or transgender, or cis straight folks. But we should welcome
    legitimate (i.e., non-appropriating/exploitative) cissexual allies of
    any stripe.

    8) Speaking of which, comments on my piece (and on
    this issue more generally) constantly talk about transgender and LGBQ
    appropriation of transsexuals, as though this were unique to
    transgender- and LGB-identified folks. This ignores the fact that there
    is a long history of cis straight-identified folks (whether they be
    media producers, novelists, photographers, psychiatrists/psychologists,
    academics, etc.) who have appropriated/exploited/misrepresented
    transsexuals over the years! To pin this solely on
    LGBT/transgender/gender theorist folks is both wildly incorrect, and
    potentially sexist on several levels (e.g., traditional sexism,
    heterosexism, monosexism, etc.)

    9) I saw a couple commenters who
    actually said they didn’t feel that transsexuals needed to form
    alliances with anyone. I feel that those responses are naive, and I
    assume they were probably uttered by folks who have no experience doing
    grassroots activism of any sort. It is easy to be an “arm chair
    activist” who complains about alliances they dislike without having to
    do the heavy lifting required to change societal views about
    transsexuals and the various forms of sexism we face.

    10) Of all
    the people who objected to my piece, none of them offered different
    alliance(s) that they would support over transgender or LGBT alliances. I
    just wanted to note that.

    11) Thaniel (posting on my blog) said “it
    seems to me that there’s also something else at work here. I believe
    that some transwomen bring a heap of unexamined male privilege w/them
    thru their transition, & this causes them to think they have the
    “right” to define “trans-ness” for everyone. Thus their intolerance for
    those of us who may have gone in a different direction (and who frankly
    don’t care what *they* think.) And with such a binary, right/wrong
    world-view, there can be no interpretation of “transgender” other than
    “it’s wrong.”

    I am very sensitive to when the “male
    privilege” card is played against trans women – it is often used to
    dismiss our perspectives (especially in cis feminist spaces). It also
    ignores the fact that trans women no longer experience male privilege in
    our day to day lives. Having said that, I do believe that Thaniel has a
    point here about privilege more generally. When I have met (in person)
    transsexuals who hold anti-umbrella views, they are almost always white,
    middle-class, able-bodied trans women (for the record, privileges that I
    also share). There is nothing inherently wrong with being a white,
    middle-class, able-bodied trans woman. However, this can mean that such
    women have never been personally exposed to activism or social justice
    issues until coming out as transsexual.

    In activist and social
    justice circles, people often justifiably decry people who are
    “single-issue activists” – that is, people who are only concerned with
    the one issue that personally affects their lives, but ignore the issues
    faced by other marginalized groups (which they do not have to deal with
    because of their own privileges). I think that it is fine to focus your
    activism primarily on a specific issue that you are most passionate
    about. But it is not okay to use that as an excuse to ignore the issues
    that negatively impact other marginalized groups.

    12) On the
    comment section of the Transadvocate, some disagreed with my opinion
    that someone can be a transsexual woman yet still have a penis, to which
    I responded: “objecting to the idea that ‘woman and can still have a
    penis’ is logically no different from objecting to the idea that ‘woman
    and is not XX chromosomally’ or ‘woman and cannot bare children’. There
    are countless arbitrary lines one can draw in the sand to separate women
    from men (and many would also disenfranchise many cis women as well as
    trans women). We are women because we move through the world as women.
    Trans women face the same sexism that cis women face. We deal with
    similar expectations and obstacles. That is what makes us women. Not our
    biology or anatomy.”

    13) In that comment thread, several people
    argued with my claim transsexual was also an umbrella, arguing instead
    that it was a “medical condition.” While the phrase “Harry Benjamin
    Syndrome” (HBS) was not stated explicitly, this seems to be the position
    they were taking. Personally, I believe that transsexuality is a
    natural (i.e., pan-cultural, trans-historical) phenomenon where some
    people understand themselves at a deep and profound level to be a member
    of the sex/gender other than the one they were assigned a birth. I
    don’t view it as an illness, pathology, disorder or syndrome, but rather
    as a part of human variation. Unfortunately, in a cissexist world,
    transsexuals often are required to be diagnosed as having some kind of
    “disorder/illness/syndrome” (whether mental or medical) in order to
    access the means to physically transition. HBS-identified folks support
    the “disorder/illness/syndrome” model, whereas I and other
    non-HBS-identified transsexuals do not.

    I personally feel that
    the natural variation view that I hold is both more accurate and
    empowering than the HBS view of transsexuality as medical
    “disorder/illness/syndrome,” but I respect the fact that others may
    disagree. But what I do strongly object to is the way that HBS-type
    positions are often used to police the “real/fake,”
    “transsexual/transgender” hierarchies. I think that it is arrogant when a
    psychiatrist or psychologist feels entitled enough to state that they
    can single-handedly determine whether a person is transsexual or not,
    especially when that determination invalidates that person’s gender
    identity. When a transsexual claims that they are truly HBS, whereas
    other transsexuals are not (which typically invalidates the latter
    person’s gender identity), it is the same sort of arrogance.

    14)
    Some people disagreed with my claim that trans men are relatively
    accepted in contemporary queer women’s spaces. To be clear, I am not
    saying that trans men are universally accepted. But as someone who has
    been active in queer women’s spaces for a decade, I can tell you for
    sure that in almost every dyke/queer space I’ve been in, trans men have
    been more accepted than trans women. This isn’t just my observation –
    many others have noticed and written about this discrepancy as well.
    Perhaps there are small pockets of queer women’s spaces (e.g., in
    particular towns or cities) where trans women are more accepted than
    trans men, but if they exist, they are few and far between.

    It
    was also pointed out that trans men are not accepted in gay male spaces.
    I agree, this is a problem. But trans women (pre- and post-transition)
    are not readily accepted there either. I often participate in queer
    spaces (i.e., where there is a mix of LGBTQ folks) – these tend to be
    more accepting of trans women than either gay or lesbian/dyke spaces,
    but there still seems to be a bias or preference toward trans men over
    trans women, and it seems to stem from a favoring of masculinity over
    femininity.

    So I am not saying that trans men are always accepted
    whereas trans women are not. It is more complex than that. But I do
    believe that there is a discrepancy there and that it is fueled
    primarily by transmisogyny and anti-feminine sentiment. And the *only*
    reason that I brought it up here is in an attempt to explain why most
    anti-umbrella advocates are trans women rather than trans men.

    A
    disclaimer, I am rushing this out there because I feel that the
    blogosphere demands my (relatively) immediate response. This response is
    not as well honed or thought-out compared to most things I write (where
    I go through several revised drafts). So please give me a little leeway
    if my particular word choice (or even grammar/spelling mistakes) bother
    you. I have written this in the spirit of explaining my views while
    simultaneously respecting other people’s views. I hope that it is taken
    in the same way.

    Okay, so that is it for now. I am taking a
    couple day break from the internet after all this. Feel free to leave
    whatever comments you may have. I will read all comments sometime soon.
    Right now, I feel wiped-out responding-wise. But perhaps (after my break) I may reply to a handful of future comments, especially if they touch on issues I did not address here…perhaps (after my
    break) I may reply… Best wishes, -julia

    p.s., I do not moderate this site, so I am not responsible for any comments that may have been deleted here. If you have issues with that, you should refer to/respect this blog’s comment policy…

    Best wishesBes to a handful of future comments, especially if they
    touch on issues I did not address here…

    Best wishes, -julia
     

  22. Anonymous says:

    Seventy-five comments. i finally was able to log into this discussion.  It’s lost what little steam it  had to begin with.  The same old tired arguments have been trotted out as if the questions involved were simply a matter of labels.  Why can’t people who have their surgeries just be left alone  to be who they have become.  Why aren’t post transsexual people simply allowed to go on with their lives and if they want to get into politics, advocacy, civil rights, caring for the infirm, working with the homeless, prison reform, form relationships with men, women, both or neither, work for gay rights, etc.  just go about those things as the males or females they legally transition to?  Why does someone always have to be reminded of a history long past or maybe even not so long past?

    Most commonly, people are assigned sex on the basis of external genitalia, not their karyotype, not whether they will menstruate later in life, not what kind of role they are capable of performing in reproduction unless they have ambiguous genitalia.  It’s pretty simple that way.  If someone wants to accuse another of “drawing a line in the sand” to determine who is and who isn’t “really male or female” one has to look no further than the person or people who wrote the Certain Shared Facilities paragraph in the proposed federal ENDA, the ones who wrote and promote legislation that says ALL people who transition, in a way the proposed law doesn’t even specify, can be separated from those of the sex they are nominally after transition.

    Who is anyone really fooling when it is said over and over again what is between your legs doesn’t matter?  Isn’t the most obvious question to ask someone who had sex reassignment surgery why they went to such great trouble to change what was between their legs?  If it isn’t important how could anyone advocate for its coverage by medical insurance as non cosmetic surgery.  Are people who dismiss the significance of SRS allies of people who are transsexual?  Aren’t such people working against the interests of people who are transsexual?

    Many of the people you say we should be allied with are the same ones pointing the finger at others insisting such things as, “you only did this because you had a body mapping issue.” . . . ” You have a penis that was sliced open and shoved up inside of you to SIMULATE a vagina.” . . .  You’re vagina isn’t self lubricating” . . .  Do you consider people like these to be allies of people who have a need to reject a sex assignment and  be physically and legally reassigned their sex?  There is enormous hostility among trans people for transsexual people who go through SRS.   Such people work against the interests of people who are transsexual.  Such people are ignorant of just how many kinds of vaginoplasties there are and the wide variety of woman who have them and how outcomes vary.

    People are assigned a sex based on objective identification based on external genitalia.  People who are transsexual have feelings of incongruence that is as physiological as it is anatomical.  You can’t separate anatomy from physiology.

    Either you agree that people who are transsexual can change sex and respect those who do unequivocally as the males or females that they transition to, which it is possible to do while respecting those who would wish to remain one of the many varieties of “trans”that do not include post transsexual people or your stance toward them is hostile when one considers the proactive needs of those born transsexual who are very different than those who do not have those same needs.

      

  23. Angiemeyers69 says:

     Dear Julia,

    Although I agree with most of your tenets and arguments, I do disagree with some of your basic premises that you use for your arguments and those arguments that are based on opinion can be problematic when discussing the ‘real’ issues.

    I have read and re-read your book ‘Whipping Girl’ and have disseminated many of the arguments and because we share a common past I tend to relate.  I can also say that I am one to allow myself to agree to disagree, so the comments I post will be on specific parts of arguments and quotes that can tend to fog some of the arguments that many of us heterosexual trans women face.

    As a scientist and engineer I realize that to further any scientific hypothesis that the basic premise must be sound and based in good scientific data with the goal to further enlighten the human condition and not enhance any personal or group addenda.  Unfortunately, for many lay people, it is very easy to let bias and personal addenda interfere with honest scientific exploration which ‘should’ be to find truthful explanations of an issue, whether or not that solves the issue that a group of humans might want to find.  Many people don’t like to let the facts and scientific discoveries stand on their own merit and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that there have been many scientists that have manipulated their data, results, and conclusions for many different reasons, none of which are honest nor help anyone accept those that benefit from such manipulation.

    Humans for all time have been classifying, defining, and stigmatizing everything, it is in our nature.  The crux of the issue for honest scientists is to discern those works that have bias from those that don’t.

    The debate at hand as I see it (opinion) is that many heterosexual trans women do not feel that being included in the GLBTQ group or set of humans, helps us with much advancement to solving the issues that ‘we’ face.  This really comes down to mathematical set theory and application.  All aspects of these debates really come down to disagreements about where the boundaries of inclusion, intersection, union, and exclusion of the group boundaries are and what those boundaries will do for or against the sets being discussed.  I have applied group set theory to most of the groups that the majority of people have included in the super group defined as ‘transgendered humans’.  I have defined the set definition of who is included in the set (by currently accepted definitions by the majority of the stake holders; i.e. 67.4% of the Gaussian bell curve for statistical meaningful derivation) and have listed as many issues as I have found, no matter how trivial.

    Since the main concern (opinion) I hear from people in these groups are how to solve the common issues shared between the groups (issue set intersection) the real issue is looking at the number of issues that intersect between the groups and prioritized them by weighted importance.  Then one can statistically weigh out the benefit each group gets by the inclusion of the intersected issues into so called ‘umbrella’ super groups to solve these issues and further our common goals.

    Personally, I have belonged to and interacted with many different groups of people across the transgender spectrum and the majority of issues within these sub-groups within this super group are mostly different, not to say that there are some common issues.  Some of these groups were gender/sex based groups, others were ‘sexual orientation’ based groups.  As you have stated (and I agree), most of the issues faced by sexual orientation groups are NOT the same majority of issues that gender/sex based groups face.  Nonetheless, I wanted to explore those issues and see what the commonalities and differences were between the groups.

    In my personal opinion, as a transsexual woman, more specifically as an ‘intersexed’ trans woman, I have found only a few high level common issues that we transsexual woman prioritized as our top paredos compared to the top paredo issues that the Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual groups have.  Of those that we all seem to face is marginalization, discrimination, diminishment, and total exclusion by the majority of the cisgender public because we don’t fall into their accepted norm of the ‘binary gender/sex’ and ‘binary sexual orientation’ views of the human condition.  For furthering the reduction of prejudice and hatred of us all, I see inclusion within the GLBTQ umbrella as a good thing.  I agree that groups of people need supportive numbers to further our causes.

    BUT, as experienced by me in many groups that are not centered around ‘heterosexual trans women’, the core issues that all of these other groups have do not benefit us.  While I was involved with a group of about 250 so called ‘TGirls’ here in the Pacific NW, there were only 5 of us trans women. The rest were Cross-dressers, borderline trans women, and dreamers socializing as females only on occasional outings, but lived as true males for the majority of their lives (>80% of the time).  I classify my groupings without regard to physical or biochemical therapies (HRT) being employed because I do not believe that either of these should be used to define a transsexual woman.  Personally (opinion) I do not consider a person that dresses and acts female 2 hours a week to go out and socialize with others doing the same to be transsexual, whether or not they were on HRT, had already had some physical alterations to their body toward the feminine or how they talk and walk.

    When talking about trans woman issues that I and others faced, the group as a whole was plain just not interested in hearing or discussing the issues and how to solve them.  Most of us have left the group for the same reason; our goals did not align because we are different, simple as that.  Nothing wrong with that, but when goals don’t align then there must be other significant reasons to associate with a group and those are always personal.  I stayed (longer than I wished) within the group because it was about the only time I could visit with my trans sisters.  Most of the people in the group after the socialization outing went right back to their male lives, work, friends, and family, never intending to transition to womanhood in any form of the word.

    While I was involved with a group of gay, lesbian, and mostly trans men, the same situation was apparent.  Their issues were not even close to the issues I faced as a trans woman.  More than 90% of the time the issues, activities, and discussions revolved around sexual orientation and the problems they faced due to their ‘sexual orientation’ not with their gender and sexual dis congruency.

    Gay men have called me ‘a waste of a good gay man’ and have dismissed me as a piece of garbage.  Lesbians have called me an abomination, a fake and artificial wanna be woman and have threatened me when I used the female restroom in their presence.  Bisexual men and woman have told me that I just haven’t had the ‘right’ sexual mate.  Cisgenders have called me an ‘abomination’, an ‘it’, a ‘sub-human’.  Some have even said that all transsexual women should be interned to an isolated island or just put out of our misery.

    I have never been a ‘transgendered’ person, my gender has always been female.  I have identified as a trans woman for 20 years, but because of my own denial and attempts to come to grips with who and what I was it took this long to actually get the gumption to totally accept myself for who I am.  As I re-started my final transition, about 4 months into my transition (HRT, therapy, changing my entire identity) I had an MRI due to an auto accident and found a scar in my midsection that could not be explained.  After 5 more MRIs, a CAT scan, and a Karyotype Chromosomal test and consultation with several internal medicine specialists, geneticist, and MRI specialists, I found out that I was intersexed and diagnosed with Klinefelter’s syndrome and a chromosomal makeup of 47 XX-Y.  My ovaries and fallopian tubes had atrophied and scarred over, but not my uterus.  I found out that my 1 cm wide scar below my scrotum had 8 suture scars.  I then found out after getting all of my medical records back to when I was born, that the GP that delivered me had advised my parents to sew my little vagina closed and put me on Testosterone to promote the male genitalia because it was ‘more’ formed.  The testosterone ravaged my body for 8 years and my female genitalia was destroyed and I went through hell for 42 years because someone figured they knew best and ‘chose’ my gender and sex for me.  They were wrong.

    Well, now I am correcting their mistakes (at personal expense to me) and almost all of my family has disowned me because I choose my female heritage and not the male one that was forced onto me.  It was and always has been my choice, but they figure that what the hell, so it was done to you, just live the rest of your life male now and die unhappy, so sad, get over it.  I will do no such thing.  I would rather go through the rest of my life as the me I always have been and with no family whatsoever than to live my life that ‘they’ decided I should live.

    So, until my GCS (Gender Corrective Surgery) I’ll still accept the classification as ‘trans’ woman, but of course after my genitals are rebuilt (not changed) I will be completely female.  I even get to consider having my uterus reconstructed and have the possibility of carrying my child to term, but that is another story all together.

    Nonetheless, I personally have no core issues in common with the main goals of Gays, Lesbians, or Bisexuals.  Out of all of the gender types included in the ‘Transgendered’ umbrella, I still don’t feel any association with Crossdressers, gender queer, gender fluid, bi-gendered, or many of the other gender non-conforming people.  My relationship is with trans and intersexed women and trans and intersexed men.  And our issues are so different from people with sexual orientation issues that I don’t see why when we don’t wish to be included in a group because of minimal intersection of issues, we are stigmatized by those that are.

    Gay men don’t like us because we are ‘diminishing’ their numbers by mutilating our bodies and say, “Why would you want to be a woman?” I don’t ‘want’ to be a woman, I ‘am’ a woman, but they don’t get it.  Lesbians don’t like us because they believe (vehemently so) that we are mutilating our bodies to ‘invade’ their ‘womyn’ only spaces.  Oh please!  I don’t give a crap about their ‘womyn born womyn’ only spaces.  I don’t go where I’m not wanted.  Bisexuals don’t understand or care why we change our bodies to align with our neuro chemistry and innate sex and gender, they just are sexually attracted to cissexual males and cissexual females and most treat me like an ‘it’ or ‘perversion’.

    And cissexuals/cisgenders just don’t plain like us because we are freaks, mutants, deviants, or mentally unstable or delusional.  My parents knew the doctor had sewn my little vagina closed and was put on testosterone for 8 years, but, being staunch Catholics they believe that their are only ‘true’ males and females, nothing in between, and if there is that those people should just live with it, suffer, and die.  Official position of the church, Mormons feel the same.

    So, you have made statements that inclusion by us into these larger groups would be a benefit for the super group as a whole to further our cause and would be a detriment if we left.  Detriment to whom?
    Not to us, we don’t get much from inclusion, accept further stigmatization by not only the other members of the subgroups, but also from cisgenders because they believe that our issues are the same as the super group.  They are most definitely not.  Gay men don’t have to worry about which restroom to use, they’re men, so are cross-dressers and transgendered people living and working as men.  They don’t have to worry about the nausea we trans women face when we use unisex restrooms and smell the sprayed urine from me standing up to pee and all the testosterone stink that permeates those spaces.  Lesbians also don’t have to worry about what bathroom to use, they just get to attack us trans women because they ‘think’ that we ‘might’ still have a penis attached to our bodies.  Cisgenders don’t want us in either restroom because we are labeled ‘predators’.

    When I transitioned at work, there were a single Woman’s and Men’s restrooms, and two multi-use bathrooms.  Well, I couldn’t use the multi-use bathrooms, so I thought a good solution would be to suggest turning the single use bathrooms to Unisex bathrooms.  Wrong.  Now I had to compete for a single restroom with 50 other males instead of 4 females.  All of a sudden I had to wait 2 hours sometimes to use the restroom, because men like to use their single use ‘throne’ room and the smell and mess was disgusting.  Finally got them back to single use Woman’s and Men’s only rooms so now I am totally happy to compete for the only restroom I have with 4 other women.  One takes for granted the access to a restroom until it is removed from oneself.

    I totally understand why many transsexual woman (heterosexual or not) do not feel like we are attaining any benefit from being included within the super group of ‘Transgendered’ humans let alone by being included in the greater super group of GLBTQ people; we are more than just marginalized.  We are just token transsexual heterosexual women to this group.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I have friends; straight, gay, bi, trans, cross-dressers, etc.  But to belong to a group that does not have the majority of goals and interests that I do would just be plain silly and a waste of my time.  I belong to IEEE because I am a practicing engineer and further our common interests.  I also belong to a group that volunteers to help the homeless.  And although I am an avid gun owner and like to shoot and support gun rights and conceal carry privileges, I don’t belong to any shooting groups or national gun activists because my activities are my own and I don’t have common goals that these groups do, simple as that.

    Acceptance of people to belong to and not belong to a group, and the freedom and acceptance for us to state our reasons for inclusion or exclusion is our right as sentient adults.  If some people feel that it will be detrimental if all heterosexual trans woman don’t want to belong to or accept the inclusion in the T group or GLBTQ group, then please accept our right to do so and to state our reasons without judgment and stigmatization because we are exercising our rights.

    My sexual orientation is my own business and nobody elses as is what I do with my body.  If everyone respected that in each of us, the goals of the different groups or super or sub groups would be better off and move forward with their own agendas and just leave us in peace.

    I am not an advocate for inclusion or exclusion from any group by any group of people.  What I am an advocate for is the right of each of sentient human beings to choose which groups we will associate with and how much participation we choose to employ, nothing more.

    Sincerely,
    Angie Meyers
    Salem, Oregon

    Sincerely,
    Angie R. Meyers
    Salem, Oregon

  24. Tonight, 10,000 people will die of starvation.

  25. Renee Thomas says:

    But . . . it does make many of us ontologically and existentially whole.   

    • Anonymous says:

      I never said it didn’t… I just said it was asinine to assume that those women that it doesn’t are somehow not women.

      • Amber says:

        I find it sad the transexual people often up end debating the status of genitals as if this defines some kind of debate or status. The notion is morally offensive and illogical. Prior to GRS, prior to say 50 years ago did transexuals exist? Why is this even a discussion? All bottom sugery means is that you were fortunate to have money and/or oppourtunitty. I reiterate, a transexual, a lady keeps these matters to herself. If you dont, you should be asking yourself why?

        • Anonymous says:

          Because I live in a world that doesn’t allow me to keep these things to myself… I am continually degendered, told I should be denied access to women’s space, and now, as you can see, there are trans women who are trying to deny the non-and-pre operative basic rights such as legal gender recognition on the basis of genital configuration.

          I wouldn’t mention what was between my legs if it didn’t seem to already carry so much weight.

          • Amber says:

            Valerie I am truly sorry you feel the way you do. I wont deny your feelings are valid, even simply based on some of the opinions expressed here. However, others do not define YOU. YOU define YOU. I do understand how your equipment can carry so much weight and how it can be an ugly reminder of your past. But, it does not have to define you. No matter how many people tell you otherwise it simply is not true. It is also no ones business. I wont say it doesnt matter, it does, where I live as well, but it is just a thing. I am very sorry if you have been denied access to womens spaces. It is not right. Please stay strong sister.

          • Anonymous says:

            You misunderstand me Amber… it’s not a reminder of my past… the issue is forced due to the prejudice that I am subjected to… personally I could care less, until someone decides to make my life miserable for how I’m put together.

          • Amber says:

            Valerie

            You cant change the opinions or the behaviours of prejudiced assholes. But you can control how it effects you. You can care what they think, or not. You can let it effect you, or not. I know its not easy, I nearly paid with my life, but if we wanted easy we would have kept pretending to be men. No one can take who you are away from you. They dont have that power. Words are just empty sounds if you choose not to listen.

  26. Amber says:

    I actually dont have much of a problem with how you feel. If you want to support anyone that is your business. Its personal to you. I simply want the ability to support trans rights without having to supp0ort gay lesbain or trsvestite rights. I dont care about tem. I am totally indifferent to them. If Autumn Sandeen is the person who parades around on tv yacking ab0ut her penis that is her business.But to me she is just a man in a dress. I would never accept her or refer to her as a transexual. She remnains a penis centered man, if she wasnt she would shut up about it. Not because she has a penis but because she thinks anyone cares about it. That is male thinking and nothing will ever change my mind about it. Sorry.

  27. Deena Lenore says:

    This is all about perceptions. I have my own perceptions and I cannot control the perceptions of others.  I support some LGBT rights – from outside that community. After all, they are people too.

    I have been struggling with how to express this clearly. If anyone wants to perceive women as being part of some umbrella I can’t stop them. I can, however, state that I personally don’t need an umbrella. When it rains in my life I deal with it.

    In my world a PPH (penis packing human) may or may not be a man or a person saddled with what is called GID.  Its specific to each person. If it looks like a duck, walks like one and quacks then I tend to perceive it as a duck. Each of you may call it whatever you want but none of you can alter my perception. Neither do I have the power to alter your perceptions (generic your).

    So Julia (just to make one point specific to your article), I reject your premise that your cause will be harmed by women. Many women outside that umbrella concept still support human rights. What I personally do not support is altering the basic social fabric to accommodate every whackadoodle  who comes along. It simply makes no sense to me.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to see the science they have that shows that non-operative trans women are somehow not women… ts-si is agitprop at its worst.

    (And there’s a lot of agitprop I like.)

  29. Susan says:

    LOL…OK…if you say so.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what you asked for… oh, I’m sorry, did you want something that degendered women who have decided on an orchidectomy or HRT?

      My mistake. ^_^

  30. Annika Kappenstein says:

    A common misrepresentation of the term “transsexual” is that “sex” stands for sexuality. It does not. It means the sex of your body. Being transsexual means that, according to your gender, you live in the wrong body. That’s why I cannot define myself as transgender… my gender is not in transition. I have to transition my body and gender expression to become congruent. Hence transsexual.

    That being said, I don’t have a problem with alliances, if they are mutual and beneficial for all involved parties. So, why not fight shoulder to shoulder for goals that we share, and go our separate ways to achieve the separate ones?  It doesn’t need to be the all-or-nothing umbrella.

    • Stacey Erin Adams says:

      As I know you personally, Annika, I respect you a great deal, and I do respect your position.  However, my personal perspective on the subject differs as such:

      I would say that since gender is a social construct (i.e., related to how I interact with the world, my “place” in it, and how people interact with and perceive me), my gender is indeed in transition along with my sexuality (albeit on somewhat separate timelines).  People once perceived me as a man, interacted with me as a man, and had male-oriented expectations of me in social situations.  Now, they (more often than not) perceive me as a woman in those circumstances – as I have always perceived myself internally, and they act accordingly.  As the external “me” begins to align with the internal, there is a shift in presentation on my part and a consequential shift in others’ perceptions of and interactions with me.
      The transition of my gender is for others around me to witness and deal with as they need to.  The transition of my sex – my actual anatomy – via hormonal sex reassignment and eventual surgery – those are much more private and obscure matters really only impacting me and any of those with whom I might have had or may yet have an intimate, physical relationship.  Hence, for me, I am most certainly both transgender and transsexual.  However, I presume to speak for no one but me.  Gender transition is a very malleable, personal process.  To each their own.Peaceful wishes to all those impacted by gender issues of any variant,Stacey

      • Stacey Erin Adams says:

        Correction to myself:  I incorrectly phrased “along with my sexuality” – should have been “along with my sex” in paragraph 2.  My sexuality is relatively stable across my transition, although how others perceive it might be contrary. 

  31. Anne says:

    No Angie….”WE ALL”,  have NOT…” all been (and, in many cases, continue to be) treated as second-class citizens by the general population.”

    That is the PROBLEM with the whole “umbrella” approach. 

    NO….”Transsexual (and transgendered) people have suffered from ongoing oppression as well, for the same reasons that GLB persons have.  We all “deviate from the norm”……Gee, *REALLY*?  Is that because YOU say so?  I must have missed that memo.

    I am sorry, but you trans-folk have some pretty strange ideas which make absolutely NO SENSE TO ANYBODY IN THE REAL WORLD.  BTW…that REAL WORLD is where REAL WOMEN, NOT “trans-women”…LIVE, LOVE and INTERACT as EQUALSwith NO  “special privilege”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, Christine Littleton found out just how conditional that cis approval is… Sandy Stone knows just how conditional that cis approval is… Amanda Simpson knows just how conditional that cis approval is, (apparently if you’re indispensible to the administration, Rachel Maddow will speak about you as though you exist, unlike other trans women)

      They can take it away at any time, and the more Byzantine you make the law surrounding recognition of someone’s identified sex, the easier you make it for cis people to take that recognition away from YOU.

    • “Woman” and “transsexual” are not mutually exclusive. By
      telling someone you’re trans, you are NOT telling them you’re not a
      woman.
       

      • Anonymous says:

        umm, yes you are. By saying you are something other than ‘woman’ you are making the statement  that you are different from them, period. Anything else is just feel good trans  chat-room BS.

  32. Lisalee18wheeler says:

    Right 🙂

  33. Angie Thomas says:

    How do we have nothing in common with the GLB community?  We’ve all been (and, in many cases, continue to be) treated as second-class citizens by the general population.  Transsexual (and transgendered) people have suffered from ongoing oppression as well, for the same reasons that GLB persons have.  We all “deviate from the norm”.

    We need allies.  Who else has suffered the oppression, discrimination, and outright hatred that we as a community could turn to?  Ethnic or religious minorities?  Doubtful.  Even womens’ rights groups couldn’t help us (if they would even have us), because that would exclude trans men.

    We /need/ allies.  By being vocal and letting the GLB portions of “GLBT” know where we stand and what we have as concerns, we can present a more unified front to fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity, as well as gender expression.

    • Amber says:

      Too little and too late. Too many of us do not trust or want to trust  these people. Now how about an alliance where the board running the group consisted on one gay, one lesdbian, one bisexual, and one trans person? The head of the board would rotate yearly between the four groups. Thats an alliance of equals. Does that exist?

      • Anonymous says:

        We do need allies. But for far too long we’ve expected the GLB to care about our equality. They didn’t care about it in the years after Stonewall. Look at how Sylvia Rivera was treated by the Gay Inc of NYC.  Even on her death bed, she was trying to make deals to ensure they would stand with us. Look at how they’ve violated her trust and her last dying wish.  We will only have the G&L stand beside us when we stand up for ourselves.

      • Angie Thomas says:

        I wasn’t aware of there being a Parliament of Different People.  I’m only aware that there are many organizations that are “GLBTQ”, but not one huge, all-purpose organization.  I know there are people out there in these organizations that make good allies.

        Entering an “us versus them” mindset is the very opposite of what is needed.  What is needed is dialogue and communication.  None of this “real versus fake” nonsense, and more “let’s make sure everyone has the right to be themselves without fear of discrimination, violence, and isolation”.

  34. Andrea Rosenfield says:

    There’s a serious issue being missed here:  CONSENT.

    Women are individuals, not individual examples of a homogenous “identity group” called “women.”  We cannot consent for each other.  You can’t consent for anyone else but yourself, Julia.

    All a “Separatist” really is, is a woman who said “NO.”  NO MEANS NO.  It is not the beginning of a discussion, it is the end.  There is no debate to be had.

    The “Separatists” aren’t preventing any woman from saying “YES,” for herself, if she wants to.  It is the “Inclusionists” with their grabby umbrella that are ignoring consent issues and trying to remove the ability to say “NO.”

    If you want a woman to say “YES,” try bringing her offers instead of demands, it usually works better.

    Seriously, Julia, back when you were a man, did you expect that every man on Earth would consent to be your friend and associate with you, just because they were men too?  Do you really think it’s any different with the buttons on the other side?   Are people who have had their tonsils out expected to be part of a “tonsillectomy umbrella” and share the same interests, politics, and even sexual orientation?  

    Of course not.  Now get your umbrella out of these women’s womanhood, and stop telling people they’re with you.  The word you heard was NO.

    CONSENT.  That’s the issue.

    • Amber says:

      Yes brilliant. I say no to being raped by the transgender umbrella. I say no to someone making knowledge of my sexuality the price of admission. I say no to gays and lesbians presuming t0 speak for me.

    • Andrea,  you start out suggesting this issue is about individual free will to assert ones identity. You then fall into an ad hominem attack on a person’s right to assert their identity by suggesting they are or were in fact a man.  That line of argument has no place here.

      No one is forcing you or myself to classified as a transsexual or as a transgender person. We both do so individually, if we even do so at all.  Please do not except consideration for your positions when you violate the basic humanity of another person. In this respect, your statement is no different than any transphobic Medical A-Team Fox News contributor. You have important points to make. Let’s not discount them all over one poor one.

      Principles over personalities.

      • Andrea Rosenfield says:

        Jenna, have you considered that perhaps someone who spent the better part of the last decade touring the country to stand in front of a microphone and talk about her penis to anyone who would listen, might *want* people to know she used to be a man?

        • Andrea, I have considered a lot of points over the last 12 months. Like do I have a right to define someone else?

          The answer is no.

          Your last statement is not relevant  in relation to this discussion as you or I do not have the right to define someone else. For any person to suggest a penis makes a man is akin to  SRS causes someone to “become a woman” . No surgery “changes” a person “into” any one else.  No part of anyone’s anatomy affects their core identity. Yet apparently what one physically does about it does. or more to the point, ONLY what one does physically about it does.  I personally reject that notion, however  embrace others right to foster their own perspective.

          Narcissism in both camps of thought, the obsessive self centered and self revolving mindset dominating the discussion does not serve anyone but our oppressors.

          • Andrea Rosenfield says:

            Lurkers :  Just to prevent any misunderstandings, I am not “with” Jenna, I am not part of any “our” to which Jenna refers.  There is no “we,” “our,” or “us.”  I have no “oppressors” other than those who would attempt to slap a “we” on me without my consent.

            I am an individual speaking for myself from my own perspective, nothing more and nothing less. 

          • Anonymous says:

            No oppressors? Well, until you try to inherit something or some other such legal situation allows someone unscrupulous to degender you in an attempt to line their pockets.

          • Andrea Rosenfield says:

            Lurkers: Again to prevent misunderstandings, I have not publicly stated my medical history, or lack thereof, as it relates to my sex, one way or the other, in any public forum at any time.   

            Any assertions made by third parties about this matter are purely the speculation of their respective authors.  As a matter of personal policy I neither confirm nor deny the veracity of such statements.

          • Shaed Greenwood says:

            Well, it would not make much sense for a cis woman to storm into a conversation about trans identities and demand not to be forcibly included unless she was a drag king who wanted to be very clear that she was not like her genderqueer siblings.  And if she did, it would not be trans women with which she was bickering.

            The assumption that you were assigned the wrong gender and transitioned is not a wild leap.

            And your statements are entirely hypocritical when you demand not to be mislabeled yet deliberately mislabel others.

  35. Not Anoldfriend says:

    This is so much Tee-Gee propaganda and snake oil I can’t stomach much more.
    Lady where I come from the majority of the real transsexuals, the ones who actually had reconstructive surgery who actually assmilliate into female society are overwhelmingly heterosexual.

    Don’t even try to shut us up the harder you do the more determined we are to tell the truth.

    Truth be known the rest of the world already knows and is laughing at the Tee-tees.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Tee-Gee” is an invective and you’ll not use it here again. No one identifies as “Tee-Gee”, so you’re using it as a smearing term. This conversation has been one of the rather civil ones between the two camps and I intend on keeping it that way.

      • Not Anoldfriend says:

        Fine then TG it is.

      • Not Anoldfriend says:

        Still this peace is is propaganda at it’s worst the idea that WE the hetero-normal females of operative history have to shut up and allow allow another group to speak for us is the the oppressed (TGs) taking on the personality and actions of their oppressors.

        Talk about hypercritical do you really stand by what this person is saying.
        You can’t make up this stuff up.

        This is outrageous, no transgender would stand for that kind of treatment.
        All that is going to is make our cause more public and expose the transgender for who they really are.

        I would use stronger language but I respect your blogspace.

  36. Anne says:

    “We are women because we move through the world as women. Trans women face the same sexism that cis women face. We deal with similar expectations and obstacles. That is what makes us women. Not our biology or anatomy. ”  J. Serano

    Oye’  So I guess if  paste on a false mustache and beard, bind my breasts and stuff a sock in my panties, I am a man, because  I am attempting to, ” deal with similar expectations and obstacles.”  Hmmmmm…So I guess I am a man because I say so….and it to morow i want to be a woman well…..WARDROBE!!!

    Come ON, Julia this post is so full of false flags and unsubstantiated presumptions that cantalopes can now be included as a subspecies of dogs and cats.

    I hav a lot more to say, but I have to pack for my bi-annual trip to 33degrees “al sur”.

    • Amber says:

      It would be nice to face only the sexism that cis sexual women face. Sadly, as a transwoman, life is far more complex than that.

  37. Susan says:

    By any
    definition, I would be one of those who have no use for the GLBT umbrella and
    feel that heterosexual transsexuals have little, if almost nothing, in common
    with others under your transgender standard. 
    I agree that transsexuals can have a penis, but certainly don’t concede
    that girls/women/females do…that is simply absurd.  It’s almost as absurd as Autumn Sandeen’s
    latest rants about her orchiectomy being redefined as sex change surgery…and California apparently accepting it as
    such.  However, I will applaud your post
    in one respect…it is the first post I ever seen, outside of those a very few of
    us separatists (for lack of a better term) have made on our blogs, that
    addresses or even acknowledges the issues straight post operative women of
    transsexual history may have with the GLBT in general, and with the transgender
    specifically.  At least you address
    heterosexual transsexuals.

     

    You say:

     

    ”…the
    idea of removing transsexuals from the LGBT umbrella greatly concerns me. If it
    were to happen, I believe that it would severely undermine the modest gains
    that queer-identified trans women have made thus far. So we are left with a
    dilemma: Heterosexual trans women don’t feel like they are a part of the queer
    community, and so they understandably want to remove transsexuality from the
    LGBT umbrella. Yet, if such a move were to occur, it would have a strong
    negative impact on queer-identified trans women who still to this day struggle
    to be acknowledged, accepted and appreciated within LGBT circles.”

     

    This is the
    issue.  Certainly all gays and lesbians
    are homosexual…bisexuals are bisexually homosexual and, by your words, and for
    the sake of argument, let’s assume that roughly 50% of anyone transgender,
    including transsexuals are homosexual or bisexual.  As an engineer who knows you are also a
    scientist, surely you realize that the percentage of those who are straight and
    transsexual is extremely small.  And,
    yet, in your statement above, you do not appear at all concerned about the
    extremely small percentage of the GLBT that is straight.  Instead you say you are “greatly” concerned
    that if straight transsexuals are removed from the GLBT umbrella it will “…severely
    undermine the modest gains that queer-identified trans women have made…”

    within an organization that is “queer identified.”

     

    ”Heterosexual
    transsexuals should stop trying to convince the world that all transsexuals are
    straight and want out of the LGBT umbrella. Similarly, queer-identified
    transsexuals sometimes play up the idea that transsexuality is inherently
    subversive and super-duper-queer in order to gain acceptance within queer
    circles (I should know, as did quite a bit of that during the first two years
    after my transition)—this erases the life experiences of our
    straight-identified trans sisters.”

     

    Now, isn’t
    this special.  Straight transsexuals “…should
    stop trying to convince the world that all transsexuals are straight and want
    out of the LGBT umbrella.”
     
    This is really the bottom line I think. 
    Straight transsexuals should just STFU. 
    They should just happily settle into being captured by a gay
    organization that does their best, like you, to silence them, doesn’t speak for
    them, holds them captive, and, hell, doesn’t even acknowledge they exist…except
    to say they can’t leave because if they left that would  “…severely undermine the modest gains
    that queer-identified trans women have made…”

     

    Ms. Serano,
    your article goes on and on using the term “debate.”  What both sides should do and not do with
    regards to the “debate.”  Are you so out
    of touch that you don’t realize that there is no debate.  Are you so clueless that you don’t have an
    inkling that straight transsexual have no say so whatsoever within the GLBT?  Do you not realize that we are repeatedly
    banned from blogs for simply not following or repeating the GLBT/transgender
    mantra?  Or, for questioning the wisdom
    of calling a simple castration a sex change surgery?  Or for trying to garner recognition of our heterosexual
    issues within an organization that is overwhelmingly homosexual in every way…G-L-B
    and T?  Do you really
    not recognize that there is no debate? 
    Do you not recognize that in any given post, including this one, written
    by any so-called trans activist, that there is no consideration given to those
    of us who are straight?  Even in this
    post what “greatly concerns” you is not the plight of heterosexual transsexuals
    but those of “queer-identified trans women.”  There is no debate.  What there is is a few of us who are pretty
    much fed up with being silenced, banned, and shouted down from any discourse
    that is not homo centric.  We are fed up
    with being told that we should “…stop trying to convince the world…”
    not that all transsexuals are straight, but that
    any transsexuals are.

     

    I, for one,
    have tried repeatedly to compromise…to reach some type of understanding with
    the GLBT.  I’ve said repeatedly that all
    the GLBT has to do to shut me up is for the GLB and T activists to simply
    acknowledge that not all transsexuals are homosexual nor support the GLB carte blanc.  Well, as you can imagine, that went over like
    a lead brick.

     

    The GLBT,
    like you, is not concerned, in the very least, about heterosexual transsexuals.  What “greatly concerns”
    them, like you, are those who are “queer-identified.”

     

    I wouldn’t
    be surprised, Ms. Serano, if you continue to see some of us shouting from the
    roof tops about heterosexual issues, particularly as they relate to the lack of
    acknowledgement by the GLBT and particularly the trans activists like
    yourself.  We are just not inclined to
    sit around in transgender circle jerks reading gender theory book while chanting
    the virtues of Shambhaya. 

    • Amber says:

      And of course this is the natural result when one group of people claims to represent another group of people without their consent. Even worse, they have no understanding or interest in the other groups opinions or feelings. It should hardly be surprising that the result is resentment and anger.

      That is why this whole transgender GLBT vulcan mind fuck effort is failing so totally. I am so sorry but I have nothing in common with gay or lesbian people any more than I have in common with transvestities. Its not bad to feel that way, its not prejudice, its really just common sense. An umbrella has to EQUALLY represent all the diverse groups it claims to support. Their is simply no umbrella that even remotely comes close to this.

      How about an umbrella for people of transexual history and/or present. I dont want my sexuality brought out for debate – it is incidental to my very real needs as a transexual. Why do I have to discuss my personal sex life with anyone to get the life saving surgeries and hormones that I need? What I do in the bedroom, or who I select as a partner is personal. I choose not to disclose that. I am not “OUT AND PROUD” about my sexuality. It is no ones business and no one has the right to ask. But so long as transexuals are lumped together with people whose top priority is sexual orientation or sexual fetishes this will never happen. Why should the question even get asked? Why is this even discussed?

    • Anonymous says:

      “Straight transsexuals should just STFU.”

      is not the same thing as

      “Straight transsexuals “…should
      stop trying to convince the world that all transsexuals are straight and want
      out of the LGBT umbrella.”
      The first is ‘stop speaking’ the second is, ‘stop libeling queer trans people’.

      Telling you to tell the truth should not be seen as equivalent to telling you to stop speaking, and if it is, well, I don’t know where to start with that.

      • Amber says:

        Saying STFU isnt the same thing I have to agree. I am very curious though why transexuals need to be defined by their sexual orientations at all. Why cant we have our very real interests represented – interests that have nothing to do with our sexuality. That is aGLB thing not a transexual thing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well… maybe a cisGLB thing… because again, even my orientation is subject to cis evaluation and approval. But my sexuality does somehow manage to get caught up in my sex/gender/whatever they’re both facets of the same thing. It does because I’m told that there’s got to be something wrong with my partners, or that my partner better have an innie or I’m not a real lesbian, or for that matter if I don’t have an innie, then I’m not a real woman…

          So you see how that cissexism, coming from all directions, but most recently from a really worrisome subset of the trans community, DOES intersect with my sexuality.

          It’s why we oughtn’t call it ‘same-sex marriage’ but rather ‘same-LEGAL-sex marriage’ if, y’know, we’re really a community here.

          And it’s true, I will continue to hold the feet of the official LGBT movement to the fire until their rhetorical support matches their actual support… but I do that with the NDP here in Canada, shelving a trans rights bill that one of their best legislators managed to pass because that way they could posture on a GST cut on heating oil.

          That there are cissexists and homophobes who are queer, while ironic, and cause for discussion and exposure, doesn’t delegitimise our demands for equal rights.

          • Amber says:

            The point I am trying to make is that your sexual orientation is your business. I dont discuss mine with anyone other than intimates. I feel no need to identify myself in that way. Being transexual has its own sets of needs and issues that have nothing to do with sexuality. Why insist on forcing the two to intersect? For me they most definetly do not. Im not all that interested in gay problems, there are plenty of transexual problems – more than enough to occupy me.

          • Amber says:

            Well I would suggest that no transexual, including you needs a cis sexual person opinion about their sex life. They dont need to validate it, in point of fact it is ill mannered for anyone to even ask about it. However you choose to express yourself sexually it doesn not makes your need for surgeries or for non discrimination less or more. It is quiite simply irrlelevant. If you have to lie to your doctor about it, then lie. They shouldnt be asking the question anyway. No person owes anyone an honest reponse to something so personal. Just tell them what they want to hear it affects your access to anything medical.

            In my country same sex marriage is legal everywhere. For a long time too. Guess what, transexual rights arent that great. That is what results from tieing ourselves to the GLB mafia. They get what they want, they use us and when they are done they throw us under the bus.

    • Amber says:

      Im sory but I would like to add one additional point. As a transexual the issue of sexality just isnt a big deal. I have a number of friends some in transition and some having completed transtion. Some are straight, some are lesbain, some are bi. The issue of sexuality is not a big topic of conversation amongst us. It does not pre-occupy our time. It just is. Its only a big deal to all of our “so-called” allies whose sole preoccupation is their sexual orientation. It just seems to sort outself out for transexuals. Just IMHO and further reason why we are not well represented by these umbrellas. Finally I must say, I find this intrusiveness into my personal sexy life highly intrusive and offensive. If being open about my personal sexuality is the price of admission, the price is far too high.

      • Filipe Gomes says:

        LGBs deal with their sexual orientation and sexual health, yes, but also other stuff. Work, migration/etnicism, sexism. And parenting. And in all of these topics there are issues that are common to cis and trans, to straight trans and non straight trans. Feminist and other women’s movements also deal with sexuality, among many other topics. Are straight transexuals the only ones, besides asexuals, for whom “sexuality is not a big topic”?

        All the four letters of LGBT, and the other letters that are not in the classical acronym (like I), are heterogenous groups. Meaning that even straight trans don’t have the same needs, worries, prerogratives. In the end of the day, you always have to convince people to help you in the stuff they don’t need to participate, and to participate in other people’s stuff even if you don’t specially care about it.
        In all movements some voices are louder. Women (either trans or not), transmen, non whites, non-rich-nor-middle-class, non christians, have a difficult time in getting heard – in any movement. Wherever you go, you’ll face these obstacles.

        • Amber says:

          Sorry hun, I dont want any special support from gay people. I most especially want them to SHUT UP when it comes to transexual issues. They do not know anything about is – no more than cis sexual people. Trans people are not pathetic helpless creatures who need male privileged gays speaking for us. I know its hard for you to conceive but we can speak for ourselves. Do a lot less talking and a lot more listening. I know its hard for a man to think that some poor woman can mange for herself.

          • Renee Thomas says:

            Amber, you are flinging your rage and hatred like excrement in all directions. You are making no point at all but that you are snide, insulting, abusive and  incapable of intelligently and rationally discussing the points that Julia raised in her essay. I fear for you as such hatred will poison you . . . it has already blinded you.

          • Anonymous says:

            Renee, you will be civil, or you will not comment here.

          • Anne says:

            Actually the only “rage” that I see is coming from Renee in this comment.  IMHO,  Amber is making a simple point: STRAIGHT WOMEN who happene to have undergone a particular surgical procedure are being GROSSLY misrepresented as GAY and bona fide WILLING members of Trans INC, GAY INC, LGBTg and “trans” whatever, WHICH WE CLEARLY ARE NOT.  Amber and others like her are simply expessing our displeasure of the colonization and HIJACKING of our TOTALLY DISTINCT REALITY.

            Another point tat is being made is that this is being done WITHOUT OUR CONSENT and AGAINST our wishes and AGANST OUR EXPRESSLY EXPRESSED ARTICULATED  EXPRESSION.

            In other words STOP SPEAKING IN OUR NAME!  YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHO WE ARE OR WHAT WE DESIRE, (mostly just to be left alone!), or what we NEED, (Again…mostly just to be left alone!),

        • Amber says:

          Honey I was a bit harsh. You are a man, So of course you think like one. Sexuality for men is a big issue, a lot of their life revolves around it. You think about it evry 30 seconds or so. Women dont do that. That doesnt make you a bad person, it makes you incapable of underdstanding or respecting someone like me. I know its hard for men to comprehend but women arent obsessed with sex or ther size of their genitals.

          You are right all groups have diversity. But I would prefer to deal with the limited diversity amongst transexual people than take on the immense and largely incomprehensible (to me) problems of gay people. In my country you already have pretty much everything. You are really special snowflakes. Good for you. When gay men stop whining about their problems and focus for just one year on transexual issues – only – then I might be persuaded they actually care. Otherwise I will continue to believe they just want to use  us. I marched in gay pride once.n I was spat on, my girlfriends and I and called trannies and sissys. Very nice. Maybe you are different. Prove it and devote one post in support of transexual women. Just one.

          • Anonymous says:

            Amber, we’re not going any further down this rabbit hole. You will respect people here, or you will not comment. I find it ironic that someone would use a word like “honey”, to talk down to someone. I’ve had quite a few men speak to me in the same fashion. See how that works? You can play gender police elsewhere, you will not play it here.

      • Renee Thomas says:

        ” . . . It’s only a big
        deal to all of our “so-called” allies whose sole preoccupation is
        their sexual orientation . . .”  

        That unfortunate
        broad-brush assertion is both belittling and patently false on its face. People
        are gay by an analogues process and set of circumstances as we are trans. To
        borrow your phraseology Amber . . . “It just is”. To reduce the
        humanity of gay men and lesbians to the sum total of their sexual urges is as
        insulting as you being reduced to what does or does not exist between your legs. 

        • Amber says:

          Perhaps, |I get frustrated though and I am not perfect. Point is, I dont care avout them. Zero interest in them or their issues. Let gay men and lesbians do what they need to do. Let transexuals do the same. I dont want to be associated with them and I dont feel that just because I am transexual it confers any requirement for me to to care. I just dont care.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve said repeatedly that all
      the GLBT has to do to shut me up is for the GLB and T activists to simply
      acknowledge that not all transsexuals are homosexual nor support the GLB carte blanc.

      Yeah, so when I spent two hours trying to explain to the editorial board of HuffingtonPost why a man marrying a trans woman in Cuba wasn’t a ‘gay wedding’ that was just for my own benefit?

      Tell you what, you stop saying that non-operative tryke couples are doing kaikai and we’ll go work together on this, because while correlated, transsexuality and aheterosexuality are not the same.

      There was the protest against Don Lemon saying that transsexuality was just like being gay where the microphone was grabbed and that smug, professional-class glossy understanding was ripped to shreds…

      But again, if you and yours stop saying that to be transsexual you must be operative… it’ll be a lot easier to make inroads… about as many trans women are post-operative as are straight, so again, it might help to not alienate your fellow women.

      If you want that kind of coalition, I’m in… I, and I imagine Julia, who’s already criticized subversivism, would be part of a coalition that doesn’t erase heterosexuals in the greater queer community.

      There are quite a few.

      • Susan says:

        “…so when I spent two hours trying to explain to the editorial board of
        HuffingtonPost why a man marrying a trans woman in Cuba wasn’t a ‘gay
        wedding’ that was just for my own benefit?”

        Yep, pretty much…considering the groom considered himself a gay man, and none of the articles sent the event up as a heterosexual marriage unconnected to the GLBT.

        “…if you and yours stop saying that to be transsexual you must be operative…” 

        I’ve never said that to be transsexual one must be operative…I’ve said that to be female is not to have a penis.  But, I’ll meet you in the middle.  If you and yours quit calling a castration sex reassignment surgery I’ll reconsider.

  38. Marja Erwin says:

    I think it’s important to have an alliance or an umbrella, but why base it on gender? I for one find it alienating and invisibilizing. I’m not even butch, but I’m too butch for some trans spaces, and not femme enough to relate to the emphasis on femininity in some trans spaces.

  39. Teagan says:

    Julia, why would the removal of heterosexual transsexual women from the umbrella necessarily have a negative impact on queer women?  This seems like a politely-worded variant of the “they need us to legitimize themselves!!!” idea that I’ve seen espoused by those who advocate for removal.

    • Sara says:

      This would create a group that could be potentially labeled by others as “real transsexuals.”

      • Not Anoldfriend says:

        And your point is?

      • Teagan says:

        So people that the public might label “real transsexuals” need to be under the umbrella.

        Why?  To lend legitimacy to the rest of the movement?  I can think of no other reason why someone would make that statement.

        • Amber says:

          Transexuals are just science project freaks. Not real people in our own right – at least that is how most view us.

          • Teagan says:

            For what it’s worth, I do believe that Serano and others desire hetero TS women in there to legitimize the movement with the public.  The comments in this part of the thread just bolster my opinion.  Whether or not our presence does in fact accomplish that is debatable.

            I don’t advocate for out-and-out removal of all hetero TS women from the umbrella because presumably, there are some who are comfortable being under it.  Although I don’t personally know any, nor am I aware of any.  But I’m sure one or two of them, perhaps even three, will be pointed out to me. 

          • Amber says:

            Well it all comes down to what I have been trying to say. Transexuals are unique as they have two sets of issues – one set being those that apply to  all of us regardless of sexual orientation. The other set concerns sexuality which does not concern the entire group as a large percentage are straight and live ordinary cis sexual lives as much as possible. Those who identify as heterosexual dont want to be involved with other individuals sexual problems (for the most part). In any case I think all of us would like the choice. In other words, the choice to support common transexual rights without being forced to be involved with gay and/or sexuality issues. They are not the same. They are most definetly not the same for me.

            This debate has been useful but for my part it has only served to solidify my opinions about being forced to support GLB rights (which I dont care about) in order to gain any support for transexual rights. I have never been comfortable with this but I have to come to better understand why because of this debate.

            So my conclusion is that I am firmly in support of transexual rights and needs. I am not for or against GLB needs, I simply dont care about them. I myself, would be happy to support a group that represents transesexual interests and has no involvement in issues of sexuality.

            Finally this issue about what makes someone a woman. Can someone be a woman and still have a penis? This is a complicated issue with lots of emotion. My own view is that a human being is a complex amalgamation of mind and body. In totallity they are what makes someone a person. For transexuals of course, we have a problem in that our mind and body dont agree. It is an unpleasant condition at best, making it worse is the extreme degree to which our society revolves around a gender binary which derives from its patriarchal nature. This is most especially a problem for MTF people.

            Transition is a c0mplex process and varies from person to person. My own feeling is that its not the having of a penis that prevents someone from being a woman. Its just a lump of flesh. But, that lump of flesh should just be that. A thing. Not important. Men are VERY penis centered women are not (obviously). I dont think any transexual should go around yacking about their penis as if they are proud of it. If you do, you dont understand what being a woman is about. If you do, you arent a woman, at least not yet. Women dont do that. If you have that lump of flesh stop talking about it. What you do with it in private is your business. So for my own part I place limited importance on the penis but I place IMMENSE importance on the person. Its not that hard to tell the difference between men play acting at being women and men who are earnestly transitioning. Men who parade around yacking about their penis are just that – men. It doesnt matter what clothes they wear or what hormones they take. It doesnt matter whether they are full time or not. The are men and that is that. Any woman would never want this discussed, not because they are ashamed but because it isnt important. At best, anyting swinging down their is a left over remnant of their old life and holds no significance in their thinking or actions.

          • Anonymous says:

            I care about GLB rights, because I am bisexual. I care about trans rights because I am trans. I say trans because I fight for gender identity language that protects all gender variant people, be they CD’s, non-op TGs, pre-op TS, or post op TS. A vagina doesn’t give you cis-priv, your ability to “pass” does. If you don’t have cis-privilege you’re vulnerable to all kinds of discrimination and hatred. Your genital status doesn’t matter.

            The focus of my work in the community is to serve the needs of trans people of all flavors. The workplace protections for crossdressers are different from those of  transitioning empoloyees (be they pre, post, or non-0p).  Peter Oiler needed to be protected.  He was fired for doing something off the clock.  He didn’t need restroom/shower accommodations. Transitioning employees do. There are definitely different needs.

            My problem with this whole discussion is that gender identity (what gender you identify with) and sexual identity (how the world identifies you as either female or male) isn’t really germane to the protection of all trans people. 

            If you care about someone like, say  Autumn Sandeen,  calling herself a woman, I have to ask you why the hell you care? What does her self identification have to do with you and yours? Does calling Autumn “Mr. Sandeen” help change the lives of post-op transsexuals?

            Lastly, if  “real men” are focused on their penises, where does that leave trans men? Are they just pretend men with pretend penises? I think focusing in on genitals is a mistake.  We should focus on protections and anti-discimination legislation, not being gender cops.  If it doesn’t harm you, if it doesn’t break your leg, why do you care?

            I’m an atheist. I don’t care if you believe in some Santa Daddy in the Sky. Feel free to believe in what you want to. If it does not effect my life then I really don’t care what you believe in or how you believe God to be. You have the right to believe in fairy tales. You shouldn’t have the right to dictate my life based on your theology.  IMO, this argument is no different. No matter what you call yourself or how society sees you, you should have the right to live free from discrimination and hatred.

          • Amber says:

            Honey first of all I meant no disrespect to trans men. I write from the perspective of trans woman which is what I am. I thought I made it clear, genitals dont matter that much to me. Everyone has genitals, some match their gender, some dont. Just everyone pleawe shut up about it. Its irrelevant and meaningless. Just like sexual orientation. I dont care about it. I do care about the equlaity, rights and dignity of transexual people. I have no idea why you are talking about religion. I am also an atheist and although I find it strange for you to bring this(actually ill mannered) I in truth could not care less about it. Not sure what I said to give you a different impressiom. It means as much to me as the weeds growing by the side of the road. Perhaps you have confused my comments with someone else?

            Now on a different note, I do care about penis packing men who are nothing more than transvestities claiming to be transexual, to be like me. That offends me. If you have male sexual organs please, like a lady , keep it to yourself. I dont accept you as a trasexual because to me you are not one. You are just a guy in a dress, To me anyone claiming to be a woman yacking about her cock is no woman at all. |You are a transvestitie.l

            |For the record I dont give shit about cross dressers or transvestities. I dont hate them, but neither do I think they are any of my concern. They are not transexual and thus, not interesting to me. They should just go to transvestite gatherings and stay away from transexuals and quit trying to pretend they are something they are not.

            I think your problem with me is simple. You have chosen personally to get involved in a host of issues that are not transexual issues. |This is your right, it is legitmate and it is your privilege. I on the other hand dont care about those people at all. Let them fight their own fights, they have their own problems and I just dont care. Transexuals need people to speak for US and who are focused on US. This seems to trouble you. Fine, be troubled. I dont care what you think. I dont you to validate me, you are no one special and your opinion carries no special weight.

          • Anonymous says:

            I care about GLB rights, because I am bisexual. I care about trans rights because I am trans. I say trans because I fight for gender identity language that protects all gender variant people, be they CD’s, non-op TGs, pre-op TS, or post op TS. A vagina doesn’t give you cis-priv, your ability to “pass” does. If you don’t have cis-privilege you’re vulnerable to all kinds of discrimination and hatred. Your genital status doesn’t matter.

            The focus of my work in the community is to serve the needs of trans people of all flavors. The workplace protections for crossdressers are different from those of  transitioning empoloyees (be they pre, post, or non-0p).  Peter Oiler needed to be protected.  He was fired for doing something off the clock.  He didn’t need restroom/shower accommodations. Transitioning employees do. There are definitely different needs.

            My problem with this whole discussion is that gender identity (what gender you identify with) and sexual identity (how the world identifies you as either female or male) isn’t really germane to the protection of all trans people. 

            If you care about someone like, say  Autumn Sandeen,  calling herself a woman, I have to ask you why the hell you care? What does her self identification have to do with you and yours? Does calling Autumn “Mr. Sandeen” help change the lives of post-op transsexuals?

            Lastly, if  “real men” are focused on their penises, where does that leave trans men? Are they just pretend men with pretend penises? I think focusing in on genitals is a mistake.  We should focus on protections and anti-discimination legislation, not being gender cops.  If it doesn’t harm you, if it doesn’t break your leg, why do you care?

            I’m an atheist. I don’t care if you believe in some Santa Daddy in the Sky. Feel free to believe in what you want to. If it does not effect my life then I really don’t care what you believe in or how you believe God to be. You have the right to believe in fairy tales. You shouldn’t have the right to dictate my life based on your theology.  IMO, this argument is no different. No matter what you call yourself or how society sees you, you should have the right to live free from discrimination and hatred.

          • Shaed Greenwood says:

            For someone who complains about the patriarchal nature of the gender binary, you sure do have a patriarchal, stereotypical view of what women should behave like.  Quiet, demure, cowed.

            If a woman wants to be out and proud about her body, warts, medical conditions, features that others have declared a deformity, and all, she is no less a woman.

  40. Amber says:

    This post is intelligent but unfortunately it misses the point. Their is no “one” group of LGBT people to join. What you do have are a number of diverse organisations some of whom genuinely represent trans interests and some of whom could not care less. Many have entrenched leaderships and are so highly patriarchal in nature that there is no hope for any kind of meaningful alliance. The same can be said of a number of the transgender organisations.

    If transexuals are to have a “real” voice, real representation of their interests then we need a partnership of equals. Given where we are, this can only happen with a complete and total separation. Once established, it could then be possible to seek out alliances with other groups in order to further mutual goals. We need to be able to negotitate as equals, not as some letter tacked onto the end of gender zoo label. Transexual interests cannoit be represented by gay men or lesbian women. There is no common experience which allows them to understand or represent effectivelyour interests. However, chosen alliances where we are accepted as equals are a good idea, but not possible with the current state of affairs.

    The current state of affairs cannot last. The current models are failing and the depth of anger and distrust on all sides cannot ber reconciled by simply asking people to be nice. We are long past that.

  41. The assumptions made and disguised as facts makes your entire presentation worthless. I wish FTMs were as well accepted as your fantasy life makes us, not to mention the fact a whole lot of FTMs (straight and gay)did not come from Lesbian community and still do not socialize with Lesbians or any other part of the LG crowd (B is separated by the LG and T is gender not sexuality so different from LGB and S). Creating misinformation based on your own ignorace makes you just as bad as the cisgender sexuality focussed “allies” trying to speak for us.

    • Kara says:

      She does have a point. I have learned that I have often to explain the phenomena of transsexual seperatism when talking to transmen but rarely have to do so when talking to transwomen.

  42. SD says:

    Oh Serano, you’re quite the thinker.

  43. Mzbaker says:

    You had me at ‘respect’ but lost me at ‘woman and can still have a penis’. There is so much more to being a woman than having a vagina, but it starts there. Seeing the ever changing and individually focused terms within the trans community, I guess I’m forced to stake my alliance with the group I’ve always known I belong: cis women.

    • Julia Serano says:

      objecting to the idea that  ‘woman and can still have a penis’ is logically no different from objecting to the idea that ‘woman and is XY chromosomally’ or ‘woman and cannot bare children’. There are countless arbitrary lines one can draw in the sand to separate women from men (and many would also disenfranchise many cis women as well as trans women).

      We are women because we move through the world as women. Trans women face the same sexism that cis women face. We deal with similar expectations and obstacles. That is what makes us women. Not our biology or anatomy. 

    • How can something as small as genitals define your whole identity for you? It’s just silly.

      • Mzbaker says:

        I remember those days of being pre-op very well and would never, ever,  discount those feelings of betwixt and between, and just wanting desperately to ‘make it all right’.  But there is a distinct different between being pre-op and being non-op.  I know my view on this is not popular in the community, though only within the community is it so.  Would your doctor agree you are a woman while giving you an annual exam?.. would the women changing alongside of you in the health club or dressing rooms?.. would the straight men or lesbian women agree with whom you are intimate?..  How about the courts?..  How about the women in the audience of an Oprah show?..

        Do women stop being women after menapause? No.  Are women who are unable to give birth no longer women? of course not.  Will you ever be asked to participate in the Vagina Monologues, even a trans version, while still having a penis?.. I highly doubt it.  

        I know this is gong to be hugely unpopular, but I’ll say it anyway.  Thinking one can be a woman while still having a penis is a very male thought and symbolic of male privilege.  It’s saying ‘I am whatever I say am and you have to accept and agree,  period, end’.  One is not a marine, policeman or doctor, just because he/she slips on the uniform.  Neither is a 15 year old girl a woman just because she puts on makeup and spike heels.

        Real transition begins once one gets off the operating table, not when they take the first hormone or first say to themselves  ‘I’m a girl’.   If gender surgery is not necessary, then why not lobby against it?.. Are people who undergo surgery crazy, in denial, or guilty of self-mutilation?.. if so, then shouldn’t the psychiatric and medical community to make the procedure illegal?..

        I’m not discounting my life, or anyone else’s,  prior to surgery at
        all.  I’m merely saying there a great deal of difference in before and
        after. I’m not telling anyone how they should live their life or judging them for their choices or actions. I know trans women face many of the same challenges genetic women  face,
        even more in fact.  I’ve seen it, lived it, and get it. I’m simply saying if this community has any hopes of true societal acceptance, then some things things need to be agreed on and standardized.

        Lastly, aside from those few who regret transition and go back to living as male, I’ve yet to hear anyone who’s actually undergone surgery say it did not make a difference in their lives and in the self-image.

        I wish you each of you happiness and all the best.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’ve had those feelings of being inbetween, of being half what I ached to be and half something that horrified me… and usually those triggers are when I see the few hairs between my breasts that haven’t had the good graces to die, or on my arms, or picking at the wisps that remain on my lower lip in some sort of self-flagellatory penance for the sin of being previously poisoned with testosterone.

          But never, never, have I had those feelings genitally centred…

          Now, again, no two transitions, no two trans people are the same.

          I don’t think your surgery is illegitimate, that it’s not about bringing your body into a bare minimum of accord with your identity… I just could care less… I did for a while, because it was expected of me, but I decided that I’d rather not risk some important pleasure centres and sign up for daily dilation just to eliminate some marker of an atypical natal development.

          That’s MY choice… surgery is YOUR choice… Just because it works for many women, and should be funded, does not mean that it follows that non-operative trans women, which you are not, and you have no idea what it’s like, are in any way less women than you are.

          I’m sure if we opened up about our dysphoria, you and I and everyone on either side of this divide, without talking about specific body parts, we’d find the same themes… the ideation… the denial… the stress that mounted at puberty… the despair… the half-measures attempted to give one a feeling of peace… the sobbing and wishing for the universe to just rewrite you and make the pain go away…

          Does it matter that you wanted six inches of erectile tissue gone and I still cry wishing I were six inches shorter?

          Does that make me less a woman?

          If you can answer yes then you’ve belied your wishes of ‘all the best’

      • Stacey Erin Adams says:

        People have in the past been arrested for using the restroom that did not match what their genitals implied about their gender.  If a pre-operative trans woman gets arrested, at least in certain parts of the world and at certain times in history, she has risked being placed in population with men (and the included heightened risk of physical harm including assault, rape and murder), based solely on something as small as genitals. People have been murdered by others who found out that the woman they were with actually had something as small as the wrong genitals (wrong from what they were expecting).  People have been beaten.  People have mutilated themselves, attempted and even commited suicide feeling such discord with their bodies, the bulk of said discord for many resides in this one, tiny little area of their bodies that so literally embodies the bulk of what (they think) makes them so very different from “all others” of the gender to which they relate.

        One’s genitals ought  to make little difference to anyone not directly involved with them – I think that’s your point (?), and I wholeheartedly agree.  The facts of the world in which we live still lean in another direction from what I can see, however.  :/

    • Anonymous says:

      What you are doing with that metric is degendering every single moment of your life, your courageous struggle to claim your womanhood from a world that wished you didn’t exist, until such time as you went under the knife.

      To me that seems short-sighted at best… I’m not going to abandon my girlhood just because I hadn’t managed to articulate myself.

      Also, by this metric, Buck Angel is more a sister to you than I am…

      I can’t make that decision for you, so enjoy.

  44. jaheira says:

    you start off by saying that you want a discussion without generalizations, yet you make a hell of a lot of assumptions about people merely because they disagree.
    now on to the rest.

    transsexualism (not transsexuality!) is not an umbrella term. it’s a medical term for people who feel like the opposite sex and wishes to correct their bodies in order to function properly in society (as you probably know). it has nothing to do with sexuality or even gender expression, really, since it’s merely a definition made to help doctors(etc) know what they’re dealing with. transgender, or transgenderism, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for anything involving gender identity and gender expression that doesn’t fit the norm. INCLUDING transsexuals. also worth noting is that there are plenty of transgender people, who, while not being transsexual, still require medical aid. this is creates huge problem but it is also a completely different topic, but the point here is that seperating transsexuals from the transgender umbrella makes no sense, as it’s merely different shades of the same color. so we agree on that.

    I do not agree with the rest, however. transsexualism/transgenderism has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality, as you said. why then, should it be included in the LGBT umbrella? you say because “we need allies”. I don’t think we do, but even if that’s the case, then it still doesn’t serve its purpose since even the LGB community is, for the most part (and as you said yourself), almost as ignorant about trans issues as cissexual heterosexuals are. I have met many LGBT activists who really has no clue what they’re talking about (you know, people who have at most read a wikipedia article or two) and frankly does more harm than good by giving people false information. it doesn’t help that transsexualism is a pretty bad term to begin with, since it makes people believe it’s associated with sexuality. I think GID or just “gender dysphoria” would not only be more accurate but also more helpful when telling people about it.
    you also say that heterosexual transwomen doesn’t feel included in the LGBT community (that’s not what my experiences tells me though, but okay). of course they don’t, they’re heterosexual! just because someone is trans doesn’t mean their gender expression is “queer” or otherwise different from the norm, in other words, it’s two completely different things. non-heterosexual transsexuals, on the other hand, is still part of the LGB since they’re still gay or lesbian or whatever, they just happen to be trans as well. so, how can we help the LGBT community to be more accepting of transgender individuals (again, my experience has been the exact opposite)? easy, we get rid of the ‘T’. a small bit of correct information is much more helpful than loads of misinformation. you need more than attention, more than “allies”. you need people who actually knows what they’re talking about. consider: a person explaining to a school class what homosexuality and bisexuality is, and towards the end mentions that there is also this thing called ‘transsexuality’, which is people dressing as the opposite sex (or other incorrect statement). not very helpful, right? but if we instead leave that part to people who actually has some experience on the subject, it can be a lot more helpful than it ever would be if we stayed in the LGBT community simply because it would be treated as what it is and nothing more.

    • Julia Serano says:

      If I would have played a drinking game where I did a shot every time you accused me of “misinformation” or “false information” I’d be drunk right now. You are playing the real vs. fake card.

      Transsexuality ot transsexualism or whatever you want to call it is not a “medical condition.” There is no blood test or “cure” for it. It is a natural phenomenon where some people understand themselves at a deep and profound level to be a member of the sex other than the one they were assigned a birth. Period. There is no medical diagnoses as such. And the psych diagnoses that currently exist are based on us as trans individuals going into their offices and telling them that we identify as a member of the sex other than the one we are assigned at birth! That is the diagnosis, that we understand ourselves to be transsexual!

      • Amber says:

        Well I was with you, even if I did not agree with you until this post.

        What makes you a transexual expert? A natural phenemonon goobledegook? Really, you think that is the prevailing opinion on the matter?  I have not only never heard this idea expressed in this way but their is a growing body of evidence to suggest otherwise. In any case, the matter is far from settled. This is a highly opinionated position and far more controversial that the rest of your post. Is this what our GL masters are preaching these days? It most definetly is not how I feel or any of my circle of friends. It is indeed, somewhat offensive in how it was presented.

        It is comments like this that create and solidify the divide between those transexual and those transgender. Not smart at all.

        The psych diagnoses is also a little more sophisticated than what you said. Of course, a good diagnosis relies on people being honest and until recently that would often result in someone who did not fit the rules lieing to get what they needed. Not the case in my country any longer – not sure about the US.

      • jaheira says:

        that’s not what I’m doing at all, you missed the point. what I meant is that since T is part of LGBT even though they have nothing in common, there are naturally going to be a lot of informers/activists etc who doesn’t really know what they’re talking about (I have seen this myself too many times), thus spreading false information/misinformation which in the long run harms the trans community more than it helps (even though I’m sure they mean well). I must say I’m disappointed by how instead of answering to my arguments you accuse me of “playing real vs fake card” as if that’s a valid excuse for dismissing everything that I wrote.

        it’s “transsexualism”. that’s what it’s called, there’s no such thing as transsexuality, since it obviously has nothing to do with sexuality what so ever. this is the problem that I was talking about! it’s sad that even transpersons can’t get the term right because of its association with LGBT.
        and yes, it is a medical condition in that it requires medical aid to “cure”, I often hear post-op transsexuals claim that they’re no longer transsexual since they’re now in tune with their ‘real’ gender, and thus has no desire to change their bodies anymore. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in my country you HAVE to be diagnosed as transsexual in order to recieve any treatment what so ever (hormone therapy, SRS etc). this creates a problem since you have to meet the criteria that the government has decided defines transsexualism, so if you’re any other kind of trans you’re not likely to get the treatment through legal means. but this is another topic for another time. the point is that if you have been diagnosed transsexual, you have been acknowledged as a patient in need of medical aid. that’s why it exists, and that is why there is a rift between transsexual and transgender. there shouldn’t be, as I think we agree on, but that’s the reason it is.

        if we get rid of all those terms, and instead see transgender people merely as different variations of gender identity disorder/gender dysphoria, then it would help tremendously as it would be easier for non-transsexual transgender people to get the help they need. everyone is different, you know, and this applies here too. not every transsexual needs/wants SRS, but some do. not every transgender person needs/wants hormones, but some do. that is what I meant by “different shades of the same color”. treat it like a medical problem (where such help is needed, of course) and not like a sexuality or, to quote an LGBT activist I met a few years back, “a desire to dress like the opposite sex”. that’s where the ignorance comes from. and that is why I don’t want the T in LGBT.

  45. jaheira says:

    you start off by saying that you want a discussion without generalizations, yet you make a hell of a lot of assumptions about people merely because they disagree.
    now on to the rest.

    transsexualism (not transsexuality!) is not an umbrella term. it’s a medical term for people who feel like the opposite sex and wishes to correct their bodies in order to function properly in society (as you probably know). it has nothing to do with sexuality or even gender expression, really, since it’s merely a definition made to help doctors(etc) know what they’re dealing with. transgender, or transgenderism, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for anything involving gender identity and gender expression that doesn’t fit the norm. INCLUDING transsexuals. also worth noting is that there are plenty of transgender people, who, while not being transsexual, still require medical aid. this is creates huge problem but it is also a completely different topic, but the point here is that seperating transsexuals from the transgender umbrella makes no sense, as it’s merely different shades of the same color. so we agree on that.

    I do not agree with the rest, however. transsexualism/transgenderism has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality, as you said. why then, should it be included in the LGBT umbrella? you say because “we need allies”. I don’t think we do, but even if that’s the case, then it still doesn’t serve its purpose since even the LGB community is, for the most part (and as you said yourself), almost as ignorant about trans issues as cissexual heterosexuals are. I have met many LGBT activists who really has no clue what they’re talking about (you know, people who have at most read a wikipedia article or two) and frankly does more harm than good by giving people false information. it doesn’t help that transsexualism is a pretty bad term to begin with, since it makes people believe it’s associated with sexuality. I think GID or just “gender dysphoria” would not only be more accurate but also more helpful when telling people about it.
    you also say that heterosexual transwomen doesn’t feel included in the LGBT community (that’s not what my experiences tells me though, but okay). of course they don’t, they’re heterosexual! just because someone is trans doesn’t mean their gender expression is “queer” or otherwise different from the norm, in other words, it’s two completely different things. non-heterosexual transsexuals, on the other hand, is still part of the LGB since they’re still gay or lesbian or whatever, they just happen to be trans as well. so, how can we help the LGBT community to be more accepting of transgender individuals (again, my experience has been the exact opposite)? easy, we get rid of the ‘T’. a small bit of correct information is much more helpful than loads of misinformation. you need more than attention, more than “allies”. you need people who actually knows what they’re talking about. consider: a person explaining to a school class what homosexuality and bisexuality is, and towards the end mentions that there is also this thing called ‘transsexuality’, which is people dressing as the opposite sex (or other incorrect statement). not very helpful, right? but if we instead leave that part to people who actually has some experience on the subject, it can be a lot more helpful than it ever would be if we stayed in the LGBT community simply because it would be treated as what it is and nothing more.

  46. Alexander says:

    Can I just say “thank you” a million times over? What really gets to me is this “line in the sand” mentality around identity/labels and the perpetuation of the same hierarchy b.s. I’ve listened to for years. There isn’t just one “right” way to be transgender or transsexual and the sooner we figure that out and respect it, the better off we will be as a larger community.

      • Renee Thomas says:

        Let me add my thanks as well Julia.  Your
        essay thoughtfully and cogently gets to the heart of the matter . . . alliances
        have intrinsic value, many gay men and lesbians DO in fact get it and too much
        of the “Trans-Separatist” movement resounds with
        the echoes of both externalized and internalized transphobia and
        homophobia. It’s hard to not hear, in much of the ad hominem in evidence, the self-loathing of
        one who nonsensically argues against herself.     

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