Moving trans* history forward symposium
April 2, 2014
GLAAD, Logo finally issue statements addressing concerns of transphobia of RuPaul’s Drag Race
April 4, 2014

Lateral violence in the trans community

By Laurelai Bailey


Lateral violence is displaced violence directed against one’s peers rather that one’s true adversaries.

Our true adversaries are kyriarchy and all those who perpetuate it. We live in an interlocking system of oppression; one oppression built on top of another with its core being white supremacy and white supremacist concepts of gender. Challenging transmisogyny and transmisogynistic concepts of gender are indispensable to anti-oppression.  In part, this means challenging the idea that trans women have to “pass” (god I hate that word) to be truly transgender. Additionally, this means recognizing and challenging the transmisogynistic stereotypes that cis gay men and women perpetuate about the trans experience.

However, we sometimes lose sight of the source of our oppression and in an act of lateral violence, lash out against our own community. Lateral violence can become truly destructive when our “leaders” engage in this behavior. Yesterday, I saw a particularly nasty example lateral violence when Calpernia Addams wrote a scathing article about a popular trans writer, one Parker Molloy, who recently made the Trans 100 for 2014 in recognition for her writing and work for the trans community.

Addams’ timing is, to me, suspicious considering her grievances against Parker were ignored by Addams until after Parker made the trans 100 list. While Addams made a valid point in that Parker had mistakenly referred to her a drag queen (because Addams regularly participates in drag shows), Parker issued a heartfelt apology for her mistake. However, Addams’ list of grievances also included taking umbrage with the fact that Parker noted Addams refers to herself as a transsexual.

Addams then went on a bit of an ableist bent in her article calling Parker “… one of the nutty trans hacktivists who had been ‘triggered’ by the buzz generated when Jared Leto thanked me in his Oscars acceptance speech.” Mocking PTSD triggers is something I take personal offense to as I actually have PTSD.  

Moreover, Addams asserted something that has me very worried:

“Often in only a year or two, they drop the mantle of white, straight, male privilege, having wrung every benefit that a 20- to 30-year-old person can from it, and take up the currently unassailable position of being a queer female with all the zeal of a new conqueror. What’s the thing they rail against when not decrying other trans people? “Cis-het privilege”?

This is the same kind of logic TERFs use to claim trans women have male privilege in order to deny us access to women’s spaces and that is an act of lateral violence. Addams just cosigned onto our oppressors attack of trans woman. This is unquestioningly an act of transmisogyny.

To me it’s worse, because I believe RuPaul’s error is simply the tone-deaf carelessness of someone who has lived through and shaped many eras of queer and gender culture. The “gimme that too!” victimization grab of women like Molloy comes from not having earned their place as “inside” cultural commentators yet.”

Here Addams asserts that A.) it’s okay for cis men to use transmisogynistic slurs because they helped shape our transmisogynistic queer culture; and, B.) before we attempt to challenge this system, trans women must first “earn our places” within the transmisogynistic hierarchy. This view of community replicates kyriarchy within queer circles. This sort of more trans than thou attitude is one of the major contributors of lateral violence within our community. It is the idea that one voice is inherently more valuable than another and Addams is clearly stating who’s voice is more valuable: her own.

Worse, it seems that Addams completely fails to grasp the reality of what modern trans advocates have been talking about for a long time:

“If they express hatred and derision for gay or lesbian culture (and it’s almost always anti-gay, for some reason), we should call them on their homophobia. We should call out the transphobia of those who attack trans people who choose to wear makeup, associate with gay and lesbian people or embrace non-binary bodies, whether the negativity is coming from outside the community or from inside. (Molloy has attacked not only me but Carmen Carrera and Buck Angel.) Being trans is not a free pass to be transphobic or homophobic.”

We don’t express hate for gays and lesbians. We express anger toward the transmisogyny that cis gays and cis lesbians perpetuate while simultaneously demanding we stand in solidarity with them. Addams’ wording is, perhaps inadvertently, a nod to her own heteronormativity. Addams’ omission of cis in front of gays and lesbians belies the fact that many trans women are gay and lesbian as well.

Addams’ lashing out at Parker only after she made the trans 100 list, seems timed to me. Waiting weeks until Parker’s name was in the media to only then leverage her platform against Parker comes off as petty and personal. While I might not agree with Parker on all things, I know her heart is generally in the right place and she is doing the best she knows how to do. However, it’s hard for me to believe the same about Addams’ motivations.

Addams makes money off of selling trans women the idea of stealth. While being stealth is a very valid and understandable  choice in our dangerous world, Addams’ and Andrea James’ marketing of stealth is problematic when stealth becomes, through marketing, an implied requirement for being trans enough. Addams and her partner’s company, Deep Stealth Productions, sells stealth as a normative value and Addams’ business partner is known for gender policing. For me, Addams’ motives are fairly transparent, and typifies the lateral violence that’s plagued our community for too long.

At the end of Addams’ screed she asserted something that I can agree with:

You choose your community’s voices and heroes. You choose your entertainers, your thinkers and your fighters. Make those choices.

Quite right.

And I do not choose you.

I choose to make my own voice. I choose to be my own hero. I choose to fight and think for myself.

Nobody speaks for me but me and I suggest other trans women do the same. Make your own voices heard. Be your own heroes. Fight and think for yourselves.

The time of having a select cadre of trans women who meet cisnormative appearance standards representing all women like us needs to come to a close.  We need to create a new culture where all trans voices are valid, all trans experiences are valid, and all trans women are valid.

Our modern internet connected world gives us an opportunity to empower a lot more trans women to speak out for themselves, to create their own platforms and make their own narratives free of domination and control from others. The internet gives us the opportunity to learn about other trans people from all over the world and open our minds and eyes to their struggles and life experiences. We have a huge opportunity to share knowledge and wisdom with one another.

What we don’t need is a small group of elite trans women continuing to dominate transgender discourse. What we don’t need is a small group of elite trans women seeking to represent their personal interpretation of the trans experience to the public as being the trans experience. What we don’t need is a small group of elite trans women committing acts of lateral violence against other trans women dare speak their own truth.

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  • Dee Omally

    VJD= Vicarious Judgmental Disorder defined: a disorder that involves reaching a conclusion in judgement about a person or persons who belong to a group with common characteristics, based primarily on anecdotal evidence derived vicariously, and lacks conclusions derived from empirical evidence, appealing to group emotion, primarily fear. Beyond presuppositions, disagreement, disdain, or even loathing—all components of subjective conclusions—what elevates these “everyday” conclusions into a disorder is that such a person or persons coalesce as a unit in a “circle the wagons” approach, and based on fears neither real but perceived, begin to execute group offense to such an extent that it becomes an obsession.

    The group follows a group dictum and employs tactics deemed so offensive that this psychological warfare is rationalized in a manner and case reflecting the idiom “the best defense is the strongest offense.” The end result is a protracted conflict, psychological in nature, employing technology as a weapon and so consumes the offending group that can only be objectively described as a mental state of acute unhealthiness and unhappiness. Although in obligatory defensive posture, the target group of those with VJD by necessity appears to share some traits, the distinguishing primary factor is that the targeted group is forced to vehement defense expressly intended to repel offensive multifaceted tactics that employ subterfuge as its primary modus operandi. Such subterfuge, although not initially apparent, reveals itself typically through feigned concern “for all”, while surgical exclusion of “some” is the ultimate and true intention. Such vicarious judgement of course is reserved for the “some”—members of the targeted group.

    Dee’s Encyclopedia of Infinite Wisdom
    {and I never said “TERFs”, until now}

  • Kim Schroeder

    In my opinion this is the right war, but the wrong battle and the wrong way to fight it. Though your intentions might be pure this seems more like a counter attack on a person then a genuine discussion of the issues. The comments by and large reflect this. You last statement sums up the attitude perfectly. You are angry and perhaps justifiably so, but in the end you are in turn lashing out at a segment of our community. In many ways you are doing the same thing right back at the subject of your piece that you accuse her of. It’s great you want to support one person you feel has been wronged, but you are using lateral violence to fight lateral violence.

  • Guest

    n discussions do not require violence or argument once all parties
    obtain a high degree of education enough to actually be considered
    educated. argument stem from issues on the first second n third level of
    human/spiritual cognition. the third once completed (c: a complete
    field of knowledge) come with obligatory (c: college, masters,
    qualified/blackarts, zen/guru; plus) socialization on the (moral/social)
    fourth. c: self-control n social/ethics. note: fourth circuit moralists
    exist n tend to stabilize on the fourth n also tend to refrain from
    violence/hostility. above: merely refer to simple charts on OODA
    strategy. without education they lend zero. c: RESPECT/Q+

  • Delphi Omally

    Calpernia Adams? Should it come as no surprise that she has placed Hollywood actors and drag queen FoolPaul’s public exhibition of transphobia over us? This is why I truly am very, very, dubious about trans persons with a draq queen history (hello Carmen Carrera!).

    Most of us have had zero desire to “pretend” to be female……..we see no pretension about it. For me both Carmen and Calpernia have as much credibility as Dr Ablow: zero.—-no matter what nice things they say.

    I am very, very glad to see all of this play out. By now, most of us know that the gay community could care less about trans issues. When they accomplish their objectives, ours are just beginning. The current conflict involving draq queens FoolPaul, and former drag queens like Carmen and Calpernia are serving to identify trans friend from trans foe, and boy is it ever. Anyone else notice the intersection here? Drag queen history + transgender = trans adversary?

    Is it possible to become trans after being a draq queen? Yes. Do you have much credibility with trans issues? No. FoolPaul and Calpernia are doing an outstanding job in demonstrating how true this is—–a history of being a former female imposter—gay boy posing as female—-does little to convince me of your value to the trans community. FoolPaul and anyone remotely associated with that transphobic show has no place in my inn…..

    • BrandySpears

      “This is why I truly am very, very, dubious about trans persons with a draq queen history (hello Carmen Carrera!)”
      The classic trannier-than-thou dis.

    • Sassafras

      Carmen Carrera has actually come out against RuPaul’s offensive crap. Having been a drag queen probably gave her a good insight into how full of shit they are.

      • Dee Omally

        I am not beyond correction…….my apology to Carmen……she then appears to be a notable exception.

  • Ask

    “Mocking PTSD triggers is something I take personal offense to as I actually have PTSD.”


    • Laurelai Bailey

      Your saying my own life experience is reaching.

      • Ask

        Nope. I’m saying you claiming that she was mocking PTSD triggers by what she said is reaching. And it is.

        • Laurelai Bailey

          Irs directly mocking PTSD triggers. Its mocking the very concept of triggering. Its not a reach, its not even a mild stretch, its right there plain as day.

          • Ask

            Nope. The word “trigger” does not automatically = PTSD, nor does her example imply being triggered back to a traumatic experience. You’re reaching, but then again, you’re grasping at a lot of straws in your whole article and proving to be a hypocrite with the lateral violence you yourself are guilty of in your article and in the examples others have pointed out below.

  • Dominique Storni

    Sad part is, too many in Queer and Gender-Queer activism are more concerned about “Face-Time”… how much, how long, and how often one has their face in front of a camera… rather than they are concerned with the message, the journey, and the cause.

    I’ve seen this way too often in my 20 years queer & trans* activism.

    Pride is a good thing. We all want to be proud of what we do and who we are. When we focus more on our ego than in doing good, we hurt ourselves

  • Marita

    For those doubting how out of touch with the current state of the community Calpernia has become, she now has Cathy Brennan defending her:

    • Delphi Omally

      oh…… mean “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” syndrome?

  • Sami Hawkins

    “How dare you misgender me! That’s wrong! So wrong that I’m going to write an article implying with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer that the only reason any trans women disagree with me is because of their lingering maleness!”
    That’s how I translated her article.

  • Laurelai Bailey

    its called physical violence in that case, there are many forms of violence, this is not a new concept

    • Miranda Meadows

      You are correct, metanymic extension of a term is not a new concept. That doesn’t mean such an extension is appropriate or helpful. My argument is that by using the word violence when describing a petty back and forth exchange, you demean the power of the word. Think the boy who cried wolf. If we’re to advocate for change in the mainstream and broader cultural acceptance, then we need to reserve powerful words for the big issues.

      Any transwoman who has had to spend more than a minimal amount of time in public while “non-passable” has either experienced actual, physical violence first hand, or at least the palpable threat of it. The insecurity, from a basic physical safety standpoint, of so many of the lives of our community is a REAL issue and REAL source of oppression. If we ever want to change that, we can’t call being snide to each other on the internet “violence”.

      • Maggie Hendershot

        Okay, before I say this, let me say that I hate the comparisons between racism and transmisogyny. It’s bad intersectionality, especially when you think of trans people of color that deal with both types of oppression. However, I think in this case it’s relevant to this discussion. We have to acknowledge that institutional violence is more dangerous than physical violence, because it is.

        Now, let us young’uns that never lived through it take a mental trip back to the late-50s and Jim Crow America. Let’s look at physical violence: lynching and assault, horrible crimes that took the lives of far too many black folks, but not all of them. Now let’s look at institutional violence: every moment of life is ruled by institutional violence, especially in Jim Crow America, and not just in the South. When you are forced to use different (read: worse) bathroom facilities than the dominant class, that’s institutional violence. When you can be kicked out of a restaurant at any time just because of some petty detail of your identity, that’s institutional violence. When your school is run-down and far away from your home, but there’s a nice new school full of white kids, just down the street, that’s institutional violence. When someone is attacking you physically, and you hear the voices of the sheriff, a judge, and a local alderman drift out from beneath white hoods. That moment when you realize you cannot trust the police, because they are perpetrating the physical violence, that’s institutional violence. The entire system that grinds you down, make you feel you are something less than human, that’s institutional violence.

        Now which of those seems worse and more dangerous to you? Honestly, if I could get punched in the face once a day to never experience institutional violence again, that’s a deal I’d take.

        • Miranda Meadows

          Gee, I really needed to have pervasive institutional discrimination explained to me. It’s not like I live it every day or anything.

          While many of the things you discussed are not violent by any non-sociological/SJW use of the word, they are equally terrible, if not more so, and thus while I still disagree with calling them “violence”, it is a justifiable extension of the term. Petty sniping over minor disagreements however cannot justifiably be called violence. To then have the author of this piece engage in such “violence” herself, evidently without irony or awareness, demonstrates the kind of detachment from reality that our REAL opponents use to make a mockery of us.

          If we call everything violence then it becomes a lot harder to draw attention to the intense physical insecurity which characterizes so many of our lives.

          • Laurelai Bailey

            Institutional violence as a concept has been around longer than you have been alive.

          • Miranda Meadows

            So now we’re down to appeals to authority based upon relative antiquity? Do I need to explain how that is fallacious thinking and proves nothing?

            Even if we accept that using the word violence to describe petty sniping, or more reasonably pervasive discrimination, is entirely appropriate, we still have to ask “in what context?” In that respect, you show a remarkable tone-deafness. Although TransAdvocate is not a general audience media outlet, thanks to the wonders of social media its content does float to all corners of the internet and all the denizens therein. That means a lot of eyes beyond the converted choir see your words, words which to most are going to appear myopic, hyperbolic, ridiculous, and ultimately not credible.

            That last phrase “not credible” — from a rhetorical standpoint — is the crux of my argument and criticism against this piece. A humorless orgy of shrill neologisms makes for very bad rhetoric. So does engaging without irony in the very same practice your piece ostensibly is preaching against. If advocacy is ultimately about persuasion, i.e. persuading those with the power to change things (in a democracy, 50%+1 of voters) that injustice is occurring and ought to be righted, then what you have written is not advocacy; it’s writing a love letter to yourself, and that’s what this piece comes off like.

          • Laurelai Bailey

            Take your purple prose elsewhere. You havent actually made any valid points. Go educate yourself

          • Miranda Meadows

            Well I suppose since you rely on appeals to authority and fiat pronouncement in lieu of making an argument, it is a waste of my time to continue engaging with you. If I promise to read up on the latest fads in sociology jargon, maybe you could agree to “educate yourself” in argumentation, informal logic, rhetoric and English prose style? Because when even the converted choir is suspecting you’re full of BS, it might be a clue that you’re not much of a writer.

          • AutumnDenver

            I find people are much more likely to be heard if they resist the urge to resort to personal attacks. It may not fit your definition of “violence”, but saying “you’re not much of a writer” is not a kind thing to say. Nor acurate for that matter, as I think her article is excellent and that her style and prose is beautiful.

          • Miranda Meadows

            I did say a mean thing, yet is it any less kind then to dismiss your critics out of hand as ignorant and poorly educated, and their arguments as invalid merely because you say so?

            Although you can never fully escape the subjective when criticizing prose, by most standards of English prose composition, this piece fails as good writing. A few specific criticisms:

            1) The writer does not understand that the most important word in any English sentence is the verb, and that the verb contains the crux of the sentence’s meaning. Verbs illustrate action; they transform the heady and abstract into something concrete and sensible, enhancing meaning. When an author chooses her verbs well and with an eye to the image they create, she not only aids her readers’ understanding, she brings her sentences to life. Here are the infinitive forms of the main verbs of each sentence from the second paragraph: to be, to live, to be, to mean, to mean. Rather than writing with verbs, and adding detail through subordinated gerund (verbal nouns, -ing) clauses, she uses abstract noun phrases, which leads me to my next point.

            2) The writer employs abstract neologisms over concrete images. Many of these words would sound ridiculous if read aloud. Try reading the second paragraph aloud to see what I mean. When the abstract is preferred to the concrete, the reader has little to grasp hold of. Prose blooms through the images it creates in your mind, and withers into lifelessness when the author merely screws together technical vocabulary like the prefab pieces of assemble-at-home furniture.

            3) Writing through verbs and images, i.e. showing not telling, doesn’t matter one bit if your argument is bad. In fact, when an essay becomes needlessly abstract and loaded down by obfuscating technical terms, that should always be a hint that the author has less to say than her pretensions suggest. And in this case, the essay has a more fundamental problem than its tepid language: it practices the very thing it claims to preach against. The author sends mixed signals. Why is what Calpurnia said on HuffPost so bad if the author is going to adopt a very similar tone and theme here? Yes, there are differences between the two pieces, but not so many as the author tries to suggest here in the comments. Even if her meaning is as distinct as she makes it out to be, her published writing, as opposed to what she actually thinks, fails to convey it, appearing just as childish and petty as Calpurnia’s article.

            And that, mean as it may be, is why I think the author is a bad writer, a point I wouldn’t have felt compelled to make if she wasn’t so dismissive of criticism. If you truly believe anyone who disagrees with you is just ignorant, then you should take such a thought to its logical conclusion and not engage with critics at all. After all, they just aren’t as well informed as you are so who cares what they think, right?

  • BrandySpears

    If you care to see what lateral violence actually looks like:

    • Laurelai Bailey

      Well its true lol. She got paid to cosign some bigoted shit. She sold out.

    • Marita

      All I see there are facts. Attacking the tactic and actions is criticism, not violence. Calpernia made personal attacks and assumptions about an entire segment of the community, not just Parker. THAT is Lateral Violence.

      • BrandySpears

        Changing the definition rather than the one Laurelai posted above?

        • Marita

          No changing of definition needed.

          “Lateral violence is displaced violence directed against one’s peers rather that one’s true adversaries.”

          I already explained that attacking Calpernia’s tactics and actions is criticism, not violence. If it’s not violence to begin with, it doesn’t fall under the definition of “Lateral Violence”.

  • Maggie Hendershot

    Listen, for everyone lashing out against Laurelai, go actually read Calpernia’s whole article. See how long it takes your lip to curl. The hypocrisy cries out from every line. Whether it’s defending RuPaul’s use of the actual slur ‘shemale’ in the same breath as decrying Molloy’s imagined slur of ‘drag queen’ (a term I always thought was somewhat empowering, and not in a ‘taking-it-back’ sort of way), or claiming she won’t question the legitimacy of Molloy’s identity while writing an ENTIRE piece doing just that: it’s all bad. Especially when you consider that Molloy mentioned her in one short paragraph in a much longer piece. Especially when you consider that mention wasn’t so much an attack as a point of reference.

    • Dominique Storni

      Aho, Maggie.

      ANYONE who looks to RuPaul as a leader or trans* ally has lost all respect, imho.

  • Guest

    Listen, for everyone lashing out against Laurelai, go actually read Calpernia’s whole article. See how long it takes your lip to curl. The hypocrisy cries out from every line. Whether it’s defending RuPaul’s use of the actual slur ‘shemale’ in the same breath as decrying Molloy’s imagined slur of ‘drag queen’ (a term I always thought was somewhat empowering, and not in a ‘taking-it-back’ sort of way), or claiming she won’t question the legitimacy of Molloy’s identity while writing an ENTIRE piece doing just that: it’s all bad. Especially when you consider that Molloy mentioned her in one short paragraph in a much longer piece. Especially when you consider that mention wasn’t so much an attack as a point of reference.

  • BrandySpears

    The author opens by defining lateral violence. What does she do for the remainder of the piece? Engages in lateral violence. You can’t be taken seriously.

    • Marita

      The problem is that by defending the status quo and allowing herself to be a paid apologist for Transphobia and Transmisogyny in the media, Calpernia is literally detracting from the shared goals of the community. She chose to become an adversary when she agreed to be a paid apologist in exchange for “Celebrity” friendships and a paycheck. It obvious she values them more than the rights of the whole community to be part of the conversation.

      I used to see Calpernia as a peer. The moment she began to defend the lack of media visibility and representation of the Trans Community, I stopped seeing her as one.

      • BrandySpears

        Words have meaning. Paid apologist? Who is paying her “or Transphobia and Transmisogyny in the media”?
        Calpernia is now an adversary? Get a life.

        • Marita

          Yes. Paid. She took money to coach Jared Leto on “how to play a Trans Woman”.

          She then wrote a whole Op-Ed defending his casting over that of a Trans Actress. She literally accepted money to defend him.

          In fact she makes a living off “Training Actors to Play Trans”, a practice that Hollywood uses to justify casting Cisgender actors over Trans Actors for Trans roles.

          So, yes, she’s putting her own wallet ahead of the advancement of the community.

          • Christine Spencer

            Agreed but the problem with Leto isn’t his performance….it’s not Leto (other than some of his horrible commenting)… the problem is the structure that keeps giving us his character on the screen when our community is really made up of a ton of diverse people.

            A group I am part of ( has young and old, male and female, different faiths, different sexual orientations, different body types, different backgrounds, etc.

            I’m a parent to three kids….and I am far from the only one.

            I want to see that diversity played by trans people from time to time. Damnit.

  • Jasmine Erricka Glenn

    years ago Calpernia’s words gave me the strength to come out. Now i am
    upset at how far she is willing to go to defame our community. Her words
    in her op. ed. on the Advocate defending her assistance of Leto also
    served in shaming us as a community. Calpernia, I do pick my heroes as
    you suggest and you are no longer on that list. You would have us sit
    back and take in silence and fear, instead of standing together as
    strong women. Thank you, Laurelai Bailey! You can have her place along
    with all the other strong trans women I have met who are speaking up and
    protesting in favor of equality instead of defending their paycheck in
    the cis community.

    • Laurelai Bailey

      Well thank you for your vote of confidence, however i feel you should be there with me too 🙂

    • Dominique Storni

      She’s become part of the problem. This is sad. She gave so many courage to live authentically. Again, the message and the cause is more important than being always the face in the camera.

  • Sierra Kinney

    The idea of being “stealth” has always carried this connotation of being disingenuous and fake to me. Also, Calpernia’s DVDs suck.

  • Miranda Meadows

    To be frank, it’s jargon laden, oppression Olympics articles such as these which give so much ammunition to the Right and our other actual oppressors. Rightly or wrongly, no one outside social justice warrior circles takes any of these internecine pissing contests seriously. In fact, the outside world sees “discourse” such as this as justification for their prejudicial belief that we’re not to be taken seriously. Worst of all, to characterize these debates as “violence” makes a mockery of the real violence our community suffers daily. Perhaps that’s the real “lateral violence”: making the trans community out to be charlatans and fools who don’t need to be accorded respect or dignity.

    • Laurelai Bailey

      Learn what institutional violence means before you talk about violence.

      • BrandySpears

        How about letting Miranda express her opinion without policing her language.

        • Laurelai Bailey

          Because she doesn’t know what shes talking about and it shows? Not all violence is fists.

          • BrandySpears

            Actually, Miranda was very well spoken, succinct and precise to her points.

        • Meow

          He can’t, because 99.9% of transgenderism is obsessively policing other people’s language.

          • And so here we have thrown into the mix one “Meow,” trolling behind the facade of an anonymous Disqus ID.

            Bravo: this comment earns 1/2 clap as a wonderful example of the hit-and-run internet troll: pointing out a serious issue, one that alienates many “normal” people from the cause of attaining greater freedom for gender-variant persons, and then globalize it.

            I always urge people to keep in mind:

            All “identities” on the internet are not equally valid, nor are all opinions expressed on it.

          • Friesjones

            If you change the “transgenderism” to “feminism, that sentence would look right at home on the fridge of the parents of some MRA online troll. Way to go, anonymous troll who is totally not Justin!

    • Indeed.

      It’s often a challenge to figure out where the circle jerk ends and the circular firing squad begins…

      I was recently struck by a weird congruence in the trajectories of the Radical Feminist movement as described in Susan Faludi’s article on Shulamith Firestone and the American neo-Nazi cults described in Jon Ronson’s “THEM”† – madly fractionating sects splintering off from an initial core, with freshly-minted “leaders” claiming proper ownership of the cause of the “community.”

      In April, 1976, Ms. ran an essay that generated more letters than any article it had previously published. The author was Jo Freeman, and the subject was one that she had avoided committing to print for a long time: a “social disease” that had been attacking the women’s movement for some years. She called it “trashing.” She wrote:

      “Like a cancer, the attacks spread from those who had reputations to those who were merely strong; from those who were active to those who merely had ideas; from those who stood out as individuals to those who failed to conform rapidly enough to the twists and turns of the changing line.”

      I see this featuring conspicuously in the politics of whatever-it-is that is characterized as “truly trans” at any given moment, with a frequent doses of “You are either with us, or against us!” thrown into the “dialog.”

      † I’m not making an equivalence between the two, just noting a similarity in their inability to cohere around “group ideals” without infighting impairing the attainment of their pronounced goals.

    • Ask

      One of the few who has nailed it in the comments. I’ve enjoyed reading your responses as well.

  • If the “trans community” is embedded in a universe of discourse where pointed criticism or indeed intense flamage is construed as “violence”…

    violence |ˈvī(ə)ləns|noun – behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

    … damn, I am so happy I do not belong to this “community.”

    “The derision of another person’s perspective … is always suspect.” – my counterpart, Susan.

    “I love the smell of mutual invalidation in the morning… it smells like… smells like… oh fuck, we’re all gonna die!” – BARB

    “Nobody speaks for me but me and I suggest other trans women do the same.” – Laurelai

    We’re definitely in agreement on that point… √.

    – bonzie anne

    PS: re: “the Flaming Controversy over Jared Leto and his portrayal of ‘Rayon'” – I had read Parker’s piece and thought it was pretty decent, disagreed with Calpernia’s defense of Leto’s bumbling remarks in his acceptance speeches, and following a post noting the TIME article criticizing the movie by a cis-white-punk-socialpsychologyaware-straight-male friend on FB looked into the portrayal to the extent of viewing a couple of clips including “Making Rayon Real” (which I found vomitous?), and when I checked into Jared’s background as a rockstar – damn, that’s a pretty decent band, y’know?

    People are mixed bags, none entirely good, some apparently a pastiche of evil, and some almost entirely phony. Inevitably, some admixture of reality and fantasy comes into play in a person’s self-presentation; our perceptions of others are all too often dominated by the fantasies we develop about the nature of their lives, and much of that may be based merely on poses that they strike, rather than “who they really are?”

    When people ask what I do, I often identify myself as a “comedienne,” but aside from being an inherently amusing stance for a quasi-passable trans woman, it’s an audacious imposture I adopt to conceal my more general purposes, while those, a closely-kept sekrit, are to be unveiled only upon the surrender of (some) “significant audience” to my adjuration:


    In a commodity culture, people themselves are commoditized; this is not inherently illegitimate, but the appropriation of others’ stories and indeed, their very persons, for the purpose of exploitation (in whatever form) is… inherently suspect.

    • Laurelai Bailey

      Learn what institutional violence means

      • Guest


        I know “institutional violence” – it has been inscribed on my own body.

        Apparently you have no concept yet of the depths of irony that can be tapped by a “Lissen’ Up!” reproval on the Internet: this structure was my home for fifteen months:

        The Rochester Regional Forensic Unit – the double fences topped with razor wire are probably necessary; my vacation there was not.

        – bonzie anne

      • Laurelai?

        I know “institutional violence” – it has been inscribed on my own body.

        Apparently you have no concept yet of the depths of irony that can be tapped by a “Lissen’ Up!” reproval on the Internet: this structure was my home for fifteen months:

        The Rochester Regional Forensic Unit – the double fences topped with razor wire are probably necessary; my vacation there was not.

        – bonzie anne

        • Laurelai Bailey

          And yet you shrug off the media and social influence a hollywood connected trans woman can have, especially while throwing a freelance writer who is trans under the bus.

          • “… while throwing a freelance writer who is trans under the bus.”

            That’s certainly a snappy comeback, Laurelai.

            “I had read Parker’s piece and thought it was pretty decent,” which I wrote in my comment above, doesn’t scan to me like a particularly hostile comment.

      • Nat The Hat

        Hey, speaking of violence. Remember when you raped all those trans girls and then went on a failed smear campaign against them? I’m absolutely disgusted why anyone would ever give you a platform. You’re a the biggest piece of shit in this community. You’re a predator that slips into threats of violence whenever you don’t get your way. You complain people won’t let your past go but that’s because you are a violent rapist who drugs and rapes her victims against their will Newsflash friendo, they won’t ever go away. They will forever haunt you. If you don’t like it, maybe you shouldn’t have forced girls in our community to have sex with you. So far girls have come forward with claims of sexual assault by your hands. I wonder how many more there is. You’ve once claimed that you know “all the skeletons in the transcommunity and where they’re buried”. How many more skeletons do you have? Better question, how many more women did you rape?

  • Marita


    Calpernia has literally become the Norma Desmond of the Trans community.

    She’s slowly realizing that her brand of advocacy work already reached its peak and is a relic of an era gone by. She’s so afraid to lose whatever public relevancy she still has that she’ll desperately attack anyone who’s opinion threatens her standing as an icon.

    • Laurelai Bailey

      Pretty much.

  • Thanks for writing this LB. This needed to be said. She used to be a shero to me but no more. She literally mocks her own sisters in how we make our own transitions at our own time. Disgusting, actually.