Irrational – Critical Examination of a Response to Critics.
April 9, 2012
My Response to Love’s Transsexual Rally
April 23, 2012

Pick a Side: Fantasy or Reality

Love made yet another post asserting (without evidence, of course) that she’s a victim of the word “transgender,” that the evil transgender umbrella is evil and transsexuals were colonized:

Please… someone do an intervention on Ashley. NOW!
So, I replied…

Answer the following 4 questions:

1. When did transgender become an umbrella term?

2. When did transsexual stop being an umbrella term?

3. Exactly how many decades has transgender referenced the transsexual experience?

4. Where did the term come from and does it mean today what it meant then?

You know how I know you don’t actually know any of this? Because A.) you wouldn’t have made this post to begin with had you known the answers to these questions; B.) you wouldn’t be thinking about deleting this comment for the crime of challenging your reality; and, C.) you’ve never once back[ed] up anything you assert with any objective fact.

So, while I know you’ll delete this comment, I’m going to at least answer the above questions so that you can no longer claim the excuse of ignorance…

1. When did transgender become an umbrella term?

In American and in Britain: 1974

2. When did transsexual stop being an umbrella term?

1980: Until then, a “Type 4 transsexual” lived only part time, didn’t want surgery and may have have not wanted to take hormones.

3. Exactly how many decades has transgender referenced the transsexual experience?

Exactly 42 years now.

4. Where did the term come from and does it mean today what it meant then?

Throughout the 1970s, the term only ever meant transsexual or was used as an umbrella term. Transgender was used in the 1990s in the [s]ame context that it was used in the 1970s.

So, to be clear: From this point forward, you and I will both know that you are purposefully misrepresenting reality to suit your own personal agenda.

Will my comment be approved? Let’s find out.

From my past experience with Love, I’m apt to conclude that contradicting her beloved version of reality wherein she is both a brutalized victim AND heroic freedom fighter isn’t exactly allowed. I therefore don’t hold much hope that my comment will actually appear on her blog. Now… what was it that I predicted just weeks ago?

The Separatists who are left seem to represent the JustJennifer/RadFem/Nick Chaleunphone/Ashley Love contingent. They are the remaining vanguard of a movement which now finds itself without a coherent  narrative…  So where do the TS Separatists go from here? I predict that if they choose to carry on, they will fall into 1 of 2 broad narrative factions:

1.) Deny! Deny! Deny! I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU! LALALALALALA! Some will simply pretend that the truth is not the truth (I predict Ashley Love will take this course)  and/or that any/all evidence which disproves their narrative will be asserted to have been faked… History – the centerpiece of all the TS Separatist arguments over the past 5 years – will now become somehow irrelevant. They’ll argue that this is today, and today has nothing to do with yesterday; therefore, “transgender” is evil. How did it become evil? It just did. Why is it evil? Just because… that’s why! The imagined horror of “transgender” will become a matter of faith and dogma.

“Transgender” means today what it meant in 1974. Love needs to get over herself. She’s not a freedom fighter, she’s not oppressed by a word and the transsexual community was most certainly not colonized. From hereon out, it can be asserted – with evidence – that Love is either willfully ignorant or that she is purposefully misrepresenting facts to suit her own purposes. To belabor the point, weeks ago I wrote, “History – the centerpiece of all the TS Separatist arguments over the past 5 years – will now become somehow irrelevant.” Here’s Ashley appealing to history just a couple of years ago:

The results of this colonization has been devastating to the progress of transsexual (TS) and intersex (IS) Americans. Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there. Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.

Ashley Love, 2010

Apparently history isn’t that important to her anymore… and this is why the TS Separatism movement is dead.

So, pick a side:


“Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there. Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights.” – Ashley “I’m colonized” Love

– VS –

Yes, let’s look at “the history, and the law books”…


“There are numerous subjects who would want to change their sex identity in order to perpetrate crimes of homicide, tape, robbery, assault, etc.”- Columbus v. Zanders, 266 N.E.2d 602, 604–06 (Ohio Mun. Ct. 1970)

“Christine Jorgensen, 33-year-old ex-GI who underwent sex-switch operations, shows her diamond engagement ring as her fiance, Howard J. Knox, 38, holds her hand in New York marriage bureau. Christine was refused a license to wed because her birth certificate listed her as a male.”

Start of Jorgensen’s problems: 4/1959 and the problems continue: 7/1959.

Apparently Ashley would rather YOU live in a world like the above rather than:

Because stuff like having a Federal protections to ensure equal access to housing for all trans folk is bad and this…

1976: being thrown out of housing with no recourse but a midday protests.

Tenderloin Transies Protest

Thirty-three drag queens were evicted from their apartments in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, triggering protests from TVs and TSs who live in that area. The mid-day demonstration protested police harassment and housing discrimination against the drag community.

… is somehow good. See, if we could all just return to this pre-”colonization” era, all would be well. *rolls eyes*

These are but a few objective refutations of the “everything was great before those mean ol’ crossdressers messed everything up for transsexuals“ meme. Either crossdressers ruined the lives of transsexuals through a world-wide colonization of transsexualism by the term transgender in the mid-1990s or this is just a fact-free meme Separatists like to push. There is a objective truth to be known here and if one wants to live in reality one needs to understand that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to objectively support Ashley Love’s version of reality.

Which will you choose: fantasy or reality? Ashley’s obviously made her choice.

cross-posted from Ehipassiko

Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.

  • UPDATE 4/14/2012:
    No, she won’t allow facts to sully her victim/freedom fighter complex (see attached pic).

    So, there you have it: as I predicted, this is what’s become of the TS Separatist movement.  Love actively attempting to repress facts which contradicts her fallacious narrative. I called it weeks ago that if faced with reality, Love would stick her fingers in her ears as shout “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA” as loudly as possible. 

    The TS Separatism movement – as it has existed over the past several years – is truly dead.

  • Another Trans Person

    I really admire both you and Ashley for the activism you both do. Can you cite your ‘facts’ as to the use of the word transgender? Also, I agree with Ashley on much of what she says…especially in the ways “Gay Inc” has and DOES continue to co-opt TS people into its movement, while completely disregarding the T when it’s ‘not convenient’ to the GL movement. And also, despite how much the GL movement wants to admit it, a number of its members have very very much ruined a lot of things for TS people (including medical coverage by both insurance companies and medicare/medicaid. The continual ‘blurring of lines’ is a big problem for many TS people. Again, I really admire the work both of you do, but I’ve heard so many different ‘timelines’ for the use of the word transgender that without citation, I’m hesitant to believe anyone’s version. So many people claim to have ‘coined’ the term, so many places list so many different dates for its inception, etc. However, I really believe all of that is a moot issue considering how it IS co-opted by Gay Inc and the glb community in general…once again, for its own benefit.

    • Can I cite? But of course! 

      Thank you for asking for evidence instead of simply taking assertions on faith alone! Check out the footnotes.

      especially in the ways “Gay Inc” has and DOES continue to co-opt TS people into its movement, while completely disregarding the T when it’s ‘not convenient’ to the GL movement.”
      But that’s not the issue. Both Ashley and I would probably agree with a number of things. However, this does not change the fact that she’s asserting… no… PROMOTING a narrative that’s objectively false. She has the evidence in front of her yet chooses to promote a fantasy simply because it apparently appeals to her. 
      It was in June of 1980 that a RadFem Lesbian Separatist destroyed healthcare for all trans folk.  Janis Raymond published a paper titled,”Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery” which was then used by the Reagan Administration (and insurance companies) to deny medical care to the trans community.

      Raymond wrote…

      “I believe that the elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it.”

      … and then advocated to substitute actual medical care with reparative therapy:

      “Nonsexist counseling is another direction for change that should be explored. The kind of counseling to “pass” successfully as masculine or feminine that now reigns in gender identity clinics only reinforces the problem of transsexualism. It does nothing to develop critical awareness, and makes transsexuals dependent upon medical-technical solutions. What I am advocating is a counseling that explores the social origins of the transsexual problem and the consequences of the medicaltechnical solution.”Her paper *is* the basis for trans exclusions in healthcare. ”
      The continual ‘blurring of lines’ is a big problem for many TS people. ” There’s a couple of assertions associated with this statement that needs a more objective  review. Exactly what constitutes 
      ‘blurring of lines’. Exactly why is it a “big problem.” Is it simply an opinion problem with no basis in fact? Is there any objective evidence to support that what constitutes 
      ‘blurring of lines’ is, in actuality, a big problem in the lives of transsexuals? Do most transsexuals chose to self-identify as being part of the transgender community? If that’s so, why? If “transgender” means today what it meant in 1974, and things for transsexuals are objectively better, exactly how is this an objective problem?Yes, I can and do agree that some have personal opinions informed by their own personal experience… but everyone has an opinion. What I’m concerned about are objective truths. Again, I really appreciate that you challenged me to cite objective evidence to support my fact assertions! I wish more trans folk would take this position instead of simply accepting things on faith alone. 

      • citing Janice Raymond as *the* beginning of “transgender” as an umbrella term kinda proves the point of whoever you’re arguing against. Nevermind the point that “transsexual” linguistically means “change in sexual attraction” and I *believe* that was Benjmain coinage which is prolly why it is so flawed (should be transexed or transsexed IMO, but I dunno ask a linguist).

      • @stinger839:disqus I think you misunderstand; I’m not asserting Raymond invented the idea of umbrella terminology… that’s been around for more than a century. What I’m saying is that her work was used to justify removal of trans health care in all insurance programs. 

        The Benjamin scale was a retooling of 
        Benjamin’s long-time colleague’s (Magnus Hirschfeld) various  systems of classifications for gender transgression. “Transsexual” has been in print since at least 1907.  

        Your feelings about “transsexual” were shared by Christine Jorgensen.