Language has its political uses and obscure language is always helpful to those with power. Orwell named this in his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, referring to the need to confuse others either by applying contradictory terminology or by using terms that are so vague as to be rendered meaningless. Politicians and bureaucrats revel in obscurantism and one of the powerful challenges to this is sheer clarity of language. Obscurantism leads to political passivity and social fatalism. Feminists need always to be awake to such strategies and the use of clear, context specific and direct language is the first step in truly transforming society.
I am a woman and a feminist. I fully support the human rights of transsexual people. (I fully support the human rights of all humans!) However, "transgender" identity politics are not about the human rights of transsexual people. Transgender identity politics are about men weaponizing the suffering of transsexual people in order to destroy women's boundaries and undermine basic feminist analysis.
According to transgender identity politics:
This is not an exaggeration or misrepresentation.
I will provide evidence via screencaps and links throughout this blog.
Many transwomen protest this absurdity, which erases the complexity of their experiences just as it erases the complexity of women's experiences. I will let them speak for themselves - here are several brave, honest dissenting voices:
Notes from the T-side
Transgender identity politickers work to vilify and silence these transwomen, just as they work to vilify and silence any feminist who dares question the idea of [womanhood as a feeling male people have] - and transgender identity politickers are surprisingly powerful. Therefore, in the United States of America, in the year 2015, in a political climate that includes attacks on reproductive freedom from the Right, increasing pornification of girls and women from the Left, and increasing levels of violence against girls and women from all directions, I am afraid to publicly state my opinion that female biology and socialization matter - because that opinion is inevitably framed as "transphobic," and an accusation of transphobia can mean ex-communication on the Left.
Things I've become afraid to say in public, or on the internet under my own name:
- Ova-producing humans are female, and sperm-producing humans are male.
- Sexism still exists, and sexism is based on sex:
- The male reproductive system is where male privilege attaches.
- The female reproductive system is where female oppression attaches.
- Sexism is not erased by any other axis of oppression/privilege.
- Sexism cannot be addressed by pretending sex doesn't exist.
- Penis is never female.
- Men don't get pregnant.
- Girls are socialized differently from boys.
- Neither self-subjugation nor self-objectification for male pleasure is an innate feature of femaleness.
- Sex doesn't determine personality, and personality doesn't determine sex.
- Female people are entitled to female-only spaces.
- Female people saying no to penis is not hate speech.
- Female people are not responsible for male violence.
- Female people are not responsible for putting male victims of male violence ahead of female victims of male violence.
- Getting laid is not a human right.
- Lesbians are not bigoted for rejecting penis.
- Gender non-conforming children should not be forced to pretend they are the opposite sex nor should they be referred to clinics for sterilization.
Many well-meaning Leftists seem to be entirely unaware of or misinformed about this situation. I made this blog for them.
Now, the dialog around "transgender" issues is dense and confusing and emotional and often downright abusive. Transgender identity politickers cloud the issues on purpose, but feminists can also fail to express ourselves clearly when we are 1) grounded in decades of theory most people have not read and/or 2) feeling defensive due to the endless attempts of anti-feminists to vilify/silence us.
So, first some clarification on my part: for several decades now, feminist theorists have been using the word gender to refer to the social and psychological expectations thrust upon women and men, otherwise referred to as sex stereotypes or sex roles. However, feminists and pro-feminists outside of academic circles may use the word gender to mean "biological category of male or female" (in contrast with the act of sexual intercourse) - and that's understandable because we need words for all these things. However, to add to the confusion, transgender identity politickers use the term gender or gender identity to mean an innate-but-undefinable inner feeling that overrides and in fact determines biological sex. When discussing gender, always stay alert to the multiple possible definitions of the term, and ask for clarification when needed.
On each page of this blog (table of contents to the left, navigation links also at the bottom of each page) I will attempt to unpack loaded terms, examine unstated assumptions, provide examples, and link to further sources, so as to illuminate what is really happening under the (purposely misleading) banner of "transgender activism." It is my hope you will read each page, in order, and with an open mind.
Let's begin: A further explication of sex vs. gender.