Sometimes I wonder whether trans men writing about transmisogyny and trans-man-douchebaggery and how much is sucks is the new spoken word poetry. Every time I’ve written anything about how trans dude culture can get pretty gross in the way it appropriates the experiences and oppression…
TW: violence, misgendering, anger, transphobia
I awoke about a week ago to my usual morning ritual: 11 AM (I work during the evenings, ok?), make coffee, yoghurt and cereal (that day was red velvet cake-flavor I believe), and youtubes and facebooks in bed. And then I saw this video. With so many people, all of them not trans women, saying “yeah fuck that guy!”
My first reaction was in earnest. Yeah. This guy was a transphobe. This guy misgendered that trans woman and called her awful names. That trans woman was justified in physically resisting that man’s verbal assault.
I was angry. I’ve seen other trans women being beaten on youtube. I’ve seen other trans women being jailed, put in solitary confinement in a male housing unit, and grossly and inhumanely treated. I’ve heard of many, many trans women murdered all over the world. But this is not restorative justice. This isn’t a moment of celebration. This is anger, and it hurts everyone involved.
It hurts me because “tranny beats a dude” is sensationalist fodder for the cisgender white world. “A trans woman of color beats this white dude! How outrageous! It’s if this person isn’t even human!”
It hurts me because my “allies” and friends have point-blank celebrated it because it looks “radical” and justified without knowing at all what being misgendered and ridiculed on a daily basis is like.
It hurts me to be critical of this because I really don’t know what this woman was going through when she chose to lash out at this asshole. I don’t pretend to understand being a trans woman of color is like, but I know as a trans woman this does not help us out. Not the act, but the way it was published online and how the cissexual world restamps it not an act of resistance but one of ugly violence.
There are serious problems in this. How can restorative justice exist between two strangers in a subway tunnel? What is the use of violence as resistance? What do trans women do if we are threatened?
We need a better way to resist. And I’m not saying that it’s up to “the trannies” to keep our anger in check. I’m saying that it’s up to all of us: allies, assholes, and general public. We need more constructive justice. Justice that hits down to the bone that feels much deeper than a fist punch. One that resonates deeply and dismantles ideas, not just bodies.
I look forward to that day.
So today I’m writing about my purpose of starting a blog.
The funny thing is, I’ve started and contributed to a lot of blogs, mainly for political activist groups, but I’ve never had “my own.” One of the problems of blogging is keeping up with fresh content, not always reposting things, and engaging with your audience. I live a busy life, but by starting this I will try to commit to posting at least every other day. I hope people will find it helpful.
So this site is still under construction, but you can check out my about me section to see what I’m all about, or browse over to the sex column to see my recommendations for body-positive, feminist, and queer porn.
Here is my statement of purpose:
1. This blog will be transfeminist. As a trans woman, my voice has been shunned, mocked, fetishized, and rendered invisible in the hetero cissexual world. In many “queer” spaces, I have been excluded, tokenized, and made to feel that I must struggle for a space to not feel overwhelmed by cissexual gay, lesbian, bisexual, and (both cis and trans) male privilege. That stops here.
2. This blog will be politically radical. It will openly be against oppression, capitalism, cissexism, racism, patriarchy, traditional sexism, oppositional sexism, heterosexism, and ableism. It will openly advocate socialism, equality, ecological balance, gender liberation, queer liberation, and feminism. It will celebrate a diversity of sexualities and bodies, neurovarience, different abilities, and gender non-conformity.
Aaa, I’m sure I forgot a few -isms but you get the point.
3. I will strive to be an ally. I will not speak for those who are oppressed differently from me. I will try to engage people in good faith, knowing that I may never understand someone else’s experiences, but that all our oppressions are ultimately interconnected to one another as human beings. I will strive to stand in solidarity with those I am not a part of. I expect the same of those around me who wish to build a better world.
4. I will respect a diversity of opinions but will not hesitate to censor hate speech, trolling, or otherwise dishonest forms of communication.
5. I ask that you send me a request if you’d like to feature on of my articles in full on your site. Otherwise, repost, share, like and link away!
6. I will not always write in list form and embolden words and be super serious. I’m going to try hard to be authentic, be myself, show humor and seriousness and fear and (sometimes) poor grammar.
I’m also probs gonna change the banner to something more positive when I get a chance. Like some fists in the air or somethin.
Ok! Thanks and stay tuned!!!
Children born with ambiguous genitals often undergo surgery early in life to make them look more male or female. But some intersex advocates say doctors should wait until patients are old enough to make the decision for themselves.
ABC profiles Jim Bruce, who had ambiguous genitals at birth. Doctors decided he couldn’t have a “satisfactory life” as a man, so they removed his penis and testes and started him on female hormones. But, he says, “I knew that I wasn’t a girl.” And when he saw his medical records at 19, he realized the truth: “I was sterilized at birth — and no one ever told me.” Now 34, Bruce has transitioned back to male, and works withAdvocates for Informed Choice, a group whose motto is, “promoting the civil rights of children born with variations of sex anatomy.”
According to AIC’s website, “elective genital surgery on infants with DSDs [differences of sexual development] or intersex conditions is still the predominant practice in the U.S.” The AIC doesn’t appear to take a concrete position on infant surgery, but other groups do. The Intersex Society of North America says,
Following diagnostic work-up, newborns with intersex should be given a gender assignment as boy or girl, depending on which of those genders the child is more likely to feel as she or he grows up. Note that gender assignment does not involve surgery; it involves assigning a label as boy or girl to a child. (Genital “normalizing” surgery does not create or cement a gender identity; it just takes tissue away that they patient may want later.)
Surgeries done to make the genitals look “more normal” should not be performed until a child is mature enough to make an informed decision for herself or himself. Before the patient makes a decision, she or he should be introduced to patients who have and have not had the surgery. Once she or he is fully informed, she or he should be provided access to a patient-centered surgeon.
Katrina Karkazis, senior research scholar at Stanford’s Center for Biomedical Ethics, concurs. She tells ABC,
Pay attention to what child a child is telling you — there may be a switch which needs to be evaluated with expertise. Plenty of kids go through phases — I am a girl or I am a boy — and it ends after a year. But one thing that is irreversible is surgery. […] Once you’ve removed the tissues, you can’t put them back.
Bruce doesn’t blame his parents for allowing doctors to sterilize him — he says, “they were only kids, 27 and 29, and they were scared.” But parents might be less scared if they had access to the kind of counseling the ISNA recommends — and if people in general were more aware of intersex conditions. Doctors have long pursued genital surgery in part as a way to help children fit in and feel “normal” — but if we could recognize that there’s a whole range of normal where sex and gender are concerned, then intersex people might have a better shot at making their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.