Clicky

Transfeminism: Speaking My Truth to Power - The Feminist Wire

Transfeminism: Speaking My Truth to Power

By Pauline Park

Is there a ‘trans feminism’? And if so, what is it? Given that feminism itself is such a charged subject and transgender identity is a contested domain, that question is a productive one even if one not easy to answer.

It was in graduate school (1988-94) that I first came to feminist consciousness, but it was unfortunate that the first feminist writing I encountered on transgender identity was “The Transsexual Empire” by Janice Raymond. In Raymond’s imaginary, transgendered women are nothing but female impersonating rapists, males attempting to ‘appropriate’ female bodies and feminine gender identity. Reading Raymond set me back several years, but when I read Michel Foucault for the first time, I understood that it was Raymond herself and not I who was guilty of misappropriation. Raymond’s pseudo-Foucaultian analysis of the ‘gender industry’ is nominally focused on the power of the ‘gender professionals’ who serve as ‘gatekeepers’ for those seeking to transition, but its real target is transgendered women and men who identify with a gender not associated with their sex assigned at birth.

The problem with the second wave feminism espoused by Raymond is that it is rooted in a biological essentialism that fails to recognize the social construction of gender and gender identity as well as sex. For biological essentialists like Raymond and Andrea Dworkin, the mere possession of a penis or a vagina alone determines character and behavior, and it is difficult for them to explain women like Margaret Thatcher (who was prime minister during the two years that I lived in England), Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, who exemplify a domineering masculinist discourse of power.

While there are certain aspects of female embodiment that transgendered women do not experience (such as childbirth, for example), there are experiences of discrimination and harassment that transwomen not only share with ‘cis-‘ women but that they often find themselves even more vulnerable to. But we must also recognize that not all transgendered people are feminists; like non-transgendered women, there are many transgendered women (and men) who are in some real sense gender-conservative and who simply want to assimilate into the existing sex/gender binary.

It is also important to recognize that there are many different kinds of feminism, including liberal feminism, radical feminism, Marxist feminism, and the feminism that I identify with — eco-feminism, which examines the relationship of the human species to the ecosystem; ecofeminists look at the masculinist discourse of power that underlies the domination of nature by ‘man’ and the way in which we as human beings are killing Mother Earth. Some ecofeminists are interested in shamanic traditions that are woman-centered, such as the ‘mudang’ tradition, the oldest spiritual tradition in Korean culture, which Koreans took with them from eastern Siberia when they migrated into the Korean peninsula millenia ago. In that pre-Sinitic Altaic spiritual culture, the mudang is always a woman, but not necessarily female: a significant number of mudang were ‘paksu mudang’: priests who were born male but who performed the sacred rites and rituals of the mudang tradition dressed as women; whether they actually lived as women in the sense that contemporary transgendered women do is less clear from the historical record. But the important point is that the realm of religion and spirituality is an important arena for the construction of gender and an important topic for feminist analysis and no feminist theory is complete without engaging in an examination of it.

Just as important as theory construction is praxis, and my own activism and advocacy work flows from my feminist analysis of gender and politics.  I am currently chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and president of the board of directors and since late May, acting executive director of Queens Pride House, an LGBT community center in the borough of Queens, and it was in the context of co-founding Queens Pride House that I first came out as an openly transgendered woman in 1997; it was through NYAGRA that I led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002. I am the only openly transgendered president or executive director of any community center in the state as well as the only Asian American. The Queens Pride House board of directors is also half women and half people of color, and our small staff of three is entirely people of color — one gay Latino man, one transgendered Asian American woman and one transgendered African-American woman. What is as important as the representation of transgendered people on staff and boards of directors of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations is their appointment or election to positions of real power and authority, and there, LGBT organizations in the United States lag behind; and the number of transgendered people of color in such positions is negligible.

Of all the issues that I have become involved with, there are two that are especially controversial. In my closing keynote address to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in 2007, I called for the removal of gender identity disorder (GID) from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), while still advocating for payment for and coverage of gender transition-related treatments and procedures such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and sex reassignment surgery (SRS). As I said then, I do not have a gender identity disorder; it is society that has a gender identity disorder.

Perhaps the most controversial of all has been my involvement with Palestine solidarity work, which only dates from March 2011, when the LGBT Community Center of New York City expelled and banned the Siege Busters Working Group, subsequently expelling and banning Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) — a group that I co-founded — in May 2011. In taking those unwarranted and unprecedented actions, the Center’s executive director and board of directors betrayed the organization’s own mission and stated commitment to inclusion and prompted me to join those working to end the illegal and brutal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Along with Darnell L. Moore, an Editorial Collective member of The Feminist Wire, and 14 others, I participated in the first US LGBTQ delegation tour of Palestine in January.

What does Palestine have to do with feminism and trans feminism in particular, you might ask? There are women and transgendered people on both sides of the Green Line separating the West Bank from the territory of the State of Israel established in 1948; and equally importantly, there is a masculinist discourse of domination and militarization that is fueling the ethnic cleansing and the construction of an apartheid state in Israel/Palestine that calls out for feminist critique and challenge.

Trans feminism, then, is for me a mode of analysis that helps us understand gender in its widest sense and the relations of power that circulate throughout society that are inextricably linked with dominant and alternative discourses of gender identity and gender expression. And just as important if not more so, trans feminism is a commitment to social justice, rooted in that understanding of power relations and experiences of oppression based on gender identity and expression. Just like feminism, there will inevitably be as many varieties of trans feminism as there are trans feminists; and my trans feminism reflects and is informed by my experiences as a transgendered woman of color, an Asian American of Korean birth and American adoption, and an activist who sees herself above all as an agent of social change. As the Mahatma Gandhi would say, we must be the change we seek to make in the world; trans feminism is as trans feminism does.

Author bio: Pauline Park is chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and president of the board of directors and acting executive director of Queens Pride House. She did her B.A. in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her M.Sc. in European studies at the London School of Economics and her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

Note: This essay is a slightly edited version of a talk given at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference 2012 on June 1 on a panel on “Trans Feminism & Trans Womanism: Speaking Truth to Power.” Many thanks to Joelle Ruby Ryan for organizing the workshop and Danielle Askini for joining us on the panel.

36 Comments

  1. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Notice how transgendered individuals can write reams and reams about being in charge of this or that, without ever once explaining why traditional feminine behavior needs to match traditional female bodies.

  2. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Notice how transgendered individuals can write reams and reams about being in charge of this or that, without ever once explaining why traditional feminine behavior needs to match traditional female bodies.

  3. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Notice how transgendered individuals can write reams and reams about being in charge of this or that, without ever once explaining why traditional feminine behavior needs to match traditional female bodies.

  4. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Notice how transgendered individuals can write reams and reams about being in charge of this or that, without ever once explaining why traditional feminine behavior needs to match traditional female bodies.

  5. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    By Pauline Park “Is there a ‘trans feminism’? And if so, what is it? Given that feminism itself is such a charged subject and transgender identity is a contested domain, that question is a productive one even if one not easy to answer.”

    The article never talked about that at all.

  6. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    By Pauline Park “Is there a ‘trans feminism’? And if so, what is it? Given that feminism itself is such a charged subject and transgender identity is a contested domain, that question is a productive one even if one not easy to answer.”

    The article never talked about that at all.

  7. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    By Pauline Park “Is there a ‘trans feminism’? And if so, what is it? Given that feminism itself is such a charged subject and transgender identity is a contested domain, that question is a productive one even if one not easy to answer.”

    The article never talked about that at all.

  8. boobear

    June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    By Pauline Park “Is there a ‘trans feminism’? And if so, what is it? Given that feminism itself is such a charged subject and transgender identity is a contested domain, that question is a productive one even if one not easy to answer.”

    The article never talked about that at all.

  9. Simone Kolysh

    June 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for teaching me that term. I’ve been wondering how to express this kind of feminism that I hold dear.

  10. Simone Kolysh

    June 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for teaching me that term. I’ve been wondering how to express this kind of feminism that I hold dear.

  11. Simone Kolysh

    June 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for teaching me that term. I’ve been wondering how to express this kind of feminism that I hold dear.

  12. Simone Kolysh

    June 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for teaching me that term. I’ve been wondering how to express this kind of feminism that I hold dear.

  13. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 3:04 am

    While I can see your article clearly reflects what you see as the needs of transgendered womyn I’m sorry to say I do not recognise this type of ‘feminism’ at all.

    I, myself, am a womon first and foremost but I also happen to be transsexual because I had to undergo a sex change having been assigned male at birth.

    I really, really, truly can see no correlation between the things you’ve talked about and womyn’s rights, even those of trans womyn.

    Your article makes no proper mention at all about how the male dominated system affects womyn’s lives on a day to day basis. As a womon I would expect to hear you talk about the way society and religion are both totally skewed to favour men. Womyn’s struggle against societies normalising of womyn being objectified as men’s sex objects. No mention of how pornography and the sex industry blights womyn’s lives or the trafficking of womyn to be forced into prostitution. No mention about the evil of how womyn become accused as being the culprits deemed at fault if they get raped. Some of those womyn even get stoned to death. Even trans womyn find themselves affected by all of these abuses but you mention absolutely none of them.

    I could go on and on and, even without being able to experience womyn’s reproductive ability, I would have thought that even you, as a transgendered womon, ought to be able to relate to many of these other issues. Your ‘feminist’ article appears to show no concern at all for any of these points and doesn’t seem to recognise men as being at fault for any of them. The closest you came to even mentioning that was talking about ‘man’ in the context of the human species.

    Instead what you call ‘feminism’ appears to direct most of the blame on womyn. You only appear to be critical towards sister feminists, Janice Raymond and Andrea Dworkin. When did feminism become about aiming attacks on womyn? When you talk about taking inspiration for your ‘feminism’ the only people you mention feeling inspired by are both male. Even in reference to your Korean background you make zero mention of relating to Korean womyn. You talk solely about relating to people who are men who dress up as womyn to perform certain rituals. Rituals which I would imagine reflect a male version of how they believe womyn ought to be.

    Your article is loaded with male references and male oriented ideas about what feminism should be about. You totally miss the whole point about feminism. To get away from the things men dictate about how womyn should behave and what we should accept. What you call ‘feminism’ appears to be nothing more than being about imposing a male perspective on womyn through the back door. In other words it really feels like the type of ‘feminism’ men would like to dictate and impose on us rather than reflecting what womyn want but feel they are being denied by men.

    I have created my own word to describe this. I call it Masculinism! The kind of male version of how they think feminists should behave.

    If that is supposed to be feminism, especially purporting to be in my name as a transsexual womon, then I’m sorry but I do not recognise or identify with any of this. I didn’t go through all the decades of pain I had to endure to become a man in drag promoting a male agenda while wearing a dress. If that is transfeminism then you can totally leave me out of your fallacy.

  14. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 3:04 am

    While I can see your article clearly reflects what you see as the needs of transgendered womyn I’m sorry to say I do not recognise this type of ‘feminism’ at all.

    I, myself, am a womon first and foremost but I also happen to be transsexual because I had to undergo a sex change having been assigned male at birth.

    I really, really, truly can see no correlation between the things you’ve talked about and womyn’s rights, even those of trans womyn.

    Your article makes no proper mention at all about how the male dominated system affects womyn’s lives on a day to day basis. As a womon I would expect to hear you talk about the way society and religion are both totally skewed to favour men. Womyn’s struggle against societies normalising of womyn being objectified as men’s sex objects. No mention of how pornography and the sex industry blights womyn’s lives or the trafficking of womyn to be forced into prostitution. No mention about the evil of how womyn become accused as being the culprits deemed at fault if they get raped. Some of those womyn even get stoned to death. Even trans womyn find themselves affected by all of these abuses but you mention absolutely none of them.

    I could go on and on and, even without being able to experience womyn’s reproductive ability, I would have thought that even you, as a transgendered womon, ought to be able to relate to many of these other issues. Your ‘feminist’ article appears to show no concern at all for any of these points and doesn’t seem to recognise men as being at fault for any of them. The closest you came to even mentioning that was talking about ‘man’ in the context of the human species.

    Instead what you call ‘feminism’ appears to direct most of the blame on womyn. You only appear to be critical towards sister feminists, Janice Raymond and Andrea Dworkin. When did feminism become about aiming attacks on womyn? When you talk about taking inspiration for your ‘feminism’ the only people you mention feeling inspired by are both male. Even in reference to your Korean background you make zero mention of relating to Korean womyn. You talk solely about relating to people who are men who dress up as womyn to perform certain rituals. Rituals which I would imagine reflect a male version of how they believe womyn ought to be.

    Your article is loaded with male references and male oriented ideas about what feminism should be about. You totally miss the whole point about feminism. To get away from the things men dictate about how womyn should behave and what we should accept. What you call ‘feminism’ appears to be nothing more than being about imposing a male perspective on womyn through the back door. In other words it really feels like the type of ‘feminism’ men would like to dictate and impose on us rather than reflecting what womyn want but feel they are being denied by men.

    I have created my own word to describe this. I call it Masculinism! The kind of male version of how they think feminists should behave.

    If that is supposed to be feminism, especially purporting to be in my name as a transsexual womon, then I’m sorry but I do not recognise or identify with any of this. I didn’t go through all the decades of pain I had to endure to become a man in drag promoting a male agenda while wearing a dress. If that is transfeminism then you can totally leave me out of your fallacy.

  15. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 3:04 am

    While I can see your article clearly reflects what you see as the needs of transgendered womyn I’m sorry to say I do not recognise this type of ‘feminism’ at all.

    I, myself, am a womon first and foremost but I also happen to be transsexual because I had to undergo a sex change having been assigned male at birth.

    I really, really, truly can see no correlation between the things you’ve talked about and womyn’s rights, even those of trans womyn.

    Your article makes no proper mention at all about how the male dominated system affects womyn’s lives on a day to day basis. As a womon I would expect to hear you talk about the way society and religion are both totally skewed to favour men. Womyn’s struggle against societies normalising of womyn being objectified as men’s sex objects. No mention of how pornography and the sex industry blights womyn’s lives or the trafficking of womyn to be forced into prostitution. No mention about the evil of how womyn become accused as being the culprits deemed at fault if they get raped. Some of those womyn even get stoned to death. Even trans womyn find themselves affected by all of these abuses but you mention absolutely none of them.

    I could go on and on and, even without being able to experience womyn’s reproductive ability, I would have thought that even you, as a transgendered womon, ought to be able to relate to many of these other issues. Your ‘feminist’ article appears to show no concern at all for any of these points and doesn’t seem to recognise men as being at fault for any of them. The closest you came to even mentioning that was talking about ‘man’ in the context of the human species.

    Instead what you call ‘feminism’ appears to direct most of the blame on womyn. You only appear to be critical towards sister feminists, Janice Raymond and Andrea Dworkin. When did feminism become about aiming attacks on womyn? When you talk about taking inspiration for your ‘feminism’ the only people you mention feeling inspired by are both male. Even in reference to your Korean background you make zero mention of relating to Korean womyn. You talk solely about relating to people who are men who dress up as womyn to perform certain rituals. Rituals which I would imagine reflect a male version of how they believe womyn ought to be.

    Your article is loaded with male references and male oriented ideas about what feminism should be about. You totally miss the whole point about feminism. To get away from the things men dictate about how womyn should behave and what we should accept. What you call ‘feminism’ appears to be nothing more than being about imposing a male perspective on womyn through the back door. In other words it really feels like the type of ‘feminism’ men would like to dictate and impose on us rather than reflecting what womyn want but feel they are being denied by men.

    I have created my own word to describe this. I call it Masculinism! The kind of male version of how they think feminists should behave.

    If that is supposed to be feminism, especially purporting to be in my name as a transsexual womon, then I’m sorry but I do not recognise or identify with any of this. I didn’t go through all the decades of pain I had to endure to become a man in drag promoting a male agenda while wearing a dress. If that is transfeminism then you can totally leave me out of your fallacy.

  16. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 3:04 am

    While I can see your article clearly reflects what you see as the needs of transgendered womyn I’m sorry to say I do not recognise this type of ‘feminism’ at all.

    I, myself, am a womon first and foremost but I also happen to be transsexual because I had to undergo a sex change having been assigned male at birth.

    I really, really, truly can see no correlation between the things you’ve talked about and womyn’s rights, even those of trans womyn.

    Your article makes no proper mention at all about how the male dominated system affects womyn’s lives on a day to day basis. As a womon I would expect to hear you talk about the way society and religion are both totally skewed to favour men. Womyn’s struggle against societies normalising of womyn being objectified as men’s sex objects. No mention of how pornography and the sex industry blights womyn’s lives or the trafficking of womyn to be forced into prostitution. No mention about the evil of how womyn become accused as being the culprits deemed at fault if they get raped. Some of those womyn even get stoned to death. Even trans womyn find themselves affected by all of these abuses but you mention absolutely none of them.

    I could go on and on and, even without being able to experience womyn’s reproductive ability, I would have thought that even you, as a transgendered womon, ought to be able to relate to many of these other issues. Your ‘feminist’ article appears to show no concern at all for any of these points and doesn’t seem to recognise men as being at fault for any of them. The closest you came to even mentioning that was talking about ‘man’ in the context of the human species.

    Instead what you call ‘feminism’ appears to direct most of the blame on womyn. You only appear to be critical towards sister feminists, Janice Raymond and Andrea Dworkin. When did feminism become about aiming attacks on womyn? When you talk about taking inspiration for your ‘feminism’ the only people you mention feeling inspired by are both male. Even in reference to your Korean background you make zero mention of relating to Korean womyn. You talk solely about relating to people who are men who dress up as womyn to perform certain rituals. Rituals which I would imagine reflect a male version of how they believe womyn ought to be.

    Your article is loaded with male references and male oriented ideas about what feminism should be about. You totally miss the whole point about feminism. To get away from the things men dictate about how womyn should behave and what we should accept. What you call ‘feminism’ appears to be nothing more than being about imposing a male perspective on womyn through the back door. In other words it really feels like the type of ‘feminism’ men would like to dictate and impose on us rather than reflecting what womyn want but feel they are being denied by men.

    I have created my own word to describe this. I call it Masculinism! The kind of male version of how they think feminists should behave.

    If that is supposed to be feminism, especially purporting to be in my name as a transsexual womon, then I’m sorry but I do not recognise or identify with any of this. I didn’t go through all the decades of pain I had to endure to become a man in drag promoting a male agenda while wearing a dress. If that is transfeminism then you can totally leave me out of your fallacy.

  17. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    So I guess men are, in no way, to be held responsible or accountable for the difficulties suffered by trans people. The whole lot is the fault of those nasty radfems because they hurt your feelings by not jumping up and down praising and accepting you as womyn while you want to deal in pushing male agendas that tear away at womyn’s rights.

    In the meantime I see no proper acceptance of reality here. I hear trans people often referring to CeCe McDonald but virtually completely failing to notice that her situation arose because of being attacked by a man.

    As a transsexual female I live with the worry every day of being targeted or attacked by males. I’ve had to learn to become far more street wise so that I don’t compromise my safety by being caught in a vulnerable situation with groups of men. I know that, as a transsexual womon, I face the constant threat of being attacked, beaten up or raped by men. I know that if I was to be raped I would almost certainly face being accused of somehow being at fault and responsible. I can expect far less rights and pay in the workplace. I can expect virtually no ‘acceptance’ or opportunities within most mainstream religions. I feel far, far more disliked and discriminated against by men where, by comparison, I have found far more acceptance and understanding among womyn.

    These are the realities for both trans womyn and born womyn. Now I have to face the idea of people promoting a male centric agenda and calling it ‘transfeminism’ in my name and claiming they’re doing it for me. How would any born womon be expected to take me seriously about calling myself female and then fighting so hard to defend men and promote a male agenda.

    That is not feminism, trans or otherwise.

  18. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    So I guess men are, in no way, to be held responsible or accountable for the difficulties suffered by trans people. The whole lot is the fault of those nasty radfems because they hurt your feelings by not jumping up and down praising and accepting you as womyn while you want to deal in pushing male agendas that tear away at womyn’s rights.

    In the meantime I see no proper acceptance of reality here. I hear trans people often referring to CeCe McDonald but virtually completely failing to notice that her situation arose because of being attacked by a man.

    As a transsexual female I live with the worry every day of being targeted or attacked by males. I’ve had to learn to become far more street wise so that I don’t compromise my safety by being caught in a vulnerable situation with groups of men. I know that, as a transsexual womon, I face the constant threat of being attacked, beaten up or raped by men. I know that if I was to be raped I would almost certainly face being accused of somehow being at fault and responsible. I can expect far less rights and pay in the workplace. I can expect virtually no ‘acceptance’ or opportunities within most mainstream religions. I feel far, far more disliked and discriminated against by men where, by comparison, I have found far more acceptance and understanding among womyn.

    These are the realities for both trans womyn and born womyn. Now I have to face the idea of people promoting a male centric agenda and calling it ‘transfeminism’ in my name and claiming they’re doing it for me. How would any born womon be expected to take me seriously about calling myself female and then fighting so hard to defend men and promote a male agenda.

    That is not feminism, trans or otherwise.

  19. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    So I guess men are, in no way, to be held responsible or accountable for the difficulties suffered by trans people. The whole lot is the fault of those nasty radfems because they hurt your feelings by not jumping up and down praising and accepting you as womyn while you want to deal in pushing male agendas that tear away at womyn’s rights.

    In the meantime I see no proper acceptance of reality here. I hear trans people often referring to CeCe McDonald but virtually completely failing to notice that her situation arose because of being attacked by a man.

    As a transsexual female I live with the worry every day of being targeted or attacked by males. I’ve had to learn to become far more street wise so that I don’t compromise my safety by being caught in a vulnerable situation with groups of men. I know that, as a transsexual womon, I face the constant threat of being attacked, beaten up or raped by men. I know that if I was to be raped I would almost certainly face being accused of somehow being at fault and responsible. I can expect far less rights and pay in the workplace. I can expect virtually no ‘acceptance’ or opportunities within most mainstream religions. I feel far, far more disliked and discriminated against by men where, by comparison, I have found far more acceptance and understanding among womyn.

    These are the realities for both trans womyn and born womyn. Now I have to face the idea of people promoting a male centric agenda and calling it ‘transfeminism’ in my name and claiming they’re doing it for me. How would any born womon be expected to take me seriously about calling myself female and then fighting so hard to defend men and promote a male agenda.

    That is not feminism, trans or otherwise.

  20. Marylin Collcutt

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    So I guess men are, in no way, to be held responsible or accountable for the difficulties suffered by trans people. The whole lot is the fault of those nasty radfems because they hurt your feelings by not jumping up and down praising and accepting you as womyn while you want to deal in pushing male agendas that tear away at womyn’s rights.

    In the meantime I see no proper acceptance of reality here. I hear trans people often referring to CeCe McDonald but virtually completely failing to notice that her situation arose because of being attacked by a man.

    As a transsexual female I live with the worry every day of being targeted or attacked by males. I’ve had to learn to become far more street wise so that I don’t compromise my safety by being caught in a vulnerable situation with groups of men. I know that, as a transsexual womon, I face the constant threat of being attacked, beaten up or raped by men. I know that if I was to be raped I would almost certainly face being accused of somehow being at fault and responsible. I can expect far less rights and pay in the workplace. I can expect virtually no ‘acceptance’ or opportunities within most mainstream religions. I feel far, far more disliked and discriminated against by men where, by comparison, I have found far more acceptance and understanding among womyn.

    These are the realities for both trans womyn and born womyn. Now I have to face the idea of people promoting a male centric agenda and calling it ‘transfeminism’ in my name and claiming they’re doing it for me. How would any born womon be expected to take me seriously about calling myself female and then fighting so hard to defend men and promote a male agenda.

    That is not feminism, trans or otherwise.

  21. Guarina

    June 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Feminism worthy of the name would be ecological-minded and for transformation in humanity’s ways of thinking and behaving towards women and children, transgendered people and towards men. Male hierarchy still defines our imaginary all over the globe…that includes the thinking of women (yes, Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Sarah Palin, but even Mother Teresa, who behaved as the medieval papacy dictates) and transgendered men and women. There’s need for humility–learn from models like Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, Lorde, Oriana Fallaci, Angela Davis, Amy Tang and Ian Morris. They put service before ego.
    Mercedes Sosa

  22. Guarina

    June 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Feminism worthy of the name would be ecological-minded and for transformation in humanity’s ways of thinking and behaving towards women and children, transgendered people and towards men. Male hierarchy still defines our imaginary all over the globe…that includes the thinking of women (yes, Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Sarah Palin, but even Mother Teresa, who behaved as the medieval papacy dictates) and transgendered men and women. There’s need for humility–learn from models like Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, Lorde, Oriana Fallaci, Angela Davis, Amy Tang and Ian Morris. They put service before ego.
    Mercedes Sosa

  23. Guarina

    June 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Feminism worthy of the name would be ecological-minded and for transformation in humanity’s ways of thinking and behaving towards women and children, transgendered people and towards men. Male hierarchy still defines our imaginary all over the globe…that includes the thinking of women (yes, Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Sarah Palin, but even Mother Teresa, who behaved as the medieval papacy dictates) and transgendered men and women. There’s need for humility–learn from models like Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, Lorde, Oriana Fallaci, Angela Davis, Amy Tang and Ian Morris. They put service before ego.
    Mercedes Sosa

  24. Guarina

    June 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Feminism worthy of the name would be ecological-minded and for transformation in humanity’s ways of thinking and behaving towards women and children, transgendered people and towards men. Male hierarchy still defines our imaginary all over the globe…that includes the thinking of women (yes, Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Sarah Palin, but even Mother Teresa, who behaved as the medieval papacy dictates) and transgendered men and women. There’s need for humility–learn from models like Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, Lorde, Oriana Fallaci, Angela Davis, Amy Tang and Ian Morris. They put service before ego.
    Mercedes Sosa

  25. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

    This blog entry just throws out blind assertions without any support or any critical reasoning. Where is teh actual argument that Janice Raymond’s The Transexual Empire is “nominally” concerned with the “gender industry”? Her book is devoted to critiquing this industry with actual substantive arguments. But why bother with arguments, with actually criticizing what the author says when you can just dismiss by means of assertion? same with “her real target”. Really? you know what is “really” intended by her book? by some divine intervention of insight privy to you alone? Otherwise you would be *showing* us how in fact you draw this conclusion. I agree also with the other commentators- that there is nothing about feminism, nothing about male domination here.

  26. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

    This blog entry just throws out blind assertions without any support or any critical reasoning. Where is teh actual argument that Janice Raymond’s The Transexual Empire is “nominally” concerned with the “gender industry”? Her book is devoted to critiquing this industry with actual substantive arguments. But why bother with arguments, with actually criticizing what the author says when you can just dismiss by means of assertion? same with “her real target”. Really? you know what is “really” intended by her book? by some divine intervention of insight privy to you alone? Otherwise you would be *showing* us how in fact you draw this conclusion. I agree also with the other commentators- that there is nothing about feminism, nothing about male domination here.

  27. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

    This blog entry just throws out blind assertions without any support or any critical reasoning. Where is teh actual argument that Janice Raymond’s The Transexual Empire is “nominally” concerned with the “gender industry”? Her book is devoted to critiquing this industry with actual substantive arguments. But why bother with arguments, with actually criticizing what the author says when you can just dismiss by means of assertion? same with “her real target”. Really? you know what is “really” intended by her book? by some divine intervention of insight privy to you alone? Otherwise you would be *showing* us how in fact you draw this conclusion. I agree also with the other commentators- that there is nothing about feminism, nothing about male domination here.

  28. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

    This blog entry just throws out blind assertions without any support or any critical reasoning. Where is teh actual argument that Janice Raymond’s The Transexual Empire is “nominally” concerned with the “gender industry”? Her book is devoted to critiquing this industry with actual substantive arguments. But why bother with arguments, with actually criticizing what the author says when you can just dismiss by means of assertion? same with “her real target”. Really? you know what is “really” intended by her book? by some divine intervention of insight privy to you alone? Otherwise you would be *showing* us how in fact you draw this conclusion. I agree also with the other commentators- that there is nothing about feminism, nothing about male domination here.

  29. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

    p.s Pauline- I appreciate the work you do on Palestine and do agree that there is masculinism at work here that cries for feminist critique. So i was wrong to state that there is no feminism in this piece. But where is the substantive connection between this issue and trans issues? Unless you are throwing the widest, most vague meaningless net over all modes of discrimination and saying there are all kinds of “division” and exclusion, etc that hurt people. I would agree with that, but the specific oppression of women as women demands a deeper analysis and that in relation to discrimination against transwomen. The latter does not preclude a critique of trans ideology. Some of us are critical of the claim that trans women are *women* without being critical of human beings for being *transwomen* and we are also claiming as “freedom of association” (see Davina Squirrel’s blog) the freedom to have autonomous women’s spaces. I don’t think all political spaces should be women-only or absent of alliances with other groups, including transwomen, but there is an absolute need for the autonomy of group spaces based on shared oppression that includes being sexualized from day one to be “girled”–accessible to men. There is the reality that some *not all* trans activists make a concerted effort to be included- thus to invade–absolutely any/every women-only spaces. Also do you really think that Raymond is completely wrong in analyzing the phenomenon of trans identification as rooted in a misogynist culture? and that this identification as *something* significant to do with the gender industry?

  30. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

    p.s Pauline- I appreciate the work you do on Palestine and do agree that there is masculinism at work here that cries for feminist critique. So i was wrong to state that there is no feminism in this piece. But where is the substantive connection between this issue and trans issues? Unless you are throwing the widest, most vague meaningless net over all modes of discrimination and saying there are all kinds of “division” and exclusion, etc that hurt people. I would agree with that, but the specific oppression of women as women demands a deeper analysis and that in relation to discrimination against transwomen. The latter does not preclude a critique of trans ideology. Some of us are critical of the claim that trans women are *women* without being critical of human beings for being *transwomen* and we are also claiming as “freedom of association” (see Davina Squirrel’s blog) the freedom to have autonomous women’s spaces. I don’t think all political spaces should be women-only or absent of alliances with other groups, including transwomen, but there is an absolute need for the autonomy of group spaces based on shared oppression that includes being sexualized from day one to be “girled”–accessible to men. There is the reality that some *not all* trans activists make a concerted effort to be included- thus to invade–absolutely any/every women-only spaces. Also do you really think that Raymond is completely wrong in analyzing the phenomenon of trans identification as rooted in a misogynist culture? and that this identification as *something* significant to do with the gender industry?

  31. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

    p.s Pauline- I appreciate the work you do on Palestine and do agree that there is masculinism at work here that cries for feminist critique. So i was wrong to state that there is no feminism in this piece. But where is the substantive connection between this issue and trans issues? Unless you are throwing the widest, most vague meaningless net over all modes of discrimination and saying there are all kinds of “division” and exclusion, etc that hurt people. I would agree with that, but the specific oppression of women as women demands a deeper analysis and that in relation to discrimination against transwomen. The latter does not preclude a critique of trans ideology. Some of us are critical of the claim that trans women are *women* without being critical of human beings for being *transwomen* and we are also claiming as “freedom of association” (see Davina Squirrel’s blog) the freedom to have autonomous women’s spaces. I don’t think all political spaces should be women-only or absent of alliances with other groups, including transwomen, but there is an absolute need for the autonomy of group spaces based on shared oppression that includes being sexualized from day one to be “girled”–accessible to men. There is the reality that some *not all* trans activists make a concerted effort to be included- thus to invade–absolutely any/every women-only spaces. Also do you really think that Raymond is completely wrong in analyzing the phenomenon of trans identification as rooted in a misogynist culture? and that this identification as *something* significant to do with the gender industry?

  32. kmiriam

    June 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

    p.s Pauline- I appreciate the work you do on Palestine and do agree that there is masculinism at work here that cries for feminist critique. So i was wrong to state that there is no feminism in this piece. But where is the substantive connection between this issue and trans issues? Unless you are throwing the widest, most vague meaningless net over all modes of discrimination and saying there are all kinds of “division” and exclusion, etc that hurt people. I would agree with that, but the specific oppression of women as women demands a deeper analysis and that in relation to discrimination against transwomen. The latter does not preclude a critique of trans ideology. Some of us are critical of the claim that trans women are *women* without being critical of human beings for being *transwomen* and we are also claiming as “freedom of association” (see Davina Squirrel’s blog) the freedom to have autonomous women’s spaces. I don’t think all political spaces should be women-only or absent of alliances with other groups, including transwomen, but there is an absolute need for the autonomy of group spaces based on shared oppression that includes being sexualized from day one to be “girled”–accessible to men. There is the reality that some *not all* trans activists make a concerted effort to be included- thus to invade–absolutely any/every women-only spaces. Also do you really think that Raymond is completely wrong in analyzing the phenomenon of trans identification as rooted in a misogynist culture? and that this identification as *something* significant to do with the gender industry?

  33. Lee

    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    “As I said then, I do not have a gender identity disorder; it is society that has a gender identity disorder.” yes, Yes, YES. Putting that one in the quote book.

  34. Lee

    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    “As I said then, I do not have a gender identity disorder; it is society that has a gender identity disorder.” yes, Yes, YES. Putting that one in the quote book.

  35. Lee

    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    “As I said then, I do not have a gender identity disorder; it is society that has a gender identity disorder.” yes, Yes, YES. Putting that one in the quote book.

  36. Lee

    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    “As I said then, I do not have a gender identity disorder; it is society that has a gender identity disorder.” yes, Yes, YES. Putting that one in the quote book.