Thursday, August 25, 2011

Am I the only person offended by this?

Originally posted on LJ 2-12-09

ok, so the following is a rant that I posted on a trans-themed email list. It is in reference an exposé written by folks within the gender variant community about a proponent of autogynephilia theory who happens to be a trans woman. Now this person has said some messed up things about people I respect, and she is accused of a number of other things which I have heard second hand that, if true, are very disturbing. Having said that, I wrote the following post in response to certain aspects of that exposé that really really bothered me as a trans woman and activist. For anonymity reasons, I have omitted/deleted names of the person in question, as well as those who published the exposé. I ask those who wish to leave comments to respect this anonymity...


Am I the only person offended by this?

I can understand why someone would want to critique what proponents of “autogynephilia” say about that theory. And if a hypothetical individual were to engage in shady behaviors—for example, misrepresenting themselves, inconsistent, distorted or fraudulent writings, edit-warring (as _____ is alleged to have done)—I can understand why someone might want to bring it to other people’s attention. But I am especially appalled by two of the tactics employed against _____ in the above [deleted] link.

The first is the insinuation that _____ isn’t a “real” transsexual (in fact, the very word transsexual is often placed in quotes in reference to her). It is insinuated that she must not be a “real” transsexual because she still has facial hair. I guess that means that I’m not a real transsexual either. In fact, off the top of my head, I can name at least ten dedicated trans women activists I know who (like myself and ______) have not completed electrolysis. You wanna know why? Because it’s fucking expensive! In addition to being classist, that tactic is oppressive. Deeming that some people are “real” transsexuals while other people are not is exactly what the gatekeepers have been doing to us for years.

Second, I am disturbed by the way the report essentially accuses her of being “autogynephilic” (both because she supposedly asked a girl to the prom and because other people supposedly view her as a “tranny chaser”). Reading those passages made me feel like I was I was reading Bailey’s book all over again. And I know what you’re going to say: “Well it’s relevant to bring it up because she calls herself a ‘homosexual transsexual’ and it demonstrates that she misrepresents herself.” Gee, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that one before...now where was it?...oh yeah, in Alice Dreger’s ASB article. In fact, Dreger rather promiscuously (no pun intended) uses the cloak of “relevance” to delve into the presumed sexual pasts of [many of the trans women who critiqued Bailey's book]. Do you know wanna know why she did that? Because sexualizing a person invalidates them! This is precisely why defense lawyers ask rape survivors irrelevant questions about their past sexual histories during trials. If you can reduce a person to just their sexual behaviors or their sexual bodies, then you inevitably dehumanize and delegitimize them. Isn’t this the very same reason why most of us abhor Bailey’s book — because it so relentlessly sexualizes trans women (thus delegitimizing us)?

The pinnacle of sexualization in the ______ report is a link to a supposed “cock shot” (plus related dialogue) that had nothing to do with autogynephilia or BBL or anything. What the fuck! I would be pissed if BBL were to include my forays on Craig’s List in one of their “reports”. So why on earth would you do exactly that to ______? There is absolutely no reason to include that passage, except, of course, that 1) sexualizing someone invalidates them, and 2) you want to delegitimize her.

Look, I am not naive, and I can assure you that I have no fantasies about having a “respectable dialogue” about “autogynephilia” after everything that has already gone on. If you wanna call someone a fraud or a troll or a hypocrite or what have you, I am not going to stop you. But when you start sexualizing proponents of “autogynephilia” (and insinuating that they are "autogynephilics") as a way of invalidating them, then you are no better than Bailey and the like. And, as Audre Lorde famously said, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house."

respectfully yours,
-julia

1 comment:

  1. No, you're NOT the only one offended, and yes, electrolosis IS fucking expensive! (I'm trying the no!no! myself.)
    When last I was crossliving in the late 80s, in pursuit of SRS, I was told by the therapist I'd been sent to, that I wasn't truly gender dysphoric because my primary sexual and social attachment was to women, and because (at the time,) I presented as somewhat butch, which was really more about insecurity about passing, and shyness than true orientation (I am now, and truthfully always have been- even in male mode, much further to the femme end of the spectrum).
    The point is, I couldn't convince her I was in earnest, because I didn't fit the stereotype of femininity she thought I should.
    I'm thankful that the world seems to be heading in a direction of greater sophistication when it comes to acknowledging some of the nuances and subtleties that exist in the gender and sexuality spectrums.

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