Monday, August 11, 2014

Bringing an end to the “end of gender”

So next month will be the one-year anniversary of my book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive being released, and I will be celebrating by posting small excerpts of some of my favorite paragraphs and passages from the book on my blog over the course of September.

One of the passages I was planning to quote is very germane to the latest round of TERF debates, so I am posting it today instead.

Radical feminists who are opposed to trans people repeatedly offer this justification: They are trying to bring on the “end of gender” whereas trans people “reinforce gender.” Throughout Excluded, I eviscerate the “reinforcing trope” and how it is arbitrarily used as a tool within activism to exclude minorities/marginalized subpopulations within movements (including lesbians in the early days of radical feminism).

And in the following passage from the book, I point out how ridiculously vague and arbitrary such “end of gender” claims really are.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Final thoughts on that Michelle Goldberg article, faux journalism, and recognizing bias

So last week I briefly responded to a Michelle Goldberg article that had just appeared in The New Yorker magazine called “What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.” It was a piece that I was interviewed for, and felt misrepresented by. It was also a piece that many people (including myself) felt had a strong anti-transgender bias (see critical reviews from Bitch MagazineAutostraddle, Bilerico, The Slantist, New Statesman, and Columbia Journalism Review).

Three days ago, my formal response to Goldberg’s article was published as an op-ed on The Advocate. It is entitled “An Open Letter to The New Yorker.” Rather than merely listing all my grievances with Goldberg’s piece (many of which have been addressed in the critical reviews listed above, and a few more will be described in this post), I talk more generally about what it was like for me (behind the scenes, if you will) to be a long-time activist within a marginalized community, and to have a mainstream journalist swoop in and cover really complicated issues, only to oversimplify and misrepresent them in a manner that mainstream audiences will find “titillating” and misperceive as “balanced.”