Friday, 24 October 2008

Pantomime dames (Oh yes, we are!)

Queer campaigners and feminists alike are outraged over Stonewall’s decision to nominate Julie Bindel for its ‘Journalist of the Year’ award. Bindel is a notoriously outspoken transphobe (her insulting and upsetting remarks about transpeople in national newspapers can be found here, here and here) and protestors say that the decision to promote her as a pioneer of gay rights is an insulting piece of hypocrisy. ‘This is not just an insult to transgendered people, but hypocrisy in the extreme -Stonewall claims to represent a minority group which suffers from discrimination, but they are prepared to honour someone who is instrumental in repression of transgendered people with her bigoted transphobic journalism,’ said organisers of the protest against the controversial nomination.

Regular readers of this blog will know how I feel about Julie Bindel and her terrible views, which are - upsettingly enough - shared by grand dames of the movement including Germaine Greer. I think it’s important not only to challenge them, but to offer a response. So here’s a contemporary feminist take on femininity, feminism and transgenderism, from the point of view of a largely cis-gendered feminist activist (yes, many of my best friends are transgdendered and wondering where all their makeup has gone). For a transsexual feminist's viewpoint and a much more in-depth and articulate study, look no further than the excellent Whipping Girl by the ravishing and razor-sharp Julia Serano.

I've actually met very few transpeople who shout about it in the street. Most, after years of bravely facing down abuse, dealing with the reactions of friends and family, struggling to access treatment and, often, battling the psychological fallout of feeling themselves born in the wrong body, simply want to be left in peace. Nonetheless, transsexualism's existence and tentative acceptance within mainstream society is immensely radical.

Transsexualism is not merely a valid part of the queer- and gender-liberation movements: it's a vital one. The notion that one's biological sex does not have to dictate anything about one's behaviour, appearance or even the eventual layout of one's genitals and secondary sex organs, now that we live in a glittering future where such things are possible, is a radical one.

Furthermore, not all transsexuals present, as Bindel would have it, as 'men in dresses'. Transsexualism, transgenderism, transvestism and intersexuality present in a myriad different ways. Some bio-men choose to live as women and to take hormones, but do not elect to have any surgery. Some bio-women present as males half the time by binding their breasts, stuffing their pants and going to nightclubs in tanktops and baseball caps, the liberated 'bois' of the spreading San-Francisco scene. Some people are born with hormone imbalances, or born entirely outside of the two-gender sphere altogether: in fact, one in 2,000 babies is born without an XX or XY genotype. Trans issues go way beyond 'men in dresses', although drag queens tend to remain the postergirls for the same reason that Kylie Minogue is now the face of breast cancer: they look good doing it.

Femininity is not a sacred cow. Femininity is a social construct, and Bindel is right to identify it as such, but utterly wrong to claim that transsexuals re-enforce these stereotypes. The problem is not with transsexuals, but with our entire fucked-up construction of what is 'male' and what 'female', what 'masculine' and what 'feminine'. Bindel's bio-'boys' in 'fuck-me-boots and birds-nest hair' are no different from today's bewildered 12, 13 and 14-year old girls struggling to make the transition from deeply felt, little-understood womanhood to socially dictated artificial 'femininity'. Like teenage girls stuffing their bras with loo-roll and smearing on inappropriate lipstick, the m-t-f transsexuals for whom Bindel, Greer and their ilk reserve special hatred are simply craving what all growing girls crave: social acceptance.

Yes, they are performing femininity. But so are all women, every day. Yes, some of them might sometimes present as 'pantomime dames' in Greer's ever-tactful phraseology. But after a long night out on the tiles, too much slap, tarty heels, padded bra, bling and rapidly deflating hairdo, I fail to see in what way I'm less of a pantomime dame than, say, the fabulous Jodie Harsh (a lady who does it much, much, much better than almost everyone else).

Jodie Harsh is a pantomime dame. So is Victoria Beckham. Lily Savage is a pantomime dame. So is Vivienne Westwood. So was Margaret Thatcher. So is the Queen of England. We are all pantomime dames, performing femininity because that's how we gain social acceptance. Those who have least to gain by performing femininity – bio-males who, in doing so, voluntarily and utterly abandon male privilege – are perhaps the bravest and canniest of all of us.

It is those who have found themselves outside the two-sex system who have done the most to challenge toxic gender binaries throughout history. From the Hirjas of India to the holy hermaphrodites of ancient Greece, from the Molly-boys of 18th century London to the f-t-m artists of bohemian paris, transsexual, transgender, transvestite and intersexed individuals have been revered and reviled, studied and sought out, as if they held the keys to the mysteries of the gender system that binds us. Perhaps they do.


  1. re: Foolsjourney - yes, indeed.

    As somebody who has had difficulties with gender perennially for most of my life, I appreciate somebody able to express the frustration against the sheer variety and unlikelihood of social difficulties encountered on both sides of the 'gender divide' better than I have ever been able to.

    This stuff needs more people who shout about it this well.

  2. Very interesting post, & I look forward to checking out Whipping Girl.

    Should point out, though, pedantic as it may seem, that 'molly' as a slang term for an effeminate man, only came into use at the start of the eighteenth century. The explicitly homosexual connotations followed a little later, by the 1720s (when we see the term 'molly-house' emerging). Anyway, that's my little queer history lesson over with. I do wish Stonewall had chosen someone - almost anyone - else.

  3. I don't know about Bindel, but Greer doesn't hate trans. I don't know where you get that from. On the contrary, she's quite anti-the whole false dichotomy thing. I think you might have misread her.

    But what I think is especially sad and damaging is that cultural notions of gender are viewed as more rigid, and less open to modification than the human body. What is that about?

    And what is this "living as a woman", exactly? Seems gender-fascism is wider-spread than one might think...

  4. Id,

    Whether or not Greer hates trans, she's definitely a cissexist. I say this as a lifelong fan who had read everything she'd ever written by the age of 13. Here's an extract from The Whole Woman:

    'Whatever else it is gender reassignment is an exorcism of the mother. When a man decides to spend his life impersonating his mother (like Norman Bates in Psycho) it is as if he murders her and gets away with it, proving at a stroke that there was nothing to her. His intentions are no more honourable than any female impersonator's; his achievement is to gag all those who would call his bluff. When he forces his way into the few private spaces women may enjoy and shouts down their objections, and bombards the women who will not accept him with threats and hate mail, he does as rapists have always done'

    If that's not taking a rather dim and prejudiced view of all things trans, if that's not reinforcing a 'bio-women are special and holy' paradigm, I don't know what is.

  5. And how is the notion of 'living as a woman' gender-fascist? By 'living as a woman' most transpeople would mean - dressing in 'female ways', trying to change gait, voice and stance to imitate more female ways of behaviour, calling oneself by a female name and female pronouns, and - most importantly - dispensing with the privileges ze previously enjoyed as a man.

    I didn't say 'being' a woman. I said 'living as' a woman. I personally think that's all any of us ever do, in a society of enforced gender binaries.

  6. Confusing my 1700s with my 17th century again. Thank you dear, duly fixed.

    I am entirely Mollified.


  7. No problem!

    Just making the most of my OED subscription, after all...

    Really like the Red Pepper article, by the way, although I'd have a go at them about the pronoun confusion on Rhian...

  8. Hi

    You've picked the paragraph in the excerpt that you linked to, that is clearly total bollocks. A load of mis-guided-wannabe-freudian rubbish. Par for her attention-seeking course, I would say. Having said that, I'd also reserve my judgement, because it's possible, just possible, that there's a sense in which she's right. I'm not smart enough to know, but to me it looks like a load of rubbish.

    But again, this does not equate to hatred. She's not arguing that bio female is sacred or holy, just different. She's simply stating a truth, and what is wrong with that? If you read the rest of what she wrote (which you surely have done), you will see that all she's saying is that being female amounts to rather more than not having a penis, and walking a certain way, and that women themselves should get to define themselves, and not be defined by a male view, because it is incomplete.

    For me, having a uterus and ovaries, for eg, and the implications of that, is a rather large part of what it means to be female, in both good and bad ways. Remember Reg in The Life of Brian? I respect people's feelings and their pain, but not at the expense of denying what being a woman means to me, and I won't be bullied by cries of "hatred" into so doing.

    Whether people like it or not, being transgender (M to F) is not the same as being a woman. It carries with it (as you've said), a whole other set of joys and pains, only some of which I can identify with (but all of which I can respect).

    If you ask me (which I know you didn't), the Greer link that you've linked to tells me that transgender hate women a lot more than women hate them (for which I have seen no evidence). One could argue that this adds weight to Greer's paragraph that you quote.

    And if you remember the debacle whereby Greer lost her job at Cambridge, all she was saying was that a trans person should not be at an all-female college, because they are not female. I wouldn't particularly agree with this, but I can see her point, and I respect her for making it. The problem is clearly with the notion of an all-female college, in a world where gender is treated as dichotomous, when it is demonstrably not.

    If trans people were to stop bashing women, and start attacking the real problem (dichotomous gender), I think we'd all get on a lot further with things.

    In academia, it is especially apparent that trans people do not forgo their male privileges - their academic confidence, aggression, and style of arguing etc, a product of their pre-trans male education, endures. They do not "do" academia as women tend to do. Very convenient for them, I'm sure, but it makes them stand out a mile to any bio-female in the room.

    As for "living as a woman", I'm sure you'll agree that there are plenty of women (trans women included), who, to put it bluntly, don't. Do they cease to be female? No.

    I personally reserve the right to not "dress in female ways", as you put it, to sit and move and walk any way I damn well please, to call myself any name I like, in other words to live outside my gender role, and still be female. To speak of "living as a woman" is gender-fascist, because it a) presumes a limited set of behaviour for women, and b) presumes that a man imitating their idea of it is as authentic as a woman living it. Which, in a sense, it is not. It is authentic in a totally different way.

    I'm sorry to go on, but you are so, so wrong.

  9. 'the Greer link that you've linked to tells me that transgender hate women a lot more than women hate them ' - I didn't get that from the link. I think a lot of transpeople hate Germaine Greer, and I can sympathise there, though I don't myself, because she's made a career out of ridiculing and criticising a sub- group she isn't a part of and doesn't understand.

    I know a couple of trans academics. Neither of them 'do' academia in a 'female' way - and isn't the assumption that there are male and female academic approaches in itself gender dichotomous?

    So, you have ovaries and a uterus, and you feel that that makes you a woman. Good for you. But, in fact, not all people with XX chromosomes are born with a functioning womb, ovaries, vagina and the rest. It's shockingly high - one in every few thousand births. Some, too, are born or become infertile as a result of disease or accident. Some women have their breasts removed because of illness. Some women who have all the outward features of femaleness, including a vagina, are in fact XXY-genotyped people and have no female reproductive organs. Does this make them less female, less fundamentally women? By your reckoning, it does. By your reckoning, those people shouldn't be allowed to attend New Hall, Cambridge either.

    No, I don't believe that being an mtf transsexual is the same thing as being a biologically, born- female person. But I believe that it is possible to adopt a female gender-identity, and even to be born with one. Society creates certain ways of 'living as a woman', implying 'feminine behaviour', and you may object to the fact that there are hideous and toxic stereotypes involved - I certainly do. But transwomen in particular often feel that those feminine behaviours are mandatory if they are to reject their old gender identities. Indeed, in order to approve gender reassignment surgery doctors will often insist that trans-women dress in an 'ultra-feminine' manner for many years.

  10. For what it's worth, I’d point out that the NHS often /expects/ the hyper-feminine trans-girls, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - i’m mtf, and one NHS psychologist actually asked me why i wasn’t wearing a skirt or dress, in all seriousness, assuming i wasn’t serious about transitioning because i “wasn’t dressed in a female way”. This was a woman, of about mid-30’s. Apparently, in her mind, jeans and a T were male-only clothes.

    As to id-entity's comments... *sigh* y'know, i can't even be bothered. Just append 'IMHO', and i'll stop caring at all.

  11. I feel that this is a very valuable post - thank you.

    id_entity - in spite of your claims of respecting the feelings of others, your tone comes across as quite insensitive here.

    I am afraid that Greer is not only misguided in her views regarding trans women - her arrogance in claiming to be able to second guess their motivations is clearly unjustifiable.

    "all she's saying is that being female amounts to rather more than not having a penis, and walking a certain way"

    I couldn't agree more,and I've yet to meet a trans woman who did not identify as female pre-operatively.

    "For me, having a uterus and ovaries, for eg, and the implications of that, is a rather large part of what it means to be female"

    Would you exclude any person suffering from primary amenorrhoea from your definition of woman? You do not speak for all women, many of whom prefer not to have their gender identities defined by essentially reductionist reproductive considerations.

    "women themselves should get to define themselves, and not be defined by a male view, because it is incomplete."

    Forgive me if I have misinterpreted your point, but this appears to be a circular argument. You have started from the assumption that trans women are not women, which allows you to exclude their perspectives as invalid by default.

    Please, read "Whipping Girl".

  12. @ id_entity

    "the Greer link that you've linked to tells me that transgender hate women a lot more than women hate them (for which I have seen no evidence)."

    Would you be prepared to explain this assertion?

  13. Yes I would, partofyourworld.

    I say it (and I've no qualms about eating my words - and humble pie - in the face of a valid counter-arg, btw) because it looks to me from reading that link, that the transgender people who wrote it have a very strong objection to bio-women asserting their difference to trans-women. I find that objectionable, and a lot more hate-filled than the bio-woman's assertion (on this point only - as I've said, I don't buy or condone the bullshit she spouts about motivations and Norman Bates and so on - or I didn't, until I see the attacks she gets for daring to say that trans-women are not entirely the same as bio-women. That makes me wonder if she had a point).

    Any objection to biological women wishing to assert their difference to trans women has to be premised upon the very notion of dichotomous gender to which I think we all object, and from which I suspect trans people suffer from the most of all.

    That neither gender identity nor biological gender are dichotomous, nor always in agreement is a plain and simple fact. Bullying bio-women over their identity isn't a) very nice, or b) very constructive, in terms of the wider acceptance of this fact.

    It also seems to me that the arguments aren't going to get clarified while we're hurling accusations of hatred around.

    I really and truly don't hate transgender people. I know and love some myself, and I've seen what they go through. But I don't think denying difference is very respectful, realistic, or constructive, for either trans-people, or for bio-women. A trans-woman might be more like me in many ways than some biological women, but there are other ways in which she will be necessarily different. Am I not allowed to say that some of those ways will sometimes be of great importance or relevance to me?

    (Btw, sorry to go on, but I'm commenting on this because it's something I care about, and I'm hoping to learn something, and I really really don't intend to disparage anyone or hurt their feelings. If that doesn't come across, then I can only apologise again).

  14. Penny Red, no, the assumption that there are "male" and "female" academic approaches is not in itself gender-dichotomous. It is merely an acknowledgement of the gender-dichotomous society and education system in which we live.
    I think we would all agree with the notion that our culture is excessively and harmfully gender-dichotomous(and protest against it, too). The very reason why we would critique it is because we know that gender isn't like that, and that treating people as if it is is harmful and restrictive.

    I never said that I feel my reproductive organs are what make me a woman, and it's rather naughty of you to imply that I did. What I said was that having a uterus and ovaries has a rather large impact upon my experience of being a woman. Your subsequent argument around what I didn't say is therefore somewhat irrelevant.

    With regard to your final paragraph, I agree wholeheartedly with all you say. I just don't think women should be verbally bashed, and called haters for saying so, which is what it appears Germaine Greer was objecting to.

  15. partofyourworld - I haven't at all started from the assumption that trans-women are not women - I think that's your own assumption that you've made about me, if you don't mind me saying. Given how transgender people are often treated, I can totally get why one might make that assumption, but that's all it is.

    What I have said is just that they're not biological women. I suspect it's also fair to say that they haven't had attempts made on them since the word go, by parents and so forth, to be socialised as female either.

    I genuinely do not see why this is controversial. It is simply a fact. I think the only major point of debate here is over the importance or relevance of this fact. While I accept and respect that it may be utterly irrelevant to some people, I'd like it if they could accept and respect that it is relevant to me, for reasons I'd be very happy to talk about, if PR doesn't mind her comments box being filled with long comments.

    I don't exclude anyone's perspective as invalid by default, and I don't see what I've said that would make you think that I do. The truth is quite the opposite, in fact.

  16. ps, It looks like a brilliant book. Love the way she writes, too. Would refer you though to the quote at the start of the intro :-)

  17. It's strange to me, that some people feel it's so important to categorize people by chromosomes. Like you say, it's arbitrary at best, hateful at worst.

    People who want to alter their bodies through exercise, diet, or plastic surgery don't get condemned whole-heartedly, yet someone who wants to alter their genetalia does. If that's not arbitrary, I don't know what is.

  18. I see Stonewall is causing controversy again...

    I finally lost patience with Stonewall (and stopped making my 'Friend Of' monthly payments) when it invited a war criminal to its fundraising dinner in 2007.

  19. id_entity – I apologize for my misinterpretation of the following:

    "women themselves should get to define themselves, and not be defined by a male view, because it is incomplete."

    As you explain:

    “I haven't at all started from the assumption that trans-women are not women - I think that's your own assumption that you've made about me, if you don't mind me saying.”

    I must admit, however, as I was mistaken as to your meaning in the first quote, I’m not altogether sure what your original point was. If you’re allowing that trans women *are* women, surely they “should get to define themselves” as such – in which case, your assertion that “being transgender (M to F) is not the same as being a woman” probably ought not to have been stated as fact – it’s only your opinion, and no more valid than mine, or than a trans woman’s opinion. I don’t see how the argument works unless you are excluding trans women from the category of women, in which case, wouldn’t you say that it is a circular argument?

    “What I have said is just that they're not biological women.”

    Firstly, I should point out that several of your earlier statements have omitted the qualifier “biological”; your assertions have therefore seemed more forceful than you apparently intended them to be.

    Secondly, I’d like to pick up on your terminology, from my own perspective as a biologist. If you mean the same thing as Greer does by “biological women”, then you are presumably talking about chromosomal sex, yes? Greer excludes women suffering from Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (i.e. XY individuals who lack functional androgen receptors), even though they develop as fairly typical women (albeit with amenorrhoea), and are socialized as women, and their condition is sometimes never discovered. Would you describe this as a valid exclusion? I do not, because my understanding of genetics has suggested to me that allelic patterns do not equate to destiny. Gene patterns serve as a code, but one that is not always followed. As an extra point, and if it isn’t too personal a question, have you ever had your own chromosomal sex verified?

    In fact, lazy biologists get into a lot of trouble for using the term “biological sex”, because there is no clear definition capable of fitting that rather grandiose title. Sex is defined by a number of different factors: genetic, hormonal, anatomical, physiological, neurological… the list goes on. In the study of biology, it is considered good practice to utilize the definition or combination of definitions that is most appropriate for the case in hand.

    In the case of trans or intersex people, I suppose there can be no clear answer. A mixture of disparate characteristics commonly identified with different sexes is implicit in the concept of intersexuality, and more and more evidence is accumulating for the idea that trans people may exhibit previously unacknowledged intersex conditions: neurological studies indicate peculiarities in brain structure; chemical analyses frequently uncover hormonal imbalances; genetic studies provide evidence for a potential gene linkage. Psychological considerations – i.e. an individual’s persistent assertion that they have been assigned the wrong gender) are also of significance from a biological standpoint. These factors are all contributory to the umbrella concept of “sex” in biology, and suggest that trans and intersex people do not fit any standardized definition of ‘female’ or ‘male’.

    I expect that we agree on that much?

    Where we’re at odds seems to be surrounding the relationship between ‘sex’ (the biological idea) and ‘gender’ (the psycho-sociological one). While I wouldn’t describe a trans woman as a ‘biological female’ in the strictest sense, I would describe her as a woman. My feeling is that the only biological considerations that are clearly relevant to gender are those that dictate an individual’s personal gender identity.

    As you point out, sociological factors are also important:

    “I suspect it's also fair to say that they haven't had attempts made on them since the word go, by parents and so forth, to be socialised as female either.”

    I’ve heard of several cases of trans people who have been accepted in their identified gender by parents and others from early childhood. While this isn’t quite “from the word go”, it may come fairly close. Conversely, Serano presents the hypothetical example of a chromosomally female person socialized as male from a very early age, who eventually achieves emancipation and comes to identify as a woman. I would describe her as a woman too. And because this account seems to echo the life histories of many trans women in all but chromosomal sex, I’d describe them as women too.

    (I also feel that worldwide cultural disparity in how people are ‘socialized as female’ might tend to blur this concept into insignificance as a determining factor.)

    While I don’t entirely reject any consideration of early socialization, I feel that the everyday experience of a trans woman is potentially a lot more important. If she receives a similar treatment from others to what some other women experience, would this not constitute sensible grounds for categorizing her as a woman?

    (I realize at this point that you’ve already mentioned previously acquired male privilege as a possible defining factor. I’d quibble the significance of this, partly on the grounds that I *do* get the impression that trans women sacrifice their male privilege, along with quite a heavy dose of cisgender privilege, when they transition… but mainly because the idea of defining women in relation to the concept of male privilege has always made me *really* uneasy. Anyway, I’ve gone on for ages already; I’m off to bed now, but if the message boards will stand it, there’s more to come when I’m not so sleepy….)

  20. This is a good and thought-provoking post.

    (You've got a typo, by the way - it's "Hijra", and I recommend William Dalrymple's City of Djinns for more on them.)

  21. You really don't understand, do you?
    Julie Bindel does not hate trans people. She does not say that they don't really exist.
    She is merely pointing out that they buy into the gender binary - which most people here seem to disagree with.

  22. butterflywings, on another post here you left this comment :

    "And so-called feminists really ought to think twice when conservative men agree with them."

    Now are you aware that our Julie believes that homosexuality is a choice. Which also happens to be the standard conservative men's line. (And conservative women's line too, not that that matters.)

  23. "You really don't understand, do you?
    Julie Bindel does not hate trans people. She does not say that they don't really exist.
    She is merely pointing out that they buy into the gender binary - which most people here seem to disagree with."

    Oh really?

    Just because someone feels they must alter their bodies to match the way they feel their bodies aught to be this is buying into the binary?... which would be sticking with their binary-assigned bodies?

    So to not buy into the binary they must not alter their bodies?

    To not be binary thy must keep their bodies binary?

    Might I suggest that this idea is illogical.

    A more logical version would be to say that to not be buying into the binary they must alter their bodies how ever they feel like and not any way they dont feel like. And to express themselves in any combination of 'male' and 'female' expression they so desire.

    Which just happens to be EXACTLY WHAT MOST OF THEM DO. I know and have met Transgender people of a cornocopia of variations from those who dont even remove their facial hair yet wear flowing dresses to those who have altered every aspect of their body they can possibly afford with many in between. I've even met two (one anatomically born male the other female) who'd surgically have BOTH male and female genitals if such a procedure were available.

    So if that's what Julie Bindel is saying she needs to meet some more TG folk because she is simply wrong.

    And the next time I go shopping wearing makeup, long painted nails and unshaven stuble on my chin in a mixture of womens, unisex and mens clothes I will be laughing all day long knowing that every heartbeat refutes entirely Julie Bindels opinion as demonstably false.

    Oh and if Julien Bindel gave a hoot about human rights as she claims she'd understand that her position: That SRS should not be available, is proposing an abuse of human rights as is having any medical treatment requirement to obtain proper recognition rights and essential services.

    She really needs to read the Yogyakarta Principles cause for a Human Rights advocate she knows nothing about Human Rights.

    It's called the Right of Bodily Autonomy aka Somatic Sovereignty. The right of the person over their own body in all particulars to do with it whatever they want.

    They can reject life saving treatment with this right (like Jehovahs Witnesses) or demand an abortion with the same right.

    They can modify their body permanantly with ear piercing, body piercing, tattoos, ritual initiation scarification and genital modification such as circumcision; penile subincision and many others or just plain old fashioned breast enlargement or they can demand that such procedures not be performed on them.

    All these come from the exact same right. The right of the individual to have indisputable mastery over their own body at all times.

    And without that right female circumcision of children is acceptable just as preventing TG folk from SRS is acceptable. If one isn't the other isnt because all rights work both actively and passively.

    So Julie Bindel must, if she really cares about Human Rights, advocate for TG people to have full rights as women and men based on their self-identification (even if they claim both!) with no medical procedures required whatsoever but also she must advocate they have unrestricted access to SRS if they want it.

    To suggest people shouldn't HAVE to have SRS is a pro-Human Rights argument. To say people MUST NOT have SRS is ANTI HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Julie Bindel needs to learn the difference.

    There is no possible way out of that. It's an absolute fundamental Human Rights principle. The right of the individual to ultimate power and final decision over the self.

  24. Id Entitysays 'transgender hate women a lot more than women hate them' - oh really? So we identify as women (those of us who do) but hate ourselves? Don't think so...This sounds like a warmed-through version of the old neo-Freudian argument of people like Stoller that trans people are expressing resentment of the mother rather than simply expressing a sense of who, essentially, we are.

    The other interpretation is that Id really believes that simply fighting back against the libels of Greer and Bindel and Raymond is improper aggression. 'This animal is vicious - if you attack it, it defends itself.'

    The fact of the matter is that Greer genuinely hates trans people and has picked them as a target because they are vulnerable to her bullying. It is one of the ways in which she can exercise cis-sexist privilege by saying to misogynists that at least they can agree on one thing - this is a strategy that goes back to The Female Eunuch and her dissing in that book of April Ashley at precisely the point when April had been stigmatised through the court case that annulled her marriage to a rich man in order that he could get out of paying her any alimony.

    If Greer were not someone who has chosen to hate trans people, she would not be publicly obnoxious to us both as a class and as individuals. I speak, declaring an interest, as someone who has had personal experience of her behaviour; her trans hostility is not an ideological construct so much as a manifestation of a personality flaw.

    The idea that any personal strength that trans women have managed to build from the rubble of their past is a manifestation of male privilege is a sick joke.

    Like most people who say that some of their best friends are (insert as appropriate), Id Entity is either exaggerating her degree of friendship with those people or has never paid any serious attention to their lives.

  25. Love your posts, Penny Red and will bookmark this page :-D All the best, Felix.

  26. Sex influences gender...but sex is much more than an organ between one's legs. When we meet somebody, unless they show us, we don't know what is between their legs.

    Gender is a perception...or idea (and it's social projection).

    For an idea to exist, a lack of idea must also be a possibility.

    To each and their own, their ideas and lack of ideas...

    There are people who define as women who are XY or XX, others who are XX or XY who define as men, others who don't. Without forgetting a whole host of other genetic combinations, many of which we are only just discovering

    There is no absolute scientific definition of the terms "man" and "woman" (so by only allowing these ideas, we are sure to discriminate), however each person should have the freedom of thought, to their own ideas and absence of ideas, do define as "men", "women" or not to have that idea:
    (Article 19)

    When will freedom of thought be allowed?

  27. Thank you for this very important piece. xx

  28. I wonder if anyone has noticed just how much like "Id Entity" reads like Julie Bindel herself. She has been known to troll blogsites posing as other girls in an attempt to perpetuate her ill-begotten ideas.


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