NOTE: THIS IS DATED. MY VIEWS HAVE CHANGED SINCE THIS APPEARED. I AM NO LONGER WILLING TO ACCEPT TRANSWOMEN AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN MEN, DUE TO THE EXTREME DISRESPECT SAID MEN SHOW LESBIANS AND WOMEN.
Baltimore OUTloud, MD, USA
Friday, 12 August 2011
Brennan Answers Critics
Veteran Lesbian Activist Answers Criticism Over United Nations Letter
Written by Rev. Mother Meredith Moise, SPSA
Cathy Brennan is a seasoned lesbian activist who has lived through
some controversy. She is currently embroiled in a debate involving a
letter she penned to the United Nations (UN) with another lawyer
regarding the use of gender identity inadvertently causing harm to
females born female. She has been the target of death threats as trans
activists pounced on the letter as trans-phobic and racist. In the
following interview, Brennan offers her view on the letter and her
outlook on transphobia and feminist idealism.
Rev. Meredith Moise: What is your position on anti discrimination
legislation in general and gender identity legislation in particular?
Cathy Brennan: I support rational anti-discrimination protections for
people of transgender and transsexual experience. As you know, I
actively supported HB 235 in Maryland last spring, which would have
banned discrimination in housing, employment and credit.
MM: Why did you and Elizabeth Hungerford write to the United Nations
about gender identity legislation in the US?
CB: All anti-discrimination laws have an exception built in them to
permit discrimination based on sex in certain public accommodations –
this is why we have sex-segregated bathrooms, showers, locker rooms,
and the like. The definition of gender identity that the LGBT
organizations keep putting forth is overbroad, and allows males who
are not transgender or transsexual access into female only space. This
is bad for women.
MM: Some have titled your vocal opposition to the gender id
legislation radical feminist and racist. What is driving your passion
for this issue?
CB: In 2011 it is incredible to me that people who oppose what we are
saying as “radical feminist” – as if that is a bad thing! As if, God
forbid that someone dares to advocate for a female perspective. Yes,
we are advocating a radical feminist position.
With regard to racism, we understand that advocating for a definition
of gender identity that requires some proof of medical intervention is
causing some concern among poor people; that include people of color.
The way medical care and treatment is financed in our society – a
patriarchical society that favors white males – disproportionately
disfavors women and people of color. Racism in the way heath care is
provided to people in this country, and in the priorities that are
established and in the way health care is distributed, is real, and we
Feminist legal arguments advocating for female reproductive safety in
sex-segregated spaces do not CAUSE systemic racism. And please also
remember that women of color are women. Women make up 50% of the
world’s population. The LGBT movement’s insistence on eviscerating
sex-based protections for women is also racist – and SEXIST!
MM: How can the law balance the need for sex-based protections along
with gender-based protections for transgender people?
CB: We fully support anti-discrimination protections for transgender
and transsexual people that do not run roughshod over laws that
protect females. We support the following definition of “gender
identity – a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his
physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing
evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or
treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as
deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.” Such
a definition would protect the classification of sex, while
simultaneously providing a cause of action for discriminatory
practices on the basis of a persistent and documented “gender
identity.” We welcome people who fit into this definition into space
segregated by sex in recognition of their perceived need for access
and in the fervent hope that we can achieve such protection for
identifiably transgender or transsexual people without harming
MM: What particular concern does your letter raise?
CB: The LGBT organizations are pushing this definition of “gender
identity,” with some variation:
“Gender identity”means an individual’s actual or perceived gender
identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to
an individual’s gender or gender-identity, regardless of the
individual’s assigned sex at birth.
We are concerned with two basic things – that this overbroad
definition of “gender identity” completely overrides rational
sex-based protections and that it codifies sex stereotypes about men
and women into law and elevates those stereotypes to the level of an
We encourage people to actually read the letter. It is here:
MM: Are there any documented incidents of crimes against females born
female committed by men dressed as women?
CB: Why yes! They are legion. There are many reported incidents of men
videotaping women in restrooms. There are also numerous incidents of
men dressing in drag to peep in women’s restrooms. This has very
little to do with the trans* community. It really is a male vs. female
MM: Ultimately, many folks view you as an adversary to the trans
community. How do you answer these critics?
CB: I appreciate and respect that women of transgender and transsexual
experience struggle to be accepted and recognized as women. I
personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as
women. Meanwhile, females in 2011 continue to struggle to be accepted
as human. I would encourage women of transgender and transsexual
experience to help us in our struggle as well.
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