Nice To Meet You

Dear Online “Activists,”

Hi. You don’t know me, but you still talk smack about me on the Internet. That’s cool – I know how that goes. Makes you feel better. Go ahead – vent your spleen. Spew it on me – I am a dyke. I’ve been taking this for years.

Feel better? Take a breath.

Here’s the thing – unless you haven’t learned how to read (and illiteracy is a real and devastating phenomenon, so I don’t say that sarcastically), stop making things up.

Five Important Facts About “Cathy Brennan”

1. Cathy Brennan doesn’t think transgender people should be fired from a job or denied access to public accommodations, housing or credit.

2. Cathy Brennan supports females. Cathy Brennan will not sugar-coat this to “make you feel better.” Females have female reproductive organs. It’s not female “brain sex” that makes Females the oppressed class vis-à-vis males.

3. Cathy Brennan supports sex-segregated spaces because females as a class suffer harm from males as a class.

4. Cathy Brennan does not support the sex stereotyping definition of “gender identity” that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force peddles, which provides, with variation:

Gender identity” means a gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.

Gender Rights Maryland has blithely brushed off feminist challenges to the sex stereotyping definition by saying, “everyone has a gender identity” and “there’s no harm that has come from this definition.”

Let’s deconstruct.

What is gender? The use of both “gender” and “sex” in the definition suggests that gender and sex must differ, somehow. If sex is male or female, gender is “Something Else.”

“Gender-related identity.” Let’s assume, for the moment, that gender is the same as sex. Read this as “Sex-related Identity.” What is a “Sex-related Identity”?

Recently, the Baltimore Sun quoted Jenna Fischetti thusly:

Fischetti emphasized that gender expression is not about sex or anatomy. She shows gender in the way she moves her hands, in her soft voice.

Excuse me, but these are sex stereotypes. There is nothing inherently, genetically, chromosomally, biologically female about the way females “move their hands” or “speak.” Jenna employs these Sex Stereotypes to “show gender” because Jenna wants you to think Jenna is Female.

“Regardless of assigned sex at birth.” Sex at birth, also known as “sex.” Your sex is male or female (let’s avoid the Intersex Derail, shall we?) Transsexual people want to change their sex. Transgender people – and innumerable gender queers – do not necessarily want to change sex – indeed; many of them just want to “fuck with gender.” That’s fine – but your desire to “express gender” should not override sex in the law – and that’s precisely what the sex stereotyping definition does.

5. Cathy Brennan supports a definition of Gender Identity that requires evidence of medical transition.

Here’s why – because sex stereotypes are wrong. It is wrong to lend credence to an idea that has shackled females for centuries. Sex stereotypes harm females because they limit the universe of who we can be. It doesn’t matter that “no harm has come from this definition,” as Dana Beyer repeatedly infers. The wrong is the definition itself. As feminists, we oppose sex stereotyping. The sex stereotyping definition is regressive. Gender identity as currently defined is regressive.

However, there must be “something” that’s needed, as there are actual transgender people who feel afraid to come out at work, or look for housing, or use a bathroom, for fear of harm.

Transgender people cannot transition without medical intervention. Period. Unless you believe that a Male can magically transition from a bee sting, Transgender people require medical intervention to transition. Thus, feminists propose an Objective definition of Gender Identity:

Gender identity” means 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.”

The Objective Definition protects transgender people from discrimination without harming females. The sex stereotyping definition harms females by lending legal support to the idea that “Gender Identity” exists independent of a sexist culture.

Online Activists, if you continue to assert “Cathy Brennan is a bigot,” I must ask…

Why do you favor a sex stereotyping definition when an objective definition that does not enshrine sex stereotypes into law would protect transgender people? Why do you value the protection of transgender people over females? Why do you expect feminists to do the same? Why do you support legislative efforts to say sex stereotypes are real?

You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. And don’t you think if females could “identify” our way out of oppression, we would have done that ages ago?

Friday, 23 March 2012

http://www.baltimoreoutloud.com/k2-fetch-latest/equality-political-commentary/ladybugs-political-smackdown/item/1167-nice-to-meet-you

17 comments

  1. At the end of this, you say, “share the love”. So my challenge to you, (I am a trans woman) is to restate this clearly and simply showing your love for trans people. You support females, you say.

    If sex means reproductive organs, and gender means culture (kyriarchal, oppressive culture) what room does this leave for trans women? When you say “I don’t believe you” are you just saying that I am a deluded male? My belief in my femaleness is long lasting, and the most important thing to me. Nothing else but transition mattered. I function better in the World when I can express myself as feminine within those cultural norms, swishy floral skirts and all. This does not mean that I prescribe how you should dress or express yourself or anything about you. There are so few of us. Why do we matter so much to you? If sex-stereotypes are enshrined into law for us, can you still be You, free of them? Given that the right wing patriarchal lot do not particularly like us either, I do not think that they rely on trans-anti-discrimination law to enforce their view of “femininity”. They are far more likely to use, say, the Bible.

    I get that having female reproductive organs by itself should not mean restriction of your choice of self-expression or career. I think that is important. Having had my testicles removed, clearly I do not think that having those should affect my self-expression or career. I express myself as I do because I really really want to, as an end in itself. I have no desire to oppress anyone. Could you possibly find grounds for common cause with us here?

    What harm does it do to let me in to female sex-segregated space? If a trans woman is excluded from a women’s shelter, and has to sleep in the open, that does her harm. What is the harm that allowing her in does, that is more important than that?

    “Not everything is about me”. No. Of course not. There are other struggles. I do not claim my hurt, or that of those like me, is more important or more deep than the hurt of others. And- I want space to try and make my way in the World, with my strange, irrepressible desires, and your way of expressing your struggle seems to me to limit that space, for no advantage to you that I can see.

    1. “If sex means reproductive organs, and gender means culture (kyriarchal, oppressive culture) what room does this leave for trans women?”

      kyriarchal is a prick word. http://rancom.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/shit-dudes-say/

      “When you say “I don’t believe you” are you just saying that I am a deluded male?”

      No, I am saying I like the Magnetic Fields. I don’t know you.

      “Why do we matter so much to you?”

      You don’t, particularly.

      “What harm does it do to let me in to female sex-segregated space? If a trans woman is excluded from a women’s shelter, and has to sleep in the open, that does her harm. What is the harm that allowing her in does, that is more important than that?”

      Females have a right to set a boundary and have that boundary respected. As for your specific question, the definition I support would allow trans people into sex-segregated space if you have evidence of medical transition. You might read this entire blog.

      “And- I want space to try and make my way in the World, with my strange, irrepressible desires, and your way of expressing your struggle seems to me to limit that space, for no advantage to you that I can see.”

      That’s because you like to violate boundaries, I am guessing.

    2. Fascinating. Thank you.

      Indeed I do like to violate boundaries. It seems to me that any understanding of anything at all limits true knowing of that thing; that boundaries exist in human definition, rather than in real life; and that you yourself are violating boundaries set by- patriarchy, if you really must. Violating boundaries makes freedom. Creating different boundaries may increase freedom for some, and limit it in a different way.

      The LGBT definition is more likely to lead to a world where reproductive organs do not limit expression or career than yours is.

      And if we are not important to you, why bother writing about us? Why bother with a rule which Definitely Absolutely excludes us, if we are not important to you?

      1. “Indeed I do like to violate boundaries. It seems to me that any understanding of anything at all limits true knowing of that thing; that boundaries exist in human definition, rather than in real life; and that you yourself are violating boundaries set by- patriarchy, if you really must. Violating boundaries makes freedom. Creating different boundaries may increase freedom for some, and limit it in a different way.”

        Violating a boundary Females set is what Rapists do. It is oppressive. Learn respect.

        “The LGBT definition is more likely to lead to a world where reproductive organs do not limit expression or career than yours is.”

        Um, no.

        “And if we are not important to you, why bother writing about us? Why bother with a rule which Definitely Absolutely excludes us, if we are not important to you?”

        Clare, did you take hormones to transition? If you did, you are covered by the definition of Gender Identity I support. If your goal is to get every last Female in the world to say “you, Clare Flourish, are female,” that’s not going to happen.

      2. Boundary females set. Which females? I spoke to a woman who works in a rape crisis centre, who would be very happy to work with trans women. So, just a boundary you set, then. Not all females.

        No, I do not want everyone in the World to queue up and specifically state to me that they see me as a woman. I do my thing, and what they think does not matter, as long as they are not rude. But some of us are very badly hurt by the Kyriarchy- rule of Lords, oppressive to gay men, black men, women, other groups- and denials and restrictions on us hurt us.

      3. Hey. VIOLATING BOUNDARIES MAKES MY LIFE A NIGHTMARE. I LIVE IN FEAR BECAUSE DUDES VIOLATE MY BOUNDARIES. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That’s what it is to live as a woman in a rape culture. That’s what it is to be a slave.

  2. Why bother with a rule which Definitely Absolutely excludes us, if we are not important to you?

    This is MISREPRESENTATION of Brennan’s proposal. You can’t imagine how frustrating it is to keep being told that this COMPROMISE position reflects HATE of TRANSSEXUALS. That is simply not true.

    Here is a comment I left at Sexnotgender.wordpress.com:

    Just to be clear, ALL people are covered by this proposal:

    1> No physical trans-ition=sex stereotyping protection on basis of sex-assigned-at-birth [also known as “legal sex”]

    2> Physical trans-ition (post-op)=sex stereotyping protection on basis of legal sex

    3> PRE-physical trans-ition=”gender identity” anti-discrimination protection as proposed above

    Gender I-dentity in the form of compliance with stereotypes has NOTHING to do with PROVING SEX (on a legal basis). That is the position: sex and gender are different. Bodies and behavior are NOT biologically connected.

  3. BadDyke · ·

    “So, just a boundary you set, then. Not all females. ”

    You’re missing the point here (aside from the post at the start which DOES explain why replacing some sex-defined boundaries with gender one DOES DO HARM).

    The point is that the boundaries that the patriarchy set (NOT all females) ARE based on sex. We can’t escape that fact, our sex in the patriarchy, by PRETENDING it isn’t there, or that we can get round our oppression by wishing it out of existence.

    “where reproductive organs do not limit expression or career” Except UNLESS you focus on the sex-specific aspects (i.e. the fact that some humans have wombs, bear children, and can be impregnated) then you won’t address the problem. Pretending that women as a sex-class doesn’t exist, or can be replaced by women as a gender-class doesn’t answer the problem, it pretends it isn’t there.

    Limiting expression? Frankly, compared to biological reality, ‘expression’ is pretty much a side issue.

    “Violating a boundary Females set is what Rapists do. It is oppressive. Learn respect.”

    Yes, yes yes! And that is WHY when a transwoman says that sort of thing, we don’t see ‘woman’ in any shape or form, we just see yet another one of the men. Because that attitude towards boundaries set by females, and male feelings of entitlement, is what we hear here, even if you aren’t conscious of it (given your indoctrination as male).

    I’m not denying that people get hurt, just saying WHY do transwomen so often focus their misguided anger towards women, and try and assuage their pain and suffering by INVADING spaces where they aren’t wanted. We’re not the ones who created the system under which we all suffer.

    “It seems to me that any understanding of anything at all limits true knowing of that thing”

    Sorry, but this is utterly meaningless woo-woo nonsense. You may think it makes you sound all feminine and intuitive, but its just plain ole crap.

    1. I have lots of points, but will confine myself to two:

      You demean rape victims when you compare me to a rapist. Rape is the forced penetration of a vagina by a penis. It is not to be compared to other violations. I get that you feel violated by patriarchy. Can you accept that someone held down and penetrated has been violated in a unique way? How would you feel about any man comparing himself to a rape victim?

      Also, a rapist oppresses one particular woman in a horrifying way. I may have benefitted from patriarchy, and oppressed women in all sorts of thoughtless ways, but not- like- That. Actually, I do not think I have benefitted from a male upbringing. My sister was far better able to express her anger in her teens than I was. But then, that is asking you to see me as an individual, rather than as a member of a class.

      Second, I say “It seems to me that any understanding of anything at all limits true knowing of that thing” because I believe it. The verbal definition is the leaping off point for the intuitive, deeper understanding. I do not care whether it makes me sound feminine.

      1. Clare – maybe speak less and listen more.

        I SAID: “Violating a boundary Females set is what Rapists do. It is oppressive. Learn respect.”

        That is a TRUE statement. Stop violating boundaries.

        “Actually, I do not think I have benefitted from a male upbringing. My sister was far better able to express her anger in her teens than I was. But then, that is asking you to see me as an individual, rather than as a member of a class.”

        I don’t care about your *individual* story. I am making a class argument. If you want me to think you’re a *good person,* I don’t know you.

      2. So, er, is any violation of your boundary “rape”? Or not? Why do you refer to rape, when talking of the boundary you say I violate? You brought the subject of rape up. Why?

        And- you say that your definition of the boundary is more to be respected- more logical, more sensible, whatever- than mine. I think that oppresses me, and my class, or kind, if you want it to be a political argument.

        ED. NOTE – I SAID: “Violating a boundary Females set is what Rapists do. It is oppressive. Learn respect.”

        CLARE DO YOU TAKE HORMONES TO TRANSITION?

    2. “Yes, yes yes! And that is WHY when a transwoman says that sort of thing, we don’t see ‘woman’ in any shape or form, we just see yet another one of the men. Because that attitude towards boundaries set by females, and male feelings of entitlement, is what we hear here, even if you aren’t conscious of it (given your indoctrination as male).”

      THIS. Thank you.

  4. Clare – If you take hormones to transition, or you had any medical intervention to transition, you are covered under the definition I support. If you don’t, you can assert sex discrimination.

    I think you are disappointed because you are not female. I’m sorry, but that’s not a problem I care about.

  5. Hia.

    nice article.

    except. you are using the expression “transgendered” to refer to transsexual people. Given that the TG movement is dominated by people who have no desire to change their physical form, but merely play misogynist stereotyping ‘gender role’ games, most TS (women) that i know, including myself, utterly reject any application of the term “transgender” to refer to us. We have nothing to do with them. we think differently, have different etiology and different paths.

    it is time to stop the confusion between TS and TG and keep the terms very separate. it will pay off in the long run as the gender defying/gender queer/sexual fetishistic quagmire world of the TG will find its own unique niche in the world and stop dragging the rest of us down.

    thanks

  6. marjaerwin · ·

    Catherine,

    I’m concerned that your proposal wouldn’t protect people who are considering transition, or have started transition, but are facing gatekeeping and/or other barriers to access to transition-related medicine.

    I’m also concerned because gatekeeping, where it occurs, works to enforce sex-role stereotypes on trans people:

    “I’m not sure I should authorize hormones until you’ve been full-time for a few months. And you should really wear more skirts.”

    1. This is addressed in part here: https://bugbrennan.com/brennan-answers-critics/

      I am concerned that you are more concerned with people who are considering transition, or have started transition, but are facing gatekeeping and/or other barriers to access to transition-related medicine than for Females. We have different priorities. I would suggest, however, that people who are considering transition, or have started transition, but are facing gatekeeping and/or other barriers to access to transition-related medicine could already rely on sex discrimination protections.

      The Stereotyping definition of Gender Identity is the ultimate in gatekeeping. Have you not read it?

  7. […] got compared to a rapist. Umm, […]

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