One of the things that continually amazes me in the Internet Age is the level of gullibility exhibited by my fellow humans. We are willing to believe half-truths and outright lies, we accept without question statements asserted by unknown trolls, we treat gossip as holy truths to be revered, and we never, ever consider for a moment that disinformation as a political tactic exists and that sharp, edgy political commentary is necessary lifeblood for women under siege. We know this, of course, from the whole issue of Gender Identity – the fiction that men can become women (and be “treated as such”) has become deeply rooted in both the GLBT Community and the Third Wave Feminist Communities (to the extent we accept the fictions that those communities actually exist).
This summer has been busier for me than I would have liked on the “political” front. Contrary to stated assumptions, I do not actually crave the “attention” or “notoriety” I get from Being Cathy Brennan – be it from crazy (tw, ableism) trans people or crazy (tw, reality) “Radical Feminists.” I do not want to have unpleasant encounters with trans people at Dyke Marches. I do not want to be threatened with rape or death. I do not want random Internet weirdos – both trans and “rad fem” – to speculate that I am a trans person, or a man, or a Republican, or a slut, or a Christian, or a Bad Mommy, or a cheater, or a stalker, or a liar, or a secret trans ally, or unfuckable, or fuckable, or hot, or ugly.
More than those things that I do not want, however, is that I do not want any Woman to be silenced for expressing the truth of her life, and I do not want Women to be boxed out of our own spaces to express these truths.
As this summer draws to a close, I want to remind you, dear reader, that one of the only things we as women can do is to question the ideologies that shape our daily lives and to pick at the scabs of the assumptions that inform our experiences. One of the only things we can do is to Be The Bomb We Throw.
A corollary of doing the kind of Political Work that I do is that, because you ARE the Bomb, you become The Target. Creating a Target is necessary to Create Space for others to be able to have the discussions we need to have to rebalance the scales – an analogy to Drawing Fire seems fitting here. This can become unpleasant. There is no way to disengage from the Treadmill of Internet Gossip (i.e., the Fire) except to ignore it. There is no way to dispel rumors. There is no way to make people believe the truth of things. There is no way to win a Gossip Fight. It is just the collateral damage that occurs when one Becomes The Bomb.
The “war” (not my language) that has raged this past year, but especially this summer, over Gender Identity is not about me or my personal happiness. I derive no pleasure from Being Cathy Brennan. I derive no pleasure from having women and men project their own issues, wants and needs onto me. I derive no pleasure from having to have the same discussion and having to make the same arguments repeatedly. I derive no pleasure from having women I have supported call me a Rich Prick. I derive no pleasure from receiving ranting voice mail messages from Rad Fem Bloggers about how evil Cathy Brennan is. I derive no pleasure from being blamed for All The Bad Things That Happen.
Most importantly, all of the speculation about me, individually, does not matter. This is not about me.
The GLBT Community is deeply divided. I have been blamed for this divide. That is to laugh. This divide exists where ever Men refuse to acknowledge the Reality of Women and Our Lives, and Women speak about it. Women will continue to speak about this divide so long as there is breath left in our bodies, and, when individual women fall, new women will appear to continue the effort.
Again, this effort to Speak Truth About Women’s Lives is not about Cathy Brennan. It is not about any individual. This effort is singularly about the Right of Women to Hold Our Space and Tell Our Truths.
So, although it would be very easy for me INDIVIDUALLY to wallow in the anger spewed towards me because Cathy Brennan is such an Evil Person, I, instead, leave you with Shakespeare.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
Know that most of the detritus on the Internet is false. And know that you, dear reader, have and have always had the key to The Truth. When Gender Identity fades, there will be new Lies and new Deceptions to take its place. Opening your eyes and questioning everything will never go out of style.