So I have been home sick this entire week. Today, I go to the doctor and discover I have a double ear infection. Ouch.
Anyway, being home sick means I have been watching a lot of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and reading publications I normally don’t – like Curve Magazine.
I remember when Curve came out. It was originally called Deneuve, but then Catherine Deneuve complained, so they changed the name. I subscribed for a while but honestly, I never found it that interesting. So I forgot about it.
Yesterday, I ran across an op-ed by Rachel Pepper called Bully Bloggers Are Neither Radical Nor Feminist.
Oh brother. Rachel Pepper has fallen down a lot since writing The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians (Yes, of course I own it!)
So I read on. I am going to reproduce her op-ed (by the way, it is not captioned as an op-ed by Curve) below with my responses.
The Family Acceptance Project, affiliated with San Francisco State University, has more than a decade of family intervention work helping families understand their LGBT children. Their evidence- based research has linked the family rejection of young LGBT people with a set of negative outcomes that include serious medical and mental health problems, homelessness, and a greatly increased risk of suicide. On the other hand, family acceptance is “a protective factor that helps protect against risk and promote well-being for LGBT youth,” according to the research of Dr. Caitlin Ryan, FAP’s Director, and her team, on their website.
Ok. This is a weird way to start out an op-ed called Bully Bloggers Are Neither Radical Nor Feminist.
In the lesbian community, we have been aware for a long time about the negative effects of homophobia on and in our lives. This has been seen in the domains of health care, housing, employment, and a negation of our identities, relationships, and self-worth. Many adult women identifying long-term as lesbian still struggle with issues pertaining to the traumas they experienced over the years from homophobia and misogyny. Often, this trauma began in childhood with painful family rejection.
I agree with this. Please continue!
Tragically, this can manifest psychologically as self-loathing. It is now leading to a virulent form of transphobia linked closely to a generation of lesbians who consider transition a betrayal to feminist politics. This inability to see past outdated, rigid belief systems has led to a delusional, paranoid schema mislabeled today as “radical feminist.”
Wait. What? That’s a leap. Also, it is not an argument. This is a logical fallacy. I think what Pepper is saying is because Lesbians have experienced trauma, we reject transgenderism? Also, apparently, it’s a given that understanding that Women are oppressed on the basis of sex is an “outdated, rigid belief system.”
However, underneath the vitriol projected outwards, these women are not radical, nor feminist, and it’s clear they hate themselves deeply.
This is a logical fallacy too. There are actually MANY REASONS why Women reject transgenderism beyond the “fact” that “we hate ourselves.”
It reminds many of the homophobia expressed by supposedly straight men, who feel entitled to physically beat up or even kill gay people to “prove” to themselves and others that they are not actually also gay. Of course, much of the time, they are.
So Rachel Pepper believes that Women who understand a radical feminist analysis of Women’s oppression are similar to violent Men who kill Gay people? She thinks those things are similar? She is associating violent Murdering Men with Women who have a political analysis she doesn’t like. Okkkkkkk. Logical fallacy #3, right?
This type of parallel process is now raging online in this so-called “rad-fem” community, although no radical feminist I knew back in the 80’s would approve of the hatred being promoted in their name today.
LOL I miss the 80s. No one pretended penis was female in the 80s. Also, this is no true Scotsman (i.e., No true radical feminist thinks penis is male!!!)
Wasn’t feminism supposed to help liberate women and men from the shackles of enforced gender policing? Wasn’t radical feminism supposed to create a world where we could make our own choices, be beautifully butch or fantastically femme, choose to have or not have children, and promote personal choice in gender identity and sexual orientation? Didn’t we listen to women’s music to remember that our community was a safe place to find solace and comfort, and where we promoted ideas about respect, peace, and love?
Um, radical feminism isn’t necessarily “women’s music.” But no, radical feminism is a theoretical framework that frames Woman as a class condition. Women are put in that class (or caste as Sheila Jeffreys says) based on our sex. It’s not really a “choice” one can opt in or out of.
It is not difficult to understand that some lesbians grappling with their own gender identity, who may feel deeply betrayed by society’s growing acceptance of transgender people, have chosen to deflect their own pain by engaging in an unfortunate, slander-filled, bullying campaign online.
This is called “an opinion.” In Rachel’s OPINION, blah blah blah. The popular OPINION in the GLBTQ Community is that Women who object to gender identity are bullying and harassing. That OPINION is not a FACT, and it doesn’t become a FACT because lots of people believe it. This is the bandwagon logical fallacy. A related concept is the Bystander Effect. Lots of people also think homosexuality is a sin. That is ALSO an opinion.
These “rad-fem” bully bloggers, the feminist and LGBT community’s own version of the Westboro “Church” idiots and the hurtful shock—jocks like Rush Limbaugh, are sometimes known as “TERFS”, trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
This is also a logical fallacy. Rachel Pepper wants you to think badly of Certain Women by associating them with Men who support the subordination of Women. Radical feminists do not support the subordination of Women.
Most of them are narrow-minded, deeply scarred individuals who hide behind a flawed feminist ideology and a computer screen to fulfill what seems to have become their main purpose in life: harassing transgender people.
Citation needed. In Rachel’s view, Women who disagree with her politics are harassing transgender people. Guess what? Women having a political opinion you don’t like isn’t harassment.
Like the Family Acceptance Project, most of us in the LGBT community want to make the world a better place for the next generation. Witness the success of campaigns like “It Gets Better”, or the huge response to a young gay man’s recent viral video of parental rejection. Most LGBT people want to help the next generation grow up without homophobia, without shame, without threats of violence, and to find self-acceptance. We wish this whether a young person identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender queer, gender fluid, gender creative, or any other variation or name they may choose.
I think many radical feminists agree with this – I know I do. This ALSO INCLUDES LESBIANS.
As we wish for respect in our own lives, we know that respecting the next generation, and their differing and often more progressive viewpoints, is how positive change happens.
This is an opinion also. Rachel wants you to take as a fact that transgenderism is “positive change.” Radical feminists DISAGREE WITH THIS OPINION. Indeed, we view what is happening in the GLBTQ Community as backlash against what I might call “actual feminism.” We are actually entitled to believe this.
Yet, respectful dialogues regarding differing opinions on issues of import no longer seem possible on the Internet we have collectively created. Online, alas, those who live in fear and pain of their own damaged inner selves are now finding ways to shout the loudest.
This would be correct if Rachel was talking about the harassment of Women by Transgender Women. But she’s not.
But until we as feminists and LGBT people reject fear, and confront our own community’s transphobia, misogyny, racism, classism, and homophobia, we will never move towards the acceptance and love that all queer people, especially those damaged from childhoods of rejection and scorn, crave the most.
So now Women who understand penis is male aren’t just transphobic – they are racist, sexist, classist AND HOMOPHOBIC.
Because far from some irrational threat that some may believe transgender people represent, the real threats to a civil, and truly feminist society are, and have always been, ignorance, hatred, and fear.
Here we go with more appeals to authority – the “real” threat. The “true” feminist. Ok, Rachel.
And to those who project their own misery into name calling, bullying, slandering, and harassing others online in the name of feminism, let it be stated unequivocally that you are not feminists, and you are not radical, at all, one tiny bit. What such women are, rather, are simply sad, rejected, and lonely people, wearing their own self-hatred on their sleeves, for all the world to see.
I don’t think Rachel understands that Radical means “root,” as in the root of Women’s oppression is based on sex.
So ok, Rachel’s piece was boring and inflammatory – THAT IS MY OPINION.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.
This is why Rachel wrote her op-ed: The dirt from Dirt_ The Unicorn Project_ Rachel Pepper, Kellen A Bennett, Kellen R Grayson and The dirt from Dirt_ Unicorn Project-The Trans Approach to Using_Abusing Gay_Lesbian Children. The live links are here and here.
Dirt discovered that Rachel Pepper runs a project for gender nonconforming kids called The Unicorn Project. From its Facebook page, we learn that “The Unicorn Project offers a free monthly art and social group for transgender children on the first Saturday of the month.”
Read Dirt’s posts and decide for yourself.
And Rachel Pepper should accept responsibility for exploiting her relationship with Curve to write her crappy op-ed, because SHE WROTE THIS OP-ED BECAUSE DIRT DUG UP SOME DIRT ON HER.
I understand that transgenderism is a topic of heated debate online and off. I also understand that I (and others) advocate an unpopular view. The fact that our politics are unpopular doesn’t mean that they are wrong. It doesn’t mean that we are crazy. It doesn’t mean that we are ugly or unwell or unfuckable. And it doesn’t mean that we are harassing you.
Rachel is right about one thing – positive change happens when we engage in discourse, when we listen. But in order to listen, Women actually have to feel empowered to speak.