blackleather asked: i’m not very clear on your opinion of the trans movement; specifically, are you critical of the idea of transpeople and why? i’m not very educated on the subject as it relates to radical feminism.
This is kind of a complicated subject, so forgive me if I expound at length.
First off, let me say this: I believe transsexualism and sex dysphoria are real and debilitating, that there are people who suffer from GID to an extent that they need (and deserve) medical intervention, and that their experiences should be respected and heard. I also believe in gender dysphoria, in that I believe that all people are uncomfortable to varying degrees with their assigned gender role.
I however, do not agree that “gender identity” is innate or natural, that transsexualism is an indication that “sex” is a construct or that “true sex” is in the brain instead of in the chromosomes/sex organs, or that one can “feel” like a woman or a man without actually being an adult human female or adult human male, and more importantly, being recognized and socialized as one.
The concept of “feeling” like a woman bristles me because it assumes there is a universal experience of womanhood or some kind of shared consciousness among women, when in reality we are all different and all experience our lives being socialized and recognized as women differently. The only “universal” shared experience of womanhood is being oppressed by men, and even that manifests differently for each of us based on a multitude of factors.
I believe gender is harmful, both in that it is a construct designed to oppress females as a sex class, and that it is restrictive to both females and males and creates an obsession with how much one cleaves or deviates from ideas of femininity and masculinity. I believe gender abolition, ending gendered thinking, and eliminating ideas of what traits, desires, and interests males or females “should” have is the only way to end the oppression of females and to alleviate gender dysphoria.
I believe that clinging to the idea that “feminine” and “masculine” are real and innate things is harmful, that it perpetuates the idea of gender, and is rooted deeply in patriarchal thinking.
I believe things like “genderqueer,” “gender variant,” and “non-binary” ignore that most people are gender variant, that it is not in fact extraordinary to be uncomfortable with gender roles, and that “cis” is a bullshit concept.
I also believe that “cis” is deeply misogynistic, as assuming there is an innate “feminine” gender identity means that “feminine” is real, which means feminine subservience and weakness compared to masculinity is real. It’s impossible to say “well, you’re cis gendered because you’re a female who identifies as a woman and you’re feminine but only the parts of femininity I like!” You either have to admit it’s bullshit or say you buy into gender roles, because it can’t be “part-way” a concept.
You can imagine what I think about “cis privilege.”
I believe that abolishing gender will help everyone, and I believe that it will eliminate sex dysphoria and GID, though I will admit that we can not know for sure that it will completely disappear.
I believe that transsexual people should receive all the counseling and medical intervention they require, but I also believe that SRS and hormonal therapy should be considered extreme measures. I believe the emphasis on SRS is part of our deeply patriarchal society and the need to uphold gender roles — it’s much easier to say “well, you’re a male but you FEEL like a woman, so we’re going to make you look like one too so you’re not challenging the system anymore” than to admit that gender roles are bullshit. Therapy should be the first line of treatment, and we need to do actual, real, longitudinal studies of the affects of different modes of treatments to find which ones actually work best for people.
All of that said, I do believe there is a lot of space for common cause among trans activists and radical feminists, and I wish we were able to find common ground to work on things like combating male violence, ending oppressive gender roles, and talking about the pressure to be feminine. However, I don’t blame radical feminists for being leery of dialogue as long as the prevalent strategy of trans activism (especially on tumblr) is to take feminism by force and demonize any woman who pushes back, to use misogyny and violent rhetoric without censure or ostracizing, and to try and silence any females that disagree.