Why Jaden Smith as the face of LV womenswear is threatening transgender territory
So, it’s been announced that 17-year-old Jaden Smith, son of American actor Will Smith, is to be the new face of Louis Vuitton clothes. To be more specific, the womenswear section. And I didn’t even know they had an old face – clearly I’m out of the fashion loop. But what a great publicity stunt for Louis Vuitton. So many people thought their fashion offerings were confined to handbags – whoever knew that they were actually selling womenswear for men?


So y’all know that I am up in this conversation, but this might actually be the most loony tunes thing I have EVER read.  EVER.  I do not understand how this “movement” has not already been completely discredited.

I do not understand how anyone who has even the most rudimentary ideas of feminism are not appalled by this.

I do not understand how this is not read by any person with five brains cells as insanely misogynist and woman hating.

Plus this ish:

When you get out of bed in the morning the most important thing you have to do all day is tell the world what your gender is, because from that, everything else flows.  You may think that your job is to be an office supervisor or a stockbroker or police officer but these are all human constructs.  Deep down your real job is to reproduce, and showing other humans your gender is the first step on that path.

This is straight up the definition of sexism.  To reduce life to telling the world your gender so you can have babies.  That is straight up what women have fought for millenia.  And this is what this jackalope is calling liberation.  Do you see how this sort of “activism” is incompatible with feminism?

I just cannot.

terf is a scapegoat term

blaming women for all and every issue men are guilty of

it’s a manipulation tactics, men have made sure to point their finger at vulnerable group of women and blame them for all the violence and harm they caused

and people are buying it and attacking women while men sit back and cheer them on

if you’re calling someone a terf you’re helping men perpetuate violence and scapegoating vulnerable women for men’s actions

please remember it’s men who actually do every single of things you accuse “terfs” of.

why is it so easy to attack “terfs”? Because they’re not dangerous, they don’t respond with hatred or violence, they don’t lash out, they don’t respond to attacks with death threats and slurs and insults, they’re literally the safest people to attack, because they’re vulnerable and non-violent and nobody will suffer any danger or hate after attacking them, please realize if someone is so easy to attack it’s because they’re not an actual threat, nobody is scared of them, nobody is wary, nobody is worried about any violence coming from them, only people who are unsafe to call out on their violence are men, think about how much hatred you get thrown in your face if you try to point out any truth about men and how fast they’ll gang up on you and try to destroy you.

please realize you’re attacking the wrong group.

please remember where to direct your anger.

stop derailing entire radical feminism in favour of doing men’s dirty work.

stop being mindless obedient dolls of patriarchy.

you can do better than that.

Trans people: "cissexism" hurts

The trans community needs to drop the use of “cissexism” as a concept. I can see how it seems to make sense on the surface (and I did briefly go along with the idea early in my transition). In reality though, it acts as a silencing technique, as emotional blackmail, as an intellectually-dishonest, unsupported assertion, as a way to uphold patriarchy.

This concept only works by muddying the waters as concerns sex and gender. As sex refers to physical anatomy at birth and gender refers to the stereotyped social roles imposed upon us based on sex, this lack of clarity is harmful because again, sex-based oppression of the male sex class over the female sex class is a real phenomenon.

When we ignore sex-based reality, the results are really damaging (and unfortunately equal more of the same patriarchy for women born female).
Please take a look at this:
You’re seeing one female chastise another for using the word ‘vagina’ in the context of an abortion fundraiser that is exactly about female reproductive organs. And this is just the most recent example of this sort of occurrence. The trans community’s efforts to police behavior vis a vis 'cissexism’ causes rifts within feminism and turns females against females. This is an example of the divide-and-conquer tactic that has been used to keep females focused on each other rather than on the sex class that is actually responsible for their oppression.

Inserting the 'cissexism’ meme into feminism also robs women born female of language they need. Suddenly, WBF can’t discuss male violence or rape. They are robbed of the medical language necessary to talk about their reproductive and sexual health (which is especially tragic during a time when this language is integral to fighting back against regressive conservative attacks on female reproductive autonomy). They are robbed of the language necessary to describe their experiences growing up under patriarchy and the male gaze (see #sharedgirlhood on Twitter). They are denied the right to establish their own boundaries based on common experiences as an oppressed class.

Not to mention the fact that my Tumblr dash is full of responses to asks where young lesbians are frightened and self-doubting because they keep being accused of cissexism for not being willing to accept penis into their sex life. I’ve only been posting here a week and I’ve already received several of these messages myself. How can anyone deny that what these lesbians are being subjected to is homophobia and abuse?

The 'cissexism’ meme is the weapon used to enforce the identity libertarianism that makes up the mainstream of current trans outreach. Both of these concepts need to be dropped before we trans people will be able to effectively police our own community and to go about transition/life after transition in an ethical, empathetic, and dignified way.

The “e” in TERF or SWERF does not really mean “excluding” or “exclusionary”. It doesn’t even stand for anything starting with “e”. It means “non-compliant”. It means “having the temerity to be female — to be walking the earth with that hole between her legs, that body and mind that invite invasion — and still having the nerve to say no”. The demand that women do not “exclude” is really an insistence that they abandon this right of refusal. It is about recontextualising experiences of abuse (including rape and physical assault) so that their relationship to one’s female body is denied. It is about ceding headspace so that one’s conception of oneself as a full, rounded human being — non-binary and fluid, like a person — is denied. It is about saying “I don’t mind — I don’t mind objectification for the sake of your self-definition, I don’t mind the violence of gender for the sake of your self-esteem, I don’t mind being less so that you can be more”.
—  glosswatch

‘TERF’ is a pejorative used to shut women up, and it is wrong to accuse women of being bigots for not accepting transwomen as sexual partners, it’s the 21st century for god’s sake. This is from my Morning Star piece of 24 December (today as I type this).

What does it mean to be Caitlyn?

My piece originally published in The Morning Star

Far from being progressive, Vanity Fair’s front cover of a trans woman represents the most crass, objectifying and sexist ideals of femininity, believes MIRANDA YARDLEY

ON MONDAY June 1, we experienced Bruce Jenner’s big reveal. Vanity Fair magazine released its July cover image of the former athlete and reality star formerly known as Bruce Jenner, with the catchily alliterative headline “Call me Caitlyn.”

Jenner, who is perfectly styled and posed, is expertly photographed by Annie Leibovitz and lovingly post-produced. The magazine itself promises a 22-page cover story penned by Buzz Bessinger, which also reveals details of Jenner’s uncertainty following 10 hours of facial surgery and the reaction of Jenner’s children upon seeing their father’s breast augmentation. There is even a video documentary of the “emotional two-day photo shoot.”

The image itself is masterful. The initial impact, with neutral colouration, emphasises the sheer amount of flesh on display. Jenner is depicted in an elegant corset, posed elegantly on a stool in the corner, arms behind the back and a cutesy ever-so-coy submissive look. What have we caught naughty Caitlyn doing?

This is a pose designed to lead the eye on a journey, to explore Jenner’s body, to admire this 65-year-old’s marvellous physique. This is the new image this incredibly wealthy and successful Republican-voting reality superstar has wrought from the millions of dollars they have earned over the last four and a half decades.

Make no mistake, Jenner’s story is extraordinary: a life of hard work, dedication and seizing every opportunity for fulfilment and fame has, by all accounts, meant it has taken until halfway through Jenner’s seventh decade to announce to the world “this is who I am.” To reach this point, there have been years of speculation, as well as facial (and likely hairline) surgery and breast augmentation (it is interesting to note that, apparently, Jenner is yet to “go all the way” and has not as yet had genital realignment surgery). Within this context, how are we supposed to view Jenner’s suggestion that “this is the real me,” that this is the person they always have been?

High-profile “coming out” stories are applauded by columnists proclaiming the new transitioner has “always been a woman.” This happened last year with Kellie Maloney and is happening now with Caitlyn Jenner.

Between them, Jenner and Maloney have been married at least five times and fathered eight children. Both have made enormous fortunes as men, each enjoying over six decades of male privilege before so boldly staking their claim to womanhood. If each these trans women have “always been a woman,” how does this relate to the lived lives and experiences of that 52 per cent of the population who are born and raised as women?

In April’s interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC news programme 20/20, Jenner claimed ownership of a “female brain.” The existence of inherently different male and female brains is hardly a settled matter and there is no significant generally accepted evidence that points to neurological differences in males and females that would explain, for example, an affinity for pink or wanting to wear a dress or makeup.
These, of course, are all cultural artifacts and are meaningless without context. Society has a set of rules which governs what is acceptable for men and women to do, and this is called “gender.” Gender is not something we “have,” rather it is a set of behaviours that we are expected to follow based on our birth sex.

These same rules apply in Jenner’s apparent shift from the powerful male role model, to the shy, deferential seductress we see in Vanity Fair.
Gender is not a civil liberty, it is a set of social codes, and this is what gender does: gender disempowers women.
Jenner is not a “gender outlaw” breaking down boundaries and a mechanism for positive change. Jenner represents the status quo, in opposition to the positive, progressive force and changes that decades of women’s suffrage and activism have fought for.
We can view this image of Jenner as being not “a man becoming a woman” (itself a contentious and somewhat counterfactual statement) but as “a man becoming a man’s idea of what a woman should be.”

This is writ large over the Vanity Fair cover: an idealised body is presented clothed only in lingerie, the makeup is done to perfection, and every flaw is magically Photoshopped out of existence. Pandering to the male gaze, the body language is coy, seductive, submissive. This is not liberation, this is not revolution, this is not life-affirming. This is the crass stereotyping of what it means to be a woman, meeting every reactionary, culturally conservative ideal of what a woman should be — passive, objectified, dehumanised.

Can we honestly say that this is someone who has come to terms with themselves, with who they are, if to attain this takes so much surgical intervention? Is the sum total of what this image is representative of what it means to be a women?

Although it is 2015, we still inhabit a society in which women are paid barely 75 per cent of what male colleagues receive. The woman’s world is full of permanently locked doors, locked for no reason of ability or aptitude or lack of hard work. Women are still expected to defer to men, who themselves are conditioned to believe every woman exists to make their life more comfortable.

The dehumanisation of women is ritualised in porn, strip bars, and “sex work.” The very existence of these is not some kind of edgy, funky empowering movement that makes women’s lives more meaningful, liberated and comfortable; rather these are the very tools that male supremacy uses to keep women poor, needy and in their place.

Jenner’s life has, for the most part, been privileged. So why then do we have this fetishised sexist image of what it means to be female? Is this what it means to be Caitlyn? Where is the strong, successful role model that Jenner surely once was?

There is much talk in the transgender movement about liberation, although how this is supposed to be attained through dehumanisation and objectification is beyond me. In a time when women are fighting to be taken seriously and be seen as human beings rather than sex objects, Jenner now appears anachronistic, a relic of a bygone age.

I seriously question the value of Jenner as a role model, with means and methods of transition that are, like Jenner’s life, stellar distances from the resources of most human beings. The sincerity of this whole stage-managed affair diminishes given Jenner’s political allegiances.

Presumably equality for gay people did not figure highly enough when Jenner was deciding for whom to vote. Let us not forget also that Jenner is facing a wrongful death lawsuit for the demise of Kim Howe following a multi-vehicle collision in February this year.

There are many opportunities for trans people to live happy, fulfilling lives and to contribute positively to society. We do not need to depend on sexist concepts like “female brains” to be loved or accepted, or to conform to damaging stereotypes. More so, we are not required to pander to the male gaze to obtain validation of who and what we are.

A struggle we do share with women is the need to be taken seriously and seen as human beings, not novelties that exist for the entertainment of others. Self-acceptance is not something we get from a surgeon’s knife or from hypersexualisation. We attain this by coming to terms with who and what we are.

As people, we can be forward-looking and meet the challenges that life gives us, be ourselves, be happy and be successful. We do not need Caitlyn Jenner to enable us do this.

Miranda Yardley is a trans woman and publisher of Terrorizer magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @TerrorizerMir.

Calling All Queers!

Hello fellow queers,

My name is Jamie and I am trying to start an indiegogo campaign to help begin the launch of a new and exciting project called I aim to create a website and app that is dedicated to harnessing the power and beauty of the queer community. We are vast and expansive and we live in every corner of the world but I think it’s just too hard to find our queer family. We shouldn’t have to use dating sites that do not adequately understand the complexities of our identities. I want to create a dating/community building website and app that would allow you to find the queers near you! 

So! In order to get this going I need creative queers and trans* folk to help us start building our logo, our visuals for the site, and if there are any coders out there who know how to build apps and websites that would be amazing.

Please message me at or email me at to learn more about how you can become a part of the team!

To the “you only see women as walking vaginas crowd”:

“Vagina” is a necessary characteristic for “woman”. It is not a sufficient one. 

We associate body hair with mammals, but that doesn’t make your dog a walking fur. We associate eggs with birds and reptiles, but that doesn’t mean birds and reptiles are just eggs. We associate gills with fish, but fish are not just swimming gills. 

The only one “reducing” women to anything is you, because apparently you’re incapable of comprehending that women can have characteristics without being those characteristics. 

Atlanta trans activist Raquel Willis on gender identity, race on WABE

Caitlyn Jenner may be one of the most high-profile transgender women in America, but there’s plenty of local trans activists who are doing the work to educate the straight, lesbian, gay and bisexual communities about the challenges faced by trans and gender non-conforming individuals.

Raquel Willis is one such activist. Willis gave an insightful interview on the complexities of being a trans woman of color on Nov. 11 as a guest on WABE 90.1 FM’s “Closer Look” with Rose Scott and Jim Burress.Willis tells Georgia Voice that she was invited to appear on the show after being recommended by a staffer to help promote Transgender Awareness Month on air at WABE.

Willis left no stone unturned as she discussed being bullied as a child, coming to terms with her gender identity, matriculating through college as a University of Georgia student, dating while trans, transphobia in the African-American community and the media blitz that has engulfed Caitlyn Jenner.

Read more.
When I was raped, it was female-only spaces that helped me recover

When I say read this entire article?  I mean, read it.  Slowly and carefully.

Personally, I don’t pretend to know the answer to the problem I outlined above, about access to women-only spaces. I know how therapeutically constructive I found the company of women, who had experienced, from birth, the same oppressive, stunting weight with which patriarchal gender expectations and direct male violence stifle the flourishing of little girls and women. Incidentally, I felt the same stunting weight, the same need for female company, in pregnancy and motherhood: the uninvited gropes from men (“awright preggers?”), the unequal legislation that sent my male partner to work while keeping me alone at home, on the basis of a mysterious quality called “maternal instinct” that I apparently had and he apparently lacked. I was lucky enough to not be subject to the 30 per cent of domestic violence that begins during a woman’s pregnancy, and affects between 4 and 9 per cent of pregnant women. Much of women’s oppression is directly related to various elements of the female body – our vaginas, breasts, reproductive systems, lesser physical strength, the way in which our body fat is proportioned and distributed – some of which may also be possessed by trans women, some which are exclusive to women. It is not essentialist to point out this relationship between biology and oppression, nor to claim its importance.

As I said, I don’t know the answer. It is a case of competing rights and claims, and a solution will only be found by listening to, and negotiating between, representatives from all sides: the full diversity of opinions of female and trans survivors of sexual assault, therapists and counsellors, trans support groups, representatives of women’s charities and campaigns. Many trans people want this too: Professor Stephen Whittle of Press For Change writes of the need for “a trans community and movement based upon the principles of tolerance”.

I signed the Observer letter because I believe that it is not “transphobic” to assert the need for such a debate, nor to defend the validity of arguments on both sides. My insistence that such a debate exists is not born of hatred or “phobia” for anybody. I do not accept the logic of certain trans activists that there is no debate – the argument made by the influential Liberal Democrat, and member of the Lib Dem LGBT+ equalities group Sarah Brown, who argues that trans women have more right to define the category “woman” than “cis women”, because women who are born women are necessarily “in a position of privilege over trans women”. It is not privilege to be born with a body that is, from the moment of birth, vulnerable to the constriction, damage and violence that men enact upon women, either through gender norms (the praise given to little girls for being quiet, still, delicate, dainty poppets) or through physical assault. The 51 per cent of the global population who are born with such a body are not necessarily more privileged than the estimated 0.01 per cent of the population who are transgender.

I am concerned that a number of politicians, particularly among the liberal left, who have been elected or proposed to represent a diversity of opinions within a certain demographic, are failing to acknowledge the validity of views held by a significant proportion of that community. Views such as mine, which display no hatred or phobia whatsoever; just a recognition of the existence of competing claims, and the need for considered debate. This is a worrying adjunct to the type of silencing of debate within universities that the Observerletter described. Accusations of “transphobia”, extremism and hate speech are levelled at those who express the type of scepticism that I have articulated in this article.

Surely the Green Party’s sole equalities spokesperson should faithfully represent the views of all demographics who experience inequality, including women who have valid concerns about provision of rape support? The role’s current occupant, Benali Hamdache, openly dismisses women who hold views like my own with the misogynistic slur “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), a term which is only ever used pejoratively. The Green Party’s candidate for Bexleyheath and Crayford, Stella Gardiner, tweets that women who share my views are “extremists and enemies of all women!” On 15 February, Sarah Brown sent an hours-long barrage of tweets to Professor Mary Beard, berating her for signing the same Observer letter that I did. Six student politicians at Oxford University – including four who are directly responsible for “women’s campaigns” in the university – published an open letter in response, accusing me and the three other Oxford signatories of sending “a clear message to trans students and students who are in the sex industry that they are unwelcome at Oxford University”, questioning our ability to provide adequate pastoral care to vulnerable students and calling for an apology.

What 'Gender Critical' means to me: Feminist Current interview

Last Monday I was interviewed by Feminist Current. The podcast will shortly by up on the Feminist Current website. I plan to release edited written portions of the interview on my blog, based on the notes I made in preparation for the interview.

The first thing I wanted to write about was what it means to be ‘gender critical’. My interpretation is, by it’s very nature, subjective and I suspect several gender critical transwomen will provide half a dozen definitions of what it means to them. 

What I want to make clear is that, when I describe myself as being 'gender critical’, that:

  1. I am in no way condemning or erasing the identities, experiences or narratives of other transwomen;
  2. Being gender critical is incompatible with 'Harry Benjamin Syndrome’ theories of transsexuality. I do not believe that the brains of transsexuals are inherently different; and
  3. Being gender critical is not incompatible with being transsexual, on the contrary I argue it can be a part of a fulfilling and successful transition..

My intent in publishing this piece is to address a number of misunderstandings about gender critical ideas that are propagating the trans community at the moment. We cannot talk about things sensibly if we cannot agree on what they mean, and so this post is a response to misconceptions and an attempt to bring forth clarity..

Feminist Current: You identify as a gender-critical trans woman, what does that mean to you?

I guess this means I see gender for what it is, as a harmful social construct, a hierarchy. I like to think I try to pick this power system apart using an analysis which is based on rationalism. I think a key point to recognise here is that many feminist ideas are congruent with a rational approach to gender, for example that as a societal construct gender is not innate, and that not only are ideas around mind/body incongruence ideologically damaging to women, they have no apparent basis in reality.

The former point makes a moral argument, and I think it is important for everybody to acknowledge this as it raises ethical implications for those who argue the second point in the absence of credible scientific evidence.

I have similar problems with the use of intersex in debate about the meaning of trans, how it’s used to question whether human beings are sexually dimorphic: the existence of intersex does not pull the rug from underneath the carpet of sexual dimorphism.

Feminist Current: You wrote on your tumblr page: “That transwomen are biologically male is morally neutral, it’s not a value statement, it’s not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing: it just is,” which I love because, exactly. It isn’t a insult. It isn’t anything. It’s just a fact. How do people react to you when you say this? What is the response from transactivists who disagree? And why do you think people get so angry about what is, as you say, a morally neutral statement?

I say this a lot and I go to great lengths to emphasise it is a morally neutral statement. There is an oft-quoted mantra that ‘trans women are women’ which, if you can accept what I just said, completely ignores reality and turns the definition of ‘woman’ into something that is a matter of identity rather than biology and thus reality. It is, to use another one of my favourite phrases, ‘intellectually dishonest’.

Whoever is saying those words earnestly, whether male or female, is managing to keep two contradictory ideas in their head and this is ‘cognitive dissonance’. ‘Trans women are women’ is thus a statement of faith, based on a conviction rather than a proof. It’s no secret that faith has been at the heart of many wars, and this is no different. Saying ‘trans women are men’ strikes at the heart of the magical thinking upon which such dogma has built its foundation, and so it is a threat, in much the same as radical feminist ideas are.

It is not unusual to see it stated, with great conviction, that ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I have always been a woman’ (look at Paris Lees’s feature on the Independent website with the headline ‘Kellie Maloney has always been female’) and I can understand that by challenging this and refusing to accept that assertion, it would make someone insecure.

A number of trans women profess to be atheists. I presume they feel liberated from the dogma of organised theological religion. ‘Trans women are women’ is no different from such dogma and I have heard many times the following line of argument:

Me: ‘women are entitled to their own spaces’
Trans woman: ‘yes, I completely agree, WE are’

This is, I think, a massive problem. If transition should be about anything, it should be about accepting who and what we are. Think of it like this: how liberating would it be for a human being to not have to exist with contradictory ideas in their heads?

I’ll be publishing more of my notes once the podcast is online.

A key part of my thinking is self-acceptance, in particular acceptance of our own realities. You can read more about this in Accept Yourself. If you’d like a clearer idea of some of my thinking, I have published an email exchange which sets out in Q&A form some of my own reasoning and rationalisations.

Huge problem in the trans community

You “identify” as X gender? Sure, here’s some counselling, we all support you!

ps. Conform to the gender norms associated, but remember that gender expression, roles and identity can all be whatever you want!

You wanna medically transition? Here! Have all these drugs!

ps. There’s a ton of horrible side effects, we won’t really worn you about them, don’t worry, you wanna transition don’t you?

Have terrible, debilitating physical and psychological dysphoria? Ummm… The medical transition, that’ll help, just wait for that.

… In the mean time, you know, just hang in there 👍

Everyone is so focused on the social and superficial aspects of transition, no one actually knows how to deal with REAL dysphoria, why ppl are ACTUALLY trans. Where’s the research on it? On how it effects ppl? On what the major causes are? How to prevent and avoid it? Nowhere. Bc it SA taboo, physical and sexual dysphoria are hush hush. In fact, you should be ashamed! You’re truscum!
I’m talking about trans men mostly. Just pack and use a strap on, it’s all good! NO. I have such horrible dysphoria that after, I get cramps. Is it in my head? Is this common? Where are the docs and therapists who actually specialize in this? Where do we get help? Nowhere.

Trans Privilege

“Trans privilege”

Where people believe everything you say even when it makes absolutely no sense; or

The act of demanding respect for your identity or boundaries without respecting the identity or boundaries of others.

With thanks to @evilfelicity on Twitter.