What gets missed
August 29, 2008
Radfem recants transphobia, transphobic radfems plus one very confused and hateful person come in and attack, all the comments are about arguing with them and the legitimacy of trans people, period, and the OP never gets questioned for her remaining transphobia. (ok, she does once)
But Maia is still being really transphobic! She still sets up good transwoman [sic] bad transwoman, she still uses “woman” in opposition to “transwoman” [sic] as if we weren’t women who are trans but some other gender, she still frames woman only space as us/them, she still claims that [cis women] “we” get to “draw the line” about who enters, to “keep out the dangerous elements”, says this is SO HARD, fails to ask how other __ only spaces keep themselves safe, still engages with the notion of the over-privileged trans woman without interrogating the difference between entitlement and external privilege–and in particular says that the trans women who are most vocal about protesting our exclusion “give transfolk a bad name”, and on and on. I am especially fond of She said very little – she was attending a workshop / discussion about what it means to be a woman, and she was there to listen, not to speak.
Why doesn’t she get called on it? Because the first commenter is a class-a-asshat, that’s why.
No, that’s not why. It’s because the first commenter is a class-a-asshat, and Maia let him post, and keep posting–even after he claimed that he’d been raped by a comment.
I don’t think Maia did it intentionally, but it’s hard not to see her inaction as self-protection. The same goes for other cis feminists.
I don’t think Maia is a horrific bigot, but the fact remains that she is trans misogynistic. Prejudice + power and all.
Even more importantly, the ideas and questions she brings up–how do we do this, make women’s space that works? –they go unanswered (for the most part). We *need* to work on that shit, and almost all space for it gets eaten by trolls. And for a trans female spectrum person to participate in a discussion of how to do those things, who wanted to take her at face value, ze/she would have to pick through pages and pages of attacks for any kind of *relevant* discussion.
To the extent that consistent internet access is class privilege, as is the time to sort through bullshit, to the extent that being able to stomach that shit is correlated to privilege (ability, cis privilege, male privilege) and to be able to speak and remain confident and be taken seriously in a “debate” setting is also privilege, we keep out trans women’s voices, and the more disadvantaged the more kept out. And thus, to the extent that there *were* any discussion about moving forward, it’s still institutionally transphobic/trans misogynistic, racist, classist, etc.
Transphobic cissexual radfems know they can’t convince us, and I don’t really think they think they can convince our allies. What they can do is paralyze us, what they can do is make feminism such an unsafe and scary place that they won’t have to deal with us even if we *are* “allowed in”, what they can do is make it seem like it is “so hard” and “a huge issue” when it’s just not. It’s not hard, in fact it’s a non-issue if you’re willing to treat it like one. and actually most cissexual feminists aren’t like Heart or dirtywhiteboi or Polly Styrene. (I refuse to label Rich any kind of feminist.)
“Most” cissexual feminists are more likely to complain that people are boycotting Le Tigre when they’re a feminist band–as if they couldn’t say, on stage, that they disagreed with the not-policy.* As if it was ok to say “trans women’s participation in feminism is a negotiable issue, but one I’m in favor of” and still call yourself an ally. That’s not ok, and they need to get schooled. But, they’re the ones that could be educated, and aren’t.
*(We can leave aside the question of attending or playing there at all; accessing and funding a resource that supports trans misogyny [while speaking out against it, educating people inside, changing the culture] is a stickier issue than publicly supporting and bankrolling that institution and remaining silent, and really it depends on the situation whether it’s appropriate or not.)
Before you go saying we can’t “censor”, consider two things: 1)questioning transgender claims to be shut down and unable to speak, not because they actually can’t but in order to prevent anyone from saying “not here”. They know full well that they can say what they goddamn please and get away with it, and they want to make sure it stays that way. 2)the editors of the blog that I linked to in bypassing authority and trolls edited a friend of mine’s essay in their upcoming anthology to prevent her from calling out second-wave feminists (as “divisive”). Granted a book is a different medium, but it stands that there is “censorship” happening–and it all comes down in favor of cissexualist feminists.