Blogaround: The Transphobia Brouhaha

April 17, 2009

I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with blogging feminists and transphobia/transmisogyny lately, and while there is a post percolating in my head, I thought I’d catch you all up with what I’d encountered on the subject:

The Feministing/Feministe Boycott
[1] Men in Women’s Bathrooms: Is Your State Next?: the Focus on the Family transphobia post with errant comment thread on Feministing*
[2] By Any Other Name: transmisogyny post with errant comment thread at Feministe
[3] Bathroom panic, it’s totally feminist: Queen Emily’s response to errant comments on Feministing.
[4] Very Necessary: Voz Latina’s call for a boycott of Feministe/Feministing.
[5] It’s Always About The Cis Women: Lucy’s post about both Feministing and Feministe.
[6] On Cis Supremacy, Feminism and Feministe: Cara’s response to all of this on Feministe.

The Dust-Up at Bitch, Ph.D.
[1] Teabag Me: the original post at Bitch, Ph.D.
[2] Ann Coulter Really Is A —-**, People: the response at Bitch, Ph.D.

Related to all the above
[1] Coordinating Body and Mind: Transphobia and Feminism: Miriam Heddy

Unrelated in theme, but good thoughts anyway
[1] The Art of the Apology

I have a few nebulous thoughts about all this, although I’m processing them (and checking my privilege several times over) before I get too long winded. I can, however, jot down a few things already:

  • Using misogynist language to insult anyone is never okay.
  • No one is perfectly feminist.
  • We live in a patriarchy, and it can poison all our interactions.

This post may be updated with new links, as I find them. I’ll note the last update of the post, thus:

Links last updated 7:03 EDT 4/17/2009.

*Which I apparently missed the first time. I have read the post but not slogged through the comments yet. Much work to be done before I can post on this.

** Yes, I censored this. It’s a triggering word for some folks. I’m still not 100% inured, myself.


Menstruation and being trans: the blogaround!

March 25, 2009

I’ve been reflecting on this post of mine, and epsecially the idea that “Even women who do not menstruate have, thanks to our cultural expectations, a relationship with menstruation, positive or negative, that is both powerful and very, very real. So we should talk about it.” I realized I wanted to know more about the role menstruation plays in the lives of trans men and women. To the internets! Here are some of the voices I found:

Menstruating in the Men’s Room, from Coffee and Gender.

This week I am experiencing yet another aspect of transitioning that may confound a binary mind. I am menstruating in the men’s room.

Thoughts on Menstruation, from Tboy Jacky.

On June 6, the day before my transition party, I began my first post-testosterone period. I found it very ironic that I should be on the rag for a party celebrating my transition from female-to-male.

No More Ritual Bleeding, from Gender Outlaw.

Thanks to the wondrous effects of testosterone, I no longer experience monthly menstruation. Wow! I really wasn’t expecting this to happen so quickly—but NO complaints, it’s simply wonderful!

Auntie Flo is Not Welcome in Our House, although I am crampy, from Undercover Girl.

Today’s issue contains two articles about women’s health. There are certain events natal women have that transwomen can never, or at least not yet, experience – monthly periods and pregnancy. …

Menstruation and pregnancy are such salient experiences for natal women, we are likely quite interested in what those experiences have meant to them. And we should be interested in helping to make sure those experiences are at least not traumatic for the other women we share the planet with.

I actually found less than I expected. That may be my cis privilege making me assume that menstruation “should” be a big deal for trans folks (in which case, call me on it!), or it may just be that my google-fu is failing me. Either way, I need to get some more trans blogs in my RSS reader, stat! Any recommendations?

Thinking about trans folk…

October 9, 2008

Warning: I am still working on being a better ally to trans folk. This is just me trying to work something out by thinking out loud. If I’m being an ass, please tell me so.

So. I had a brief experience about a year ago, which I nevertheless have trouble forgetting. I was getting ice cream. Here’s my internal monologue:

“Hurray for ice cream! Oh, money for ice cream, boo. Giving the mon–ZOMG CASHIER IS A TRANSWOMAN. No, bad Laura. WOMAN. She’s a woman. WOMAN WOMAN WOMAN. Oh man, did I make a terrible confused face? I didn’t mean it! I think it’s awesome that you’re out, living your life! Should I say something? No, that would just make it worse. Besides, the whole thing that’s cool is that it’s not a big deal that she’s just working at an ice cream shop. I hope my smile didn’t look strained or scared or anything. Do people make awful faces at you when they figure it out? I hope people don’t make faces at you. It was sort of a surprise, though, suddenly figuring it out. It shouldn’t be a surprise. I hope people don’t make a big deal about it. Oh no, I’m making a big deal about it! It’s not a big deal! Noooooooo!”

In case you couldn’t tell, I was a bit flustered. There was a distinct moment of shock when I first figured out that I wasn’t looking at an XX-chromosome woman, and then, actually, this really strong feeling of solidarity. I’m almost as confused by that one as by the surprise. I mean, it’s a terrible thing to make a big surprised face at someone just because they are who they are, and I feel bad thinking that I probably did. But then I gave her this big smile, like, “OMG ONE OF MY OWN” which is almost stranger. Because, I mean, trans folk are in the acronym, but my experience as a passing-for-straight lesbian cannot possibly compare to her experience as a transwoman. What right do I have to claim solidarity with her (much larger) struggle? And isn’t it kind of principles-violating to judge someone right away based on their gender identity, even if the judgment is positive? I mean, I get to know cisgendered people before I decide if I think they’re allies or not. I saw this woman for all of three seconds– what do I know about her?

For one thing, I know she probably gets a lot of crap for failing to conform to the gender binary. And I do too (when I’m not taking the easy way out and passing). We’re both fighting the same fight. Isn’t that worth recognizing? I was the only queer person I knew, at the time, so it was a particular thrill to see someone else, anyone, who didn’t like society’s little boxes either. Seeing my fight reflected in something else, knowing that in the global scheme of things I wasn’t alone, isn’t that worth a big smile to a stranger? Or is it still problematic, because it reduces a person to a symbol?

I’m still not really sure what to make of it. I did make an involuntary surprised face at her, of which I am deeply ashamed, and I did feel this rush of solidarity with her, which still warms my heart sometimes. I don’t want to other her, but I think I am anyway, and I don’t know what to do about it. I guess I’ll just keep thinking about it.