November 19, 2011 § 1 Comment
Are you a white, cisgender, educated, New Agey, feminist woman? If so, then Linda Weber’s book Life Choices: The Teachings of Abortion (published by Sentient Publications) is an excellent book for you. If you are not, then Linda Weber has very little to offer. Weber, a prominent feminist and counselor wrote Life Choices using her experience as an abortion counselor at a women’s clinic in Boulder, Colorado. While Weber’s intentions were good, the execution is far from it.
Like many “second wave” feminist leaders who rose to prominence in the 1970s (I’m looking at you, Gloria Steinem), Weber follows a cissexist, binarist point of view throughout the book when she repeatedly writes about women’s unique/magical/etc ability to bear children. Could someone please inform Ms. Weber that not all women can get pregnant? And that some men can? And that sex and gender is not nearly as cut-and-dried as she makes it out to be? Weber missed a great opportunity to write about special issues and concerns of nonbinary individuals seeking advice about abortion — an issue that is not mentioned enough in our current reproductive rights dialogue.
Weber does make some good points: a crisis pregnancy and/or abortion can be an opportunity for personal growth and development, and this perspective is refreshing. In writing about the history of the pro-choice movement, she makes a very important point about the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: Roe had more to do with establishing physicians’ rights than it did with protecting the health, well-being, and bodily autonomy of people seeking safe abortions. Unfortunately, these passages get lost among her New Age navel-gazing. I have no issues with those who enjoy meditation and/or worshiping The Divine Feminine, but if your spiritual habits are not of the “woo-woo” variety, you’re not going to enjoy this book. Weber’s message alienates both Christians (surprise: some Christians are feminist!) and skeptics alike. Some of her advice is simply not practical: while I can’t deny the possibility of abortion via soul-to-soul communication between a fetus and its carrier, I do not think that this a realistic or practical method to recommend to anyone.
Legislators in Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, and Michigan have introduced anti-choice legislation, from increased restrictions to abortion access and funding to even more disturbing proposed “personhood amendments” that would also outlaw most forms of birth control.
Rick Snyder, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, et al want to restrict our bodily autonomy, and bring us back into a world where, like a teenaged Weber, we would have pretend to be married so we could receive an abortion via IUD implantation, and risk an infection. They are not interested in going on a vision quest. They don’t care if we meditate. They are not going to listen politely to us. The personal stories in Lie Choices are touching, but out of place in an increasingly hostile political and social environment.
Now is not the time to get in touch with our inner goddess. Now is the time to hurl bricks.
August 7, 2010 § 13 Comments
In regards to your transphobic, sexist, anti-feminist blog,
Your feminism is a feminism that isn’t at all… feminist. Whether or not you are born male or female, whether or not you identify with your socially cissed-gender, having women parts does not at all make you a woman. Women are more than parts, having parts doesn’t make you a woman, it’s something much deeper than only an individual can express.
Class Politics According to Trans Activists: The Fallacy of Cis-Privilege. if i had a candy bar, and you wanted it, i would not have “candy-bar privilege”. if i had a nice dog and you wanted a nice dog like mine, i would not have “dog privilege.” you cant just say that any old goddamn thing i have that you want is a privilege. privilege means that there is *power* there, and girls and women dont possess any kind of gender-based power. exactly the opposite.
Cis-privilege is a privilege is different from your perspective, there is no dog, there is just a difference between the man and woman. The fact that the woman has a dog and the man doesn’t shows sexist beliefs. Feminism isn’t at all about a gender being greater than another gender, it’s about equality, diversity, social unity despite our physical differences. This picture doesn’t represent any clear depiction of cis-privilege, as it is an attack on the trans community! In a more realistic representation if the women had a dog, but the man wasn’t allowed to have one, that would be cis-privilege.
while the T’s in GLBT have all the political power and protection that comes from co-opting the GLB movement. crazy + powerful = “eccentric,” doncha know! and “eccentric” is f-u-n, which is about all it takes to be wrapped in the teeny-tiny bosom of the twenty-something fun-fems. without regard, apparently, for the fact that they are spending precious feminist resources on men, and mens problems.
Feminism respects gender identity, which you have just denounced by not calling them the appropriate gender. There is not any “waste on resources” for men’s problems, we embrace that men and women both suffer under our masculine patriarchal society, and thus needs resources to embrace.
(born-women are privileged over men because we arent seen as sexual predators, and men are? boo-******* hoo) about the fact that there are others out there who share the inexplicable desire to amputate healthy body parts, in order for their bodies to conform to “the way they’ve always seen themselves” but *those* people are seen as mentally ill.
You have a keen disrespect to the trans community. A feminist movement is being destroyed by your prejudices against fellow human beings.
I am hopeful that your prejudice, radical “feminism,” and transphobic beliefs are merely a stunt to gain attention from bigots like yourself. So many people, cis-gender and transgender alike, are in disapproval to a mockery of feminism that has replaced the goals of feminism with regressive sexist views.
August 5, 2010 § 4 Comments
(Trigger warning for transphobia.)
by KATIE E.
“…a recent episode titled “Quagmire’s Dad” shocked some of “Family Guy’s” gay fans with a storyline about the title character having to accept his military father’s feminine manerisms. Quagmire’s father explains to him that he’s not gay, but is a “woman trapped in a man’s body” and is going to have a sex change. The show’s main family characters show virtually no sympathy for their neighbor, referring to the newly out “Ida” as “odd” and a “he-she” who is having her penis “lopped off.” At a post-surgery dinner, they invite Ida and Quagmire to come over, but throw out a dessert that she contributes. That’s followed with lots of rude comments about gender reassignment surgery. Quagmire and Ida have a falling out, and Ida leaves to go to a bar. There she meets the family’s male dog, Brian. They talk, then kiss (and assumably have sex). But when the family finds out Brian has fallen for Ida, they laugh at him. Once Brian connects Ida to Quagmire, he engages in a 40-second vomiting gag. Later, Brian is seen panting and washing desperately. In the meantime, Quagmire reconnects with Ida. But when she tells him about Brian, Quagmire rushes next door to beat the dog to a pulp.”
And his comment:
”[The unhappy reaction to our transgender character] surprised me. I don’t meet a lot of stupid homosexuals. They seem to be a pretty smart bunch. But it seemed that they were not picking up on the fact that it was a very sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character…. Look, Brian happens to be a heterosexual character, as I am. If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up in the same way that a gay guy looks at a vagina and goes, ‘Oh, my God, that’s disgusting.”’
Isn’t Seth Macfarlane just that wonderful LGBT ally he always says he is? Afterall, sensitive portrayals of trans* people always need to include misgendering, othering, and cliched I-just-did-it-with-a-transwoman panic.
The biggest fail here has to come in his surprise. Really, Seth, you’re SURPRISED that “stupid homosexuals” were not pleased with your “sypathetic” portrayal of a transwoman? You’re surprised that promoting the trans panic scenario that routinely gets trans people killed didn’t bring in the lulz? You felt it was okay to attribute all the outrage to “homosexuals,” and not bother to even give trans* people a voice?
I am so sick of white, straight, cis men thinking they know everything about oppressed people. Especially someone like Seth Macfarlane, who already has millions of fans (why, I’ll never know), giving him even more power. Soon enough, his privileged fans will start parroting this, and the vicious cycle of transphobia and lesbo/bi/homophobia will continue. People living in ignorance of privilege will continue to try to tell us that words can’t hurt us, but it’s words like these that create a culture in which trans* people fear for their lives daily.
August 3, 2010 § 4 Comments
by KATIE E.
Before all the gender-policing, right-wing radio tangents, conspiracy theories, OMG WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDRENZ!!11!!, and plain old transphobia start to crop up, I would like to offer my congratulations to Thomas Beatie and his wife on the birth of their third child, and my sincere condolences for all of the crap they get to hear, again. That is all.
July 24, 2010 § 12 Comments
by KATIE E.
Bad news: A Merseyside woman was caught with child pornography that included pictures of children being abused.
Good news: She was not detained because she is a transwoman, and the judge understood what danger that would put her in, especially since it was required that she be put in a men’s prison.
Don’t get me wrong, I think child pornagraphy is despicable, particularly the kind that Voyce was looking at. The article mentions that she is facing 100 unpaid work hours, supervision, and being put on a sex offender registry, which I think is appropriate, and I hope she recognizes what she did wrong and changes her ways, and that the children victimized are receiving help and compensation.
However, trans* people in prisons, particularly prisons that misgender them, are often subject to horrific treatment. No one — not a possessor of child porn, not a rapist, not a murderer — deserves that kind of treatment. All people deserve some basic human rights, which should include the ability to identify as whatever gender they choose, receive treatment and/or surgery to make that happen, and not to be victimized because of that.
I do believe that broadcasting this in a national newspaper wasn’t the best approach. I am glad that I was able to find out about one judge that was doing it right in a corrupt system of justice, but I wish the woman in question had not had her name and picture published. Outing a transwoman and associating her with something almost universally considered evil is going to open her up to transphobic attacks, though they hopefully won’t be as bad as what she would have faced in jail.
I also think it is worth noting that the woman in question stating in the article that she looked at pictures of the children to “come to terms with her troubled childhood.” Again, I firmly believe anyone caught with abusive child porn should face legal punishment, but I don’t believe that this woman is evil. I believe this woman, as a transwoman, had an extraordinarily rough childhood (and it hasn’t had a long time to recover from it — she’s only 20), and is trying to deal with it in ways that are, yes, harmful to children, but are the best she can do. I don’t condone her continuing to look at the images, but I really hope she is receiving sincere, non-judgemental support and help.
January 6, 2010 § Leave a Comment
You may have heard the news that Amanda Simpson, a trans woman, was recently appointed by President Obama as a senior technical adviser to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. The National Center for Transgender Equality points out:
“What is noteworthy about this appointment is not that a transgender person is serving this administration—many transgender people work for the federal government—the real story is that Amanda Simpson was selected based on her exemplary credentials and not because she is transgender,” commented Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Countless transgender people are overlooked every day for jobs they can do very well. When an employer does not discriminate based on gender identity, they have access to more highly qualified people. That’s what happened here.”
So Simpson’s apppointment is certainly a milestone.
Now for the requisite media transphobia and transmisogyny hate cocktail in response, courtesy of David Letterman.
Letterman: Well here’s something interesting. President Obama has appointed a transgender person, a transgender person, her name is Amanda Simpson and he has appointed her to be part of the Commerce Department. We have a photo, here she is right there. Yeah, that’s Amanda Simpson, and she’s a transgender…
Alan Kalter: WHAT? AMANDA? Amanda used to be a dude? OH MY GOD! (Runs away)
Letterman: (Laughing. To someone offscreen) Will you talk to him later for me?
LOLZ! Because trans women love to trick cis guys into sleeping with them!! (Also — why are you calling attention to the photo, Dave? Want to have proof for the audience that she looks “like a woman”?)
Sign this petition demanding that Letterman apologize.
October 22, 2009 § Leave a Comment
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) just published this article with a VICTORY update on the struggle against the ‘Doctor’s Note,’ which required trans people seeking a name change to provide a note from a doctor, therapist, or social worker for “medical evidence.” While I should be (and am!) damn pissed this hasn’t been passed until now, this is really great news.
Thanks anyone who helped, keep loving, keep fighting!
August 3, 2009 § 11 Comments
The other day I was on the playground with my campers, who are going into third grade, and the topic of pregnancy came up. Several of the kids were adopted, as was one of my co-counselors, so conversations about different kinds of families and how they are made had come up before, but never in this much detail.
I suddenly remembered that it is difficult to answer kids’ questions: they are blunt and persistent, having yet to be hushed by what society deems acceptable to discuss in polite company. How do we talk to children about immensely complicated issues, in language that’s simple enough to understand but doesn’t shed necessary intricacies and ambiguities?
When they asked, “Why would someone give up their baby to be adopted?” I replied, “Sometimes people don’t have enough money to take care of a baby, or they are too young, or they are too busy, or they don’t want a family. So adoption is great because it means that kids can have a family that loves them and takes care of them, even if their birth parents couldn’t.”
When they asked, “So, where do babies even come from?” I replied, “They grow inside a woman’s body until they’re big enough to be born.”
When they asked, “But how do you make a baby?” I replied, “That’s a question you should ask your parents when you get home. They probably have a specific answer for you.” (This one was hard: I know the technical answer, of course, but not the social one. Who knows what these kids will go home and tell their parents I said? Who knows what their parents want to say themselves?)
Then they asked, “But what about the pregnant man?” Instantly I remembered I’d just said that babies grow inside women’s bodies — a little ignorance check. I chose my words carefully: “The pregnant man’s name is Thomas, and he used to be a woman. That means that he was born as a girl, with what we call ‘girl parts,’ but when he got older he felt like he wanted to be a man so he asked people to call him a boy and changed the way he looked a little bit. So he is a man, but he still has the parts that make him able to grow a baby.”
“What do you mean he felt like he wanted to be a man?”
“Well, I don’t know exactly. I don’t really know what that feels like. But I think it must be a bad feeling, right? Can you imagine feeling a certain way about yourself, but the whole world felt a different way about you? It would be confusing and frustrating. So it’s great that he got to become what he wanted to be.”
Conveniently, my head counselor popped into the conversation at just that moment to say, in an amused tone, “Well, from what I’ve read, the pregnant man is really a woman.”
Thanks for the playground transphobia and identity denial.
June 30, 2009 § 3 Comments
TRIGGER WARNING: Descriptions of hate-motivated violence.
CaitieCat at Shakesville brings us the story of Leslie Mora, a trans woman who was harassed and brutally beaten in Queens on the night of June 18th. From a report by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund:
Throughout the attack, Leslie’s assailants called her a “faggot” in Spanish. The attack left Leslie with multiple injuries, including bruises all over her body, and stitches in her scalp. Police called to the scene found Leslie nearly naked and bleeding on the sidewalk. They also recovered a belt buckle from the assailants that was covered in blood.
And from CaitieCat’s spot-on reaction:
Despite shouting anti-gay slurs at her in Spanish while they attacked her, the assailants have not been charged with any hate crime, as the Queens Co. DA has declined to even investigate it as such.
There are a whole bunch of things I could point out about this: that it’s just about the most obviously hate-based crime I’ve heard of in a while, that calling it only assault leaves out that they were only stopped from killing her by the passerby — why isn’t it attempted murder, exactly? — that there was no bail set for two men who tried to kill a random stranger on the street.
That people will be saying it was her fault for walking alone on the street late at night, or that she’d been drinking, or blah blah victim-blaming blah.
On average, at least one transgender person is killed in the US each month. It seems only by the intervention of “good fortune” that Ms. Mora didn’t join so many of our sisters and brothers already listed at the Transgender Day of Remembrance site.
Very often when I read stories like these on other blogs, I can’t decide whether or not to repost it here because I have nothing to add to the well-crafted and respectful responses that brought me the information in the first place. But I think that not reposting, not getting the story out there through as many humble outlets as possible, is a large factor in the erasure of unfortunately less popular and less discussed feminist/progressive injustices. So I will keep on reposting with minimal comment, because the stories I share need to be heard.