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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Saturday, July 07, 2018

The unsilencing of a radical feminist in dialogue with a transperson

The good news is my first biz cards are printed! The bad news is that I had my first awful reading today, in beautiful Vermont in a pretty ‘liberal’ city that probably boasts the most people of color in the state.

And it’s my fault, of course. The reading was actually going quite well until the young white lesbian womon started using the term “cis” several times. I felt I had to intervene and pre-empt her also using “terf”. I said I find those terms offensive and I hoped we could use other terms.

I then allowed the discussion to morph into a focus on transdomination politics vs radical feminism. In hindsight I realize I should have either brought the focus back to my book or I could have talked about the danger of being trapped into those moments of superiority we need to feel good about ourselves while we put others down.

Ranking privilege while ranking oppression: cis, trans, non-bionary, gender-fluid, queer etc.etc.etc. creating a bombardment of genders.

And I should have expressed my willingness even desire to dialogue about transdomination and radical feminism AFTER the reading was over and maybe even in another location and/or time (altho my time here is very limited.)

Instead these two young people – one a white lesbian the other a bi-racial (Black & white) man seeking to pass as a woman – attempted to explain to me why sex is a designation of the state and therefore should be abolished as it is laden with stereotypes (my word) and limitations.

The saddest thing to me is the fact that these young people who are bold and fierce in their challenging of gender boxes should be my dearest allies and bravest accomplices, and me theirs. Instead they label me as the enemy, me and my generation as the ones who are oppressing queer and trans people (notice how ‘queer’ is supposedly ‘inclusive’ but ‘trans’ often gets taken out of queer to accentuate it?), especially those of us they think of as “cis” radical lesbians – as if ANY lesbian can be “cis” in keeping with their definition.

The bottom line, the bulwark of transdomination is founded on the belief that biology doesn’t exist – or as these two young people rotely mimicked biology/science is a product of the state…i.e. the state is white “cis” men therefore is sexist, racist, and transphobic and needs to be abolished.

They told me that doctors – again, mostly white “cis” men – assign sex at birth. And again this belief is the ‘bedrock’ of the transdomination peeps, as if. I wanted to ask “okay, the sex-blind doc, what should he say when a baby is born – oh the baby's not an elephant or a bumble bee or tree stump so I'll assign it 'human'?”

I repeated the statement I had read earlier from a young womon whose sex WAS assigned at birth because she was one of the less than 1% of all human births where her sex was ambiguous and therefore the doctor assigned her female sex. She said that the trans notion that “sex is assigned” is an appropriation of her group of people whose sex IS assigned at birth; everyone else is born either female or male.

My two young people shake their heads vigorously and in unison as they both insist they are not appropriating anything. OK.

I tried to say it’s not the appearance of a yoni or a penis on a baby that is sexist or racist or transphobic – or misogynist – but the assigning of GENDER laid upon the child within minutes after birth (i.e. the pink for girls and blue for boys, etc.) that is oppressive. I tried to distinguish between sex and gender, but they weren’t having it. I tried to point out denying sex while also challenging gender is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the baby being ‘sex’, the bathwater being ‘gender’. They weren’t having that either.

The male-to-trans young person claimed I was being hoodwinked by science to believe that there’s a male and female and I wanted but didn’t have time to say “no, I don’t need any science or man to tell me but I just look around Mother Earth and can see for myself 99.9% of all life has a male and a female.”

I boiled when this young man started dissing radical feminists. I asked him if he’s ever spoken with a radical feminist and he, shaking his head vigorously, claimed he didn’t have to in order to know who ‘they’ are. He even said his mom now calls herself a “feminist radical” because of who radical feminists are.

Really? Fuckin really? So transdomination (who believes womyn do not have the right to determine for ourselves who womyn are but males raised as boys and now living for a mere second as what they believe women are) get to change our definition and reality of radical feminists even in the eyes of womyn? Wow – internalized misogyny not to mention another rewriting of herstory.

When I (repeatedly) point out that I’ve worked my whole life to smash gender boxes so we all can be free to decide for ourselves what it means to be a womon, what it means to be a man, that I’m a gender abolitionist, he tells me radical feminist - including he points out, me! - have never fought for his liberation or the liberation of queer people that only transpeople have. Then he cites ‘facts’ that it was transpeople who were the ones who fought at Stonewall, transpeople who were the ones who fought for queer rights, transpeople who did everyfuckinthing.

I tried to say there wasn’t even such a notion as transgender during Stonewall and not even until the last 10 or 15 years and that he’s rewriting history: they were gays, lesbians, queens, transvestites and transexuals - communities working together.

He responded by saying he’s quoting someone “the revolution will be fought by the young” and I’m like bring it on, what the fuck ru waiting for but I ask him if he doesn’t think that might be an ageist statement. He stares at me intently and repeats the slogan even as I think we’re gonna need everyfuckinbody if we’re really gonna have a revolution in this country. But then he lectures me about how I really need to study misogyny (re-a-fuckin-ly) and how I’m perpetuating and the perpetrator of the isms and I need to listen to him and young people. I do listen to him for a good 3 minutes as he spews his youthful condemnation and ignorance. As he’s finishing he rises and begins to walk out.

I ask him if he’s really leaving after I listened so patiently to him is he not interested also in what I have to say or does he just want to dump his thoughts on me and leave? He claims he has no interest in what I have to say, he's leaving and I let him know he’s behaving like a typical male, overpowering/dominating the conversation, getting out his righteous point of view and then not bothering to allow anyone to reciprocate. How fuckin male.

How fuckin male.

And the young dyke murmurs her ‘thank you’ as she trails out behind her friend. I feel most badly for her, as I believe she really wanted to continue the conversation. Maybe one day we can all continue the conversation.