Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OK, Miss Andrea posted this, to which I replied thus, to which she then replied via my comments thasly (posted here because comments on my blog disappear after time has passed):

I know lots [of transpersons], oh way more than that, no more than that even.

I don't talk about transmen because it appears that transwomen are much more vocal.

It isn't really about transfolk at all, from my perspective, though I am concerned about the level of harrassment suffered by transgendered. The whole situation is frought with anxiety for them and I really do sympathize. But there's only so much space and time for discussion, and the transfolk are handling the harrassment issues on their blogs so I really don't need to use my blog space for that.

It's mostly about any non-trans man being able to acces woman-only safe spaces merely by claiming to be trans. But there's also a minor annoyance to me personally because (since I do know so very many) that no matter how long they've transitioned, they never quite "get" the horror of sexism. The internal conflict just isn't the same and it can never be -- no matter how young a transchild starts her journey, her primary conflict will always be about being accepted as her gender, whereas a born girl's conflict will always be about running away from gender roles. Not sure what the transfolk assume I mean when I say that, it's just a simple observation of fact.

So now that I've answered your questions I hope you'll answer mind because there's a few things I don't understand and I'd like to. Pardon, probably not going to ask this the right way.

How does the desire for gender recognition equal the desire for full humanity? Many transfolk seem to think those two are the same and I can't figure out why.

I must admit, I don't understand this. I don't understand why the 'desire for gender expression' should equal the 'desire for full humanity' and who says it is or isn't. Part of my bafflement is based on a view that through reading her blog I have of how Miss Andrea views the transgender community that has no relationship to how I view the community. I don't know if this has something to do with her picking which parts of the community she wants to talk about or maybe I just lack the smarts to understand what she is saying. It seems to me that part of the argument is that while she as a female-born-woman chose a lifepath that (and here we have a gross simplification to avoid getting sidetracked into a seperate semantic argument) is not 'stereotypically female' (and I'm airquoting wildly here) she sees some male-born-women choosing to present as closer to that 'stereotypically female' (airquotes) role and she thinks that's bad. It's the burqa argument basically, while women in most of the world seem to think it's a symbol of oppression that needs to be cast off, there are some British Muslim women who are reported as saying that they are taking to wearing it because they see it as a symbol of freedom.

I hesitate over the any non-trans man being able to acces woman-only safe spaces merely by claiming to be trans bit because I doubt I can formulate an answer that doesn't make me look uncaring about the value of safe-spaces for women. There is the issue of what that woman-only safe space is and why the man is trying to access it, miss Andrea and her friends have tended to go for this 'non-trans man' being an abusive husband, people on the other side of the argument have tended to go for pre-operative rape or violence victim. I would suggest that any place that isn't actually able to tell the difference is probably not a very safe space for anyone. I get to be glib about safe-spaces because I'm a white middle-class straight-acting male and of course I know that it's not the case for everyone else. I'm just dubious about whether there's a real likelihood of a man wearing a frock in order to try and get access to his wife who's in a battered woman's shelter and whether it's worth trying to linking this to trans-women's access to women-only safe spaces. You might as well say that the man used a car to drive to the shelter so let's ban cars, or he eats shredded wheat so let's put Ian Botham on trial as an accessory to violence.

But there's also a minor annoyance to me personally... that no matter how long they've transitioned, they never quite "get" the horror of sexism. As though 'the horror of sexism' is a universal to all female-born-women of all countries in the world that, should they get together in one big meeting, they'd be able to agree on an exact definition that satisfied everyone. As though the definition of a woman is 'a unit of flesh for the dealing with the horror of sexism'. And there's a contradiction in what I see as Miss Andrea's argument, that transwomen are both trying too much and too little to be like 'real women' (airquotes!1!).

OK, that's enough airing of my misunderstandings and misapprehensions, so I'll leave it there for now. I welcome comments to educate me where I misunderstand things, I will just say that if anyone posts comments I will probably reply to them by seperate blog entries later on. If you don't want that then best to communicate with me by email which I'll assume is private unless you say otherwise. Abuse will be either ignored or posted to be laughed at, no matter how it arrives.

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