(repost) Co written with Lucia C.
I have always loved "gender non-conformity" that is, men who dared to be feminine and women who choose not to be.
The idea that women should be "feminine" or sweet or artsy....or anything else, is a "gender" stereotype. The idea that men should like sports and be macho, or that they should not wear dresses, are gender stereotypes. I support REJECTING gender conformity!!
Given that I support gender non-conformity and breaking stereotypes, you might think I would be happy about today's gender trend. But I am not. That is because rather than reject gender stereotypes, it promotes us defining ourselves by them. It is a step back, and it has been skillfully sold to us as being progressive when it isn't.
For years, feminists have been arguing against gender. That is to say, we recognize that men and women are socialized to accept that their personalities, interests and abilities should "match" their sexes, and this socialization (that forces to accept these stereotypes) is both sexist and oppressive. Rather than telling us that we don't need to be limited by our sexes, gender ideology claims that our sexes don't exist or matter and that these stereotypes do.
Well, our sexes do matter for a number of reasons, most especially to women who face oppression biological oppression based on our biology and reproductive capacity. And for gays and lesbians who are oppressed for being same-sex attracted, "gender" ideology is a travesty. Most are not aware of it, but what is happening en-mass is that gays and lesbians are being pressured to see themselves as the other sex. This is what IRAN does to homosexuals there-it transitions them so they can pretend to be heterosexuals, making homophobes more comfortable. In the western world, we don't voice that homophobia directly, it it is secretly at work in convincing young gays and lesbians that they are more acceptable as fake-straight trans kids. We are already starting to see the desisters and detransitioners in this country voice their concern and regrets about how they were fed the lie that they needed to medicalize and transition because they didn't fit the masc/femme stereotypes. Search for them, they are out there with massive regrets, and the sad truth is, they were fine how they were.
Activists who want to push this ideology generally think they are doing something innovative and progressive, however the fact that they are intolerant and aggressive about enforcing it shows that something is wrong. They will do anything to prevent people from talking about the reasons WHY sexes matter. They will call people "TERFS," or transphobic to shut them up. They will call women who talk about their bodies "reductionist" and lesbians are being called "vagina fetishists." People should be very concerned about BOTH the name calling and the attempt to stifle debate by employing this tactic.
Ask yourself if it is really "trans-phobia" for women to assert their own sex based reality and rights? How is it that trans activism that denies this reality and minimizes us is not sexism and misogyny? isn't trans-ing gays and lesbians, or pressuring them to be gender oriented HOMOPHOBIC? There are tons of contradictions in gender ideology, and the main one is that it does dogmatic gymnastics to claim that it is woke and progressive while oppressing and minimizing the identities of women, gays, lesbians and even arguably transsexuals.
To be clear:
I support people wearing who they want and loving who they want. I also accept transsexuals who have undergone medical treatment. However, I do not accept the ideological lies being pushed that surgery has "made" them the opposite sex. I think that makes them "transsexuals," a valid identity that describes a male who has transitioned medically and lives in society as a woman( in the case of MTF), by gender. That definition of "womanhood" limited and requires qualification. In fact, I would encourage us to talk about MTF as being gender non-conforming males, valid members of their own sex, not members of ours.
I do not accept gender ideology/academic theory that attempts to deny or erase the sexes by subverting language. Current attempts to deny that there is a difference by calling real women "CIS" so that trans people can drop the "trans" are dishonest. The word implies that that there are two kinds of women: female ones (cis) and male ones (trans.) I reject this. They are gender non-conforming males and their presence in male identity, sports and spaces needs to be normalized rather than rebranded away.
I do not accept that crossdressing males are "women" because they "identify" that way. Many people are unaware that the current "trans" defintion includes non-transexuals. It includes many people who keep their penises, people who don't have dysphoria, and who have no intention of transtioning. These people claim to be a kind of trans with labels like transgender or genderqueer or genderfluid. I would suggest that there is no meaningful difference between transgender and genderfluid and genderqueer, and cross dressing.
Those are superficial distinctions about expression, not "identity," and while I support people engaging in them, I reject that it makes them a distinct class, especially not one that erases sex as a meaningful way to organize and distinguish sports, spaces and advocacy. Male bodies can be genderfluid in male bathrooms and sports, not in women's.
*The problem is not trans people, its gender ideology.
Today's trans activism has been hijacked by gender ideologues promoting the idea that all sorts of types of men, not just transsexuals, are not men, entitled to take their "female" penises" into women's sports, bathrooms and shelters. More than 80% of MTF trans people keep theirs, and in many people's opinions, that hardly makes them trans. In fact, you can self-identify as a transwomen with a beard, a penis and no transition whatsoever. That is the law under self-ID, all you have to do is say you feel like it, and all sorts of men do just that.
I haven't always believed in white privilege or male privilege, I think that the white working class gets a bum rap. BUT, if there ever was such a thing, this is it. These are the same guys who wank about white privilege, who have themselves taken over our orgs to promote heterosexual, affluent male interests at the cost of women, girls, gays lesbians, and even transsexuals. They demand to be called Ze or ZIr or they, they claim to be socialist and antifa, but they don't recognize that THEY are this era's bourgeoisie. They are the affluent, the privileged, the oppressor and the hypocrite, spouting social justice while minimizing the actual oppressed classes.
These people are in fact engaged in types of ultra-conformity, following fad "queerness," defined by the media, peers, and consisting of minor, insubstantial fashion choices. These people talk about "breaking the gender binary," believing that they are breaking stereotypes, but they undermine their objective by creating new fetishiszed stereotypes for people to adhere to, as well as tribalism and NEW binaries ( cis versus queer, non-binary, surgender, bi-gendered, quivigendered) are all to our detriment. I would argue that these distinctions are artificial and harmful. What I see the "gender queer" movement is the fetishizing of artificial distinctions between people, while denying the reality of real oppression that women, gays and lesbians can't opt out of.
At this time, I will not speak much about "transmen," and their impact on men, since I am not one. I have seen a few instances when gay men's venues have been crashed by transmen with vaginas and they have been seen as an imposition, and I support men objecting to that if they want. But to be clear, the reason MTF people are the center of this issue is because their sex is male and their colonization of women's sports and spaces poses risks to us. There is a reason why women want and need same sex sports, spaces and advocacy in a way that is destroyed by trans-activism, a way that is not true for males.
Here is an outline of the discussion.
A. Women are a sex, not a "gender." What does that mean??
i) the myth that talking about biology is "reductionist" or bio-essentialism
ii) "Cisgendered" is sexist label coined by my oppressor.
**** Its the equivalent of misgendering me.
B Why we segregate by sexes, not gender.
C. Lies and hypocrisy cause backlash
D. Going forward, co-existing
So here we go. Women are a sex, not a "gender." Do you know what that means??
A. Sex or Gender
When most of us reject the chant 'trans-women" are women, we are not engaged in hate. We are rejecting the idea that womanhood is a gender identity, a slight of hand that gender ideologues have been trying to reduce us to using academic theory and language that denies sex matters.
There is confusion over the words sex and gender, because sometimes we have interchanged them or misused them. Sexes refer to males and females. If a form asks you to specify whether you are male or female, technically, it is asking your sex, not your gender, though many mistakenly use the word "gender."
The word gender refers to how we express our personality and sexes, often using stereotypes. wearings dress and long hair is stereotypical female. Enjoying football might be considered a "male" thing. Those aspects of identity are called gender. Are they innate? are they linked to sexes? Obviously, not totally. Men can wear dresses and women can enjoy football. Its possible that SOME of these preferences are wired into our brains and correlate to our sexes, but the extent of this and the causes of this are under debate. Regardless of why it is that we have these tastes, why would be label ourselves by them, instead of sexes?
Does the word woman refer to females, or does it refer to feminine genders?? Well, almost all of us who have not been indoctrinated into this bullshit know that women are a sex, not a gender. woman is the word that refers to adult, human female of ANY gender expression. Without the word woman, we have no word for that vital sex-based identity.
Gender ideologues will claim that women who say that womanhood is related to our bodies are bio-essentialsist. The argument they use to imply that we are backwards or old fashioned for talking about our bodies is that in doing so, they imply that we reduce ourselves to nothing but ovaries and vaginas. In truth, no woman thinks she is ONLY her body, but all woman know that womanhood relates to our bodies. We are born into the world as girls. We are treated as girls, coming second to boys in many ways. We go into puberty where we become sex objects for men -a sudden and startling experience, with our breasts swelling and our uterus bleeding. We face discrimination at work-not based on GENDER (gender is clothing and "gender identity") but based on our sex. We face a pay gap, by sex, not by gender. Employers fear that we will have sick days or get pregnant and require mat leave. Girls being kidnapped by Boko Haram and sold into sexual slavery are not experiencing that for their "gender identity." there are no non-binary or trans"girls" being oppressed there. They are wanted for their vaginas and the uterus. They are being made domestic slaves. Girls whose vulva are being mutilated so that they remain chaste wives for their husbands. No male who claims to be us can know these distressing feelings. They face their own distressing feelings and oppressions, but its not women's, in fact, men who face pressure to be gender conforming are facing MALE oppressions, not female ones.
Dismissing concerns our bodies as being reductionist MISSES the point of how our bodies shape our struggles, and anyone who dismisses that clearly hasn't had a miscarriage or endometriosis or a hysterectomy. ALL of these are female experiences, and the history of feminism is about women organizing to advocate for our needs and struggles based on these biological commonality. Let's be clear: feminism was started because women were beaten by their husbands, forced to give birth and do domestic labor, told we were weak and sensitive, raped and prevented from voting . We embarked on organizing to advocate for ourselves based on these things. Whether a woman has four children, no children, an abortion or a hysterectomy, ...all women need feminist services and advocacy to protect our interests and our choices. That includes transmen who are women. I support transmen being in women's marches because they face our biological oppression.
It is interesting that as feminism has centered men who call talking about our bodes "exclusionary" we have seen an assault on women's sex based rights such as abortion. As planned parenthood use women's advocacy money to push puberty blockers to kids and to tweet 'some women have penises," abortion rights and advocacy have been watered down and taken a back seat. To be clear, our sex is essentially biological, and there is nothing reductionist about defining a sex by its sex! Intersectional feminism that is so anxious to be inclusive that it denies female reality and oppression is not a "feminism" at all. It is fantastic to be kind to men and to promote their rights to be non-conforming, but it is not our job to move over for them in our own bathrooms and sports.
At the same time that ideologues claiming that we are reducing ourselves to our vaginas, it is THEY that claim that the essence of womanhood lies in gender stereotypes. The primary 'way" in which transwomen claim to be women is gender stereotypes. Some say its a feeling, some say its a gender identity. If you dissect it, what that amounts to is mostly gender stereotypes. These men want to be feminine.
Which argument is reductionist: the one that claims that women are women whether they are feminine or not, or those that claim that femininity should be the defining factor? should sports be segregated by biology or clothing preferences?
It is sexist, and "inconvenient" that men who want to be us call our bodies irrelevant and call the gender expression they seek "self-defining." The truth is, they can express that gender all they want without claiming that our sexes don't exist or matter. They can be non-conforming, or even trans, but recognize that they are still male by sex.
We are are entitled to words that define us as a sex, and those words are female, woman and girl. Those are not gender labels, you don't get to have them for males no matter how feminine they feel.
An important note on the use of the word CIS
The word woman means ADULT HUMAN FEMALE. it refers to a sex, not a gender. Gender ideologues and trans activists who label women "cis" gendered in order to appropriate the word for non-females.
The use of the word cis or cisgendered is highly sexist. Gender ideologies explain this word in a number of ways. Like trans "activists", these ideologues might call me cis, but they don't mean simply "not-trans." They mean that not "gender queer." That is, they claiming that my "gender" matches my sex. This is problematic in a few ways: first, I reject the idea that "gender" CAN match one's sex, since that argument requires believing in gender and believing that a certain gender "belongs" with the sexes. It also makes a gross assumption that someone else can assess how gender conforming I am based on how I look. If gender is an internal feeling, as they claim, how can they quantify my level of conformity for me?? Lastly, it fails to account for the fact that as a lesbian, I represent the ULTIMATE in gender-non-conformity, no matter how I look. As a lesbian who faces serious discrimination for being same-sex attracted, I am insulted to have young, privileged males who call me "cis" in order to claim that I benefit from some sort of gender privilege!
Transwomen DO need a qualifier, which is trans. That qualifier tells people everything they need to know about the person they are referring to. When you say transwomen, It explains that they are not women by sex, it explains that they are women by transition and gender only. It also gives them a positive identity as TRANS, something that has its own identity and advocacy groups that biological women are rightly not a part of. For all of the whining that transwomen do about not wanting to have to talk about what is in their pants, they seem awfully keen to try to hide it from others. We use words like man and women to denote what is in people's pants so that they don't have to ask. it matters to us that you have a dick. To lesbians and straight men who orient by sexes, not gender. WE don't need to know your gender expression, we can look at you and see if you are feminine, masculine or androgynous. This needs no label. But sexes do, and only bi-sexual, pansexual or catfishing people will claim it doesn't. That is one of the goals of the gender movement, and stonewall has made moves to have "sex by deception" reclassified so that it is not a crime. You can be pan or bi if you want, but demanding that the rest of us be attracted to gender instead of sex is the essence of homophobia. Putting a trendy, striped flag over it doesn't change this fact.
Another ideological slight of hand that comes with this term is the implication that those of us who "match our bodies" benefit from "cis privilege," something that I reject. Gender ideologues contend that those of us whose "gender match our body" benefit from a privilege, but they fail to note that even if any of the other false assumptions therein were true, biological women can't opt out of our bodily oppression. Women face sexism based on our bodies and we are in no way oppressors for being who we are.
Men or trans people who want to be women face their own oppression, and those oppression are valid. But they don't face our biological oppressions, and they can opt in and out of the aspects of womanhood they want. They also still benefit from male social privilege, and in the western world, they get massive social benefit and admiration by claiming to be a marginalized group. If you doubt this, look at the attention lavished on the "brave and beautiful" transwomen who are taking over women's awards, activism and sports. They are fawned over by media and they get a pass on answering hard questions about misogyny, sexism, objectification and appropriation. Let's be clear, women don't benefit from "cis" privilege.
Therein lies the hypocrisy of gender ideology. As always, it is the privileged class who do the "naming" of the the oppressed. In this case, Cis is a label created by white, privileged, academic theorists who claim that people should chose their own label and identity UNLESS they are women who reject gender ideology. This is a subversion of language which attempts to reverse the reality of the situation. Men who want to be women by "gender role" and feminization are privileged in the western world, and biological women are not.
B. Why segregate anything by sexes at all?
As I mentioned above, feminists agree that we should not have to adhere to stereotypes associated with our sexes (genders). Why have sexes then? Why do we bother to designate male and female at all ?? is that sexist??
No. The sexes matter. We should not have to conform to stereotypes associated with our sexes, but we cannot deny that we have them and that they matter for sports, spaces, medicine and advocacy.
First, women cannot opt out of the sex-based oppression we face, which are biological. We are a class, a sex-based class, that cannot be opted out of or identified out of. It is a material reality. In order to talk about sexism, we have to talk about the sexes.
We segregate bathrooms and change rooms because women need privacy to put their tampons in far away from potential peeping penises. I can show you the mugshots of trans"women" peeping, filming and sexually assaulting women in women's public bathrooms. Tampon fetishists who rummage through the bins for used ones. What's that, you say? it never happens? Yes it does, I can give you the names. But if I do, your next argument will be that it happens rarely. or that it doesn't matter. Keep moving the goalpost.
Nobody says that all trans people are predatory, we just say that women are safer when bathrooms are segregated by sexes, and that there is NO female-positive reason to do otherwise. Women who have been raped or who have faced domestic abuse, may be triggered by male bodies in their spaces, regardless of the ethics of that trans person. Likewise, muslims and orthodox jews who observe prohibitions on begin along with male bodies depend on our sex segregated system. Female spaces exist for these women, and there is no reason to prioritize male need for affirmation over their sex-based rights.
Why should women we have to defend and justify sex-segregated spaces??? It is really sexist that WOMEN are being told that their concerns and feelings simply don't matter, or "aren't real concerns" because people pushing this ideology WANT that to be true.
Its a lie.
Other ways that gender hurts women:
Men with penises are competing as "women" in Olympics now, and most people know that is unfair both to the women who lose their spots, and the women forced to compete against biological men. Girls and women are losing scholarships over this.
I've seen political panels at conferences manned (literally!) by men claiming to be women or-non-binary. These men speaking for women on issues of abortion and other sex related matter-that is clearly unacceptable since they don't have the organs or experiences involved. At women's marches, trans people have tried to ban "pussy hats" or other talk of women's reproductive issues because it "excludes' trans people who don't have those issues or those organs. Say what???!!! Trans people telling women that they can't talk about women's issues at women's marches. IF trans people are excluded from pussy talk, abortion talk and other women-issue-talk, ts because they are NOT women in a fundamental way. As we center male bodies in our feminism and deny that our bodies matter, no wonder we are losing rights for people with those female bodies.
In Vancouver, UVic Women's Center, now called ThirdSpace for gender fluid people. Please take note of the last one when you say that this movement doesn't hurt women. Here is a direct example of women's resources being converted for non-women's use.
Gay and lesbian orgs have been sold out to heterosexuals who don't understand or tolerate same-sex attraction. Today, hordes of young trans-women with penises claim to be lesbians and accuse REAL Lesbians of bigotry for not sleeping with them If you don't know about this, "trans " activists call this the "cotton ceiling." This involves males with penises claiming to be victims for not getting past women's panties. Their claim is that women are a gender, not a sex, and therefore lesbians should accept transwomen with penises, because transwomen should fall within their preferences. Except of course, that lesbianism is based on same-sex attraction, not gender preference. If you doubt that this is happening, google trans articles/videos on the "trans-phobia" of genital preferences, sometimes called the "cotton ceiling." Yes, they are claiming that lesbians who don't fuck "transwomen" are trans-phobic because lesbians won't consider "ladydicks" part of a woman. This is the height of appropriation of a marginalized group and minimization of their rights and needs. No woman has to reconsider who they want to sleep with for this ideology. LGB orgs ignore this because the T in LGBT brings in huge money and social status. Stonewall in Uk, and other orgs that were originally set up for same-sex advocacy have ignored and minimized the needs of lesbians being oppressed in their own ranks. It is interesting that these male "lesbians" with their penises spend so much time pursuing real lesbians with vaginas and calling them bigots for rejecting them, rather than sleep with each other. The reason why they do this is because they are largely heterosexual males who, like the lesbians they call bigots, want to date vaginas. It is bullshit, driven by money, politics, and hetero male interests.
No lesbian should fear going to LGB events or orgs because of pressure to have penis-on-vagina sex. They are leaving in droves, in a movement called GET THE L OUT. To think that lesbians are being removed from PRIDE events for carrying signs that state the obvious: lesbians don't do penis. It happened at Swansea this year.
C. Welcome to the Backlash
I was brought into activism after being oppressed by trans activism that minimized my identity and sex based rights. I have no problem with people gender non-conforming, and I have no problems with the fact that it is an occasional occurrence that a person decided to transition and become a transsexual. That is between them and their doctor. What I AM against is: gender ideology, attempts to institutionalize gender ideology and radical trans ideology in academia, politics and language, and the subversion of women's sex based rights by denying that they matter, in favor of gender.
Today's trans movement is not the movement of sane transsexuals who want acceptance and safety, as it was when I was in college. Today's trans movement seeks to redefine womanhood as a gender so that men, with penises, can claim to be the marginalized class. They are making demands that minimize and hurt the sex based identity and rights of others, which matter.
No, I will not accept these things, and its not because I hate your clothing or gender expression. I hate your politics, your entitlement, and the fact that you claim this agenda doesn't hurt women. i hate that there is BIG, influential money behind this movement, including the money and power of the trans pharma lobby that buys political influence with LGBT orgs, academia, and liberal politicians, causing them to ignore the concerns of women and lesbians.
This movement is a highly privileged juggernaut, diverting resources from women, gays, lesbians and transsexual who need them, and using those resources for flags and parades for rich kids who want to engage in identity play.
All of this entitlement and privilege is beginning to show. People are beginning to push back. I regret that this backlash will hurt transsexuals who are not involved in this movement. It also might hurts legitimate LGBT orgs, who were complicit in promoting anti-gay ideology because of money and power. While I am glad that a correction will occur, I expect it to be messy, and I expect good people to get hurt, regrettably.
D. What do I propose, going forward?
I support trans rights, but I support recognizing trans people as TRANS, not in claiming they are members of the opposite sex. I support them in creating a positive identity and advocacy, both of which differs from that of women. I support MTF trans people presenting how they want, but being seen (and treated in law) as gender non-conforming males, not a kind of women. I support their safety and their right to more medical research. I will not support gender ideology or theories that claim that people with penises are women, or that our sexes are not relevant, especially in terms of defining girlhood, womanhood, women's and lesbian's issues.
I will continue to educate people on the fact that denying the sexes does not break the "gender binary" ...promoting gender non-conformity does. I will highlight the dangers of fetishizing new gender identities and labels, which instead of freeing us from conformity makes new boxes to fit into, creates new binaries and rivalries (cis-scum versus queer.) You are welcome to be as gender nonconforming as you want, but I will not accept that wearing nailpolish makes you a non-male, or that you can opt out of male privilege if you have a penis. You no more special than those who you assess as being conforming. Since you are following the trend, you in fact might be the conforming one, a colonizer, a pretender and a poser. Please stop.
I will decline to use language that co-opts or minimizes womanhood or implies that we don't have sexes (ze, zir, they.) Asking this of me is an act of gross entitlement. Demanding that the world redefine itself by gender and deny that sexes matter is oppressive, and I won't comply.
I will continue to support lesbians right to self-define and date only members of the same sex, which means no penises are included, no matter how they "identify". Penis on vagina sex is never homo-sexual, and lesbians by definition are same sex attracted.
I will continue to question the agenda of having heterosexuals rebrand as queer and take over same-sex advocacy orgs like PRIDE and LGBT.
I will call our and fight organizations, universities, political parties (yes, the democrats), that push sexist and homophobic gender ideology as a replacement for sex based identity and rights.
I will reject the terms cis and cis-gendered, since women are a sex and don't need a gender sub-label. If you use cis on people who reject it, you really need to check your hypocrisy. Check your hypocrisy and your privilege.
Let's be clear, the "oppressions" that MTF trans people face are real, but they are are not those of women. It is those of men facing pressure to be gender-conforming, or masculine. That is unfortunate, and should be addressed by changing what it means to be men, not by claiming to be women. Men should be allowed to be feminine, smart, pretty and non-conforming. They are not co-owner of the word woman, which describes me as a sex. It is the word for what adult, human, female is, not a gender role. We need it to describe our experience and we will not give it up.
The fact that you think this is okay shows how little you care a bout women and and our real, material sex based struggles.
Stop pushing fake social justice that makes things worse for real minorities. Stop minimizing women's identity and struggles. Slogans that are lies are not woke. Gender is regressive.
In summary, gender ideology is not an answer to breaking sex-based stereotypes, it is an ideological enforcer of stereotypes. All that we need to do to break stereotypes is to break those stereotypes. Be gender non-conforming, but do not pretend that makes you more special, or not your sex. Erasing the sexes in language and law hurts women, gays and lesbians and is not progressive. Be yourself, without the bullshit.
This article written in collaboration with Ester by a Lesbian "sister" who wants to remain anonymous. There are women getting beat up for saying things like this. And yes, I make alot of typos. I have poor vision and software.