A Couple of Lessons I Learned From Radical Feminism

In the 1970s I was a radical feminist.  My roots were nurtured in the Anti-war movement.  My theory came from women like Kate Millet, Shulamith Firestone, Ti-Grace Atkinson, The Furies and Red Stockings.  I read things like Notes From the Second Year.

I took classes at the women’s Building, ate at women’s restaurants, listened to women’s music, patronized women’s bookstores.  Wore militant feminist and in your face dyke t-shirts, a black leather jacket and double Venus pendant.

I wasn’t one of those sweet accommodating feminists eager to make my way up the corporate ladder.  Feminism wasn’t about equal pay in a corporate gig, it was about smashing the patriarchy.

I went to lesbian feminist retreats in Northern California and sat around the fire nude with my sisters calling down the moon and listening to the sound of the hills of Mendocino.

I wore a knife on my hip and studied the martial arts.

I read Mary Daly before I was told I shouldn’t.

My analysis of the word games run by both Transgender Inc and the TG Borg comes from radical feminism.

I have had a transvestite Men’s Rights Advocate come here this evening and try to pick a fight.  When I haven’t permitted him to bring his phalliocentric male aggression here he has proceeded to trash me on his own blog, which is his right.

Just as it is my right to refuse him a space on my blog to either bully or cajole.

Arguing with with transvestite men’s rights advocates is both annoying and a waste of time.  I will not let him bully me in my space even if he chooses to slander me in his own forum.

Men expect to be able to dominate, have the last word.

Men expect women to care about them, give them a nipple from cradle to grave and kiss their asses after wiping them.  Oh and we are supposed to adopt a sweet pose and gentle flattering voice as we do so.

Fuck that shit.  I’m not some nice simpering man pleaser.  I do not give a damned if some transvestite men’s rights advocate likes me or not.

I learned from radical feminism that letting men bully me and getting sucked into fighting with them on their own terms is the pits.

Better to refuse to have anything to do with them.  Better to deny them the space they expect as a result of their male privilege.  Better to let them know that their male privilege buys nothing from me as I am not for sale, and I do not owe them the fucking time of day unless I feel like giving it.

So Mr. Men’s Rights Advocate slink on off to your local Transgender Support Group where you can piss and moan about how a WBT Radical Feminist was rude and mean to you.

Which Side Are You On?

The Transgender Borg and Transgender Inc put out a massive quantity of bullshit about identity and identifying as a woman, about how that identity trumps both physical reality and the perceptions of others. Based on the claims of some to be considered a woman all one has to do is claim to identify as such.

Being considered a woman doesn’t require being assigned female at birth.  Doesn’t require surgical sex reassignment from an initial birth assignment of male.  Doesn’t require the removal of testicles and definitely doesn’t require the surrender of one’s penis.  One isn’t required to live 24/7/365 in a socially accepted female sex role.  One doesn’t have to have electrolysis or even wear women’s clothing, according to Transgender Borg ideology to be considered a woman based on “identifying as a woman.”

Neither assigned female at birth nor later surgically reassigned as female women are permitted to have a say in this matter, but instead have to swallow the entire reactionary pile of crap regarding gender that we spent years fighting against.  Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique was all about how gender (sex) roles were used to trap women and limit their ability to function in the world as whole people with the agency to make their own decisions regarding the course of their lives.

For all of the Transgender Borg/Inc.’s  BS about deconstructing gender most of their philosophy seems deeply grounded in the reification of gender stereotypes as defining who is a man or who is a woman.

Indeed their ideology of “Transgender Umbrella” and “Transgender Community” seems intent upon stifling genuine attempts at breaking free from sex role/gender role stereotyping.  It is terribly oppressive to have your life colonized and be berated by the Borg/Inc for not embracing “Transgender as Umbrella” once they have decided you are part of a class that they have decided belongs under the “Transgender Umbrella.”

Speaking of “process”.  Isn’t there something incredibly phalliocentric happening when one group composed largely of penis people and their sycophants get to decide when some one is part of the “Transgender Community” or not, without the consent of the person or class of people being colonized?

I am well aware of Christan Williams attempts to write a form of revisionist history where  “Transgender” is a self chosen collective noun that was embraced as early as the late 1960s/early 1970s by women with transsexualism.

How does it feel, Christan, to be a sycophant toadie for a bunch of people who have advocated violence against feminist women, who had the courage to say no to the demands of phalliocentric transvestites and their demands to share the women’s room based on “identity”?  Identity with out actions that actually change your sex is meaningless, nothing more than a con game played by penis people who want to violate women’s privacy.

Don’t think I haven’t noticed the attempts at rehabilitating Angela Keyes Douglas, a psychopathic douche nozzle from the 1970s who hindered the integration of post-transsexual women into the feminist and lesbian communities with his androcentric “transgender superiority” and his calling  lesbian feminists  “ugly cunts” and “fish”.

BTW that word, “Fish”…  That’s the word that set the feminists off when it was used by Saint Sylvia during her drunken Pride Day Parade episode back in 1973.  Do you think that really gave post-transsexual women a big boost in the feminist community?  Or did it hurt us?

Many of us  look upon SRS as ending a chapter in our lives and with the end of that chapter come an end to membership in a shared class that has come to be called “The Transgender Community”.  At that point we face a life choice.  One road means we continue the process of becoming women, a process that can only happen if we drop the “Trans”.  That means dropping the “Transgender Community”.  It means embracing the bare unadorned label, “woman” with out the prefix “trans” much less the adjective “transgender”.

In spite of the TG Borg/Inc.’s protestations to the contrary one cannot identify as a woman and as transgender.  The two are mutually exclusive.  One might identify as a “trans-woman” or as a “transgender woman”, one might even identify as transsexual, although the term transsexual implies actual actions taken to permanently physically change one’s sex.  But as long as one either has to stick a prefix or adjective, or voluntarily sticks that prefix or adjective in front of the word woman then one is identifying with the modifying prefix or adjective and not with the noun being modified.

Being woman identified might have all sorts of readings and levels, take all sorts of forms from spiritual to political.

But one thing should seem obvious.  Living one’s life in transgender-centric surroundings is not conducive to taking the final step in the process of becoming part of the community of women.  It is continuing to live in the transgender ghetto.  One does not have to be hostile to genuine transgender people nor wish to deny genuine transgender people their rights.  But who is actually transgender?  This is a reasonable question. I had a hostile transvestite who goes by the on-line name of Carolyn-Ann come here a while back with his penis waving transvestite BS.  He got pissy when he found out I wasn’t about to be bullied by him and has periodically trashed me on his blog ever since.  Do I have to consider him a woman, or welcome him into women’s space?

Speaking of women’s space…  Many of us have been welcomed into women’s space based upon our work within the feminist and lesbian communities, our personalities.  Even the Michigan Women’s Music Festival quietly expanded its policies to permit women identified post-transsexual women into the festival.  Yet Camp Trans continues as many will not be satisfied until people with penises can invade any and all gatherings of women.

I have been accused of being a “genital surgery essentialist” by Autumn Sandeen.  Monica Roberts, who has advocated violence against Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford, suggesting they should be pimp slapped and condoning a transvestite named Anthony Casebeer suggestion that these women be attacked with a baseball bat.  Monica Roberts, who often points out racial injustice is equally often given to hyperbole and regularly engages in phalliocentric dismissals of post-transsexual women, snidely implying that women born transsexual has racist connotations with her oh so cute”WWBT” and her disparaging of our bodies as having man-made vanilla scented neo-coochies.

Nice going Monica.  You have insured the heightening of the contradictions.

One can be woman identified or one can be part of the phalliocentric Transgender Borg Collective.  One cannot be both.

I consider the attacks upon Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford to be unwarranted, nor do I see any real merit in the arguments coming fron the TG Borg/Inc.  The inclusiveness of the “Transgender as Umbrella” paradigm is its weakness not its strength.  They use post-transsexual women as a front when so many of them are men in their daily lives.  The refusal to limit Transgender to people who live 24/7/365 when writing legislation that grants entry to restrooms and other spaces where women expect a reasonable level of privacy, causes many women to be reasonably wary, to ask just what this means.

When post-transsexual women who have been around the scene and know what is going on because they have seen the reality take sides in this issue one may justifiably ask, “Do you stand with women, or do you stand with transvestites?”

I have been called a “radical feminist” by some in the TG Borg/Inc.  I guess I am, if that means I put the interests of women either assigned female at birth or surgically reassigned as female at a later time ahead of the interest of either transgender people or transvestites.

I put women without a prefix or adjective and their interests first, because that is what being woman identified requires.  Being woman identified isn’t an identity or make-up and clothing.  It is a commitment to women, both because you are a woman and because you put the interests of women first.

How Ken Kesey’s LSD-fuelled bus trip created the psychedelic 60s

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film?INTCMP=SRCH

Long-lost footage of journey across America by the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and his Merry Pranksters to spread the word about acid has been turned into a documentary

in New York
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 6 August 2011

Flush with funds from the success of his debut novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey, then 29, drew up plans in 1963 to drive a bus across the US to the World’s Fair in New York. In June 1964, an exotically painted 1939 Harvester school bus rolled out of his ranch in La Honda, California. This was to be no ordinary journey. Kesey’s Beat Generation associate Neal Cassady – the inspiration for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road – was driving the bus they called Further. On board were half a dozen travellers who called themselves the Merry Pranksters and a jar of orange juice laced with LSD. The trip, immortalised in Tom Wolfe‘s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, would become the mythologised starting point of the psychedelic 60s.

“The trip had a dual purpose,” said Wolfe. “One was to turn America on to this particular form of enlightenment, the other was to publicise [Kesey's] new book, Sometimes A Great Notion. Kesey was a great writer. It was too bad he abandoned writing but I think he meant it when he said, ‘I’m tired of waiting for an echo, I want to be a lightning rod’.”

The footage shot on the cross-country odyssey was considered unusable and duly forgotten. But in a new documentary, Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, film-makers Alison Ellwood and Alex Gibney have found a way to construct a coherent film from it. “It’s like watching a fuse being lit,” says Gibney, who won an Oscar for Taxi to the Dark Side, a 2007 documentary about America’s use of torture during interrogation. “The be-ins hadn’t happened yet, but you can see they’re filled with idealism, playfulness and curiosity. You can see them making it up – or at least Ken Kesey is making it up. He’s already myth-making.”

The durability of that myth, of course, is rooted in American ideals of freedom. Carolyn Garcia, aka Mountain Girl, the prankster who would later marry Jerry Garcia of the rock band the Grateful Dead, says Kesey felt that a film of the bus trip would spread the gospel of freedom through LSD. “They didn’t know they were starting the 60s, obviously, but they knew they had a big secret and they were going to exploit it to the full.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film?INTCMP=SRCH

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45,000 Verizon workers strike

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/07/45000-verizon-workers-strike/

By Reuters
Sunday, August 7th, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Unions representing 45,000 Verizon Communications workers called for a strike as negotiations failed for a new labor contract that expired at midnight on Saturday.

Verizon and the unions — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – had been in talks since late June.

The workers who went on strike on Sunday are technicians and customer support employees in Verizon’s wireline business, which provides Internet and land phone lines to homes and businesses in the U.S. Northeast.

Verizon is looking to keep costs in check at its wireline business, which has been declining for a decade as customers have disconnected their home phones in favor of cellphone and Internet services.

The two sides were unable to agree on issues related to healthcare contributions, pension plans and work rules, according to Verizon and the CWA.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/07/45000-verizon-workers-strike/

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Is There a Reason Why I am supposed to Care About RuPaul’s “Drag Race”?

I get a bunch of different news feeds including several TS/TG oriented ones that I sometimes pull news items from.

I also read several dozen blogs and get leads from Facebook.  I listen to Derick  and Romaine on the satellite radio and so many folks seem to care about this show.

I don’t get it.  But then I don’t watch Dancing With the Stars or American Idol either, although I will fess up to watching Iron Chef America and some other reality shows.

I just don’t get it.

I guess it must be a gay guy sort of thing but I’d rather watch “This Old House”, Antiques Road Show, or the Pawn Shop show.

When people act like I should care I feel vaguely offended.  Not on some sort of moralistic basis or because I don’t like some really trashy and campy shit.  I mean I collect and read reprints of the lurid covered 1950s and 60s lesbian novels..

I think it is more like the process of a gay guy learning to be a drag performer is boring, whereas some of the performers are themselves quite terrific.

I  consider some of the performers real artists and their shows real art.

So maybe my problem with Drag Race is with how Apprentice or American Idol it comes off.  Maybe it is RuPaul?  Hasn’t his fifteen minutes of fame expired yet?

Perhaps part of the problem is the whole hoopla about transgender being the umbrella term that covers everyone from the heterosexual cross dresser to people who are many years post-SRS.

Maybe this stuff appeals to a whole other demographic in the so called community that is actually a bunch of separate communities.

Recently there were a bunch of headlines about “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” . I guess they made a Broadway musical out of it.  I saw the movie some 15 years ago.  It sucked big time as most fictional movies featuring drag queens, transsexuals and transgenders usually do.

The only way I would go see the play would be free tickets and a dollar a word for a 1500 word review.

Transsexuals have tried to separate from the craziness that the term transgender creates by including everyone under the sun.

This is part of the reason why.  I didn’t go through SRS, get disowned and become a feminist only to watch a bunch of female impersonators portray sexist stereotypes.

Tell the queens doing crap like “Drag queen Bingo Night” to give it a rest.

I don’t give a damn about “Top-Model” or “Top-Designer”.  I think fashion is stupid and boring even though I like clothes and certain clothing stores.  The stuff I buy doesn’t go out of fashin because LL Bean is what used to be called a classic.

I’d rather be given another pair of Birkenstocks than an 800.00 dollar pair of  Manolo Blahniks as long as I get to keep the change.  Otherwise I’d e-Bay those puppies.

Now there are actually sister who are artist that I like.  Writers like Jennifer Boylan, Jan Morris.  I like Namoli Brennet, in part because I’m a sucker for sensitive hippie folk music of the type she performs.

But I’m a woman and woman identified.  Everything in my life isn’t 24/7 wall to wall trans.  I don’t live in a trans-centric world.  Or even a lesbian-centric.  I’m too old for that one and have too many different interests for that.

And I’d rater watch Pawn Shop Stars or Diners, Dives and Drive-ins than a bunch of silly boring sexist douche nozzle drag queens.

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Credibility, Chutzpah And Debt

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/opinion/credibility-chutzpah-and-debt.html?_r=1&hp

By
Published: August 7, 2011

To understand the furor over the decision by Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency, to downgrade U.S. government debt, you have to hold in your mind two seemingly (but not actually) contradictory ideas. The first is that America is indeed no longer the stable, reliable country it once was. The second is that S.& P. itself has even lower credibility; it’s the last place anyone should turn for judgments about our nation’s prospects.

Let’s start with S.& P.’s lack of credibility. If there’s a single word that best describes the rating agency’s decision to downgrade America, it’s chutzpah — traditionally defined by the example of the young man who kills his parents, then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

America’s large budget deficit is, after all, primarily the result of the economic slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis. And S.& P., along with its sister rating agencies, played a major role in causing that crisis, by giving AAA ratings to mortgage-backed assets that have since turned into toxic waste.

Nor did the bad judgment stop there. Notoriously, S.& P. gave Lehman Brothers, whose collapse triggered a global panic, an A rating right up to the month of its demise. And how did the rating agency react after this A-rated firm went bankrupt? By issuing a report denying that it had done anything wrong.

So these people are now pronouncing on the creditworthiness of the United States of America?

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/opinion/credibility-chutzpah-and-debt.html?_r=1&hp

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When ‘Everybody Has a Price’ Who Will Stand Up to Injustice?

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/07-2

by Thomas S. Harrington
Published on Sunday, August 7, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

“Seems that everybody’s got a price, I wonder how they sleep at night”.   

With this line from her catchy tune, “Price Tag”, the precocious British pop singer Jessie J.  touches on a cultural issue that very few of the elite opinion-makers in this country seldom ever dare to address frontally.

Are we economic beings above all else? Does each really of us, as we often hear, really have “a price” that, if identified and met, will effectively turn us into the moral plaything of another person or a social institution?

Looking around, there are a lot of reasons for believing that the smug “human price theorists” among us might be on to something.

My most powerful experience in this regard came, not in these United States of Consumption, but on a misty midnight street in Havana ten years ago.

On the way home to my hotel, I was approached by a scrawny teenage girl who was eager to engage me in conversation. We talked for a bit until she politely offered me her sexual services. I politely said no and made a move to join my friend who had continued walking ahead.

As I started to depart, she looked at me with a look that can only be described as one of alarmed perplexity, the type one sees on the face of someone who feels they have miscalculated badly in a social interaction. She grabbed me by the arm and asked me what was wrong. She then inquired if there was some act that I was particularly fond of that she had forgotten to include in the set of services she had mentioned. And shortly thereafter, she wondered out loud whether I thought her prices were out of line.

I tried to explain that that I just wasn’t interested. As she listened, the perplexed look returned to her face.

It was then that I finally understood her confusion.  I was a European-looking male and she was a Cuban woman offering sexual services at what she knew were discount prices on the world scale.  In her world, the only discordant matters in such encounters were ones of price or consumer choice. That the dominant economic partner in the equation (me) might simply declare his indifference to the “price game”, which she had come to use as the proxy for value in her young life, was simply unfathomable to her. Clearly she had internalized the idea that everything had a price and that the only real drama or mystery in human interactions lay in finding it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/07-2

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