The Joy of Having a Reference Library

I don’t know if Sandy Stone was thinking of me or Jan when she wrote in The “Empire” Strikes Back: A Post-Transsexual Manifesto about sisters who were the keepers of the “obligatory trannie files/libraries”.  And Sandy was wrong about why sisters have these libraries.  It isn’t to persuade by delivering an acceptable narrative although knowing biases is important.

It is possible as she knew both Jan and myself.  Jan lost interest as the years went on but I kept and have added to my library of books about transsexualism.  As an autodidact it fits right in with my feminist library as well as my gay and lesbian one.

I find myself most interested in biographies as they tell our stories and I learned the importance of our shared story from the writings Howard Zinn and Studs Turkel.

I was deeply depressed and drinking way too much in the last half of the 1990s. My friends made a major effort to save my life and it worked.  But a couple of other people:  Jake Hale and Susan Striker helped me to realize I was a person in history and what I had done along with the records and information I had collected was of historical importance.

Susan Striker collected an oral history from me and I became an index entry in Joanne Meyerowitz’s How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States.

I held on to the books.  I took photos and saved clippings.

This is to say that over the next few weeks I am going to thoroughly trash Charles Virginia Prince and I am going to not only tell you what he did but I am going to give you quotations and citations that will demonstrate that he was THE source of most of the anti-transsexual bullshit that has been thrown at us over the last 50 years.

Maine Enacts Marriage Equality, NH Legislature Approves It

Less than an hour after the Maine Senate gave final approval to a marriage equality bill, Democratic Governor John Balducci on May 6 signed the legislation into law. A day earlier, the House of Representatives had given approval to the measure, by a vote of 89-57, passed in preliminary form, by the Senate last week. The final Senate vote this week was 21-13.

In a written statement Balducci said, “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

Baldacci becomes the first governor in the nation to sign a marriage equality law not mandated by a court. Earlier this year, Connecticut’s Republican governor, Jodi Rell, signed a measure passed by the Legislature there to conform the state’s laws to its high court marriage equality ruling last year. Republican Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Jim Douglas of Vermont vetoed similar measures, though Douglas’ action was overridden.

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Rejecting the “Queering” of our Lives

I despise “Queer Theory” as much as I despise the Ayn Randite Chicago School of Economics.

Recently the ever irascible Larry Kramer trashed “Queer Theory” (See Larry Kramer’s Case Against “Queer” by Charles Kaiser)

Kramer’s Full Speech

Kramer is right Gay and Lesbian Studies which were about the lives of Gays and Lesbians have been replace by the total bullshit of the oh so trendy and post-modern “Queer Studies”

Women’s Studies have been replaced with the same sort of post-modern “Gender Studies”

And they are bullshit in any sort of deconstructed textual and subtextual discursive jargon fucking laden language.  Neo-con/neo-lib bullshit.

I imagine even Foucault who is often cited as starting all this crap would denounce it were he still alive.

Some 50 years ago back when Richard Green was still sort of a good guy he wrote an afterword to Dr. Benjamin’s book.  Basically rehashing a popular book from IIRC the 1920s titled “Venus Castina”.  Transsexualism isn’t a modern phenomena nor is it an artifact of western culture.

It isn’t a lot of things and I reject the terminology that has come into vogue to describe our lives and experiences.

I got into an on-line screaming match with some one who fancied himself a “Gender Outlaw”.  He was a queer theory/gender theory major and he insisted I was gender transgressive.  Now I’ll fess up to being whole lots of things including a lesbian identified bisexual anarcha-feminist atheist pinko commie, but gender transgressive…  Only by the standards of a pasty white upper middle class talibian religious right wing misogynistic culture could I possibly be considered gender transgressive.

I’m working class.  I work retail.  Our class is no longer divided into pink collar/blue collar because we all wear the uniform of polo shirts of the designated color if not actually bearing the company logo.  Everyone wears pants and sturdy shoes.

When I get home in the summer I tend to wear a skirt (Breathe free little koochie snorker!) in the winter jeans.  I may dress hipper than some women and less trendy than others but gender transgressive… By whose fucking definition?

Of course I can depend on the little Stalins of the QT/GT set to tell me that simply because I “live in a gender I wasn’t assigned at birth”.  I was assigned a sex at birth.  We didn’t use euphemisms for sex in those days as it was before the social construct of post-modernism.

I have been told I shouldn’t describe what I felt like before hormones and all as “Feeling like a woman trapped in a male body.” even though that was what it felt like.  I’m supposed to say I felt blahblahblah about my gender.  Except I didn’t.  If that was what I felt I could have been a queen and bought an expensive car or made the down payment on a house when one could buy a very nice house for about 30K.

This leads me to a new term that is cropping up “gender variant”.  What the fuck? I’m not a gender variant I’m a woman who was treated for transsexualism, something science is starting to show is a genetic based condition having to deal with varying levels of responses in sex hormone receptors and how they deal with hormone utilization.

Gender doesn’t have much of anything to do with it.  This sort of takes us back to the metaphorical starting point and explains how our bodies were telling us something was wrong.

And you know something else.  I’ve gotten really freaking tired of being some academic’s Ph.D. thesis.  Let them do something worthy of their talent for spreading bullshit, let them work retail.

Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM

By Julia Serano

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been called the “bible of mental illness” because it lists and defines all of the “official” psychiatric diagnoses according to the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM is in the early stages of undergoing its 5th major revision; each previous revision has seen the total number of mental disorders recognized (some might say invented) by the APA greatly increase. Last year, trans activists were particularly concerned to learn that Ken Zucker and Ray Blanchard had been named to play critical lead roles in determining the language of the DSM sections focusing on gender and sexuality, especially given that these researchers are well known for forwarding theories and therapies that are especially pathologizing and stigmatizing to gender-variant people.

Blanchard has recently presented some of his suggestions to revise the “Paraphilia” section of the DSM. In the past, this section has generally received little attention from feminists, as it has been primarily limited to several sexual crimes (e.g., pedophilia, frotteurism and exhibitionism) and a handful of other generally consensual but unnecessarily stigmatized sexual acts (such as fetishism and BDSM) that are considered “atypical” by sex researchers. However, there are two aspects of the proposed Paraphilia section revision that should be of great concern to feminists, as well as anyone else who is interested in gender and sexual equality.

Continue Reading on Feministing

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Good-Bye to Transgender and All That

[This was first published a year ago.

It first appeared in the online version of GayLife: Maryland’s GLBT Community Newspaper (May 4, 2007). GayLife is published by the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland.

And was republished in TS-SI.

I learned transgenders do not like post-SRS women who do not want to be part of their identity politics.]

Gwendolyn Smith asks what’s in a name?

She then castigates post-sex reassignment women who identify with the term “WBT” or “women born transsexual,” a term coined by my life partner and me in 2001 as a reaction to our sense of disappearing, being erased by the all-enveloping cult of “transgender as umbrella.”

At first, we made the simple request to some of the self-appointed community leaders that they use the combined term “transsexual and transgender” in order to reflect the reality that this political entity called the transcommunity is composed of groups of quite different people.

I was aware of these differences 35 years ago when I helped run the “National Transsexual Counseling Center” in San Francisco. It was obvious then that people who had sex reassignment surgery had little in common with those who later called transgender.

The coiner of the term transgender was Virginia Prince, a heterosexual crossdresser who held those of us who had sex reassignment surgery in contempt. Virginia was particularly vicious in her opinion regarding WBTs who were lesbian after sex reassignment surgery. She called us freaks and mistakes.

Nevertheless, when the transgender movement became popular in the mid 1990s many WBTs considered it a good idea. This was particularly true among those of us who were already active in the lesbian and gay community although many of us never saw the “T” stuck after LGB as applying to us.

As time went on many of us started to feel the leaders of the transgender community were using us. Many of us felt pressured by these leaders to identify as something we did not in our hearts feel we were.

When we said we were not transgender, the leaders started telling us we were transgender by definition. Imagine my surprise when 30 years after sex reassignment surgery, which made me female, I learned that in the name of political expediency and without my consent I had been defined as something I am not.

When I started calling people who identified with the transgender movement on this act of colonizing my life they started calling me an elitist and warned about how I could not live without the support of the community. They told me how lesbian separatists hated my kind even though I lived among lesbian separatists and worked for a lesbian publication where they knew my personal history.

Over the past year, WBTs have been debating replacing the term “transsexual” with “TS” for “Transsexual Syndrome” or “HBS” for “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” in honor of Dr. Benjamin who first defined the syndrome and treated us as human beings in need of medical care and sex reassignment surgery.

Prior to 1979 when the American Psychiatric Association (APA) pathologized transsexualism with the classification of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) it tended to be treated as innate, something similar as to how homosexuality is currently treated.

Many, including Dr. Benjamin, saw it as being more of an intersex condition than a psychiatric one. Indeed the surgery that changes our sex from male to female is similar to other surgeries performed on intersex people with one major exception. It is performed on us after we have reached an age where we have the agency to give fully informed consent.

The original meaning of the term transgender specifically excluded us and meant people who live full time in the gender role not associated with their current genitalia.

Those wishing to use post-sex reassignment surgery women for their own political purposes colonized us without the consent of many of us, claiming us as transgender because they believed it to be to their political advantage to have the public associate transgender with post-sex reassignment surgery women and men.

Because most of us assimilate as members of the sex that we have been reassigned to and are loathe to make spectacles of ourselves few stand up to contradict the politicos who claim to represent us. We do not march with the transgender community on Pride Day nor do we seek a “T” after LGB. Many of us are heterosexual and others like me are lesbians. If I march, I march with other lesbians. I do this even though I did at one point think the transgender community was a positive thing.

The transgender community is like a cult that pounds extremely negative messages into the heads of people treated for TS/HBS. Its fear mongering aims to convince post-sex reassignment surgery people to stay in the transgender ghetto rather than assimilate in to the world of members of their new sex.

So I’m saying good-bye to all that.

Good-bye to the fear mongering. Good-bye to the guilt tripping. Good-bye to being used for the political gains of people who do not represent me. Good-bye to all the negative messages aimed at convincing me you have the right to keep me hostage. Good-bye to letting you call me transgender, I never was one. Good-bye to the ghetto. Even though I still have friends there and still play there, I don’t live there anymore.

Good-bye to all the word games that try to turn “woman” from being descriptive of any adult female into a word that describes someone who acts and dresses in a certain manner. I’m too much of a feminist not to see that one as having the potential to oppress all women.

I long ago learned the lesson of abusive relationships, ones that abuse me emotionally and use me. The transgender community does just that to all WBTs. Some will stay just as some stay in abusive personal relationships.

As for me, I am serving divorce papers. Good-bye transgender community I want a divorce and I am taking back my own identity.

Good-bye to all that.
(“Good-bye to all that” as a statement has a history. See Robin Morgan and Del Martin.)

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