Evangelina wrote in a comment:
Ive come across so-called “surveys” and research questionaires on line and after reading through them it would seem from the questions they are not looking for truth but confirmation of a crackpot theory or details of the discrimination I’ve encountered as a “transgendered person” Well since I am not transgendered I really can’t say; I’ve encountered plenty as a woman but none as a transsexual. That could be because no-one is aware I am a woman born transsexual of course.
The only way any really valuable research could get done is for us to do it ourselves and find some academic to front it.
We have our own experts, tons of us are expert in aspects of our existences. We have Lynn Conway and Andrea James who have extremely comprehensive websites. We have Ph.D.s such as Jay Prosser and Viviene Namaste who are challenging the conventional wisdom on a number of matters. Namaste is a former sex worker and knows what she is talking about when she confronts the people of “Day of Remembrance” and says a number of the people being claimed as transgender were not known to be transsexual until the medical examiner documented them as such and were not murdered for being transsexual or transgender but rather because they were sex workers.
The other thing is people pushing this idea of transgender as umbrella. The idea that a political identity trumps race and class, becoming a separate class in the process is one of those bogus ideas that arose when we started developing separate movements for people with individual traits and stopped forming mass movements. We got suckered in as there were so many cops infiltrated into the various movements and subverting them we lost focus of the macro issues and focused instead on the micro.
After SRS I found that Feminism was a better fit and dealt with more of my issues than did other movement. As a lesbian identified bisexual I found Lesbian Feminism a better fit. I was never particularly taken with the lumping lesbians and gay men together and even less taken with the invasion of straight transvestites either full or part time demanding entry to the lesbian community.
You see I tend to see male and female as a pretty primary division in the world. In the words of Lucy Parsons whose husband was martyred at Haymarket Square, “We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.”
In reality the vast bulk of discrimination, exploitation and abuse I have suffered in the 37 years since SRS have been due not to having had transsexualism and having been treated for it with sex reassignment surgery but rather due to my being female.
I think this is true for most of us who do not cling to transsexualism as though it is a shard of male privilege that makes us special.
The things that make me special are not that I had an operation but rather all the things I have done besides having an operation. Any fool can have an operation.
Why we are having to fight an up hill battle on many of these matters isn’t due to a lack of very bright people who share the experience of having had TS and having had SRS but rather because we tended to obey the misogynistic party line presented to us by the professionals, who were intil recently mainly men and even now tend to be men and their female sycophants. That party line was that we could not be objective regarding our own experiences. Then it was that we lacked the education.
All these reasons are identical to the misogynistic reasons put on women born female as to why men are the authorities on women’s lives and women are not the authorities on what they experience. In 1673 Poulain de la Barre wrote in On the Equality of Both Sexes, “All that has been written about women by men should be suspect, for the men are at once judge and a party to the lawuit.”
In reality no one who is presenting a case is capable of giving objective evidence. Not as long as they are a party to that case. All evidence is subjective and aimed at furthering the claim of the person presenting it. And that is fine just so long as we realize that academic credentials do not bestow a mantle of objectivity rather than subjectivity upon the argument that is being presented.
In Being and Nothingness Jean Paul Sartre made the statement that when one goes looking for advice one has already decided upon the advice one wants based on where one goes looking. The presented questionnaires are not looking for objective answers or even subjective ones that might challenge the original premise of the posited questions, they are looking for answers that will reinforce a pre-arrived at conclusion.
This is the reason for asking multiple choice questions and not essay ones. With multiple choice there is a structuring that prevents individual though, a suppression of the freedom to think and the channeling of answers to that pre-determined conclusion.
This is one reason I like it when we tell our individual stories, no matter how many of the identical details they have in them they always have individual solutions for coping with those identical issues. And from examining the solutions arrived at by others we can offer better advice to those who come after us.
June 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm
“This is the reason for asking multiple choice questions and not essay ones. With multiple choice there is a structuring that prevents individual though, a suppression of the freedom to think and the channeling of answers to that pre-determined conclusion.”
Truer words are seldom spoken. These kinds of surveys are a big problem. They seem to be the basis for the so-called science touted by the psycho-social community at large – conclusions based on answers to leading questions.
June 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm
The main thrust of trans activism has been through the work of people like Lynn Conway doing battle with the overseers. This is a necessary and invaluable part of the solution; you have to attack the tools of oppression, which in this case are whacko theories about what makes us what we are.
At some point you have to move beyond, to add on to what has come before. The bounds of professional courtesy are a hindrance to the things that need to be done now. In order to be an effective advocate, people in the academic game have to observe rules that grant the oppressor too much power. They stack the deck in favor of the attacker, forcing the game to be played by their rules. You can never truly get rid of the abuser as long as they hold the power in the relationship. The ‘system’ (i.e. the people higher up, behind the scenes) will simply find another Zucker.
You have to discredit the person and the system they enforce. Sometimes the only way to do this is to expose the truth and let the resulting scandal do its work. I’m not sure the polite fictions of academe are up to the task.