Well for one thing, our meme doesn’t cause spell check to choke every time I put it in a document.
But another thing about WBT is that it doesn’t negate and erase our lives the way WBW does. The funny thing about womyn born womyn is how it negates much of the theory posited by Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex, particularly the part about, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” Meaning one is born female and shaped by society into the role expected of women.
We rightly jump down the throats of transgender activists who say, “Once a trans anything always transgender.” Yet we kiss the asses of those radical lesbian feminists who basically say the same thing.” We even in some cases become the the loudest most fervent embracers of that hatefulness. I was not surprised when some of the most anti-transsexual voices at the MWMF turned out to be the voices of closeted post-SRS women. Or the most viciously anti-transsexual intersex spokespeople also turned out to be closet case self-hating post-SRS women.
It takes a great deal of self-hatred to distance yourself from those who went through the same thing you did. You have to say, “I am not one of those.” But you are. Just like wide stance gay Larry Craig or gay Charlie Crist, two Republican homophobes, you can run but you can’t hide. At least not from yourself, although it is possible to deny.
Along with having read a great deal of transsexual material I have also read a great deal of feminist material and I know the various branches. I have lived within the progressive movements for some 45 years now so I’ve watched the formation of numerous circular firing squads and acts of movement cannibalism.
Hypathia’s Child suggested we failed to work within the lesbian feminist movement. That assumes we didn’t. We did. We were faced with a dilemma, pass or be excluded from the movement. So we were silent and silence = erasure. When I spoke up 20 years after the fact I was told, “You should have defended transsexuals, it would have made a difference.” Except I did, and only a few wanted to listen. They told me that if others knew and attacked me they would not support me because they did not want to also be attacked.
I accepted that even though accepting it meant also accepting I was considered a lesser human being within a movement I was working for.
Oh, how I had to lie to myself when I heard others talk about the mutilated men, and the once a man always a man. I took some very powerful self deception to think I was an exception. But I was accepted while other sisters were getting trashed.
But then in 1982 when the trashings reached the point of censorship and the burning of sex positive books written by the women of Samois, a San Francisco based lesbian S/M organization that at the time was also the only lesbian group to openly support WBTs (Thanks Patrick Califia) I had enough. That year I marched with the outlaws, the sex positive dykes of Samois. I wore leather and marched topless down Market Street.
I have to admit I have felt a great deal of ambivalence regarding “Camp Trans”… I heard about it from Janis Walworth who did a slide show and talk in Los Angeles. I read about it in Transsisters. I know about some of Riki’s actions and have also experienced ambivalence regarding those actions.
I’ve never had much inclination to protest something I have no real desire to go to.
I am far more angry regarding the philosophy behind womyn born womyn than I am regarding the festival. At its core is a sort of body fascism, a right of agency demanded for WBWs when it comes to birth control and abortion accompanied with a denial of agency to WBTs when it comes to our bodies and the legitimacy of our having sex reassignment surgery.
The bit about socialization is as strangely anti-science as creationism. If gender is only socialization why aren’t all women fembots? It assumes that we are socialized in completely separate spheres and that it is impossible tohave become adult men or women without being exposed to the social roles expected of the other. WBTs are othered if our femininity is too perfect, we are othered if our femininity isn’t perfect enough. We are othered if we are indistinguishable from our WBW sisters. Indeed the latter is perhaps the worst offence of all, for then we become “the spy in the house of love” and a militant WBW could actually find herself desiring one of us.
One of the WBW messages that I have long found extremely oppressive has been the one that rather than changing our bodies to ones we feel comfortable in we should stay male and fight gender role conformity, the “binary” by transgressing gender rather than reinforcing the sex/gender binary by having sex reassignment surgery.
How is that different from the ideology of transgender?
One of the main reasons for the popularity of transgender with the gay and lesbian community is that it forever others us into the status of transgressive gender outlaws defying the gender binary. When most WBTs get SRS with the expectation of integration into the world as women.
Some of us even consider ourselves feminist and are tired of the being beaten down by other feminists and lesbians for something we were born.
It is a form of misogyny whether it comes from a man who physically murders people because they are transsexual or transgender or from lesbian feminists who degrade and abuse us verbally.
Hateful abusive words cut as deep as a knife, the only difference is the scars that are left are on the soul and not upon the flesh.