I am becoming an old woman. I am 63 and all my close sister friends from the 1960s and early 1970s are dead. I am the old crone, the teller of the oral histories.
We all shared a common history beyond our have been born transsexual or transgender. Every one of us was an abused child.
The abuse started young. When strangers miss sexed us and called us pretty little girls our parents punished us, the rationalization was they had to make a man out of us.
Many adult gay men and lesbian women describe the same sort of abuse that was aimed at enforcing proper gender role behavior.
One of my favorite writers, John Rechy has said that LGBT/TQ kids are the only minority born to their oppressors. They are the children of their first persecutors. As children we are, each and every one of us, “the only one”.
We learn early to hate ourselves for what we are, because manifesting signs of being part of the queer alphabet is the one flaw parents will not dismiss in the name of love. Sometimes it seems the only flaw that will result in the total withdrawal of love is queerness, being different in sex or gender even long before sexuality emerges in a recognizable form.
There is all sorts of bullying and intimidation. Bullies wear many different disguises and can be an individual or powerful institutions such as the police, schools, a religion or a nation.
Bullying can be individual, small group or institutional.
The recent focus on kids being bullied for queerness focuses on individual and small group acts.
Doing so individualizes the problem, which is actually a manifestation of far greater cultural issues.
A Greater Problem
Every time I put up an article regarding another LGBT/TQ kid committing suicide I put up an “It Gets Better” video. When I do so I feel hypocritical, like I am mouthing some sort of post-modern/new age lie.
Because I am pretending that there is some sort of magic age and after that point the bullying goes away and it doesn’t it just turns into systematic and institutionally supported discrimination.
Therein lays the problem. Like other minorities and women LGBT/TQ folks have all sorts of respected, powerful institutions supporting the bullying that grows up to be systematic discrimination.
If you have ever heard the phrase, “special rights” used in reference to our struggles for equal rights and privilege to those that are automatically granted to straight white Christian men who are middle class or higher then you have witnessed systematic bullying/discrimination.
Since the election of Reagan and the shift to the winner take all market economy in the 1980s people in certain nations have gotten far meaner and more alienated from not just the world but from their neighbors and colleagues. Rugged individualism for the beaten down and institutionally supported discrimination and bullying for those who do the beating.
The idea of collective action in opposition to such institutionalized violence is anathema to even those who are oppressed. The tribalization brought on by the ideology of multi-culturalism and the ascendancy of identity politics means such a close focus on a shopping list of interests with an unwillingness to engage with and support equally abused people whose profile doesn’t exactly match our own.
The tribalism of multi-culturalism is a form of group rugged individualism.
Add to all this the cancer of pacifism as the only course of action. People have bought into the myth of Gandhi’s non-violence ending British rule in India while ignoring the role played by World War II in ending European colonization around the world. People cite Martin Luther King as the reason for the passage of civil rights laws while ignoring the role played by violent black up-risings/rebellions in cities across the nation.
We live in a society that glorifies abusers, rapists, torturers as warriors. We are told to be non-violent in the face of severe physical and emotional violence. Warned that fighting back is as bad as initiating the violence.
So we suffer in silence. We turn the contempt and rage at our victimization inward.
We ask how? What value is there to living a life where I am denied the things others take for granted.
Langston Hughes asked, what becomes of a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or putrefy or does it explode?
But for transsexual or transgender people the bullying never ends.
When we read of the murder of a transgender sex worker, who worked the streets we say, “Oh, it was because she was a sex worker and deceived the man.” As though that justifies his murdering her. Or if we work the phones we say, “It was because she was working the streets.
Never mind the intersect between misogyny and transphobia that makes all women prey even as it elevates certain classes of women to a status of more valued and protected while buying into a patriarchal/hierarchical structure that deem certain classes of women as worthless and sanctions violence against them.
Then comes a case like the murder in Brazil. I guess the “down by law” rule applies, the rule that says no matter how hard you try to rise above the status of pariah you are still a worthless human.
That sort of thing beats us down.
This last week I encountered the writings, if you can call their frothing at the mouth, filth spewing hate filled rantings writing, and not the regurgitation of historical blood libels. One was from a misogynistic Taliban Catholic and the other was from a self ordained “young radical feminist” (who uses an alias). Funny how the writings of this pair are virtually identical. Even funnier is how they come at a time when the right to have control over one’s own body is under assault by both the Taliban Christians and the Rabid Right Wing.
I was just coming out during the height of Second Wave Feminism. When both access to abortion and access to treatment for transsexualism/transgenderism were both matters of contention. We thought we had won those rights only to see the gaining of that access to the right of self-determination was only be the opening in a battle which has gone on for over 40 years.
Bullying in the name of Radical Feminism
This has always be a huge What The Fuck? with me. What is feminist about beating up on what is at most a tiny minority of people both assigned female at birth and assigned male at birth who are so uncomfortable in the sex and gender role they were assigned that they grow up needing to change that sex and gender role in the case of people with transsexualism or just the expected gender role in the case of people with transgenderism?
This one is like saying that in order to be a “radical feminist” one must engage in the abuse of animals. Perhaps the analogy seems meaningless but the initial premise that one of the vital tenets of radical feminism is the denial of the humanity of TS/TG people is pretty much insane as well.
Mostly though is sucks to have some one who claims to be a radical feminist bully me and my sisters out of the lesbian and/or feminist communities based on arguments that are identical in word and spirit to those of the fucktards at NARTH and sound like direct quotes from a Taliban Christian misogynist, who would like to impose Christian Sharia on American women.
What the fuck?
The weirdest argument of all is that TG/TS people, particularly my sisters are somehow agents of the patriarchy who are tools used oppress women.
Perhaps before calling oneself a “Radical Feminist” it might just behoove one to read Frederich Engels “On The Origins of the Family”
Otherwise “Right Wing Feminist” might be a vastly more accurate label than Radical Feminist.
I’m an old radical, I’ve gone to jail for my causes, stood my ground in the face of police brutality. As the song goes, “I shall not be moved.” or bullied.