Phyllis Schlafly, Feminism and Feminist Transsexual and Transgender Women

A couple of months after I went full time, the late summer of 1969 I tried to join a feminist group in Berkeley and was told I didn’t belong.  Even though I was welcome to march with them for feminist causes.

I was told I should join the Gay Liberation Front instead.  But I had nothing in common with the gay men of the GLF because I wasn’t a gay man.

But I had family on the radical left.  Weather didn’t give a damn that I was a woman now, not as long as I was still willing to join with my red/black comrades when it came to street actions.

Besides Feminism seemed to be big on demanding women withdraw from the anti-war movement and devote themselves 100% to the feminist cause while I never had a problem with supporting several causes.

Also the Feminist movement didn’t seem to have very much in the way of class consciousness.

Then Robin Morgan proceeded to trash not only the left but the hippie movement which probably had a better start on working out many issues of inequality and sexism than the people she didn’t trash.

I sort of said, “Fuck it, who needs this.”  I had a deserter boyfriend I was very much in love with.  I was happy being a hippie and working for SRS.  I liked the left wing movement I was part of.

I watched as Beth Elliott was targeted for trashing by the Bay Area Lesbians.

I was still a feminist.  I just wasn’t part of the Feminist Movement.

After I had my sex change surgery and broke up with my boyfriend I came out as a lesbian.  I moved to LA, live on Sunset Blvd and became part of the “scene’ hanging out with my camera.

I read Ms. Magazine, had a partner and eventually started hanging out at the Women’s Building.

The left wing movement dwindled after the Vietnam War had ended.  Hippies had sort of become invisible, absorbed into less obvious areas such as the arts.

To be a feminist I had to ignore the trashing of transsexuals, the trashing of gay men, when they really weren’t the enemy.

It wasn’t just Robin Morgan.  Gloria Steinem wrote a nasty piece about us in Ms. Magazine.

We were being trashed for stuff assigned female at birth women weren’t.  AFAB women were excused for buying into stuff like fashion while post-transsexual women were perpetuating negative feminine stereotypes.

Never mind the fact that we grew up subjected to the same sort of gender conditioning that caused AFAB women to buy into that sort of thing.

We were guilty of being transsexuals even when we were indistinguishable from our feminist AFAB sisters.

I started working for the Lesbian Tide as a photographer even though the work I did cost me far more than I ever made.

I read about the trashing of Beth Elliott and the later trashing of sandy Stone.  I considered both these women to be among my extended circle of friends and acquaintances.

The price of avoiding being targeted for trashing was keeping my mouth shut, even though the women of the Tide knew about my history.

I listened when excuses were made for Anita Bryant, when people were told that personally attacking her was out of line.

Very few spoke out in defense of either Beth or Sandy.  No attack upon them was ever considered too vile.

To this day radical feminists have no compunction about laying forth all sorts of vile lies, distortions and slanders when it come to transsexual or transgender people.

Yet we are not the ones leading the Concerned Women of America.  We are not the Phyllis Schlaflys.

We are ghettoized into some sort of third sex category called transgender, called names like gender variants.  Even when we have lived our entire adult lives as women.  Even when our life concerns have little or nothing to do with those of transsexual or transgender people because our having been transsexual is a matter of ancient history.

It is as though gender feminists can’t tell the difference between an ally and an enemy.

So I find myself back to where I was, back to being a part of the left where people understand the nature of class struggle.

Back to the realization that I have much more in common with a male hourly wage worker on the same concrete floor I’m on than I have with a six figure feminist attorney or a tenured feminist teaching women’s studies.

I also have vastly more in common with both the men and women of the left than I have with any right wing Republican woman.

What I still wonder about is why radical feminist spend so much energy attacking TS/TG folks and so little energy attacking their real enemies, like Phyllis Schlafly.

4 Responses to “Phyllis Schlafly, Feminism and Feminist Transsexual and Transgender Women”

  1. Marlene Says:

    I agree with you 1000% Suzan!

    The focus shouldn’t be on the shrew anymore, because the wizened old bat is a shell of her former self. It should be on the current generation of fanatics like Michelle Bachmann.

    • Suzan Says:

      Anyone who says that about Phyllis Schlafly doesn’t realize just how big a force she is in the Neo-Nazi Movement. Her involvement in the creation of what Hillary Clinton appropriately labeled the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”

  2. Andrea B. Says:

    The only thing I would ask about Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk is this. Where does the money originate from?

    • Suzan Says:

      Robert Welch of Welch’s Grape Juice was a major funder of the John Birch society where Schlafly cut her teeth. The wealthy elite has always been this ultra right wing oligarch. They were worshiping at the altar of Ayn Rand in the 1960s.

      The same ultra right put up the money behind Joe McCarty and the Red Scare of the 1950s.

      During WW II we had very wealthy Nazi Sympathizers in this country.

      They have always been there.

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