I’ve watched this minority group within the Feminist Movement pull this shit for some forty-three years.
In the 1970s before there was the social construct of Transgender they ran this number on post-transsexual women.
One of my friends has been stalked for years by one of these people.
The irony was so many of the sisters I knew who got SRS in the Seventies were feminists to one degree or another. Even if they were Cosmo feminists embracing the idea they had the power to use their appearance and sexuality to have control over their own lives.
I watched my heterosexual sisters stop letting boyfriends and lovers abuse them either physically or verbally.
As a group we understood what it meant for women to have control over their own medical decisions whether that control involved birth control/abortion or sex reassignment surgery.
I listened to the transphobic “Radical Feminists” and their vile bullying attacks. I could try to shrug it off and say to myself they were wrong, ignorant or could be educated out of their bigotry.
I taught myself photography and tried to figure out how to make a living from my work. I ran into the same problems many women in the arts run into. Women artists are rarely taken seriously. Something that is true in painting, photography music and all the rest of the arts. I was drawn to the Women’s Building on Spring Street in the warehouse district of LA. I went for classes and stayed for the camaraderie.
I was young and cute, my femaleness never questioned.
The Lesbian Tide asked if I would consider working for them as a photographer. I leaped at the opportunity to see my work in print. But I was aware of the controversy surrounding people like me participating in either the feminist or lesbian community.
My portfolio was filled with photographs of not only lesbian women but gay men, obvious TG folks, punk rockers.
I was asked if I was transsexual and I said yes. My girlfriend at the time defended me and I spoke regarding myself. The women of the Tide Collective were hesitant, some did not want to take the chance others would find out and The Tide would wind up being trashed the same way Olivia Records was being trashed.
I understood their concerns. This so called “Radical Feminist” faction didn’t give a shit about how they were damaging a Women’s Music Collective that was offering women, who didn’t fit the music industry’s idea of what a female artist should be, a company that would record and release their music.
I worked for the Tide with the agreement I would leave if there was ever any question raised about my history.
But think about this, a small faction of bullies showed a complete disregard for the health and well being of woman owned and run collectives. A level of disregard that would allow them to destroy those collectives if those collectives had the audacity to allow a woman with a transsexual history work for them.
Even more ironic is the aspect regarding compensation. The photography I did for the Lesbian Tide always cost me more to do than I received for the prints that were used. Just the cost of film, the chemicals for me to process the film or have it process and the prints cost me five times what they paid me to use the shots.
Before Raymond’s book was a book it was a thesis and an excerpt was published by a feminist journal called Chrysalis that was put out by the Women’s Building on Spring Street. Along with the excerpt was a photo essay of pictures taken at a transsexual/transgender rap group called Renaissance. The woman taking the pictures at the rap group said they were for personal usage yet used them in that essay without a signed release. One of the other sisters and myself took classes at the Women’s Building and attended events there.
Fortunately for me, I was never called on my picture being in that journal.
But there was a climate of fear.
There was something else that always bothered me more.
That was hearing supposed feminist, radical feminists at that, claim Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly were their sisters but no woman with a transsexual history, no matter how dedicated or hard working for feminism could ever be their sister.
I watched the destruction of second wave feminism. The purity checks, the trashings. I watched women’s groups be torn apart by those claiming to be more radical than anyone else.
Heterosexual women were trashed. Women were told not to bring male infants into “woman space.”
We didn’t manage to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, we ran out of energy…
Many women were tired of the bullshit.
NOW still thrives, Emily’s List, a host of other women’s organizations.
Nearly twenty years ago NOW formally accepted TS/TG people.
We are at a time when women’s rights are under attack from all sides. From the Christo-Fascists and ultra right wing Tea Baggers alike.
Yet the most important thing on the agenda of the so called Radical Feminists is attacking Transsexual and Transgender people.
Funny how the shit one hears from “radical feminists” is the same shit one hears from the Reich Wingers and the Christo-Fascists that want to end women’s reproductive rights.
One could be forgiven for mistaking the Radical Feminists as being part of the American Family Association.
Both are Bullies and I don’t like bullies. I take the side of the people bullies target.