RadFem2012: Excluding on the basis of gender

From The Independent UK:  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/05/23/radfem2012-excluding-on-the-basis-of-gender/

By Sophie Warnes
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

As someone who is interested in feminism as a movement, I was pleased to find out about RadFem2012 – a Radical Feminism conference held in London in July. Unfortunately, to my disappointment and anger, this conference has a policy of excluding people based on gender – not only men, but also people who are transgender. I am particularly concerned that trans women (assigned male at birth but now living as women) are being excluded from this space because there aren’t really any other adequate – and safe! – spaces for them to be in where they can discuss feminist issues.

I have been told that I shouldn’t be disappointed because radical feminism includes ‘trans theory criticism’, and that clearly if I can’t see why trans people are being left out, then it is because I am not a radical feminist. But it’s worth noting that at no point in the explanation of what radical feminism is on the conference website, does it say that transphobia, or even ‘trans theory criticism’, is an integral part to the politics of radical feminism. It does, however, list those issues that I do think are important to discuss: male-perpetrated violence against women, the sex industry, cultural misogyny, and the effects of economic and environmental policies on women across the world.

Thus, by the organisers’ own definition, excluding trans people (or even having a debate about trans people) isn’t a critical part of radical feminism. And in fact, one of the pioneering – or most well-known – radical feminists, Andrea Dworkin, wrote herself that: “That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many… The words “male” and “female,” “man” and “woman,” are used only because as yet there are no others…We can presume then that there is a great deal about human sexuality to be discovered, and that our notion of two discrete biological sexes cannot remain intact.”

I suspect the root of the issue is either a fundamental misunderstanding of what transgenderism is, or a bizarre need for ciswomen (assigned female at birth, and still living as females)to claim feminism – as in, what it means to be a woman, as well as feminism as a political standpoint – for their own. In the first instance, transgenderism is borne out of a condition known as gender dysphoria. Those with gender dysphoria feel like they are in the wrong body; born the wrong gender.

Complete article at:  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/05/23/radfem2012-excluding-on-the-basis-of-gender/

7 Responses to “RadFem2012: Excluding on the basis of gender”

  1. Jody Ann Malsbury Says:

    This is the comment I posted in response to ​TransActivist’s “My message to those who would attend Radfem 2012,” directed to the organisers of Radfem 2012:

    I happen to be a cisgender woman (I don’t give a rat’s @$$ whether YOU like that word or not–it’s how *I* identify MYSELF, and I don’t accept other people’s labels of me.) But how will you know that if I show up at your conference?

    Do you plan to inspect my genitals for scars to make sure I’ve not had SRS? Or maybe just to make sure I have the “right” genitals. Or perhaps do DNA testing to make sure I have 2 X chromosomes?

    What if I have Klinefelter’s Syndrome in which a person is typically considered “male” but who may have 2, 3 or even 4 X chromosomes (and at least 1 but up to 5 Y chromosomes) and whose secondary sex characteristics can be ambiguous? How about de la Chapelle syndrome (also called XX male syndrome), in which I may have male genitalia but an XX karyotype? Maybe I have Swyer syndrome (XY gonadal dysgenesis)–with what appears to be a female body but without breast development (because I have no ovaries, although I do have a uterus), with an XY karyotype. Alternatively, I could have androgen insensitivity syndrome, in which I may also have the appearance of a woman but the XY karyotype of a male. If you only count X chromosomes you’d be in trouble if I have Turner’s Syndrome, in which a female has only 1 chromosome (an X) and even more trouble if I have Turner mosaicism, in which the other X chromosome is missing in some cells but not in others! I suppose you’d become even more confused if I had Triple X (Trisomy X), Quadruple X (Tetrasomy X), or XXXXX Syndrome (Pentasomy X) in which I would have 3, 4 or 5 X chromosomes, respectively.

    Intersex conditions can also result from 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (a genetic mutation affecting hormones necessary for the development of male genitalia; XY karyotype only; may also present with female genitalia), Addison’s Disease (a rare, chronic endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient steroid hormones, resulting in enlarged clitoris and shallow vagina or ambiguous genitalia in girls), Aphallia (congenital malformity in which the penis or clitoris is absent; XX or XY karyotype), Fraser Syndrome (an autosomal recessive congenital disorder that results in a micropenis in a boy or an abnormally enlarged clitoris in a girl), Penile agenesis (a birth defect in which a boy is born without a penis, often as a consequence of Testicular agenesis), or Tetragametic chimerism (the fertilization of a male and a female nonidentical twin ovum in a very early phase of development results in a mixture of tissues; chromosomal karyotypes will be male in some parts of the body and female in others; most chimeras composed of both male and female cells probably do not have an intersex condition, as often most or all of the cells of a single cell type will be composed of a single cell line, i.e. the blood may be composed prominently of one cell line, and the internal organs of the other cell line, so if the sex organs are homogeneous, the individual will not be expected to exhibit any intersex traits; may present with ambiguous genitalia, or both male and female genitalia in rare form of intersexuality formerly known as “true hermaphroditism”).

    So… do you want me to strip, or what? Or do you plan to check my chromosomes? You might have to check various parts of my body. And how are you going to know… for sure?

    There is no doubt that men have historically marginalized women. But women are also oppressed due to gender identity, race, religion, social class, perceived attractiveness, sexual orientation, and ability. No one is equal until all are equal.

    Trans women are WOMEN. If you pulled your head out of your @$$ and took some time to educate yourself on the subject and opened your mind and got to KNOW some transgender women, you’d know that,

    There is a special place in hell for women who oppress and marginalize other women. Have a WONDERFUL day.

  2. Om Kalthoum Says:

    A solution sounds simple to me. The blogger states she is “interested in feminism as a movement,” but she has problems with the radical feminist organizers setting particular boundaries for attendance at their conference. She should look into attending or helping to organize an event called “Feminism2012” or “Transgender2012” where anyone is welcome. Problem solved.

    • Suzan Says:

      Isn’t enough that Christo-fascists and right wing neo-Nazis have stolen Susan B. Anthony to use for for ttheir perverted purposes? Now feminists are supposed to allow you creeps and thugs to trash out feminism too.

      How come you right wing thugs always show up when there is a war on women and LGBT people going on?

      Too busy with other things when you aren’t needed to sow dissension and disruption?

      You aren’t feminists. You are nothing but a bunch of bullies and thugs.

  3. Om Kalthoum Says:

    “Isn’t enough that Christo-fascists and right wing neo-Nazis have stolen Susan B. Anthony to use for for ttheir perverted purposes? Now feminists are supposed to allow you creeps and thugs to trash out feminism too.”

    Blah, blah thugs, blah, blah, catch phrase, blah, blah some name that sounds catchy.

    “How come you right wing thugs….”

    Define “right wing thugs.”

    “always show up when there is a war on women and LGBT people going on?”

    Tell me when there’s NOT been a “war on women” going on? I wouldn’t say this is true of you, Suzan, but I’ve noticed that the transwomen who are most into telling other women how to behave lived for decades as men without doing jack for women and women’s equality. Now suddenly they’re experts.

    I’m sorry to see that you’ve recently started with a real jingoistic response to everything you approach. Just a few tired lefty catch phrases, then a link to an article. Come on, exercise your brain. Stop shouting slogans.

    • Suzan Says:

      Who are you to dictate anything to me?

      By whose authority do you presume to dictate how I should think or that I use “tired left wing” phrases?

      Obviously you haven’t actually followed this blog or else you would know I am an unabashed left winger, an unapologetic progressive.

      That right there betrays where you are coming from so slither back under your right wing bigot rock.

  4. Om Kalthoum Says:

    Got it. You’re really not interested in any sort of back and forth. Go back to your sloganeering.

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