The Transsexual Empire 2: Coming to a Bookstore Near You in 2013!!!

From Transmeditations:

By Joelle Ruby Ryan
May 29, 2012

Reposted with Permission

I truly enjoyed reading Roz Kaveny’s spot-on article on Rad Fem 2012 that was recently printed in the UK Newspaper The Guardian.  If you have not read it, please read it here.

While reading Roz’s article, I discovered that “rad fem” anti-trans ideologue Sheila Jeffreys is working on a new book.  Entitled Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism, and slated to be published by Routledge in October 2013, the blurb for the forthcoming book reads as follows:

“Transgender describes those who seek recognition as the opposite sex or gender on a long-term basis. The idea and practice of transgenderism now affects legal systems, schoolteachers, parents, wives and partners, and the politics of gender in profound ways.  Gender Hurts examines the wider social and political context and implications of the phenomenon of transgenderism. Jeffreys and Gottschalk propose that gender in western culture is socially constructed as the basis of male domination and that the concept of gender has the potential to hurt many. They argue that in transgenderism the hurt can take several forms; psychologically, physically and socially. This book explore how the phenomenon is affecting people’s lives from exploring the implications for the children and adults who are diagnosed as having gender identity disorder, to the survivors’ movement who claim to have been misdiagnosed, and the impact on the partners of transgenders.  This controversial book is a must read for all students and scholars of the politics of sexuality, women’s studies, gender studies, queer studies, transgender studies and cultural studies courses.”

When perusing the page on Amazon, I noticed that Jeffreys has a co-author for the book, another Australian professor named Lorene Gottschalk.  I had never heard of her, so after a Google search I found this page, which is principally about Jeffreys’s slate of research.  However, Gottschalk name’s had come up because:

“Phd supervisions completed:
2000: Lorene Gottschalk’s ‘Feminism and the Construction of Lesbianism. A Comparison of Lesbians’ Experiences in Feminist and Non-Feminist Contexts’.”

So, Jeffreys is writing a new transphobic book with her former dissertation advisee.  Can you say déjà-vu?  Back in 1979, Janice Raymond released her anti-transsexual screed The Transsexual Empire and poisoned the feminist well against trans folks for many years to come with her vitriol.  And guess what?  Raymond began the project at Boston College under her dissertation adviser, lesbian separatist Mary Daly.  Nearly 35 years later, we see history repeating itself.  But my question is this: given how far we have come in terms of transgender liberation, activism and civil rights in the past three decades, how has it come to pass that another bitterly anti-trans book in the name of “feminism” (The Transsexual Empire 2?) is being written at all, much less published by a reputable publisher of gender studies books, Routledge?   I mean if it was Spinifex, I would be highly unsurprised, but Routledge?

Jeffreys wrote a sort of rebuttal to Kaveny’s piece complaining bitterly about Conway Hall’s decision to disallow her from speaking on the Rad Fem 2012 platform of scheduled speakers. See here. She particularly does not like us transgender activists spreading the word about Jeffreys vile work on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as all over the Blogosphere.  Jeffreys has the audacity to complain about this commendable action by Conway Hall as “censorship” and bemoans trans activists like myself for calling her out for her hatefulness.  SHE IS HATEFUL!  Sorry, but given that the kind of person she is talking about is my kind of person [trans folks], WE get to decide what is and is not hateful to us, not her privileged, cisgendered behind.  And this is from a woman who has published eight books, is a Full Professor, and someone who has lectured around the globe?  And yet she is claiming to be “censored”? Is this a joke?  And you are going to make outlandish, outrageous, and deeply offensive claims about trans people and not expect to get any push-back and paint yourself as the victim?  And you are going to frame yourself as contributing to a “debate” about transgenderism?  Really???  And since this “debate” was to happen at Rad Fem 2012, how in the hell were transgender women going to take part in the debate given that we are officially banned from attending?!?

If Sheila Jeffreys had her way, gender confirmation surgery, hormone replacement therapy, puberty blockers, etc.  would not even be available to transgender youth and adults as the necessary medical treatments that they are.  She would, like her transphobic predecessor, Raymond, gleefully like to “morally mandate” the “problem” of transgenderism out of existence.  Well, the good news is that it is not 1979 anymore.  The trans community is exponentially more powerful than it was then, and the Internet has help to propel our activism like never before.  I, of course, strongly support freedom of speech and freedom of expression.  But frankly, that is neither here nor there in this case.  Just as I do not want to roll out the red carpet for Klansmen and Neo-Nazis, nor do I want to aid and abet cis-supremacist Jeffreys from getting more and larger platforms from which to spread her transphobic vitriol.  I hope that people continue to speak out against Jeffreys and use whatever power and agency they have to expose her dangerous bigotry and her attempts to negatively affect social policy regarding one of the most vulnerable and discriminated against groups in the world.

8 Responses to “The Transsexual Empire 2: Coming to a Bookstore Near You in 2013!!!”

  1. BlackSwan Says:

    This is really scary. I asked about this before but did anyone push-back against Janice Raymonds book and junk research in the late 70’s early 80’s?

    • Suzan Says:

      Transsexuals weren’t organized in the 1970s. Oh we had peer support groups but they were pretty much limited to getting people through SRS. Then you were on your own. Remember how stealth has been push as some sort of ideal. People in stealth don’t organize. Even when they are friends with other sisters.

      By the time people started organizing around the label transgender in the mid-1980s the RadFems had accomplished their mission of driving women away from feminism and had crawled back under their bridges. Besides TG folks who had sex with men had a different crisis at that point and pushing safer sex was more important.

      But let’s look at the modern era from say 1990 onward. TS/TG folks have been writing their own books, some of which are at least as powerful as anything written by the RadFems in opposition to TS/TG people.

      Due to the internet we are no longer individuals without the support of others. Now when we stand up and respond other sisters and brothers, even non-trans feminists and LGB folks mike check our words so it is no longer just one person telling the RadFems their bigotry is bullshit.

  2. Jody Ann Malsbury Says:

    Reposting on facebook so my trans friends and allies can see and comment. As I’ve said before and will say again, there is a special place in hell for women who oppress and marginalize other women.

  3. Jody Ann Malsbury Says:

    Although I am cis, I have dear friends who are trans; therefore transgender people are MY kind of people as well.

    If any of you are on facebook… after reposting this on a facebook group, the owner of the group suggested, “maybe we could get Amazon NOT to sell this transgender bashing shit;” she’s also cis. I posted a link to the group below; you’re to welcome to join; alternatively send me a message and I’ll send you an invite:

    Group link: I hope to see you there!

  4. BlackSwan Says:

    If I hear you right the idea of stealth, a.k.a. living undisclosed, is killing us. This is a dilemma indeed. History repeats itself again. I don’t blame those that lived in in stealth at the time in the shadow of Raymond’s junk science, AIDS and the Reagan period. It was not a safe time to be a transsexual. Now my fears are there fears. I know I have a right to be selfish, yet given when I was 16 and looking for help, no help was to be found, it cost me too much. If I come out it may cost me everything.

    • Suzan Says:

      I’m only really out in what is a growing circle of friends. I don’t wear a t-shirt or even a pin. I write. I’m old and life has done just about everything it could to me. Seeking my moral ground following my moral compass is always a struggle as I travel through life. I try to remain true to things like justice and compassion, yet I get angry and can be led astray.

      In the end it comes down to asking myself the question raised by the old union song “Which side are you on?”

      That’s a fairly easy question for me to answer when faced with people who attack all people who have ever had a trans-prefixed word attached to them.

      I admit it is a much harder question when transvestites are the only ones being attacked. That is human frailty on my part, I give into not understanding and fear of being associated with.

      We’ve fought the war over the supposed umbrella for way too long. Better to admit differences and move on.
      After all does one have to be a person of color to oppose discrimination against people of color. Nor does one have to be gay to support the rights of LGBT people.
      You can be of help while still using a nom de guerre. Just as people have used aliases in the transwars.

  5. Syrra Says:

    Thank you for this article. Also, just like Jody, I am spreading it around my community on FB and to my in-person friends and family.

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