Transphobia Has No Place in Feminism

From Truth Out:

By Lauren Rankin
Sunday, 19 May 2013

Bigotry is often born out of fear and confusion at those whose identities we don’t understand. We fear that their difference reflects on our sameness, and in a rush to blanket ourselves in the comfort of conformity, we demonize their difference. Progressives often bemoan the bigotry underlying the policies and political positions of those on the right, but the sad truth is that bigotry exists even in progressive and feminist spaces. And nowhere is that more evident that in the transphobia, both latent and outright, that underwrites many facets of the feminist movement

The Twitter hashtag #RadFem2013 is littered with a small but acerbically aggressive sect of online feminists who have hijacked radical strands of feminism, rooted in challenging patriarchal structures and oppression, as a means to belittle, condemn, and berate members of the trans community. They contend that because trans women were born male, that they are not women. They actively exclude trans women from feminist spaces. They demonize trans women as female impostors and violently libelously label them as supporters of “corrective rape.” They harass trans women online and often publish the full names and addresses of trans women in online spaces. And yet, while they are perhaps the most visible perpetrators of transphobia within feminism, they are not the only ones.

Often, mainstream feminists simply avoid talking or writing about trans women. Trans woman and activist Sophia Banks emphasizes that while she identifies as a feminist, her experience within the feminist community has been largely mixed. “Intersectional feminists have been great but many radical feminists have been really hurtful towards me,” she says, highlighting that many feminists work within the confines of gendered language, and, perhaps unknowingly, operate from an assumption that cisgender women (cisgender means someone who identifies with the gender they were born with) are their target audience.

Any assumption that cisgender women are the only true women is a blatant form of bigotry. And honestly, it’s in direct violation of Feminism 101. After all, Simone De Beauvoir said more than half a century ago “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

Feminism is predicated on the idea that gender is a social construct, that women are not defined by their biology, and that the category of “woman” is informed and constructed by social gender norms. If women are more than what’s between their legs, why do some feminists continue to perpetuate a patriarchal notion that biology is destiny?

Feminism cannot be a movement to create boundaries about who is an acceptable woman and who is not. Feminism cannot be a means of promoting bigotry and isolation. Feminism is a movement for social change, one that challenges the gender binary and works to end the patriarchal oppression of women. Feminism is supposed to critique and combat bigotry, not perpetuate it. That is precisely what “rad fems” and any other transphobic feminists are doing; perpetuating bigotry against trans women while cloaking themselves in feminist rhetoric.

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Trans people left behind in England and Wales equal marriage bill

From Gay Star News UK:

Married transgender people will need their husband or wife’s permission before they can have their gender recognized

By Helen Belcher
20 May 2013

Imagine: you want to set up a new company but the law requires you to have the written consent of your wife; or you’ve just got pregnant, but you haven’t got a piece of paper with your husband’s signature on it stating he’s OK with that; or you’ve just been involved in a major car accident, sadly without your spouse’s written approval.

Each of these actions, and we can all think of many similar ones, may well change the nature of your existing marriage quite considerably. Hopefully we’d have talked through and gained agreement on these changes beforehand, as far as we’re able.

But the requirement that we need written consent from our spouse would be, quite rightly, treated as an outrage.

Yet that is exactly what is being proposed in the UK government’s same-sex marriage bill for England and wales for trans people in existing marriages. If married, a trans person’s gender recognition will require the written consent of their spouse.

Given that spousal consent is (not yet) required for trans people to undergo surgery or to change their name, to force it to obtain a human right – that of self-determination – seems very one-sided indeed.

The current system is flawed – not least because there is no way for a marriage to continue if a trans spouse wants gender recognition. The ‘spousal veto’ has been proposed because civil servants heard spouses’ current concerns the first they might hear about a gender recognition application was the thud of divorce papers accompanied by an interim gender recognition certificate.

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ID To Pee in Pocatello, Idaho

From The ACLU:


It sounds like an SNL skit, but this is no joke. As you may have heard from Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, in Pocatello, a new public bathroom policy may enforce humiliation and discrimination. 

The non-discrimination ordinance that may come up for a vote on June 6th includes a bathroom discrimination policy as an amendment. The amendment says the gender marker on a person’s identification card determines which bathroom they use — and when asked, city officials said any member of the community can enforce the ID check.

We’re asking the entire state to contact the mayor and city council to put pressure on them so this inappropriate amendment is dropped. 

There are so many things wrong with this amendment. If you are a child or an immigrant and don’t have ID, can you use the bathroom? Can businesses be sued if someone feels harassed by a bathroom identification demand on their property?

Not to mention that the intentions of the original ordinance were to grant lesbian, gay and transgender people legal protections at work and in their homes — not to further discriminate against people in the community. 

Out of state anti-LGBT groups have lobbied the mayor for this amendment. This ordinance is a simple, commonsense chance at equal opportunity for all. This amendment will not only humiliate residents if it is passed, it will also put a dark stain on the long, hard work so many have done to pass a true non-discrimination ordinance.

Together, let’s stop this amendment and protect basic human dignity for all. Write to Mayor Blad and the city council members in Pocatello today urging them to take out this bathroom ID provision. Mayor Blad can by reached by email at and the Pocatello City Council can be reached at

Thank you for standing with us and upholding the tenants of freedom and justice.

-ACLU of Idaho

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It’s time to out Lindsey Graham

From America Blog:

May 21, 2013

BUMP: Now that Lindsey Graham is, as I write, whining about how helping gay couples in the immigration bill would someone make moral allegedly-heterosexual Christians like him vote for “gay marriage” – an absolutely ludicrous argument – I’m bumping this post, that was originally posted 11 days ago.  (Also note that Diane Feinstein, Dick Durbin, and Chuck Schumer all defected to the GOP side on this, helping to kill UAFA, the gay immigration provision.  And Democrats wonder why they lose when they up-front cave to GOP threats every time. I’ll be writing more on this later.)

It’s time to finally out Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Graham has had it coming for a while now. Not because he’s a Republican. But because he’s an anti-gay Republican. And while it’s one thing to be gay and a closet case, it’s quite another to be a hypocrite, an anti-gay gay, someone who uses his power to harm others in the name of morality, all the while knowing secretly that he is one of the others.

In this case, Graham’s hypocrisy that broke the camel’s back is immigration reform. I have it on good authority from someone intimately involved in the immigration reform process that Lindsey Graham is the central reason that the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would help stop the forced deportation of foreign-born gay spouses, is being blocked from being added to the immigration bill. While other Senators might be bluffing about their opposition to addressing the immigration needs of gay binational couples in immigration reform, I’m told Graham isn’t bluffing.

The obvious question arises as to why Graham is holding gays hostage in the immigration bill.

One theory is that UAFA is Graham’s legislative beard. A beard is a woman a gay man socializes with in order to throw off suspicions that he’s actually gay. In this case, the theory goes, Lindsey Graham is using UAFA in order to throw off the suspicions of the Tea Party voters back home who are challenging him in a high-profile primary. Their suspicions are that: A) Graham is a liberal; and B) he’s gay.

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Two more anti-gay hate crimes in NYC bring total up to seven in last 30 days

From Gay Star News UK:

Latest attacks occur in the hours after rally decrying murder of gay man in Greenwich Village

By Greg Hernandez
22 May 2013

Two more anti-gay attacks were reported in New York City in the hours after about 1,500 people attended a rally Monday night (20 May) in the streets of Greenwich Village where a gay man was gunned down over the weekend.

This brings the number of anti-gay attacks in New York City during the past 30 days to seven including the murder of 32-year-old Mark Carson who was shot in the head Saturday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a news conference Tuesday (21 May) called the murder of Carson ‘despicable.’

‘He was murdered because of his sexual orientation, and only because of his sexual orientation,’ said Bloomberg who added that ‘New York City has zero tolerance for intolerance.’

‘We are a place that celebrates diversity … hate crimes like these are an offense against all we stand for as a city, and we will do everything possible to stop them.’

The press conference was called after the two separate incidents during which a gay man was beaten in the East Village and a gay couple was attacked in the SoHo neighborhood.

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Patience on ENDA Until the Supreme Court Rules

From Huffington Post:


There are leaders within the LGBT community who are extremely frustrated that President Obama has not issued an executive order eliminating discrimination in employment for our community. Those leaders are extremely shortsighted and do not fully understand the strategy of the Obama administration.

First, an executive order can be overturned immediately by the next president who disagrees with the order. President Obama is smarter than that. What Obama wants is the Congress of the United States to recognize that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people deserve the same treatment as everyone else in America.

The LGBT community wants equality in the workplace. Yesterday. Unfortunately, in the current political environment, if President Obama issued an executive order to ensure employment non-discrimination for LGBT people, what is likely to happen is retaliation from the republican House of Representatives and potentially a republican Senate, or worse an executive order by a Republican president in 2016 that codifies LGBT employment discrimination.

Executive orders are temporary fixes. President Obama is about permanent solutions; solutions that cannot be easily overturned by the stroke of a pen. That is what the LGBT community should be working toward. In this case, haste indeed does make waste.

President Obama is thoughtful and methodical, we all know that. The same LGBT voices, who cry out for an executive order ending LGBT discrimination in employment, are many who said that Obama would not repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or pass hospital visitation rights. Those voices were wrong then and they are wrong now.

President Obama understands that it is prudent to wait for the Supreme Court decisions concerning same sex marriage in California and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It is crystal clear that the court will rule that marriage is a state’s rights issue. Thereby, Californians should be able to enter into same sex marriages by July based upon the lower court ruling.

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What religion has contributed to the world this month – Episode 6 (April/May 2013)