This bothered me the first time around back in the 1970s.
It bothered me when I was turned away from a Rape Counseling Center after I had been brutally raped and barely escaped being murdered.
The cops were more concerned with whether I was legally female because my vagina had been surgically constructed. You see even though I was vaginally raped it didn’t count if I wasn’t born with that vagina.
Even though I was torn and bruised it didn’t count because the guy didn’t cum in me.
So like other women the police abused me and acted like I really wasn’t raped and besides which, as far as they were concerned, unless I was assigned female at birth raping me wasn’t really rape.
My TS/TG friends weren’t much help either. Mostly they were too loaded to care.
I was a good feminist. I read the books. I went to the demonstrations.
But apparently the women that ran the Rape Crisis Center were of the same opinion, I couldn’t be raped and they couldn’t help me because I had not been assigned female at birth.
Her’s the kicker though. I was still woman enough to go to those demos. I was still woman enough to be part of the Women’s Building. I was still woman enough to take the photographs and do the layout work.
Being working class and having grown up bullied I had to eat bitter and keep my mouth shut about my personal oppression, while those with all the privileges money can buy, the cars, the education, talked about how oppressed they were.
I had been part of SDS, I had hung out with a couple of members of the Black Panther Party, I had been educated about the nexus of oppressions that include race and poverty.
I had remembered Huey P. Newton’s speech addressing sexism and homophobia within the movement.
I realized how much I missed the days when an analysis of race and class went along with analyses of sexism and the oppression of LGBT people.
TS/TG folks we were mostly on the outside looking in. Good enough to do the shit work but not welcome at the party. Welcome as a token but never fully accepted.
I wasn’t the only woman in that position. We know the names of those who were outed and trashed. Recently Jenn Burleton came out as having performed at MWMF.
There were others.
After the defeat of ERA and the rise of the ultra right wing a lot of the anti TS/TG crap died down.
Of course so did Olivia Records. The Radfem trashing of Olivia Records and Sandy Stone took its toll on a woman owned and run music collective.
But the Radfems considered that a small price to pay for the trashing of Sandy Stone.
Oddly I have never heard them criticize Phyllis Schlafly or Concerned Women of America with any where near the same vehemence or with the same abusive language they use on TS/TG people.
Initially they attacked us for our perpetuating oppressive feminine stereotypes. Then they discovered that only a fraction of TS/TG women are into the commercially peddled brand of femininity. Turns out an awful lot of us aren’t “traditional women” at all. Something that should be expected given the limitations placed on heterosexual marriage for post-SRS TS people in many locations. Or until recently, near universal marriage prohibitions for pre-op TS/TG women to men or pre-op TS/TG men to women.
The Radfems are lying when they say TS/TG people do not challenge sex/gender stereotypes. We were born challenging them and we live our lives challenging them.
The Radfems are either lying or ignorant when they claim we were not socialized as women or men. Every child cis or trans is socialized from the cradle into the gender role expectations of their culture. One would have to be totally isolated from culture to not be socialized by culture.
I’ve waded through Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex twice and parts of it more than twice. I have learned the version I read is somewhat abridged and not translated word for word, yet I have the feeling from other works of de Beauvoir that the translation I have read is accurate enough for me to get the gist of her thinking.
Socialization isn’t education and it isn’t indoctrination. It is more a dance we all learn, hence the root word “social”. TS/TG people are part of society. We learn the gender role of our core sex/gender identity the same way everyone else does. If we are less fluent at it it is because so many of us have been severely abused for expressing our grasp of the appropriate gender role behavior during our childhood while cis people have been nurtured in that expression.
We become like a person who decides they want to learn to play a musical instrument as an adult. It is unfair to judge someone in the learning process to someone with years of practice.
The Radfems cite violence against women as reason for their abusing women who were assigned male at birth, as though transkids were not abused from the cradle. As though the number of murders of TS/TG women isn’t out of proportion to their numbers in society.
When I listen to the rhetoric of the self appointed “Radical feminists” I find myself wondering, what exactly is supposed to be radical about their ideology.
They aren’t attacking the military industrial complex.
They aren’t attacking the prison industrial complex.
They aren’t, in so far as I can tell, basing any of their thinking in the teachings of Marx/Engels/Lenin/Trotsky/Mao, of Goldman/Kropotkin/Bakunin/Luxemberg/de Clyere.
I don’t see any real linkage with radical women from my era. I haven’t seen any citing of Bernadine Dohrn or Ulrike Meinhof, instead they cite Mary Daly, an academic in a conservative Catholic University.
Radical as an adjective always requires an additional adjective or noun to modify it. In the case of “Radical Feminist” what would seem an obvious connection with generally progressive i.e. left wing feminism isn’t so obvious.
Somehow the RadFem demand for sex segregated public space doesn’t seem all that compatible with Second Wave feminists integrating sex segregated bars like NYC’s McSorley’s Old Ale House on Aug 10, 1970 or with the protests lead by Martha Burk targeting sex segregationist policies of the Augusta National Country Club a few years ago.
Progressive feminism has taken positions that both decry rape and sexual assault of women in the military while demanding the right for women to be integrated into all positions within the military.
That plays poorly with the Radical Feminist position of demanding sex segregated spaces.
What comes off as weird is the attacking TS/TG people. Raymond’s book was itself pretty contradictory. Transsexual women were to be condemned for reinforcing sexist stereotype at the same time they were to be condemned for being pretty much identical to not only many straight feminist women but to many lesbian feminists.
I never understood how my having an operation to feel at one with my body was colonizing or trying possess the body of another.
First time around I became very alienated. There weren’t all that many TS/TG women who were part of any political movements much less the lesbian feminist movement.
I gravitated towards the lesbian S/M group Samois, the only group that actively welcomed transsexual women. I already had a black leather jacket from my affinity to punk rock.
After the attacks on Sandy died down, women’s book stores that carried Pat (now Patrick) Califia’s Sapphistry and Samois’ Coming to Power were attacked by the same crew of self appointed Radical Feminists.
It always seemed to me that Radical Feminists were using some very fringe issues to tear apart feminist/activist organizations and destroy struggling feminist and lesbian feminist enterprises.
Years before in the 1960s and early 1970s I had been part of SDS and the radical new left centered in Berkeley. We used to think we were being paranoid when we thought our organizations were being infiltrated by the police, FBI and paid informants. We were stupid for thinking we were paranoid, there was a right wing government organization named COINTELPRO dedicated to destroying the anti-war / anti-racism movements.
Now there are so many organizations spying on people, it is as though the corporations/governments of the world have devised a SantaClauseGodStasi machine that knows everything.
Do I think they would run a new version of COINTELPRO?
You bet your ass I do. The RadFem number worked so good (in conjunction other forms of attack) on stopping Second Wave Feminism without the blow back the original COINTELPRO received, I wouldn’t put it past the powers that be to run it again.
Or maybe this resurgence of “Radical Feminism” is another false flag right wing operation like the anti-abortion “Susan B. Anthony List.”