‘Those women are more oppressed’ is a terrible argument against feminism

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/04/international-women-oppression-feminism

Beware the enthusiasm shown by anti-feminists for international women’s rights in a fight about equality at home


theguardian.com, Monday 4 August 2014

When I wrote last week about the #WomenAgainstFeminism campaign, I expected some pushback: arguing that women are a victimized class is a surefire way to rile people up. But the theme of this recent criticism was that American women don’t have legitimate grievances because other women have it worse – and that’s telling.

One gentleman emailed to say he wanted to send me “to a place like Saudi Arabia where women are REALLY disadvantaged and oppressed”. Apparently women don’t have the right to complain about discrimination unless it’s explicit and international.

Interestingly, this guy is not the first to suggest that American women ought to stop working for equality here and exclusively seek to help women abroad. It’s amazing how many international women’s rights enthusiasts come out of the woodwork when you dare suggest that there’s room for women’s rights to advance in the US.

I’m wary of broadly painting Western women as universally less oppressed than others – there are actually many ways the US lags behind other countries on women’s rights, like political representation, corporate power and parental leave – but it is true that American women have more legal rights than women in some other countries. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women aren’t allowed to drive. In Afghanistan, a woman can go to jail for leaving her abusive husband. Brazilian women can’t access abortions, nor can women in Ireland. According to a 2011 UN report, 127 countries don’t explicitly outlaw marital rape.

But is that really the standard by which people want to judge equality? So long as we have the right to vote, drive, go to school and work, American women should shut our mouths and be grateful to American men for allowing us to have that much?

The righteous fight for bare minimums doesn’t have much of a ring to it. The goal of feminism is justice – not to just be better off than other oppressed women. There’s no such thing as equal by comparison.

The truth is that in spite of the gains women have made over the years, we are still discriminated against politically and culturally. Women are still attacked, raped, trafficked (sexually and otherwise), paid less than men, objectified, and denied our legal rights to abortion. I mean, we’re still debating access to birth control in the US – so let’s not overstate how good women have it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/04/international-women-oppression-feminism

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Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism: What Exactly Is It, And Why Does It Hurt?

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsie-brynn-jones/transexclusionary-radical-terf_b_5632332.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

08/02/2014

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism, or TERF, is a loosely-organized collective with a message of hate and exclusion against transgender women in particular, and transgender people as a whole. They have attached themselves to radical feminism as a means to attempt to deny trans women basic access to health care, women’s groups, restroom facilities, and anywhere that may be considered women’s space.

Long time feminist and advocate, Gloria Steinem, used to hold an exclusionary opinion, but has since said that she fully supports the inclusion of trans women in the feminist movement, However, not all radical feminists agree. Janice Raymond, author of The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male authored a paper iIn the early 1980s that the Health and Human Services branch of the U.S. Government used to deny trans men and women trans-related medical care, for example.

Since then, they have continued to use anti-transgender rhetoric, using the banner of feminism in the same way that Westboro Baptist Church uses Christianity. They consistently use rhetoric suggesting that trans women are would-be rapists, that we are “men invading women’s spaces” — (Cathy Brennan, head of Gender Identity Watch) and are “forcing penises on lesbians” — (Justin Norwood, Gender Identity Watch), intimating that “penis” is a threat, with the assumption that trans women are nothing more than whatever genitals they may have been born with. The statistics, however, consistently show disproportional sexual aggression against transgender women, and to a lesser degree transgender men, when compared with the cisgender (simply a term meaning those who’s gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth) population.

When speaking out against the TERF movement, one is at risk of being “outed” on social media. In one instance, the group Gender Identity Watch worked with the right-wing anti-gay group, Pacific Justice Institute, to help prevent a Colorado teen from being able to use the women’s restroom. The leader, Cathy Brennan, outed the teen, who was already being bullied, and she was subsequently put on suicide watch. Their actions often incite others to denigrate or discriminate a minority — which is the definition of a hate group.

The verbiage often used by the TERF groups are problematic for the transgender community. Not because of the way in which they deliberately seek to dehumanize and denigrate trans women, but because of the reliance of tropes that medical science have for many years proven wrong, that feed into misunderstandings people may have regarding what being transgender truly means. In their words. a transgender woman is a nothing but a “self loathing gay man” and they claim that trans women are gay men who, rather than stand up and come out as gay, would rather “hide” by being transgender, as if it makes things more palatable for friends, family and co-workers. The reverse is unfortunately the truth.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsie-brynn-jones/transexclusionary-radical-terf_b_5632332.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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TERFs are the new Westboro Baptist Church

From Trans-Advocate: http://www.transadvocate.com/terfs-are-the-new-westboro-baptist-church-2_n_13983.htm

by Fallon Fox
July 28, 2014

The Wesboro Baptist Church. It’s been a nuisance to the LGBT community since 1991 when it took its first steps to publicly advocate against gay people. We’ve all heard of them. They were a cause for many a family members loss if appetite at the dinner table when their “God Hates Fags” slogans were posted in family rooms across this nation, and the world. Yes, they were certainly a nuisance. But, that nuisance had a benefit in the grand scheme of things. Those who were sitting on the fence wondering if it was really an acceptable thing to believe, or promote the idea that “God really does hate so called fags” got an in your face example of why that mindset is so wrong.

They clicked away on the internet and saw hundreds of families and children hurt by the hateful practices of Westboro. Practices that hatefully attacked a minority group on bogus claims of damage to society, and unwarranted villainization based in zero evidence. The more Wesboro screamed, the more people were turned off to their perspective. Unfortunately for Westboro, they didn’t understand or did not care that their ideology and practices were digging themselves into a deeper and deeper political hole every time they opened their mouths, or grabbed a picket sign. That is because for some reason, the members of the Westboro church’s minds became warped. One could debate the intricacies of why their congregation was so twisted. But, the vast majority of Americans do tend to realize that they were off their rockers.

In the end. Westboro was so blinded by what they thought was the truth, they ended up helping those they attacked. Whatever mental issues that caused them to act out in the first place, kept them locked, loaded and firing on the innocent. They would continue, and still do continue to do this regardless of media amplifying their voice. We all know that this is because they are insane, and they are principled in their insanity. So, the hate that spews out of Westboro will never stop until their members dwindle, or die off.

Funny thing is, that if one really thinks about it, Westborough had a lot of influence for only having a handful of members. They were not a mega church or a congregation with high numbers. They were mostly family members and a few people from around where they lived that caused all of that ruckus and got media attention. They were no real threat to the LGBT movement as a whole. The media could have simply ignored them and it’s possible not much would have changed for the better to the degree that it did. But, I propose that ignoring them would have changed things for the worse. Where would the uptick in the LGBT communities rights – specifically gay marriage rights be today without all of those hurtful photos, videos, and slogans from Westboro that we were able to dish out to family members, friends, and coworkers and say, “This! You see this! This is horribly wrong!”. Those handful of people at Westboro were ignorant human lightning rods for self-degradation of their perspective, and tools for LGBT emancipation from bigotry in the minds of some.

They are not the only hate group that can be used as a tool in this way.

Transgender Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERFS) are another. And much like the Westboro Baptist Church had their insane leader Fred Phelps, the TERFs have a woman by the name Cathy Brennan they tend to cling to in leadership. She’s just as hurtful and misguided to a specific minority group. And much like Phelps and his minuscule congregation, she and her followers will never rest in their quest to hurt others. I see this as an excellent opportunity to bring forth to the masses the ignorance, not so subtle bigotry, and call for segregation of the minority of trans women from other women in public spaces across the board.

Continue reading at:  http://www.transadvocate.com/terfs-are-the-new-westboro-baptist-church-2_n_13983.htm

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Transgender Activists Speak Out Against Campaign to End Trans Military Ban

For what it is worth:  While I opposed the draft and aided deserters during the war in Vietnam I support the right of all LGBT to serve in the military as equals and without discrimination.

From Truthout: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25015-transgender-activists-speak-out-against-campaign-to-end-trans-military-ban

By Toshio Meronek
Monday, 21 July 2014

Aaron Myracle was brought up in a military family, so enlisting in the Army National Guard in 2002 as a teenager was a natural choice. Myracle eventually served for eight years, including a deployment to Baghdad during 2007’s troop surge, often called the most dangerous period of the war. For those eight years, Myracle had to cover up the fact that he is transgender (trans), due to a longstanding Pentagon policy banning trans people from serving openly in the military.

On May 16, the White House said it supported a review of the trans military ban. But Myracle is not celebrating. Hiding his identity was often emotionally excruciating, he says. In spite of this, he believes the current push to end the ban is a misguided one.

Myracle, now a 30-year-old with a child, spoke to Truthout over the phone from his home in Tacoma, Washington. “As someone who cares very deeply about my fellow trans people, if what we really care about is strengthening trans people, military enlistment is not the way to go about that,” he says. Since leaving the army in 2010, he’s become active with the group Iraq Veterans Against the War, which, among other things, calls for reparations for the people of Iraq.

Thinking back on his first time arriving in Baghdad, Myracle says, “I really thought we were the good guys and that we were doing the right thing, and I learned on the ground that that really wasn’t the case. That kind of shook my understanding of the military to the core.”

Myracle says he “can’t endorse anyone joining the military, knowing what I know, and having seen what I’ve seen – the way sexual assault is covered up and hidden, and the victims are re-victimized by the system, and disenfranchised, and oftentimes punished to such a degree that they forfeit all of their benefits – I can’t endorse people being involved in that.” The Department of Defense estimates there are 26,000 sexual assaults in the military each year; less than 1 percent of those ever end up in military court.

Who Sets the Trans Agenda?

Since the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in 2011 allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly, a few mainstream gay-focused organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have turned their sights on the trans military ban.

HRC spokesperson Allison Herwitt called current Pentagon regulations on transgender service “a de facto ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.” The ban, she said, “keeps skilled, hard-working transgender Americans from serving their country and keeping the jobs they’ve been trained to do . . . Our military, like employers across the United States, is best served by ensuring every qualified and talented individual can serve, without regard to gender identity.”

In 2013, the campaign for trans military inclusion got a huge boost from another trans ex-service member, a retired Army lieutenant colonel named Jennifer Pritzker.

Pritzker’s not the average Army vet. Forbes magazine recently declared her the world’s first trans billionaire, and through the years, the Pritzker family dynasty has owned a mixed bag of cash-cow businesses including the Hyatt Hotels chain, the smokeless tobacco purveyor Conwood, and the credit reporting company TransUnion.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25015-transgender-activists-speak-out-against-campaign-to-end-trans-military-ban

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