Myths and Misconceptions Part I

Jacob Hale—  “Trans lives were lived, therefore trans lives were livable.”

I read a piece over on Questioning Transphobia written by Kittyburger:

http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/trans-sexualization-in-academia-guest-post/#comments

See also:

http://kittyburger.livejournal.com/12967.html

http://threeduelsonenight.blogspot.com/2009/12/trans-sexualization-in-academia.html

There is an assertion made in the second paragraph that displays a fictitious set of mythology that is divorced from the historical reality of the situations and manner in which people with transsexualism or with what is now referred to as transgenderism negotiated their lives during the  period  following World War II to the early 1980s.

The original standards of care forced the transsexual to lie constantly. They forced you to lie if you were bisexual or a lesbian; they forced you to lie if you didn’t care to wear skirts or dresses or makeup; they forced you to lie if you were a feminist; they forced you to lie if your interests lay outside of traditional homemaking and “feminine” pursuits; they forced you to lie if you were so badly off that you felt you would die if you didn’t get treatment right this minute, right this second. Trans women were routinely forced to quit rewarding, well-paying “masculine” careers and take up “feminine” jobs that paid a fraction what they were making pre-transition. And they forced you to begin presenting as a woman for an indefinite period of a year or more before receiving the hormones that most trans women need to be able to both feel at one with our bodies and pass successfully in society. In short, you were required to be a 1950s stereotype of femininity, that was even outdated THEN.

There are so many mistaken assumptions I’m not sure where to start.  Hopefully what I am  writing will start a discourse and further the understanding of our history.   I don’t want to  start another counter productive flame war.

Since meeting Susan Stryker and Jacob Hale in the mid-1990s I have become aware of my part in history and how my involvement over the last nearly 50 years has made me a repository of a good deal of transhistory.

In the early days one had to be an autodidact who scoured libraries and connected random bits of information from obscure  sources in order to get the medical treatment we needed.  One also had to advocate and educate the doctors as to what we needed to get their assistance in changing sex.

I use the phrase changing sex and sex change operation rather than all the current “gender” language because we didn’t much think in terms of gender.  Indeed I tend to view gender theory with the same skepticism as I view other religions.

In the comment thread at Questioning Transphobia Lisa Harney gave me pause to think that perhaps the old days that some refer to now happened in the post-1980 time frame when GID entered the DSM and the accompanying Benjamin Standards of Care. In this particular piece I’m going to take us to about the mid 1970s.

As I said in my entry “Friday Night Fun and Culture”, I am currently reading April Ashley’s second biography The First Lady.  A few months back I read Aleshia Brevard’s book, The Woman I was Not Born To Be.  April Ashley got her SRS from Dr Burou in 1960.  She went to Casablanca for it and claims to have been his 9th patient.  Aleshia Brevard got hers around the same time.  Add to that Roberta Cowell’s biography, Coccinelle’s, Hedy Jo Star’s and Patricia Morgan’s along with Christine Jorgensen’s and you find a cross section of the people who got SRS before the John’s Hopkins announcement in 1966 and Dr. Benjamin’s book in 1967.

Let’s look at society and gender during that period.  Homosexuality, in spite of Kinsey’s study was firmly in the closet or underground.  There were small activist groups such as the Mattachine Society, One and the Daughters of Bilitis as well as the bar scene.  One could find information of the gay and lesbian world in pulp paper backs and scandal magazines and tabloids but it was the love that dared not speak its name in serious novels or in movies.  (even in the pulp paperbacks the gay was often more subtext than graphic).

As early as Lili Elbe (1882 – 1931)  sisters did not conform to the attracted to men only paradigm.  Lili was married to a woman prior to getting treatment and SRS.

Further… Prior to coming out they did not necessarily conform to the mythical assertion of always being obviously feminine individuals.

When the news of Christine Jorgensen’s sex change operation broke the tabloid headlines blared “Ex GI become Blonde Beauty”.  This implies that at least during the draft anyone days of WW II she was masculine enough to not be considered too queer for the military.  Roberta Cowell was a fighter pilot during WW II and raced cars after wards.  I think she was married to a woman prior to her transition and SRS.  Hedy Jo Star, Aleshia Brevard, Coccinelle and April Ashley were drag performers.  Although even there, is the biographical detail from April Ashley of a stint in the British Merchant Marines. Patricia Morgan hustled.  Sisters did what they had to do to find their own paths to getting surgery.

Even in a world where information was rare and obscure these sisters were able to find it.  And they were able to locate doctors who were willing to treat them.  They also managed to find each other in the drag queen and transvestite undergrounds that later evolved into the transsexual and transgender network of support and advocacy groups of today.

In 1960 women wore skirts and dresses.  If they wore pant those pants went by a different name such as capris, slacks etc.  All this was prior to Betty Friedan publishing The Feminine Mystique.  For what it is worth when I came out in 1969 classified ads were still separated into “Help Wanted-Men” and “Help Wanted-Women”.  When the Mattachine Society picketed the Capitol in the the mid-1960s demanding civil rights for gay and lesbian people the gay men wore suits and ties while the lesbian women wore skirts or dresses.

The pop culture/hippie culture of the mid to late 1960s introduced  more androgynous looking clothes for both men and women.  Zippers on women’s pants had been in back or on the hip and wearing front fly zipped pants were used as reason to harass and arrest lesbians for being in drag up until the late 1960s.

Transsexual and transgender sisters had to live in ghettos such as the Tenderloin in San Francisco.  Up until the late 1960s being obvious and daring to venture beyond the ghettos was asking for police harassment and arrest.  Passing equaled surviving.  Prior to coming out I was too obviously different.  My appearance confused people regarding my sex/gender in 1968 I was both assaulted on the street by a stranger and was arrested and charged with impersonation while dressed in masculine male clothing.  Initially the police thought I was a dyke.  (I was living in the Haight Ashbury rather than the ghetto of the Tenderloin)

I came out in 1969.  Supposedly the bad old days.  I was living in a radical left hippie commune/cadre.  We had moved across the bay to Berkeley.  I applied for Welfare in drag using as reason my being transsexual, needing help and not having the documents that would permit me to get a job.

This was early in the cycle of Second Wave feminism and the main professions open to women were teaching, nursing, sales and office.  Then you had the entertainment field.  Loosely interpreted the entertainment field also includes things like waitressing and sex work.

I was part of a particular class of transkids.  My peers included the runaways and throwaways.  The hippie queens and recent high school graduates out there looking for a space where they could be themselves.  When it came to employment we kidded among ourselves that our career choices were hustling, hair dressing or performing.

But as early as 1966 the queens and transsexuals of the Tenderloin were trying to break out of that rut.  In 1966, nearly 3 years prior to Stonewall there was a riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in the heart of the Tenderloin by TS/TG sisters who were fed up with being pushed around.  The sisters involved got together afterward and started organizing.  One of those organizations turned into the National Transsexual Counseling Unit that I co-ran from mid 1971 through early 1973.

Some of the goals of that original group were to gain medical access and to help us mainstream our lives by using the War on Poverty and anti-discrimination push to help us gain us access to legitimate careers and a way out of the permanent underclass.  This was the early 1970s and while the Office of Economic Opportunity was open to helping us get job training the opportunities for training for underclass women both cis and trans were still in the help wanted male/help wanted female mindset.  So yes our career options were still stereotypical.  They were for all underclass women.

Let us touch on the idea that we had to lie and could only like men.  Most of us in San Francisco liked or had boyfriends.  Having a boyfriend offered a certain level of protection.  But even in the feminist circles of cis women many lesbians were still identifying as heterosexual.  At the same time many of us were in relationships with each other and there were militant lesbians.

We were all going to the same clinics and we were all being fairly honest about our sexuality As we saw it at that point and time.  The fact that it was often more fluid or that we might not settle into heterosexuality after SRS and might like women both cis and trans didn’t necessarily occur to us.  Context is important, we were part of society that was in tremendous upheaval.

Some of the larger collections of myths surround our group sessions at the Gender Clinics.  I attended the one at Stanford where I got my sex change operation.  Yes, that is what we called it prior to our indoctrination into post-modern new-speak and euphemisms.

They may have been different before and they may have been different later but in many ways they more closely resembled cis-women’s consciousness raising sessions within the feminist movement than they did the myths I hear taken as gospel today. One of the details that has been spoken about in a manner that gives it the worst possible spin is how we showed the results of our surgery to each other and to sisters who were scheduled for surgery in the near future. Sisters who had their SRS before us reassured us we were healing normally, sisters coming soon after us received graphic details regarding what they faced.  We didn’t have our version of Our Bodies, Ourselves to tell us what to expect.  Some sisters had never seen a naked female.

We talked about jobs, school, family relationships, relationships with friends and lovers.  Hopes and aspirations.  Those of us who held the stereotype of the young, pretty and attracted to men paradigm as what transsexualism was all about met sisters who were middle aged, married and attracted to women as well as having fathered children.  We saw them showing the same dedication to the goal of SRS that we were showing.  We also got something from them.  Many of them were engineers working in the aerospace or the newly emerging Silicon Valley.  Eventually many of us went on to receive training and build careers in the computer field.

We saw that not every sister was a “diva”, that we come in all shapes and sizes.  We learned that some who claim to be like us are truly insane and not transsexual at all.  We saw there was a difference between how those of us who got SRS dealt with life and how those who live as women without SRS dealt with life.  Perhaps because we were dealing with each other face to face we were able to be more aware of each others humanity than many seem to be in the on-line world of today

Yes we saw stealth as pretty much the only viable option.  In the early 1970s many of us were living underground with cobbled together identification papers and name change via common usage.  We were unable to change our names legally until after SRS and obtaining a California ID Card or Driver’s License that reflected your new name required both that legal name change and a letter from your surgeon attesting to the completion of SRS.  Other things were easier to change.

Nonetheless among sister it was shared common wisdom that keeping your mouth shut about your medical history was the wisest course of action in most situations.  Here again our individual mileage varied considerably.  Some were always more open than others.

The greatest pressure to conform to stealth, and appropriate culturally sanctioned current heterosexual female norms came from other sisters.  The idea that we were as a whole terribly anachronistic in our ideals or image of what was appropriate female behavior was something that seemed more common in the TV/TG arena.

When I came out as lesbian some sister reacted badly yet others treated me like the L-Word’s Shane and looked to me for their “lesbian” experience and for me to tell them their pussy looked and tasted right.

This is a good place to end this particular post but not this subject.  I realize some will claim I am using anecdotal evidence based on biography rather than academic based on the articles of scholars but I think our stories have more validity than the studies of us.  It is our history and it is time we own it.

References:

Ashley, April with Duncan Fallowell  April Ashley’s Odyssey 1983

Ashley, April  The First Lady 2006

Benjamin,  Dr. Harry The Transsexual Phenomena 1967

Brevard, Aleshia The Woman I was not Born to be 2001

Costa, Mario A.   Reverse Sex 1962

Cowell, Roberta  Roberta Cowell’s Story 1954

Driscoll, James  Transsexuals  Transactions of the  _____  circa 1970

Jorgensen, Christine  Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography 1967

Meyerowitz, Joanne How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States 2004

Morgan, Patricia  The Man-Maid Doll 1973

Rechy, John  City of Night 1963

Star, Hedy Jo  I Changed My Sex 1963

Star, Hedy Jo  My Unique Change 1965

December 1, World AIDS Day

In the Summer of 1981 I was dating a woman , who lived on Delores Street in San Francisco across from Mission-Delores Park.

It was just a few months into the Reagan Regime and the war between sex positive and pro-censorship lesbians was just on the horizon.  I was going to school in Santa Rosa and would hang out with her on the weekends as well run around with a gay male friend of mine who lived up on Twin Peaks.

It was a hedonistic time.  I was still in Shane mode (L-Word reference) and loving freely.  I was having unprotected sex with one sister who was a sex worker and another sister who was also promiscious, mostly with women.  My main girlfriend had been in a relationship with Kim, a sister I knew from the days we were both in the program at Stanford.  If this all sounds like the plot to a Michelle Tea book…  Well.. Valencia Street is only a couple of blocks away from where my girlfriend lived.

That summer gay men started getting sick, by fall they were dying of a disease that had no name.  One of the men who lived down stairs from her died and his partner was dying.

As summer faded the few cases turned into many cases and as winter set in they started calling it “the gay cancer”.  Soon it would become GRID or (Gay Related Immune Deficiency).

By Pride Day 1982 I would be more or less celibate, yet marching bare breasted in S/M leather with the women of Samois, a sex positive lesbian group that both opposed censorship and was at that point just about the only lesbian group that was openly supportive of women born transsexual.  My leather was more punk than S/M but the defiance was the same.

“And the Band Played On”  (see both the Randy Shilts book and the film).  As the number of deaths passed a thousand gay men still fought to defend the hard won sexual freedom of the 1970s.  And President Reagan never uttered the word AIDS as the disease had come to be named.

By 1985/86,  San Francisco had become like Camus’ Oran, a city of Plague where death walked stealing friends and co-workers, leaving those who were HIV- with address books filled with scratched out names.  A city of mourning, yet the research dollars trickled instead of flowing.

A grim joke at the time was, “What is the hardest part of having AIDS?  Convincing your parents you are Haitian.” Because AIDS was never only a gay male disease. Haitians, drug users, hemophiliacs and women, people who had blood transfusions.

Yet I would go to offices to service computers and ask where so and so was only to hear he had died.  I stopped asking and started drinking more often.  A sign in the Metro said “We all have AIDS Now”.  I tried to deny that one, but then I one gray day I saw a group of men gathered around one of their friends who had collapsed in the street and died, just as the rescue crew was arriving.

I fled the City for Los Angeles.  San Francisco’s compactness had made it all too claustrophobic, in LA even though there were far more people with AIDS the size of the city meant that it was less concentrated. I still got the phone calls.  Bear died, Kim too.  In LA it seemed as though half the queens I had known who were sex workers or performers at the C’est la Vie were either sick or dead.  But mostly though it seemed as though  post-SRS women had by and large escaped the disease, at least among my circle of friends.

Now we have lived with AIDS for nearly 30 years.  It isn’t an automatic death sentence.  It is “manageable” for those who can pay the thousands for the “cocktail”.  Some times it seems as though Larry Kramer is the only angry prophet left voicing outrage at how this disease has become yet one more profit stream for the drug corporations to use as an instrument of control.

Perhaps we need to ask some Krameresque questions:  Who is being controlled, and who is doing the controlling?  Who is profiting?  Why?  Who is still dying?  Why?

Why does it seem as though every disaster becomes a corporate money stream?

 

Must Read Book Recommendation: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

On Thursday I picked up Gail Collins book: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

I am about 80 pages into it and I am constantly going yes I remember.  I was born in 1947 and came of age in 1965 so I entered adulthood at the same time as the anti-war movement, the birth of second wave feminism and the gay and lesbian liberation movements.

From about 1960 onward my parents knew of my transsexualism.  Our lives were like a Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee drama as they came to see that my being a teen queen transkid was not something I was going to grow out of.  It speaks highly of my parents working class liberal values that they did not throw me to the wolves by kicking me out and instead let me finish school.  Even encouraging me along with the yelling.

My mother read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique as soon as it came out in paperback.  When she finished it she handed it to me and said, “You really think you  want to be a woman.  You had better read this and learn what it really means to be a woman, maybe you will change your mind.”

It didn’t change my mind but it prepared me for the reality sandwich I had to eat when I came out in 1969.  The glow lasted perhaps a few days and then the analysis set in and I was on the path to becoming a full blown feminist as the alternative was unacceptable.

I can start fights among people with either transsexualism or transgenderism simply by mentioning the phrase “male privilege”.  Oh the denial and gnashing of teeth and the wailing claims of never having had male privilege, when simply not being made in to a little princess and being raised to be the subject and not the object is male privilege.

Buy the book.  Read it.  It is a Red Pill that helps you to see reality in a world where mass media fills our heads with bullshit aimed at selling us oppressive gender roles along with the cheap crap from China.

Posted in Culture, Feminist, Gender, History, Misogyny, Sexism, Social Justice, Unequal Treatment. Comments Off on Must Read Book Recommendation: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

A Modest Proposal: The Future Role of Private Health Insurance

Over the past few days several articles have appeared that have simply given me pause to ponder moments.
One WTF moment was caused the following Headline from Raw Story

Democrats’ healthcare bill would pay for ‘prayer’ treatment

http://rawstory.com/2009/11/democrats-healthcare-bill-pay-prayer-treatment/
What the fuck?
Yet on Tuesday 11/03/09
By John Byrne reported

What do Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have in common?

A soft spot for Christian Scientists.

The three senators have quietly inserted a provision into the Democrats’ healthcare overhaul that would allow the Christian Science church to receive remuneration from the federal government for prayer treatments as medical expenses.

Why are liberal Democrats teaming up with a conservative senator for a provision that would normally be the bane of the Senate’s liberal elite? Because the headquarters of the Christian Science church is in Boston.

“The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments — which substitute for or supplement medical treatments — on the same footing as clinical medicine,” the Los Angeles Times’ Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger, who found the measure, write. “While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against ‘religious and spiritual healthcare.'”

See the full story at the above link.

The news this week has been full of these What the Fuck stories of government kowtowing to the Christo-Fascists and helping them to install the Christer version of Sharia.

The same day the Washington Post ran the following:

Democrats’ concerns over abortion may imperil health bill

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/02/AR2009110203232.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Bloc could withhold support over fears of a governmental role

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

While House leaders are moving toward a vote on health-care legislation by the end of the week, enough Democrats are threatening to oppose the measure over the issue of abortion to create a question about its passage.

House leaders were still negotiating Monday with the bloc of Democrats concerned about abortion provisions in the legislation, saying that they could lead to public funding of the procedure. After an evening meeting of top House Democrats, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said, “We are making progress,” but added that they had not reached an agreement.

The outcome of those talks could be crucial in deciding the fate of the health-care bill. Democrats need the vast majority of their caucus to back the bill, since nearly all congressional Republicans have said they will oppose the legislation.

“I will continue whipping my colleagues to oppose bringing the bill to the floor for a vote until a clean vote against public funding for abortion is allowed,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Monday in a statement. He said last week that 40 Democrats could vote with him to oppose the legislation — enough to derail the bill.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, cast Stupak as “attempting to ban abortion coverage in the private insurance market.”

We already have Health insurance companies that will pay for dead dick pills for men whose gluttonous consumption of greasy fast food and obesity has led them to take medications that all have impotence as a side effect.  These same “Health Insurance” companies routinely refuse to fund not only abortion but birth control for women.

Any bets on their willingness to fund sex reassignment surgery?

I have an answer on that one courtesy of Brenda Lana Smith’s news mailing list.

US – Social conservatives are working to ensure that federal funding for sex change operations will be banned in the health reform bill.…

[2009-11-04 Politico]

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29164.html

Conservatives shop sex ops ban to GOP

By JONATHAN ALLEN

11/04/09 9:00 PM EST

The federal government would be banned from funding sex change operations and other services for transgender individuals if social conservative activists get their way.

There’s no sponsor yet for an amendment to the health care overhaul – and it may remain in the dustbin of unrealized wedge issues – but culture warriors are shopping the proposal to Republican senators.

The language is written: “None of the funds authorized or appropriated under this act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be used to cover any part or portion of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of” any sex or gender reassignment procedure,  surgery related to such a sex change, hormone therapy for a sex change or pre- and post-operation treatments for a sex change.

A senior aide to a Republican senator said that a public insurance plan could easily end up covering sex-change procedures if that’s not specifically banned in the bill.

Follow the link above for the full article.
The misogynistic, homophobic neo-Nazi bigots of the Republican Party and their lynch mobs of bigoted thugs want the enforcement of Christo-fascist Sharia through the government in a manner that is the complete opposite of the intent of the framers of our Constitution.

Remember Jefferson posited a wall of separation between Church and State.  The Nazi like Republicans want the state to not only endorse their superstition based bigotry but to institute Christian Sharia in the process.

They embrace Confederate family values to the point where they ignore the 14th amendment to the Constitution.

I have come to see their “conservative” movement as growing out of the same ideological well spring as the KKK, the John Birch Society and Father Charles Edward Coughlin.  Nazis or Nazi sympathizers one and all.

They hated Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and later the “Fair Deal”, the War on Poverty even though it helped thousands rise above a life of poverty and despair.  They have warred against unions to the point where unions no longer protect the vast majority of workers who have seen their lives reduced to virtual slavery, subjected to the indignity of involuntary searches in the form of drug tests.

Employer provided health insurance is a luxury enjoyed by the rapidly dwindling middle class while many of us are on the stay healthy or die program beloved by both the rich elite scum who run the health insurance corporations and the Republicans alike.

But you can always trust the Nazi like impulses of the Republicans to attack women’s right to control their own bodies and now to attack the new sacrificial lambs, transsexual and transgender people.

And you can always trust the cowardly Democrats to cave to this as they cower in fear of being called socialists or communists.

So we see Democrats offering to include “Prayer Care”

I promised a modest proposal. Here it is.

Get the private health insurance companies out of the business by instituting National Health Insurance funded by taxes paid by everyone.  So what if the rightwing Christian Republicans object that they do not to fund this plan.  There have been a whole lot of imperialistic wars and worthless war toys I would have rather not helped pay for but I did because that is the price of citizenship.

Let the Republicans and Christians who hate National Health insurance opt out and buy private insurance that we could call, “Christian Care”.  Christian Care could cover make your dick hard pills and treatment with the money saved from not providing health and reproductive care for women.  They would of course cover all costs of quiver full artificially induced multiple births with the money they save from treating older women.  Since the only function many of these ultra right wing Christians see women as having is the pleasing of men and bearing of children they could save a bundle of money by cutting off care for women past the age of menopause unless their husbands buy supplemental “Christian Care” packages.

Since everything is in “god’s hands” in the first and last place (alpha and omega babble) Christian Care could use prayer teams instead of expensive surgery and trained specialists.

There was a reason why the right wingers of the 19th century formed the Know Nothing Party.

Nasty Girl

It appears the Christo-Fascists have managed to deprive their fellow citizens of their Constitutional right to equality once again.

The equal rights of citizens of a scapegoated minority group should never,  ever be put to the vote the way they were last year in California or this year in Maine.

About 15 or 20 years ago I saw a German film titled “Nasty Girl”.  It was about a young woman who set out to write a high school paper that would show how the people of her town were different from the rest of the Jew murdering Nazi scum.  Because they were nice people, kind, friendly and god fearing.

They had once again clothed themselves in denial and righteousness.  They had hidden their history, forgotten their recent past.

She was a nice girl when she started, everybody loved her and wanted to help her in her wonderful project that show how they were innocent of genocide.

Her high school paper was praised and won her a scholarship.

But then the cracks started to appear and she obsessively dug deeper and found her wonderful neighbors one and all had participated, had been Nazis who actively or tacitly participated in the shipping of their fellow citizens of the Jewish faith to death camps where they were murdered in a horrific act of genocide against which all other genocides are measured.

She was called a, Nasty Girl and became an object of hatred for telling the truth and exposing the core Nazism of her neighbors.

The genocide of the Jewish people of Europe started years before the active murder commenced.  It started in laws that officially made the bigotry against Jews the law.  It made them second class citizens in the eyes of the law.

Christians, particularly Catholics called the Jews “Christ Killers”.  When in point of fact, if historical fact and not mythology is at play in the Christ story,  it was the Italians then called Romans who arrested Jesus, put him before the mob, then murdered him.  Then like all good people blamed someone else.

Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine as well as Ethan Allen and others who founded this nation were Free Thinkers, basically  atheists and agnostics who saw religion as being used as a tool of oppression by popes and kings alike.  This is why Jefferson wrote of the need for a wall of separation between religion and state.

The world has seen way too much faith based genocide and horror.

In the 20th century Upton Sinclair, author and muckraking journalist wrote a book called The Profits of Religion, exposing the greed and hypocrisy that are the foundations of religion.

It has been said that if fascism comes to America (it already has) it would be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.  I might add it would start calling our nation the “Homeland”, institute a department of “Homeland Security”, engage in secret arrests and torture etc.

LBJ said when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “I fear we have just lost the south to the Republican Party for a generation.”

Nina Simone sang, “Mississippi Goddamn” and the good people decried the racism of Mississippi and the south with its Jim Crow Laws yet America was then and is now an Apartheid nation with ghettos and barrios set aside for black and brown people, especially of the poverty class.

Yet as bad as things are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put on record the equality of African Americans and abolished the Jim Crow Laws.

The right wing shift of America has not been the triumph of conservative free market thinking. It has been the triumph of racism and bigotry.  Fascism wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross they have become smart enough to not publicly burn.

So now we live in a nation where corporations and big religion (as though religion is not just another money making enterprise) and Nazi values rule the nation.

A nation where the working class is reduced to the status of wage slave working to pay the loan shark credit card companies that made life possible and comfortable in a nation of stagnate wages and a falling standard of living.

A nation of people afraid of everything that would make their lives better from National Health insurance to unions and reindustrialization along with requiring the ultra rich elites to pay for the damages they have done to this nation’s economy and people.

I have watched the dumbing down of the people of this country with action movies guaranteed to generate fear and the demands for cops who step outside the law to protect us.  The creation of a world view so frightening that it sometime seems as though ever forth person has a concealed carry permit and is packing a gun.

Yet the creation of fear is not new. The same Christo-Fascists who are now scapegoating LGBT/T people in places like Maine came here as the Puritans bring with them the same harsh superstitious religion that made them anathema in their home land.  The drove Roger Williams from Massachusetts and killed a number of people in Salem because they thought they were witches.

In more modern times we had the first talk radio demagogue, Father Charles Edward Coughlin, an ultra right wing racist and Nazi sympathizer, who ranted about FDR being a communist.  In the process he became the role model for every right wing bigoted talk show host since then.  He spawned Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Dobbs and their ugly harpy female counter parts Ingraham, Coulter and Malkin and the rest of the fear mongering peddlers of hatred and Nazism that has come to plague this nation.

I am a nasty girl.  I ask who the fuck is Godwin, some sort of Nazi symp or something?  Why should I not call these bigots and Nazis for the hate peddling whores that they are?

These pieces of right wing human garbage have called me a commie queer for  most of my life.  I am an atheist, not a Christian.  I do not turn the other cheek I fight back and I call upon others to stop mincing words.  Stop playing nice to the bigots.  Call them on being the un-American bigots they are.  Tell the world that they represent the Confederacy not America.

Speak up and denounce them as not representing American values but rather ugly fascist values and of being the same sort of peddlers of superstitious religious garbage as those Imans who have made the Middle East a hell hole.

Friday Night Videos

My favorite heathen atheist Pat Condell has a new one that I first watched on Joe My God.

Perverts in palaces using ignorance and superstition to bilk the poor and gain power over the weak minded.

An Injury to One Is an Injury to All

Republished with Ron Jacobs permission

[“An injury to one is an injury to all” was a slogan of the anarchist labor union the IWW, commonly referred to as the Wobblies.]

Dissident Voice – USA
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/09/an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all/

An Interview With Sherry Wolf

by Ron Jacobs / September 29th, 2009

On October 11th, 2009, a march billed as the National March for Equality will take place in Washington, DC. The organizers of the march are organizing under a single demand: “Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” Their website states their philosophy in an equally succinct manner: “As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.” One of the speakers at the march will be author and organizer Sherry
Wolf. As I wrote in a review of her recently released book Sexuality and Socialism: “No other work that comes to my mind explains the history of sexuality and sexual repression in the United States as comprehensively and compellingly.” Wolf is currently touring the United States talking about her book and organizing for the October 11th march. I was able to get in touch with her while she was in Boston and we had the following email exchange.

Ron Jacobs: Hi Sherry. To begin, can you tell the readers about the March for Equality? What is the impetus behind it? Who put out the original call?

Sherry Wolf: David Mixner, who worked as an Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBGT) liaison in the Clinton administration and Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s collaborator and who launched the Names Project AIDS Quilt, put out the call for this march back in June. It was met with horror and opposition from many of the more established, corporate financed national LGBT groups. However, with momentum building at the grassroots, organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF thankfully came on board, though they do not run the organizing efforts nor are they shaping the program. This march will not be brought to you by Miller Beer or Citibank!

The (mostly) younger activists at the forefront of mobilizing this march online and on campuses and in communities are sick of the gradualist approach that has dominated our movement for years. The single demand for full equality for all LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law really strikes a chord with activists such as myself and this new generation who find the incrementalist—state-by-state, issue-by-issue—strategy of the LGBT establishment to be a failed one.

RJ: I know that in your book Sexuality and Socialism you talk about the corporatization of the Gay Pride movement and its concurrent moving away from an identification with other disenfranchised and oppressed groups in the US. What would you say is the political identity this march hopes to put forth to the people of the United States?

SW: In a sense, the initiative for this march only underscores the ramifications of my arguments in Sexuality and Socialism. No more crumbs. Enough going hat in hand to Congress and waiting for some tweak in the laws. We want it all!

I got involved in helping to organize this march because I simply find it unendurable that gay politicians like Barney Frank are among the first to argue that demanding equality for LGBT people is the third rail of American politics. This march is about seeking, essentially, to be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have all of our rights respected once and for all.

We will have the NAACP’s Julian Bond, UNITE Here’s John Wilhelm, young, multiracial new activists like Aiyi’nah Ford, transgender militants and myself, an unabashed socialist, speaking at this march. Though Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper will be playing and speaking, this is not a Hollywood choreographed affair—it has a shoestring budget and will give expression to this new combative mood and anti-corporate sentiment

RJ: To me, the transformation of much of the Left of the 1960s and ’70s from universal movements into a collection of smaller groups fighting their own particular oppression and for their own piece of the American pie is a big part of why the US Left is where it’s at now — where Democrats are considered socialists. Is this phenomenon (which I consider to ultimately be the result of identity politics gone wild) present in the movement for equality? How should leftists counteract this when it appears?

SW: [The first part of your question is answered above, I believe]

I travel a great deal and speak to small and large audiences from Bellingham, WA to Gainesville, FL and I think that those old school ideas are on the wane—in particular among working-class people and those not attending elite universities. The language of Identity politics persists, in a sense, because a new culture and outlook are still embryonic. But when striking Teamsters (Latino and white, all straight) attended an event in Chicago two weeks ago where Cleve Jones spoke to 250+ people about going to the march, everyone was
electrified. The workers gave solidarity to our struggle and the LGBT activists are lending solidarity to their pickets. The May Day protests in many cities this year had LGBT activists carrying rainbow flags—the contingent in Los Angeles where I was that day was very well received by immigrant families.

It’s becoming clearer to more people that the old labor slogan is true: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

RJ: As you know, I live in North Carolina. Outside of Asheville and a few of the larger cities, there exists a quite obvious homophobia. One sees it on church message boards and bumperstickers and one hears it on the radio and so-called Christian television. This intolerance is quite obvious and, as Beth Sherouse wrote quite articulately in an article that appeared in Counterpunch on August 31, 2009, the fact of this obvious hatred and fear is one reason why LBGT equality must be recognized on a national scale. In her article, she reminds the readers of the federal role in helping end desegregation. Yet, there is another side to that story. The federal government also allowed and encouraged not only segregation, but also fought attempts to roll it back for a long time. I guess my question is — while it is important that federal legislation forbidding discrimination against persons
based on their sexuality be passed, how does the equality movement see any such legislation being enforced?

SW: Beth is right and after reading her piece I made it a priority to add more Southern stops on my current speaking tour. If you look at polls one year after the Virginia v. Loving case ended laws preventing Blacks and whites from marrying in 1967, only 20 percent of whites in the U.S. supported biracial marriages. We obviously can’t wait for bigots to come around before passing equal protections for LGBT people. However, it was the ongoing organizing, teach-ins, marches, rallies and even just the posture of Blacks in this country that altered the political climate.

Today, around 80 percent of all Americans—and more than 95 percent of young people—approve of interracial marriages, according to Gallup. A climate of intolerance to anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry can be advanced by students and workers—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. All progressives must bring these issues into organizing efforts beyond the LGBT movement—inject them into union contracts, workplace organizing, budget fightbacks, campus mobilizations and immigrant defense campaigns. After all, most LGBT people ARE workers, immigrants, Black, Brown and all these other identities as well. In other words, lesbians have to pay the rent too.

RJ: In your book you insist on the need for the LBGT rights movement to link up with other oppressed groups in the US and fight for all of these groups’ freedom. I was wondering if in your organizing work for the October 11-12 March on Washington, do you see any attempts by other organizers to expand the call to all oppressed groups? Or is there a tendency to limit the organizing to LBGT people? If so, can you explain why you think this is so?

SW: We made a conscious decision not to create a laundry list of demands, but to have one single demand for equality in all matters covered by civil law in all 50 states. The veteran activists involved, myself included, want to strike while the iron’s hot. There is a spirit of struggle among young LGBT people who came of age thinking AIDS isn’t the mass killer that it is and who are waking up after Prop 8 to the fact that our rights are completely dispensable, where they even exist. We can still be legally fired, or not hired, in most states for our sexual orientation and/or gender identities.

Arizona’s governor, for example, just ditched domestic partner benefits. Ohio’s Representative, Lynn R. Wachtmann, some neanderthal from the 75th District wrote to LGBT activists, “If sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are added as protected classes, all those who do not identify themselves in accordance with this lifestyle choice will be discriminated against.” I have never been a single-issue activist in my life — I’m a socialist after all — but at some point we must unequivocally demand an end to this crap once and
for all.

I’m 44, I came of age AFTER Stonewall and before Generation Twitter, I’m from the generation nobody ever bothered to name. I’ve participated in, and in some cases helped lead or initiate divestment campaigns, antiwar, anti-police brutality, pro-abortion, pro-single-payer health care, anti-budget cuts, pro-labor fights, etc. for 26 years. There’s finally a broad fight for LGBT equality and I’d be insane not to leap in with full-force and try to help make it a success.

My greatest hope out of this march is not simply that we win our demand, but that in a poetic reversal of history other struggles take a page from our initiative and mobilize to make demands of the Obama administration. The Stonewall generation had fought for Black civil rights, women’s liberation, against the Vietnam War and, for many, alongside Cesar Chavez for farm laborers for many years before they ever mobilized for their own rights. This time around, it may be possible that through a quirk of history the LGBT struggle could lead
the way for others to ratchet up a fight for genuine universal health care, jobs and an end to the wars and occupations abroad.

RJ: I love it — “the generation nobody bothered to name.” Anyhow, any insights on how the organizing is going? How can people get on board and organize in their community?

SW: The Web site for the march www.nationalequalitymarch.com has a dizzying array of downloadable materials. Go to the site, get the facts, post flyers, send out tweets, post it to Facebook, and by all means everyone should get themselves to the march if they can. Obama has shown that without mass pressure he won’t deliver what we need and want. This march punctuates a turning point of sorts for the LGBT struggle—people who miss out on this protest for civil rights will kick themselves afterwards. Don’t kick yourselves, just come.

RJ: Thanks, Sherry.


Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:  rjacobs3625@charter.net.
Sherry Wolf is the author of– Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation

© 2009 Dissident Voice and respective authors

In A Word: The True History of “Misogyny”

From Onthe Issues Magazine

http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/cafe2/article/63

by Christine E. Hutchins


There is very little new under the sun. Misogyny in art, literature and other records dates as far back in Western culture as documentation itself.

Misogyny comes from Greekmisogunia from misos (‘hatred’) and gyn? (‘woman’), explains Answers.com

But misogyny as a practice — the enforcement and celebration of the subordination of women — flourished unnamed in English until the seventeenth century.

Only when men and women began to write against rather than with culturally entrenched misogynist practices did misogyny get a name in England and Ireland. “Misogyny” as a concept requires people who are prepared to name it for what it is: hatred of women, an unnatural and unjust subordination of one part of the population by another.

In the early seventeenth-century men and women began writing poems, pamphlets, and plays against people who mistreat and malign women.

The tract that precipitated the introduction of “misogyny” to the language was Joseph Swetnam’s 1615 attack on women, colorfully titled The Arraignment of Lewde, idle, froward, and unconstant women: Or, the vanitie of them, choose you whether.

Swetnam minces no words in his tirade against women. Chapter 1, “Moses describeth a woman thus: ‘At the first beginning,’ saith he, ‘a woman was made to be a helper unto man.’  And so they are indeed, for she helpeth to spend and consume that which man painfully getteth.  He also saith that they were made of the rib of a man, and that their froward [difficult] nature showeth; for a rib is a crooked thing good for nothing else, and women are crooked by nature, for small occasion will cause them to be angry.”

Swetnam forges on with book-length alliterating abuse and jest, all at the expense of women. “[S]he was no sooner made but straightaway her mind was set upon mischief.”

The Oxford English dictionary cites 1656 as the first use of “misogyny” in English, an error then repeated by William Safire in his New York Times column. In fact, the first use in English was during the Swetnam controversy four decades earlier when opponents nicknamed Swetnam and his followers “Misogynos.”

Writers’ responses to Swetnam were swift, fierce and landmark. Previously in European letters, women had written the occasional defense. Christine de Pizan’s fifteenth-century French Book of the City of Ladies championed women in opposition to Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s reduction of women in The Romance of the Rose to voiceless roses and disembodied “notches” through which men aim their “spears.”

Following Swetnam’s attack, men and women writers undertook the first concerted and collective attack on misogyny in European letters, as Katherine Usher Henderson and Barbara F. McManus point out in their edited selection of seventeenth-century English defenses of women, Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy over Women in England 1540-1640.

In 1617 Rachel Speght published Mouzell for Melastomus [A Muzzle for the Evil-mouthed] Cynicall Baiter of, and Foul-Mouthed Barker against Evah’s Sex. Speght’s defense gave rise in swift succession to other defenses of women and attacks on detractors. Esther Sowernam’s Esther hath Hanged Haman and Constantia Munda’s The Worming of a Mad Dog followed in 1617.

Then around 1618, Queen Anne’s players produced an anonymous play, Swetnam the Woman-Hater, at the Red Bull Theater, later printed for reading and home-acting by non-theater-going audiences.

The play comically highlights Swetnam’s swishy antics as a fencing-instructor who falls in love with and pens flowery sonnets to a man who has dressed in drag as a woman and in no way returns his affections. In the end, Swetnam’s would-be Amazonian lover roundly rejects him, leaving Swetnam in the unfriendly hands of a rampaging court of women who declare him, “Guiltie, guiltie, guiltie.  Guiltie of Woman-slander, and defamation.”

Misogyny acquires a name only insofar as it receives more than the occasional push-back. Without the active awareness and engagement of men and women who both recognize and criticize the subordination of women, misogyny appears in English language literature and arts as proverbial truth, cultural inheritance and natural fact.

These seventeenth-century books, with their first usage of “misogyny” as a word in English, enabled English speakers to move from widespread unselfconsciously misogynist assumptions to Mary Wollstonecraft’s selfconsciously feminist declaration in her 1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She writes that “argument to justify the depriving of men (or women) of their natural rights, is one of the absurd sophisms [twisted and illogical unreason] which daily insult common sense.”

By returning to Greek for the word “misogyny,” the anti-Swetnam writers found a linguistic symbol that enabled them to name, and thus challenge, the subordination of women for what it is — a social arrangement that is not based on any natural fact – and hence, changeable.

Posted in Culture, Feminist, History, Uncategorized. Comments Off on In A Word: The True History of “Misogyny”

Greenwich Village: Two Years Before Stonewall

In 1967, I used to escape up-state New York and go to Greenwich Village .  I would stay at the Hotel Albert on 10th St.

I came for the music. I came to be around other hippie kids.  I came to cop some weed.  I came looking for myself.  The Village offered everything small town up-state NY did not.

I didn’t dare go out in public in full drag, instead I would dress androgynously in the pop hippie clothes that looked as though they could be women’s clothes but weren’t.

New York City has the TPF (Tactical Patrol Force) policing the Village to keep the hippies, flower children, weekend partiers and queers in line. Transgressing the limits of what they saw as full drag could result in a trip to the Tombs. That would in turn mean a phone call home and an explanation for my being arrested that I was not yet ready to give.

New York City had a vague three items of clothing law in those days. It doesn’t matter if this was an actual law or a mythical one but it was queen common knowledge although no one could ever tell me if it was wearing more than three items of clothing belonging to the other sex or if one had to wear at least three items of clothing associated with your anatomical sex.

But it was 1967 and androgynous clothes from hippie boutiques allowed one to skirt the issues completely. Sexual freedom was in the air as was freedom of self-expression.  Articles about gays were starting to appear in place like Life Magazine.  Those of us who were transkids knew about Johns Hopkins doing SRS, Benjamin’s book was out there even if no one could find a copy.  Esquire had an article about Transsexuals.

On one of my trips to the city I met the first person who was clearly like me. A hippie queen, she too was looking to the family one could find in the ghettos.  She was wiser than I about survival in the City of Night.

She was the one who told me that San Francisco was a far better place for transsexuals than New York and that one could actually live as a woman there as well as get hormones.  She said, “Queens out there even have their own organizations.”

And queens is what we were, from hippie princesses to hair-fairy, scare queens to those who dared to wear high drag in public.  Some of us were pre-ops, even pre-transition others were simply flamboyant effeminate gay men.

Many of the queens of that era were “scare queens” as described by David Carter in his book Stonewall.

Hippie queens could move from East Village and Alphabet City to the West Village with out attracting the high level of attention scare queens did.  We were like guerrillas, able to blend into the sea of flower children. Scare queens were like shock troops, confrontational in their loud in your face femininity, women’s clothes and make-up worn with no attempt to pass as a woman.

I was terrified that I could wind up being like that because it meant being pretty much a complete outlaw with zero prospects of actually holding any form of legitimate job.

The denial closet was going out of style. However, neither the hippie queens nor the scare queens were representative of the vast majority of the gay male population. The majority of gay men are and were masculine to a greater or lesser degree in their presentation.  Indeed outside of certain events and situation queens, transsexuals and transgenders are looked down upon and discriminated against to almost the same degree as they are in the straight world.  This is especially true when one crosses the line from drag as camp to seriously transition towards becoming a woman or living full time as transgender.

My trips to the city were to learn how to survive and to see first hand what the world I was destined to enter was like.  They were a way of feeling out how I would fit into this world. When I had first started dressing up I told myself that it was just to see if what I felt inside was real.  In New York it was more a matter of learning how to navigate a world I already knew I was part of and a way of life I would soon be living.

I knew this would include sex with men.

The first time I had sex with a man I let pick me up at the Christopher Street Subway Station entrance about 100 feet from where the riot would take place two years later.

I had wanted to shed my virginity as it seemed stupid to remain sexually inexperienced and since I had been labeled as a queen since getting busted in a dress by my parents when I was 13 it seemed only natural that I would have sex with men.

I mean in 1967 it just seemed that if I was going to become a girl I had better like guys. I soon discovered that gay men didn’t like transsexuals, even the pre-coming out kind because we were girls and they were into men.

I was also starting to learn you couldn’t tell all that much about other queens from the clothes they wore or how they acted .

I knew exactly where in the Village to go.  You see the Village was divided into the East Village, Washington Square area and the West Village on the west side of Sixth Avenue.

The part west of the “Avenue of the Americas” was the gay part.

Later that fall after the Pentagon demonstration, someone on the Cortland college newspaper asked me what I thought of homosexuality.  I said something positive about gay rights although I was very uncomfortable about being pinned as gay and I hedged my statement making it sound as though I was speaking in the abstract.  An SDS friend of mine was much more out and proud.

There were out gay and lesbian people in the movements but at that point I was still struggling with who I was, tentatively exploring and yet afraid of making the commitment to being who I knew I was.

Posted in History, LGBT/T, Transgender, Transsexualism. Comments Off on Greenwich Village: Two Years Before Stonewall

Stonewall 1949-1969: The Back Story

Stonewall is one of those great events.  Up until Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States: 1492 until Present, we thought of history in terms of great leaders and special pivotal events.

But history is far more complicated than that.  Pivotal events do not just spring from a vacuum but are more the result of the convergence of a number of elements all building towards that moment.

The riot that happened 40 years ago this weekend had some 20 years of people organizing, agitating, building movements and shifting consciousness. When Stonewall happened it marked the end of one era and the birth of another instead of simply vanishing into an incident forgotten by all except perhaps the participants the way so many acts of resistance from that era are forgotten.

The modern Gay and Lesbian movement started in the late 1940s after World War II had called so many to serve.  And gay men as well as women served.  Transsexuals too, Christine Jorgensen was in the military.

When they returned home many stayed in the big cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York.  They stayed because they had learned during their time in the military that they were gay and lesbian and these cities offered contact with others like themselves.

In 1949, Harry Hay, Dale Jennings, Rudi Gernreich Chuck Rowland, Paul Bernard and other gay men founded the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles.[1]

They came together to struggle for gay right even though they didn’t start using that term until years later. They used the term “homophile” because censorship prevented even the use of the term homosexual  for purposes of placing classified ads in order to announce meetings. This also permitted the mailing of their newsletters and publications at a time when postal authorities censored mail for even using the term “homosexual”, much less discussing it.

In San Francisco several years later Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon organized Daughters of Bilitis, the first modern lesbian organization.[2]

From these two groups as well as groups who broke off from these groups sprang the modern Gay and Lesbian movement.

At first, they had modest goals including simply being there to show others they were not alone.  In this regard, they published newsletters (magazines).  The Mattachine published One and Daughters of Bilitis published The Ladder.

The forces of censorship required a certain degree of subterfuge in the distribution of these newsletters and eventually led to the Mattachine society having to fight a legal case to win their right to send the newsletter through the US Mail.

About this time, Christine Jorgensen got her surgery in Denmark.  She wasn’t the first and she wasn’t the only one changing sex in the early 1950s. [3]

In cities across the nation there was a lively and only semi under ground bar scene.  Sometimes in the gay and lesbian meccas of cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco,[4] sometimes in unlikely locations such as Buffalo, NY.[5]

Fire Island was the gay vacation place and a summer party for gay men from the 1950s onward.[6]

Thanks to the efforts of Virginia Prince and another cross dresser known as Susanna there was the start of what evolved into the heterosexual organized cross dressing scene complete with resorts and conferences.[7]

There are a pair of films available on DVD that offer a glimpse of LGBT/T life both before and after Stonewall conveniently titled Before Stonewall and After Stonewall


[1] Timmons, Stuart; The Trouble with Harry Hay Alyson Pub Boston 1990

[2] Gallo, Marcia; Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement Seal Press 2007

[3] Meyerowitz, Joanne; How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States Harvard University Press 2004

[4] Stryker, Susan; Van Buskirk, Jim  and Maupin, Armistead; Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area Chronicle Books 1996

[5] Kennedy, Elizabeth;  Davis, Madeline;  Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community Routledge 1993

[6] Newton, Esther;  Cherry Grove: Fire Island Beacon 1993

[7] Raynor, Darrell; A year among the girls Lancer Books 1968?

Why I am Not on the Transgender Bandwagon to Substitute Gender For Sex

I do not consider man and woman to be genders.  Like Simone de Beauvoir I think Men are adult male human beings and women are adult female human beings.  With penis or vulva being what determines those labels.

Call me some what of an essentialist if you will but the term I perfer is feminist.

I find the requirement of adherence to a gender role to be the determining factor as to whether one is a woman or a man to be rabidly reactionary.  I do not care if it comes from some religious fascist or from a transgender activist.

You see women’s role has been defined as property/slave for much if not all of history.  Women are denied heritage from their mothers as mother’s names are erased by marriage.  She is first Mister XYZ’s daughter then Mister XYZ’s wife.

This is one tradition of marriage I am not the least bit happy about seeing same sex couples take up.

Women’s  gender role is as John Lennon put it, “Nigger of the world.  Anarchist Lucy Parsons said much the same, “We are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men.”

Defining woman as a gender is to embrace the worst and most oppressive if misogynistic practices.

Embracing gender as a gentrified euphemism for sex started with the reactionary shift that helped prevent the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The ERA stated:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Right then and there the misogynistic forces of the right both the secular male supremacists and the religious fascists started crapping about how the ERA would destroy marriage by erasing the differences between men and women.

For those looking for the transsexual element here.  One of the strong points of both Benjamin and he much maligned Money were that long before Fausto-Sterling they were saying that males and females were much more alike than different and that even the sex organs were homologous tissue.  This was the initial thinking behind the idea that moving the tissue around so that the primary element of assigning sex matched core sex identity was a actual change of sex.

For what it is worth back in the days when I got SRS (1972) a pre-op was not considered a woman prior to SRS.  Brothers were culturally different in those days and while sisters might have met one now and then there wasn’t a great deal of sharing.

We did not talk of gender as a concrete idea but rather as an abstract one.  Like masculinity and femininity which is really what gender is about.

There is a risk to switching from the physically determined sex to the abstractly determined gender.

While we used to speak of sex roles, which may be the elements of non-socialized sex based behavior we were not yet using gender roles.

Gender roles are misogynistic social constructs.  They are identical in many respects to racism.  Particularly when they shout Viva le differance and then use that difference to justify the oppression of women.

One of the biggest threats to the religio-patriarchal power structure isn’t same sex marriage but rather same gender marriage showing that loving relationships can take place between people of equal power.

As a pre-op I was in what some people would choose to define as a homosexual relationship.  It didn’t feel that way to me.  i’m a lesbian these days, I know what a same sex relationship is about better than those who described the relationship between my boy friend and I did.  It was heterogendered.  He was the boy and I was the girl.

I was a staunch feminist even back in those days with a red/black radical nose for oppressive behavior so there was a lot of negotiations on many issues.  Men and women were negotiating sex (gender) roles in those days before the anti-woman reactionary forces reasserted themselves.

Yesterday I posted “Make-over Camp- good for girls” When I read that one all I could think of was that movie But Mom, I’m a Cheerleader.  Call it gender panic or gender role enforcement but I do not want Christo-Fascists of Islamo-Fascists or any other misogynistic fath based patriarchal cult defining women by mandating an adherence to specific Stepford Wives roles.  Nor do I want transgenders mandating the identical idea even if they couch it in different language.

Then today I received this tidbit from one of my news feeds.  Transgender News

Beliefnet.com, USA

The Genesis of Gender Roles

Tuesday June 23, 2009

Categories: Theology

This summer’s conference for the Center for Biblical Equality <http://www.cbeinternational.org/> will take place in St. Louis, July 24-26. And, scholarships are available for students.

This year’s conference will address the formation of gender roles.  Questions to be considered include: Are gender differences God-given, shaped by culture, or biologically determined? Do gender differences determine roles in church, home, or society? Are gender differences minimized by secular culture and how should Christians respond?

See the CBE website
<http://www.cbeinternational.org/index.php?q=content/2009-cbe-conference>
for more information.

PS: CBE’s chief, Mimi Haddad, is a Voice at Christianity21.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/06/the-genesis-of-gender-roles.html

Needless to say I am less than thrilled by the idea of the religio-misogynists having any say what so ever in this and like Denis Diderot, I believe:

Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre,
Au défaut d’un cordon pour étrangler les rois.

  • And his hands would plait the priest’s entrails,
    For want of a rope, to strangle kings.
  • Or as it is often translated, ” Mankind will only be free whn the last royal is strangled with the entrals of the last priest.”