PODCAST: Deep Green Resistance under attack

lexy johnson, rachel ivey

Deep Green Resistance (DGR) can loosely be described as a radical environmental movement that believes civilization, particularly industrial civilization, is unsustainable and must be dismantled in order to secure a livable future for the planet.

But DGR is also a movement that is firmly rooted in radical feminism. The group, and particular members of DGR, have recently come under attack because of their feminist critique of gender.

A campaign was mounted by a few individuals to cancel the speaking engagements of Rachel Ivey as a result of a  presentation on gender and patriarchy, which you can watch here:

 

Members have been labelled as bigots and subjected to death and rape threats. At a conference last month in Portland, DGR members were confronted aggressively by a number of other conference attendees and their materials were defaced. The conference organizers did nothing to intervene nor did they issue an apology for failing to uphold the “safe space” policy.

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter recently issued a statement of support, saying:

“We condemn the attack on members of Deep Green Resistance at the Law and Disorder Conference in Portland, Oregon. We are appalled by the conference organizers utter refusal to protect DGR members from threats, bullying and silencing and troubled that no other participant interfered or insisted that the conference will practice its premise for ‘safe space.'”

I spoke with two members of Deep Green Resistance — Rachel Ivey and Lexy Johnson — about the controversy, the events in Portland, and DGR’s feminism. You can listen to that interview below.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • I came to Feminist Current by way of DGR. Wish you wrote more here, since I live on a farm and Zen center where we can’t stream!

    Deep bow,
    Kogen

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hey thanks for coming by! I usually write more than I podcast, just a busy couple of weeks here. Are you able to download the podcasts?

      • Nope! But my wife pointed out some helpful links. When I get to the outside world, I’ll download.

        Hey! I just felt funny saying wife after reading the emperors new penis. So I ask Busan, hey, can I call you my partner? She thinks it’s annoyingly politically correct and I kind of think “Partner” makes me sound like I didn’t want to get married. What do you think about the word “wife?” Have you written about this? Oh, and we both identify as queer or bi, used to be poly before our vows (which are in place for boundaries, not morals, as in, people come to us in crisis and we can’t have maybe met them as partners or potential partners…it’s usually celibate or paired, as this supports our practice…)

        What a mess these words! They don’t feel right.

  • copleycat

    I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I watched DGR’s presentation and I cannot grasp how on earth anyone can justify banning that from any feminist discourse – and the looking the other way when there are threats of violence? What the hell gives?

    • Meghan Murphy

      She essentially articulates the feminist perspective on gender and gendered oppression. I absolutely cannot comprehend how it could be interpreted as anything near ‘bigotry.’

      • It can be interpreted that way by those who have so much vested in their transgender identification; a challenge to gender is seen as a rejection of their identity. Some trans activists have been demanding for many years now that women-only spaces must give access to transwomen, and those who disagree are called transphobic hate-filled bigots. The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival has been especially targeted. Not everyone under the umbrella LGBT is in alliance with feminism. Far from it; some of these people with male biology are as antifeminist as any MRA.

        The conference organizers looked the other way because they believe in the Oppression Olympics, in which biological females, even lesbians, are considered privileged over transwomen.

      • Marti386

        “She essentially articulates the feminist perspective on gender and gendered oppression”

        Ummm, sorry Meghan, but she DOESN’T “articulate the feminist perspective on gender”. She only articulates trans-exclusionary radical feminist perspectives on gender and gender identity. Which brings up something that bothers me. I feel you should change the name of your podcast to “Radical Feminist Current”. Because THAT seems to be the only position you want to present.

        You DO know the vast majority of feminists DON’T support DGR’s (or your) anti-trans positions, right? That many feminist groups came out AGAINST the transphobia of such radfem events as Radfem 2013, Radfem RiseUp, and Radfem 2012? Oh yeah, and EVEN DGR?

        “I absolutely cannot comprehend how it could be interpreted as anything near ‘bigotry.’”

        Well, it’s “interpreted” as bigotry because it IS. While you’re free to feel anyway you like about gender, You don’t get to use it to discriminate against other women. THEN it’s bigotry. I might have been nice if you’d addressed the other sides issues, instead of this one-sided attempt to portray DGR as victims.

        The fact is I AM a woman, even though I’m trans. And I get to define that for myself. And AS a woman, I’m the only one who gets to decide where I belong, and what spaces I get to enter. Not Rachel. Not Lierre. And not even YOU.

        The FACT is, that if radical feminism doesn’t remove the transphobia from it’s movement, it’s gonna go the way of the dinosaur. Not even other feminist groups are taking you seriously anymore.

        Stop policing other people’s gender. Stop trying to tell other women where they fit. It’s NOT cool.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I just don’t see how or where she “articulates trans-exclusionary radical feminist perspectives on gender and gender identity”? Can you provide me with an example? I felt she made a straightforward critique of gender? Maybe I’m missing something.

          I don’t support “anti-trans positions” so I don’t know why you would accuse me of that. I don’t care what pronouns you use. If you want to identify as a woman, I’m not going to stop you. I’m not excluding you — and have no desire to exclude you — from any space.

          Did you even listen to the interview? She doesn’t say anything transphobic. She articulates the feminist critique of gender — which is basically that gender is a class system and a hierarchy and that it’s learned. I just don’t understand how it makes sense to call people transphobic simply for arguing that — that is the basis for feminism.

          There is discrimination against and violence against trans people and there is such a thing as transphobia — but I just don’t see it in this critique and I don’t know where you’re seeing it either. Why not point the finger at those who perpetrate violence against trans people? Those people are men…

          The problem is that our culture wants people to fit into this oppressive binary — they want us to be either masculine or feminine and then we are given power & privilege on that basis. Why not be critical of those systems? The systems that say you have to present in one way or another or fit into these rigid gender roles simply because of your biology? That’s the problem, as I see it.

          On a side note — you need to respond to the actual content of the interview. If you’re just going to have these knee-jerk reactions and accuse people of doing or saying things they aren’t, then I’m not going to publish your comments. I do believe it’s possible to have an honest and rational conversation about these issues.

          • Marti386

            Well, if you not trans-exclusionary, then I apologize. I’m NOT trying to cause a scene. But you do seem to agree with Rachel’s position, which IS transphobic. So you have me kinda confused. I mean, your podcast IS titled “Deep Green Resistance under attack”. The REASON they’re being “attacked” is because of their transphobia. Kinda sounds like you’re taking DGR’s defense.

            I really don’t want to get into WHY DGR is transphobic, because frankly, it would create a LOOOONG article if I were to debate it line for line. If you would like to know, Earth First News has some great articles on it:

            http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/deep-green-transphobia/

            http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/deep-green-transphobia-ii/

            http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/deep-green-transphobia-iii-derrick-jensens-hateful-tirade/

            You may be unaware of the fact that Aric Mcbay (co-founder of DGR) has left the group due to their increasing transphobia:

            http://www.aricmcbay.org/2013/05/14/dgr-and-transphobia/

            Also, you may be unaware that this whole brouhaha STARTED when DGR kicked a trans woman out of the group. Here’s an article on that. It also explains WHY a lot of DGR’s views are transphobic:

            http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/

            Ultimately, it’s NOT a cis woman’s “view on gender” that’s offensive to trans women. It’s when cis women think that THEIR view on gender TRUMPS that of trans women. I’t when cis women think their views on gender gives them the right to decide if trans women are “real” women or not. It’s when cis women think their views on gender give them the right to dismiss the experiences of trans women who’ve LIVED them. It’s when cis women think their views on gender give them the right to police women’s spaces.

            The fact is, MOST feminist DON’T agree with DGR’s (and radical feminism’s) views on trans women:

            http://www.policymic.com/articles/38403/transphobia-has-no-place-in-feminism

            http://jezebel.com/5975828/transphobia-is-a-goddamn-embarrassment-to-us-all

            http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2011/09/radical_feminism_transphobia

            http://feministchallengingtransphobia.wordpress.com/

            Hell, even the anarchists are against it:

            http://anarchistnews.org/content/missing-point-dgrs-transphobia-and-essentialist-feminism

            You also may be unaware of the rampent transphobia being passed off as “gender critical thinking” in the “radical” feminist community:

            http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/

            Also, here’s a link to a radfem site that exists SOLELY to harass and belittle trans lesbians and their allies (by Cathy Brennan, a notorious transphobe who Rachel considers a friend, btw):

            http://pretendbians.com/

            Here’s another dedicated to outing trans men and boys (seriously, WHEN is it EVER acceptable to out a member of the LGBTQ community?):

            http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/

            If you really are pro-trans Meghan, how about doing a podcast addressing trans people’s issues with radical feminism? I notice when I try searching for “transgender” or “transphobia” on your site, I can’t find any articles. I did notice that you have an article on radfem 2013 with Nic Nesbitt (aka Ann Tagonist, aka BFF of Cathy Brennan), tweeter of such transphobia as this:

            http://theterfs.com/nic-nesbitt/

            I especially like the tweet where she refers to trans people as “freak accidents”! 🙂

            Seriously Meghan, transphobia in radical feminism is a very REAL thing. It contributes to the othering of trans women, which contributes to getting us beaten and murdered. Radfem transphobia doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It would be nice if you did a podcast (or even several) addressing it. A LOT of trans women consider themselves feminists. Myself included. But we’re getting REAL tired of the shit radfems dump on us. Or the notion that feminists must support radfems just because they’re feminists. Some trans support would be nice.

            Thanx.

          • Meghan Murphy

            DGR isn’t transphobic. I’ve read all the articles you link to here and I still just don’t get it. If you could at least point to specific policies or ideology promoted by DGR that qualifies as ‘transphobic’ that would be helpful.

            Rachel’s interview shows exactly why the attack on her/DGR was unprovoked. Again, did you listen to it? The “brouhaha” didn’t start because DGR kicked a trans person out of the group — it started because trans activists didn’t agree with Rachel’s video and began a campaign to get all of her speaking gigs cancelled, began harassing her and other female members of DGR, and then bullied and intimidated them in Portland, defaced their materials, and forced them to leave the conference. I don’t see evidence of a trans person being kicked out of DGR in the link you reference here, anyway.

            I know what the trans critiques of radical feminism are. And, to be honest, I think a lot of it is based in misrepresentations and pointing towards extremes in the movement that generally aren’t supported by most feminists. I don’t align myself with transphobic feminists but I also don’t agree that articulating a feminist critique of gender equals transphobia.

          • Marti386

            “DGR isn’t transphobic.”

            Seriously? Don’t you think that’s for a trans person to decide and not you? See, thinking you have the right to even MAKE that call is an example of cis privilege. And asking me to “point” you to examples? Most feminists will tell you it’s not the job of the oppressed to educate you. Think about it like THIS: If a feminist was telling you that the MRA were being misogynistic, would you be asking for proof? If a black woman was telling you the KKK was being racist, would you ask her to provide proof? You might want to re-evaluate that.

            But fine. Whatevs. You want to know why I feel DGR is transphobic? We could start with the fact that Lierre Kieth and her radfems hijacked DGR and REVOKED the trans inclusive policy that was there to begin with. In the link I provided earlier, Co-Founder Aric Mcbay states, “I left the organization at the beginning of 2012 after a trans inclusive policy was cancelled by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith.”

            See, trans people were a WELCOMED part of the DGR movement. UNTIL Jensen and Kieth started pushing an aggressive radfem stance. This move DIRECTLY resulted in the expulsion of a trans woman member, and the leaving of chapters such as DGR Portland. It is THAT stance that has caused trans people to boycott DGR.

            Here’s a quote issued from one of the chapters who left DGR: “When it became clear that the staff of DGR was intent on making the Radical Feminist position the official position of the organization, our local chapter tried to open spaces for dialogue on this issue. We were denied. It was made clear to us that there was no room in the organization for dissenting opinions on the subject of gender, and that if we didn’t like what the organization was doing on this front, then we had to leave. It was also made clear to us that a particular member of our chapter, a wonderful organizer who also happened to be a trans woman, who consistently expressed a tremendous amount of willingness to compromise with the national organization on their position on trans people and trans access, was not going to be met halfway. There was to be no meaningful conversation. There was to be no debate. There wasn’t even a compassionate attempt to break down and explain where people with the Radical Feminist position were coming from. We were told to get with the program or leave, so we left, and other chapters and individuals followed, including Aric McBay himself”.

            And frankly, that SHOULD be MORE than enough proof that DGR is transphobic. Revoking a trans-inclusive police is pretty shitty. But WAIT!! There’s MORE!! 😉

            Let’s address a few points from Rachel’s gender presentation. I’ll explain why I feel it’s transphobic. This is gonna be long and rambling (much like Rachel’s presentation), so hang on to your hat……

            FIRST off, let’s point out that these are Rachel’s OPINIONS. They are NOT in any way fact. They are not science. Just because Rachel feels cis privilege doesn’t exist doesn’t make her right. In fact, it’s pretty much a HUGE example of cis privilege when she thinks her opinion gives her the right to invalidate trans women’s lived experiences. She needs to do LESS talking and MORE listening. She might learn something.

            When discussing the liberal view of individualism, Rachel complains that “It’s not politically correct to criticize or investigate anyone’s gender. That leads to a lot of arguments.”

            Well, yeah. Because it’s not any of Rachel’s BUSINESS. If Rachel want’s to criticize gender, she can do it on RACHEL. Alone. Anyone elses gender? Not really her place to question. She tries to paint it as class issue and not a individual one, but you can’t do that WITHOUT effecting individuals.

            Of course, one of the problems is that Rachel (like many other radfems) conflate gender identity with gender ROLES. The two are not the same. Trans women are no more of a stereotype than cis women are. ANd YET I never seem to see ANY radfems calling cis women out on enacting the same “stereotypes” of gender.

            Rachel later tries to dismiss cis-privilege by claiming that “In order for people describing themselves as
            transgender to make sense, there has to be a majority for that minority to exist.

            Well, YEAH. Trans women are a subset of the larger group women. Like black women are. And lesbian women are. And YES, cis woman. Cis is merely a word for describing someone who is not trans. It’s NOT an insult. Anymore than “trans” is. You CAN’T have “trans” woman WITHOUT having “cis” women. The joke is, she claims the term cis is “oppressive”, without realizing many trans people found the word “trans” oppressive. But cis people like herself INVENTED the word to other us. Doesn’t feel so good, huh Rachel?

            She also tries to claim that embracing the idea of cis privilege is “enacting that role we’re supposed to enact, and we’re privileged because of that,being socialized into a role of femininity that encodes subordination so deep in your identity that you call it your nature. I just don’t see that as privilege.”

            Rachel proves here she doesn’t even understand what cis MEANS. It’s simply a term to describe someone as non-trans. It’s NOT a statement of approval on the way women are treated in gender roles. At ALL. Rachel is reading WAY too much into it. Cis privilege means you get privilege in some regards to trans women. Like being able to claim they don’t exist and shit.

            Rachel ALSO tries to insinuate that being trans enforces a binary gender hierarchy. Which is not true. Trans people are no more “binary” than cis people. This brings in the idea that trans people are all uber-femme types. False. The fact that trans women exist does not mean cis women are “innately subordinate”. Did you know there are butch trans women? In fact, there was Butch Trans Women Panel at the Butch Voices Conference:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xfTN-dKqO4

            Which is something I’ve always found interesting. The fact that radfems ALWAYS try to claim that trans women “enforce dangerous gender stereotypes”. Yet they NEVER call out the millions of cis women who do the exact same thing. I mean, take Rachel for example. She’s sporting long feminine hair, a skirt and tights. “stereotypical” women’s clothing. But if I wear the EXACT same thing, I’m “oppressing” her. Or something. I wonder how many CIS women in DGR are chastised for wearing the same “stereotypical” women’s clothing or makeup? Not many, I’ll bet.

            But NOW let’s get to the meat of the transphobia:

            In the presentation, Rachel ignorantly brags about DGR not being upset that an email was leaked where Lierre Keith compares trans people to appropriating native americanism or being “trans-black” or “trans-rich”. That’s offensive on SO many levels, I’m not even sure where to begin. But probably the most offensive part is that it insinuates that trans women are “appropriating” womanhood. Which is flat out false. Trans women don’t “appropriate” ANYTHING. We ARE women. We can’t “appropriate” something we already are. And she claims we’re “offensive” because we can’t understand the oppression women go through? Does she even KNOW that the rate of beatings, rape and murder for cis women FAR outweigh that of cis women? Apparently NOT. Yet she lists rape as an example of what happens to an oppressed class, while pretending that trans women never experience it. Disgusting.

            And of course, it’s LAUGHABLY hypocritical being lectured on appropriation by a white girl who’s wearing a nose ring SHE appropriated from other cultures. She might want to remove that the next time she wants to be taken seriously.

            Rachel claims trans women don’t exist because “no one chooses to be oppressed”. Is she insinuating that trans women are not oppressed? I’m sorry but that’s total bullshit. Maybe she can explain how me experiencing the SAME (actually HIGHER) chance of rape and violence as cis women, the same lower pay scale as cis women, the same sexual harassment as cis women is NOT oppression? I’d love to hear it.

            Later, when Rachel says she met a trans woman that said she didn’t have male privilege, she claims she had to think about that and decide if it was true.

            Why does she feel she even has the RIGHT to decide if someone’s lived experience is true or not? More cis privilege on display. And of COURSE, she decided it was “not true”! How good for her. She really knows how to listen to an oppressed class, doesn’t she?

            FRANKLY, I can’t stomach going on anymore. Watching Rachel’s presentation is starting to make me ill. And my fingers are getting tired of typing. But I do hope I’ve laid out some salient points on WHY DGR is transphobic.

            So NOW, the rest is up to you. Are you going to call out this transphobic nonsense? Or are you gonna pretend nothing I said has any merit? Are you gonna call out radfem hate speech for what it is, or are you gonna dismiss what they do rather than call out other feminist when they fuck up? Are you a trans ally or not?

            The ball’s in your court.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Well, actually, you do need to provide evidence to defend your position if you want it to be taken seriously. I’m not sure what your problem with ‘opinion’ is (if you want to call ideology ‘opinion’) — I mean, you’ve shared your opinion here, I’m assuming you want it taken seriously?

            I’m afraid I’m not interested in playing the oppression olympics. Women and trans people are both oppressed UNDER PATRIARCHY, which is what feminism is focused on dismantling.

            Also, you’re wrong that DGR doesn’t allow trans people in their org. Please stop perpetuating these mistruths — it isn’t helpful in terms of having honest, productive conversations.

            DGR has always been a radical feminist org. This isn’t new.

            You don’t agree with Rachel’s analysis of gender and gender oppression under patriarchy. That’s fine. I still don’t see how it equates to transphobia. Rachel doesn’t hate trans people.

            Regarding the word ‘cis’ and the issue of ‘cis privilege’ you may find this interview interesting: http://feministcurrent.com/7130/podcast-looking-at-feminism-and-trans-issues-from-a-philosophical-perspective/

          • Marti386

            “you’re wrong that DGR doesn’t allow trans people in their org. Please stop perpetuating these mistruths.”

            I don’t appreciate being called a liar, Meghan. Especially since I’ve ALREADY backed myself up with examples. I’m sorry, but I’ve already provided quotes from both the co-founder of DGR and DGR Portland. From Aric:

            “I left the organization at the beginning of 2012 after a trans inclusive policy was cancelled by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith.”

            A trans inclusive policy was “cancelled”. That would make DGR trans EXCLUSIVE, wouldn’t it? That wouldn’t exactly make it welcoming of trans women, would it?

            Still don’t think they exclude trans women? Then why is Canadian Politician Cheri DiNovo calling them out for it:

            http://www.genuinewitty.com/2013/07/07/cheri-dinovo-slaps-eco-terrorist-training-camp-for-excluding-trans-women-feat-deep-green-resistance/

            Even though the article isn’t exactly trans-friendly, one choice quote is: “But the bigger surprise was that her complaints had absolutely nothing to do with the fact DGR is a violence promoting obedience cult. DiNovo’s complaint is that this cult is prejudiced against and excludes trans people from their training camps”.

            Another quote about DGR’s stance on the Radfem Rise Up: “Like many radical feminist conferences, this weekend’s meeting was restricted to female participants only- but this usually means that trans women are invited. The DGR, however, has a very unique view on gender identity, calling it a product of male superiority. So, in their translation, trans women are to be excluded from the RadFem Rise Up! conference.”

            They don’t sound very “trans-inclusive”, do they?

            From DGR Portland (who left the organization): “It was made clear to us that there was no room in the organization for dissenting opinions on the subject of gender, and that if we didn’t like what the organization was doing on this front, then we had to leave.”

            Wow. I can just FEEL the love of trans women coming of of DGR right now!

            From the Wikipedia entry on DGR: “The controversy especially swelled when a newly transitioning member of DGR, self-identifying as a woman, requested to join a women-only communal sleeping and showering space and, later, a women-only caucus space; the women’s caucus discussed the issue collectively and ultimately denied the applicant. A year after this, Aric McBay claimed he “left the organization at the beginning of 2012 after a trans inclusive policy was cancelled by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith”.

            So a bunch of cis women decided trans women don’t measure up to the definition of “woman”. How “radical of them.

            You claim that “DGR has always been a radical feminist org. This isn’t new”.

            Sorry but it IS new. From a quote by another DGR chapter who LEFT over it: “When I had first joined the organization, I was told by key founders of the organization, including Aric McBay – who is the primary author of the book Deep Green Resistance and the sole author of the strategy that the organization promotes, Decisive Ecological Warfare – that the Radical Feminist position was not the official position of the organization. When it became clear that the staff of DGR was intent on making the Radical Feminist position the official position of the organization, our local chapter tried to open spaces for dialogue on this issue. We were denied”.

            Also, in your OWN interview, DGR claims that “women who are female get to define their own organizing space and organize autonomously from males if they want to.”

            My, my. Who do you suppose these “women” would be? Why CIS women of course. After all, there IS no other type of woman, right? And who would those “males” be? Trans women. Last time I checked, “organizing autonomously” from trans women meant EXCLUDING them.

            All in all, PRETTY trans exclusionary. Maybe YOU’RE the one perpetrating “mistruths”. Sounds to me like you’re just angry that you got caught not doing proper research on DGR before you interviewed them. But then, MAYBE you didn’t WANT to know too much. That would’ve gotten in the way of your juicy “The mean trannies are picking on the brave little cis women” story, wouldn’t it? Don’t blame me.

            I also find it pretty funny that you demand all this “proof” from me, without applying the same to DGR. I mean, you didn’t question ANYTHING they had to say. How do you know the events went down the way they claim? Did you demand “examples”? Did you demand proof that trans women were “leaning against the table” and “pointing fingers” in the face of DGR, like they claimed? Did you demand proof of the supposed “rape” and “death” threats they claim they received? Did you tell THEM they needed to provide all this if they wanted to be “taken seriously”? Or did you just except it all as gospel? I guess having your statement’s accepted unquestionably as truth is ANOTHER example of that cis privilege Rachel claims doesn’t exist, huh?

            When DGR complained about it not being a “safe space at the Law and Disorder Conference, did you bother to read Brandon Speck’s full statement? You know, the part where he says: “In regards to safety concerns from Deep Green Resistance and the conference: I want to be very clear that the Law and Disorder Conference organizers in no way support the transphobia that is supported by DGR. Speaking personally as a white cis male, it is not my place to dictate how anyone who feels unsafe or oppressed by DGR’s transphobia should respond to it. It was an unwise decision to let DGR table, at least without publicly addressing their transphobic content”.

            Did you address how the trans protesters were made to feel “unsafe” by DGR? or did you automatically rush to the side of the delicate little cis women?

            The fact is, DGR is trying to paint this as “male violence”. Which ISN’T what happened at all. Because trans women AREN’T men. Because frankly, if it HAD been men, There would have been a lot more happening besides marking hands with a magic marker and throwing a half eaten burrito.

            Later you say ” Rachel doesn’t hate trans people”. I never said she DID. Unfortunately, people don’t have to hate trans people to be transphobic. Many anti-gay religious groups adopt the same “hate the sin, not the sinner approach. It doesn’t make them less dangerous. Stop conflating the two.

            The fact is, like MOST anti-trans radical feminists, DGR can’t differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and gender roles. The three have nothing to do with each other. My gender identity DOESN’T dictate my form of gender expression, OR change my gender role. I receive the SAME female oppressions as Rachel and Lexy do. It doesn’t make me a hurtful stereotype NOR does my existence threaten cis women. And I don’t appreciate DGR insinuating that I do.

            Personally, I hope you take at least some of what I’m saying to heart. And acknowledge that DGR has been guilty of some pretty bad behavior. Because as I stated before, feminism is for trans women too.

            Because, as Flavia Dzodan says “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit”.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Sigh. Ok… This is getting tiresome. I’m just going to remind you our comment policy states that you must say things that are true, otherwise your comments risk being deleted. Your accusations that I haven’t done my research will also be considered lies. So if you’d like to continue with this conversation, cut the personal attacks and slanderous comments. Thanks.

            “I don’t appreciate being called a liar” — well then say things that are true.
            I think the problem here is that you’re saying that the entire organization excludes trans people — which it does not. I HAVE, in fact, done my research — by speaking with a number of ACTUAL MEMBERS OF DGR about this very issue. You might consider doing the same. Go to the source. A bunch of accusatory blog posts don’t count as the FINAL ONE TRUTH.

            What you are talking about is the woman-only space issue. They do allow trans people in DGR, but it sounds like they don’t allow them to join the women’s caucus or into the women’s showers. Please be specific — this is not the same as saying the organization is trans exclusive. They are not.

            Yes, I read Brandon Speck’s statements. Regardless of his ideology and perspective on transphobia, it isn’t ok to attack or threaten people simply for tabling an event. They were there to represent DGR and their environmental activism, not to engage in debates over gender. I think Speck’s statement was appalling, to be honest and I can’t believe that he condoned the kind of behaviour displayed by the folks who attacked DGR.

            “Did you demand proof that trans women were “leaning against the table” and “pointing fingers” in the face of DGR, like they claimed?” — you know that the entire thing is on Youtube, right? Or was anyway. I watched both the videos. I know exactly what happened. And it was very threatening, intimidating, and, frankly, the arguments the attackers were making were nonsensical and ridiculous.

            “DGR can’t differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and gender roles” — that isn’t the point. I feel as though, again, you didn’t listen to the interview (or you’re being intentionally obtuse). The point isn’t that trans people or wrong or bad or don’t exist. The point isn’t that people can’t or don’t perform gender in a variety or ways or that they can’t identify in variety of ways. People can do whatever they want and, personally, I could care less what spaces men or trans people or whoever occupy so I feel uncomfortable speaking on behalf of people advocating for woman-only space because I feel like they should speak for themselves. That said, again, the argument Rachel is making, which made her a target, is only that gender is a class system and that people are socialized to either be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ and that radical feminists, generally, want to abolish gender rather than reinforce gender essentialism by making ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ innate, biological qualities. I can’t figure out what the big deal is about this argument. Really. It’s the basis for feminism.

          • Marti386, how do you think these derisive phrases you used, such as “the delicate little cis women,” would be interpreted if uttered by a man? Think about it. Your sexism is showing.

          • Lela

            Radical feminists differentiate between sex and gender, and find gender to be an oppressive, false hierarchy constructed by men in patriarchy, having nothing to do with who and what we are. Having been born with female anatomy isn’t an identity, it’s a physical reality that we cannot escape and must deal with.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Right. And once born with female anatomy we are socialized as women rather than as men, in a patriarchy and are oppressed as such.

          • Kyler

            “Well, YEAH. Trans women are a subset of the larger group women. Like black women are. And lesbian women are”

            BLACK WOMEN ARE LESBIANS ARE NOT A SUBSET OF A LARGER GROUP OF WOMEN.

            This comment is completely and utterly offensive and you need to analyze what groups of oppressed women you are trying to exploit to get your weak point across.

          • Marti386

            “BLACK WOMEN ARE LESBIANS ARE NOT A SUBSET OF A LARGER GROUP OF WOMEN.”

            I’m not sure what you’re saying here. I never said women are lesbians are not a subset of women. I said that black women, LIKE lesbians are all part of the larger group women as a whole. Lesbians are women. Black women are women. Straight womens are women. And trans women are women. We are ALL women, regardless of our individual differences (something trans women have been saying for YEARS, btw)

            The REASON I said that was to point out something DGR said. Which is basically that cis women have a right to organize away from trans women, like black women have a right to organize away from white women. She points out that there are black women spaces in DGR away from white women. In fact Lisa Vogel said the SAME thing when trying to defend her lame reasons why trans women should be excluded from Michigan Womyn’s Festival. And let me explain why her excuse is bogus.

            Cis women are NOT minority group of the larger group women. They are the MAJORITY group.

            The MAJORITY group does NOT get to organize away from the MINORITY group. Because the majority group is the OPPRESSOR. They are NOT the ones being oppressed.

            Gay people get to organize away from straight people because straight people are the MAJORITY. Straights OPPRESS gays, NOT the other way around.

            People of color get to organize away from white people because whites OPPRESS people of color. People of color do NOT oppress whites.

            Lesbians get to organize away from straight woman because straight women OPPRESS lesbians.

            Women get to organize away from women because women are oppressed by men. Men are not oppressed by women, which is why most MRA complaints are invalid

            Trans women get to organize away from cis women, because cis women are the majority group. Cis women OPPRESS trans women. Trans women do NOT oppress cis women. At ALL.

            THAT’S why it’s NOT acceptable for the white supremacists to organize. THAT’S why it’s NOT acceptable religious cuckoos to organize against gay people. Because they are the oppressors, and NOT the oppressed.

            And THAT’S why it’s NOT acceptable for “woman-born-woman” to exclude trans women.”

          • “Trans women do NOT oppress cis women. At ALL.”
            You may believe that, but your belief does not make it true. Many lesbians would beg to differ. I am not a lesbian, but I know that trans women have a long history of behavior that lesbians have called oppressive. Are you saying they have no right to make that determination? Why, because they are a larger minority than trans women? Do you really believe your history as a male is totally irrelevant? Sorry, again, your belief does not make it true. Beliefs can create a personal reality, but that is as far as it goes. Nobody should be oppressed based on their beliefs, but that also means nobody has the right to demand that anyone else agree with any belief, regardless of how strongly you may believe your identity depends on that belief.

            If a male believes he is not a man, that belief may make that person more like a woman than a man, but it cannot make that person female. The words male and female have meaning and significance that matters, and that is independent of belief. One example is the long history of males oppressing females. The meaning and significance of that history cannot be erased by believing one was born with the wrong sex organs. You may believe you are just like any other woman, but your lack of empathy and understanding belies that. You might also want to think about the fact that an important facet of male oppression of females is the presumption that males can and should define female. Regardless of what a biological male believes or does to the body, it is still presumptuous and oppressive for that person to define female to include that person.

            BTW, you said, “most MRA complaints are invalid.” This implies there are exceptions. Can you cite an example of an MRA complaint that is valid?

          • Lela

            The category “cis” is a presumptuous misnomer that fails to account for the lived experience of being born with female anatomy and having to ADAPT to it. Great numbers of us don’t “identify” with our genitalia and don’t “identify” with false and oppressive *femininity.* But we must attend to the specific concerns that we face in regard to our anatomy and the position men have placed us in because of it. The fact that women who do not identify as trans exist in greater numbers than trans women, a “majority” as you say, does not automatically make us less oppressed and does not automatically mean we have exactly the same issues or that these are interchangeable. The fact that we are clearly different means we have different concerns and we should be allowed to address these concerns, but can coalesce around larger shared concerns. THAT is what radical feminists, the real ones, mean.

          • Vouchsafer

            @Marti386:

            “Most feminists will tell you it’s not the job of the oppressed to educate you. Think about it like THIS: If a feminist was telling you that the MRA were being misogynistic, would you be asking for proof? If a black woman was telling you the KKK was being racist, would you ask her to provide proof? You might want to re-evaluate that.”

            So what I read in this comment of yours is that I as a radfem woman should just accept what ‘s told to me and not question it?

            Um, yeah, it doesn’t work that way. I read for the first time on this site about the MRA and what they have to say, and yes, I read here that it is misogynist. But that didn’t stop me from doing my own independent research and finding that out for myself.

            You need to calm down a little bit here, hun. Take a look back through your comments. You keep lecturing us on how trans women are oppressed. I don’t see anyone here arguing that.
            But you’re doing it in a way that BROOKS NO DIFFERENCE of opinion as though YOUR POSITION is the only one with any validity. (Capitals added to highlight pedantic nature of your tone)

            You can’t play the victim card and use language that assumes the upper hand both.

          • ““DGR isn’t transphobic.”

            Seriously? Don’t you think that’s for a trans person to decide and not you?”

            What a stupid argument really. So what you say here is that isn’t it up for DGR members to deicide if they are transphobic or not ?
            100% the same kind of argument you just did.

          • Meghan Murphy

            And no, people don’t get to just go around labeling other people as bigots just because they don’t like or agree with what they are saying. You have to actually justify what you are saying in a way that makes sense and is intellectually honest. If we just decide that whatever anyone says about anyone else is true simply because they said it, I feel like that traps us in a circular, name-calling, crazy town. People say all sorts of bullshit about me online — are we all to believe them simply because they say it?

          • Thank you Meghan!

            You summed up what I thought in my head when I wrote that reply above you 🙂

  • Sarah

    That presentation on gender was great. Thanks for sharing it. I’m disgusted at the abuse and blacklisting that DGR face. I’m not sure what we can do to stop this problem of radical feminists being silenced and bullied because of views on gender, pornography, prostitution, etc. There have always been disagreements within feminism, but I don’t recall hearing about Second Wave feminists threatening each other with rape and death when they disagreed. Historically, it is the behavior of men to threaten women with violence. Perhaps trans activists need to reflect on that.

    • Meghan Murphy

      No kidding, eh? Like, when did it become acceptable to silence and threaten feminists under the guise of “social justice”? It’s totally warped.

  • What is the song at the start?
    Great site.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks for coming by! The song is ‘Clear a Space’ by Lake Street Dive.

  • Marti386

    You know, it’s sad that you can’t admit that DGR has transphobic views on trans people. Which you seem to be doing, since you refuse to acknowledge that even one single solitary point I made may have some validity.

    “I HAVE, in fact, done my research — by speaking with a number of ACTUAL MEMBERS OF DGR about this very issue. You might consider doing the same. Go to the source”.

    Yeah, I’ve SEEN your “sources”. Rachel. Lexie. Lierre. Derrick. ALL hardline supporters of DGR’s radfem stance. Hardly indicative of the whole. And your claim that I didn’t quote “actual members” of DGR? Are you trying to claim that co-founder Aric Mcbay ISN’T an actual member or a credible source? Or DGR Portland?

    “What you are talking about is the woman-only space issue. They do allow trans people in DGR, but it sounds like they don’t allow them to join the women’s caucus or into the women’s showers. Please be specific — this is not the same as saying the organization is trans exclusive. They are not.”

    Uh, sorry. It IS trans exclusive. When you BLOCK trans women from entering women’s spaces in DGR, that IS “trans exclusive”. ANOTHER example of DGR’s transphobia that you seem unwilling to admit exists.

    “People can do whatever they want and, personally, I could care less what spaces men or trans people or whoever occupy so I feel uncomfortable speaking on behalf of people advocating for women-only space because I feel like they should speak for themselves”.

    The SAD part about that statement is that you don’t even see the unintentional transphobia in it. You are basically saying that although you don’t mind trans women in women space, you have NO problem with allowing a handful of cis women POLICE women’s spaces and decide who does or doesn’t get access based on THEIR narrow definition of the word “woman”. Which is pretty much the same as saying “I don’t have a problem with cis women discriminating against trans women”. It’s up to the individual WOMAN to decide where she belongs. NOT Rachel or Lexie. Is that so hard for you to admit?

    “You know that the entire thing is on Youtube, right? Or was anyway. I watched both the videos. I know exactly what happened”

    Yeah, I watched both videos TOO. They don’t “prove” anything. You DO know that those videos happened the day AFTER the alleged attack, right? All they show is some people having a rather heated discussion. You know, it’s pretty funny that you’re trying to claim this is some sort of proof. You DO know that wouldn’t hold up if you were using the VERY same level of “proof” you seem to be demanding of me.

    Sorry, but if my providing quotes from people who know what’s going on in DGR doesn’t count, then NEITHER does Rachel, since she can’t provide any videos of the actual attack.

    For the record? Yeah, I do believe that books were marked and a burrito was thrown. But if we’re gonna demand the same amount of proof that you are of ME, then it doesn’t count. Also, while I find those kind of protest tactics silly and ineffective, I do support their right to do so. And I do want to point out that cis radical feminists use them TOO:

    http://www.sanctepater.com/2013/04/femen-feminists-attack-archbishop-andre.html

    They ALSO use heated language:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iARHCxAMAO0

    By the way, I pointed out these examples BEFORE, but you blocked that comment. Could it be because you don’t want people to know radfems use the SAME tactics they’re now crying about when transgender people do it? How about acknowledging how hypocritical that is?T

    Of course the insinuating, almost subconscious transphobia under this is that trans women don’t get the luxury of doing the very SAME things cis radfems do. Because when trans women do it, it’s wrong because they are really “men” picking on defenseless “real” women. It’s really “male abuse”. Which just reinforces stereotypes of women being weak and needing protection from trans women. Which is EXACTLY how Rachel frames it when she call trans women “male bodied”. She cooks up the old specter of men abusing women. Which is itself transphobic. And NOT what happened at ALL.

    All in all, you’re just using classic derailing tactics that anti-trans radfems use anytime they want to ignore us. Demanding proof from trans women and then dismissing it when they do. Demanding a level of proof you YOURSELF can’t even supply. Refusing to do even a MOMENT’S reflection that maybe, just MAYBE, trans women have a point. OR admitting that the VAST majority of feminists have already abandoned Rachel’s uber simplistic gender views as ancient and inaccurate.

    It seems to me the problem is you want to have your cake and it eat too. You want to claim you don’t support anti-trans stances, yet you give TERF’s an unchallenged platform to air their views. ALL while refusing to acknowledge ANY transgender people’s claims that radical feminism is damaging to trans people.

    I’m NOT trying to be mean. REALLY. But trans women are growing TIRED of having our complaints ignored and dismissed by “feminists” who claim they’re our allies. Being an ally means NOT speaking over trans voices when they point out transphobia. Even when it’s by OTHER feminists.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Maybe it would help if you would define “transphobic.” I do feel like we’re talking past each other a little bit here and that your view of what transphobic is may be different than mine. Did you listen to the interview with Rupert Read? I’m curious to know your thoughts?

      • Marti386

        Well, I would go with the standard definition of the word transphobia. From Wikipedia:

        “Transphobia (or less commonly trans-prejudice, trans-misogyny, referring to transphobia directed toward trans women and trans-misandry, referring to transphobia directed toward trans men) is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity.”

        Also interesting is the definition of cissexism:

        which is sometimes used as a synonym of transphobia, refers to the assumptions that all men and all women are biological male or female and that trans people are inferior to cis people. Whether intentional or not, both transphobia and cissexism have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude. Many trans people also experience homophobia from people who associate their gender identity with homosexuality. Attacking someone on the basis of a perception of their gender identity rather the perception of their sexual orientation is known as “trans bashing”, as opposed to “gay bashing”

        And unfortunately I DO feel that certain (not all) radical feminists are guilty of this. Maybe I should use the term TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) rather than the more general term radfem, since I HAVE run into radfems who claim they are against the trans exclusionary practices of the TERFS. I’ve read about some young radfems who are trying to take radical feminism back from the TERFs, and I wish them luck. But I’m doubtful if this can be accomplished, since paranoid fear of trans women seems to be a large part of the foundation of today’s radical feminist movement. With things like Janice Raymond’s offensive 1979 hate screed The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male (read the comment section for reasons why trans women have a problem with this):

        http://www.amazon.com/The-Transsexual-Empire-Making-She-Male/dp/0807762725

        They also tried to block Sylvia Rivera from speaking at the 1973 Liberation Day gay pride march, despite the fact she was one of the people who started the Stonewall riot:

        http://queeraztlan.tumblr.com/post/42520101443/mtfbutches-thematerialworld-a-few-years-ago

        To modern day transphobic radfems like Julie Burchill who write swill like this:

        http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13264#.UhIgOZK1F8E

        And I’ve mentioned in another comment how TERFs colluded with Jessie Helms to deny trans people medical insurance:

        http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-trans-community-hates-dr-janice-g.html

        These are all very REAL examples of the transphobia prevalent in the TERF movement. And how it produces very REAL, tangible damage to trans women, unlike TERF whining about “erasure”.

        But the MAIN reason I think it’s transphobic is that it’s a PHOBIA. The definition of the word phobia is:

        “A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.”

        See, when TERFs claim I want to “rape” them, “force them to accept the peen”, and “erase” them, that’s just FEAR, pure and simple. They have NO proof of such, and never have. Regardless of their reasoning, it’s based in the fear of the other. And a fear without proof IS the very definition of the word transphobic.

        The fact is, trans women are welcomed into MANY women’s spaces and lesbian spaces. More and more every day. And, DESPITE the TERF’s fears, Those places are running along JUST fine. Trans women didn’t hose them all down with “male privilege”. We didn’t burn the place to the ground. We didn’t rape all the women like a bunch of vikings in a pillage party. We didn’t make them bow before us in servitude. Everything was cool.

        Another TERF fear that never materialized. So how MANY of their irrational fears must be proven WRONG before they leave us alone?

        • Meghan Murphy

          Ok. So I agree with this definition (except for the “internal gender identity” part, which doesn’t make much sense to me because I believe gender is socialized). And I agree that some people (including some radical feminists, sure) are guilty of this. I particularly agree with this sentiment:

          “But the MAIN reason I think it’s transphobic is that it’s a PHOBIA. The definition of the word phobia is:

          ‘A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.'”

          So. Based on this agreed upon definition, I fail to see how DGR qualifies as a transphobic organization. None of their members have a fear of or negative feelings towards trans people. They just separate sex from gender, want to challenge the idea that gender is innate, and yes, advocate for woman-only spaces. I still fail to see how this would be interpreted as a kind of phobia?

          I mean, is it their position on gender that bothers you? Or is it purely the woman-only space issue?

      • Marti386

        “Did you listen to the interview with Rupert Read?”

        No, I didn’t. Is the interview here on your website? I couldn’t find it. Who is he?

    • Lela

      Why are you so invested in viciously attacking the one group of people – who are in the minority, as YOU just admitted (“…the VAST majority of feminists have already abandoned….”) – who has actually managed to de-program from patriarchal brainwashing and fight for the liberation of people with two x-chromosomes, female reproductive systems and female secondary sex characteristics? Can you actually list the “uber simplistic gender views” proposed by DGR, do you understand their relevance have to those of us born with female anatomy? Do you understand radical feminism at all?

    • Lela

      Marti. I hate to say this, believe me I really do, but surely you can see how being “male-bodied” (i.e., xy chromosomes, sex characteristics) combined with intimidating posturing (such as that described in this piece, and what you are attempting here) have the potential to frighten “cis” women when so many of us have been victims of male violence? Sorry but how is that likely to make “cis” women permit access to change rooms and bathrooms? Has it occurred to you that intimidating force really isn’t the appropriate “tactic” in this type of situation when it might actually be acceptable in a different protest setting?

      • Marti386

        “Marti. I hate to say this, believe me I really do, but surely you can see how being “male-bodied” (i.e., xy chromosomes, sex characteristics) combined with intimidating posturing (such as that described in this piece, and what you are attempting here) have the potential to frighten “cis” women when so many of us have been victims of male violence?”

        Using capital letters is “intimidating posturing”? I’m sorry if it came off as such. I like to use capitals to show which words I’m emphasizing, NOT trying to shout. I find it makes it easier for people to understand how I’m saying something.

        Also, why am I “frightening” cis women? I’m 5’2″ and weigh 136 pounds. NOT exactly the most threatening person on the block. And I abhor violence. I can’t even squash spiders in my own home. I spend 20 minutes shooing them out the door. 🙂 So I don’t really think your accusation of “intimidation” has much merit.

        UNLESS you automatically assumed that because I’m a trans woman, I must be some hulking, 6’5″ musclebound monster with shoulders like a linebacker and hands the size of hams. Which would be stereotyping. AND another example of the subliminal transphobia trans women have to fight against.

        “Has it occurred to you that intimidating force really isn’t the appropriate “tactic” in this type of situation when it might actually be acceptable in a different protest setting?”

        How am I using “force”? Meghan controls this site, and can block my comments on a moment’s notice. I don’t see how asking you to include trans women is “force”.

        Sorry, but I don’t think your defenses have much merit.

        • Meghan Murphy

          But the use of caps does signify shouting… Regardless of your intent, it does come off as aggressive… I’m not saying don’t express anger, I’m just letting you know that your sentiments may not be coming off in the way you intend them to…

        • Lela

          Frankly I was finding your abundant use of caps to be jarring and aggressive, and I would have found this regardless of who you were. I mean it’s not that I don’t use the occasional caps-word myself but….. My point was that, if the object is to share intimate spaces with people, it is necessary to build trust and dialogue, not make demands. It’s really not the same thing as engaging in other types of political protest.

  • Marti386

    This comment is in reply to Aletha. Sorry I couldn’t reply to the comment directly, but the “reply” button seems to disappear after a thread goes on too long. 🙂

    “You may believe that, but your belief does not make it true. Many lesbians would beg to differ. I am not a lesbian, but I know that trans women have a long history of behavior that lesbians have called oppressive”.

    Maybe. But that doesn’t make lesbians “belief” true either. Yet you seem to be dismissing MY beliefs and supporting THEIRS. Why is that, exactly? Would it be because they are cis? After all, their “belief” is no more “valid” (according to you) than mine.

    “Are you saying they have no right to make that determination?”

    Sure, why not? Isn’t that exactly what you’re saying to ME? That trans women don’t have the right to determine if their being discriminated against?

    “Nobody should be oppressed based on their beliefs, but that also means nobody has the right to demand that anyone else agree with any belief, regardless of how strongly you may believe your identity depends on that belief.”

    And yet that’s EXACTLY what’s happening to trans women. By DGR. And radical feminists. DGR believes THEIR “beliefs” give them the right to discriminate against trans women, and they’ve ACTED on that “belief”.

    “The words male and female have meaning and significance that matters, and that is independent of belief. One example is the long history of males oppressing females.”

    Yes, that’s true. As someone who has lived as a woman for 12 years now, I’ve experienced plenty of male oppression. Unfortunately I ALSO get it from “radical” feminists.

    “The meaning and significance of that history cannot be erased by believing one was born with the wrong sex organs. You may believe you are just like any other woman, but your lack of empathy and understanding belies that.”

    Ummm, you DO know that the idea of “male privilege” in trans women is just a “belief” on the part of radical feminists, right? It’s NEVER been proven with anything even closely related to facts or proof. What was it you said earlier? “Sorry, again, your belief does not make it true. Beliefs can create a personal reality, but that is as far as it goes”. And yet here you are claiming YOUR belief as some kind of proof. Oh, and I have PLENTY of empathy by the way. Claiming I lack empathy (something you have no proof of) simply because I don’t agree with you is transphobic in itself.

    “Regardless of what a biological male believes or does to the body, it is still presumptuous and oppressive for that person to define female to include that person.”

    WHY? If you say you’re a woman, I BELIEVE you. I don’t ask you for proof. I don’t dismiss you. Why pull that same shit on trans women? What you’re REALLY saying is “trans women aren’t women”. Which you have no proof of other than you’re own “beliefs”. Also, you’re whole “male privilege” defense falls apart if you don’t believe that “trans women are men”.

    Trans women are CONTINUALLY excluded by radical feminists for a whole plethora of reasons. From “you’re not a real woman” , to “you want to erase women”, to “you have male privilege”, to “you want to rape women in the restrooms”, to “you’re just an MRA who wants to destroy women from the inside”. These are all ACTUAL radfem defenses, by the way. NONE of which has ever been proven. And it’s disgraceful to discriminate against trans women without any PROOF. Personally, I could care less what someone’s “personal beliefs” are. But when they start USING those unfounded, unproven “beliefs” as an excuse to say I’m not “real”? When they start using it to deny me the same access that cis women get? Then that’s discrimination.

    The thing is, There’s a BIG difference between when a lesbian claims trans women are “oppressing” her, and when a trans women claims cis women are oppressing her. And the main difference is that the lesbian has NO PROOF of such oppression. SERIOUSLY, show me the instances of when trans women kicked lesbians out of women’s spaces. Show me the the trans women who claimed lesbians don’t exist. Show me the times trans women used their “beliefs” to deny lesbians medical coverage. Show me the trans women in congress who are voting down rights for cis women. Show me the trans women who are going around trying to perpetuate the myth that cis women are all really “sexual predators”. SHOW me the examples of trans women saying that all cis women are “mentally disturbed”.

    What? You can’t provide ANY? My, that’s odd. But guess what? Trans people CAN. I’ve seen EVERY single one of those “examples” leveled at trans women. BY cis women radical feminists. So please, SPARE me the “it is still presumptuous and oppressive for that person to define female to include that person.”, baloney. Because the ONLY thing “presumptuous and oppressive” is YOU thinking you get to define ME. Cuz the ONLY thing “oppressive” I”M seeing is when famous radical feminists work with conservatives to DENY trans women medical insurance:

    http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-trans-community-hates-dr-janice-g.html

    The last time I checked cis women weren’t being turned away by homeless shelters, or forced to sleep on a mat in a storeroom:

    http://dot429.com/articles/1920-transgender-woman-denied-access-to-homeless-shelter-sues-and-wins-case

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/09/1222367/-Massachusetts-Equal-Access-Act#

    The last time I checked, It wasn’t trans women who were voting against the rights of cis women:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/miami-dade-transgender-rights_n_3755340.html?utm_hp_ref=transgender

    http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2013/08/san-antonio-councilmember-elisa-chans.html

    The last time I checked, it wasn’t trans women beating the shit out of cis women at McDonalds:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/chrissy-polis-transgender-beating-victim-scarred-mcdonald-attack-article-1.1079205

    The fact IS, lesbians have NO proof of their supposed “oppression by trans women”, while trans women have PLENTY of proof that they are being oppressed by cis women. The two are NOT equal. And it is disingenuous to suggest they are.

    “BTW, you said, “most MRA complaints are invalid.” This implies there are exceptions. Can you cite an example of an MRA complaint that is valid?”

    Actually, I DON’T know of any MRA complaints that are valid. But that doesn’t mean theoretically that they couldn’t. So I said “most”, just to be safe 🙂

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Ummm, you DO know that the idea of “male privilege” in trans women is just a “belief” on the part of radical feminists, right? It’s NEVER been proven with anything even closely related to facts or proof.”

      I’m not sure that the vocabulary you’re using makes much sense here… Male privilege isn’t a “belief,” it’s something that’s part of the theory and ideology of feminism. What radical feminists mean when they talk about male privilege in trans women is that, previous to transition — i.e. when trans women moved in society as men, they experienced male privilege. I don’t know what kinds of “facts” you require as proof that male privilege exists for men in a patriarchal society but, at this point, it’s kind of taken for granted/accepted as true within feminism.

      All that said, I think it’s fair to say that this male privilege is lost once men transition or once they stop presenting as “masculine.” I’ve heard trans men talk about the male privilege they experience once they transition/start living as men as well — it isn’t a “belief,” it’s a reality. Trans women are oppressed as trans people and/or as women, right? Depending on how they present? I’m sure others have thought this through more thoroughly than I and, therefore, have different opinions on this and can elaborate further. But basically I think that’s what we’re getting at?

      Your focus on “facts” and “proof” with regard to the existence of male privilege and female oppression is a little strange to me, particularly on a feminist blog…. It’s similar to the arguments made by MRAs who come here and deny male privilege exists and argue that ACTUALLY it’s women who have all the power in society….

      • Marti386

        “I’m not sure that the vocabulary you’re using makes much sense here… Male privilege isn’t a “belief,” it’s something that’s part of the theory and ideology of feminism.”

        I never said it was. I TOTALLY believe in male privilege. AND the fact it oppresses women. I just don’t believe it applies to trans women.

        The WHOLE problem with TERF ideology concerning trans people come from ONE erroneous misunderstanding. The incorrect assumption that trans women are really men. BECAUSE it sees all men as oppressors, and it sees trans women as “men”, we are seen as “guilty by association”.

        “What radical feminists mean when they talk about male privilege in trans women is that, previous to transition — i.e. when trans women moved in society as men, they experienced male privilege”

        While I commend you for understanding that, the fact is MANY radfem TERFs believe I NEVER stop receiving male privilege. As someone who has lived as a woman for over a decade, I can tell them quite unequivocally that they’re WRONG. And I KNOW, because I’ve lived it. Do you know how presumptuous it is for someone to tell me something I’ve experienced FIRSTHAND is a lie? The idea that trans women have privilege over cis women can be debated.

        Take well know TERF bigwig Cathy Brennan, for example. She once said to me:

        “Transwomen are male. Male privilege cannot be renounced. Patriarchy doesn’t work that way.”

        This is an example of oversimplified TERF logic at work. Trans women have “privilege” that cis women don’t. Of course, the fact that she is a rich, successful partner in a law firm, and many trans women I know are living in poverty kinda DISPROVES that simplistic assumption, doesn’t it?

        But actually, I COULD debate the idea that I ever benefited from male privilege at ALL. Just because I was subjected to “male” programming DOESN’T mean I accepted it. I was someone who was CONSTANTLY mistaken for female as both a child and adult. I was beaten and humiliated as a child by my peers for being too “girly”. I was called a “faggot” (which is kinda funny, since I’m a lesbian). I was shy, quiet and never spoke unless someone spoke to me first. I preferred the company of other girls, and found boys to be scary and violent. Where were my “benefits” again?

        TERF logic doesn’t account for the fact that trans women are PUNISHED by the patriarchy for not upholding the position expected for men. It does NOT pat us on the back. The TERF idea that we are “invaders for the patriarchy” is ludicrous. Terfs seen to think we are all Frankensteinian creations of the Umbrella Corporation, purposefully designed to destroy feminism. Or something. It is a simplistic, binary, black and white worldview that DOESN’T take into account the fact that the world is in INFINITE shades of gray. OR that binaries are something that only exists in computers.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yes I see what you’re saying with regard to your experience as a child. You didn’t fit in properly with male culture or properly perform masculinity and suffered as a result. This is similar as to why homophobia exists. Gay men don’t properly perform masculinity (by fucking women and/or by not acting aggressive, dominant, performing rituals of male bonding which are often attached to oppressing women, etc) and are punished for this by other men and by a patriarchal society. I get that you may have suffered more than you gained from living in a patriarchy, as someone who didn’t ‘fit’.

          Regarding this statement: “The WHOLE problem with TERF ideology concerning trans people come from ONE erroneous misunderstanding. The incorrect assumption that trans women are really men. BECAUSE it sees all men as oppressors, and it sees trans women as “men”, we are seen as “guilty by association”.”

          I think that what many radical feminists mean is that trans women are biologically male. Not that they identify with “men” or performing masculine traits or behaviour — so I believe it’s about that sex vs. gender thing, in this case. Maybe I’m wrong.

          I don’t see all individual men as oppressors and I don’t know that most feminists, radical or otherwise, do either (again — I feel like I’m speaking on behalf of radical feminists which I don’t feel entirely comfortable doing because I think they can articulate their position better than I can). Women as a class are oppressed in a patriarchy. Men as a class hold power and privilege that women do not. Women experience violence at the hands of men — this does not mean all individual men are violent. So I don’t think it’s accurate to say that radical feminists see “all men” as oppressors. Maybe some do think all individual men are violent and oppressive. I don’t know. I kinda don’t get that sense. I think generally it’s more that, even if a man isn’t actively oppressing individual women on a day-to-day basis, he still experiences male privilege.

          In any case, I think we need to talk about systems of power rather than individuals because the conversation gets muddled. As I said before, women are oppressed under patriarchy and trans people are also oppressed under patriarchy. People are forced to fit into a binary that doesn’t make sense and is destructive. But I’m not sure why the solution would or should be essentialism? Why are we trying to make femininity and masculinity into innate biological or psychological qualities?

          • Marti386

            Thanks for the kind words, Mehgan. I appreciate it 🙂

            I just wanted to touch on a few things you mentioned.

            “I don’t see all individual men as oppressors and I don’t know that most feminists, radical or otherwise, do either (again — I feel like I’m speaking on behalf of radical feminists which I don’t feel entirely comfortable doing because I think they can articulate their position better than I can).”

            I wasn’t trying to imply ALL radfems believe this. Far from it and I apologize if it seemed that way. Again, When I’m talking like this in a general sense, I’m talking about the TERF movement in general. The BugBrennan school of radical feminism, not any radfems commenting here. But I do DO think a lot of the trans fears that come from this specific group of women are based in the thinking that all men are oppressors and hurtful to women. I think that’s why a lot of that gets transferred onto trans women (and to a lesser degree, trans men). But that’s just a guess on my part.

            “I think that what many radical feminists mean is that trans women are biologically male. Not that they identify with “men” or performing masculine traits or behaviour — so I believe it’s about that sex vs. gender thing, in this case.”

            True. But I think they forget the very important fact that “biological” sex is ITSELF a social construct. The TERFs seem to think that biological sex is some unchangeable truth that is handed down on stone tablets from the mountain. Which really isn’t true. What we call “biological sex” is just a set of guidelines, a definition we use to determine male or female. And that biological definition could change at any time. Or be expanded. That’s what I think is happening now. I think soon the “biological” definition of women will INCLUDE trans women. And I think that scares the crap out of the TERFs because they seem to think they’ll cease to exist if it happens.

            Did you know it looks like prior to the 18th century, there was only considered one “biological sex”? And that it was male?:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_sex_two_sex_theory

            Interesting stuff. But it proves the idea of “biology” is as malleable as gender.

            The funny thing is TERFS can’t even seem to make up their minds on which “biological” guidelines actually define “woman”.

            I mean, what DO they use to define “biological woman”? The radfems will tell you that it means “being born with a vagina”, UNTIL you point out that cis women can be born without one (Mullerian Agenesis).

            THEN they try to claim that it’s “chromosomes”, UNTIL you point out that some cis women have XY chromosomes (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

            THEN they try to claim it’s “having a uterus”, UNTIL you point out that some cis women are born without one (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome). Which also deflates their “real women can give birth” idea, since MANY women are infertile). Also, trans women will be able to have uteruses in the near future (science is already working on it).

            The irony is that the TERFs would be the first to claim all these women are still “real” women, even though they all FAIL the “biological” definitions of a woman that she seems so keen on enforcing.

            So is the main difference only social upbringing? If so, I’ve already talked about how I feel trans women don’t necessarily get “male privilege”. And that “shared girlhood” concept? There’s a brand new generation of trans girls on the horizon who’ve transitioned as early as age 4. They live as girls. Go to school as girls. They have the same “girlhood” as cis girls.

            Check out the future of trans women:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/jazz-transgender-tween-barbara-walters_n_2528968.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/coy-mathis_n_3488306.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/transgender-girl-obama-speech_n_2533298.html

            So “girlhood” doesn’t really count either.

            I think in the near future, there will be NO “trans” women OR “cis” women. Just “women”.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “I wasn’t trying to imply ALL radfems believe this. Far from it and I apologize if it seemed that way. Again, When I’m talking like this in a general sense, I’m talking about the TERF movement in general. The BugBrennan school of radical feminism, not any radfems commenting here. But I do DO think a lot of the trans fears that come from this specific group of women are based in the thinking that all men are oppressors and hurtful to women. I think that’s why a lot of that gets transferred onto trans women (and to a lesser degree, trans men). But that’s just a guess on my part.”

            Yes, you could be right.

          • Lela

            “What we call “biological sex” is just a set of guidelines, a definition we use to determine male or female.”

            Unfortunately biological sex is not simply a set of guidelines, and idea or a definition, for those of us who experience the phenomenon of being female-sexed. It is the locus of our oppression. It is all too real to us. We have no choice in this matter.

            Of course we do have a set of “guidelines” and language that are used to define, understand and deal with the reality of sex and sexual dimorphism, which is a very real thing for many species. It isn’t a stretch to say that the vast majority of humans possess organ systems and characteristics that fit into sexual dimorphism; it’s how we reproduce in the first place. Men have turned this dimorphism into a hierarchy. This is well-documented.

            I think here, once again, we have a situation where exceptions are being presented as the rule or being made to redefine the rule. Every rule does have exceptions but that doesn’t mean the rule doesn’t exist in the first place.

            I don’t think any woman really thinks that her femaleness is located completely in her vagina or any other specific part. You can’t break these things down into separate organs; you can’t say “it’s my brain that makes me a woman” or “it’s my vagina that makes me a woman”…. it’s an entire set of characteristics, with most or all of which occurring simultaneously. When you break something down into what you consider to be component parts, and moreover continuously point to very rare exceptions to the rule as things that prove the rule doesn’t actually exist, it becomes very easy to define something out of existence. That is what is happening here. Radfems don’t have some irrational belief that we will literally “cease to exist,” that’s ridiculous. In order to properly contend with the oppression of female-sexed people you need to be able to recognize that this oppression IS in fact happening, for specific reasons (i.e. sexual and reproductive slavery). Trans ideology basically *removes* any language we have previously been able to use to describe our position. That’s a serious concern.

        • Lela

          In response to mentions of gendertrender, Cathy Brennan, Dirt et al…. I’m just some obsessive nobody, but when I was new to these debates I spent some time studying these people and sites, and let me say that I absolutely agree with you Marti, their “outing” of members of your community and general mean-spiritedness is absolutely abhorrent. I can’t hope to speak on behalf of others but I wouldn’t call these people radical feminists; there is very little content on those sites other than straight-up bashing. Cathy Brennan for example is not considered a radical feminist by the vast majority and from what I’ve been able to glean is actually being shunned by people she formerly organized with for various reasons.

          I am far from being able to prove anything, but…. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, in terms of strategies for shutting down radical feminism that might be cooked up by men…. it’s really the perfect thing, isn’t it? Appeal to scared, suffering, broken women with scraps of radfem ideology, but otherwise produce content with a focus on bashing trans people and fomenting tensions between the two groups, with the eventual goal of the destruction and stigmatization of truly radical feminism. A general lack of understanding of radical feminist ideas contributes to the development of trans hatred of radfems as well. And then, presto, you have the most well-meaning, feminist-minded women mouthing slurs against a distinct other oppressed group. If this is indeed a scenario intentionally engineered by men, there are a few things they fail to account for; empathy, critical thinking, and a general disrespect for authority. Radfems are a group that do not have a leader or leaders. What we have is many women contributing to the discourse in small pieces.

          For radfems, “woman” refers to those who have definite female biology; it isn’t a club, it’s simply stark physical reality. On the basis of which we are being oppressed in specific ways, which we must address, and we do so without the intention of “excluding” anybody but that apparently is the impression that comes across. We don’t consider ourselves to have “gender” at all. Gender is a non-entity from our perspective, but more importantly it is something that has been constructed and used with the express purpose of oppressing women, and having us reproduce our own oppression by following its dictates. In light of these things, radfems cannot ever see “gender” as a fun dress-up game or something with transgressive potential because it IS oppression to us. I hope that makes sense to you. In this sense the word “cisgendered” makes no sense because we do not have gender, we have only sex. There is nothing for us to be “on the same side” as. Demanding that we accept transgender ideology as the one true truth is asking us to do the impossible. Perhaps we can agree to disagree, or you can recognize that we are indeed different categories of people altogether, who suffer related but different oppressions and can collaborate on some things.

          There are some things your movement could do: stop obstructing our critiques of the sex industry, which are of dire importance to women’s survival and women’s liberation from economic coercion. Stop undermining our critiques of PiV, pornography and objectification. Stop filling our blogs with angry tirades in order to frame us as “bigots” and distract from addressing our issues. Stop pretending that we all believe the same things. Stop dismissing the concerns of lesbians. Stop demanding that we accept all of your ideas and threatening us if we don’t.

          • Lela, I might agree that Cathy Brennan should not be outing transwomen, and perhaps she is throwing gasoline on the fire of the tensions between them and radical feminists. However, I am highly dubious about your speculation that she is part of some male conspiracy to destroy radical feminism. Who is primarily responsible for fomenting those tensions, anyway? Given the constant attempts by transwomen to infiltrate and make trouble for women-only spaces, I can understand why Ms. Brennan has chosen her ways of retaliating. Regardless of whether those ways are justifiable or not, did she deserve this?
            http://bugbrennan.com/2012/06/24/a-view-on-the-dyke-exclusionary-dyke-march/
            Should someone have physically “punched her in her goddamned face,” instead of merely assaulting her figuratively?

          • Lela

            Of course she didn’t deserve to get punched in the face! And trans women should not be demanding access to the spaces (and bodies, re: the Cotton Ceiling) of biological women. But what is the point of creating a site dedicated to showing pictures of young trans people without their knowledge or consent? Are we to understand that borrowing tactics from pornographers is an acceptable thing?

          • Marti386

            “Given the constant attempts by trans women to infiltrate and make trouble for women-only spaces, I can understand why Ms. Brennan has chosen her ways of retaliating”.

            Are you even listening to what you’re saying? You just accused trans women of being “infiltrators”. Why are we infiltrators for simply wanting to be able to enter women space? And WHO are we “infiltrating” for, exactly? The MRAs? The patriarchy? I mean, of COURSE we would. After all, we’re just “predators” who want to “silence” women, right? That’s kinda what you’re insinuating here.

            Why do you assume our only reason for doing so would be to “make trouble”, instead of merely using as any OTHER woman would? How are you not aware of the transphobia inherent in your remarks? You’ve just accused us sneaking into your midst with ulterior motives. That’s REALLY offensive.

            Why do you feel that Brennan’s unproven fears of trans women are an “understandable” excuse for “retaliation?” Exactly what IS she even “retaliating” too? The idea that trans women are equals?

            The fact is that if Brennan wasn’t attacking trans women FIRST, they wouldn’t be protesting her.

            “Regardless of whether those ways are justifiable or not, did she deserve this? Should someone have physically “punched her in her goddamned face,” instead of merely assaulting her figuratively?”

            Please stop trying to paint what happened to Brennan at Dyke March as an “assault”. It wasn’t. I’ve seen the video’s and all that’s going on is a heated discussion. I wouldn’t go to Brennan’s site for an even-handed account of the event, if I were you. And as for the “punching her in the face” comment, You do know that nowhere in that text does it say the commenter was at the confrontation, or even TRANS, right? Don’t be so quick to blame it on trans women.

            Do you also know it’s pretty hypocritical to complain about trans women speaking angrily when radfems do it TOO?:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvYyGTmcP80

            Are you trying to claim this isn’t the same thing? Cuz it kinda looks like it is. But I guess it’s only acceptable when cis women do it, huh?

            But I’m actually kinda glad you brought that up. Cuz it’s a prime example of the “false threat” defense that TERFs luv to throw around. See, TERFs constantly claim they’re receiving “death threats”, yet they RARELY make any of them public. And this is because the vast majority of these “threats” are actually comments like that one. Which is to say they aren’t really “threats” at ALL.

            There’s a BIG difference between “wishing” someone punched her in the face, and actually threatening to do it.

            The definition of “threat” is: “An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment.”

            Did you catch the most important part of that? It’s “intent”. As in you must express INTENT to harm someone in order for it to be a threat. As in there was NO intent in that comment, only wishful thinking. A wish is NOT a threat.

            Which is why most TERF claims of “threats” are bogus. 99% of them are things like “die cis scum”, “die in a fire”, “eat glass and die”, etc. Are they the classiest things to say? No. Are they the best way to win allies? Probably not. Are they threats? Not really.

            The thing is, if TERFs want trans people to leave them alone, they should STOP trying to tell us where we belong.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t want this conversation to derail into one about Cathy Brennan. This ends here. Let’s get back to the original conversation. Arguing about extreme examples isn’t helpful and Brennan is not representative of all radical feminists.

          • Lela

            “There’s a BIG difference between “wishing” someone punched her in the face, and actually threatening to do it.”

            Okay but saying something like “I hope you get punched in the face” or “I wish you would get punched in the face….” these things ARE intimidating and threatening right, while not literally being “threats?” And re: “die cis scum” and “die in a fire”…… if radical feminist women adopted phrases like “die male scum” or were telling men to go “die in a fire” do you know how quickly men would unambiguously come down on us? Also do you know who else uses the “but it wasn’t technically xyz” excuse on women Having to literally negotiate with men for our very lives has long since removed any option for radical feminists to say things like this. Seriously, think about it.

          • Marti386

            Thanks, Lela! It means a LOT to me when cis women speak out against the transphobia in some corners of feminism. I appreciate it.

            “Cathy Brennan for example is not considered a radical feminist by the vast majority and from what I’ve been able to glean is actually being shunned by people she formerly organized with for various reasons.”

            I agree. UNFORTUNATELY, Brennan and her TERF brigade seem to be hijacking the radical feminist label lately. Brennan definitely considers herself to be a radical feminist, even it most radfems don’t. She and her like minded friends also seem to be controlling the radfem narrative these days.

            Brennan was a featured speaker at Radfem 2013. AND Radfem 2012. In FACT it was from the very workshops of Radfem 2012 that Brennan tweeted her now infamous “sorry about your dick” photo, while other attendees chuckled in the background:

            http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/2012/07/catherine-brennans-sorry-for-you-dick.html

            Sadly, it didn’t look like any of the radfem attendees protested Brennan’s inclusion at the conference. If Brennan is a featured player in the movement, it’s kinda hard for radfems to distance themselves from her.

            I hope MORE feminists (especially radical feminists) will denounce this kind of behaviour in the future.

    • Lela

      You say that most feminists eschew radical feminist ideas (which you yourself can’t seem to reiterate and don’t seem to understand)… that’s because they’ve never even had access to them and that people either don’t understand or deliberately misconstrue. Do you know how stigmatized radical feminism is in the popular imagination? That, through extraordinary examples of patriarchal manipulation of the discourse, we are basically accused of being responsible for every bad thing that happens to everybody? That it is actually thought that WE are the ones oppressing women, trans people, men, and we’re probably responsible for ruining the environment and climate change come to think of it? Have you considered that radical feminism might possibly exist for other reasons than making life difficult for trans people, you know, like *the liberation of women-as-a-sex-class* that discussion of trans people actually comprises very little of radical feminist concern?More and more it feels as though the outcome of these debates is rigged. The “transphobia” attacks always come just when we’re getting a foothold with sex industry criticism. Men are likely pissing themselves with joy.

    • Marti386, if men and women had equal status in this culture, your analogies might make some sense. That is not the world we live in. You think you answered my arguments. You evaded them. Your polemical devices are not appropriate for a rational discussion; you submit a diatribe and call it facts and proof. Men are notorious for their attempts to reduce everything to black and white, or in other words, linear, binary logic. You think radical feminists are doing that to trans women? Your argument basically boils down to, females have no right to any kind of meeting or organization unless they include anyone who claims to be female. Why not take it a step further? Why not force Boy Scouts to admit girls, and Girl Scouts to admit boys? After all, the latest version of the US Violence Against Women Act prohibits all domestic violence shelters getting federal funds from excluding anyone “on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity …, sexual orientation, or disability…” So much for federal aid for safe space for battered women, thanks to the Democrats! House Republicans tried to take out gender identity and sexual orientation, but since they left in sex, that change would have had little if any impact, and the Senate version eventually was passed. This new language was added to VAWA in response to complaints from gay men and transwomen about being turned away from shelters for battered women. How dare these shelters provide services for only biological females, right Marti?

      Since you provided so many links to bolster your argument, I will recommend a recent one that bolsters mine, about the demonization of CounterPunch, of all places, by your friends: Sex is Not Gender at http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/02/sex-is-not-gender/

      • Marti386

        “Marti386, if men and women had equal status in this culture, your analogies might make some sense. That is not the world we live in.”

        I never said that they do have equal status. I understand men oppress women. I simply pointed out that trans women ARE women, and we don’t get male privilege because of it.

        “You think you answered my arguments. You evaded them.”

        Actually, I thought I answered them pretty WELL. I pointed out how lesbian claims of “erasure” have no real proof, while trans women have LOTS of proof of the very real damage cis women (especially TERFs) have inflicted on trans women. I ALSO notice you didn’t try to deny that comment. I mean, if you have any REAL examples of “lesbian erasure” OTHER than “trans women erase lesbians by merely existing” defense, I’d love to hear them.

        “Men are notorious for their attempts to reduce everything to black and white, or in other words, linear, binary logic.”

        Well, I guess that proves I’m not “male” since my main argument was I recognized that gender (and biological sex) is NOT black and white, but in infinite shades of gray. It’s the TERFs who claim that sex is binary.

        “Your argument basically boils down to, females have no right to any kind of meeting or organization unless they include anyone who claims to be female.”

        NO, I’m saying WHO gets to decide who the “females” are that get to decide who measures up to the word “female”? Is it feminists as a whole? Because the vast majority of cis feminists acknowledge that trans women ARE female? What about the majority of cis women? I don’t remember anyone putting it to a vote. How would they like if if straight women voted to exclude lesbians from the group “female”? Basically, the TERF defense is that only THEY get to define who is a woman. And I’m SORRY, but many cis women don’t agree with them.

        “Why not force Boy Scouts to admit girls, and Girl Scouts to admit boys?”

        I guess you didn’t know that the Girl Scouts are ALREADY welcoming of trans girls?:

        http://www.glaad.org/blog/girl-scouts-colorado-released-statement-welcoming-transgender-youth

        Gee, it didn’t seem to destroy THEM, did it? The fact is, every time trans women are welcomed into women’s spaces, NOTHING changes. I’m not really sure why TERFs are SO afraid of letting trans women enter. It’s NOT like we’re destroying women’s spaces. We wouldn’t destroy DGR either.

        “After all, the latest version of the US Violence Against Women Act prohibits all domestic violence shelters getting federal funds from excluding anyone “on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability…” So much for federal aid for safe space for battered women, thanks to the Democrats!”

        That’s not what it’s saying at ALL. It’s saying that if you WANT federal funds, you need to INCLUDE battered trans women. Are you suggesting that battered trans women SHOULDN’T be welcomed? It also prevents discrimination against lesbians, and women of color. Good things all around, if you ask me. That’s not much of an argument you’re giving me. Again welcoming trans women ISN’T the same as denying cis women. Not even close. Your fears of battered trans women making battered cis women “unsafe” are unfounded.

        “Since you provided so many links to bolster your argument, I will recommend a recent one that bolsters mine, about the demonization of CounterPunch, of all places, by your friends”

        That “article” is by Elizabeth Hungerford, a cis woman who is a known for her anti trans views, and NOT a friend of any trans women. She also once co-authored a letter to the U.N. opposing laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on gender identity and expression:

        http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2011/08/10/cathy-brennan-elizabeth-hungerford-take-their-anti-trans-activism-to-the-un/

        NOT exactly MY definition of a “friend”.

        • Meghan Murphy

          What is it, exactly, about Hungerford’s views you find problematic? See, this is what I find frustrating… We throw around words like transphobic without explaining exactly what the transphobia consists of — we are all just supposed to accept it point-blank. What qualifies Hungerford and the article she wrote in Counterpunch as transphobic? I feel it would be easier to have this conversation if we were more specific about what we mean…

          “Well, I guess that proves I’m not “male” since my main argument was I recognized that gender (and biological sex) is NOT black and white, but in infinite shades of gray. It’s the TERFs who claim that sex is binary.”

          So wouldn’t it make more sense to talk about gender in shades of grey rather than simple “man” or “woman”? Forcing people to identify as either men or women is destructive — particularly we see this with intersex babies. I guess I just wonder why, if someone feels they don’t identify with masculinity or femininity that necessarily means they must naturally be the opposite sex? I mean, I understand in our culture there aren’t really many other choices, but I suppose, to me, it makes more sense to push for more options rather than less?

          Just a side note — I think you may be confusing sex with gender — sex is biological (male or female), gender is a social category (man or woman/masculine or feminine). I agree with you that gender is not binary and, actually, that sex isn’t either (re: people who are intersex). I guess I just wish we could break away from having to either perform femininity or masculinity, but I understand that’s the current system we are living under (the one we are trying to smash).

          • Marti386

            “What is it, exactly, about Hungerford’s views you find problematic? See, this is what I find frustrating… We throw around words like transphobic without explaining exactly what the transphobia consists of — we are all just supposed to accept it point-blank. What qualifies Hungerford and the article she wrote in Counterpunch as transphobic?”

            Well, I kinda thought the article I linked to did a pretty good job of it.

            Look, my intent wasn’t to derail you all with a big discussion on transgender issues and transphobia. That’s kinda getting off track.

            I guess what I was TRYING to point out is WHY trans people were pissed of at DGR in the first place. And the reason is, because no matter how innocently it begins, these “gender critical” discussions always seem to turn against trans women. And whenever I see “trans critical” it USUALLY is used as some sort of excuse for why I don’t belong. In “women’s spaces”. In bathrooms. In homeless shelters. It’s been used as an excuse to deny us medical insurance. And access to rape crisis shelters when we’ve been raped.

            I believe that people have the right to believe anything they want. This discussion was never about telling radfems what to think. Just that they DON’T have a right to use it as an excuse to decide for all womanhood who is or isn’t a “real” woman. Cuz a LOT of women (cis and trans) don’t agree with them.

            When the trans people protested DGR, it wasn’t so much about what was going on at that minute. Or even the fact that DGR wasn’t discussing their gender politics at that conference. It’s the fact that this kind of stuff comes with a metric shit TON of history in the radfem movement. And it isn’t pretty. And all that bad blood comes bubbling to the surface anytime some cis woman wants to get all “gender critical” on my ass.

            Whether you agree with what the protesters did or not isn’t really important to what I’m saying. Gendertrender thought DGR was “assaulted”. Earth First News thinks trans people presented “resistance” to DGR’s views on trans people. I’ll leave it to you to decide which it was. But the fact is, the trans people felt just as “threatened” as Rachel did. I know that might seem shocking to a radfem who considers this simply “male violence”, but it’s true. I’m not excusing them. But I understand where they’re coming from.

            Personally? I don’t think that blocking trans women access to women’s spaces is the answer to anything. Now is the time for feminists to bring trans women into the fold. Because we’d actually make the movement stronger, not weaker. DGR seems to think that letting trans women in the same spaces as cis women will somehow weaken them. I don’t. I think it’s sad that Lierre and Rachel think they should get to decide for ALL of DGR who fits and where.

            Cuz that’s just not very “radical” if you ask me.

          • Lela

            Is that honestly all you are seeing in gender criticism? That it exists to exclude you, that it might not have larger relevance for *other reasons* to those born with female anatomy in a patriarchy? If you want to understand radical feminism Marti you are going to have to engage with the actual theory. Nobody here wants you to get assaulted in bathrooms (which is why I personally think widespread building of single-occupant unisex bathrooms would be the obvious solution… and incidentally stopping male violence is one of the most important things for radfems, hence the *critique of masculinity* that one of your very own derailed on the last thread!) Nobody here wants you to get thrown out of homeless shelters that’s horrible. And nobody here wants you to be refused assistance and treatment in the wake of a sexual assault. The only thing anyone on this particular site want is to be able to gather with people who share our anatomical makeup to address concerns specific to that. That’s it.

          • Marti386

            “Is that honestly all you are seeing in gender criticism? That it exists to exclude you, that it might not have larger relevance for *other reasons* to those born with female anatomy in a patriarchy?”

            Of course not. I just don’t like the fact that, nine times out of ten, this “gender criticism” is directed exclusively at trans women. I get that women are discriminated against by the patriarchy. HOWEVER, I don’t believe it’s so much because of your “born” anatomy as much as the anatomy that the patriarchy PERCEIVES you have.

            As a trans woman, I know for a fact that I receive discrimination because society perceives me to be female. What’s ACTUALLY between my legs doesn’t matter to it. I’ve been sexually harassed by men, dismissed by men, treated as inferior by men simply because they automatically assume I’m a cis woman. So the idea that trans women don’t experience this is baloney.

            “Nobody here wants you to get assaulted in bathrooms”.

            Well, SOME radfems think we don’t get raped or assaulted at all (outside of prison. And then it’s our fault):

            http://theterfs.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/3.png

            http://theterfs.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/4.png

            “Nobody here wants you to get thrown out of homeless shelters that’s horrible.”

            And yet trans women HAVE. And the same “gender critical” thinking you support is used as the defense.

            “The only thing anyone on this particular site want is to be able to gather with people who share our anatomical makeup to address concerns specific to that.”

            But I share the SAME concerns you do. Society assumes my “anatomical makeup” is the same as yours, and I receive just as many problems because of it. But radfems like to pretend that I live in a magical bubble of “male privilege”. Trans women want to address those same concerns you do. Which is why it’s silly to exclude us.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “nine times out of ten, this ‘gender criticism’ is directed exclusively at trans women” — I don’t think that’s accurate at all… I’d say that it’s very rare that gender criticism is directed at trans people. It’s discussed all the time by feminists with regard to gender roles and stereotypes and isn’t, actually, very often directed at anyone in particular.

            “Well, SOME radfems think we don’t get raped or assaulted at all (outside of prison. And then it’s our fault)” — I don’t think those screen shots depict the perspective of the majority, at all. Anyone paying attention knows trans women are subjected to violence and assault.

            “Nobody here wants you to get thrown out of homeless shelters that’s horrible.’

            And yet trans women HAVE. And the same “gender critical” thinking you support is used as the defense.”

            — How so? Was a trans woman thrown out of a homeless shelter by a radical feminist? On what basis?

          • Marti386

            “I don’t think that’s accurate at all… I’d say that it’s very rare that gender criticism is directed at trans people.”

            Well, whenever trans women are excluded from the larger group women, it’s ALWAYS because of the same “gender critical” conclusions TERFs come up with to claim. That trans women aren’t “real women”. I’ll admit it may not be “nine times out of ten”. But it sure feels like it.

            “I don’t think those screenshots depict the perspective of the majority, at all. Anyone paying attention knows trans women are subjected to violence and assault.”

            Maybe the problem isn’t that they’re the “majority”. Maybe the problem is that I’m not seeing much pushback from other radical feminists in response to these women. And They are DEFINITELY claiming they represent the mainstream “radical feminist”.

            These kind of TERFs seem to be controlling radfem discourse these days. As I stated earlier, BugBrennan was welcomed with open arms as a featured speaker at radfem 2013 and Radfem 2012. Nic Nesbitt (aka Ann Tagonist) was one of the organizers of Radfem 2013. On a side note, I notice you no longer have the interview with her on your website, and say “I’ve removed this interview as I’m no longer comfortable associating myself with Rad Fem 2013 in a journalistic capacity”. I’d be interesting in knowing why you’re no longer comfortable, if you don’t mind sharing?

            “How so? Was a trans woman thrown out of a homeless shelter by a radical feminist? On what basis?”

            Well, I already pointed out one:

            http://dot429.com/articles/1920-transgender-woman-denied-access-to-homeless-shelter-sues-and-wins-case

            And another where a trans woman was forced to sleep on a mat in a storeroom:

            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/09/1222367/-Massachusetts-Equal-Access-Act#

            And although I have no proof any radfems were behind it, I know that the reasoning is the same as those given by “trans critical” radfems: that trans women are not “real women”.

            I’m not sure Vancouver Rape Relief shelter gives access to trans women. They don’t really state it on their website. It seems to be deliberately obtuse. Some radfems claim they DO, so I’ll accept that. But they seem to not be very welcoming about it. Here’s an article on their website where they chastise Bradley-Angle House (another crisis center) for adapting a “”Transgendered/Transsexual Policy” which extended services “to all individuals who identify as women regardless of their participation in a medically based transition.” Their argument is that if we allow anyone to declare they are trans, then trans people would take up the majority of the services there. There’s no PROOF of that, of course. Just more fears of trans women.

            http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/learn/resources/post-modernism-marches-womens-space-under-continued-attack

            What VRR doesn’t seem to get is that legal transition is a privilege that many trans women can’t afford. It requires seeing therapists, seeing doctors, getting prescriptions and even surgery. ALL of which cost money, something many trans women don’t have access to.

            Just to point it out, that article was written in 1999. Now flash forward to 2013:

            http://bradleyangle.org/

            Bradley-Angle House seems to be running along just fine. Doesn’t look like trans women overran the place, does it? More TERF fears that are unfounded.

            In this article from Dirt, she lists someone who is a “dear dear friend” is a member of the VRR collective:

            http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/2012/05/transwomens-continued-efforts-to-rape.html

            Dirt is one of the most horrible perpetrators of transphobia on the internet, so a member of VRR who is a “dear, dear friend” wouldn’t make me feel very safe there, even if they DO allow trans women in. Also VRR is the ONLY women’s shelter that came out backing DGR against trans women:

            http://www.deepgreenresistance.org/solidarity-statement-from-vancouver-rape-relief-womens-shelter/

            Again, not very welcoming.

            Here’s a radfem group who seems dedicated to stopping trans women from accessing women’s services:

            http://ensuringfairness.wordpress.com/resources-reference-material/female-only-services/

            And again, their main defense is “safety” of the cis women, without providing any proof to back that up.

            This McDonalds has been trans inclusive for seven years:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/mcdonalds-transgender-rights-bathroom_n_3103022.html

            In ALL those seven years, you know how many cis women were attacked or threatened by trans women? NONE. Nada. Zip.

            So maybe your right. Maybe they don’t represent the majority of radfem discourse.

            But to a trans woman like ME? It sure FEELS like it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            The women at VRR are my friends and allies as well. I suppose this makes me transphobic? You seem to be looking at this in very black and white terms — anyone who doesn’t agree with you, point blank, is the enemy. I agree with you that there definitely needs to be more services for trans people.

            I interviewed Lee Lakeman about some of these issues and how these accusations of transphobia began a while back. You might be interested in hearing some different perspectives instead of eagerly slapping a “phobic” label on anyone who doesn’t agree with every single thing you believe: http://feministcurrent.com/5033/rape-relief-v-nixon-transphobia-and-the-value-of-women-only-space-an-interview-with-lee-lakeman/

          • Lela

            “As a trans woman, I know for a fact that I receive discrimination because society perceives me to be female. ”

            “Society assumes my “anatomical makeup” is the same as yours, and I receive just as many problems because of it.”

            Yes, absolutely true. We have many shared concerns.

          • stephen m

            @Marti386: I suspect that you may wish to earn the respect of the contributors of this blog and its readers, not just have a long rant about the mistreatment and misunderstanding of trans women.

            Respect must be earned, it cannot be demanded. Try interacting positively with the radical feminists on this blog. If you are always mindful and respectful of the perspective of the individuals here you may discover they will do likewise.

        • Marti386, it is really amazing how you can dance around a direct question and call it an answer. I have said my piece. I am tired of dealing with your evasions. I will point out one that strikes me as really bizarre, about the new language in VAWA:

          “That’s not what it’s saying at ALL. It’s saying that if you WANT federal funds, you need to INCLUDE battered trans women.”
          Yes, and gay men, and straight men. Did you miss that word, sex? How is it you cannot see that might be seen as compromising safe space for battered women? Some women feel threatened by trans women. Perhaps that is justified, perhaps not. You obviously think it is not. Is it equally unjustified for battered women seeking a safe space in a shelter to feel threatened by gay or straight men there? The language makes no distinction; shelters cannot refuse to admit anyone claiming to be a victim of domestic violence (not even MRAs, who claim men are battered by women just as often as women by men), or they will lose federal funds. And try demonstrating to me there was a problem with shelters denying services for lesbian or bisexual females, as Democrats continually tried to imply, since it is the Violence Against WOMEN Act and they were playing up the Republican recalcitrance as evidence of their War on Women, which is real enough, but is hardly confined to Republicans, who by the way had no problem with VAWA as it was before. No, the complaints were coming from gay men and transwomen turned away by shelters with a woman-only policy.

          My reference to reductionism and binary, linear logic was in part in response to your repeated references to proof. Proof in these highly subjective matters is a misnomer, but men love to say, there is no proof of this, and there is proof of that. The word should be evidence, not proof. Do you really think calling radical feminists a hate group, as many trans activists are doing, does no harm to radical feminism? Do you really think males need the excuse that some radical feminists are critical of trans theories, or are angry about trans activists causing them as much trouble as possible, to wreak violence on trans people? You not only have no proof of that, you have no evidence! Show me a man who beats up trans people who gives a hoot what radical feminists think!

          This I also found bizarre, from your other comment:

          “You’ve just accused us sneaking into your midst with ulterior motives. That’s REALLY offensive.”

          It may offend you, but I think it is an accurate description of Camp Trans, which for anyone who does not know, has been attempting to force the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to admit transwomen for many years, and since that effort has failed, sneaking into it in flagrant violation of its female-only policy, because they think they have a right to be there. I imagine you do not think much of the right of freedom of assembly.

          • Marti386

            “Yes, and gay men, and straight men. Did you miss that word, sex? How is it you cannot see that might be seen as compromising safe space for battered women?”

            No, I didn’t catch the part about “sex”. Are you sure they don’t mean trans men? They are women (according to some) even though they are male. Maybe it protects them? I get the “gender identity” part for trans women. I thought the “sexual orientation” part was for lesbians. Do you have a link to the full text? I agree I don’t get WHY it would include cis gay males who identify as gay males. Why would they be included in a Violence Against WOMEN Act? That doesn’t make any sense. If that IS what it’s saying, then I agree that part isn’t right. But I still think battered trans women should be included.

            “My reference to reductionism and binary, linear logic was in part in response to your repeated references to proof. Proof in these highly subjective matters is a misnomer, but men love to say, there is no proof of this, and there is proof of that.”

            Well, my point was just that my “proof” is not any less valid than the “proof” being put forward by TERFs.

            “The word should be evidence, not proof”.

            I agree. But the fact remains that TERFs continually use the old specter of cis women being “unsafe” around trans women without providing any valid evidence. And that they fight to discriminate against us BASED on that.

            “Do you really think calling radical feminists a hate group, as many trans activists are doing, does no harm to radical feminism?”

            Well, maybe if radical feminists (the TERF part) stopped saying abusive, phobic things about trans women that they have no “evidence” of, we wouldn’t be calling them a hate group. Just to point it out, I’M a feminist too. I actually think radfems have some valid issues, at least before they derail into pronouncing trans women as “sexual predators”. Then they kinda loose credibility. I also think if more radfems called them out for it and refused to let them hijack the radfem narrative, then they would see a lot less pushback from trans people.

            “Do you really think males need the excuse that some radical feminists are critical of trans theories, or are angry about trans activists causing them as much trouble as possible, to wreak violence on trans people?”

            No. But MRAs and the like don’t need radfem trans bashing as an excuse to attack them. They hate you for a whole DIFFERENT set of reasons, and I don’t think that’s gonna change if trans people stop protesting radfems.

            “It may offend you, but I think it is an accurate description of Camp Trans”.

            Camp Trans is an event set up on the OTHER side of the road from MitchFest and is about educating attendees about the anti-trans policy of MitchFest. Something more and more cis women are objecting to, by the way. It’s not about “infiltration”. Plus, we have The Indigo Girls on our side! Go Amy and Emily!! 🙂

            “since that effort has failed, sneaking into it in flagrant violation of its female-only policy, because they think they have a right to be there”

            Well, we don’t really have to “sneak” in anywhere, since MitchFest has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. I could go in anytime I wanted, as long as I don’t mention I’m trans. But many trans women would like to feel publicly welcomed instead of just being barely tolerated.

            “I imagine you do not think much of the right of freedom of assembly.”

            I have no problem with it as long as you don’t have a problem with MY right to protest. Protest and boycotting are ALSO rights in this country.

            The thing IS MitchFest claims I shouldn’t attend because I can’t “understand” what it’ like to have “shared girlhood”. But the thing is, they’re not even DOING that. Let’s LOOK at some of the workshops at this year’s MitchFest, shall we?

            Conversing with Sign Language.

            Empower Yourself through Improvisational Theater.

            Latina Dance.

            Self-Exploration Using Past Life Regression.

            Karaoke in the Woods.

            Intergenerational Knitting Circle.

            Mardi Gras Masks for Girls.

            Nu Traditional African Dance.

            Amazon Archery.

            Stilt Walking with Womyn Walking Tall.

            My Death, My Choice: Understanding and Protecting Your End of Life Options and Rights.

            First Aid and CPR.

            A Taste of Latin Drum Rhythms.

            Please, PLEASE explain what ANY of these have to do with being “born” female? Or WHY trans women wouldn’t be able to fully understand or appreciate any of them based on them NOT being “born” female? PLEASE explain how these would be disrupted by a trans woman sitting in on any of these?

            Cuz I’d REALLY like to get in on that “Intergenerational Knitting Circle”. ;-)”

          • Mary Smith

            Males never understand why their presence destroys women-only space. There’s no way to explain it to them because they simply cannot comprehend the subtleties of real women abiding in sisterhood with other women.

            Why should we have to explain it or defend it?

            Does any rational, compassionate person condone white males trying to force themselves into private Native American gatherings?

            Males have the entire rest of the planet as “theirs” under patriarchy, but male “trans women” HAVE to hammer away at women’s boundaries, they HAVE to force us to pretend that they’re women, too, even if it means destroying our few, dwindling, precious women-only spaces. Why? Just to validate their delusions of femininity.

            My answer: no. Absolutely not.

  • Lotus

    I am relatively new to the whole trans debate, and I have honestly tried to look at it from an unbiased point of view. I have tried to view trans theory objectively and evaluate its logic and arguments, but I have to say, it seems to be severely lacking in both. And this Marti person who is arguing with y’all above demonstrates this point very well. No rational arguments, just anger and insulting language.

    What I don’t get is why many trans people cannot accept that radical feminists have a different view of gender than they do? They believe in a concept called gender identity, and rad fems don’t. People should be allowed to disagree without being accused of hatred and bigotry. There is no proof that innate gender identity exists, and therefore, it is still up for debate.

    To me, all it seems rad fems and some women are asking is that they be allowed to disagree with the idea of innate gender and that they are allowed to SOMETIMES meet and organize with only women born women. Why is that so threatening?

    Rad fems and women don’t commit violence against trans people. Men do. So there is no argument to be made or evidence to be given that women oppress trans people.

    In fact, I would argue, from what I understand of radical feminism, that if gender were eliminated- i.e. there was only such a thing as human qualities and not masculine or feminine qualities- that trans people would be comfortable in their own bodies as they are. How is this bad? How does this spell out hatred? Rather, I would say that this idea promotes LOVING oneself as is. Feminists support similar concepts when it comes to women born women in their critique of the beauty industry. Can someone seriously argue that feminists HATE women born women because they encourage them to think more deeply about the reasons why many of them feel the need to get plastic surgery in order to conform to patriarchal standards of beauty? That they encourage women to be happy with the way they are naturally? I don’t think so.

    Again, I see this as similar to what rad fems are encouraging trans people to do. To think more deeply/critically about gender in order to find happiness in the way their bodies are and not to conform to patriarchal ideas about how people should feel, speak, act, etc. based on their sex.

  • marv

    I hear trans and cis gender affirming people saying that there is more to womanhood and manhood than socially contrived identities and roles. Both see some aspect of being a woman or man as untaught despite societal training, and in the case of trans people, even when the inclination contradicts the assigned body they are born with. Both maintain our ultimate individuality is inherent in the deepest recesses of our being though our social environment plays a role too in forming identity. Both think rad-fems overestimate the power of culture in determining the inner self and its profound yearnings. Trans persons believe cis social habits, mores and values can become more variant, to the consternation of and unfair persecution by, fundamentalist cis believers. Somehow there is a true self, in either view, that can be excavated from the substratum of social life which is beyond culture but should be allowed to shape culture. It is similar to the idea people have that god and the soul exist as pure spirit within us. Our challenge, according to them, is to liberate the spirit existing “in the very marrow of our bones” to fully express itself so that we may become who we are meant to be in the world. Generally, religions and new age spiritualities hold that the spirit manifests through masculinity and femininity corresponding to birth body types and sometimes in non-assigned birth body types. These positions are a conviction of faith, not proof. Faith is the belief in things unseen. I don’t know if the spiritual is a constitutive dimension of the self, but if it is it has to be overtly anti-patriarchal to be authentic. Such a mentality is a rare find. Comparably, I doubt that secular gender positive theory could be this subversive either. How can transcending gender, transitioning to another gender or embracing your assigned gender all be compatible within the fight to dismantle patriarchy?

    Given current gender political conditions, feminist critical thinking and radical thought will inevitably engender division and opposition in relation to the recalcitrant and reformers alike.

  • Marti386

    This reply is for Meghan:

    “The women at VRR are my friends and allies as well. I suppose this makes me transphobic?”

    Not unless you’re the one who’s besties with Dirt ;-). I’m just saying that ANYONE who’s a “dear, dear friend of HERS isn’t probably someone who would be sympathetic to the plight of trans women.

    “I agree with you that there definitely need to be more services for trans people”.

    I’m glad that you do. But do you think trans women should be able to get help at the same crisis shelter YOU do, or do you believe in a “separate but equal” kinda thing?

    “You seem to be looking at this in very black and white terms — anyone who doesn’t agree with you, point blank, is the enemy.”

    It’s funny people keep accusing me of such. I felt I was the only one here who was actually ADDRESSING the “infinite shades of gray”. It’s radfems who seem to be stuck on the “trans women will always be men” gender binary. And I don’t consider you transphobic. Although I do think you (like many other cis people) unconsciously allow your cis privilege to color your concepts of trans people.

    “You might be interested in hearing some different perspectives instead of eagerly slapping a “phobic” label on anyone who doesn’t agree with every single thing you believe”.

    I’m not sure WHY I have to keep addressing this, but I’ve already stated I don’t really care WHAT any radfems think. Believe what you want. That’s not “transphobic”. It’s when you USE it as an excuse to block trans women that it becomes transphobia.

    Look, I’m not trying to tie up all the comments here. I’ll go now. I just felt that this site (specifically this interview) wasn’t really trying too hard to address the trans women perspective on this, which I feel is important since this WAS about an altercation between trans and radfem activists. Everybody seemed to be of the opinion that the trans women who protested were horrible people, without addressing WHY the trans women were protesting them. I just felt a trans woman’s perspective might shed some light on it, is all.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I have no idea who “Dirt” is.

      “Look, I’m not trying to tie up all the comments here. I’ll go now. I just felt that this site (specifically this interview) wasn’t really trying too hard to address the trans women perspective on this, which I feel is important since this WAS about an altercation between trans and radfem activists. Everybody seemed to be of the opinion that the trans women who protested were horrible people, without addressing WHY the trans women were protesting them. I just felt a trans woman’s perspective might shed some light on it, is all.”

      I appreciate the time you’ve spent here and the efforts you’ve made at dialogue. I did the interview the way I did because ALL coverage was misleading and biased and provided inaccurate information. No one was asking Rachel what she thought nor did they ask the DGR folks who were in Portland.

      You aren’t tying up the comments – you are welcome here. Of course you are not obligated to stay.

      Thanks.

      • Marti386

        Thank you Meghan, for the kind words. I don’t know if you consider yourself a radical feminist or not, but you’re tops in my book!

        “You aren’t tying up the comments – you are welcome here. Of course you are not obligated to stay.”

        Again, thanks. I was afraid that the commenters here might think I was being overly aggressive and trying to take over the discussion. Trans women get accused of that rather regularly, I’m afraid. It’s nice to know this is a space that’s welcoming of trans women!

        I’m gonna check out some more of the podcasts. Some of them look pretty interesting! 🙂

        • oblivia

          Marti, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the case you’re making here, and the rigorous and relentless way you’ve made it. You made my day. e.

    • There is one more thing I feel compelled to say to you, Marti. If I were truly transphobic, I suppose I would have to think Bradley Manning is a horrible traitor who deserves what he got. My mind does not work like that. I happen to think he, and Edward Snowden, performed a great service to everyone, at great personal sacrifice, and that if anyone deserves to be brought up on charges in their cases, it should be Presidents Bush and Obama for their violations of the Constitution and war crimes, which Manning and Snowden have brought to light. Manning should be set free and fully compensated for the horrible treatment he has gone through, and I hope the US government never gets a chance to prosecute Snowden.

      • Marti386

        “If I were truly transphobic, I suppose I would have to think Bradley Manning is a horrible traitor who deserves what he got. My mind does not work like that.”

        Well, that’s just it. I DON’T think you’re “truly transphobic”. Not consciously, anyway. But one doesn’t have to be a hater to say or think transphobic things. I think your only guilty of the everyday kind of “under the surface” transphobia. The kind most people aren’t aware of. It mostly comes from the cis privilege of not having to learn anything about trans people or transphobia. I’ve even seen people who consider themselves allies do this. I don’t blame you for it.

        But that said, you WERE guilty of it. Claiming trans women’s only goal is to “infiltrate” women’s safe spaces to “cause trouble” IS transphobic. You portrayed us as “others” coming to take away your women’s spaces. There is no proof of such, and even if you had some, it would HARDLY be representative of trans women as a whole. Irrational fear IS transphobia.

        Most likely, you weren’t even AWARE of the transphobia in what you said. But that doesn’t make it LESS transphobic. I hope you’ll examine what you said. Because if you got to really know trans women and the oppressions we face, I think you’d come to understand we’re not much different than you.

        • scaldingmay

          Okay fine, transwomen win the Most Opressed Ever Award. Radical feminists are mean bitches who won’t let you do anything fun. How dare us evil lesbians tell you no, and want some space for ourselves? It’s the hate crime of the century for feminism to focus solely on women, who were born and socialized as women, and not include men at all. How dare they, considering transwomen “do women” better than actual women!

          Happy now?

          And screw you for what you say about Gender Trender and other radical feminists who expose the harms transgenderism does to the women’s liberation movement. Gallus Mag has never doxxed anyone, she gets her info from people who post all their crazy stuff around the internet of their own free will. If you’re so worried about oppression, start your own movement from the grass roots level like women have been doing for centuries.

          • Marti386

            WOW. There seems to be a LOT of pent up hostility in your message. Maybe you should analyze what you said.

            “Radical feminists are mean bitches who won’t let you do anything fun”.

            It has NOTHING to do with fun, and EVERYTHING to do with discrimination. Because discrimination is WRONG. Whatever your logic for doing so.

            “How dare us evil lesbians tell you no, and want some space for ourselves?”

            How dare you tell me I’m not welcome, considering I’m a lesbian TOO. To put it bluntly, who the hell are you to tell me I’m not welcome in a space for lesbians? My cis lesbian girlfriend can vouch for me. Who are you to decide which “lesbians” get in and which “lesbians” don’t?

            “It’s the hate crime of the century for feminism to focus solely on women, who were born and socialized as women, and not include men at all”.

            It may not be “the hate crime of the century”, but it IS a hate crime, since you can’t prove trans women aren’t “born and socialized as women”. We are not men. You don’t get to decide that.

            “How dare they, considering trans women “do women” better than actual women!”

            See, NOW your insecurities are showing. Trans women NEVER say we “do women” better than cis women (and notice I say “cis women” rather than “actual women”, since I’m as much an “actual woman” as you are). But it’s funny. I had an experience with exactly THAT particular insecurity when I first transitioned. After transitioning at work, I received nothing but support from my cis women co-workers. All except for one. This one particular woman, had a REAL problem with me. And the more welcomed I was by the other women, the more flack she gave me. She loved to use the wrong pronouns when addressing me in front of customers,in an attempt to embarrass and humiliate me. Which led to some pretty puzzling looks, considering I pass extremely well. When I finally called her out on it, do you know what her reasoning was? She yelled, “How dare you become a woman and do it better than me!” Needless to say, I was STUNNED. I explained it was NEVER about “being better” at it than cis women. It was just about me being the me I always was inside. That answer seemed to calm her, and I never had a problem with her again. But I still remember the incident.

            “And screw you for what you say about Gender Trender and other radical feminists who expose the harms transgenderism does to the women’s liberation movement.”

            Hmmm. So most of the feminist on this blog say that radical feminism ISN’T about attacking trans women, yet here YOU are braying about it. Interesting. Also, Gendertrender has YET to prove ANY “harm” done by trans women to “women’s liberation”. In fact, I’ve fought my share for women’s liberation. So don’t lecture me. Sorry, but the “harm” trans women do only exists in Gallus Mag’s paranoid delusions. Also I LUV how a cis woman can say to a trans woman “screw you”, and that’s not considered “violent” or “abusive” or “male”, but a trans woman receives EXACTLY those criticisms if they were to say it to cis women. More cissexism on display.

            “If you’re so worried about oppression, start your own movement from the grass roots level like women have been doing for centuries.”

            I don’t have to. Because I ALREADY have a movement. It’s called “LGBT”. In case you were wondering, the “T” in LGBT stands for transgender. We fight TOGETHER. I’m sorry the rest of the movement is standing up to you TERFs and calling you out for your trans hate, but that’s not my problem. Cuz like it or not, we’re a part of the SAME movement you are. So I suggest you get used to it.

          • scaldingmay

            Wow, you’re really hilarious. You tick all the boxes on the bingo card: you have a “cis” girlfriend to vouch for your womanhood, it’s not a contest with women but you’re the best without even trying!, radical feminists are hateful jealous bigots, it goes on and on. I feel sorry for someone who has such hatred for the women he will never become. You can only ever be the pornographic caricature of women that the patriarchy says is our true “essence,” (maybe why that woman had a problem with you, but it’s probably more true that you made it up) a claim feminists have spilled their life’s blood over to disprove.

            Hate to break it to you, but you don’t pass at all-every comment you’ve made secretes male privilege. Most people are raised to be polite and so won’t comment on your inability to pass. You’re not a lesbian, and every time you say it you erase real lesbians and the struggles they face under patriarchy. Just because you stamp your feet and yell loud enough doesn’t make things true. Your comments show that transgenderism all comes down to domination; coming to feminist blogs screeching how all the “cis” women are wrong and you have it all figured out. There’s no such thing as “cis,” there’s only biological males and biological females. Cis is the most woman hating term ever written, and every time you use it it belies your true colours.

            In conclusion, NO you’re not a woman, NO you don’t belong in feminism, and NO you’re wrong about everything you think a woman is. It hurts guys so much to be told NO by a woman, but I guess you’ll just have to get used to it.

          • Marti386

            I hate to break it to you, but if you were trying to prove that TERFs are not a bunch of transphobic haters, then your comment was a big fat FAIL. I mean, SOOOO much hatred spewing from every line.

            “You tick all the boxes on the bingo card: you have a “cis” girlfriend to vouch for your womanhood, it’s not a contest with women but you’re the best without even trying!, radical feminists are hateful jealous bigots, it goes on and on”.

            Well, what can I say? I DO have a cis girlfriend, and she DOES identify herself as a lesbian. She only dates women, so what other identity would she use? She also identifies ME as a lesbian, as do I. Are you REALLY claiming YOUR definition outranks hers? Sorry. You fail. Some women have a broader definition of lesbian than what’s between your legs. Deal.

            “I feel sorry for someone who has such hatred for the women he will never become.”

            Sorry, but I love women. It’s just TERFs I can’t stand. And I hate to break it to you, but I am a woman already. Always have been. Sorry that pisses you off so much.

            “You can only ever be the pornographic caricature of women that the patriarchy says is our true “essence,” (maybe why that woman had a problem with you, but it’s probably more true that you made it up) a claim feminists have spilled their life’s blood over to disprove.”

            You claim I’m a “pornographic caricature of women”? Wow, that’s not hate speech at ALL, is it 🙂 For a bunch who claims they’re against pornography, you TERFs love to obsess over trans women’s bodies, don’t you? One could almost call it a “fetish”, couldn’t they?

            The fact is, you don’t know ANYTHING about me. You don’t know HOW I dress or what “stereotypes” I even display. The fact is, I’m kinda tomboyish. I wear little makeup, I like jeans and t-shirts, and I seldom wear high heels. But that would go against that delicious stereotype of trans women you’ve built up in you mind, wouldn’t it? Who’s “stereotyping” who? And claiming I lied? Well that’s just sour grapes on your part, isn’t it? The fact you automatically assume I would lie is ANOTHER example of your illogical hatred of trans women. What reason would I have to lie, pray tell? Sorry, but you’re gonna have to try harder.

            “Hate to break it to you, but you don’t pass at all-every comment you’ve made secretes male privilege”.

            AHH. The old “male privilege” attack. Don’t like that a trans woman is ripping your bullshit apart? Yell “male privilege”! You don’t even have to provide any proof of such. It’s like a “get out of jail free” card, isn’t it? Sorry, but it’s not working for you anymore. The joke is that TERF use FAR more masculine and abusive language than I ever have, but it’s ONLY seen as “male privilege” when a trans woman says it. Talk about hypocritical. The joke is, I’ve seen you TERFs make the same accusations against CIS women trans allies. You just ASSUME anyone who would stand up to you is a male. How sad.

            And the part about me not passing? You WISH. I pass perfectly. Been full time for about 12 years now. NEVER been clocked EVER. ANYWHERE. More proof of the TERF stereotype about trans women all looking like Devine:

            http://memegenerator.net/instance/16900934

            You TERFs LOVE that image, don’t you? It’s another way of reassuring yourselves that you’re the “real” women, isn’t it? Sorry, but most of us pass beautifully. Which is what scares the shit out of you, doesn’t it? The fact that so many of us can enter ANY women’s spaces we want? That we don’t NEED your permission? That your “war” to exclude trans women is doomed to failure? That the new generations of trans women will ALL be indistinguishable from cis women? Be afraid cis woman. Be VERY afraid 😉

            “You’re not a lesbian, and every time you say it you erase real lesbians and the struggles they face under patriarchy”

            Sorry. I am a lesbian. Was a lesbian yesterday. Will still be one tomorrow. You don’t get to define me anymore than I get to define you. Would you like it if I told you that butch lesbians aren’t “real” lesbians? That they’re really “men”? Or would you rightly assume that’s pretty arrogant and presumptuous on my part? Stop doing the same to trans women. Your opinion on my sexuality is neither asked for nor welcomed. Keep your nose out of my panties. And guess what? You’re STILL here. I didn’t “erase” you at all, did I? In fact, you TERFs are louder and more aggressive than EVER. More proof that trans women “erasing lesbians” is bullshit. Try coming up with a VALID defense next time.

            “Your comments show that transgenderism all comes down to domination; coming to feminist blogs screeching how all the “cis” women are wrong and you have it all figured out.”

            Well, YEAH. Cuz I AM a trans woman. Which is WHY when trans women tell you your “trans theory” is bullshit, it IS. Because we LIVED it. Seriously, HOW arrogant is it to think you can tell me my proven, lived experience as a trans woman is wrong? And in case you haven’t noticed, Meghan says my comments are WELCOMED here. I have as much right to comment as you do. In FACT, most feminist places are welcoming of trans women. Something which REALLY pisses you TERFs off.

            “Cis is the most woman hating term ever written, and every time you use it it belies your true colours”

            Wanna explain HOW simply identifying women who were born women and IDENTIFY as women as “cis” is “the most woman hating term ever”? Oh wait, I know! It would be because THEN you wouldn’t get to name yourself the “one true REAL” woman, would it? It would suggest that cis AND trans women are BOTH women and we just CAN’T have THAT, now can we? The joke is, you cis people created the need for the word “cis” the moment you named us “trans”. Sorry but you can’t have one without the other. We may have put a name to it, but you were “cis” ALREADY.

            “In conclusion, NO you’re not a woman, NO you don’t belong in feminism, and NO you’re wrong about everything you think a woman is. It hurts guys so much to be told NO by a woman, but I guess you’ll just have to get used to it.”

            In conclusion, I am a woman, I am a feminist, and I know very WELL what a woman “is”. It doesn’t hurt me if you tell me no, because your opinion has no hold on my life, and you don’t get to use your opinion to deny me my rights as a woman. ALSO, you DON’T speak for the majority of cis women. In fact, MOST of them see you TERFs as embarrassing old fossils of feminism, who’re dragging the movement down. Frankly, YOU’RE the ones who “aren’t welcomed” in feminism, not me.

            When you TERFs can finally provide any REAL proof of trans women hurting feminism OR women (other than our mere existence( get back to me, cuz SO far you’re only spewing transphobic bile. But I WON’T be holding my breath.

        • Marti, twisting words around so you can shoot down the straw man does not help your cause. I have no doubt that many transwomen might want to attend Michfest to enjoy the music or the workshops. No doubt there are many ordinary men who would enjoy being there, ostensibly for the music, but also because many of the attendees feel safe enough to go around nude. I did not say the only goal of transwomen who crash Michfest was to infiltrate or make trouble, but when they violate a clearly stated policy that excludes them, justifying that by claiming they belong there and that the policy is bigoted, irrational, evil, hateful, illegal, transphobic, what have you, they are deliberately disrespecting boundaries, they are infiltrating, and they are making trouble.

          I do not know what you mean by “representative of trans women as a whole.” I am well aware of the diversity among trans women. Some are attracted to men, some to women, some to both, and some even, heaven forbid, do not believe they belong in women-only spaces!

          This recent open statement may be of interest:
          Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of “Gender”
          An open statement from 37 radical feminists from five countries.
          http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/forbidden-discourse-the-silencing-of-feminist-criticism-of-gender-an-open-statement-from-37-radical-feminists-from-five-countries-with-biographical-information-about-each-signat/

          • Marti386

            “Marti, twisting words around so you can shoot down the straw man does not help your cause.”

            That’s funny. I didn’t think I was “twisting” anything. I think your intent was PRETTY clear.

            “No doubt there are many ordinary men who would enjoy being there, ostensibly for the music, but also because many of the attendees feel safe enough to go around nude.”

            Thanks for pointing that out, cuz it’s something that always bothers me about MitchFest. The old “you can’t come in here cuz we might see you naked” defense. I have an idea. How about we just STOP letting people run around naked? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? Being naked isn’t a required to enjoy MitchFest. A million festivals run all across the world. They don’t have this problem, because they don’t let you get naked. This is supposed to be a music festival, NOT a nudist retreat. And seriously, they’re gonna say MY nudity might make women “uncomfortable”? What about the comfort of women who DON’T want to see a bunch of naked lesbians? I never see THEIR “comfort” being addressed. Also, claiming “safety” issues without any proof trans women compromise said safety is a hollow defense. If you’re gonna allow nudity, don’t get all up in MY shit because you don’t want to see ME naked.

            “I did not say the only goal of transwomen who crash Michfest was to infiltrate or make trouble, but when they violate a clearly stated policy that excludes them, justifying that by claiming they belong there and that the policy is bigoted, irrational, evil, hateful, illegal, transphobic, what have you, they are deliberately disrespecting boundaries, they are infiltrating, and they are making trouble.”

            No, but you DID say it was a goal. Which is silly, paranoid and just plain WRONG. And as I’ve stated before, we don’t “violate a clearly stated policy”. In FACT it’s rather muddled. Go to the official MitchFest website. Notice how there’s NOTHING there that says “trans women are not welcome”. At all. In fact They have NO “clearly stated policy” at all. Just a dirty, under the counter one. A “don’t ask, don’t tell” one. A shameless “we let trans women in so long as you don’t mention you’re a disgusting tranny” one. Which is pretty LOW, if you ask me. Oh and if you exclude trans women without being able to PROVE that trans women would in any way hurt the Fest, then your reasoning IS “bigoted, irrational, evil, hateful, illegal and transphobic”. Sorry.

            “I am well aware of the diversity among trans women. Some are attracted to men, some to women, some to both, and some even, heaven forbid, do not believe they belong in women-only spaces!”

            WOW. REALLY? You think our “diversity” is limited to who we are sexually attracted to? What an MRA kinda thing to say. When I said diversity, I wasn’t referring to sexual orientation at ALL. That’s kinda shallow, don’t you think? Is cis women diversity only about who you’re attracted to? And as for the trans women who feel they “do not belong in women-only spaces”? Good for them! They can stay out then. But ME? I DO feel I belong, and I don’t believe you or anyone else gets to make that decision for me. Is that clear enough?

            “This recent open statement may be of interest: Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of “Gender” An open statement from 37 radical feminists from five countries.”

            Yeah, I’ve already read it. Color me unimpressed. 37 WHOLE radfems? And it took FIVE countries to get that puny amount?

            The thing is, Your radical feminism isn’t being “silenced”. Only the hate speech part where you attack trans people. It’s really simple. Take OUT the part where you get all “trans critical” and we leave you alone. Cuz UNLESS you’re trans, it’s NONE of your business. Simple. As I’ve already stated, I actually agree with parts of radical feminism. Just not the part about how trans women are “Frankenstein monsters” created to “destroy feminism” by “raping women’s bodies” (all actual radfem “excuses”). SERIOUSLY, it’s shit like THAT that’s getting you “silenced”. Don’t blame anybody but yourselves.

          • “WOW. REALLY? You think our “diversity” is limited to who we are sexually attracted to?”

            This is a perfect example of how you twist things. I did not say the diversity of transwomen is “limited” to the examples I gave. Examples of the diversity of transwomen would no doubt be an endless list, just like any other sort of people. I chose to point out a short list of obvious examples of trans diversity.

            So, feminists who criticize trans theory deserve to be silenced? Or just the ones using extreme language? Or are you using the extreme language of a few to justify the attacks of your allies on anyone who dares criticize trans theory? Where do you draw the line? What constitutes the difference between criticism and hate speech? I do not see that you recognize any such distinction.

            I am done arguing with you, Marti. You just want to go around in circles, evading every question and twisting every answer anyone gives you. I have better things to do with my rather limited free time.

          • Marti386

            “This is a perfect example of how you twist things. I did not say the diversity of transwomen is “limited” to the examples I gave”

            Maybe not. But it WAS the ONLY example you gave. I don’t think pointing that out is “twisting” anything. Be clearer next time. I’m not a mind reader. You’re just angry that I caught you making a misogynistic comment. Or at least you would have claimed it was if it had come from ME. Because “male privilege” and all.

            Also, just to point it out for future reference, It’s spelled “trans women”, not “transwomen”. The space is important. “trans woman” implies a woman who is trans, but is still part of the group women, while “transwoman” implies someone who is separate from the group women. Ands since trans women ARE women, it should be “trans women”. This is ANOTHER example of the subliminal cis privilege you all seem so keen on denying.

            “So, feminists who criticize trans theory deserve to be silenced?”

            I believe TERFs (and let’s be honest, the ONLY ones who are criticizing “trans theory” are TERFs) can believe ANYTHING they want. I also believe they have the right to speak it aloud. I ALSO believe conferences halls and other venues have a right to CANCEL them if they deem it hate speech. I ALSO believe protesters have a right to protest them. I believe protesters have the right to petition and boycott them. I believe trans women have the SAME rights cis women do. THAT’S what I believe.

            “What constitutes the difference between criticism and hate speech?”

            Well, “criticism” would be when you say “gender roles hurt women”. “Hate speech” would be when you blame it all on trans women, even though they display the SAME “gender stereotypes” that cis women have for hundreds of years. It’s “hate speech” when you use your UNPROVEN “trans theory” to block trans women from the same rights that cis women have. Because I am NOT an academic exercise to be played with for the enjoyment of a bunch of privileged 23 year old, white, college educated radfems who just discovered feminism in their women’s studies class (yes Rachel, I’m talking about YOU). I went to my first feminist protest when I was FIVE. I’ve been fighting in the feminist trenches ever since. And the idea that a bunch of radfems think their cis privilege give them the right to claim I don’t BELONG in feminism? That I’m an “enemy” of feminism?

            I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how I feel about that.

          • By the way, there are a whole lot of things that are true but impossible to prove. For instance, how would you prove that the presence of ordinary men at Michfest would in any way harm it? Yet I think it would be difficult for anyone besides MRAs to assert that the festival would be undamaged; they might think it would be good for the festival. Why not, as you think the presence of transwomen is good for it? If men were admitted, it would no longer be a music festival for women, but how would one “prove” that would “harm” the festival? Many compelling arguments could be made that could not qualify as a proof. Would these arguments then be bigoted, irrational, evil, hateful, illegal, and male phobic?

            To me this sounds a lot like the arguments of apologists for the nuclear industry, claiming there is no proof nuclear power has killed anyone, therefore anyone who criticizes nuclear power must be irrational, ignorant, uninformed, unscientific, hysterical, wacko, Luddite, anti-progress, anti-science, what have you. This line of argument is very popular among reductionist scientists to debunk their critics, because they know proof is a very high bar that generally cannot be reached, no matter how much evidence there may be.

          • Mary Smith

            It has been my experience over five decades that EVERY time a male is admitted to formerly female-only space, his presence there completely destroys the female dynamic. He can just sit in the corner and the female dynamic is GONE. That’s all the “proof” I need that male “trans women” have no place in female safe spaces.

            We could discuss for thousands of hours why this is true, but it’s always true. Always.

            They don’t even know what they’re destroying because as soon as they enter, it’s destroyed. They never experience it. But we do experience it, and we know what happens when they change it by their presence as surely as a wolf entering a space formerly inhabited by kitties. He can be a very nice wolf. He can be a wolf who was raised around kitties. He can be a wolf who thinks of himself as a kitty. But the kitties know that EVERYTHING is different now that he has entered.

            I think that’s part of the reason male “trans women” get so enraged, so abusive, so ready to sling around “TERF” and “cis privilege” and “transphobe” and “die in a fire cis scum” and the rest. It enrages them that their presence changes the female dynamic — that no matter how badly they want it, they will NEVER be one of us in the same way that a wolf will never be one of the kitties.

            Their male privilege makes them want to ORDER us to accept them as one of us — but we can’t because they aren’t — and they never will be.

          • Well I never… Late to the party but “wolf raised among kitties” is actually a topic covered in detail in – of all places – My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Where Spike, the young dragon, is born (well, hatched) and raised among ponies.

            His dragon nature taking hold of him and harming ponies: s2 ep10 “Secret of my Excess”.

            Him trying to become a “real dragon” by joining the dragons, and ending up back with ponies: s2 ep21 “Dragon Quest”.

            And in the authors’ view Spike’s presence very much does not harm or even change pony society apart from that moment when he lost to his greed in s2 ep10.

            I was already aware that MLP:FiM is a liberal feminist manifesto. Note the cutie mark thing, which basically states every single person is special in their own way (countering collectivist – whether the fundie or radfem kind of collectivist – hatred of “special snowflakes”). But I never realized they actually managed to tackle trans theory in a children’s show.

            (That’s just a cultural reference. Michfest or any other private gathering, as opposed to a public accommodation, can include or exclude anyone the owners fancy, end of story. Also: a parent, not a brony).

  • stephen m

    @Marti386: You seem to be totally trapped in your rant style. For me your rant approach has greatly diminished the respect I might have had for you as a person and unfortunately it also reflects on the trans movement that you support. This might or might not be symptomatic of how the other readers currently feel. Take it easy, as I said before you cannot demand respect, you have to earn it over time.

    • Marti386

      “For me your rant approach has greatly diminished the respect I might have had for you as a person and unfortunately it also reflects on the trans movement that you support.”

      So you feel that me providing ACTUAL examples of how radfem trans theory is causing real world harm to trans women is a “rant”? Or that I, as a trans woman, aren’t even ENTITLED to “rant”? Radfem Suzanne Moore wrote an article recently about the power of female anger. And although it’s the article that caught her some flack for her careless “brazilian transsexual” remark, the basic point of it makes sense. That woman’s anger can be used as a force of change for good. But I guess anger is a privilege only CIS women are entitled to, huh?

      “Take it easy, as I said before you cannot demand respect, you have to earn it over time.”

      You know that’s HILARIOUS that you say I need to “earn respect”. Maybe you’re not aware of the radfem war on trans people, so let me clue you in. Radfems have been attacking trans people for FORTY years. FORTY. And in ALL that time, never ONCE has the movement tried to “earn” MY respect. Ever. INSTEAD, they’ve tried to deny my existence, get us blocked from women’s shelters and crisis centers, and got us denied medical coverage. We’ve been called freaks, and been accused of being “mentally ill”, even though the AMA says we’re NOT. And after FORTY years of that bullshit, When a small handful of trans women decide they’ve had ENOUGH, and mark a couple books with a magic marker, the TERF trolls come out of the woodwork to call us terrorists who “assault” women. What about the ASSAULT they’ve been doing on trans women for four freaking decades? We’re just supposed to be good girls and take it? Standing up to it is just another example of “male privilege”, I guess?

      Just four comments up on this very thread, I’ve been called a “pornographic caricature of women”, and been accused of being someone “hates” women, even though this witless person doesn’t have a CLUE about who I am, and making such claims are perfect examples of the hate speech that is the DIRECT result of radfem “trans critical” thinking. Where’s MY respect Stephen? It’s funny cuz I don’t think I’ve really had a “rant” on this thread, but NOW? Now I think I’m entitled to one. Am I angry? Yes. HELL yes. Do I feel I owe TERFs anything? NO. I’ve extended the hand of friendship far too many times, only to have it BITTEN off.

      If radfems TERFs REALLY want respect, they can START by giving some out first.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Stephen isn’t saying you can’t be angry, he’s saying your approach isn’t encouraging folks to listen and understand your message. And yes, are are welcome to comment here, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with you — simply because you state that the gender theory put forth by feminists is bullshit, doesn’t make it true. Radical feminists have not been attacking trans people for 40 years. You could argue that men have been, but not feminists. And again, this isn’t to excuse actual transphobic behaviour, but if you’re going to call trans critical theory an “attack” then the same could be said about trans people (that they are “attacking” radical feminists). We don’t need to make sweeping generalizations because of a few bad eggs, imo.

        • Marti386

          “And yes, are are welcome to comment here, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with you”.

          I never said they did. In fact, NOBODY here seems to agree with me. This has been nothing but a big pile up from the beginning. Seriously, other than a few of you having the courage to admit Cathy Brennan is nasty person, I’ve gotten very LITTLE support here. So the idea that I’m forcing everyone here to agree with me is ludicrous.

          Simply because you state that the gender theory put forth by feminists is bullshit, doesn’t make it true.”

          I didn’t say gender theory is bullshit. I said “trans theory” is bullshit. And just because TERFs say it’s true doesn’t make it so either, which is the point you seem to keep missing.

          “Radical feminists have not been attacking trans people for 40 years”.

          Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Have you not listened to anything I said? How many ACTUAL examples do I have to link you to?

          You want PROOF about the radfem attack on trans women? How about this:

          http://sandystone.com/interviews/stone-transisters-interview.pdf

          http://www.transadvocate.com/transphobic-radical-hate-didnt-start-with-brennan-the-sandy-stone-olivia-records-controversy.htm

          Does 1977 go back far enough for you?

          Comparing trans women to white women in blackface isn’t an “attack” to you? Pushing the phoney “deceptive transsexual” narrative isn’t an attack to you? Well it is to ME. When Olivia flew to Berkeley to open a dialogue and were harassed by radical feminists who had flown in for that specific reason, is that enough of an example for you? And although Olivia Record’s support was incredible, it didn’t stop Sandy from being harassed out of the collective by radical feminist lesbians. She lost her job because of it. Is that enough of an “attack” for you? And just to point it out, radfems protested and threatened to boycott Olivia Records (the same thing radfems complain about when trans women do it). Sandy had to leave because they feared for her safety. How come no radfems here are complaining about how “women were silenced”? Hypocrites. Freaking hypocrites.

          So DON’T stand there and claim radical feminists haven’t been attacking trans women for decades. DON’T try to claim we attacked first. And STOP trying to claim we don’t have a right to fight back. Because your either showing off an incredible ignorance of the particularly nasty history of radical feminism, OR you’re a big liar.

          JUST. DON’T. EVEN.

          Right here in THIS very forum, I’ve been accused of being a mean male who’s picking on defenseless women. I’ve been told my voice is too aggressive. I’ve been told to shut up and “give respect” to people who’ve given none to ME. I’ve been accused of being a sexist. I’ve been accused of being a misogynist. I’ve been called an “infiltrator”. I’ve been told I’m a “hater of women” and that I’m a “porographic caricature of women”. I’ve been told I’m not a woman, or a lesbian, despite the fact that I am. I’ve been told my very existence threatens women’s liberation. Has ANYBODY (even you) come to my defense? Or it all this accepted as harmless “trans theory”? If radical feminists don’t STAND up and start acknowledging this bad behavior, this movement is doomed to failure. It’s circling the drain now as it is, so I wouldn’t wait TOO long if I were you.

          The joke is, if it had been ME that said ANY of those things to a cis woman, I would have been rightly banned from this comment board. But cis women get to say any shitty, transphobic thing they want. Cuz I oppress them. Or something.

          I was willing to give this site a second chance, but it’s clear the ONLY type of feminism you want to support here is RADICAL feminism. I’ve heard no other feminist voice since I got here. You don’t want to admit the majority of feminists support trans women. You don’t want to admit the majority of feminists are against TERF ideology. You don’t want to admit that the majority of feminists are against DGR. You don’t want to admit the majority of feminists were for protesting Radfem 2013 and Radfem 2012. You don’t want to admit TERF’s are controlling the radfem narrative these days. You want to pretend that radical feminists haven’t been attacking trans women. You want to pretend that radfems aren’t making DOZENS of websites that do little else than attack trans women under the guise of “feminism”. You want to stick your heads in the sand and pretend intersectionality doesn’t exist.

          I’m told to be a good little girl and be quiet, to know my place, to not speak up when radfems say stupid, hurtful things about trans women. I’m told that in order to “earn respect” I must give them a free pass to say any ignorant, uninformed, outdated bullshit about trans women they want or else I’m “hurting women”.

          And if that’s the kind of “woman” radical feminism wants me to be, then FUCK that.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I think you’re conflating radical feminism with being anti-trans. Which isn’t the case. And yes, most feminists do support trans people. You’re right.

            If you’re going to start accusing me of things like “pretending intersectionality doesn’t exist” then I don’t think you’re familiar with my work. I’ve written extensively about feminism for years and years and years and years and the focus of that work has never been the trans issue so I have to admit that I kind of resent your trying to make me focus so much on YOU, what YOU think, and what YOU want me to say/believe/write about/interview feminists about. The commenters here are familiar with my body of work and have, for the most part, spent a lot of time in discussions on this site. My feminism includes a class and race analysis as well as a gender one.

            I feel like, as I’ve said many times before, you’re oversimplifying feminist theory and trying to demand everyone agree to use the language you prefer/agree with your perspective lest they be accused of bigotry. And, at the end of the day, this is my frustration with so much of trans activism/discourse. I never feel like we’re having a rational conversation. Those who question the agreed upon discourse are silenced and shut down and called transphobic.

            We could go back and forth for days with this YOU STARTED IT thing:

            “So DON’T stand there and claim radical feminists haven’t been attacking trans women for decades. DON’T try to claim we attacked first. And STOP trying to claim we don’t have a right to fight back. Because your either showing off an incredible ignorance of the particularly nasty history of radical feminism, OR you’re a big liar.”

            …but it feels childish and pointless. To get back to the original theory/interview — the arguments Rachel is making around gender aren’t oppressive. Discrimination and violence against trans people is oppressive. Not agreeing with you/certain facets of trans theory doesn’t justify attacking anyone or silencing them or preventing them from speaking/working — which is what folks did to Rachel. Rachel isn’t attacking trans people or trying to prevent trans people from speaking or working — why focus so much energy on framing her as some kind of bigot?

            Saying one thing is wrong doesn’t equate to saying the other is right. I’m not condoning transphobia in saying that some trans activists are behaving like bullies and forcing people to adopt an anti-intellectual, illogical kind of discourse because they feel threatened by anyone who questions or is critical of the party line.

          • Marti386

            “We could go back and forth for days with this YOU STARTED IT thing”

            Actually, no we can’t. It’s pretty clear that radical feminism has been attacking trans women for decades. I’ve provided numerous examples. Where’s yours? I mean, if you’ve got ANY examples of trans women attacking radfems prior to the seventies, by ALL means put them on the table. I’d luv to hear them.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You’re missing the point. Pointing fingers and saying “you started it” “no you started it” seems silly and unproductive to me. So, no, I don’t really want to engage in that game with you.

        • Marti386

          “Stephen isn’t saying you can’t be angry”.

          Stephen said I was on a “rant”. What’s the definition of “rant”?

          RANT: To speak or write in an angry or violent manner.

          Sounds like he’s saying I can’t be angry, doesn’t it?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Well, you “can,” but I’m not sure what you hope to achieve in doing so. Also there is more than one way to express anger. I’m not sure it is *just* “anger” people are seeing here — you must be able to see that you are taking up a lot of space here and are being quite combative? You initially responded to Rachel’s interview in a way that was immediately accusatory — attacking and name-calling — yet she has not behaved in the same way towards you or anyone, actually. I don’t usually like to get into HOW one communicates as I would prefer to stick to talking about ideas, but it’s difficult to get to the ideas when we are simply pointing fingers back and forth…

      • stephen m

        Please turn the lights off when you leave.

      • Me

        Do you not see that your tone and arguments here are inflammatory and frankly scary?

        • Marti386

          “Do you not see that your tone and arguments here are inflammatory and frankly scary?”

          Why do YOU not find the “tone and arguments” provided here by cis women to be equally “inflammatory” and “scary”? Why is it ONLY scary and inflammatory when it comes from a trans woman?

          Examine your cis privilege.

          • Lela

            For what it’s worth Marti, I think scaldingmay’s been *way out of line* on this thread. Caricaturish, actually. In fact, from the perspective of anyone who might wish to demonize radical feminists, I’d say it’s gone perfectly well.

          • Marti386

            Thanks for the support, Lela. The sad thing is that the majority of flack I got on this thread was radfems trying to claim that this type of over the top transphobia doesn’t exist, then along comes Scaldingmay to prove them wrong. Unfortunately, it’s VERY real.

            The thing is that although they may not be the voice of ALL radical feminism, they’re a much bigger problem than the movement wants to admit. And they’ve controlled the narrative at THREE recent radfem conferences, all of which were not welcoming of trans women. Which is sad. Cuz trans women could add a lot to the voice of radical feminism.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t know that anyone is arguing that transphobia doesn’t exist? And that it’s a problem? Maybe I missed something.

          • Marti386

            “I don’t know that anyone is arguing that transphobia doesn’t exist?”

            I kinda thought we were. I thought the basic point of the whole interview was that trans people don’t have a right to protest or boycott radfem views. That it’s “silencing women”. At least that’s how I interpreted it. But when you’re a trans woman, you always have to keep your guard up, you know?

            Maybe I’M the one who “missed something”. 🙂

          • Meghan Murphy

            Honestly, I think you’re being manipulative at this point. I no longer believe you are sincerely interested in having an honest or productive conversation. I don’t even believe that you buy what you’re saying here.

            The paragraph following the quote you pulled here (“I don’t know that anyone is arguing that transphobia doesn’t exist?”) doesn’t have anything to do with the quote and your commentary tells me you really haven’t been listening to anything anyone’s said here or in the interview.

  • scaldingmay

    Okay fine, if Marti thinks he’s a woman, then I’m perfectly fine treating him like men have treated women for centuries. Such as this:

    -You’re hysterical and have no idea what you’re talking about.
    -Your experiences don’t matter.
    -Everyone has a right to talk about your body b/c it’s public property and only good for sex.
    -You’re hateful and jealous of everyone.
    -Shut up and make me a sandwich.

    It’s like totally unfair that you don’t get to play pretend woman and keep your male privilege too!!!

    You can reply with another one of your mile long comments screeching about I-dentity politics and how you’re really a woman b/c you say so and that’s all that matters. Screw systematic oppression, you want what you want when you want it. Congrats on being a special snowflake. I’m not going to respond anymore to you and waste my gynergy, b/c as Aletha expertly wrote, women have better things to do with our time.

    • Marti386

      “Okay fine, if Marti thinks he’s a woman, then I’m perfectly fine treating him like men have treated women for centuries”.

      I’m SHE, not “he”.

      Wow, your response is to treat me like an MRA treats women? What a valid argument you make. NOT.

      You actually used the term “special snowflake”? Really? Congratulations, you’re officially a TERF! 🙂

      “as Aletha expertly wrote, women have better things to do with our time.”

      Actually, you TERFs have NOTHING better to do with your time. At all. You spend every waking moment looking for trans articles to comment on, make websites that harass trans women, Try to exclude trans women from ANYTHING related to women, and basically spend all day blaming trans women for all your problems. In case you hadn’t noticed, fighting trans women isn’t “liberating” anyone. No brownie points for you.

      If you TERFs really wanted to help feminism, you could START by stopping your attack on trans women, and go after the people who are REALLY taking women’s rights away. Mainly CIS women:

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/01/1190666/-More-GOP-Female-Reps-vote-against-VAWA-than-in-favor-of#

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Handel

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/marsha-blackburn-equal-pay-laws_n_3375167.html

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/us/politics/in-partisan-vote-house-acts-to-limit-abortions.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1374671199-qdhR+hCzyDUGLdsie2fOVQ&_r=0

      In case you hadn’t noticed it’s NOT trans women attacking “women’s liberation”. It’s YOU.

      • “Actually, you TERFs have NOTHING better to do with your time. At all. You spend every waking moment looking for trans articles to comment on, make websites that harass trans women, Try to exclude trans women from ANYTHING related to women, and basically spend all day blaming trans women for all your problems.”

        Marti, just how delusional can you get? Perhaps delusional is not the correct term. Perhaps this is an example of reversal, or projection, or just exasperated exaggeration? And by the way, how do you expect to be respected if you continually insult women who will not go along with your trans theory by calling them “TERF” and “cis”?

        I reiterate a theme from that statement I linked above, trans people want freedom for gender, whereas feminists want freedom from gender. Does this not show how cisgender is a misnomer? It might be fitting for men, since many if not most men do not have major issues with the cultural expectations of men, but how many women nowadays actually identify with the female gender stereotype, as opposed to performing it to survive in the male dominant culture?

      • Lela

        Where have you been Marti? Radical feminists are constantly pointing out where women are assisting the patriarchy, and getting tonnes of shit for it from all sides. Whether it’s other “feminists” telling us not to criticize other women because feelings, or men telling us to stop “whining” and being “catty.”

        Have you read any of the vast majority of content on this blog for example? Meghan is constantly bringing it where it should be brought: to *men.*

    • sporenda

      “Stephen isn’t saying you can’t be angry, he’s saying your approach isn’t encouraging folks to listen and understand your message. ”

      I’d even say that your approach comes out as so irritating, arrogant and self obsessed that it amounts to the most effective anti-trans propaganda.
      Moreover, most of what trans post on the net lately shows they still have a long way to go to get rid of their old male habits.

      Two or three years ago, I was quite sympathetic to the trans cause, then something happened, I am not sure exactly what, but from the outside, it looks like trans men were coopted by MRAs, with the secret mission 🙂 to infiltrate feminist groups, get them to give up second wave goals and move toward funfem, sexpozz and other anti-feminist balloney.

      In essence, in the more general context of the social regression engineered by liberalism, it looks like there is some kind of collective trend at work to redesign feminism so that it becomes totally “man friendly”, in other words completely harmless and ineffective.
      And that (some) trans men are definitely on the frontline of this “neutering” of feminism.

      • scaldingmay

        Sporenda, your comment is beautifully written, concise, and truthfull. Notice all of the Mra-like qualities of this psycho’s comments: his identity is unassailable but he intentionally calls us names we don’t accept (c.is), claims that women are oppressed b/c we aren’t doing feminism right and acts threatening when things don’t go his way. This is some scary “do what I say or else” neo-nazi level craziness (as a Jewish woman, I know it when I see it).

        Thank you Megh for your excellent comments too! Your blot gives me hope for modern radical feminism. 🙂

  • Lela

    Sadly, as usual, the net result of this debate will be: radical feminists are and evil hate group on the same level as the KKK. Which benefits men, and hurts women. I credit radical feminism with saving my life and my health and wish to make it accessible to more struggling, suffering women. I do not believe that these extreme examples of anti-trans sentiment are representative of the whole. Under no circumstances should trans people be denied access to safe places, services, etc. “Cis” lesbians should be given the space and dignity of preferring one another’s company. And speaking of dignity, “cis” women should be listened to when we express the reasons for which this label is misleading and wrong. Debates like this drive the knives of patriarchy further into my heart and soul, and threaten to undermine any progress we might hope to make against the pornocratic terror machine that is patriarchy. I hope we can get back to talking about that.

    • Me

      @Lela, I’m sorry if you’ve felt this thread as driving knives into your heart and undermining radical feminism. I wanted to note that my reading has been entirely different, including what scaldingmay’s said.

      What I find alarming are comments like this, which I think represents Marti386’s whole style of constant obfuscation:

      “And after FORTY years of that bullshit, When a small handful of trans women decide they’ve had ENOUGH, and mark a couple books with a magic marker, the TERF trolls come out of the woodwork to call us terrorists who “assault” women. What about the ASSAULT they’ve been doing on trans women for four freaking decades? We’re just supposed to be good girls and take it? Standing up to it is just another example of “male privilege”, I guess?”

      This is clearly a reference to the DGR incident, something this was supposed to be about, and something Marti was supposed to have a fair criticism to make to from the trans angle. The comment first demonizes DGR and its members, blaming them for “forty years” of aggression they can’t possibly have had anything to do with. First you create the damned cat you want to attack. It then completely trivializes the physically aggressive/threatening behavior towards DGR members, “mark a couple of books with a magic marker.” The obvious point of behavior like that is to transgress a person’s boundaries, first through property, as a threat to their personal safety. That’s further scorned as “assault”, whereas TERFs–and I believe it is implied also DGR and it’s members in that specific incident–are again loaded with blame for forty years of all-caps ASSAULT, to justify aggressive behavior as self-defence. This was aggressive and threatening behavior against DRG members, not self-defence.

      The last “good girls” part seems to me very significant to the obfuscation as well, but I’m not sure what exactly to make of it. I hate Marti’s use of diminutive and the juxtaposition of “good girls” to aggressive males, which all seems purposeful. These were not exactly “girls.” The only option to remaining silent was not to threaten, but it seems that’s how Marti sees it, which is alarming. I hate the implication that aggressive posturing from adult trans women, whether they pass or not but especially when they don’t, should be interpreted and treated like *any* behavior coming from girls, and that seems to be the alarming implication. As if trans women could and should only inhabit and go between the roles of either a passive, diminutive “good girl” or an aggressive male. That tug-of-war between a seeming passivity and aggression is a hallmark of masculinity and, as I understand it, exactly something that women only spaces are meant to protect against, right?

      • Lela

        I think also it’s important to note the death-grip that patriarchy has women in, in terms of protest behaviour. We learn early on that our feelings are wrong… not just inconvenient, but outright wrong. We are taught that we cannot trust our lying eyes, or our lying senses, or our lying minds. Speaking from my own perspective, before we come to radical feminist awareness (if we are so lucky) every day we walk past strip clubs and thumb through local magazines where, in the back pages, prostituted women are luridly pictured as just so many consumables. We stomach a monstrous amount of woman-hating media content, to name a small example fashion magazines proudly advertising the newest in facelift technology and foot-and-back-destroying stiletto heels. We do all of this without batting an eyelash. When we do become aware, the rage is all-consuming, but even when our oppression is so incredibly obvious we cannot bring ourselves to express dissent. When I walk past those strip clubs, inwardly I cringe with anger and nausea at the men casually loitering at the doors. But I can say nothing for fear of being assaulted. And, of course, I know what the response would be: b*tch, prude, you need a good dicking, you hate men, you hate sex and are trying to ruin sex for everyone, and so on and so forth. I know that if I were to walk into a porn store and destroy merchandise, I would be arrested and charged. And then there’s the internet. There is nothing any of us can do about that.

        • lizor

          Lela, you have expressed so much with such precision here. I am really grateful to you for putting the corrosive feelings, the sense of being trapped, that I have lived with so long and felt somehow illegitimate, into words. It makes a difference.

          And also grateful to Me for unpacking the dissonance of that post. I find it very difficult to read Marti and not to feel an emotional response akin to being stuck between two blaring radios playing different stations. It takes a great deal of emotional and intellectual grounding to take it in and respond calmly as Meghan and others here have done. I’m learning from you all.

        • scaldingmay

          I couldn’t agree with you more Lela! Every since I was a very young girl, I would have a feeling down in my gut that something was very wrong. When I would see pornified pictures of women everywhere saying that the only way for a woman to be powerful was to be naked in front of men, I knew we as women deserved so much more. I grew up with a feeling of alienation when I saw women on tv and my own classmates act as if being an emotionless and empty headed sex object was the pinnacle of womanhood.

          This is why radical feminist space is so important. We need to be able to be separated from men even if only for a few moments to talk with other women and learn who we are as human beings, since the patriarchy has tried to convince us that we’re subhuman.

          • Lela

            Agreed, radical feminist space is truly life-saving. This is what people need to realize when they are trying to label radfems a “hate group.”

      • Mary Smith

        Women-only spaces are vitally necessary to our struggle against patriarchal oppression — which is exactly why males are so hell bent on invading and thereby destroying our women-only spaces. It’s not an accident. It’s a tactic.

    • Marti386

      “I do not believe that these extreme examples of anti-trans sentiment are representative of the whole”.

      I thank you Lela, for at least acknowledging that there are some very anti-trans elements in the radical feminist movement. You are far braver than most of the people on this board, it seems.

      I’m not trying to take radical feminism away from you. I don’t wan’t to destroy it. Neither do any trans women I know. We just want it to stop laying the blame of oppression at the feet of innocent trans women, who are JUST as much victims of the patriarchy as cis women.

      The problem I have with giving cis lesbians “the space and dignity of preferring one another’s company”, is that WHICH cis lesbians get to decide? Cuz I know plenty of cis lesbians who are totally cool with trans lesbians in their spaces. I don’t see radfems asking to put it up to a popularity vote. It’s either their way, or it’s the highway. TERFs seem to think they’re voice is the voice of ALL lesbians and cis women. And they’re flat out wrong.

      As for the cis thing, I’ll make a deal with you. If you agree to stop referring to me as trans, I’ll stop calling you cis. But that kinda means you have to stop labeling us as different from cis women. You can’t use other terms of othering just because they sound more palpable to you. No “womyn-born womyn”. No “bio women”. Because it’s yet to be proven that trans women are not “born women” or “bio”. Those theories are debatable. If you get rid of cis, you can’t have trans. Does that make sense? 🙂

      You’re right that these feuds keep trans and cis women at each other’s throats, while the patriarchy laughs and laughs at ALL of us. But as I’ve pointed out before, TERFs started this fight. They started it when they called us “invaders” and “psychos” and “rapists” simply for asking to be treated the same as them. For having the same rights as them. And if they want trans women to let go of their throats, they need to let go of ours FIRST. I’d be willing to do that. But the balls in their court.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I really wish you’d listen to the interview I keep linking you to… There still is value in differentiating biological women from trans women and, quite honestly, I don’t see the point or benefit in conflating or pretending that there is no difference. Can’t trans people fight for the rights of trans people as trans people? Why doesn’t that make sense? I’m not being facetious, I really don’t get it…

        Here’s the article which inspired me to interview Rupert Read about this: http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=6662

        Do you think Read’s arguments are offensive or transphobic?

        “Do the mass of women who did not go through the process of sex-reassignment — ordinary women, so-called ‘cissexuals’ — have no right to point out some differences between themselves and trans-women? I think they surely do have such a right, including the right to point to a broad mass of broadly (albeit not universally) shared, overlapping experiences that they tend to share. Hopefully, they will have the heart to recognise the difficulties specific to the trans experience, and the feeling of commonality that the transsexual has with women. But hopefully too, those gendered male who wish to transition to female-hood will recognise that they are seeking to join a group with specific experiences some of which they have not shared, a historically-oppressed group, a group which has fought hard for the right to have spaces where women can organise together, clear of the male gaze, etc. .
        It is not essentialist to point out the difference between being gendered female one’s who life and being gendered female as a result of a choice. It is not essentialist to point out certain material differences between men and women: the only question is what SIGNFICANCE to attribute to those differences. (Feminism of course argues that patriarchal societies tend to attach a wrong and excessive significance to those differences.) Does a man choosing to seek to become a member of an oppressed group (women) have the right to demand full unequivocal membership of that group and then speak as part of it without any possibility of objection? It is complicated, but it is at the very least not at all self-evident that one ought to answer that question with a Yes.”

        I’m interested to know your thoughts. Here’s a link to the interview again — he addresses the word ‘cis’: http://feministcurrent.com/7130/podcast-looking-at-feminism-and-trans-issues-from-a-philosophical-perspective/

        • Marti386

          Well, everyone here seems to be complaining that my comments are too long, and that I’m taking up all the space on this thread. And then you go and ask for my opinion on Rupert’s rather lengthy article. Are you a glutton for punishment? 🙂

          Okay I’ll bite, but just remember you ASKED me for it 🙂

          Alright, where to begin……..

          “Don’t throw out the Feminist baby with the Burchill bathwater”

          Okay, first I find the title kind of offensive. It insinuates that trans women want to do away with feminism because of bad eggs like Burchill. Which isn’t true. I’m a feminist. I fight for all kinds of women’s causes. As do the vast majority of trans women I know. And I know a lot of them. Just because we disagree with some radfems DOESN’T mean we hate feminism.

          “BUT to be a critic of gender essentialism is one thing; to seek to dissolve the category of ‘woman’ altogether, in favour of a sort of ‘opt-in’ version of what it is to be a woman, quite another”

          This is a common misconception by TERFs. Trans women have NEVER been “seeking to dissolve the category of women altogether”. Where do they even get this idea? Trans women want to JOIN the category of women, not “dissolve” it. Rather, it seem to be radfems who are fearful (again with the unproven fears passed as “facts”) that we want to “erase women”. In fact, a lot of trans women don’t even like the idea of a “third sex”, because they feel that dissolves the category of “women”. We don’t want to “dissolve” anything.

          “there is certainly a need for Feminism: and Feminism starts with women being allowed to define themselves and to carve out spaces for themselves.”

          Yes, there IS a need for feminism. NO, trans women don’t want to take that away. YES, feminism starts with women being allowed to define themselves. The problem with this quote is that it assumes cis women are the “women being allowed to define themselves”, and no one else. It insinuates that trans women are not real women worthy of self definition. Or that our self definition does not need to be respected by cis women. Which is pretty much the basis of complaint for EVERY trans woman who argues with radfems.

          “If women find themselves being told by some with male genitalia etc. that they are obliged to accept the latter as women, because they ‘define’ themselves as so, that is hardly a knock-down argument.”

          Again, it’s not about anyone being “obliged” to accept me as anything. You are free to believe what you want. If some TERF doesn’t want to sit next to me at a MitchFest, she’s free to exercise her right to move. But her opinion on trans women doesn’t give her the right to block me. WHATEVER her logic may be.

          “Take an analogy: Imagine that some people regard themselves within themselves as disabled, as missing a limb. Are disabled people obliged to regard those people as already part of the disabled community?”

          Oh, JESUS CHRIST. The old “phantom limb” analogy. It’s almost as offensive as comparing us to people who think they’re animals. It’s almost as insulting as the old “trans women wearing blackface” analogy. Honestly, if you don’t have a clue WHY this is so offensive, I don’t have the space here to explain it to you. Here’s a link that does a good job of it:

          http://goodbyelazarus.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/trans-segment-17-myth-crossdressing-is-like-blackface-wanting-to-transition-is-like-wanting-to-change-your-race/

          “The identity of the group of women starts from clear cases. The existence of grey areas does nothing to challenge this.”

          Is he suggesting that trans women identity DOESN’T start from “clear cases”? Cuz we do. There’s nothing “grey” about it.

          “It is not reasonable, it is not feasible, for those wanting entry to any group to act as if they have already magically gained such entry just by virtue of wanting entry.”

          It is not reasonable to claim that trans women who have been women their WHOLE lives (regardless of transition) are people who haven’t already “gained entry”.

          “But the questions that Bindel, Moore et al have raised about the relationship of trans-sexualism to Feminism / to women remain genuine questions – they shouldn’t be tarred with Burchill’s brush.”

          Uh, Bindel’s raised NO “genuine questions”. Here’s her article:

          http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13264#.UiM-rTasj2w

          This is possibly the most disgusting and transphobic piece from a mainstream source I’ve ever read. This ISN’T some little disgusting corner of the internet like GenderTrender, or Brennan’s blogs. This was in a major mainstream newspaper. And it certainly shows off the thinking of the majority of TERFs out there. A lot of them try to sugar-coat it, but underneath, this is how they REALLY feel about trans women, and every once in a while it comes bubbling up like fetid water from a busted septic tank. “Trannies”. “Shims”. “Shemales”. And it all goes down from there. Unfortunately, this kind of rubbish is a MUCH bigger part of the radical feminist mainstream than most here want to admit.

          “Are the trans-activists who pushed Moore off Twitter saying that women have no right to a say on who gets to be a woman??”

          Once again, this quote assumes “women” who “have a right to say who gets to be a woman” are CIS women. It assumes trans women are not “real” women who get to make that decision for themselves. And personally, I don’t believe ANY woman (cis or trans) has the right to decide for ALL women WHO gets to be considered women. That’s for each individual woman to decide for herself. I can’t be any clearer than that. Are you a woman? Then you’re a woman. Simple.

          “Should non-trans-women similarly have the absolute right to define once and for all the term woman?”

          AGAIN, trans women aren’t trying to have the “absolute right to define once and for all the term woman”. Stop being phobic. Trans women ONLY want the right to define for THEMSELVES if they are women. Including trans women in the larger group “women” DOESN’T redefine it. It doesn’t “erase” it. Are you still here? Are you still a woman? Good. Me too. It’s kinda like when Religious righties try to claim that allowing gays to marry will “redefine” marriage. Gay marriage doesn’t erase traditional marriage. Neither do trans women. History will prove it.

          “We should see that our identities are complexes of many different intersecting aspects, and recognise that just as these bring us close to those who share similar aspects they might also distance us from others, including the very people whose identity we might wish to share.”

          So now he’s basically saying that we should bow to SOME (not all, but a minority) of cis women’s views about whether trans women belong or not. What about the opinions of the scads of cis women who believe trans women BELONG in the group women? Which cis women get to decide? Who watches the watchmen?

          “Do the mass of women who did not go through the process of sex-reassignment — ordinary women, so-called ‘cissexuals’ — have no right to point out some differences between themselves and trans-women?”

          Trans women NEVER said cis women don’t have the right to point out the “differences between themselves and trans-women”. We GET that there are differences. We just say that you don’t get to use those “differences” to deny us the title of “woman”. Because, as Lela pointed out earlier “We have many shared concerns”. In fact we have FAR more similarities than differences. Who gets to decide WHICH differences are worthy of exclusion?

          I get that there are a few parts of cis womanhood I don’t have access to. Like menstruation. My best friend is a cis woman. She’s the one who encouraged me to transition, by the way (YES, a cis woman ACTUALLY believes I’m as much a “woman” as she is. These mythical creatures really DO exist! :-). When she get’s her period, it’s so bad she has to take SEVEN painkillers (I’m not exaggerating. SEVEN.), or spend the entire time in bed. I admit that I have privilege in that respect. But there are lots of cis women who don’t menstruate. My experience in this regard is not exclusive to trans women. Using experiences like this to claim trans women are not women are wrong.

          “It is not essentialist to point out the difference between being gendered female one’s who life and being gendered female as a result of a choice.”

          Okay, here he’s insinuating that a trans women “chooses” to be a woman. Which is flat out wrong, and yet ANOTHER example of how cis people fail to understand the trans experience. Did YOU “choose” to be a woman? Or did you just always know you were? Trans women don’t “choose” to be women anymore than gay people “choose” to be gay. We may choose to get sex reassignment surgery. We may choose to get HRT. But we NEVER “chose” to be women. We already are. Just like you.

          “It is not essentialist to point out certain material differences between men and women”

          Point away. We never said there was anything wrong with pointing out differences between men and women. It’s when you try to lump trans women IN with “men” that it becomes a problem. Trans women are NOT the same as cis men. We reject male programming, we don’t benefit from male privilege, and we experience the SAME oppressions from the patriarchy that cis women do. Smaller pay? Check. Same threat of assault? Check. Same threat of rape? Check. Same threat of harassment? Check. In fact, if society finds out I am trans, I get even MORE of it, not less.

          “Does a man choosing to seek to become a member of an oppressed group (women) have the right to demand full unequivocal membership of that group and then speak as part of it without any possibility of objection?”

          This quote if flawed because AGAIN, it insinuates that trans women are the same as cis men. Which is probably why TERFs have a problem with trans women. They see us as yet another example of “men oppressing women”. But trans women are NOT the same as cis men. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Maybe if they examined the idea that this comparison is faulty, they wouldn’t be harping on trans women all the time. But they’ll never listen, because I’m REALLY just a man in sheep’s clothing, so ANYTHING I say is just a man saying it and therefore something to be dismissed immediately. It’s a real catch-22.

          “Saying that there is no choice about making the transition is, however, misleading.”

          Not unless you count transition or SUICIDE as a “choice”. Cuz really, that’s about the extent of it for most trans people. That or deep depression and living a generally miserable existence (IF we’re tough enough to endure it without taking the suicide route).

          “ironically, leaves no room for human experimentation or novel self-definition”

          What IS he smoking? “Self definition” is the WHOLE argument trans people are making! It’s TERFs who want to deny it, NOT trans women. Cis women deciding trans women aren’t women ISN’T “self-identification”. It’s identify OTHERS. How hard is that to grasp?

          “Notice furthermore that there is something deeply and viciously paradoxical about the idea that simply feeling like a woman is enough to make one one”

          That just makes trans women sound frivolous. Trans people don’t say we “feel” like a woman, and therefore that makes us one. At all. We say we ARE women, have ALWAYS been women, always KNEW we were women. There’s already data that suggests trans women have brains that are different from cis males. I’m sure there will be more proof in the future.

          “it is premature to criticise Feminists for retaining the category of ‘woman’. If women want all/only-women spaces, etc., then, in a still-patriarchal society, they should certainly be allowed to create them.”

          What about the feminists who think trans women are women too? WHICH feminists get to decide for all feminists who is welcomed and who isn’t? What about straight feminists who want a “straight only” space away from lesbians? Is that the same as a space for lesbians away from straights? Or is it just bigotry? I’d say the latter, since straights far outnumber gays. The same with cis women outnumbering trans women. We don’t “threaten” cis women. It’s the other way around.

          “I think that Feminists have a right to point out that there can in some cases be a prima facie tension between the desire to become a woman and the full recognition of the still-often-stark oppression of women, much of the time, in much of the world.”

          True but I think MOST of that “tension” started when cis radfems blatantly dismissed trans women’s identities, and claimed they were the divine deciders of who is welcome in womanhood. ALSO, trans women are WELL aware of the “still-often-stark oppression of women”, because we live it TOO. The foolish and incorrect suggestion here (again) is that trans women are really men, that trans women do not share in women’s oppression, or worse, that trans women contribute to said oppression, because they are secretly men. Which is kinda hard for us to do when we’re busy being raped and murdered and fired from our jobs.

          “Whenever a trans-activist bullies a Feminist (or of course, equally, vice versa), Feminism dies a little – and trans-women need Feminism badly”

          Exactly. But I’m constantly told (in fact WAS told right here on this thread) that I’m NOT a feminist. That I’m NOT welcome in feminism. THAT’S the TERF position trans people fight against. How can I get the feminism I “badly need”, when I’m being EXCLUDED from it by feminists? And while bullies don’t help anything, I don’t think protests or boycotting counts as “bullying”. While I agree that marking some books wasn’t the best way to get a message across, things like glitter bombing and pie throwing have been a part of protesting for many years. Although it IS largely ineffective. But getting Rachel boycotted from venues? I have no problem with that.

          In the end, I find Read’s piece to be transphobic, although not deliberately so. It (like TERF concepts of trans women) comes from a misunderstanding of what it is to be trans, and what trans people stand for.

          Now for your comments……..

          “There still is value in differentiating biological women from trans women and, quite honestly, I don’t see the point or benefit in conflating or pretending that there is no difference”.

          The problem is that trans women ARE biological women. Who gets to decide who’s “biologically” a woman? You? Me? Cuz my definition is different than yours, it seems. But the differences are not big enough to warrant discrimination or exclusion. I got no probs with you saying we’re different. But saying I shouldn’t be included in the group women BECAUSE of it? I don’t agree with that. And I will fight you tooth and nail over it.

          “Can’t trans people fight for the rights of trans people as trans people?”

          I think the problem is you’re suggesting that the rights of trans women aren’t the fight of feminism. Which I feel is flat out wrong. Whenever trans women are oppressed, WOMEN are oppressed. Most feminists get that. There is no feminism without trans feminism:

          http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/2013/01/trans-people-and-current-feminist-movement

          My fight IS your fight. And yours is MINE. Maybe if we stopped arguing about it, we could get something done.

          I know I’m not the best speaker, and I get wrapped up in anger a lot. But do you see where I’m coming from? I hope you do. Because it’s the same place the vast majority of trans women are coming from as well. And It’s NOT that different a place than where you come from.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “Well, everyone here seems to be complaining that my comments are too long, and that I’m taking up all the space on this thread. And then you go and ask for my opinion on Rupert’s rather lengthy article. Are you a glutton for punishment? 🙂

            Okay I’ll bite, but just remember you ASKED me for it :-)”

            I’d just like you to be aware that the way you are choosing to behave is a little bit triggering for me, as someone who has been in an abusive relationship before. Please own your own behaviour and words. Your language and message here feels vaguely emotionally manipulative/abusive to me.

            “It is not reasonable to claim that trans women who have been women their WHOLE lives (regardless of transition) are people who haven’t already ‘gained entry’.”

            This doesn’t make sense to me…. Trans women haven’t been women their whole lives? Bradley Manning identified as a man, now he identifies as a woman, yes? Previous to transition, he walked this earth as, and was treated as a man… Now Chelsea Manning identifies as a woman.

            “Okay, here he’s insinuating that a trans women “chooses” to be a woman. Which is flat out wrong, and yet ANOTHER example of how cis people fail to understand the trans experience.”

            Of course it’s a choice. That doesn’t make it wrong or bad, but you still choose to transition. We aren’t given a choice in how we’re gendered by society, though — if we are born biologically male or female we are socialized as masculine or feminine. Trans people choose to identify as whatever they choose to identify as. That’s what you are arguing for, correct? The right to identify as you wish?

            “What about the feminists who think trans women are women too? WHICH feminists get to decide for all feminists who is welcomed and who isn’t? What about straight feminists who want a “straight only” space away from lesbians? Is that the same as a space for lesbians away from straights? Or is it just bigotry? I’d say the latter, since straights far outnumber gays. The same with cis women outnumbering trans women. We don’t “threaten” cis women. It’s the other way around.”

            But I’m pretty sure lesbians do want and have the right to lesbian-only space at times… And I think that’s perfectly fine, as a straight person… And women don’t threaten trans women… I don’t know why you would say that. We’ve gone over this time and time again. Men rape and abuse and murder trans people. Not women.

            “Exactly. But I’m constantly told (in fact WAS told right here on this thread) that I’m NOT a feminist. That I’m NOT welcome in feminism. THAT’S the TERF position trans people fight against. How can I get the feminism I “badly need”, when I’m being EXCLUDED from it by feminists? And while bullies don’t help anything, I don’t think protests or boycotting counts as “bullying”. While I agree that marking some books wasn’t the best way to get a message across, things like glitter bombing and pie throwing have been a part of protesting for many years. Although it IS largely ineffective. But getting Rachel boycotted from venues? I have no problem with that.”

            I think you are welcome in feminism. Everyone is. Also, for the record, I think pie throwing is awful and violent. And I think getting Rachel boycotted from venues simply because you don’t agree with her ideology, when she isn’t doing anything to you, threatening or trying to silence you, is bullshit.

            “‘There still is value in differentiating biological women from trans women and, quite honestly, I don’t see the point or benefit in conflating or pretending that there is no difference’.

            The problem is that trans women ARE biological women. Who gets to decide who’s “biologically” a woman? You? Me? Cuz my definition is different than yours, it seems. But the differences are not big enough to warrant discrimination or exclusion. I got no probs with you saying we’re different. But saying I shouldn’t be included in the group women BECAUSE of it? I don’t agree with that. And I will fight you tooth and nail over it.”

            Well no… The health requirements, for example, for trans women are quite different than those of females. Trans people need access to health treatments that are particular to trans people. Women need access to things like birth control, abortions, pap smears, etc. It’s just a fact, again, neither a judgement or an insult. I just don’t get why saying that is a bad thing?

            “Can’t trans people fight for the rights of trans people as trans people?’

            I think the problem is you’re suggesting that the rights of trans women aren’t the fight of feminism. Which I feel is flat out wrong. Whenever trans women are oppressed, WOMEN are oppressed. Most feminists get that. There is no feminism without trans feminism”

            NO I’M NOT. I have never said or implied that the rights of trans women aren’t or shouldn’t be part of feminism. STOP MANIPULATING. STOP PUTTING WORDS IN PEOPLE’S MOUTHS. STOP THE CRAZY-MAKING. Seriously. I’m losing patience.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Just so everyone knows, Marti386 is now banned from commenting here, due to her making personal attacks and breaking a number of other site rules (including showing, over and over again, that she is unwilling to engage with integrity, respect, or sincerity). I really tried to give her chance. Thanks for everyone’s efforts and patience here.

      • Lela

        “Cis” and “trans” are logical opposites. I understand the internal logic of it, it makes sense on its face. But here’s the thing: I don’t think you grasp the reality of women born with female biology who do not opt for “sex-reassignment.” For women, there is no such thing as being born in the “right” body. We adapt to what we have, and it’s an arduous struggle at that. We are not what we appear to be. Did you know that I often struggle to “pass” as female as well, that apparently I “pass” as a man without even trying to, and I’m a straight woman? Think I haven’t internalized masculinity as well as femininity? Think I hadn’t considered, in the past, the idea that I were “really” a man? Where does that put me? I don’t call you a “trans woman” because I like to. In fact I’d prefer to call you by your name. The biggest question for me is, why the need to obscure our differences? Does that preclude being supportive of one another?

        • Marti386

          ““Cis” and “trans” are logical opposites”.

          That’s just it. I DON’T think that cis women and trans women are “logical opposites”. Just women with different histories. I don’t think that makes us “opposites”.

          “For women, there is no such thing as being born in the “right” body.”

          Sure there is. They’re called cis women. Women who are born it the wrong body are trans men. M2F’s aren’t exclusive to this problem. There are plenty of cis women born in the wrong bodies.

          “Did you know that I often struggle to “pass” as female as well, that apparently I “pass” as a man without even trying to, and I’m a straight woman? Think I haven’t internalized masculinity as well as femininity?”

          You bring up something very interesting, which I have been noticing lately. The fact that the vast majority of women who seem to have the biggest problem with trans women are butch lesbians. Or at least masculine women. I’m not saying ALL radfems are butches. FAR from it. But take a look at the most vocal of them. BugBrennan? Butch. Gallus Mag? Butch. Bev Jo? Butch. Rose Verbena? Butch. Dirt? SUPER butch.

          I’ve heard some of them express fears of being “forced to transition”. They seem to think that acknowledging trans people exists means admitting they’re F2M’s or something. Which is hogwash. Trans people aren’t for forcing ANYONE into being trans. Believe me, being trans is a special hell I wouldn’t wish on ANYONE. Even Brennan. It’s NOT a zero sum game. Validating MY identity doesn’t invalidate THEIRS. But they seem to think it does.

          “Did you know that I often struggle to “pass” as female as well, that apparently I “pass” as a man without even trying to, and I’m a straight woman? Think I haven’t internalized masculinity as well as femininity?”

          I TOTALLY get that. Do you know it’s the same for a trans woman who tries to “pass” as male? It doesn’t work out so well. But I think the problem is that too many radfems think trans women are men trying to pass as “women”, when we were women trying (and failing miserably) to pass as men. Failing and feeling the full brunt of the patriarchy punishing us when we do fail.

          That also points out why this squabbling about trans women in women’s spaces is useless. Enforcing such would be a logistical nightmare. I mean, it’s amazing how many butch radfems are all for blocking trans women from women’s restrooms. Who do they really think is gonna pay? A very passable trans woman like me, or a butch cis woman? How do they think that would even be enforced? Do they honestly think there will be a karyotype test checkpoint to make sure my chromosomes match? Will there be a strip search? No. They will automatically zoom in on any woman who looks masculine. As someone who’s used the women’s rooms for well over a decade, without ever raising any eyebrows, I can say I have no fear of such laws. Because I WON’T be the one they’re targeting. It’ll be Brennan. And Dirt. And even you. Which is WHY it’s so stupid to be arguing over it. It’s incredibly hurtful to ALL women to try to police women’s genders.

          “Think I hadn’t considered, in the past, the idea that I were “really” a man?”

          I don’t know. Did you? What did you decide? Because that IS what trans people are all about. YOUR right to decide. If you’re a man, then I support you. If you’re a woman, I support you too. That decision can be very heart wrenching to make. I know, cuz I made it too.

          “Where does that put me?”

          That’s something only YOU can decide. Which is the point trans women have been making since the beginning. But again, whatever your decision IS, you have my unwavering support.

          It’s funny, because trans women are just as much on various sides of the gender expression issue as cis women. The idea that we’re all uber-femme is a myth. Did you know there are butch trans women?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xfTN-dKqO4

          I already mentioned that I’m more of a tomboy. I’ve never been very comfortable in high heels (although I do look great in them). Trans women are no more “stereotypes of gender” than cis women are.

          “I don’t call you a “trans woman” because I like to.”

          I don’t like calling you “cis” either. But as long as trans women are being separated out of the group women because of it, that term will remain. It’s a shame cis women are unwilling to let go of the label “trans”, even if it means they are no longer “cis”.

          “The biggest question for me is, why the need to obscure our differences? Does that preclude being supportive of one another?”

          Why the need to DEFINE ourselves by our differences? At the end of the day, our differences aren’t that big. They aren’t what unites us. We have more in common than not. And we can certainly be supportive of one another. I can admit a women’s period is something I can’t experience, if you can admit that sometimes women have penises. And that neither invalidates the others womanhood.

          • Lela

            I dispute the idea that radfems are “masculine women.” Coding certain behaviours as “masculine” and “feminine” are a problem, we all know this. There are many so-called “masculine” traits that occur simply as a result of men being allowed to assert their humanity, a luxury women are discouraged from. Radfems (and indeed anyone with two eyes and a brain) observe that all things provided for men are geared to maximum comfort with minimal effort. Many aspects of masculinity are simply a default human presentation. Contrast this with the extreme opposite, femininity, with every aspect of this being designed to hinder our movement and our development in all ways. Radfems simply repudiate femininity and if our comportment and behaviour resembles masculinity, it’s because of the above, not because we desire to actually be men or to be *like* men.

            “Sure there is. They’re called cis women. Women who are born it the wrong body are trans men.”

            But I think that’s too simplistic. This is the problem, the assumption that it is possible to be born into the “right” body. Under patriarchy, the only people born into the “right” bodies are those you call cis men. Witness widespread eating disorders, extreme body modification on the part of women, whole industries dedicated to producing the costume we wear under threat of stigma. In men’s culture – until we are able to reason our way out of it – we live in fear of being perceived and labeled as the much-maligned butch lesbian. We are taught that our bodies are gross and smelly. In many cases we are not even informed about the existence and function of our clitorises, our major sexual pleasure centre! Can you imagine? (It was for this reason that I was convinced I was a boy between the ages of about 3 and 4.) Our entire sense of self rests on an extremely shaky foundation of being driven, through constant exposure to woman-hating propaganda, to “self-improve” to the point of neurosis. Equality between the sexes does not exist, and so also, you cannot apply “cis” to women as you apply it to men, there is no symmetry there.

            There is no need to “define” ourselves by our differences. But there is a need to recognize that our issues are not 100% identical. Surely you can understand how, under patriarchy, women might reasonably have serious problems with the idea that penises can be absorbed into the definition of “woman” or that there is no functional difference between a penis and a vagina? “Woman” has until recently referred specifically to an adult female person with a certain set of physical characteristics (with certain exceptions), that’s all. But now it is being conceptualized as something abstract, even unrelated to biology. It’s not that we don’t support people with penises who reject masculinity and indeed maleness! This is a completely honourable and indeed necessary pursuit. Problems arise, for example, in cases where we have trans women disrupting feminist conversations to lay guilt trips for a supposed lack of inclusiveness, distracting from a focus on reproductive issues or what have you. I’ve seen this happen.

          • Lela

            I should also mention that “gender expression” is a frightening idea from a radfem perspective. Because for women, as has been repeatedly pointed out, gender is a false construct and it is *the* major tool for enforcing our oppression. Therefore to say that we have “gender expression” would be the same as saying we have “oppression expression”…. it makes no sense.

  • scaldingmay

    I’m going to excuse myself from this thread now, since apparently standing up for radical feminist space is “caricaturish.” I’ve been involved with feminism for 30 years, and not until this thread have I been told that I’m too angry by other feminists. I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand-thinking that transgenderism is a form of appropriation is not the same as saying that all transpeople should have their basic human rights taken away. If you read this guy’s comments and think that I’m the one acting threatening and irrational, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Sorry, I refuse to kiss anyone’s ass, no matter how “oppressed” they think they are when women talk about our truth. How much of this has to go on before we wake up, and quit worrying about being nice?

    • Marti386

      “I’ve been involved with feminism for 30 years, and not until this thread have I been told that I’m too angry by other feminists.”

      I’ve been working in feminism for almost that long too. Yet I’m told that I don’t belong. By other feminists. I’m told I’m too angry’ By other feminists. Welcome to the club. Stinks, doesn’t it?

      “I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand-thinking that transgenderism is a form of appropriation is not the same as saying that all trans people should have their basic human rights taken away”.

      It IS difficult, when you can provide NO proof that trans people are in ANY way a “form of appropriation”. Which is why I find “trans criticism” so dangerous. It provides NO proof of anything. Just theory. But it’s used as an excuse to block trans women. Not cool. It is taking my basic human rights away. It takes away my right to pee where I belong, to get medical insurance, and to use the homeless shelters. It’s the SAME defense used to deny me all these things. It also takes away my right to identify as a woman and a lesbian. It can’t get more “basic” than that.

      “If you read this guy’s comments and think that I’m the one acting threatening and irrational, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

      You called me a “psycho”. You accused me of “neo-nazi level craziness”, even though I haven’t threatened ANYBODY, including you. You’ve called me “hateful and jealous”. You told me to “Shut up and make me a sandwich”. you called me a “pornographic caricature of women”, despite having NO clue about what I look like, how I dress or how I act. Sounds “threatening and irrational” to me. Also, you got ALL those comments published DESPITE Meghan claiming that “personal attacks and slanderous comments” will be blocked. I guess those rules don’t apply to TERFs, huh?

      “Sorry, I refuse to kiss anyone’s ass, no matter how “oppressed” they think they are when women talk about our truth”.

      I don’t have to “think” that trans women are oppressed. I KNOW we are:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/trans-murder-rates_n_3824273.html?utm_hp_ref=transgender

      “How much of this has to go on before we wake up, and quit worrying about being nice?”

      It’s ENDLESSLY amusing that you claim that women shouldn’t have to worry about “being nice”, yet I’ve been called out REPEATEDLY because of it. Another example of how trans women have to play by other rules.

      • lizor

        Marti – here you go again misrepresenting the position you pretend to address.

        You write “I don’t have to “think” that trans women are oppressed. I KNOW we are”.

        NO ONE said trans women are not oppressed. Many people have stated unequivocally that transpersons are oppressed under patriarchy.

        Scalingmay wrote “no matter how “oppressed” they think they are when women talk about our truth.”

        You falsely buttress your response by editing out “when women talk about our truth” – which is key to the statement.

        This convoluted melodrama in this thread is significantly down to your incomprehensible refusal to acknowledge that this is an argument about women’s right to women-only spaces and NOT about the sources of the oppression that is inarguably experienced by each distinct group. The source of those oppressions are our common ground. But for some reason – I cannot get my head around it – you insist on disregarding that source of oppression and place radical feminists in the oppressors’ position.

        I was far more sympathetic to the trans position before this thread started. Now I can really see that women-only spaces need defending in a serious way from this intellectually dissonant nonsensical aggression. Personally I don’t have a problem with “tone” or “how you express yourself”. I just prefer intellectual honesty and coherence.

    • Lela

      Well scaldingmay, you may or may not have noticed that your comments precipitated some very effective burns on Marti’s part. You’ve given her all the straw women she needs to continue chewing up the scenery here. If your point was to fight fire with fire, you’ve done that, and it’s getting this conversation nowhere. It doesn’t exactly inspire trust, if you ask me.

      • Marti386

        “If your point was to fight fire with fire, you’ve done that, and it’s getting this conversation nowhere.”

        Actually, that’s the whole point of the my conversation. That Scaldinmay’s opinion IS the TERF position. THAT’s what passes as “conversation”. I’ve received the EXACT same response from EVERY radfem site I’ve ever been too. Gendertrender. Radfem Hub. Pretendbians. And when it’s out in the open, it’s rather ugly, isn’t it?

        This is WHY trans women get so upset with TERFs. Because this is what they really think of trans women. And when radfems who AREN’T aware of this want to know WHY trans women are being so “mean and angry”, it’s because nine times out of ten, when we’re dealing with “radfems” it’s people like her. And Brennan.

        I DON’T want to seem angry. I’d like to shake it all off. But God DAMN it, I’m sooooo tired of dealing with this kind of shit. I just makes me sad and tired.

        • Lela

          We’re all sad and tired, Marti. Exhausted, and shadowboxing at that.

        • “Because this is what they (TERFs) really think of trans women.”
          How would you know, Marti? Is it not possible that has more to do with what they think of transwomen like you, who think women have no right to define ourselves or set boundaries? Why not tell us what you really think of those you call TERFs, Marti? So full of shit, are we? Painting with a broad brush, are you not? I would not use the same language, especially since I have encountered other transwomen who seemed genuinely pro-feminist, but I understand where it is coming from. Or is this what you really think of TERFs, from Friday, which I have already asked you to explain?

          “Actually, you TERFs have NOTHING better to do with your time. At all. You spend every waking moment looking for trans articles to comment on, make websites that harass trans women, Try to exclude trans women from ANYTHING related to women, and basically spend all day blaming trans women for all your problems.”

          That bit of extreme nonsense I found quotable and will appear on my blog as an example of the heights of irrationality I have encountered from transwomen. If you bother to visit my blog, you may notice I have hardly ever written about transwomen; there are so many other issues to write about. So much for your idea of this obsession those you call TERFs must have with transwomen. TERF is a misnomer as well; women who think we have a right to some private space away from the interference or gaze of males, and of those who think they were born in the wrong kind of body, do not blame transwomen for the problem of females being oppressed by males, though we may think some transwomen contribute to that problem instead of helping us fight it. You may think you and your allies are helping to fight it; sorry, I do not believe it. I am skeptical for the same reason I am skeptical of all males who claim to support feminism. With rare exceptions, that “support” is on their terms.

      • scaldingmay

        Except I wasn’t the one who derailed the thread, he came in and made sure instead of an exchange of ideas it was about “mememememe why aren’t you paying attention to meeee?”

        You seem to read the wider discussion of trans vs radical feminism as that we’re essentially on the same page and everything would be resolved if not for name calling or something. If that’s not your intention feel free to correct me. That couldn’t be farther from the truth-transgenderism is at odds with radical feminism because it upholds gender as “natural” when it’s really a tool used to oppress women (which I’m sure you know). I’ve really enjoyed reading some of your comments here and I think you have a very good understanding of radical feminism, I just don’t understand why you approach my comments with such animosity. Like I’ve said I’ve been involved in radical feminism a long time, so it’s not like I just formed my ideas yesterday. I don’t necessarily mean this as a statement to you since I don’t know your age or anything, but I wonder why younger feminists are so loathe to listen to older women and our experiences?

        • Lela

          Look, my objection is to things like calling someone you’ve never seen or met a “pornographic caricature” and generally making assumptions based on stereotypes.

          • annika

            Wow after reading through all these comment that clearly demonstrate how toxic male privilege and transgenderism is, your only problem is what scaldingmay said?You haven’t addressed the truly cruel things Marti said at all, Lela. Grow a pair of ovaries and leave the fainting couch at home.

        • Lela

          “You seem to read the wider discussion of trans vs radical feminism as that we’re essentially on the same page and everything would be resolved if not for name calling or something. If that’s not your intention feel free to correct me.”

          No, that isn’t my intention. Clearly we are not on the same page, for reasons that need to be picked apart. But I think name-calling really distracts from the issues. You might find me naive but I just have a stupid amount of patience. I don’t have any animosity toward you scaldingmay… thank you for reaching out, I am indeed much younger than you from the looks of it.

          • scaldingmay

            Thanks for your responses Lela! I’ll try to explain a little bit further what I meant by “pornographic caricatures.” I wouldn’t call it name-calling per se, but more like an observation that many women have (in my experience) as a form of self preservation. Even though not all transwomen mimic sexualized images of women (such as wearing cosmetics and high heels and getting breast implants) I believe that transgenderism as a whole is rooted in pornography to some extent.

            In pornographic rape culture, women are seen as sexual holes rather than autonomous human beings as all feminists are well aware. Women are also thought to be penis-less men, which was first developed in classical philosophy. Those who undergo SRS think that by removing their penis they automatically become women, even though they don’t have internal female organs or the socialization young girls have. Genuine vulvas, vaginas, clitori, etc not only serve sexual functions because they are part of an organ system. The neovagina, however, needs to be dilated to remain open (like pierced ears), and serves absolutely no other function than a cosmetic one.

            This does not mean, of course, that transwomen “deserve” sexual violence. I just mean that transgenderism is rooted in a hatred of women. FCM’s article “Rape Culture Birthed the Neovagina” does an excellent job of explaining it. It’s seen to an extent in Marti’s comments-he can only see himself as “bodied” because he absolutely has no idea what it’s like to be raised female. All he can talk about is how “cis” women can’t help but shout with jealousy over what a spectacular woman he is and how great he looks in high heels.

            This is why I love being able to talk with radical feminists over the internet-even though we disagreed we were able to have a discussion in a respectful and intelligent manner. Aletha’s most recent comment summed everything up perfectly!

  • Marti386

    It’s funny, but I just went and read the comments policy here, and the hypocrisy is AMAZING. Some quotes:

    “Sometimes you may not like the way I express those opinions. Whether or not you like my tone, style, or excessive use of caps lock is none of my concern. If you think you would like to comment on these matters, don’t.”

    And YET I’ve had my comments dismissed by people because they don’t like how I “express my opinions”. I’m told I’m too angry. I’ve been told they don’t like my “tone”. They have a real problem with my “excessive use of caps lock”.

    “No comparing feminists to Hitler and/or fascists”

    Really? Cuz I was told I have a “neo-nazi level craziness”. Is that close enough? Or is that only for cis feminists?

    “[Free speech] does not mean you have the right to say your stuff on my blog. It means you have the right to start your own blog. Just because I have commenting functionality on my site, does not mean you have the right to post whatever you want on it”

    Really? Kinda like how free speech doesn’t mean that we have to allow Rachel Ivey a platform to “say stuff”? Like how free speech doesn’t mean we have to allow TERFs a conference hall to “say stuff”? I mean, it’s NOT like radfems make those same complaints when it happens to them, right? It’s not like they write long-winded articles about how they’re being “silenced”, right?:

    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/forbidden-discourse-the-silencing-of-feminist-criticism-of-gender-an-open-statement-from-37-radical-feminists-from-five-countries-with-biographical-information-about-each-signat/

    Oh, WAIT…………

    • Meghan Murphy

      “It’s funny, but I just went and read the comments policy here, and the hypocrisy is AMAZING. Some quotes:

      “Sometimes you may not like the way I express those opinions. Whether or not you like my tone, style, or excessive use of caps lock is none of my concern. If you think you would like to comment on these matters, don’t.”

      And YET I’ve had my comments dismissed by people because they don’t like how I “express my opinions”. I’m told I’m too angry. I’ve been told they don’t like my “tone”. They have a real problem with my “excessive use of caps lock”.”

      Um yeah. Because I make the rules. The comment policy applies to commenters. Not to me. The rules and application of said rules are at my discretion. As this is my site.

      • Marti386

        “Um yeah. Because I make the rules. The comment policy applies to commenters.”

        Which was my point. It’s hypocritical to claim that radfems aren’t here to give a platform to my views, while complaining about how the same done to them is “silencing women”. Sorry, but those rules run BOTH ways.

        • Meghan Murphy

          No they don’t. The rules are invented and enforced by me. You don’t get a say. End of conversation.

        • sporenda

          ” Sorry, but those rules run BOTH ways.”

          .
          Shining example of double standard.
          Trans have their own spaces.
          Where do you see feminists trying to hijack these spaces and literally flood them (like you do) with endless posts to propagate their message?

          As far as I know, feminists have never tried to use trans spaces to forxward their message–nor would trans be willing to let them do that.
          In essence, you are asking feminists to put up with invasive/agressive behaviors that trans would never accept from feminists.

          Deep down, you still think that women are not supposed to treat men like men treat women.

          What I have learned from this trans war against radfems, is that trans are males minds in a female body: the sense of entitlement, the agression, the double standard, the misogyny, the whole macho enchilada, it’s still there.

          • Mary Smith

            Exactly. This entire thread is a shining example of a male sucking all the air out of a room full of women. Same patriarchy, different dude.

    • Lela

      You did compare radical feminists to the KKK upthread, and were permitted to do so, yes? (Not to excuse may’s comparison of you to neo-nazis, that’s just wrong.)

      • morag

        Wow you don’t really know anything about history, do you “Lela?” I’m a Jewish woman too, and I think scaldingmay’s characterization is spot on. I think it’s disgusting that you’ve shown absolutely no female solidarity at all on this thread. I see you haven’t shown nearly the same amount of horror at Marti’s violent rhetoric as you have at some of the other women here. I think you’ve internalized a lot of misogyny if you think a woman getting angry on a radical feminist thread is too over the top.

        You can keep concerning yourself with everyone being “fair” and “nice” and making sure women don’t use the wrong words or get too angry, but I’m going to stand in solidarity with women like scaldingmay, Mary Smith, Aletha, and lizor. You seem smart, do you really need explaining that a radical feminist woman expressing her anger is the same as men who turn that anger into violence? I know I’m late to this thread, but the blatant tossing of women under the bus in this thread is rage inducing.

        • Lela

          Hey Morag, I’ve been thinking about this thread for awhile. You’re right, my responses showed internalized misogyny that even I wasn’t aware of. Apologies to you and scaldingmay.

  • stephen m

    The Topic of Gender

    I am bringing this up not to discuss the issue here but I would like to seek some good sources on the topic of gender that will help give me a more current take.

    Years ago I read and liked some of Donna Haraway’s materials which included gender. For example:

    A well known Haraway gender quote from “A Cyborg Manifesto Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature”:

    “There is nothing about being ‘female’ that naturally binds women.  There is not even such a state as ‘being’ female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices.  Gender, race, or class consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical experience of the contradictory social realities of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism.”

    A good friend has recommended and will supply Julia Serano’s book “Whipping Girl” to cover a trans woman perspective.

    I would also like to read some current radical feminist material and I would like your suggestions please. Thanks

    • Henke

      As a male I would recommend, if you can find it, Politics of Reality: essays in feminist theory written by Marilyn Frye.
      It deals with a broad variety of things in our culture and being raised to be a man I could relate to so much of what is written here regarding masculine behaviour in our culture.

      • stephen m

        @Henke: Thanks for the recommendation. Unfortunately “The politics of reality : essays in feminist theory” is 1983 vintage and I am looking for current radical feminist gender materials to update my existing 2nd wave feminism. Non the less I will keep your recommendation for possible future reading.

        I will search the current journal literature on the topic of gender, perhaps the existing feminist position has not shifted much from the 2nd wave feminist perspective.

        • Henke

          I can assure you that masculinty as portrayed in that book has not changed one bit since then 🙂
          So yeah keep it in mind because its filled with interesting stuff, in my own opinion.

          • stephen m

            I was just looking at gender within women’s studies and immediately up popped: “The intersections of Sexuality, Gender, and Race: Identity Research at the Crossroads”,2013. The academics have certainly been moving right along and there appears there will be lots of new for me perspectives to browse about gender in women’s studies.

          • marv

            Here is a terrific book published in 2008. It was written collectively by a number of indigenous feminist women.
            http://www.bookdepository.com/Making-Space-for-Indigenous-Feminism-Joyce-Green/9781842779408

          • marv

            I just remembered these resources too by First Nations feminists. I haven’t read many of them yet so am not familiar with their perspectives.
            http://bitchmagazine.org/post/indigenous-feminism-and-resources-without-apology-and-more

          • Henke

            Dear Marv! That was interesting links. Thank you

          • marv

            I knew you would find value in them, Henke, because you have mentioned aboriginal wisdom in some of your remarks. Some of the authors are more radical than others.

            I have immeasurable respect for you and all the other regular contributors. The feminist current lights up my life.

          • stephen m

            Thanks marv, it is too easy for me to sort of cover a topic and then not to revisit it periodically to analyze the changes and the politics that might be driving the changes. Places like Meghan’s log help tremendously but obviously it has a radical feminist bias. One I agree with.

  • sporenda

    As far as I know, the strong reaction of radfems to (some) trans is not an agression, it is a legitimate reaction to many acts of agression initiated by trans.
    It’s downright dishonest to represent an act of self defense as the same as the act of someone who initiates the agression.

    It’s the same devious and sexist argument that you find in MRAs’ rhetoric when they pretend that women are involved in domestic violence just as much as men; what they forget to mention is that the majority of women who hit they partner do so in self defense.
    It’s the same scheme here: the agression against radfems was started by trans, furious after being refused admission in these groups.
    It’s not clear that the simple fact that you proclaim yourself member of a group is enough to prove beyond all doubt that you belong to that group.

    But what I find really mind blowing is the methods these trans used to prove that they should be admitted in women only spaces:
    these guys demand to be recognized and treated as women… while at the same time using the most typical methods of male agression against women: threats, online harassment, intimidation, even physical agression.
    And seeping into all this is a deep undercurrent of misogyny.

    (Ex) men striving to prove they are women by resorting to methods and levels of agression that are specifically male.
    (Ex) men striving to prove they are women by expressing a deep seated hatred of women.
    That makes a lot of sense. Way to go guys!
    The very way these trans have reacted shows radfems are totally justified in refusing to see them as women.

    Again, as mentioned before, I am sure these guys are not representative of the whole trans “community”.
    But they are very vocal and obnoxious.
    Pro-feminist men and women should not (as it happens all the time with rape and domestic violence) be lured into condoning this agression by granting equal treatment to these trans and to those they agress.

    Ethically, the bottomline is simple: trans, if you want to be heard– and be seen as women, stop behaving like misogynists and wife beaters.

  • Mary Smith

    Males in drag wearing “woman face” are politically no different than white guys in “black face”. It’s insulting, demeaning, offensive and repulsive to be told that what I am — female — is nothing more than an idea in some man’s head, a costume he can don at will. I reject that 10 million time over. Utterly reject it.

    A class analysis makes it crystal clear that all a male “trans woman” really is, is a male who is play-acting at being female in the most offensive, oppressive way possible: enacting stereotypes of femininity.

    A male “trans woman” is nothing more — unequivocally, absolutely NOTHING more — than a member of the oppressor class playing at being a member of the oppressed class.

    I will not be lectured to by males on what it means to be female. I will not be schooled by males on how it feels to be female. I will not countenance being told that I am “privileged” to be born into The Raped Class under patriarchy. I will not sit silent while I am told that I am LUCKY to have experienced sex-based oppression since birth.

    I have heard several former male “trans women” opine that they “transitioned back” when they were older because “it’s no fun being an old woman”. Oh, really? When do real women get to “transition” to a life free of our oppression as females under patriarchy? When we die, that’s when. Not before.

    That’s why I reject male “trans women” trying to FORCE themselves on women as women. They’re not women. They’re men exercising their privilege to play at being women in the same way that “black face minstrels” exercised their privilege to play at being “black” during the Jim Crow era.

    • lizor

      You’re analogy to blackface is really interesting and something I will take away and consider for a while.

      When I was a teenager I found refuge in the local queer community although I am a straight female – it was a relatively safe space away from the horrors of negotiating heterosexual adolescence. In the queer community I met life-long friends including men who actually looked at me and talked to me like I was a human being. This was NOT something I was experiencing with my male peers in school.

      One of the side-outcomes of that experience was that I came to look at all the commercial trappings of “femininity” as drag, so when I would (and do) meet women who were diving into cosmetic surgery, makeup, high heels, body-altering undergarments, breathy small voice, etc as drag queens.

      I am not sure exactly what my point is here, but I toss it out for consideration and comment in case it resonates with anyone.

      • Mary Smith

        I agree that women enacting “femininity” are indeed “in drag”. However, politically they are in an oppressed class and often doing it (whether they realize it or not) as a matter of survival. Consciously or unconsciously, women are coerced, badgered, assaulted and abused into feminine “drag”. We learn young that if we stride with powerful steps in flat shoes, speak in our normal-timbre voice, wear comfortable slacks and tees, only wear make-up when we feel like playing dress up — not all day every day — etc. then we are, depending on our life circumstances, subjected to all manner of crap from other people. At the least we get treated as “mannish” women suspected of being lesbians (subjected to homophobia.) At the worst we can lose our jobs, experience sexual abuse or even be killed for not living up to some strangers’ idea of how a woman is supposed to be.

        I had an object lesson in this as a pre-adolescent when my father abandoned us and my mother got a job as a cocktail waitress, as this was the best-paying job she could get at short notice. I remember sitting on the bed watching her get dressed and made up for work and asking her why she was putting on so much make-up.

        She said, “The more make-up I wear and the skimpier my outfit, the better my tips are and the more money I can bring home to support the family.” She was very matter-of-fact about it — this was in 1966 or 1967, just before the Second Wave really took off. Her message was clear: this caricature of The Cocktail Waitress isn’t who I am — I’m still your Mama — but I have to dress this part in order to be able to support the family.

        When men don female drag, they are playing at something which is deadly serious for women as a class in patriarchal cultures.

  • Mary Smith

    ““DGR isn’t transphobic.”
    Seriously? Don’t you think that’s for a trans person to decide and not you? See, thinking you have the right to even MAKE that call is an example of cis privilege. And asking me to “point” you to examples? Most feminists will tell you it’s not the job of the oppressed to educate you. ”

    +++++++++++++++

    Case in point: here is a MALE (privileged class) in patriarchy trying to school a FEMALE (oppressed class) in patriarchy on her “cis privilege” with absolutely NO comprehension of the irony therein. He’s walking around MALE in the most oppressive, ancient class system in human history (thousands of years of females as chattel, as sub-human, as THINGS owned, bought and sold by males for their use and abuse) and he is lecturing a female about how oppressive she is to HIM when she doesn’t bow the fark down and acknowledge his all-knowing correctness on issues of gender. Based on what? What gives him his all-knowing correctness on issues of gender? Oh, his DELUSIONS of being female.

    It’s horrifyingly obvious to anyone who has backed away from the Trans Punchbowl and started applying a rational class analysis to the situation: males have found yet another way to dominate, control, oppress and abuse females — and females are unknowingly colluding in their own oppression by giving way to these these male “trans women”, being handmaidens to these male “trans women”, allowing themselves to be cowed by these male “trans women”.

    My beloved sisters, daughters and friends: these guys are JUST THE SAME as the other guys, they’re just wearing different outfits.

    • scaldingmay

      These are such beautiful and inspiring comments Mary Smith! We as radical feminists should not be forced to cater to males at all, considering that they have the rest of the world to do it for them. And I’m pretty sick of the bullshit claim that abuse “is coming from both sides” of the trans debate. Um no, radical feminists aren’t forcing themselves into trans only spaces and giving death and rape threats. It’s not petty “name calling” to say that transwomen are men and uphold patriarchal oppression by defining what is female. You know what is name calling? Referring to feminists as “cis” and “TERFs” and saying that “real feminists can’t wait for people like you to die.”

      Radical feminists are not in the wrong here,and to dismiss our claims just because we don’t use “nice” enough language is a derail. We should take our thoughts to their logical conclusions,and for the last fucking time we are not just like oppressive men!

      • Mary Smith

        Exactly. If we were just like men, we would try to force ourselves into the “closed” sessions at the Trans Health convention.

        These male “trans women” activists think it is perfectly acceptable to have “trans women only” workshops which exclude natal women, but if feminist females do the same thing for the exact same reasons — because we value opportunities to dialog with our REAL sisters about our REAL shared oppression as females raised from birth as the oppressed sex class in patriarchy — then they throw histrionic fits, hurl threats, mob the venue to get our workshops cancelled, invite us to die in fires, drink bleach, etc.

        If we were just like oppressive men, we wouldn’t be doing back-flips to accommodate the oh-so-special needs (desires) of (let’s face it): primarily white heterosexual males in drag.

        • You raise some very interesting (and honest) points here.
          Its kinda interesting how “one-sided” the discussions is esp. among members of the PC cult to jump to conclusions as soon as these transgender women strasts making a fuzz. Drowned are the very real honest points you just raised. If you would be so phobic, as some would like to claim, how come there is not a single case (as far as I know) of attacks from women & and allies onto transwomen workshops and so on and so forth and why are they even
          Where are the transphobic mobs that comes out, when transwomen (and their allies) have protests, to try and stop them from performing their protests ?
          Its nowhere..

          The fact that this is one-sided attacks onto others (mostly women of course) for the simple reason to break boundaries can’t get more evident. These males want access to places in which are off-limits and they won’t take “no” for an answer, can you get any more masculine than that ?

          DGR got (and is) attacked due to having boundaries, for everyone’s personal safety and well-being they are also under attack becase a number of anarchists/anarcho-primitivists in the US hates them for not wanna follow their mindless “violence for the sake of violation” principle they seem to live after.
          If one has been into the anarchist movement and has some clue how its made up in the US there is a group of die hard John Zerzan followers that simply hates Derrick Jensen. Zerzan himself also seems to dislike Derrick so much that he has to have a part of his radioshow once every week called jensen watch because apparently a guy that wears knitted sweaters with animal motives on them and writes poetry and philosophy, is more dangerous to him and his followers than civilisation itself.
          Its mind-numbing stupidity on how lost the so-called left has become in the west and esp. in the US.

  • Henke

    Calling DGR transphobic has to come out of the total lack of understanding what phobic even means.
    But I guess its easier to just pull any crap towards anyone you dislike these days instead of actually taking the time to learn what different organisations and groups actually stand for and work towards.
    If DGR would have their ways you all would be free to chooce any kind of social structures your see fit as long as it doesn’t mean you take advantage over others, wether we talk about humans or nonhumans or the natural world. Its as simnple as that. And maybe here the horror of DGR comes into play. To have an organisation that actually advocates for the dismantle of Industrial civiliastion scares alot of humans, humans that are dependent upon the very system that is exploiting them.

    And sure its not for any non-transexual to tell a transexual what they feel is degrading and not but the same goes the other way around too, DGR is not some patriarchial masculine organisation that gets a free ride in our culture. And when the transexual community is so divided as it is in this question I’ll stand behind those that belives that bully behaviour, death and rape threats are simply not something that is accepted on any level from anyone.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Have fixed! Sorry about that — in the switchover to the new site, I’ve had to reupload many of the audio files for podcasts. Do let me know if it happens again. Thank you!!