Radfem2012 banning trans people

(1001 Posts)
allthegoodnamesweretaken Sat 26-May-12 08:53:31

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/25/radical-feminism-trans-radfem2012?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

Has anyone seen this? I don't really understand this bigotry against trans gendered people.
If we're trying to make the world a better and equal place through feminism, surely excluding people who also want to do this because of their genitals or the gender they assign themselves is going to make this impossible and is a bit hypocritical?

WidowWadman Sat 26-May-12 09:03:29

There's some discussion about it below too. I personally don't get it. F-word had a few posts about it, the latest about the legalities was interesting and made a good point:

"But leaving the law aside, let's look at the incredibly anti-feminist practicalities. The Code of Practice essentially confirms that if you can't tell someone is trans or not, then they shouldn't be the subject of discrimination - which means that trans women who "pass," or who give no visual clues to their medical history, are entitled to more favourable treatment than those who don't.

This in turn means that anybody who is running a cis-only event, whether legally or not, gets to play Gender Gatekeepers. Given that chromosomal lab analysis on arrival is impractical, how do they do that? Well, by look, of course, which means that Jenna Talackova would walk straight on in to the tea and biscuits while a gender-non-conforming cis woman might be subjected to a humiliating interrogation on her gender - by other feminists!" In the context of an event, it would be unpleasant. In the context of a sexual assault survivors' group it could be devastating."

When I asked in the other thread how the policing of the "women born women" only thing was supposed to work, the question was pretty much ignored over all the anti-trans paranoia. I wonder why.

Prolesworth Sat 26-May-12 09:32:02

Think about what you're calling bigoted here. Do you really think it's bigoted to say that people who were assigned the sex female at birth and raised as girls are a distinct group of people with distinctive experiences in common? Why does asserting that this group of people are a distinct group with distinctive experiences in common = bigotry?

And who is trying to silence whom here? Are radical feminists trying to prevent people who identify as transgender from organising their own events? Harrassing these people and telling them they hope they "die in a fire" and the like (which is the sort of thing some transactivists are directing at radical feminists, btw)? Like the Trans Health Conference that's coming up in the US which, incidentally, offers women only and men only workshops?

Transactivists have a problem with radical feminists because radical feminists are critical of transgenderism (note this does not mean 'hate and fear people who identify as transgender'). From a radical feminist perspective, gender is not a feeling or an identity: it's the hierarchy that keeps men on top and women on the bottom. So radical feminists want to abolish gender altogether, because 'gender' describes not a feeling or some innate identity but the system that keeps women down. Not everyone who calls themselves a feminist agrees with that analysis. But this event is a radical feminist event for radical feminists to get together and discuss radical feminist politics. It's not a public service that is being denied to people who need it. It's not stopping people who are not radical feminists from organising their own events to discuss their politics. Nor are radical feminists attempting to stop people with different political views from organising on their own terms to discuss their politics.

Nyac Sat 26-May-12 09:40:14

It's not bigotry. Female only organising is very important for feminists. It allows women to experience what female power feels lie.

Lots of people don't like women setting boundaries and think that XY people should be able to trample all over them whenever it suits them. It's a very misogynist attitude.

Nyac Sat 26-May-12 09:41:35

All males are excluded from the event, not just MTF trans.

RumbleGreen Sat 26-May-12 09:46:14

It would seem FTM trans would also be excluded

WidowWadman Sat 26-May-12 09:59:27

prolesworth - they're not only trying to exclude people who identify as transgender, but also people who identify as women if they have not been born with the right set of gonads.

Reducing people to their chromosomal make-up to me is the opposite of what feminism is about.

WidowWadman Sat 26-May-12 10:00:42

Also, if you want to abolish gender altogether, why would you perform gender segregation in the process? That is kind of self-contradictory, isn't it?

FrothyTheCrazyFeminazi Sat 26-May-12 10:09:20

It's not gender segregation; it's sex separatism. Gender is a patriarchal construct. Sex isn't.

KRITIQ Sat 26-May-12 10:09:40

I found myself on the opposite side of the table from Roz politically about 20 years ago on a different issue, but on this one I broadly agree.

I've seen some nasty vitriolic comments on Twitter and elsewhere (including comments suggesting the threat of violence,) from both those who support the conference's exclusion policy and those who decry it. It has most certainly NOT been a one way street.

I part company with those who support exclusion on the contorted explanation of how one qualifies for the definition of "woman." I fundamentally disagree with the belief that this is an absolute concept both from my previous experience as a nurse and personal experience of knowing trans women who I experienced very much as being women.

I find it disappointing that some feminists seem to feel entitled to define the lived experiences of a group of people who face social, economic and political oppression due to institutionalised misogyny, institutionalised transphobia and resulting intersectional oppression. To me this seems the antithesis of everything I've known about feminism in the past 30 plus years. It's a glaring anomaly to acknowledge and support struggles against institutionalised oppression for other marginalised groups in society (and particularly women within those groups), but insist on an exception for just the one group.

I've heard scores of explanations as to why it is legitimate to exclude trans women from events, activities and facilities designated for women, have not been convinced by any of them and have been appalled by some of them. Some of the arguments and tactics remind me of the squirming, contorted "logic" offered by otherwise quite right on, left of centre men (particularly in The Guardian Comments section,) to justify and defend misogyny. In their case, I suspect it's because they can pretty easily disavow their privilege when it comes to things like racism and classism. But, because they still enjoy male privilege in their own personal relationships but don't want to "wear" that privilege, they have a vested interest in denying its existence - by any means necessary.

I'm also not happy to see some feminists dismiss trans and non-trans feminists as "fun fems," assuming that anyone who supports trans women's right to be regarded as women as also being defenders of porn, legitimisers of prostitution and generally just handmaidens of the patriarchy. I don't post here terribly often, but I would hope those who are familiar with my contributions will see how narrow and inaccurate this assumption is.

I know historically, some feminists have rejected the idea of including women whom they regarded as "other" (e.g. women of colour and working class women in the early 20th century, Lesbians in the early 70's, etc.) and I hope one day we'll all look back and see the exclusion of trans women as just another regrettable example of this consigned to history.

I still say what unites us as feminists is greater than what divides us. Join together to achieve common goals. Otherwise, it's just the bald men fighting over the comb while the patriarchal powers that be have a right old laugh at the impotence in our antics.

WidowWadman Sat 26-May-12 10:14:31

Kritiq - thanks for your posting, which is well reasoned and argued.

Frothy - in this case it's really potayto-potato. Whether it's gender segregration or sex separation doesn't matter to what the effects are. It's kind of an apartheid, and quite ugly.

FrothyTheCrazyFeminazi Sat 26-May-12 10:26:56

Aye, because what the patriarchy fears the most is groups of women, together, discussing things which aren't all about teh menz...

Why do we have to include EVERYONE, at every point?

I mean, I struggle to understand how many of the topics up for discussion are relevant to the trans community as it is. I mean, violence against a MTF trans is not the same as violence against women. I suspect very few trans end up in prostitution, not sure there's too many MTF single mothers... And so forth...

motherinferior Sat 26-May-12 10:31:44

Ah, yes, this one. Have just had long convo with Roz about it on the phone grin. Am very fond of Roz. We talk about Books, quite apart from other stuff.

motherinferior Sat 26-May-12 10:33:29

<and with one post MI has her buttons snipped off for Being The Wrong Sort Of Feminist>

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 26-May-12 10:33:45

I have no statistics, but I believe very many trans people end up in prostitution at some point, if only to fund surgery.

motherinferior Sat 26-May-12 10:36:34

Yes, I am of the same belief.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 26-May-12 10:38:16

They can also be subject to a great deal of sexual violence.

motherinferior Sat 26-May-12 10:40:39

And general violence. Like being killed.

Prolesworth Sat 26-May-12 10:41:06

I'd like to see where these threats of violence from RFs to trans activists are, because I've never seen any.

As for the idea that an effective political strategy for feminists would be to pretend that women don't exist as a distinct group - that's not politics, that's wishful thinking that wilfully ignores the reality of women's subordination the world over. If we could wish it away, don't you think we would've done that by now?

Prolesworth Sat 26-May-12 10:42:50

If you think that RFs deny the reality that trans people are subjected to violence and harrassment, you'd be wrong. But that violence and harrassment isn't coming from radical feminists.

FrothyTheCrazyFeminazi Sat 26-May-12 10:43:38

But it's not violence based on the fact they're women (nor does sexual violence against a MTF have the same risks as it does against women)

And yes, but are these not mostly FTM trans entering prostitution? In which case, they would not fall, if they wish their self selected gender to be respected, under the umbrella of exited women.

The experiences of a trans woman and of a "cis" woman are not aligned.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 26-May-12 10:46:50

I think, I do not know, that most/a majority of trans people are MTF. Therefore most trans people in prostitution would also be MTF.

But that's mere speculation.

FrothyTheCrazyFeminazi Sat 26-May-12 11:00:34

But again, the experience of a MTF in prostitution would be very different, in many ways to that of a "cis" woman

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 26-May-12 11:04:16

And very similar in others, though I suspect they have more/a higher percentage of violent punters. If you ban an FTM on the grounds she's no longer a woman, how can you ban an MTF?

thechairmanmeow Sat 26-May-12 11:29:58

my father frequented a men only drinking club, this was considerd inherently sexist by the wives, many of them boycotting the anual 'ladeis evening'. that club is no longer around, it belonged to another time.

either that club wasnt sexist and women were allways free to organise there own meetings , or the club and radfem1012 is sexist for denying men who consider themselves feminists, you cant have it both ways.

of course if they go there to make trouble chuck them out by all means but thats something else. there are men out there who seriously want to talk about this, and not to just make it all about the menz.

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