Transracial vs Transgender (new Rachel Dolezal interview)

(29 Posts)
MamaPuffin Thu 20-Apr-17 04:17:51

This interview has been shared around my (liberal feminist) Facebook feed like crazy today.

I thought it was a good article, but the thought I can't get out of my head is that if you replace 'white' with 'male' in many sections of the article, it sounds so much like radical feminism (which all the friends who praise this article roundly dismiss as 'bigoted'). I just can't get my head around the mental gymnastics required to not see the similarities, nor have I ever heard a good explanation of why transracialism is different to transgenderism.

"It is white supremacy that told her that any black people who questioned her were obviously uneducated and unmotivated to rise to her level of wokeness.... And if racial justice doesn't center her, she will redefine race itself in order to make that happen. It is a bit extreme, but it is in no way new for white people to take what they want from other cultures in the name of love and respect, while distorting or discarding the remainder of that culture for their comfort. "

I haven't the time or energy to have this conversation on Facebook today, but I needed to share somewhere.

CatsGoPurrrr Thu 20-Apr-17 06:50:50

Morning Mama!

I have just read the interview and came here to post, but you best me to it.

I completely agree. Swap colours for sexes and it's the transgender argument.

how can it be so obvious, yet people be so blind?

QuentinSummers Thu 20-Apr-17 07:14:53

It's a good article. A different slant on RD than others I've read, most are more sympathetic to her upbringing. I wonder if that's because the author is black so more able to analyse what she says. I thought the stuff about National Geographic fetishizing black people was interesting.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 20-Apr-17 09:22:28

Does it make any difference in that the passing both ways argument does apply to transgender issues?

If you say the case of Dolezal is no different from a transgender person you will get objections from ftm as well as mtf.

morningrunner Thu 20-Apr-17 09:39:39

Ifyou accept gender dismorphia is a real condition then there is an obvious difference. RD knew she was white and pretended to be black. If you think that there is no difference between transgenderism and 'transracialism' then logically you would have to be one of the 'it's just men in frocks' brigade.

MamaPuffin Thu 20-Apr-17 11:58:54

I don't know that I'm one of the "just men in frocks brigade", but I also don't know what makes gender dysmorphia fundamentally different to this situation, except that it's so much more common. Then again, maybe the frequency IS important enough to make a difference...

Passing both ways does seem somewhat important, but I feel like "passing" is becoming less and less important in gender identity/presentation. If we are expected to accept that someone born male and presenting male can be a woman and have access to female only spaces, I don't know that this argument holds much sway for me.

splendide Thu 20-Apr-17 13:57:19

I also don't know what makes gender dysmorphia fundamentally different to this situation, except that it's so much more common

Does RD claim to have race dismorphia? I thought she was just fibbing?

jellyfrizz Thu 20-Apr-17 14:23:09

Does RD claim to have race dismorphia? I thought she was just fibbing?

I don't think she has claimed to be dysmorphic but her thinking seems to be very similar:

"When strangers began to assume from her appearance that she was black, she did not correct them. “I felt like the misperception was maybe that it was biological. But I felt what they were perceiving was accurate.” For the first time in her life, she felt beautiful."

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/25/rachel-dolezal-not-going-stoop-apologise-grovel

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 20-Apr-17 18:02:50

I think the difference is that being transgender (or transsexual as it used to be called) is a known "thing".

There existed , albeit until recently on the fringes of society, people who were trans (in the widest sense) for all sorts of reasons and motives.

For example Georgian and Victorian "Molly houses" existed ; Brassai's photos of the Parisien demi- monde of the 30s feature trans people; Jacqueline Susan's novel The Love Machine from the late 60s has a post- operative trans woman; April Ashley, Carolyn Cossey and Jan Morris are fairly well known; or see the cover of Transformer

Rachel Dolezal is a whole new ball game.

Her suggestion that people with mixed parentage who nevertheless look white are the same as her is nonsense. They are not pretending to be anything- they are simply taking advantage of how society views them.

msrisotto Thu 20-Apr-17 18:19:57

RD isn't the only new ball game. There's now people who feel as if they are disabled (Transabled) and there is even a man who feels as if he is a 6 year old girl. Google it. These people really prove to me that there is no biological anything underpinning transgenderism, or any of the trans conditions. We need to deal with this better, and that doesn't include colluding with delusional beliefs.

Datun Thu 20-Apr-17 18:43:36

Gender dysphoria is obviously a real thing. A man with gender dysphoria is a man who hates his genitals. He's not a woman.

morningrunner Thu 20-Apr-17 18:53:52

That's not a description of gender disphoria that most sufferers would agree with. In any event, however one defines it , there is a world of difference between someone with GD and someone like RD.

msrisotto Thu 20-Apr-17 18:59:16

What is the difference?

QuentinSummers Thu 20-Apr-17 18:59:45

How do you know that morning? How do you know what's in RD's head? I can't see how you can dismiss her account so easily. There are all kinds of issues people have related to rejecting aspects of their observed characteristics. What makes one type valid and one not?

QuentinSummers Thu 20-Apr-17 19:03:29

Appears she isn't even the only one, most are men though so it's not as newsworthy that they've done it. The cynical feminist in me sees more evidence that men can self define how they like but women must conform
other_white_americans_have_pretended_to_be_black_rachel_dolezal_s_predecessors.html

QuentinSummers Thu 20-Apr-17 19:03:56

www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/06/12/other_white_americans_have_pretended_to_be_black_rachel_dolezal_s_predecessors.html

jellyfrizz Thu 20-Apr-17 19:09:30

In any event, however one defines it , there is a world of difference between someone with GD and someone like RD.

Can you explain the difference morningrunner? If anything I think that race would less certain than biological sex. If RD did genetic testing and one of her great grandparents turned out to be black would it be ok then?

I'm really confused about the term gender dysphoria, gender is a spectrum and about how you present rather than biology isn't it? So how can you be gender dysphoric? Is it using gender rather than sex?
I do believe that people have sex dysphoria.

morningrunner Thu 20-Apr-17 19:24:10

The point I am making is that gender disphoria , however one describes it, whatever one thinks of it and regardless of whether you think it is being exploited by people who are not really experiencing it, or whether you think it should be called sex disphoria, is a real experience. What RD did was no more than cynical fraud.

msrisotto Thu 20-Apr-17 19:31:11

Do have anything to back up your claim there morning? Because i'mm afraid i'm going to need more than just your say so.

QuentinSummers Thu 20-Apr-17 19:33:37

Ok so basically you are saying RD is lying about her experience and feelings. And your evidence for this is?

geddes Thu 20-Apr-17 19:43:33

I'm genuinely not seeing the difference between Rachel Dolezal and Danielle Muscato, especially in terms of Dolezal changing her name and "looking obviously white". confused

Datun Thu 20-Apr-17 19:44:37

Gender dysphoria is a real condition. The similarity between transwomen and RD is the appropriation of something that you are not.

Men with gender dysphoria (sex dysphoria) are not women. RD is not black.

Men with sex dysphoria are erroneously claiming womanhood. RD is erroneously claiming to be black.

Datun Thu 20-Apr-17 19:45:13

The reasons are irrelevant. They are both wrong.

morningrunner Thu 20-Apr-17 20:05:53

The reasons are crucial if you are doling out moral judgement

jellyfrizz Thu 20-Apr-17 23:38:37

I thought the OP was about the similarities in argument rather than the morality of the situations.

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