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So confused about trans/feminism

(20 Posts)
monkeysee100 Wed 14-Feb-18 11:46:00

I've never been anything phobic in my life. I pride myself on being an ol' liberal leftie but I struggle with this issue.

I LOVED women's history in uni. It shook my core reading about the inherent sexism in novels and made me question the world around me.

I don't know any transgender people well, I don't have issue with working, socialising, etc with people who feel transgender.

I do know that along the line I have been discriminated against (boys' /girls' jobs when growing up e.g. Girls clean toilets because we have periods 🙄) but I think I perpetuate some of these being the main housekeeper and child carrier along with being the breadwinner/doing more hours.

I am concerned about blanket legislation and I think you can no more change your sex than your can race but I don't know if I'm wrong. I've looked into both sides and I don't worry unduly about sharing changing spaces because (and I could be wrong) I wonder if risk from a predatory transsexual is the same as from a female sexual aggressor e.g. low.

I can imagine women who have PTSD would see things very differently.

This issue has been preoccupying me for days. I feel like a woman. I have had experiences that most women have. But what about women who don't have these experiences or what if I don't experience things that others do? I hate th me thought of my experiences being appropriated- breastfeeding for example. A strange thing to be 'proud' being a bodily function but something that gives me satisfaction and kinship with millennia of women before me. It does irritate me somehow when men are being given drugs to do this but is this the same as women having the opportunity to build their strength to match a mans?

I can't imagine in practice the rad fem idea that there should be no differences and I'm some ways I think I like the difference but am I just conditioned?

This probably makes little sense. I feel like I need to make a decision about where my opinions fall. I hate the thought that I can't air my views for fear of being thought discriminatory because I believe in live and let live but my gut says a woman is a woman.

To add to the mire, I suspect a close family member of having some sort of trans issues (I never got to the bottom of it but to my shame it appalled me) and I think this could be clouding and colouring my views too.

Triliteration Wed 14-Feb-18 12:30:32

It does irritate me somehow when men are being given drugs to do this but is this the same as women having the opportunity to build their strength to match a mans?

The big difference in this equation for me, is that drugs and hormones are passed through the milk and there is no way of telling whether it’s safe. Building your strength affects only yourself.

I have similar thoughts to your OP. It worries me that there’s a chance I might be wrong on some trans issues. I am also aware that deep inside, there is a wariness towards people who are different which I don’t like in myself. However I think most people have that inate fear, but decent people try to compensate and hide it. Ironically I think that’s why we have so few defences when really unpleasant people start to push their agenda, which it what I believe is happening in the trans activist community.

ReluctantCamper Wed 14-Feb-18 12:37:04

Hi Monkey

Here are some thoughts on parts of your post. Some bits I don't feel qualified to address.

You are not wrong about not being able to change your sex. It's written into every cell of your body. How could surgery and/or what you wear change that?

the vast, vast majority of violence against women and children is perpetrated by men. There is no evidence to suggest that a mans likelihood of offending decreases if he identifies as trans. Therefore it would be logical or at least not unreasonable to feel at greater risk if you are expected to share toilets, changing rooms etc with men.

Your post does make sense-you're processing some pretty complex concepts. I feel like I'm doing some sort of degree level sociology module at the moment-the sort of thing I'd have run from when I actually was at uni!

ReluctantCamper Wed 14-Feb-18 12:38:40

And yes regarding the fear of the other. I watch for it in myself and try to offset it if I can

whoputthecatout Wed 14-Feb-18 12:39:13

my gut says a woman is a woman.

It's not your guts monkeysee. It's biology.

monkeysee100 Wed 14-Feb-18 12:44:02

Thanks. I nearly posted in AIBU. So glad I didn't!

Anyone recommend any books?

ShotsFired Wed 14-Feb-18 12:46:55

@monkeysee100 I don't worry unduly about sharing changing spaces because (and I could be wrong) I wonder if risk from a predatory transsexual is the same as from a female sexual aggressor e.g. low.

It's not predatory transsexuals you have to worry about. It's predatory men who are stealing the transgender name to justify their presence in spaces that are ripe for them to undertake their assaults and rapes in with ease.

And given the lengths that rapists and molesters already go to to get near their victims, this is handing their victims to them on a plate.

Imagine you go to one of those 24hr gyms. You're there at 2am (because that's when it suits you and the point of having 24h/7 access), minding your own business. There's one other man there. You finish up and head into the changing rooms for a shower. He walks in as you are getting naked.

"I'm a woman" he says. You have no right to get him to leave or anything....

monkeysee100 Wed 14-Feb-18 12:53:21

Yeah that's a scary premise.

Just tried to join a local Facebook feminist group and got grilled about my opinions on what sort of feminist I am, what I think about trans sex workers, BLM and the police.

I was non commital. Will be interesting if they let me in. It's very anti terf/swerf

ShotsFired Wed 14-Feb-18 13:05:48

It's the least horrible scenario that sprang to mind. It only gets worse, really.

But for me or you to voice doubts about that exact scenario is "transphobic". If either of us told that person to leave because he was a man, we'd be committing "literal violence" against them - quite likely a hate crime that we could be prosecuted for. Holding that opinion makes us bigots.

It really is the most nutso thing going, and everyone I have explained this type of thing to, says "don't be silly, I don't mean that! Of course women should be able to get changed safely and without cocks all over the place" when asked to describe what they mean by live and let live.

Also - thank you for starting the thread and being receptive to comments. It's encouraging to know there are people willing to question their own thoughts and discuss new facts and information. flowers brew

monkeysee100 Wed 14-Feb-18 13:10:59

That's ok! It's very reassuring to know that other people have these thoughts and that people have firm convictions.

Datun Wed 14-Feb-18 13:19:15

monkey

It's brilliant that you're asking questions. And it's also great that you're coming from a position of compassion and inclusivity.

That way, you know you will not be swayed into a position that you cannot mentally justify.

Quite a few people are coming on these boards asking what is going on. So I'm going to post a link below to a thread that started in a similar fashion to yours.

Questions are always good.

A word of warning if you're going onto Facebook group such as the one you have mentioned.

Sometimes, even asking questions, will provoke a negative reaction.

If you take a look at the link below, and have questions, by all means ask here. If you ask them on your Facebook group, be prepared for a more, let's call it, vehement reaction.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3145470-Break-it-down-for-me

CallYourDadYoureInACult Wed 14-Feb-18 13:23:18

I think that all your thoughts and questions are extremely valid.

One of the hardest parts of this whole issue is that for a lot of us, whatever part of the political spectrum that we are on, we have tended to be the ones who have supported minority rights. So you have people who have traditionally been on the side of the 'underdog' suddenly being told that they are bigots.

It's all very topsy turvy.

nauticant Wed 14-Feb-18 13:34:55

Following on from the post by ShotsFired, you should keep in mind that the transgender umbrella is very wide. It includes people with gender dysphoria who might go on to have sexual reassignment surgery, gender confused young people who might be much better off being supported to explore how they feel rather than being affirmed as being by transgender, and older men with fetishes and often dodgy motives. The last group are very likely to want to keep their functioning male genitalia.

Being in a private space and having to deal with an effeminate 16 year old boy who wouldn't harm a fly is very different to being there dealing with an aggressive 40-something year old fetishist who is only too keen to make a display, including showing off his cock.

monkeysee100 Fri 16-Feb-18 06:57:30

Transgender teen reveals how Princess Diana inspired her

dailym.ai/2o0wX2e

This ^
I don't wear frilly shit. That is not what defines me as a woman.

BigEthel Fri 16-Feb-18 07:19:40

I feel exactly the same way @monkeysee100. I don't "feel" like a woman. I am a woman. I can't help nor change that. I do certain things in certain ways either because of hormones (I never wanted to turn into a cow every four weeks with PMS). My heart breaks for anyone who feels they are not the gender they are because it must be hell to hate your body that much.

I have always fought for the underdog, even for men with all their privileges to be given the same parenting rights as women. I have no problem with any trans woman or trans man wanting to live their life the way they want to live or they feel they need to live it. They are people and deserve the same rights as everyone.

Yet at the same time, when I see people talking like this "Many transgender women are looking to have as many of the experiences of non-transgender women as they can" (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/14/transgender-woman-breastfeed-health), I worry that women is now a dirty word.

It's a complex situation and shutting down discussions with "you're a bigot" or a terf (hate that word) means there's no room for education or an exchange of ideas. If we don't have that we're fucked.

rb67 Fri 16-Feb-18 07:31:02

I just followed that Guardian link about breastfeeding - "However, Reisman said the case has also attracted questions about whether men could now breastfeed. “That, implicitly, is saying that you see transgender women as cisgender men, which is transphobic,” she said."

There is so much in that one sentence that confuses me. but it is simply nonsense.

ReluctantCamper Fri 16-Feb-18 07:54:13

It's the lack of debate from vociferous trans advocates that made me realise what nonsense it all is in the end. If someone as intelligent and articulate as Owen Jones can only come up with 'Transwomen for the win' when debating these issues, followed by #nodebate, then there really is nothing to say.

1) what is the definition of woman that includes Danielle Muscato and me?
2) if intact male bodied people are being sent to women's prison how do we make sure women prisoners are safe?
3) we see men being incredibly successful in women's sport. How is this fair to women?

I am sure that Owen Jones's answer to all three would be 'I don't care'. But I would love to see a TRA engage with those questions and bring some lucid arguments. The fact that they don't means to me that they can't.

monkeysee100 Fri 16-Feb-18 09:35:54

I hated going through puberty too.

I used to hate seeing hair or knowing my boobs were growing, I hated that my hips grew and I wasn't straight up and down. I even hated tops that showed too much under arm even before my body had changed.

Violetparis Fri 16-Feb-18 09:51:17

Great posts*monkeysee100*. You've very clearly articulated how I feel too.

monkeysee100 Fri 16-Feb-18 10:26:39

Thanks.

I thought it would help writing it all out but I'm still debating it all.

I work with children and I'm a member of a professional group. They are also discussing trans issues. I would not hesitate to support an individual with these issues. I just worry that we don't know enough to support young people effectively in this.

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