Friday, August 28, 2009

Term Limits

It was two years ago today that the first post in this blog appeared. Originally, I thought I would probably produce one or two posts a month. Things have increased considerably. This month I have posted as many posts as I did in the previous year. Of course, I could post more, but I write each post, as opposed to reposting stuff from other sources just so I can produce several posts a day.

In honor of this milestone, here is a special post looking at some terms the gender fascists seem to love....

From Through The Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll:

When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean— neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master - - that’s all.'


Anyone who has dealt with the transgender community might well feel as though they have gone down the rabbit hole and joined Alice in talking with Humpty Dumpty. Much of the terminology used seems to bear little resemblance to anything that can be called reality.

In this posting, I would like to look at some of the terms one encounters and discuss both what they mean, and what the gender fascists want them to mean.

Well, as they say, the first place to start is at the beginning.

Transgender - Of course, this path has been trod before, but let's review...The gender fascists would have us believe that "transgender" is an objective term that refers to a specific, identifiable group. They would include transvestites, crossdressers, drag queens, drag queens, transgenderists, butch women, femme men, gender queers, two spirits, bois, gurls, sissy maids....oh, and of course, transsexuals. (Now, why any true or classic transsexual would want to be lumped in with stuff like crossdressers and sissy maids is beyond me.)

The problem is, "transgender" is not an objective term. It never has been, and never will be. It is an artificial social/political construct and it has too many different definitions, most of which are often in conflict with one another. Also, many of those who some would force the term on do not wish to be defined that way.



It is often used to imply that one can "change one's gender." This of course is not true, and is an absurd thing to suggest. If it were possible, then transsexuals could simply choose to change their gender to match their bodies, and no one would need to have surgery. Contrary to the claims of many, gender is not fluid. Ironically, most who are "transgender" were actually born with a gender that matches their body, and are actually trying to present as a gender other than their true one.

Transgender is, plain and simple, an identity. It is a label that one can adopt, but which, likewise, one should be free to reject. It should never be forced on someone against their will, and it should never be used to describe someone unless they themselves have indicated a willingness to be called that. Of course, this sort of concept infuriates the gender fascists who feel free to label people as they see fit, but who become furious if someone does not pander to their silly delusions.

Now, one of the bigger problems with "transgender" is the fact that many feel their gender is not the issue. For example, my gender has always been female. I did not decide to change my gender. I decided to accept my gender, and instead to change my sex. Gender, it appears, is immutable. But the transgender paradigm holds that gender is a social construct and is therefore a choice.

Some define "transgender" in terms of either transgressing or transcending gender. Most who identify as having Harry Benjamin Syndrome do not see themselves as doing either. I certainly do not transgress gender. My gender is female, and that is how I dress and behave. The idea of appearing in public dressed as a man strikes me as absurd. Nor did I transcend gender. I simply accepted the gender I truly am, and got on with my life.

Gender Variant - Gender variant is becoming an increasingly popular replacement for "transgender." Of course, this, as much as anything, shows just how clueless some people are. They think "gender variant" is a more benign term than "transgender." In truth, for most, it is even more offensive. First off, there is nothing variant about my gender. I have a female gender, and I simply conform to societies standards for that gender. Of course, I am sure there are those who would love to see this replace "transgender" as it will set them even more apart from normal society.


Transgenderist - Transgenderist was the term first coined by Charles "Virginia" Prince to describe those, like himself, who chose to live full time as the opposite sex without seeking SRS. Prince was adamantly opposed to sex reassignment surgery. It has been suggested that this was because Prince was denied surgery when he attempted to get it. It has largely been replaced by the oxymoron "non-op transsexual."

Cis-whatever - In scientific terms, "cis" is the opposite of "trans" so someone came up with the bright idea of using "cisgender" to refer to people who are, in effect, normal. That was silly enough, but now the term has become something of an insult. Other variations include things like "cissexual." It's use led to a major meltdown on Pam's House Blend. Personally, I don't see why a special term is needed for people who are not transgender or transsexual.

Normborn - This is a relatively new term, which has appeared on a few blogs, especially on Women Born Transsexual where, like "cisgender" it is used as something of an insult. Again, this speaks loads about the transgender mindset...and what is says is not at all favorable. It has to be kept in mind, being transgender is all about being different...being "other," simply being at odds with normal, decent society. This is why some gender fascists seem to hate the HBS concept. They don't want to be normal, and they can't seem to stand the idea that anyone else would want to be either. Of course, they want to force society to accept them, and the idea that there might be transsexuals who don't share their desire to rebel against norms works against that.

The transgender attitude is summed up best by a quote from Gwen Smith concerning a couple of cases that have received attention lately:

A cadre of experts – right or wrong – will be attempting to decide if Semenya is male or female, and that will determine if she will be able to continue to compete on the world stage. Meanwhile, Manpower Inc. will not get to ogle Blatt's genitals to determine if others will be magically comfortable around her.

No one should get that power. The only people who can truly say if we are men or women are ourselves.

In the case of Semenya, the issue is one of simple fairness. If she has some medical condition that gives her an unfair advantage, then the officials have a right to know this. And of course, given that she has higher than normal levels of testosterone, and that her coach is a former East German with a history of cheating, it is not unreasonable for them to investigate.

As to Blatt, this person was in a position that involved being in the locker room with women who might be nude. There is good reason to believe that Blatt has not had corrective surgery, and given that some doctors will provide documentation that falsely implies that surgery has taken place, when it is not actual SRS, it is not unreasonable that her employer require additional documentation. The request for a photograph of her genitalia was not the most reasonable approach, but it would deal with the possibility of fraud. A better approach would have been to simply request an examination by a doctor that Manpower could trust.

No, whether or not we are men or women is not our choice, and there are situations where simply taking someones word for it is not a reasonable demand.

Women Born Transsexual - This term was dreamed up by Suzan Cooke. Cooke was trying to counter the "women born women" concept that some extremist lesbian-separatists have used to dismiss transsexuals as being "not really women." Of course, those who think in terms of "women born women" are a very small minority that are largely insignificant to the lives of most women.

This term was originally supposed to differentiate between transsexual and transgender, but increasingly Cooke has adopted transgender views, and is now transgender in all but name. Cooke's latest effort is to add another T to LGBT, creating LGBT/T for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual. Cooke simply does not get it. Those who do not wish to identify as transgender are not going to want to compromise in this manner either.

So, as this blog begins its third year, I look back at all the changes. More and more, people are speaking up and saying "No!" to the gender fascists. We may be small, but we are not going to roll over and play dead for the gender fascists.

5 comments:

Gay God said...

Very good article. While many people both in and out of the trans community may not agree with you on some of the terms/ideas... it's a good starting point.

As a gay man, I try very hard to support ALL LGBTers. I've worked with my local city/state trans community groups. Hoping to bring attention to and better understanding of the trans cause...

But, it's really hard with all the different terms being used. Plus all the different mind sets of people in and allied with the trans community.

I don't want to be insensitive or hurtful... but it's very difficult even for me, an out spoken activist, not get overwhelmed...

But we got start some where, right?

Gay God said...

Wow... I don't know why my account is coming up Gay God...

BadEvan said...

Ok... I realized my friend who had been using my computer never logged out... oops. Feel free to delete the "Gay God" comments...hehe.

Very good article. While many people both in and out of the trans community may not agree with you on some of the terms/ideas... it's a good starting point.

As a gay man, I try very hard to support ALL LGBTers. I've worked with my local city/state trans community groups. Hoping to bring attention to and better understanding of the trans cause...

But, it's really hard with all the different terms being used. Plus all the different mind sets of people in and allied with the trans community.

I don't want to be insensitive or hurtful... but it's very difficult even for me, an out spoken activist, not get overwhelmed...

But we got start some where, right?

Sophie said...

Hello Jennifer.

Norm Born is a term I have been using since I started my activism 15 years ago and it refers to those who look down on me because I was born intersexed (5 alpha). I only want to be normal and get on with my life and they (Norm borns) never allowed that, hence my using that term to describe them. Just to clarify the context in which I used it. As it appears a lot in my own writings.

Sophie

Just Jennifer said...

Sophie,

I was not aware that you had coined the term, and I think the person who's use I objected to was not using in the way you did. That certainly does not seem to be the case from the context in which it was used.