Personally, I find Raymond to be a bit of a bad joke. Her book was ludicrous. She has no understanding of the true nature of transsexualism, coming at the subject from the classic radical feminist position that socialization is the only factor differentiating men and women. Raymond ignores the role that biology plays. And, quite simply, Raymond was terrified that she might encounter a transsexual and not know they were born male. For want of a better term, Raymond was terribly "heterophobic." Sort of the lesbian equivalent of a man who loses it when he finds out the woman he is with was born male.
Now, "Autumn" Sandeen, a pseudo-transsexual kook who pretty much fits the stereotypes that Raymond attributed to all transsexuals, is dragging up Raymond's diatribe again. And, ironically, Mr. Sandeen is using it to attack true transsexuals.
At the heart of Mr. Sandeen's latest diatribe is his same tired insistence that he is a woman, albeit, a transwoman. Of course, the problem is, "transwoman" is, at the very least, an oxymoron. There is really no such creature. Transgender, by its very nature, precludes someone who was born male from actually claiming womanhood. It is an open repudiation of actually being a woman, and certainly of actually being a transsexual. Those who identify as transgender tend to cling to their histories. They want to claim to be women, while keeping one foot in their maleness. And worse, they show utter contempt for anyone who does not wish to share in their bizarre behavior.
In the article, Mr. Sandeen quotes Sandy Stone, who was attacked by Janice Raymond in her book. Stone was a sound engineer with Olivia Records, a music company specializing in women's music. Stone was a post-op who, at the time, identified as a lesbian. Stone has since married a man and is now a professor at an university in Texas. A few years after Raymond's book, Stone wrote a diatribe entitled "The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manisfesto."
Now, in Stone's essay, there is a section where Stone seems to attack those who "pass." This is something, of course, that Mr. Sandeen wholeheartedly embraces:
There are a couple of problems with the above statement. First off, Mr. Sandeen is not remotely a transsexual, and secondly, for him to speak of being "postranssexual" is completely absurd. You can't be "post" something you are not to begin with. And clearly, Mr. Sandeen is not a transsexual. If he is "posttranssexual," then he is, in effect, saying that he has completed his transition. Since he is an intact male, he is effectively declaring himself, again, to be non-op. A year or so ago, he had begun claiming he was surgery tracked, though he showed no apparent need to move ahead with any plans for surgery. That seemed fishy at the time, and now he again seems to be taking a non-op position.
Likewise, another transgender extremist, "Monica" Helms, who was also, for a period, claiming to be surgery tracked, not only appears to have returned to the "they will take my penis when they pry my cold, dead fingers from it" camp, but also appears to be frantically opposed to the very idea of surgery being a covered benefit under insurance.
Mr. Helms launches into a bizarre, and completely dishonest diatribe about how insurance coverage for surgery would not make any difference. First off, if it is covered by health insurance, it is covered like any other necessary surgery. The claim that one has to pay up front, and is then reimbursed is an outright lie. I know. I had my surgery paid for by insurance, and my main out of pocket expenses where a $250 co-pay, and the cost of my dilators. Everything else was paid for. Now, not all medical coverage is as good. If I had another plan, I would have paid more. But if I had that other plan, I would pay more for any medical procedure. If, say, I needed bypass surgery, I would have paid the same amounts.
Why does Mr. Helms make these silly claims? Because if his health insurance actually covered the costs of surgery, he would lose an excuse for keeping his penis. He needs to maintain that illusion that he would have surgery, except it costs too much. Never mind the fact that he bought a house, rather than seek surgery. For a true transsexual nothing is more important than corrective surgery. For someone like Mr. Helms, nothing is more important than finding an excuse to keep his penis.
Mr. Helms also raises the ridiculous claim about people being "non-ops" for health reasons. This is also not remotely legitimate. Yes, there was a time when people were denied surgery for reasons such as being diabetic (which I am), or being HIV positive (which I am not), or other conditions. As surgery for true transsexuals is increasingly recognized as medically necessary and not just elective doctors are more willing to take risks, and in most cases any contraindication is only a temporary situation. People are "non-ops" because they are not transsexuals. They want to keep their penises. I had a friend who was a brittle diabetic. Her blood sugar was very poorly controlled. She had been denied surgery for years, but before she died, she convinced a doctor to remove her penis and testicles and complete everything except creating a vagina. She didn't live much longer after that, and died of unrelated causes, but she was a transsexual. Mr. Helms, is not.
As one commenter points out, by claiming to be transsexual, but rejecting surgery, they are undermining those who really do need it. They either do not care that they hurt true transsexuals, or more likely, that is their goal. They know they are not really transsexuals and they hate those who are.
So, why do they so desperately cling to the claim that they are transsexual? Because they want the benefits that they believe transsexuals have. They want to force society to grant them legal status as females, even though they have no intentions of giving up their penises.
It is ironic that people like Mr, Sandeen, and Mr. Helms, claim that being "out, loud, and proud" is about being honest, and yet they are anything but honest. They want to claim the status of being something they are not. They want to claim to be transsexuals when they have no desire to change their sex. They want to change their birth certificates to indicate that they are female, while retaining their penises. They want to change their passports, again without giving up their penis. They want to claim to women, even though they are clearly, and happily, men.
They cannot possibly fool people into thinking they are really women, so they dig in and demand that people suspend reality and go along with their delusions. And, again, they attack those who can successfully live as women. And no, it is not about appearances. It is about behavior. I have met many who looked quite convincing, but who had such totally male attitudes that the illusion that they are actually women quickly fades.
This is why Raymond bothers them so much. They are exactly the sort of men that Raymond saw all transsexuals as. I would be willing to bet there were probably transsexuals that Raymond did not know were transsexuals. Of course, the very idea of actually being a woman is lost on people like Mr. Sandeen and Mr. Helms. They are men playing a game of dress up.
One of the issues that Raymond makes a big fuss over is privilege. I always find this somewhat amusing. For a classic transsexual, male privilege is as unknown as it is for any other woman. We grew up being seen as, for want of a better term, "defective males." We were labeled as "sissies" and while we were not, perhaps, treated exactly like females, we were not treated as normal males either. Our status was, quite often, not unlike that that many women experience, but at the same time, lacking in many of the advantages that they had. For example, we certainly lacked the protection from violence that, at least in the past, extended to females. But we also were denied the sort of status that leads to privilege. On the other hand, men like Mr. Sandeen, and Mr. Helms, were leading successful and happy lives in the military. Apparently, they were crossdressers, and as sometimes happens, they have decided to take their "hobby" to the next level.
The bottom line to all of this is that it seems truly odd that some are so obsessed with being accepted by the tiny handful of kooks who make up radical separatist feminism (the sort who think all heterosex is rape and that men should be eliminated). This is a group that is at the far extreme, and yet some waste an incredible amount of time worrying about the fact that they do not accept "transgender" people as "real women." So what? There are always going to be people who don't accept the concept of sex reassignment. And shoot, I seriously doubt that the vast majority of people really accept kooks like Mr. Sandeen and his ilk as "real women." I mean, seriously...a bunch of men, playing dress up, while making it clear that they were born men, that they intend to keep their penises, acting in a very masculine manner (and blissfully unaware of that behavior in most cases), and demanding that they be called women? Granted, they are as looney as the extremist feminists that they obsess over. Maybe that explains it all...