Early in my transition, I came up with the phrase "I will not accept responsibility for other people's bigotry." By that, I meant that I would not beat myself up because certain people had an issue with my transition. I had a brother-in-law, for example, who was a bit of a celebrity in certain religious circles who rather stubbornly refused to use my proper name. He offered the compromise that he would refer to me as "J" which I declined, because "Jay" is a boy's name, and besides, my name is Jennifer, not an initial. I actually found it kind of amusing watching him stumble over language trying to avoid using either a name, or pronouns to refer to me. And this was after he had to admit that he could not actually show, from Scripture, that I was doing something wrong. It was clear that his concern about his image trumped any decency he might have shown me.
I simply refused to compromise my life for his, or anyone else's convenience. I realized that he, and some others, did not recognize my transition as legitimate. I simply considered the source and got on with my life. Why should I let their ignorance, or prejudice, define who, or what I really am?
Well, of late, the transgender blogs have been going crazy over the "radfem's," i.e. radical feminists, mostly lesbian separatists, alleged bigotry against transgender people. You would think the "radfems" were advocating murder the way the extremists are carrying. And, in the expected return swing of the pendulum, Suzan Cooke has added her voice to the chorus. Cooke, in her usual shrill hysteria, had compared the "radfems" to the Religious Right who Cooke hates with a passion. Cooke, who recently seemed to have returned to a position in opposition to the silliness of the transgender extremists now sounds, again, like a clone of "Autumn" Sandeen and "Cristan" Williams.
Now, personally, there is a lot that I would disagree with radical feminists over. But, I can see some of their points specifically concerning "transgender" issues. I mean, look at the transgender extremists who are now claiming that a man can become a woman simply by saying he is a woman. Many are the radical feminists are far more comfortable with those who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery than those who simply change their wardrobe and then claim that also changes their sex. I also can see some of their views concerning men who grew up enjoying male privilege who now claim to be fully women. Those who most often identify as transgender, and those who tend to be the most radical proponents of that movement, are men who were rather late in life when they showed any inclination towards claiming to be a woman. Prior to that, they were often transvestites, but they showed no real issues with their gender identity. In fact, as crossdressers, they often identified as a man who was wearing women's clothes.
I had gender issues from early on. I did not have words to express what I felt, because I went through much of it during a time when such issues were well known. I certainly never enjoyed male privilege, basically being seen as something of a "defective male." People sensed that I was "different," and I was often accused of being a sissy. I fought to avoid such a label at times, always unsuccessfully, simply because such a label generally led to being bullied. But it was hard to hide the real me, and so I suffered.
But then there are those like "Autumn" Sandeen, who served for twenty years in the U.S. Navy, as a male, in a male-only position. He had no problems, which, had he been transsexual, would have been impossible. He likes to claim that in his last years he was harassed because he was perceived as "gay." It is obvious that as his retirement approached, he was beginning to think of becoming a full-time crossdresser, rather than the part-time one he had been to that point. And I am sure he began acting a bit effeminate.
I can certainly understand why the radical feminists would not want someone like Sandeen at their meetings. He seems to fluctuate between acting very male and acting like a bad parody of a woman. Likewise, other transgender extremists often come off as more male than anything else. For example, check out "Cristan" Williams recent post where he puff himself up like a strutting peacock and postures in a very male manner about how he has "rewritten transgender history" in a year. But that's a topic for another post.
No, I may not agree with the radical feminists, but I do understand at least some of where they are coming from. They don't want men invading their space. And their definition of men is a bit broad, including not only the men in dresses like Sandeen, but also post-op transsexual women. Of course, I imagine more than a few post-op women might be among them without them knowing. True transsexuals rarely have trouble assimilating in such situations. They don't come across as men in dresses, and unless they choose to be open about their past, no one would know.
But, even some post-ops are going ballistic over the issue. As I said, Suzan Cooke is in a complete snit over the issue. Which is sort of surprising, but Cooke cannot seem to make up her mind which side she is on. She has even apparently joined the chorus of transgender extremists who think that CeCe MacDonald should be placed in a women's prison, even those said person is physically a male. In short, Cooke would negate the rights of every woman in a state prison in favor of a male criminal, simply because said person claims a female gender identity. That surprises me.
The CeCe MacDonald case is a perfect example of why radical feminists would take such a dim view of "transgender." Here is a person who committed a crime, and plead guilty. Yes, it is argued that it was self-defense, but I have to wonder. The case occurred in Minnesota, which is not exactly an anti-transgender stronghold, being the first state to pass a state-wide rights bill that included gender identity. But, like pretty much anywhere else, those rights are tempered by common sense. You don't put a man in a women's prison. If you have a penis, you are male for certain purposes, no matter how you dress, what your ID says, or even if you live in a state that is insane enough to change your birth certificate like Sandeen has take advantage of.
The transgender extremists are trying to claim not only that MacDonald should get a pass on killing someone because of being black and transgender, but should also be allowed to be in a women's prison. What a load of crap. This represents an attack on women, not support for them.
Likewise, when transgender people attack radical feminists for wanting to maintain their vision of "women's space," I think it represents the inherent misogynistic tendencies of many in the transgender extremist movement. And the same is true when radical feminists are attacked as viciously as they have been recently. I don't agree with them, but I respect their right to hold views that are not the same as my own.
But then, transgender has never really been about rights...it has always been about a bunch of men wanting their way at the expense of women.