Women Born Transsexual, USA
08/09/2013 — Suzan
This bothered me the first time around back in the 1970s.
It bothered me when I was turned away from a Rape Counseling Center
after I had been brutally raped and barely escaped being murdered.
The cops were more concerned with whether I was legally female because
my vagina had been surgically constructed. You see even though I was
vaginally raped it didn’t count if I wasn’t born with that vagina.
Even though I was torn and bruised it didn’t count because the guy
didn’t cum in me.
So like other women the police abused me and acted like I really
wasn’t raped and besides which, as far as they were concerned, unless
I was assigned female at birth raping me wasn’t really rape.
My TS/TG friends weren’t much help either. Mostly they were too loaded to care.
I was a good feminist. I read the books. I went to the demonstrations.
But apparently the women that ran the Rape Crisis Center were of the
same opinion, I couldn’t be raped and they couldn’t help me because I
had not been assigned female at birth.
Her’s the kicker though. I was still woman enough to go to those
demos. I was still woman enough to be part of the Women’s Building.
I was still woman enough to take the photographs and do the layout
Being working class and having grown up bullied I had to eat bitter
and keep my mouth shut about my personal oppression, while those with
all the privileges money can buy, the cars, the education, talked
about how oppressed they were.
I had been part of SDS, I had hung out with a couple of members of the
Black Panther Party, I had been educated about the nexus of
oppressions that include race and poverty.
I had remembered Huey P. Newton’s speech addressing sexism and
homophobia within the movement.
I realized how much I missed the days when an analysis of race and
class went along with analyses of sexism and the oppression of LGBT
TS/TG folks we were mostly on the outside looking in. Good enough to
do the shit work but not welcome at the party. Welcome as a token but
never fully accepted.
I wasn’t the only woman in that position. We know the names of those
who were outed and trashed. Recently Jenn Burleton came out as having
performed at MWMF.
There were others.
After the defeat of ERA and the rise of the ultra right wing a lot of
the anti TS/TG crap died down.
Of course so did Olivia Records. The Radfem trashing of Olivia
Records and Sandy Stone took its toll on a woman owned and run music
But the Radfems considered that a small price to pay for the trashing
of Sandy Stone.
Oddly I have never heard them criticize Phyllis Schlafly or Concerned
Women of America with any where near the same vehemence or with the
same abusive language they use on TS/TG people.
Initially they attacked us for our perpetuating oppressive feminine
stereotypes. Then they discovered that only a fraction of TS/TG women
are into the commercially peddled brand of femininity. Turns out an
awful lot of us aren’t “traditional women” at all. Something that
should be expected given the limitations placed on heterosexual
marriage for post-SRS TS people in many locations. Or until recently,
near universal marriage prohibitions for pre-op TS/TG women to men or
pre-op TS/TG men to women.
The Radfems are lying when they say TS/TG people do not challenge
sex/gender stereotypes. We were born challenging them and we live our
lives challenging them.
The Radfems are either lying or ignorant when they claim we were not
socialized as women or men. Every child cis or trans is socialized
from the cradle into the gender role expectations of their culture.
One would have to be totally isolated from culture to not be
socialized by culture.
I’ve waded through Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex twice and parts
of it more than twice. I have learned the version I read is somewhat
abridged and not translated word for word, yet I have the feeling from
other works of de Beauvoir that the translation I have read is
accurate enough for me to get the gist of her thinking.
Socialization isn’t education and it isn’t indoctrination. It is more
a dance we all learn, hence the root word “social”. TS/TG people are
part of society. We learn the gender role of our core sex/gender
identity the same way everyone else does. If we are less fluent at it
it is because so many of us have been severely abused for expressing
our grasp of the appropriate gender role behavior during our childhood
while cis people have been nurtured in that expression.
We become like a person who decides they want to learn to play a
musical instrument as an adult. It is unfair to judge someone in the
learning process to someone with years of practice.
The Radfems cite violence against women as reason for their abusing
women who were assigned male at birth, as though transkids were not
abused from the cradle. As though the number of murders of TS/TG
women isn’t out of proportion to their numbers in society.
When I listen to the rhetoric of the self appointed “Radical
feminists” I find myself wondering, what exactly is supposed to be
radical about their ideology.
They aren’t attacking the military industrial complex.
They aren’t attacking the prison industrial complex.
They aren’t, in so far as I can tell, basing any of their thinking in
the teachings of Marx/Engels/ Lenin/Trotsky/ Mao, of
Goldman/Kropotkin/ Bakunin/Luxember g/de Clyere.
I don’t see any real linkage with radical women from my era. I
haven’t seen any citing of Bernadine Dohrn or Ulrike Meinhof, instead
they cite Mary Daly, an academic in a conservative Catholic
Radical as an adjective always requires an additional adjective or
noun to modify it. In the case of “Radical Feminist” what would seem
an obvious connection with generally progressive i.e. left wing
feminism isn’t so obvious.
Somehow the RadFem demand for sex segregated public space doesn’t seem
all that compatible with Second Wave feminists integrating sex
segregated bars like NYC’s McSorley’s Old Ale House on Aug 10, 1970 or
with the protests lead by Martha Burk targeting sex segregationist
policies of the Augusta National Country Club a few years ago.
Progressive feminism has taken positions that both decry rape and
sexual assault of women in the military while demanding the right for
women to be integrated into all positions within the military.
That plays poorly with the Radical Feminist position of demanding sex
What comes off as weird is the attacking TS/TG people. Raymond’s book
was itself pretty contradictory. Transsexual women were to be
condemned for reinforcing sexist stereotype at the same time they were
to be condemned for being pretty much identical to not only many
straight feminist women but to many lesbian feminists.
I never understood how my having an operation to feel at one with my
body was colonizing or trying possess the body of another.
First time around I became very alienated. There weren’t all that
many TS/TG women who were part of any political movements much less
the lesbian feminist movement.
I gravitated towards the lesbian S/M group Samois, the only group that
actively welcomed transsexual women. I already had a black leather
jacket from my affinity to punk rock.
After the attacks on Sandy died down, women’s book stores that carried
Pat (now Patrick) Califia’s Sapphistry and Samois’ Coming to Power
were attacked by the same crew of self appointed Radical Feminists.
It always seemed to me that Radical Feminists were using some very
fringe issues to tear apart feminist/activist organizations and
destroy struggling feminist and lesbian feminist enterprises.
Years before in the 1960s and early 1970s I had been part of SDS and
the radical new left centered in Berkeley. We used to think we were
being paranoid when we thought our organizations were being
infiltrated by the police, FBI and paid informants. We were stupid for
thinking we were paranoid, there was a right wing government
organization named COINTELPRO dedicated to destroying the anti-war /
Now there are so many organizations spying on people, it is as though
the corporations/ governments of the world have devised a
SantaClauseGodStasi machine that knows everything.
Do I think they would run a new version of COINTELPRO?
You bet your ass I do. The RadFem number worked so good (in
conjunction other forms of attack) on stopping Second Wave Feminism
without the blow back the original COINTELPRO received, I wouldn’t put
it past the powers that be to run it again.
Or maybe this resurgence of “Radical Feminism” is another false flag
right wing operation like the anti-abortion “Susan B. Anthony List.”