The Transgender Coalition is Dead

Posted: August 29, 2009 in Troll Wars

Jasper observing
Aria, Joanne and others, some of whom call themselves Classical Transsexuals, resent the LGBT identity politics which claims to speak for all Transsexuals under the umbrella term Transgender. They strongly believe in the categories Male and Female, and many resent being included in a category with transvestites and crossdressers.
They claim to represent a silent majority of transsexual women. In my estimate they may be right. They represent the transwomen who want to just pass and keep their transsexual history a secret. I have read a lot of classical transsexual writing which states that crossdressers like me dominate transgender and LGBT activism.

While I feel that the Classical Transsexuals are scapegoating the somatically-male crossdressers, I share some of their critique about transgender identity politics.

Transgender identity politics are not democratic (see “imagining transgender”). Classical Transsexual and Classical Transgender used to be cohesive alternative identities. Classical Transgender was created by transgressives, people who found the Classical Transsexual discourse too rigid. When the transgender coalition activists decided to speak for transsexuals they did not hold a poll among transsexuals to ask if they wanted to be included.
I think the result is a struggle over the meaning of transgender. Classical Transsexuals want to succeed from LGBT, Transgender and Queer. Classical Transsexual priorities are increasingly represented within the Transgender Coalition. Evidence of this are the increasing definition of Transgender as a synonym for Transsexual (try googling “Transgender Surgery”), and the movement away from the umbrella term Transgender to the umbrella term Trans. Trans represents Classical Transsexual priorities but claims to speak for non-transsexuals in the same way that Transgender represented Classical Transgender priorities while claiming to speak for Transsexuals.
Julia Serano’s The Whipping Girl was intentionally a manifesto for Trans-Feminism. In many ways it has also served as a manifesto for a Trans(sexual) Feminism which is belligerent and combative towards the Subversivism of Classical Transgenders.
The Whipping Girl has been immensely influential, and has served as a rallying point for Radical Trans(sexual)-Feminism
The Transgender Coalition activists have attempted to promote a coalition identity by marginalizing the Classical Transsexuals. Now the pendulum has swung and the Trans Coalition is marginalizing the Transgressives and Gender Outlaws.
So, perhaps The Classical Transsexuals and Classical Transgenders can agree that our two viewpoints are NOT compatible. It is better to have two bodies of thinking and practice than some artificial average of the two.

  1. ariablue says:

    First, Sophia is a woman with an intersex background. By no stretch of anyone’s imagination can she be accused of being transsexual. People like those of the Clarke-Northwestern clique have been using that method to silence intersex voices raised in opposition to their brutality, and it would be a grave injustice to see those lies and methods spreading to transgender people.

    Secondly, you have everything backwards with regard to whom is being harmed by the erasure of real transsexuals within the transgender construct. It is a calculated political strategy designed to steal medical legitimacy from people who were born different and grant it to people who want to play power politics.

    I’m not sure how this always gets turned around and spoken of in terms of how trangender types of people are suffering at the hands of the evil transsexuals, but that is a lie. The perhaps 100,000 real transsexuals in the US speak volumes with their silence and non-participation in GLBT politics. The situation of a handful of militant, radical transgender politicians speaking for real transsexuals is, as you say, not democratic.

    Transsexual is not a discourse. It is a birth condition. It is not created by behavior or clothing. It is created by biological processes. Any other form of immutable condition would not be fodder for people like the militant transgender radicals. But because of the nature of the issue, certain opportunists have been able to twist the truth to their benefit. First and foremost “Virginia Prince”, who is responsible for many of the lies being spread about transsexualism.

    Transsexual men and women do not want to secede from the GLBT: We want the GLBT to butt out of our lives unless invited. It would be the same if the Catholic church started issuing statements that it now spoke for people of all religions. Or if the plumber’s union now had a position on abortion and pushed NOW aside as chief lobbyist for women’s issues. It’s ridiculous. The laws the TG politicians are pushing by using our (former) limited legitimacy may in fact be detrimental to real transsexual men and woman. But they wouldn’t know or care because their agenda is not about transsexual men and women.

    On that topic, it’s important that my position as represented here and elsewhere comes from me rather than being interpreted for me. And it doesn’t happen to be that I object to transgenderism because I believe strongly in the categories male and female, whatever you mean by that. You’ll have to ask every person who is objecting why they do so, because we aren’t a group in the sense of identity politics. All we agree on is that we must be free to choose.

    For my part, I don’t care what other people believe as far as gender theory or anything else- as long as it doesn’t affect me. When people try to tell me who I am and start pushing and shoving, I am going to react. I don’t want anything in particular from the GLBT or TG camps, except that they don’t claim things that aren’t true. I would be perfectly satisfied if they stopped speaking on transsexual issues, stopped claiming to be representing us, and limited themselves to making transgender demands. They seem to be pretty good at that.

  2. nome says:

    This sort of posting is really saddening to me. I am a trangendered/genderqueer whatever and I do not claim to speak for transsexuals. However, I do face a lot of transphobia and do have many commonalities with transsexuals. I also have a lot of friends who ID as both genderqueer AND transsexual but are alienated from both groups. This decisive talk of who is a “real” transsexual seems highly questionable to me. Why are my friends not real just because they don’t want to transition in the same way as other transsexuals? And in many ways, I have had to suppress transsexual inclinations more so because of being alienated by transsexuals than any cisperson.

    Sure, I can understand wanting to be like “y’all are not the same as me.” And I do understand the anger transwomen feel at being grouped in with people who are coming from very different places/with different motives. Of course I can’t feel it, but it’s probably the same annoyance I feel at being called a butch or transman or (strangely enough) transwoman. But why does that need to become a fight? Why do we need to invalidate each other just to feel more real ourselves? I want to stand along side my transsexual brothers/sisters/siblings, not be exiled for not wanting the same transition as them. I want to be seen as a real trans person even though I doubt I’ll ever want hormones or surgery and see gender through different eyes. We have more in common than what separates us but we keep fighting about who gets to be legit in the community too much.

  3. cassandraspeaks says:

    I think Aria summed that up pretty well. I have not much to add except that Aria is NOT alone. There are a great many “Real Transsexual” women and men who are tired of being used to legitimise TG political demands. Speak for yourselves please and we will speak for ourselves, we are more than capable.

  4. cassandraspeaks says:

    Hi nome, I’d like to make one thing clear here. Personaly (I will not speak for others) I wish you and your friends all the success and happiness in the world. I think the way you get treated sometimes is shabby. That said, hauling us into a group of people with whom we do not identify just because it helps their cause is grossly offensive. It is that we are resisting.
    Regards your friends: it is the fact that they do not wish to transition the way we have that makes them different. Can’t you people see that? We want peace and harmony but while our condition is hijacked under a banner where we don’t belong there will be resitance.

  5. nome says:

    And how do we want any different? What, you think I love getting stared at all the time? You think I love having people ask me constantly about my junk? And why do you get to define for the rest of us what a transsexual is? Why is my partner not a transsexual when he feels like one and just feels different methods are right for him? You treat me and him like some sort of freak when you say shit like that. Ugh, “get treated sometimes shabby” What’s that?? Are you kidding me? I get treated like shit every fucking day, just like you probably do. Don’t excuse my oppression. You’re worse than a cisperson. At least it’s just them living ignorantly in privilege. You’re actively holding me down in a mad-grab for privilege, not caring that you’re screwing over so many of your siblings in the tribe. I have so much internalized transphobia and you just reinforce it when we should be sticking together. The enemy is not among us, it is the system which constructs cis as good and trans as bad.

    I can understand not wanting to be grouped in with LGB. Shit, I feel that way half the time, even though I ID as queer. But many transfolk, of the gender AND sexual sort (and both at once, yes you can do that!!), like being affiliated with them and decisions can’t be made for an entire community, in one way or another. You make me sad in thinking you get to speak for everyone in the trans community. It’s a gross showing of privilege.

  6. Kara Harkins says:

    Julia’s book specifically highlights transsexual issues? I have not read it, but that is something I had not heard before. She did not strike me as being a seperatist when I met her. Plus, I am designing a transfeminist based support group (and when I say trans I mean the full spectrum), which will be an interesting experiment.

    A split between trans and transsexual would be messy, especially when it comes to drawing the lines. For example, by every objective medical measure I am a transsexual and have issues like post-operative care and the like. Yet I prefer to be around a varied group of trans people.

  7. kyras says:

    as a real transsexual, will arial and cassandra please stop speaking for me? I fully support the lgbtqqi community, and believe this is a part of me.

  8. Jasper Gregory says:

    Kara, Julia definitely does not champion transsexuals over trans. She defines and defends a binary based transfeminist which has negative repercussions for non-transsexual transgenders/genderqueers, especially as her ideas are translated by others.

    How do you define trans and transsexual?

  9. Jasper Gregory says:

    Hey Nome,
    You said you felt alienated from both transsexuals and genderqueers. How do you feel alienated from the genderqueers?

  10. Aria Blue says:

    As long as I am forced to be part of this so-called “movement”, I get to speak for everyone whether they want it or not. That’s how this works isn’t it? In fact, I think I will start calling myself a non-gender transgender, and speak out specifically on transgender issues with authority.

    How does that sound to everyone?

  11. SA-ET says:

    “Aria, Sophia and others who call themselves Classical Transsexuals resent the LGBT identity politics which claims to speak for all Transsexuals under the umbrella term Transgender. They strongly believe in the categories Male and Female, and many resent being included in a category with transvestites and crossdressers. They claim to represent a silent majority of transsexual women. In my estimate they may be right.”>/I>

    Yes, we do…and, yes, you are right.

  12. Aria Blue says:

    On another topic Jasper, you really should change your first line about Sophie. It’s not true that she calls herself a “classic transsexual” (and I don’t either). Sophia is a woman with an intersex background. She has nothing to do with the transsexual war except providing a place for disagreements to be aired.

  13. Kara Harkins says:

    So now you are not a transsexual/have a transsexual background?

    You complain about our use of terms. Intersex has a specific medical meaning and it does not include transsexuality (prior/current/whatever).

  14. nome says:

    But Aria, don’t we have more in common than separate? We both face the same problems with living our lives as our true genders/sexes. Yes, I agree that gay orgs have nothing to do with what I’m talking about. I have the same problems in queer/gay spaces as I do in straight ones, quite often. But why are we fighting over crumbs when it’s the system that is oppressing us to begin with? And why do you get to say that because some foolishly speak for you, you get to turn around and oppress your brothers and sisters as well??

  15. Joanne says:

    Aria, Joanne and others, …. They strongly believe in the categories Male and Female…

    And while your at it Jasper, Joanne (that’s me 🙂 ) is a member of the board of the organization of Intersex International (OII).

    As such I spend much my time people are not biologically dimorphic in their anatomical and reproductive biology. One of those is Sophia. Sophia is a medically trained geneticist with an intersexed condition.

    Jasper, how on earth could I possibly believe that humanity is sexually diadic?

    I don’t even believe the human brain is such, Jasper. I’m legally trained. I believe in substantive evidence and forensics. Thats why I believe this:

    Now, instead of using a classical transsexed / intersexed yardstick to understand your own issues, why don’t you give some consideration to the way science and biology works?

    Of course you can delete this comment, as you did the one that asked you to explain asexual transsexuals. But honestly Jasper – wouldn’t it just be easier to face your own issues on their own terms?

  16. cassandraspeaks says:

    kyras, I thought I made it clear that I WAS speaking personally and that I would NOT speak for anyone else. Perhaps you never learned to read English. Now just for the record here I would make a guess that if you believe you are a part of the lgbtqqi artificial construct you probably would not fit among those of us who simply identify male or female, ie woman or man. “Classic Transsexual” is simply used through convenience and to acknowledge a fact of medical history.

  17. cassandraspeaks says:

    Actually Kara, there is strong evidence that what has been called primary transsexual is in fact an intersex condition. Powerful evidence indicates that the most important sex organ the brain has as part of it’s construction male and female components and in primary transsexuals this is in opposition to reproductive organs. Therefore intersex is in fact a more appropriate term. We have much in common with each other.

  18. cassandraspeaks says:

    Actually I get treated extremely well everyday. However I don’t use bad language and present appropriately. I don’t hold you down if you set yourself appart from society at least have the decency and the courage to face the consequences and don’t blame society for something they don’t control. You have the solution in your own hands. As for living in privilage that is a view founded in the politics of envy. I worked hard for everything I have in life and from a very unprivilaged beginning. I don’t whine poor me as you have just done.
    One last thing, I’m tired of the whole GLBT speaking for me. The only difference now is that I am standing up to it and fighting back, you don’t like it do you!

  19. Jasper Gregory says:

    Moderator note:
    I am going to be moderating on tone on this thread. The debate is getting too personal. I will continue to publish issues oriented posts.

  20. Jasper Gregory says:

    Viewing the current brains science, I would say that cross-sexed is more accurate than intersex to describe trans people. It is related though, it is about pre-natal sex differentiation.
    You say that primary transsexuals have cross-sexed brains. True, (though they have not controlled for the effects of hormones) but they have never studied the brains of transgender people, so there is no evidence to suggest that gender-variant people are not equally cross sexed.

  21. Aria Blue says:

    I don’t use the word “classic”. I see you are up to your old tricks of twisting the conversation though. My point about Sophie was the main one and it still stands. The blog author needs to clarify his misunderstanding.

    On the topic if my identification, I am a woman. I am not “transsexual” as transsexual is not a sex or even a gender. Transsexual describes a birth condition, not a chosen identity.

    Further, Intersex is not the iron-clad medical definition that all the TG’s think it is. If they paid attention to things outside their own politics they’d know that the intersex definition has been changing, without input from people born intersex, and even now is being used politically to stigmatize and cut up those who don’t conform to the wishes of medical abusers and their apologists in the psych industry.

  22. Aria Blue says:

    “(though they have not controlled for the effects of hormones)”

    Actually that is addressed in Swaab’s letter explaining how his critics were misrepresenting the issues:

    (Thanks for archiving this Joanne =)

  23. Aria Blue says:

    I’m not oppressing anyone. I am telling them to leave me alone.

  24. sophiaofthescythes says:

    Hello Jasper,

    As I cannot see my name in the above article, I assume you have removed it, if so, thanks.

    I think the argument is really about these core gender politicals who want to define everything by their standards.
    I will be honest I am not comfortable with the way transgender activism is going, but there is something deeper going on in the UK it is a sort of sex policing they appear to be liberal and they talk of diversity. But it seems to be about telling people what they are or should be.

    Unfortunately a lot of the people who use the term “Transgender” and the shorter “Trans” seem to be the people doing this the most. A “Transwoman” (PfC terminology) can change her documentation and birth registration to some extent. Someone like me with 5 alpha is stuck with being defined as “Male” even if we were not born male and choose not to become male. They *expect * me to want to be male. My own story is nothing like “Cal” in Eugenide’s Middlesex (A Work of fiction) and yet, in the UK I have that imposed on me by the political lobby here.

    The politics are on another planet right now.

  25. Jasper Gregory says:

    Very interesting Sophia, If I understand correctly. The UK activists are oversimplifying gender identity. They are saying that an XY person who is somatically female, needs to be “recognized” as male. It sounds bizarre. I am surprised that Transgender activists are even involved.

  26. Jasper Gregory says:

    Thanks Aria,
    I find the letter convincing. An interesting point is this quote “In addition, it should be noted that the BSTc neuron number was also in the female range in an untreated gender dysphoric male”.
    I want to no more about this subject. If he was no-hormone transgender, than this is evidence that transgender and transsexual brains are both biologically variant. We all have cross-sexed brains.

  27. sophiaofthescythes says:

    Hi Jasper 🙂

    In many ways this is the problem over simplification, They apply these strange standards to 5 alpha-2 reductase deficiency (XY) and Klinefelters (XXY) They don’t do it to women with AIS (Quigley scale 2 upwards but below 2 they do)

    An organization called Gires Did the same sort of thing Dr Veronica (Ronnie) Drantz does, only they sort of lacked the respect for the individual and scientific rigor that Drantz has The upshot being tha someone who has 5 alpha has to turn male or “Identify as male” because it proves the notion of brain sex. It is complex and bizarre. What we have seen here in the UK is more politics than science.

    It does not even relate to Swaab’s work properly, it just uses a tentative clinical analogues while using Swaabs work as a central argument.

    It does not do the science justice.

    The transgender activists (That is those who use the term) have either been duped are are not being entirely honest.

    But it means someone like Caroline Cossey (Who has Klinefelters) is excluded from the GRA and the ability to change her birth certificate. As I am having 5 alpha.

    Let’s be honest politicians and scientists never made sense to each other and this is a very painful example.

  28. sophiaofthescythes says:

    Hello Kara

    I never said I was a transsexual and probably never will, I have 5 alpha. That’s it? What else can I say?

  29. Zoe Brain says:

    The UK system is badly screwed up.

    I have inaccurately and sloppily described women like Sophia as “transsexual” – rather than transsexual without the scare quotes.

    That’s because although their Intersex condition precludes a diagnosis of GID – transsexuality – they have been surgically altered to have the wrong shaped body for their neurology. They are “surgically created ‘transsexuals'”.

    Others with no intervention could be considered ‘transsexual’ until the natural change, should it be more complete than usual, or ‘transsexual’ *after* the natural change, depending on their neurologically-determined gender identity.

    To boys, having a somewhat, mostly or completely feminised body at birth is awful. When it changes to look somewhat, mostly or completely male, it’s a wonderful natural cure. But for girls like Sophia, the change is a nightmarel. And when it’s been “assisted” by well-meaning but ignorant surgeons, that makes it far, far worse. And should such women object to this arbitrary assignment, they get labelled as “mentally ill” just as transsexuals do, but unlike transsexuals, in the UK they can’t access the legal resources to correct the situation.

    It’s a complete mess, legally, medically, and socially, and goes completely against reality.

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