I am an Authentic Woman

Posted: September 15, 2009 in Autogynephilia 2008

This video helped me clarify my views.
I realized:

  • the right-wing transfeminism of Women Born Transsexual (WBT) is affirming the authenticity of WBT womanness, while denying the authenticity of Transgender Transsexual womannes and Tranny (Transvestite) womanness. The symbolic marker for authenticity is Sex-Reassignment Surgery.
  • Binary-Centric Transsexual Women Activists working within under the sign of “Transgender”. Julia Serano’s transfeminist manifesto “The Whipping Girl” provides the intellectual underpinnings for this movement. Questioning Transphobia has a lot of commenters in this camp, and this worldview has become the “Politically Correct” view on many feminist websites like Feministe. These activists are very aggressive in defending their authenticity as women. Unfortunately their claims of Authenticity entails a reductionist belief in the Gender Binary. An attack on biological reductionism is an attack on their authenticity. Authentic Women take Estrogen and adopt a Female-Typical social persona. They label Somatically-Male Trannies like me as Cissexual because we do not transition. Calling us Cissexual is a challenge to our inclusion within the sign “Trans”. This is also marked by attempts to Crossdressers from the sign “Transwoman”. This marks us for exclusion from any privileges which may be won for Transwomen.
  • My brand of Progressive Gender Activism legitimizes “Authentic” Woman and the related term “Transwoman” for anyone who feels an innate womanness. This recognition of authenticity is open to Trannies, Genderqueers, Queens, Femmeboys, Twinkies and Sissyboys. Any model which marks us as inauthentic but grants authenticity to other Transwomen, is inherantly bigotted and reactionary.

So, this is my message to every Transwoman who I have offended

If you recognize my authenticity I will recognize yours!

If you deny my authenticity I will deny yours!

  1. Jasmina says:

    I don’t know where to start. First I want to say I am proud of all the transgendered ladies who have the nerve to go through with their true calling. I imagine it is difficult for you in so many ways and I wish I could be there to hold your hand.

    My only issue is this. You are not, and never will be a woman. You may no longer be a man, and you certainly will have your own hills to climb. As someone who was born a woman, I’m simply not comfortable sharing my own trials of menstrual pains, sexism and childbearing (I am the proud mother of an 8 year old daughter) that you will never experience. These experiences are the things that make me a woman. The surge of estrogen that makes me want to kill my ex husband every month is what makes me a woman. The dread of menopause is what makes me a woman.

    You don’t get to cheat yourself of those experiences by having an operation and taking hormones. Now, please, don’t think I am dismissing the hell you will be experiencing as a side effect of your own transformation. I just wish we could maybe come to an agreement on a term that glorifies the movement of your experience and mine…..and that we can live as sisters in this fucked up world. Trust that we need each other, ladies.

    I’m sure my statement will look close minded to some, and to you, I am sorry. I am here for my ladyfriends in many capacities….just that one thing….I have to stop and say wait a minute!”



  2. Zoë says:

    With regard to:

    “If you recognize my authenticity I will recognize yours!
    If you deny my authenticity I will deny yours!”

    Tit for tat is silly. We are all human dealing with our own crap. I recognize you are a human making choices of your own; you desire happiness; you wish to avoid suffering. In that view we are all the same regardless of sexual orientation labels or gender labels we put on ourselves or others.

    I recognize you as a human and respect you as such – I don’t care if you recognize me or not.

  3. dyssonance says:

    Since I know you are reading several particular sites, I know you’ve read me.

    You have asserted that a gender binary is a falsehood.

    To do such, logically, you must do so within the framework of the specific culture you are speaking to, since it is the culture in which you reside that determines such.

    If you have comprehended much of what I have said regarding you, you will know that how you identify extends only to the surface of your skin. And that you have no particular right nor ability to inform others how to perceive you culturally.

    So your identity is irrelevant in this particular case, and that leads to the questions I put to you now:

    How do you prove the binary is false — that is, that the culture you live in does not have a binary understanding of gender?

    How do you establish that culture you live in — that of the United States of America — will recognize the gender you claim when you do not perform that gender by the standards of that culture? This one is important, for as a social construct, gender is performative, and that means, in fact, that gender is how 8others* see you, not how you see yourself.

    And, lastly, how can you defend your statements by using the structures of the cultural binary you are in when you stated goal is to not adhere to them?

    I am not asking you in order to get into a discussion with you — for that you will need to come to my blog, where we can have it out . I am asking you these questions so you can attempt to answer them since a lot of th issues you are having stem from your failure to understand the answers to them.

    You are still learning. And you will find that the stuff you are saying here is, to be perfectly frank, irrational and predominantly uninformed.

    But, at the rate you are going right now, you will find that by the time you learn that, you will be in a bad place that only has great pain. Not physical — emotional and spiritual.

    And while you really annoy me, I would prefer you not have to go through that.

  4. Nick says:

    I don’t get what you’re saying here. You don’t want Jasper to claim to be a woman, you want him to find another label, then you can call him “sister’ and “lady.” If you’re ok with the latter, why not the former?

    Not all women menstruate and give birth. Not all ciswomen menstruate and give birth. Just saying 🙂

    I must say, after spending all morning reading up on HBS people, it’s nice to see some polite discussion in comments, I like civility much more 🙂

    Also, I don’t know what pronouns to use for Jasper, and I’m pretty sensitive about pronoun use things so sorry if I used the wrong one…

  5. queenemily says:

    haha lulzy

    You might want to look up the meaning of the word “somatic.” It does not mean “unchangeable biological maleness” – quite the opposite. It disrupts the mind/body dualism you are so intent on solidifying, rather inaccurately might I add. Somatically a post SRS trans woman is almost entirely within the realm of “normal” female, barring the continued presence of the prostate. You clearly have no understanding of trans physiologies, so it is quite brave of you to show your ignorance in public.

    It always does my heart *such* good to see post-structuralist queer theory chopped into little pieces, stirred in with half-understood biology and poorly thought through ontological propositions and turned into wtf alphabet soup.

  6. Cowgirl Bex says:

    Why do you feel the need to call yourself a “Woman”? I ask because you seem to speak against the binary and yet you choose a word to describe yourself that is clearly rooted in the binary.

    In video you call yourself a crossdresser but the very definition of crossdresser, excludes you from being a woman. Either you are a crossdresser (a man who dresses as a woman), or you’re a woman. You cannot be both since, in your case (being assigned male at birth), they are mutually exclusive.

    I don’t think you’ve really put any thought into what your saying and suggest going back and actually writing something coherent down on paper before posting it on the world wide webs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gender can be seen as biological.

    Gender can be seen as social/behavioral.

    Both of these can be fluent. Where you want to draw the line between girls and boys is a matter of definition, but it’s always a combination of those two factors.

    So I’m with you that gender binary is an outdated view. But the point is you are not even fluent, neither biologically or social/behaviorally. Your only claims to being a woman is a vague sense of internal gender identity that doesn’t seem to translate into anything else for some reason.

    I guess what ticks me off about you, is that these two factors are the very core of my gender issues. They are what makes me (at least partially) female, and any claims I might make of gender identity is simply putting these things into words.

    I don’t really care about being “authentic” or a complete woman, but for someone who questions that view, you seem to care a whole lot about it.

  8. Nick says:

    The problem with your philosophy is not that gender activism should be progressive, because it should be, but that in trying to affirm your own identity you are hypocritically denying that of others. If you have read Julia’s book, you will know that she is not dismissive of people who do not fit the gender binary, having lived and identified variously as effeminate male, cross-dresser, bigender, agender, and genderqueer herself before realising that surgical and social transition was the only way for her to feel truly herself. To therefore describe her and her supporters as binary-centric because she wants a female body (despite being attracted to women and not at all typically feminine in her interests) is about as true as describing you as binary-centric because you have a male one.

    We all have different experiences and identities, and you are entitled to yours. But transpeople exist; our gender dysmorphia/dysphoria is real. And it is this dysmorphia, not a vague (no offense) social identification as a ‘woman’, that inspires at the very least those of us who are transsexual to transition. Pretending my identity is necessarily shared with yours because we both don’t identify as ‘men’ may be nice, but really, it’s kinda like a middle-aged Chinese businessman pretending his identity is more shared with that of a native teenage girl in Botswana than his friend as work, just because only the former isn’t white. One who believes in the equality of all races would question the latter. Likewise, one who really believes in the equality of all sexes would question the former.

  9. Jasper Gregory says:

    Nick, you wrote so much that I am going to just pick out one thing. I think that the crux of the issue lies in the dysmorphia, since that is how many transsexuals differentiate themselves from genderqueers and transvestites.
    You see I have done a good amount of reading about the current state of brain science. Looking at Swaab and others’ experiments I think that a genetic basis for cross gendered behavior exists, so Nancy Boys and Thom Boys probably have a genetic component, I see no evidence whatsoever for a genetic basis for body dysmorphia. I think it is likely that most transsexuals are strongly behaviorally cross gendered and the dysmorphia results from societies opression of that. I am no longer opposed to the idea of brain sex and am comfortable with using that frame to for transsexuals, but I think genderqueers and transvestities have the same condition as transsexuals, we just do not suffer from dysmorphia, or have found alternative ways to cope.

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