The Troll Wars of 2009

Posted: December 30, 2009 in Troll Wars

Bondage-A-Go-Go, SF, Dec 2009

Dec 2009
I took this shot at Bondage-a-Go-Go, the fetish danceclub in the SOMA district of San Francisco. It is one of my recent favorite photos. It makes me love photography again. Alison was inside getting here ass flogged in the BDSM play space. With her beautiful, big, round ass she never has any trouble finding Mab (Male at Birth) or Fab (Female at Birth) play partners.

I have made it onto Zagria’s 2009 Gender Variance Who’s Who. Yay! Zagria says I hit various nerves with [my] advocacy of male femininity. That is certainly the case. But hey, if I managed to upset so many vested Identity Activists I must be doing something right. I am glad that I not only attract the ire of various groups but also a very diverse readership.
I have changed my approach since my initial inflammatory manifestos back in August. Controversy is better than being ignored, but controversy makes people dig in their heels. At the height of the Stop Jasper Before He Kills Again crusade I found communication virtually impossible. All subtlety is lost in the heat of anger, destruction of the "Victimizing Other" becomes the only priority.
In August I had just exhibited at the Queer Arts Festival and was still reeling from the experience. Basically, at the festival I found Mab Femininity to only be represented by a some token MTF (Male-To-Female) Transsexuals. There was no intelligible category representing Jasper as a Non-transitioning, Mab Femme. There was a complete absence of GenderQueer Mabs, Femmeboys and Drag Queens in the transgender themed forums that I attended. The Transgender identity category had been appropriated as a non-stigmatized synonym for Transsexual. This structural category shift had reconstituted Male Femininity as exterior to Transgender.
I believe in a spectrum of Mab-Femininity that includes both MTF Transsexuals and Drag Queens at the strongly Female-Identified and Male-Identified extremes. The whole spectrum should be represented in any "Queer" representation of gender, but most of the spectrum was absent, silent and invisible. To my increasing dismay, I found that I could not even make the absence intelligible or discussable. One attempt to even talk about this spectrum provoked a white hot rage from an MTF performance artist called Meiske. I found I could not talk about the issue with a signifier which included both Meiske and Jasper. Her contentious of "I have never been Male" made any exploration of our samenness impossible. My attempt to create a shared signifier made her more outraged. Any attempt to posit shared experience was labeled as transphobic and transmisogynistic because her disidentification with the Male At Birth category was complete. She made a not-so-veiled threat to rally the other trans-activists in the room into an impromptu lynch mob and eject me from the space. This speak act of rallying the mob against the "Other" is an act huge ethical violence. Lesbian Separatists and Transphobic Straight men have also employed this "mob" mobilization against me and I know it well.
I once saw an interview with the Radical Feminist Andrea Dworkin. Her rage and hatred seemed to be eating her up from the inside. I have never "recognized" such a pure hatred directed towards me and my Male At Birth body. Its vivid image and the fear it invoked is still palpable after decades have passed. She had the crazed insanity of a right wing Calvinist preacher, ranting about sodomites while spittle flies from his lips. Full reign is given to a vengeful righteous anger which is vented against evil and depravity, the pervert or the patriarch.
Well, this was the kind of indignant, sanctimonious rage that Meiske vented on me. I have seen recognized it in quite a few Trans Activists. It is Deleuze’s micro-fascism and Nietzsche Slave Morality. It is the desire to lash out and make someone hurt, just like you are hurting. This displaced rage always hits the wrong target. Lesbian Separatists wreak their vengeance on poor MTFs when they think they are hitting the patriarch. Trans Activists lash out at people who think differently in the place of the true Transphobes who make their lives hell.
My initial Inflammatory post from August 1st was titled Critiquing Brain Sex Activism (ie. woman’s brain in a man’s body). I was angry and it came out in the text. Reading the post six months later, I realize that it somewhat misses the point. I was upset about the Red Guard tactics of the trans activists. I hated the way that the Seranoan terms Transphobia, Cissexual and Transmisogyny were being used to silence and intimidate. It is clear to me now that the authoritarian tactics and totalizing ideology are the problem and not any particular theory.

  1. somebody says:

    great to see that your posts are getting more interesting again! i liked this.

  2. polly says:

    I think the objection that lesbian separatist have with MTF’s Jasper (and this is probably the only non rad fem place on the internet I can say this without also being accused of killing someone), as you have already pointed out, is quite simply their maleness.

    The position which (I also hold) is quite clear, firstly that a MAB person has experienced male privilege by virtue of being assigned male at birth, and is therefore not culturally part of the category women.

    The second is quite simply male bodiedness, and the insistence (by some trans activists) that sex = gender, which serves to reinforce the gender binary. In recognition of the anomalous position here of those intersex people who identify with an assigned birth sex, they are also included in the sex category assigned at birth.

    Mostly the separatist position is that physical sex cannot be changed. I’m a bit agnostic on that one, since I see BINARY physical sex as a gendered constructed category anyway – the common inclusion in either binary sex category of intersex people who appear superficially to be ‘mostly’ male or female shows that. There is no intersex sex category in our society because of binary gender.

    However my view is that the construction of these categories does have real world meanings and effects in terms of which sex category a person is placed in at birth. And biological sex does have meaning as a reproductive category which has very real effects on those females who are capable of reproduction. Sex is real, but not exactly binary, in other words. However the meanings of sex (gender) are cultural, and the source of gender based oppression.

    Simply the rad fem separatist position is that FABs are oppressed because of their biological sex category, by MABs.

    Personally, I don’t associate ALL MTF people with ‘the patriarch’ by any means. However I think those who insist on their right to enter FAB only spaces on the basis of their gender identity, are exhibiting a sense of entitlement that is culturally male. However in my experience this is NOT a position all MTF people hold. My problem is not with MTF people, but those who insist that they have a right to be recognised as female and be accepted by FABs as female on the basis of their gender identity.

    Miska explains here why this position is hypocritical.

    However now I’ll probably be accused of killing someone again.

  3. polly says:

    Whoops my comment above doesn’t quite make sense. I think I accidentally deleted a bit.

    In recognition of the anomalous position here of those intersex people who identify with an assigned birth sex, they are also included in the sex category assigned at birth.

    Should have read something like

    In recognition of the anomalous position here of those intersex people who identify with an assigned birth sex, they are also included in the sex category assigned at birth by myself for the purposes of defining MAB (male assigned at birth) and FAB (female assigned at birth).

    The point being that although binary sex is to a degree constructed,(ie biological males and females are real, but biological sex is not binary) the socially constructed binary sex categories ‘male’ and ‘female’ are the ones that have significance in a patriarchy, and are always mapped onto percieved biological sex.

    Basically my position is that gender is externally constructed, based on perceived sex, and a subject cannot choose its gender.

  4. Anonymous Troll says:

    [Editors note: I am bothered by Anonymous Troll’s polemics against Jasper, and their tone of victimization. I would still like to address their points. I am therefore editing out all vitriol.]

    I don’t see any difference between what you said and did in August and what you’re saying and doing now.

    That trans woman was not at the Queer Arts Festival to represent “MAB femininity”, she was there because she wanted to be there, same as you. She was not a token, and she doesn’t exist to serve your agenda. […vitriol…].

    As long as you continue to insist that trans women are examples of “MAB” femininity or “male” femininity, you’re not going to make many friends among trans women. We do not exist to serve your agenda, we exist to serve our own. Talk all you want about MAB femininity, but don’t try to misappropriate trans women into your club.

  5. Anonymous Troll says:

    Polly, [vitriol].

    Trans women don’t claim to be FAAB – that’s a straw man you and other radical feminists have constructed to avoid addressing the real, systemic, and harmful transphobia that you all practice with so much vigor and joy.

  6. Anonymous Troll says:

    Also, trans women are not on any spectrum of male femininity. […vitriol…] [Meiske] wanted to get you away from her, for her own safety and peace of mind. Trans women are not obligated to identify with maleness […vitriol…].

    You are not oppressed by trans women […vitriol…].

    You are not the same as trans women.

    Seriously, own your […vitriol…] male privilege […vitriol…]. Stop trying to label yourself as everything under the sun to escape your privilege. [Vitriol…] using your male privilege to claim access to trans women’s bodies by claiming we’re the same as you. [vitriol..] [You are a] colonizer trying to pretend you have no privilege at all.

  7. Jasper Gregory says:

    @anonymous troll | I don’t see any difference between what you said and did in August and what you’re saying and doing now.
    In august I wrote a polemic against Brain-Sex Activism. But I was really upset with the messengers and their tactics, which I find eerily similar to the tactics that Raymond’s followers used against Transsexuals. Instead I focused on the message of Brain-Sex, without actually examining the evidence.
    What has not changed is my insistence upon freedom of thought, and my defense of my intellectual liberty.
    The Transsexual Activists who I was critiquing use the tactics of “dehumanizing the enemy” which I have seen in Dworkin, Raymond, The reverand Falwell, George Bush, The Baader-Meinhof Complex, Mao’s Red Guards and the House Committee on Unamerican Activities.
    David Valentine has a must-read alalysis. Read it here on pages 121-122.

  8. Jasper Gregory says:

    @anonymous_troll | No one says that transwomen are claiming to be Female Assigned At Birth (FAAB). If they had been assigned Female it would not have been an issue right? But I see many Transwomen denying that they have ever been Mab, and that they were Female At Birth. This is the whole point of your claim that Trans Women are not on any spectrum of Mab Femininity. Indeed you seem to thing rage and hysteria to be an appropriate response to the mere suggestion of a spectrum of Mab Femininity.

  9. polly says:

    Cheers Jasper – to repeat, Some trans women don’t claim to be female at all (trans women are not a homogenous group by any means) however some transwomen claim they are and always have always been female, even before birth. I have even seen someone arguing that a trans woman’s penis is female by virtue of belonging to a trans woman. They’re just using female in an entirely different way from its commonly accepted/understood meaning of course, not changing physical bodies by doing this. But the stance seems anomalous to say the least. If one is already female, why have surgery?

    Thanks for editing the vitriol Jasper, but I’m used to it by now…. truth telling has that effect I’m afraid.

  10. Schala says:

    “Some trans women don’t claim to be female at all (trans women are not a homogenous group by any means) however some transwomen claim they are and always have always been female”

    Yes, I think that myself. Always been female.

    If you want to classify male and female solely based on reproductive potential, go into zoology, where it actually makes sense (men and women were terms invented to NOT use male and female, for humans – except when speaking strictly about biological functions).

    “If one is already female, why have surgery?”

    If your nose isn’t broken, why have rhinoplasty? If your breasts aren’t cancerous, why have any form of mammoplasty or removal/reduction?

    It might be the authorities and kyriarchy who is more vested in dividing people by genitals, thereby forcing an higher number than otherwise would, to get genital surgery for survival or practical reasons (to have matching papers, to marry etc), but if it also relieves body dissonance for some to have it performed, then why not?

    1. Some people feel dissonance without surgery.
    2. Some people feel ugly or incomplete without it.
    3. Some people do it to marry their partner.
    4. Some people do it to have sex a certain way.
    5. Some people do it because of therapist/government pressure to “finish” treatment (think Iran for the worst).
    6. Some people do it to avoid harassment or outings by mismatched papers.
    7. Some people do it to suppress testosterone production for good (because orchiectomy sort of makes surgery harder after), hence saving testosterone-inhibiting drug costs.

    Lots of reasons, multiple ones for many no doubt. Few of those based on the notion that “women have vaginas, therefore I need one” (the government pressure one is based on it).

    Reasons 1, 2, 4 and 6 apply for me. 7 if my meds weren’t free right now (cyproterone acetate is relatively cheap here, but I’m dirt poor, and it affects my liver).

  11. Jasper Gregory says:

    I am giving up. I have quite a few posts from Schala, that I was saving until I had time to reply. No such luck. I will write a very short answer to each, in lieu of a proper response.

    @schala I find your viewpoint intriguing. I do not think that we are far apart. I appreciate your empiricism. Since reading about Habermas’ definition of the public sphere I am interested about rational-critical debate. One quote I like is particularly are:

    It might be the authorities and kyriarchy who is more vested in dividing people by genitals, thereby forcing an higher number than otherwise would, to get genital surgery for survival or practical reasons (to have matching papers, to marry etc),

    I feel the taboos against male femininity tend to result in Male Femme Gynophyles to either choose transsexual woman or cissexual man.
    I use man woman roughly in the way you use masculine/feminine as designating the socially constructed aspect of gender. I am fine with the designation Male but Man. If pressed for a choice between man and woman. I choose woman, because I choose the social role woman, and am generally treated as such. In essence I am adopting the category male woman, or Male Dyke. B.T.W. I think this really why I get riled up by the label cissexual, because it is always paired with the term man or the term woman. One says transsexual woman not transsexual female. Since I also identify as woman, if you label me cissexual, that makes me a cissexual woman, which is fine by me, but confusing.

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